Archives for April 2011

The Art of Indecision

Sometimes I marvel at my friends who can sit down in a restaurant, glance at the menu for less than a minute and confidently close it, decision made. Done and done. How do they do that? How are they so confident in themselves to know exactly what they are in the mood for without weighing the pros and cons of each item? Granted, I’m not that bad, but there have been times when I have placed an order and spent the rest of the meal regretting my choice. Pasta? Really? Why didn’t I get the steak tips? The steak tips would have been so much better!

Is this a cultural problem? A problem of our time and place in history? Are we spoiled with too many options and opportunities at our fingertips? Do we have this idea of how life should be and then spend every moment of our existence trying to make things live up to that expectation?

Jonah Lehrer, author of HOW WE DECIDE, calls this “paralysis-by-analysis” and explores our indecision with often mundane and insignificant choices (like what kind of cereal or toothpaste to choose).

Yes, these small decisions do leave me paralyzed with indecision but the big questions (where to live, when to get married, what is my life’s work), these tear me apart.

When I was in the 4th grade I had to memorize the Robert Frost poem, THE ROAD NOT TAKEN.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

An inspiring poem, no doubt. But unfortunately, I’m stuck at the fork in the road. I haven’t taken a road, I haven’t made the choice. Which is the one less traveled by? Which is the one that will make all the difference?

I was raised by a strong woman, my mother, who has been happily married to my father for over forty years. And yet she still advises me to be independent, build a career, do everything, be everything, live a wildly exotic and exciting life. Is she telling me not to get married? Is she saying I should be more exciting? More daring? Should I settle down and have children? If not now, when?

Do we have too many opportunities? Are they causing us to constantly keep our eyes peeled for something better, something more inspiring, something larger than life? Is this what causes our paralysis-by-analysis? Are we weighing our options too heavily instead of settling into what is comfortable?

Yes, these are bigger questions than what to order for dinner and what toothpaste to put in our grocery cart, but they all stem from the same modern issues, too many options result in too many paths and the impossibility of choosing “the road less traveled” that will make “all the difference.”

I don’t know what I’ll do or when I’ll do it. I have many choices to make and even though I should probably stop analyzing and start living, I can’t quite let go of my indecision. I am, however, holding tight to my decision to be indecisive. In the meantime, here are some great reading suggestions to help others understand the decision making process.

What’s My Size?

A recent article in the New York Times asks the question, “What’s my REAL size?” Any woman who shops online or in a mall has faced the perplexing dilemma of no two sizes being the same. I can be a perfect 8 in the Gap, a 10 in Banana Republic, a 6 in an Ann Taylor and so on. How is this possible? How can I fluctuate three sizes in one shopping excursion? Either it’s my biggest nightmare and the hot pretzel in the food court really does add ten pounds, or there is a discrepancy between companies and size charts.

Tanya Shaw is an entrepreneur working on a system to help alleviate these problems. She has created MYBestFit, a free service that “makes it easy to find clothes that fit your body.” Apparently they are popping up in kiosks in malls across the country. I don’t know how well the system works or if it might possibly cause even more anxiety for shoppers, but it does seem to be a step in the right direction of leveling the clothing size playing field. According to MyBestFit, there is no sizing standard for apparel manufacturers, they can, quite literally, play with our minds and our bodies.

Another woman pioneering this change is Cricket Lee. Lee is on a personal mission to regulate the sizing industry with her company FITLOGIC. Her system breaks down women’s bodies into three shapes: thick waist with thin hips, curvy but proportional; and thin waist with round bottom and large thighs (sounds like pear-shape to me).

But isn’t part of the fun in shopping trying on different sizes, different styles, different looks? If everything was mapped out for us perfectly, where’s the excitement? The drama? It’s like arranged marriages, sure it seems like a simple solution but does it just open the door for more problems?

Slow Down and Live It Up

I am 32 years old and running out of time. Over the past year I have been steadily building my business, adding more clients, more responsibility, and more tasks to be completed within the hours of a single day. I have two cell phones, two computers, I read 5 newspapers a day and countless online articles. In one work day I will schedule and complete at least a dozen conference calls. I work in PR so staying on top (or even a few steps ahead) of everything that is going on is imperative to my business. Weekends are spent speaking at writing and publishing events and my nights are spent researching and writing.  I also added a daily 4 mile run with the pace increasing every day.

