Wednesday, October 1, 2008

32 Lessons in 32 Years

In honor of my 32nd birthday yesterday, I've compiled 32 life lessons. Thanks to my friend Lori for the great idea!

1. The world is an endless opportunity to learn, grow and experience new people, places and customs
2. Nielson’s Frozen Custard triple Oreo concretes are still the best treat in town
3. It’s okay to be honest with others about the struggles and challenges we all face in life
4. Being best friends with your brother and sister is one of the greatest blessings in life
5. Change is a good and necessary aspect of life, even when we don’t feel ready for it
6. Truly putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes is the best way to understand what’s really driving their behavior and actions
7. Few things compare to an early morning run in crisp fall weather
8. Being an aunt is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences life has to offer
9. Few things are more important than discovering who you are and then having the courage to be true to yourself
10. It’s okay to make mistakes – nobody is perfect
11. Be passionate!
12. Few moments compare to standing on top of Mount Kilimanjaro with your brother
13. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it
14. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it
15. Most people in the world are inherently good
16. One pair of great designer jeans is worth 10 pairs from The Gap
17. There is no better way to spend time and money than on international travel
18. Never cut 10 inches off your hair on a whim after you’ve spent three years growing it out!
19. Cherish each and every friendship in life
20. It’s okay to be a lifelong fan of Beverly Hills, 90210
21. Finding a career we enjoy is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves
22. We are all stronger than we think we are – we can get through hard things!
23. Training for and running a marathon provides a tremendous sense of personal accomplishment
24. There is plenty of opportunity for us out there if we just choose to take advantage of it
25. Try not to judge others – we have no idea what people are really going through
26. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to live happily without cable TV, Tivo, and a microwave
27. Expensive cars are highly overrated
28. Our parents really do know what they’re talking about (most of the time)
29. There is nothing better than reading a really good book
30. Sometimes splurging on a new pair of shoes is the best way to cheer up
31. It’s better to take chances and fail than to hold back because of fear
32. Embrace people from all walks of life – diversity is what makes the world go round

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Day in the Life

Thursday, July 31, 2008

5:45 a.m. - cell phone alarm goes off, after having spent the previous day working in my Princeton office from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.

7:00 a.m. - arrive at the office and fine-tune materials for our afternoon presentation

9:00 a.m. - practically falling asleep at my desk; grab a Coke and a bag of M&M Peanuts from the vending machine down the hall

10:30 a.m. - emergency conference call with US staff to address an urgent client relations issue

11:45 a.m. - run down the street to the print shop to pick up presentation materials

12:00 p.m. - car service pick-up to take our team into Manhattan for our 3:00 p.m. meeting

1:30 p.m. - drop-off on 58th and 5th Avenue; last-minute meeting prep over a nice, sit-down lunch at the St. Regis hotel

3:00 p.m. - meeting begins; deliver 2-hour company pitch to investment banking firm

5:00 p.m. - car service pick-up; fight Manhattan rush hour traffic

5:45 p.m. - meeting debrief conference call with our board of directors

7:15 p.m. - arrive back in Princeton; enjoy a nice Italian meal with triple chocolate cake for dessert

9:30 p.m. - finally back to my hotel room, exhausted and ready for a good night's sleep

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Retail Therapy

My mom and I hit the Nordstrom anniversary sale last night and I walked away with two new pairs of shoes that I just love!

Nothing like some new footwear to cheer a girl up.

