Thursday, January 30, 2014

glass ceilings

frozen "glass" snow day experiment

whew! cold enough for you? here in coastal north carolina, we have finally succumbed to the polar vortex, i guess.  freezing rain, sleet, a few snow flakes and plummeting temperatures created a big mess around here tuesday night. as this is a very rare occurrence in these parts, i'm thankful the right calls were made regarding school and government closings, etc. ( i am particularly thankful that my family and friends in Atlanta are safe and warm today!)

so - and rightly so- just about everything around here in tiny town is shut down.  if they didn't close tuesday (schools and government offices), they closed wednesday (restaurants, doctors' offices, the gym). (wait, BoJangles across the street is open, but i heard they were out of chicken, so...) as of this moment, schools will also be closed tomorrow.  and this is the RIGHT thing to do.  ice is melting and reforming, and, i kid you not, there really IS only one way to get anywhere in tiny town.  when that road is in bad shape, well, you should really just stay put.

but we are open.  hotels don't close. (hotels hardly ever close). we are receiving and unloading new furniture.  we are housing emergency crews from the power plants. we are serving breakfast. and coffee.

it takes people to make all of the above happen. it takes people who have to navigate that slush-ice road at 11:00 at night, or at 4:00 in the morning. and sometimes it takes people to cover for other people. the people i work with are very reliable, and as a team, we can almost always seamlessly cover any absentees. the safety of my team and their family members is of the utmost importance.  but let's get real: when you have a business that doesn't close, when you have to provide services to guests who are already in the hotel, you have to staff it.  hotel employees truly are essential personnel. 

one of my  responsibilities is to make sure we are taking care of our guests and taking care of each other. i have managed this hotel for over ten years.  there is a part of my brain that is never able to shut off because the hotel is there, twenty-four/seven. one phone call can change the course of my day or night in a nano second.  i am always "on call."  freak ice storms in january (just like hurricanes in august) send that part of my brain into overdrive. 

[by the way, we are currently renovating all of our guestrooms, which is a beautiful and stressful tango of moving parts and contract laborers.  trucks full of furniture drive through the night and expect people to be here to unload them in the morning. painters want to get paid. carpet installers want to say crazy things like "we won't have enough carpet."]

i am exhausted.

i want to have a snow day. i want to stay home and drink hot chocolate and stay in pyjayzees.  i want to bundle up and slip and slide on the ice for an hour. i want to stay up late catching up on the DVR, knowing I can sleep in the next morning. i want to meet up with friends and watch our kids tumble down small hills on boogie-boards-turn-sleds. 

i want the same thing for jack.

jack and i have this routine. on most days that he doesn't have school, he spends the day with me at the hotel. this week, he helped unload trucks and hauled loads of recycled shipping boxes.  then he would slip away to "his room" tucked up on the third floor, with his book and the TV, and the thing that is still thrilling about having a key to unlock your very own room.  he hasn't complained. much.

but i feel like i've let him down.  i would give anything to be able to detach from the hotel for twenty four hours, to devote my time and attention to jack and the things that seem especially fun about snow days. 

i would give anything to not be the general manager of a hotel right now. it's taken an ice storm for me to clearly see the glass ceiling.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

#31daydress Week 4 Recap

Week 4 is in the bag! The 31st is in plain sight!! I almost can't believe I am nearing the end of this wardrobe project. (Or am I?)   

I'm writing today's recap under a winter storm warning.  Yes, coastal North Carolina has finally succumbed to the Polar Vortex.  Or something. Schools and government offices are shut down in anticipation of some icy, snowy weather. But you know who's open? OH, YES. The hotel does not close.  In fact, we continue renovations in the face of your winter storm warning!! Take *that*, universe!

This past week included wearing the dress to Jack's first ever District Band auditions. That will be a post in and of itself, believe me. For now, here's a recap of the past week.

Favorite outfit of the week: Black long sleeve cardigan, skinny jeans, black slouchy boots and two - count  'em - TWO infinity scarves (red and pink worn together). 

Nuisance of the week: We didn't have heat in our house for a good portion of this past week. UGH. Waking up to a cold house is HARD, people. There were plenty of mornings that I wanted to throw on layers upon layers of running clothes and sweatshirts instead of the dress.  Instead, I dug deep and came up with some layers we haven't seen yet during this challenge (red puffy vest, anyone?) I am also very, very VERY thankful that living without heat for a few days was just a nuisance in my world, and not a way of life.

