Thursday, October 31, 2013

My personal Battle of Jericho

On Tuesday night, I was sitting at my dining room table and realized that I finally have a new picture in my head of what my future is going to look like.

For about 2 years post-grad, I had a clear picture of my future. Well, I didn't know what the job portion was going to be - but I knew who I was going to spend it with.

It's funny how we "know" things, isn't it?

Well, needless to say, the who isn't my who anymore, and the what my life is going to look like isn't the same either. For nearly a full year, I was lost - really... really... really lost. Far more lost than I'd ever want to admit. 

Earlier this week, I had an emotional and mental breakdown, complete with sobs and ugly crying. You know the ugly cry - it's not a glistening tear - it's the kind of crying that leads to red, swollen, puffy eyes the next day.

Remember when I said I wanted to be vulnerable in my writing? This is me being vulnerable.

Okay - back to how this post started - On Tuesday night, I was sitting at my dining room table talking with a friend, and I looked at him and finally said out loud, "I have a vivid picture of what my life is going to look like. In this picture I'm alone, but I look so happy. I'm a insert dream job here. And I'm happy." 

(I'm not quite ready to reveal what that dream job is just yet - it's many, many years off - but maybe I'll be ready include you in on the dream soon!)

For so long now, I haven't seen anything. And I had convinced myself I was okay with it. I was going to live in the moment, because that's what people do. Carpe Diem. Seize the day and all that good stuff.

After a few more conversations with the friend - we said good night, I put on pjs, washed my face and crawled in to bed. I was mentally exhausted from all the realizations of the week, yet my mind continued to race.

As it turns out, my "live in the moment mentality" was simply a really nice wall I had built up to protect myself from the fear and anxiety of losing the "what my life is going to look like" picture. Well friends, I'm here to tell ya, that wall came CRASHING down this week. 

Sometimes, I think in terms of blog posts - well last night this post started writing itself, so I jotted down some notes on my iPad. (Funny story, I finished typing out my notes at 11:03pm - the exact same time I finished typing my thoughts for my "Dear 30-year-old Elizabeth" letter, earlier in the week. I guess 11:03 is my peak creative thinking time)

Anyway, below is what I wrote. Retyping it now, in the light of day, feels really raw but really honest:

Walls. We build them up - they're a coping mechanism. A way not to feel. They're protection - keeping away the hurt.  The thing with walls is that they're great when they work -- sometimes we even forget they're there -- until they come crashing down. When they fall, they fall hard, and there's wreckage... rubble... damage.

If you're not ready, what happens can catch you a little off guard. I was anything but prepared for the meltdown that just happened to me. Turns out I'd built up a wall, and I didn't know it. I thought I could just pull at one of the loose bricks and everything would be okay. Well, here I stand with a huge pile of broken bricks at my feet. Trapped in the wreckage that I created for myself. Dazed. Confused. Unsure of what to do.

Whew, how's that for vulnerable? Initially, when I started on this post, all I could come up with was "do you ever just feel really lost?" I decided I wasn't quite ready to write it yet -- obviously I've come up with a few more words since then.

Having a clear picture in my head - something to work towards - gives me hope and peace for the future. Feeling like I'm just walking through life with no real direction is such a scary thing for me. I'd built up such a strong wall so that I wouldn't feel scared. Slowly but surely, I've started finding interests that are becoming huge, monumental, monsoon-size passions that are rocking my world and creating that new picture in my mind.

You guys, I'm happy, and I'm excited! I'm excited for the future - for the journey - for the wreckage. I'm geared up (and terrified) and ready for the adventure! The wall is down - there's going to be a lot to climb over, and probably some more walls to break down, but demolition has started. And boy, it feels good. 

xoxo, E

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Takin' Care of Business - a 25w25 update

I think it's time for a 25 while 25 progress report! I've accomplished more since the last update than I thought... what a nice surprise!

2. Try 15 new Keep it Local retailers/restaurants
After a brunch meeting for work last week, our office decided we'd venture out in Bricktown for an all-office lunch. Tapwerks was recently added as a Keep it Local vendor - and the deal is too good to pass up. Not only do they have a new menu, but with your Keep it Local card, you get 50% off food!