Friday, July 18, 2008

One Oreo Concrete with Triple Oreos, Please

Last night was awesome! Amanda and I crashed Anni's singles ward activity to take advantage of the late-night, all-you-can-eat custard party at Nielson's Frozen Custard. The party started at 11:00 p.m. so we had full reign of the place. I have loved Nielson's for as long as I can remember. An Oreo concrete with triple Oreos is my all-time favorite treat, the ultimate comfort food. So being able to scoop my own custard with free access to all the toppings I wanted was like being given the keys to the candy store. We were giddy!
The owners of Nielson's are such generous people. They kept saying, "Eat today, because tomorrow you pay!" I was fascinated with the history of their business (yes, I am a nerd). I told them I'm they're #1 fan. I shared stories about sluffing class at South Davis Junior High in order to eat concretes for lunch and told them I routinely drive in from Salt Lake because I think the Bountiful location is the very best. They sent us home with so much custard, easily enough to last a full week!
Yum. I can't think of a better way to spend a Thursday night (or any night, for that matter). Anni, thanks for staying up late so I could realize one of my lifelong dreams! Who knows, we just might have to make this a regular tradition.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Feeding My Passion

International travel has been on my mind a lot as of late. It all started when Tommy and I mapped out our dream 6-month round-the world adventure travel itinerary a few weeks ago. Then Amanda, Syd, and Anni invited me to join them this September for 12 days in Peru. I've never been to South America and I can't wait to experience this new corner of the globe.

I had dinner with my boss last week in Princeton. During the course of conversation, I shared with him some of my travel adventures and dream destinations. As the conversation concluded, he told me he observed a marked difference in my entire persona while I was talking about travel; my eyes lit up, my speech became more animated, and my body language came alive. He correctly derived that international travel is a passion for me.

Then last night I had dinner with Amanda, Syd, Mark and Lindsay at Cedars of Lebanon. Mark and Lindsay are a darling young couple Amanda met in Barnes and Noble several months ago while buying a travel book for our trip to Thailand. They had recently been to Thailand, started chatting, and ended up providing us with a wealth of Thai travel tips. We've since met for dinner every few months to share travel tips, stories, and adventures. We bring trip photos, talk about where we've been most recently, and where we'd like to go next. In addition to Peru, Amanda is on her way to China in a few weeks and Mark and Lindsay just returned from a 3-week trip to Turkey, Syria, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Spain.

Our 3-hour dinner flew by. I was alive, animated and excited while talking about places we've been and where we want to go next. There is no better way I'd choose to spend my time, energy, and money than on international travel. The greatest learning experiences of my life have occurred on these types of trips. I love to gain an appreciation of new and different places, people, cultures, languages, and experiences. I'm also amazed at how much I learn about myself.

Mark and Lindsay are such a great couple. I am so glad we've forged a friendship based on our shared love of travel. Last night was a great reminder of why international travel is so important to me. Nothing makes me happier. And I can't wait for Peru.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Best Therapy There Is

I had dinner last night with three of my favorite SHPI co-workers . . . Lori, Janelle, and Bryan. They all stayed with the company that acquired us last month and still get to see each other every day. I miss my old job, the co-workers, and especially working with these three. Seeing them again is always fantastic, but last night was extra great.

We met for dinner at 5:30. Several hours later we were still at Settabello, talking about everything under the sun and then some. We shared our thoughts, feelings, and experiences with each other. I am so impressed with each of these individuals and what they represent. Lori is hilarious and always knows how to liven up the group. She is also determined and committed to what's important to her and is not afraid to be who she is. Bryan is one of the most truly "good" people I know. He is devoted to his family and his religion above all else and has higher integrity than most people I know. And Janelle is the sweetest person on the planet. She is kind and supportive and pretends not to mind when I insert my bossy opinion without being asked and dominate the conversation.

I already knew how fantastic all three of these people are professionally and have told them each that I would hire them again in a New York minute if given the opportunity. But last night I was reminded that they are so much more than just exceptional employees. I left dinner with a renewed sense of what's most important in life and a commitment to be a better person. It was the best therapy I could ask for. Thanks, guys, for your friendship and support. I am so lucky to have all three of you as my friends!

P.S. For those of you who know the Color Code, we had equal representation of all four colors at dinner last night . . . kinda cool!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Weekend in D.C.

Tommy and I spent the rest of our weekend checking out museums:Resting on the steps of the Library of Congress:
Learning how to ride Jenny's scooter (look out!):
Checking out more museums:
And shopping in Georgetown: