Thursday, February 26, 2015

15 Signs You've Survived a Rebrand

1. Cursing in your cube is reduced by approximately 11-percent.

2. Bag stuffing is no longer a core competency to your role.

3. Every item in your office, home and car has your company logo on it.

4. Your family remembers your name and kind of what your face looks like.

5. Helvtica font is the straw that's going to break you, the camel's back.

6. That or the 101st complaint that the logo is too big on the email signature.

7. Your boss finally moves to number two on your most frequently dialed numbers.

8. You can start seeing teal again like a normal person vs. a PMS or CMYK color.

9. Box deliveries now excite you vs. giving you a panic attack.

10. Your best friend starts to learn as much about you again as your ad agency.

11. You eat lunch. In a break room for 10 minutes.

12. Your zen aura is now legit.

13. You can cut your Ambien at night in half and still sleep eight hours.

14. The concern of "what is it I'm going to be responsible for after this launches? becomes real.

15. You remember to go to the bathroom.

To my marketing pals - you get it, right?! And to the amazing colleagues who have helped make the vision and dream come to life - thank you. The first four months have been a wild ride and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Cheers to the new brand and all that is to follow!

Made Over

"So yes, I'm looking for something that makes me look awake at times...and what the heck is everyone's secret to their liner looking so fresh throughout the day?!"

With my beloved sis-in-law in town, it was the perfect time to steal a few girly moments, our first stop at Sephora to add a little pep to our steps. Because every gal knows a new lipstick means a renewed life...for a good few weeks at least.

Sis was in the market for the perfect red lip to accent her olive skin and big brown eyes, channeling one Miss Taylor Swift. I was looking for anything that made me look better than I really do while still being natural and taking less than five minutes. All a tall order.

With the Sephora store just being two days old and a bit discombobulated, we made our way around it, picking and playing with any shiny object that caught our eye. Two makeovers later, sis walked away with the perfect ruby pout, while I devised a plan to go to hit the old standby, the counter that never let me down: MAC.

Here, a young gal greeted us, her skin so natural and glowing that I just said: "Yes - that. I want to look like you."

Given she was barely 21, blonde, thin and even paler than me, I'm sure she had one of those moments every makeup artist does that sounds a lot like "Honey - I ain't a miracle worker."

But worked her miracles she did and I walked away with:

Blonde Streak shadow: the perfect neutral with a little sparkle -
just slap it on, add some liner and mascara and you're good to go!

Dipdown liner: the secret all along - liquid liner! Lasts all
day despite my insistent rubbing and forehead holding

Mineralize concealer: lighter than I usually do to manage my 2-6 hours
of sleep per evening but does the trick on all that purple

Brow pencil: I didn't believe until a bit of shading meant
a lot more definition to my face - what?
Couple this with my Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, Younique lashes and MAC Blunt blush and I'm out the door.

And although even drastic color changes barely go noticed given my daily three-minute makeup jobs or constant lack of touch up, I still feel fresh mid-day, my liner intact and my look updated with what I think a woman in her mid-30s faking it until she made it should look like.

So thank you, friendly 20-something and MAC for winning me over again. Your counter never leads me wrong! I and my colleagues appreciate you...and my boys don't notice. But I do. So thanks.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

35

"Yah, I'm quasi freaking out," I tell my gaggle of girlfriends, their eyes immediately beginning to roll in half humor, half disbelief as many of them had already entered into their 40s. For months I've been sharing the same story of fearing this Monday's birthday, something about the number "35" sounding so daunting, so "half way there" and so much steeper than any number that came before it.

Aging has never meant much to me, the naive and consistent belief tucked back in my head that anything and everything I love will live forever. To this day, my 60-something parents, little brother, grandparents (who have survived multiple heart attacks and cancer) seem as they have from the moment I was placed in their arms: sprite, wise, hilarious and capable of anything. They are the same people I fall in love with day in and day out, for all that they do, are and everything in between. Behind my little rose-colored glasses and likely pink sparkled heart, they've not aged or changed a bit since my little tootsies were imprinted on my birth certificate.

But 35...

At times it's physical: the weight of 50 extra pounds, the grays that pop up in unruly places, the skin that misses that glow and elasticity of youth. And don't even get me started on the cellulite, sagging booty and belly roll. Good gah the cellulite and belly roll...

Other times it's the emotional: the one moment on your rare quiet drive that you consider if you've done enough so far, what you even want anymore and if you can even recall a memory from yesterday give you're constantly just chasing life and time.

Then there are the moments where you don't think of it at all and when that rare time comes when you have to cite your age you think, "How the hell old am I?" and fight to even remember.

Luckily for me, this Monday marks the re-brand and anniversary of my company, a project we've been working on tirelessly and enthusiastically since the day I set foot in the door. Therefore, the cake will be about 20 years, not 35, and the day will be filled with blood, sweat and tears to ensure all goes as close to as planned as possible. In other words, avoidance is the magic answer.

In addition to avoidance, I'll stick with gratitude and listen to those that go before me who say I still have an entire lifetime ahead. The chance to reinvent. To fall in love again. To live, to breathe, to cherish. And I'll continue to live my days like this with this amazing life I've been given and continue to be thankful for it with every beat that lands in my chest wall. And for those that warn me of all that magically falls apart at 35? Well, I love them for speaking their truths and will go to them when it all feels like too much to digest. I anticipate we'll have a good empathy and laughter session of it over wine.

So 35-shmirty-five. I've got you. I've got them. And more love in my life than a universe can hold. Thirty-five ain't got nuthin' on that.

Which was your birthday that got you riled up for the first time?

Cheers and thanks, my beloved friends!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Touch of Cupid

It's no secret this Pisces is a lover of cupid's holiday, our front door adorned in half-ripped gooey hearts, the hall table full of pink and red gobstoppers and the boys' Valentines carefully plotted for their every event.
Mantle flair, courtesy of Target and Lawson's craftsmanship
A warm greeting to our home
Mr. Roboto love

A manicured expression
What Lawson will gift his Valentines
What Liam will provide his pals
This year the celebrations will be a bit more low-key with a big work project occupying the midnight hours and the fact we're constantly chasing time. But we'll still make it a priority to whip up those heart-shaped pancakes, sneak in a massage, eat lots of chocolate and design some cards for the patients at Children's Mercy.

Wishing you and yours lotsa love this holiday and all the days to follow! 

Monday Momfessions: February 8 Week

1. It is possible to have your car smell extremely sour of rotten milk and for you to be unaware until your husband goes to drive it. This is called: surrendering. Or surviving. For moms, this term can by synonymous.

2. Related: Febreeze Gain scent is the secret to having guests perceive that your house is clean. As they say, trick the senses...and try to swipe that dog hair off the rear of their black pants when they aren't looking.

3. Beauty trick for exhausted mommas: when you're gained another five, haven't shopped in months and are wearing truly expired makeup, get bangs. Bangs are the answer. Instant update.

4. Age 5 is around the time when you can no longer skip whole paragraphs during bedtime reading. Noted.

5. When you go to Kindergarten Roundup for the first time, they will try to break you with digital media. Go armed with Metallica and videos of your children doing really awful, un-cute things.

6. Apparently Katy Perry has the ability to stop all men in their tracks. One, five and 34 year olds included. Note: each for different reasons that include categories like sharks, bouncing cupcakes and bright colors. Not necessarily in that order.

7. It is possible to clog a car wash's vacuum.

8. Kickboxing in your past life can be helpful for 1 year old tantrums. Duck and weave. Duck and weave.

9. "You're the worst Mommy ever," and "the other moms come and read stories and go on field trips" may be some of the most scarring phrases a parent can hear. Keep the skin thick and the wine flowing.

10. Bedtime is the most magical time of day. Not for the fact the energy finally dies down, balls and food are no longer passing by your head, negotiations reach a cease fire, etc., but instead for the shared laughter, shared conversation and warm hands and hugs. Ok and a little bit because the energy died down.

How's your week, Momma?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I Had to Have a Little Cry About It


Driving west on the interstate he other day, the sun setting and the same hundreds of cars dragging headlights home, I suddenly just...cried. Big, soppy tears and sniffles that start small enough you think you can conceal them behind aviators from other drivers that then surmount to sobs so breathtaking you think you should pull over.

Then you remember you're on 435 and that's never a good idea...

It felt so freeing to cry. To feel something so deeply on the inside and finally letting your outside match it. To let your shoulders sink deeper into the leather of the seats, your stomach ache with something other than stress, fear or love. Your body to loosen and nearly grow lifeless as you give up control with your mind and simply let your heart take over. It's as if you don't even know what's happening, nor do you care. It's freedom. It's marvelous.

One of my happiest-go-luckiest girlfriends frequently uses the statement "I had to have a little cry about it." She is also the same gal that recommends loosing it at times to help others understand just how passionate you are and how much you care. At first I didn't understand it, had to have much coaching to use it and still only break it out about once a year. But I tell you: she's on to something. And she has a billion smiles and the most brilliant light about her to prove it.

What broke me on this day was the song "Life is a Highway." Scanning through stations, the original version came over the car speakers, nearly stopping me in my tracks as I recalled catching Lawson in only a blue tee and diaper having the dance party of his life. His brick feet swung side to side as his fists hit the air, a grin as large as Texas covering his face. In short, he was dancing like no one was watching.

And suddenly, it hit me - I haven't been living this way. My highway had become just that: long paths of the obligatory, running this way and that, filling social and work obligations, literally not seeing the light of day as each began at 5 a.m. and ended around 11 p.m. There's nothing overly stressful or intense about the routine of it all. In fact, we're likely one of the most blessed families you can find in life. And not a moment goes by without gratitude and soaking in small moments. But those moments of pause are missing. Pause. Stop. Watch. Listen. Breathe.

The next big pause I look forward to is this summer, when our extended family ventures to an island on a six-day getaway. Besides one short trip with girlfriends, this will be the first extended pause I've taken in nearly five years. Today I begin dreaming of what that pause looks like, to come upon small seashells and wonder how they got there, to watch as my toddler discovers the ocean for the first time and to really listen as we laugh over cocktails in nothing but cover ups and flip flops.

Until then, I will look for other ways to pause and to feel the freedom that Lawson likely felt in his little fists as he found the salt air for the first time above. For now, maybe the answer is appreciation. Maybe it's love. Maybe it's good diet and exercise. Amazing friends. Supportive family. Pauses.

Or maybe it's to have a little cry about it.

Here's to your tears and your pauses. May they be abundant and freeing.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Eat!

"Sounds good...we'll meet you at 10. But NOT at First Watch," I said, trying to hide my disdain for what was once a favorite eatery, but had sunk low on the list with the introduction of so many great local spots. Thank goodness we Kansas Citians like to eat...

And so it came to be that we arrived at Room 39, a venue that had made me blush on the love scale a time or two when I grabbed coffee with girlfriends for it's fresh, every-changing menu, unique blend of foods and familiar sides that had proven tasty each time.

This morning was extra special in that we were spending some quality time with the bro and SIL, free of food flinging, desperate cries for the iPad and 10 trips to the bathroom (read: sans kids). After much contemplation and moans over our delicious mimosas and espressos, we each landed on something delectable:

The mister got the Carbonara, described as fresh spaghetti, bacon, brown butter, greens, poached eggs, basil and pesto. Sis got the goat cheese blueberry pancakes while I indulged in the brioche french toast. Mom delighted in the quiche of the day containing spinach and ham, while the brother did the huevos rancheros. Each dish tasted as if we were getting it fresh in another country, the service attentive and kind and the company like none other.

In short: it was an absolute treat. I HIGHLY recommend it. And each item is less than $15 - not bad for top of the line yet still having to keep up with the IHOP fans of the city. Yum!

The evening before we also had an enjoyable dining experience, despite the chaos of being restaurant week. Each evening, Avenues Bistro runs a special where they offer half-price food and wine after 8 p.m., an excellent idea to build business before the kitchen closes at 10. And although we were seated in the newly extended bar area next to a party of bachelorettes (older and poised I might add), creating decibels that made bonding tough, we still had a good time. From the meatballs to the bacon wrapped dates, humus, knocci, macaroni and cheese and so much more - each bite was as tasty as the last. Top it with an array of their mixed drinks and moscow mules and you're having a pretty nice night. Particularly for those that an evening out consists of McD's, Chipolte or Fritz's. It's an extra golden evening when you realize you paid only $110 for six adults to overeat specialty food and allowed them two drinks a piece as well. Cha ching!

So get your grub on in KC today and make these stop, plus a long list of other delicious holidays - and enjoy!