3. Try 15 new recipes
So, this is my first recipe since April - man I need to get moving! This weekend I made Momma's chili - AND I got to use my new Le Creuset pot. Turns out it's pretty fun to cook at home -- and maybe it's fun to have real food in my fridge. Typically it looks like a bachelor fridge - sans beer.



4. Pick 4 different organizations to volunteer with throughout the year
I volunteered during the KOSU pledge drive this past weekend. My friends worked so hard to put this drive together, and I know they're glad today is the last day so they can finally get some rest! I'm so glad the new studios are open in the Film Row District - KOSU is a great addition to our downtown!


Clearly, the preparation for the season of holiday events is already getting to me. Wake up Newton, it's not December 27th just yet - but it'll be here before I know it!


I wore my Spy t-shirt while volunteering, and the guy answering phones next to me commented about how excited he was when The Spy was added to the KOSU programming. Pretty cool stuff!

8. Get a massage
Okay, so I was a little timid when I was gifted an "Indian Head Massage." I wasn't sure exactly what it'd entail. But I'm telling you right now, run - do not walk - to Revel Eight Salon in Midtown. Get this massage. You won't be sorry. It's easily the best I've ever had! I'm addicted.

14. Give up sweets for a month
Well, if I'd actually stuck with my plan to give up sweets in October, I'd almost be done... but that didn't happen. In fact, I think I only lasted 2 days. Oh well, I have 5 more months to try again!

25. Write a letter to myself that I open at age 30
I laid in bed for quite a while Sunday night and couldn't fall asleep - I started drafting this letter in my head. Then Monday night I did the same thing but actually started making some notes in my phone. (side note: what would we do without technology?!) I am so glad this is #25 on my list - but if I'm being honest, I think I'm a little nervous about putting my thoughts down on paper.

October 19th was the halfway point of my 25th year. How does time fly so fast?! Here's to setting goals and achieving them... no matter how small or insignificant. I'm determined to make every moment in life significant! (yeah, yeah, yeah idealistic girl)

xoxo, E

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hashtag Confluence Con

Hashtag. SEO. Tweet. Clicks. Voice. Brand.

Confluence... a conference for bloggers and digital influencers.

Here are a few pics from last Saturday... As you can see, my bag was full of all the goodies any girl needs to be adequately prepared for a creative conference: padfolio, biz cards, multiple pen options, water and DDP. 


I walked away from the conference so energized and with a handful of creative ideas bouncing around in my head. Quite a few of my friends were at the conference, and it was also really great to meet some of the people that I've only interacted with on Twitter.

One of the highlights - and things I was most looking forward to - was hearing from Erin and Tim Cooper, of Cooper House. They talked about blog design strategy -- and I definitely took the most notes during their session. It was jam-packed full of useful information!

Tim talked about how important it is to define your content type and be purposeful. One of the things I struggle with most is trying to balance posts that are word-heavy/introspective and those that are fun/lighthearted.

I still haven't quite figured out what people want to read most -- a classic concern of a people-pleaser! -- but I suppose it's more about what I feel compelled to write and share.

Thanks to the event hashtag, I was able to keep up with some of the sessions I missed in the afternoon since I wasn't feeling well and went home early. This tweet grabbed my attention:

Vulnerable. Open. Honest. Real. That's what I'm going for.

I had such a good time at Confluence and am grateful for the many talented speakers! I'm ready to put in to practice the things that I learned.

xoxo, E

PS - here are a couple pictures from Ferris' presentation - he had so many stories to tell from his many years in the radio industry, and it was awesome to be a part of helping him put together his session.

My favorite part of the presentation was 100% improvised. Ferr started off by saying that, as a radio guy, he was totally out of his comfort zone standing in front of a room full of people to talk. He then walked behind the screen and started talking. Funny man. I was just quick enough to capture this moment before he walked back out to start his "formal" presentation... 

Mr. Radio Rockstar's shadow in the bottom right corner

Monday, October 28, 2013

VIP, part 3

Kelly and I met at my first big-kid job after college. I'm not sure if I ever told her this story or not, but I guess she'll hear it now :) I remember looking through photos on the company's Facebook page right after I got the offer; I wanted to get a lay of the land and see what I was walking into. When I saw pictures of Kelly, I assumed that because she was so pretty and so well-dressed, that she'd also be snobby. It feels SO silly to write that now... what was I thinking?!

I can't remember when we first became friends, but once we did, it was obvious that my initial thoughts of Kell couldn't have been further from the truth! Well, she IS pretty and well-dressed, but she's anything but snobby. She is the most kind, thoughtful, generous and giving friend a girl could ask for!

Oh, she's also a SUPER talented graphic designer, artist and quilter!

Q: What's your first memory of our friendship?
A: You texted me, kind of randomly, asking if Wes and I would like to go out for dinner. It was the very first time you and I had ever hung out outside of work, and I was so thrilled and flattered that you extended the invitation! We, of course, had the best time that night.

Q: Favorite Kell and Elizabeth moment...
A: Our many dates at The Sushi Bar or Old School Bagel Cafe that included laughter and tears.
Note from Eliz: This is one of my favorite things about Kelly -- she's a crier, just like me!

Q: How would you describe our friendship in the beginning? Now?
A: I think, like many friendships, ours has evolved since the beginning. We know each other on a deeper level now. I know I like being able to rely on you for support and advice when I need it. Don't get me wrong, we still have fun like we did that first time we hung out! I look forward to the years of friendship to come :)

Q: What three words do you think I'd use to describe you?
A: This is a toughie! Perhaps... humorous, creative, and ...insane?


Q: What do you think it is about us that makes us such good friends?
A: I think we have a lot in common, yet at the same time, we are different enough to not only find each other interesting, but to also learn a lot from one another. (i.e. You're so organized and social. Me? Not so much)
Note from Eliz: I totally agree that we learn a lot from each other - It's funny to think back to where I was when we first met, and how talking about similar circumstances, or past experiences, have brought me to where I am now!

And now, the rapid fire question round with Miss Kell:

1. What items are always in your bag?
  • Cell phone
  • Sunglasses
  • Eye drops. That's how boring I am. Have you told you about my multiple eye issues? My eye drops are as necessary as the next girl's lip gloss.

2. What songs are on your most listened to playlist?
I ADORE music. I like all kinds of genres and bands. Currently, my most-listened-to tracks are "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic, "Drunk Last Night" by Eli Young Band, and "January Wedding" by The Avett Brothers.

3. What's your dream vacation destination?
Either Alaska or back to the Jamaican beach. You can't beat a beautiful, relaxing beach.

4. Do you have a secret talent?
I have double-jointed fingers? It means they are super bendy. It tends to gross people out, hence, it's a secret.

5. What did you want to be when you grew up?
You're so going to make fun of me. When I was young, what I wanted to be when I grew up was a dog. No joke. You heard me right. A dog. I would curl my fingers under my hands to make "paws" and crawl around the house on my hands and knees barking. My poor parents. It's a wonder they never sent me to a therapist. As I got older, and wiser, mind you, my desire transformed into wanting to be a veterinarian. (You might take a few seconds to dry your eyes from the hysterical laughing before continuing on.)

Note from Eliz: OMG.... I mean... just OMG. Speechless. Laughing so hard!

6. If you could spend a day doing absolutely nothing but what you want, what would you do?
Shopping, drawing, sewing, and some plain ol' TV watching with the hubs.

7. If you could only shop at 3 places for clothing, where would you shop?
Target, LOFT, and Gap. Target is so my go-to, btw.

8. What 3 items in your closet/dresser/vanity could you not live without?
Yoga pants, a flowy cardigan, and SmartWool socks.

9. Describe yourself in 3 words:
  • Creative
  • Considerate
  • Lighthearted

10. Do you like to cook? What's your specialty?
I do! I make many excellent pasta dishes, as it is one of my faves. I also have great Chicken & Rice and Black Bean Enchilada recipes. And by "I have," I mean I found on Pinterest and successfully reproduced.

11. Do you have any nicknames? Must tell the story.
I was a tomboy growing up, so my Dad always called me Buckaroo.

12. Walk me through a typical weekday evening...
If it's a good day, I swing by the gym on my way home from work. I then feed the dogs and make dinner. I might work on a sewing or drawing project if the mood is right. Otherwise, Wes and I will walk the dogs and veg-out in front of the TV.

13. What are the staples in your fridge?
  • Milk
  • Tea
  • Eggs
  • Hummus

In the process of working on this post, I realized that Kelly and I don't have any "real" pictures together. We are in a variety of photos together from the agency, but none that were intentionally the two of us together -- these are two of my favorites! 

Moral of the story? Kelly - we need to take pictures together ASAP! 

Some days I wish we could go back to when we worked 15 feet from one another, gabbed on iChat all day, had lunch together and said "See you tomorrow!" every evening. I love my Kell and am so blessed to have her as a VIP in my life! 

xoxo, E

Friday, October 25, 2013

5 Things Friday

1. Confluence is coming! Confluence is coming!

There's a brand new conference coming to Oklahoma City's Plaza District this weekend - and to say that I'm giddy feels like an understatement. Not only is my best friend one of the speakers, but there are so many other Okie digital influencers speaking on Saturday! I can't wait to soak up all that they plan to share! The sessions that I'm most excited about are included below.

If you live in the Oklahoma City area and are interested in learning more about the conference, check out the lineup here!


2. As if Saturday wasn't going to be exciting enough with the conference, there's a party that night that serves as a fundraiser for the project of a dear friend. 


Again, if you're in Oklahoma City, get your booty to the rooftop of Plenty Mercantile and support Swab Squad!

3. We spent some time exploring Pumpkinville at the Myriad Gardens a couple weeks ago. Basically, we acted like a couple big kids. Fall is such a gorgeous time of year - the weather, the colors and you can't forget all the yummy pumpkin food!


Exhibit A: Big kid on spinny-thing made for little kids. Not shown, big kids fighting major nausea after they spun around 4 or 5 times. In our defense, the video doesn't adequately show how fast we were spinning. (I also love it that B says "super faster" - she was fighting nausea already at that point)

4. B and I were asked to serve as judges for the trick-or-treat booths at a local energy company today, and let me just say, it was really hard to pick a winner. The "Despicable Me" booth sure did make a play for 1st in my opinion though! I am such a sucker for the minions... and check out these adorable cupcakes they had for us all to take home!

5. Momma sent me the link to this video a couple weeks ago, and I've been wildly obsessed with it ever since. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! What an awesome - and fun - way to remember to be brave!

It's going to be a crazy, wild, busy weekend. But I'm so excited for it!! See you on Monday! xoxo, E

Thursday, October 24, 2013

No? Don't you mean, yes?!

For four and a half years, I went to OCU - Oklahoma City University -- more affectionately known as Overly Committed University.

::Fellow alumni, can I get an amen?!::

In those four and a half years, I learned how to multi-task, how to juggle, how to say "of course I can do that too," how to burn the candle at both ends and how to function on very little sleep. Want to know what I didn't learn how to do?

Say "no."

I'm sorry, no? I think you mean, yes!

No.... no... say it with me now... "nooooooot a problem!"

Okay, we'll get there.

My mom has also never been one to say no. She is everything for everyone. She's an amazing mother and wife, a phenomenal math tutor, a confidant, encourager and cheerleader for all! I could keep going and going, but I'll pause for now.

I'll never forget the many times my mom has said to me, "I worked three jobs when I was first out of college. I did what had to be done." I could never wrap my brain around it... I loved my free time. I loved doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. It was all about me and my schedule.

My parents are workaholics - and I mean that in the best sense of the word. They take so much pride in what they do and they are extremely successful. I think because life was so easy growing up, I had an attitude of "I'd rather be happy and have my free time."

Both of my parents will tell you they're motivated by money, but not this girl. I always said, "I'm motivated by quality of life." I valued hard work - and of course I worked hard to make good grades, to be the kind of person my family would be proud of, to excel in my extracurriculars, but beyond that, I coasted.

Fast forward a couple years post-grad, I work three jobs (like mother like daughter), and I can't say "no." I absolutely adore all of my jobs - so somehow I've managed to maintain my quality of life.

Side note: I just accidentally typed "my quality of time" in that last sentence. I think that was a fortuitous typo... It leads me to my next point.