I am mindful of: I wear a lot of scarves.  Like, A. LOT. I obviously had a lot of scarves in my closet to begin this challenge, and I typically will wear a scarf at least once or twice a week.  I'm noticing that the scarf (or scarves) has become an even more prominent accessory for me.  Some others of you are noticing, as well.  Thank you to my good friend, Chris Riker, who gifted me with a lovely new scarf as part of a good mail package over the weekend!!

I've been asked if I will continue, or repeat, this wardrobe challenge.  While it's tempting (seriously), I think I'll wait until Spring before I consider doing another one.  Who knows??

(What is the #31daydress challenge? Click here for some background. Want to see what I wore the first week? Click here. Week two? Click here. And three is here. And, as always, you can follow me in IG @lelly28461))

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

#31daydress Week 3 Recap

Week 3 has passed, and I'm still going strong, with no repeat outfits. (In all fairness, I spent the weekend alternating between workout clothes and pajamas.  I felt a twinge of guilt, but it passed quickly.  It's not often that I can spend an entire weekend in comfy clothes, and it really only took a few moments for me to get over the fact that I wasn't wearing the dress.    

I manage a hotel in a market where "business casual" is the norm.  (Who are we kidding? I work in a market where "business khaki shorts and flip flops" are the norm.  Even in January!) We are currently in the throes of an 80 guest room renovation, which means I've been striving for more of a "business casual comfortable" style many days. I think there are coworkers who STILL don't realize I'm wearing the same dress every day! 

Favorite outfit of the week: Yellow striped tee, denim shirt, gray upcycled "scarf" (with matching flower pin!), black leggings, slouchy black boots

Nuisance of the week: Putting on tights.  I hate it.  I think all tights manufacturers should put tags in their tights so you know which is the front and which is the back.  I promise you, it DOES matter!

I am mindful of: Several people have stopped me or messaged me to compliment me on my outfits (thanks for following along on the adventure!) I know not everyone "gets" what I'm doing, but it's fun that people are noticing. It's giving me inspiration to get creative and finish out the month with no repeat outfits. It's really helping me get a clear picture of what I'm going to keep in my closet after January 31st, and what I will donate.  Stay tuned!

(What is the #31daydress challenge? Click here for some background. Want to see what I wore the first week? Click here. Week two? Click here.)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

#31DayDress Week 2 Recap

So, week 2 of the wardrobe project is complete! (What am I talking about? Click here for some background. Want to see what I wore the first week? Click here.)

Temps have been more moderate this past week, so there hasn't been as much need to layer, layer, layer. I've gotten a lot of compliments about my outfits at work.  Interestingly enough, I don't think that most people at work even know that I'm doing this challenge! Heh heh.  What received the most comments this week? Well, online, it was a toss up between the cream sweater and the pink cardigan.  In real life, it was those scarlet tights.  Go figure...

(On a side note, hopefully you've noticed the lighting in my photos has improved somewhat.  See it, right there? The difference between pic 2 and 3? Tricked you! Nothing is different AT ALL about the lighting. The only difference is the phone, and I promise you, the difference in the quality of the photos is noticeable!)

Favorite outfit of the week: Pink cardigan, black pencil skirt, black tights and tall black boots

Nuisance of the week: I don't seem to own casual shoes.  I have boots and heels, and then I have running shoes. This has created a challenge on weekends when I have been dressing way down (like, one-step-above-pyjayzees down.)

I am mindful of: I feel better when I am wearing a well put-together outfit, and I feel more confident when I wear heels.

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget, you can also follow along on Instagram @lelly28461 (#31daydress).

Friday, January 10, 2014

hey, baby, what's your sign?

i feel like i know myself better in january.

maybe it's because i've just spent some quiet winter hours reviewing the past year: what worked, what didn't, who mattered the most, who hurt my feelings, etc.

or maybe it's because i then spent some hours dreaming & scheming about the new year: what do i want to accomplish, how do i want to feel, who do i want to spend time with, etc.

and after spending all those hours looking at vibrant mental film reels of WHAT I'VE DONE, HOW I FEEL, and WHAT'S NEXT... well, i'm starting to believe i've got myself figured out.  at least i think i do. this month, at least!

so who am i? i'm a fire girl. an archer (and, no, not in the Katniss way.) i mean, i'm a Sagitttarius: adventurous, with an abundance of creative fire and the need for excitement and different ways to widen my horizons. (so, huh.  maybe just a little bit in the Katniss way.)

i don't put too much stock in astrological signs, but with 44 years of life experience under my belt now, it's hard to deny the similarities between "The Sagittarius Woman" and "Eleanor." for example, sagittarius:
  • is enterprising and resourceful
  • always on the lookout for ways to fulfill her dreams
  • is adventurous
  • has an abundance of creative fire
  • has a need for excitement and to widen her horizons
  • works hard to achieve her goal and then looks for another one
  • loves to travel and has a difficult time staying still

oh, i recognize the stumbling blocks, as well.  for example, sagittarius:
  • struggles to balance reality with ideology
  • can be overconfident
  • lacks patience
  • does not possess the ability to adhere to the restraints of a budget (ouch!)
  • needs a great deal of personal freedom
  • is usually attracted to those she feels are in distress
yep, all the signs are there (pun intended.) 

seems like as good a time as any to launch into some new adventures!! and i've got the perfect one planned: i'm *finally* taking the leap and creating a space where i can use my creative fire in a new mentoring adventure. i hope you'll come along with me for support! you can start by checking out a new site - i'm brewing up some really awesome stuff, and i'd love to share it with you.

so, what's your sign? does it fit? tell me about it!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

#31daydress Week 1 Recap

The first seven days of my mindfulness wardrobe project have gone by quickly! I'm happy to say that I'm still having fun with it, and thought a weekly summary would be a great way to capture my thoughts. (Hope you're following along on Instagram @lelly28461!)

One of the first things I realized when I was planning this project was that January can be a challenging time to wear a dress. Yep, even here in coastal North Carolina, where our winter temps are usually in the 40s, we are experiencing some crazy fluctuations. This morning, it feels like 6 degrees. Forty-eight hours from now, it should be in the mid 50s. 

How do I create an outfit around a dress on those colder days? Layers. And lots of 'em. I am actually a big fan of layers, so this hasn't seemed like too big a challenge. On Sunday night, I flat out wore the dress over a pair of jeans (I really thought that would feel awkward), but it came together in a cute tunic-y way. At least, I hope it did, because I have a feeling I'll be rocking it again before the end of the month!

Favorite outfit of the week: black long sleeve cardigan, boyfriend jeans, black socks, black loafers, striped pink scarf. 

Nuisance of the week: My dress has no pockets, which is especially troublesome at work. This is typical of women's business casual attire, I'm afraid. 

I am mindful of: It's cold. Cold enough to delay school openings in our coastal community, which sparked an interesting outpouring of opinions across social media channels last night. It is challenging to create an outfit around the dress when I would rather bundle up in fleece and sweats. I'm thankful that  this challenge is a *choice* for me, and that fleece and sweats are readily available to me should the need arise. There are many, many people who don't have that option. 

Friday, January 03, 2014

ask me, ask me, ask me

It's that time of year, when everyone wants to know what my "word of the year" is.  If you've never heard of this practice, never stumbled across #oneword in your travels around the internet, you, well... you probably don't spend as much time traveling around the internet as i do, and that's probably a good thing.

{but seriously, if you don't know about the #oneword challenge, here is one place to get info. or here. or here. heck, chris brogan even recommends you settle on three words for your year (overachiever!) (just kdding!). you get my drift.}

i first started adopting a word of the year in 2009, with the word journey.  the following year it was open. in 2012, it was continue, and last year it was now!. (yes, with an exclamation point!)

i am a big fan of the #oneword idea, it's perfect for an ADD brain like mine.  my word is my talisman, it helps me to focus my grand dreams into do-able projects.  my word helps me get unstuck when my dreams seem paralyzing. my word gives me something to mumble under my breath during a long run when i simply want to stop running.

my word for 2014 is ask.

i hate it.

not the word, mind you.  i hate asking for things, in general.  it's a stumbling block of mine, both personally and professionally. i hate vulnerabtility.  i hate weaknesses. i hate indecision. i hate having to ask. for anything.

All you have to do is ask

so see, there it is.  in order to get those things, the success and happiness, the meeting space, the sale, the childcare assistance, the ride, the sponsorship, the promotion.   you. must. ask.

and if you are one of those people who have no trouble asking? oh... i envy you.

for me, 2014 will be about the ask.  i simply cannot get to the places i want to be (the places where my dreams live) without stopping and asking along the way. so i will get flustered and trip all over my words at least once a day, asking for the things that i need to make my dreams my reality.  because if i don't? i will remain paralyzed by my own big, beautiful dreams.

(okay, really, my word of the year is justfuckingdoit. and you can bet that's the word i'll be mumbling under my breath!!)

