Monday, July 21, 2014

Getting Hotter

I am a goal-oriented girl, and I love to check things off my list.

There are three half-marathons on my list this fall and it's nearly time to start my training program.

So, when Bobbie texted me two weeks ago and asked if I wanted to change our plans from a Friday night pedicure to a Friday night 5K, well I wasn't exactly throwing confetti. However, running has become a big part of my friendship with Bobbie, so I agreed to run on a hot July evening with my girl.

To be 100% honest, I actually agreed after she told me they were giving medals to the first 500 finishers. #WillRunForMedals

I have missed the "what are you wearing for today's race?" text messages. Well, they're back!!

After a week of rain, we had an incredibly cool July evening to run the boathouse trails during the Hotter Friday Night 5K race.

With the goal to merely finish within the first 500, Bobbie and I next to each other for the first half of the course.

This picture was taken as we reached the 1K mark, I believe. Oh yes, we're "serious" runners.

After the turn, we stopped to walk for a few minutes, then I decided I wanted to see if my legs could carry me the remainder of the route.

Another truth - I had not run distance since the Hungryman in May, so I was concerned that this fall training would be like starting from scratch. BUT I crossed the finish line at 33:40. That's a 10:45 minute mile, and I was thrilled! I am incredibly psyched and feel prepared to start my 12-week training plan on August 4th!

I am also planning on doing my weekend long runs with the Landrunners this fall. (Checking another goal off my 26 while 26 list by joining a running group)

The best part of crossing the finish line wasn't the medal though. It was when the timing official announced, "Elizabeth Newton, ladies and gentlemen. Your Downtown Dash race coordinator! You won't want to miss this race on August 9th. Registration is now open!"

Ha! Nothing like free advertising. One more shameless plug: if you are a runner in the OKC area, you'll want to sign up for our Run This Town race series. We are giving these sweet jackets to the first 500 to register.

I never thought that I'd enjoy running, but it has brought new friends into my life and strengthened bonds with old friends. Hip hip hooray for the challenge that is ahead of me this fall!

xoxo, E

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Terrifying Courage

My friends are ridiculously talented. Like, it's kind of crazy.

They're performing on Broadway - or promoters for Broadway shows.
They're small business owners.
They're talented graphic designers and website developers.
They're skilled fund-raisers.
They're in medical school and kicking booty.
They're tech geniuses - like for real. (Erick, I'm looking at you)
They're travel for a living and visit amazing locations.
They're planning large-scale meetings and conferences and events.

My friends are movers and shakers and seers and doers. (Okay, is it just me or do those last two look like they're misspelled? I googled just to make sure.)

They're experts in their fields. And I am terrified - TERRIFIED - to ever even inch my way into any of their domains.

Now, as you know from yesterday's post, I am a confident girl. But as I also mentioned, there are some areas where I'm less than confident in my abilities.

Illustrator. Yep, that's a biggie. 

I want to be a skilled user of the program - so desperately. I want to know how to use the tools and use them well. 

Of all of the categories of talented friends that I have listed above, I'd say that a good chunk of my friends fall into the category of skilled graphic designers. Talk about intimidating. My first experience with Illustrator was during the Digital Creative Workshop back in February, and currently, I'm halfway through the curriculum of my second Illustrator class. 

Here I am learning how to combine two shapes into a teardrop shape, and I think it's the coolest thing ever, yet it's child's play to them. I have a couple of designer friends who have been unbelievably supportive as I've sent them my homework assignments for feedback.

I am timidly proud of what I'm turning out. Timid because I know that there is good design and there's bad design - and in the beginning, it's all bad design. But to me, it feels monumental and amazingly successful!

I created something. I. Made. That!

Before I left for my trip to NYC, I found the courage to post one of the homework assignments on Instagram. 

Okay, can we have a real moment here for a second? I was terrified. Like, I think I considered deleting it 4 or 5 times after I posted the photo. But you know what? My friends rallied and were incredibly supportive! 

So here I am, about to post that homework assignment - plus a couple more. I have been thinking about this post for a week - a WEEK! 

As I wrote yesterday's post on confidence, I decided that today would be the day that I muster up the courage to rip off the bandaid and just do it. I'm going to share my work with you and be vulnerable. 

This is a set of skills that I am not yet confident in - and it is going to take quite some time, and undoubtedly quite a lot of bad design, for me to finally feel like I've got my bearings. 