I'm not sure how quality my time is, even though my quality of life is exactly how I'd have it. I over-schedule myself. I fill my evenings with work (sometimes into the wee hours), with social outings, with work events, with barre3 classes, with time spent with friends, with networking with work contacts, with... with... with...

I have to wonder though, how quality is that time that I'm giving to my friends, to myself, to (fill in the blank)? Am I always rushing through the time to get to the next reminder or appointment in my phone?

I don't know the answer. I'm just thinking aloud. This week has been pretty calm for me, but somehow I have still scheduled something for myself every evening. Although, last night I did schedule "me time." That meant catching up on some DVR'd shows (even if I still have at least 15 episodes on there) and getting in bed at 10:00pm.

We are entering our really crazy season at work, and while I love it, I really want to be intentional about how I spend my time. I don't get to talk on the phone to my parents hardly at all. (Imagine that, three workaholics can't find the time to have a phone conversation) And even the text messages are few and far between! It makes me a little sick on my stomach, if I'm being honest.

This may just be a season of life, but it's a season that I don't want to go rushing by me. I want to remember 25, to cherish it, to nurture the relationships in my life and let the people I'm with know that they are more than just an appointment in my iPhone.

Am I the only twenty-something who feels this way? Maybe this feeling goes beyond age -- any advice for how to handle it? Or where to go from here?

I think I'm saying "no" to continuing on this way - and "yes" to healthier, more intentional choices and plans.

::confession - I stopped typing this post just now to answer some work emails::

I think I'm saying "yes" to ATTEMPTING a healthier, more intentional way of living.

Thanks for letting me do a total brain dump!

And as a reward for making it through this crazy post, here's a little Throw Back Thursday love for you. Yeah, that little red head looks like she'll grow up to be a ball of sass, am I right?  xoxo, E

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Shimmer & Sparkle

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

That's a load of BS.

Sorry for the language, but it just is...

I've never had a broken bone, but man, I've been cut deep by words. We all have.

Today, while I was sitting at my desk knocking some things off my to-do list, I decided to pick a couple of giveaway winners based off their use of the Twitter hashtag from one of our recent events. As with every event, there are always things you'd change and improve upon. Well, there were a few tweets that were less than positive about the event.

In the grand scheme of things, these negative tweets were probably 3% of all the tweets posted about the event, but you know how it goes, you can hear a million compliments but only remember the one criticism.

Anyway, I gave myself 5 minutes to let the tweets sting and allow the thoughts of "maybe I failed" to cross my mind. After the 5 minutes, I pulled my emotions together and remembered how much money we raised for our beneficiary, how many people gushed about having so much fun at the event, and how I already knew the "problems," as well as the ways we wanted to try and address them next year.

I sat there and thought, it's easy to "lash out" from behind a computer... to criticize a faceless entity... to type 140 characters without thought and consideration of the person reading the tweet.

NONE of the comments were that terrible, but because I'm a thinker, it got me thinking. I do not envy celebrities... I do not envy public figures... I do not envy people who put themselves out there to be judged by people who feel entitled to share their every opinion.

I told one of my co-workers that although I don't think I post negatively on Twitter, I will certainly be more conscious of what I post - as well as what I say. There is a face, a name, a story, and a lot of hard work behind everything in life.

Why do we feel the need to tear each other down? To criticize? To complain? Does it make us feel better about ourselves? I know sometimes it's really hard, and sometimes it feels really good to just vent and complain, but it is so much more freeing to be positive, complimentary, excited and joyful!

I tried crafting a tweet multiple times today, but I felt like no matter what I wrote, it would just come across as passive aggressive, or so vague that people would wonder what I was talking about, so after multiple attempts, I decided to delete my draft and move on with my day.

Now that I have shared what happened in my day, I'll share what I wanted to tweet...

I refuse to let my light be dulled because of what someone else thinks. We're all entitled to our opinions, but I'm not obligated to take what I read on Twitter... what others say... or what I think others might be thinking... to heart. So, I will not let my sparkle do anything less than continue to shimmer on! 

xoxo, E

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

VIP, part 2

It's time for the second installment of my VIPs. This lady has been in my life in so many ways over the last few years: peer, supervisor, peer again, friend, confidant, therapist, advice-giver, career role model, tough-love giver and tough-love recipient... to name just a few!