(also, i cannot type the words "ask me, ask me, ask me" without giving a huge shout out to my sister Patricia, my brother-in-law Adrian, and, basically every single person who attended Northeast Music Camp between 1984 and 1986.)

and i ask you, what is YOUR #oneword?

Thursday, January 02, 2014

jar of hearts

the mason jar craze cracks me up.  i mean, come on... is there anything we can't put in a damn jar??

jams and jellys? check
cakes? check
sewing notions? check
drinks? double check
cookie mix? salad? burp cloths? check, check, check
candles, and of course, matches.  check

(there's more.  oh, so much more.  i even have a pinterest board all about them (if we are being honest here, i did create this board to sort of, um, poke fun at how many pins involve mason jars. even pinterest can get a little cheeky late at night...)

it was probably during a late night pinterest browsing session that i came across the "memory jar" idea.  i had a jar, i had some ribbon, it was ridiculously easy to throw together.  and over the past year, we filled up that jar with brightly colored post it notes of scribbled memories.

there are memories like Mud Race! and Paddle Boats! and jack's first late showing of a movie (Ironman 3, for the record)! we fine tuned the art of making baguette pizzas.  he went to his first middle school co-ed parties (2 halloween parties in one night!)

we PR'd a Color Me Rad 5K together, and he lifted my spirits and my steps at mile 20 of the Richmond Marathon.

and then, there are the things that didn't make it into the jar, memories that don't fit so nicely onto brightly colored post it notes.

we didn't record how mat spent most of the first three months of the year having, and recovering from, surgery.  we didn't record the day he moved out.  we didn't record the day that jack was punched in the face by a boy in the locker room at school.

but those things did happen.  they are memories of 2013, just as much as the fun things. i am verklempt as i look at this jar and think about retrieving all the post it notes and making way for 2014. i'm anxious about what comes next, but i am confident that at the end of the year, we will be laughing and smiling as we huddle over our newly penned memories.

we gave a jar to each of my sisters and my parents this year.  i'd love to give you a jar, to sit with you in december and unfold each piece of paper, reliving the memories you've captured. and then, if you want, we can talk about the ones that didn't make it into the jar. we'll find a place for those, as well.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

#31daydress: more and less

if i've learned anything about myself over the past few years of tremendous growth, it's that in order to be successful at ANYTHING, i have to be truly mindful of where i'm going.

doing the 100 day burpee challenge? mindful that i had to put on a sports bra every single day.
running a marathon? mindful that i gave up a good part of almost every Saturday for four months.
raising an almost teenager? mindful of every word that comes out of my mouth.
detaching from anothers addictions? mindful that i can choose to be kind.
jeans not feeling comfy? mindful that i was NOT mindful about  my food choices the past month

i have a lot of magic to create in this new year.  and in order to do that, i must be mindful of the creation.  i have a word, i have some goals, but most importantly, i have a 31 day activity to kick my mindfulness into high gear:

it's my own little wardrobe project.

for the month of january, i have pared down my wardrobe to just one dress, and a handful of accessories.  i will use other things from my closet to mix and match (think sweaters, tights, scarves), and i will wear my running clothes when appropriate.  but other than that? it's me and my dress.

wearing the same dress every day is the no-brainer.  strip down the choices and add things back only with intention? that's the challenge. one month is totally manageable, right? right?!? (and truth be told, it will most likely be 30 days, not 31, as it is almost noon on the first and i have no reason to change from pyjayzees today.)

at first, i considered buying a new dress for this project, but i was mindful that i had several to choose from in my closet already. the dress i chose is a White Stag jersey knit i probably picked up a few years ago at the store that shall not be named. it is sleeveless with a scoop neck, yet was an awkward length for layering. in preparation for the project, i chopped six inches from the bottom and now it's good to go!

i'm excited that this little project will help kick my mindfulness into high gear; that it will create a path on which i will be mindful of other things, in other months. here we go!!

edited: i took inspiration for this project from the uniform project and project 333

Remember me?

I had occasion to look something up on this here blog yesterday, and was amused that it was easier to Google my own writing than to search through my archives. Of course, in the process of rereading that post, I fell down the rabbit hole of my own blog.  Here we are, almost 24 hours later, and I'm still enjoying the catching up.

You might have read my blog when it was actively updated.  You might have stumbled across it recently and wondered why the most recent post isn't so recent. Maybe you spent a few moments and browsed back a few entries - THANK YOU if you did.

And maybe not.  Maybe I am the only person who is entertained by my musings.  And if that's the case, I still consider myself extremely lucky that I have so many amazing moments of so many years captured here.