To be honest, it feels comparable to me going on Iron Chef right now to battle Bobby Flay. "Errrrrrr, would the judges be impressed with cereal? Maybe bacon and eggs? Because that's about all I can whip up right now."

Ok, Newton. Do it. Rip off the band-aid. 

Here are my first two week's of Illustrator assignments, thanks to Nicole's Classes. (It also needs to be said that the instructor, Holly, has the best English accent - so listening to her teach the class is extra fun!)

Week 1, Assignment 1: Create a set of symbols/icons for an online city map of places to visit. An icon for museums, shopping, restaurants & entertainment.

Week 1, Assignment 2: Create a set of online navigation symbols/icons for a zoos website.

Week 2: Design a logo and associated icons for a new company.

You can see the influence of my job (and our goal of making downtown a better place to work, play, and live) in the kind of company that I decided to create! That and the fact that I ball up pieces of paper all the time because my handwriting doesn't look good enough. #perfectionist

Hm, that wasn't so painful.

I have two more weeks in this class and then I'll be an expert! Totally kidding. I have many (many) months of practice ahead of me. I know I'll get better day by day. I have confidence in that!

Oh, and this is my current desktop background. It's my own personal cheering section while I learn and practice... and watched HGTV while housesitting for JPS. #WeekendMultitasker

Thanks for reading and for not judging the design quality - or not judging it too harshly!

xoxo, E

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Insecurely Confident

I have been thinking a lot about confidence lately.

What's the difference between cocky and confident?
Is cockiness really just a mask for insecurity?
How do we go from being unsure to totally killing it?

What's the catalyst for that Ah ha! moment when you think to yourself, "I can totally do this. No doubt... Okay, maybe a little doubt, but that's only because I'm human and therefore not perfect."

Fair warning: When I've been thinking about a topic for awhile, I have a tendency to ramble on and on about it, so I'll try and keep this succinct.

Let's do a little case study shall we?

Confidence in my abilities as a dancer was derived from the fact that:
  • My instructors put me in the front of formations
  • I had multiple solos
  • I placed in the Top 10 at a dance competition for one of those solos
  • I rehearsed 15 hours a week and worked one-on-one with my tap instructor during the summers
  • I stepped on my own foot (klutz) and fell flat on my booty during a dance competition, but I immediately got back up and smiled even bigger than before for the remainder of the routine. Sidenote: we won first place, even in spite of my clumsiness
  • I auditioned and earned a spot in the dance department at OCU
  • After working with the choreographer for a summer theatre in North Carolina for one season, I was asked to come back the following two years
  • I attended a Rockette workshop and one of the instructors pulled me aside to say that she thought I'd make an excellent line captain (I thought I was going to faint and cry and squeal and hug her all at once... needless to say, it was a major confidence boost)
  • I was Annie in our studio's production of "Annie"

Now let's take those specific examples and break them out to general ideas. 

Confidence is a result of:
  • Others believing in you
  • Words of affirmation
  • Receiving awards & recognition
  • Others trusting you to do a good job
  • Hard work, practice, and persistence
  • Failing and trying again

I'm confident in my ability to plan a successful event, to run a half-marathon, to be a loyal friend, to get a little bit crafty, and to bake a bomb-dot-com raspberry & peach cobbler. 

I'm becoming insecurely confident in my ability to use Illustrator well, to be a decent calligrapher, and to run three half-marathons this fall - but dang it, I'm going to try!

I'm less confident in my ability to keep a plant alive, to sing in front of a group, or to speak Spanish. But you know what? That's perfectly okay!

I am so blessed to be surrounded by people who believe in me, encourage me, push me to be better, and pick me up when I fall - literally and figuratively.

Confidence takes time, nurturing, and practice. Here's to confidently going in the direction of your dreams, your passions, your hobbies -- your life! 

xoxo, E

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summertime Sun

I had the best housesitting gig ever this past weekend. Like for serious. 

Two sweet puppies + a backyard pool = one very happy Eliz  (and now a very freckly Eliz) 

It was a hot Oklahoma weekend, but the pool made it so enjoyable - plus the company was the best! Is there anything better than floating in the pool & chatting with friends? Throw in a game of monkey in the middle and jumping in the pool 10+ times... well, it's blissfully exhausting!

Chupie and Eliz take a selfie!

So, I wasn't exactly paying attention - I totally thought Kimmy was taking selfies - and she caught me practicing my synchronized swimming "routine." I really missed my calling according to Erick. Oy vey.