Q: What's your first memory of our friendship?
A: This is a tough one! I'm not sure that I can pinpoint the "moment" that we became friends. But, one of my favorite early memories of our friendship would definitely be hanging out in my office at OCU giggling, telling stories, and making Sharpie notes for each other. I mean WORKING. We were WORKING! ;)  


Q: Favorite Kimmy and Elizabeth moment...
A: Dinners at Saturn Grill (one dinner in particular) or GO GO Sushi. That's where all the serious discussions take place and lots of real, honest talk!

Q: What three words would you use to to describe me?
A; Thoughtful, creative and encouraging :)

Q: What three words do you think I'd use to describe you?
A: High-maintenance, silly and caring
Note from Eliz: Yes, Kimmy... I would DEFINITELY say "silly!"

Q: What do you think it is about us that makes us such good friends?
A: Well, first of all, we are practically the same person in so many ways - thoughts, feelings, concerns. But we are also interested in so many different things that it ALWAYS gives us something to to talk about or to open the other person's experiences to.


Now, on to the rapid-fire question round with Kimmy!

Q1. What items are always in your bag?
  • Cell phone
  • Sunglasses
  • Chap stick/lip gloss

Q2. What items do you have duplicates of? Maybe too many? (ie lipgloss, koozies, etc.)
My lip gloss obsession is out of control! Between that and nail polish - I always see a new color that I have to add to my collection!

Q3. What are your favorite 3 iPhone apps?
  • Instagram
  • Wunderlist (I'm such a list maker!)
  • Feedly to keep track of my blogroll!

Q4. Who's your favorite music artist? Yes, you can only pick one.
Right now that is most definitely my Sar-Bear...Sara Bareilles. I saw her live for the first time in August. I've always been a fan, but the concert in August was one I won't ever forget!

Q5. What's the last book you read?
The Fault in Our Stars.

Q6. Who are your 3 favorite follows on Instagram?
  • Bob Gail Events - @bobgailevents - GREAT event inspiration photos!
  • Chirps and Cheers - @chirpsandcheers - I love beautiful stationery!
  • Best Photos of Hawaii - @hawaiistagram - I can't ever get enough of the islands that captured my heart!

Q7. What's your dream vacation destination?
Ireland - I want to get there sooner rather than later!

Q8. Do you have a secret talent?
If I told you about it, then it wouldn't be a secret! :-P

Q9. If you could spend a day doing absolutely nothing but what you want, what would you do?
Wake up without an alarm clock, start the day with coffee on my back porch and a good book, light shopping, fun wine lunch with friends, barre3 class, and then dinner with Erick!

Q10. What 3 items in your closet/dresser/vanity could you not live without?
  • leopard print scarf
  • black yoga pants
  • hair ties

Q11. Describe yourself in 3 words.
Oooh I'm not good at this. Hard-working, silly and thoughtful.
Note from Eliz: I'll help :) Loyal, kind-hearted, generous, dedicated and a dear friend!

Q12. If you had to select a signature drink, what would it be?
So many options! Something with either champagne or St. Germain

Q13. Do you have any nicknames? Must tell the story.
I've had a lot of nicknames! Most are given to me and over time they just stick! Kimmy, Kimbo, Big Red and Captain Kim...just to name a few! Big Red and Captain Kim are from high school when I was the captain of my high school dance team. Not sure if those are flattering or not, haha!

Q14. What are your top 5 must-read blogs?
  • Live, Laugh & Lunch in Louboutins of course! ;)
  • A. Liz Adventures -
  • The Small Things Blog -
  • The College Prepster -
  • Hi Sugarplum! -

Q15. Walk me through a typical weekday evening... (one where you aren't working lol)
A typical weekday evening includes coming home and wrestling with the pups, catching up with Erick and hearing about his day, dinner, a glass of wine and catching up on our DVR! The most relaxing and wonderful part of my day!

Kimmy has been such a dear - and valuable - friend. She has always made time for me when I've needed advice, professional or personal. She's totally my person! Love you Kim!! xoxo, E