This weekend was one of relaxation and a surplus of Vitamin D. Plus I got to work on a few projects that were pushed to the back-burner last week during my post-vacay blues & mid-week illness. 

Julie set the tone for the weekend with the little note she left for me at the bottom of the "what you need to know about the pups" list!

I would move Heaven and Earth to help my JPS with anything she needs. Now that the pups and I have bonded - and let's not forget that pool - let's just say that I am happy to housesit anytime! For the first time in so long, I didn't hate the Oklahoma heat.

xoxo, E

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hold On, Chicken IN a Biscuit

Let me start by painting a picture for you...

We were standing around the office as Brandi read "45 Hilariously Ridiculous Gwyneth Paltrow Quotes That Will Make You Want To Punch Something."

Wait, you don't do that in your office? Well, if the curiosity is killing you, here's the list.

Anyway, when Brandi got to #27 things got interesting...

27. “I’d rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin.” - Gwyneth Paltrow

Wow. Yeah, okay Gwynie, those are the same. Brandi, Mallory and I couldn't believe it. Then Mallory said, "I mean, Easy Cheese on a chicken biscuit is like the best thing ever!" "Wait, what? That's a thing?!" I was skeptical. "Yes! It's so good! I'll bring them next week."

Fast forward through the weekend and Mal walks into the office with a Target bag. Wait a second... Chicken in a Biskit crackers?!


Oof. Yeah, crackers, that makes more sense!

Thank you Mallory for bringing this treat to the office and contributing to my 26 while 26 goal of trying 26 new tastes! And thanks Sis for taking these, er, "flattering" photos of me trying the cheesy biskit.

All smiles to start... Ok, here we go!

Uh - not loving it... Hmm, maybe it's not so bad.

Oh wait, you've been taking pics this whole time?! Well, this tastes GREAT!
(Yeah, not so much)

I can't stop laughing at this lovely little blooper. Who can hold a can of Easy Cheese and not shoot it directly in their mouth? 
(I didn't though. Don't worry Mom.)

Just another regular day at the office! Happy Monday friends!
xoxo, E

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

It's Up To You...

I just spent the best 5 days in NYC with my Momma. We saw some great shows, ate our favorite foods, and of course, did some shopping! Here are some of the highlights:

1. Millie & Me
This will come as a surprise to no one, but I absolutely love my Momma. And time with her? Forgetaboutit... it's just the best! She is incredibly generous, SO funny, constantly teaching me life lessons, and always (ALWAYS) down to take a selfie!

Specifically, Bad Lighting Pre-ShowSelfies...

2. The Shows, Ohhhh the Broadway Shows
Without a doubt, we started off with what would be my favorite show of the weekend. "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" was phenomenal. Seriously, Jessie Mueller is an amazingly talented performer. I could see that show over and over again!

It was great to see my college pal Kim in "Bullets Over Broadway." And you guys, Neil Patrick Harris was AH-mazing in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." Bravo sir. Bravo!

(I was a little bit sneaky & snapped a pic of all the letter blocks around the proscenium in the theatre for Matilda!)

3. A trip to NYC wouldn't be complete without a stop at Serendipity for frozen hot chocolate. We started with our favorite salad at Cosi on Thursday, had a lovely July 4th lunch at Ruth's Chris on Friday, enjoyed Magnolia Bakery's banana pudding while we shopped on 5th Avenue on Saturday, and brunched at Brooklyn Diner on Sunday!

4. No matter how many times we go to NYC, the beauty of the buildings still stops me in my tracks. I can't help but sing "Hard Knock Life" when I see the Chrysler Building. Oh you know the part, "You'll stay up 'til this dump shiiiiines like the top of the Chrysler Building!"

My momma is a saint for putting up with me as I danced down 42nd Street and sang show tunes. I must also admit that I sang "42nd Street" while we walked - how could I not when we were ON 42nd Street?! Oh, and I did my rendition of "A Whole New World" on our way to see "Aladdin." Yeah, I'm a lot of fun to be around in NYC. ::wink wink::

We also meandered through Bryant Park for the first time. It truly is an escape from the City. The music is very instrumental and calming, there are little bistro tables and chairs galore, a game of ping pong can be played in the shade of the trees, and there's even a little library area for reading material while you relax in the park!

It's always so very hard to say "goodbye" to my Momma, but it's even harder after such a fun weekend together. I'll end with the one lyric that played in my head all weekend long - of course, it comes from my main man Frank...

"Start spreadin' the news. I'm leaving today. I want to be a part of it. New York... New York!!"

xoxo, E