Every year it seems that my life becomes more filled with responsibility and the time in which these tasks must be completed shrinks. Everything is moving at a faster pace and I can barely keep up, let alone grow and thrive.

And with all of this I am finding that the attention I give to the ones I love is shrinking steadily. I have less time to listen to stories or funny anecdotes. I don’t have long, drawn out conversations with friends, those have been replaced with short, clipped emails tapped out in a sliver of a free moment.  I am short on time, so I am short with people.

The words languish, indulge, relax, restore don’t exist in my life anymore. I have no patience. I am literally running out of time and I am only 32.

We truly need to slow down. But how? How when we have programmed ourselves to fill up every minute of the day with busyness? How when we read story after story about young people working night and day to develop a business model that results in multi-million dollar payouts? We are spurred on and inspired by these stories but we are killing ourselves to emulate this success. Is it time we slow down? Or does it go against everything we have been taught?

Research has found that slow thinking actually promotes and inspires creativity. A recent study found that people fighting a clock were the least creative because they were unable to truly focus and let their minds zero in on the most important and powerful ideas.

Google is one of the first companies to truly implement this slow movement. They advise their employees to devote 20% of their time to personal projects. Gmail and Adsense are two innovations that came from the 20% downtime.

I would love to see if the slow life is the way to a healthy and happy heart and a well-adjusted brain. I want to take the long, windy road instead of the fast lane. The obstacles I face, to do more and do it faster, is a common problem among young women today. Fearing the pressure to fit it all in before settling down with kids, a husband, a mortgage or fitting it all in with those added pressures of family already in place, is something that women are battling more frequently and with more intensity than ever before.

With books like Carl Honore’s IN PRAISE OF SLOWNESS and Dominque Browning’s SLOW LOVE, this is something that people are learning later in life. But what would happen if we could discover the power of slow living NOW, when we are still in the throes of building our lives, when things are just beginning? Is the slow movement more than just a theory to test? Is it the secret to happiness and fulfillment in life?

The Wedding Countdown

Kate Middleton

With just a few days until the BIG ROYAL WEDDING, I am not even going to attempt to hide my excitement. I spent the weekend watching William & Kate: Let Love Rule (the Lifetime Movie). Then I watched a six-part Lifetime series on the real William & Kate (not much different from the movie, just with footage of the actual prince and princess instead of the actors).

Camilla Luddington as Kate Middleton in "William & Kate"

I have to say that I am completely caught up in all the fan fare. I have my TIVO set for Friday morning and you can bet that I will be planted in front of the tv for the majority of the day. I can’t wait to see Kate’s dress. The predictions have been coming in around the clock (Alexander McQueen, Issa, and most recently it was reported that Kate was designing her own dress). The royal wedding gown is going to inspire MANY replicas, as reported in the NYTimes. You can leave a message for the prince and his future princess on Access Hollywood’s WEDDING GUESTBOOK.

Also, according to reports, Kate will not say “obey” in her vows. They will not kiss on the altar and William will NOT be wearing a wedding band. Also, many of Williams’ exes are on the guest list and are expected to attend. (Don’t know how I’d feel about that.)

So that’s what I gleamed from my royal wedding weekend extravaganza. (This is what happens when you are shut in with a terrible head cold and rain streaming down your windows). I did have a very sunny and picture-perfect Easter Sunday that was spent with my favorite PEEPS!

Happy Easter

My niece picked out the above image for me to wish everyone a Happy Easter!

Kate Middleton’s Jeans



Her Boots Were Made for Walking


Steve Madden’s suede boots are very similar to those worn by Kate Middleton.

Kate Middleton’s Just Like Us

She takes out the trash a week before what will be one of the biggest weddings in history.


Baby We Were Born to Run


Today I watched the Boston Marathon. I had it on in the background while I went about my daily routine (emails, writing, phone calls). I must admit that when the elite runners were rounding the corner and hitting Boylston Street (the last few blocks of the race), I put everything on pause and sat, transfixed. We were very close to having an American woman (Desiree Davila) win the race but unfortunately, in the last 200 yards or so, she was passed by Caroline Kilel from Ethiopia. The last time an American woman won the Boston Marathon was in 1985, so I was really hoping for some history making today. Unfortunately, it was not to be. And our beloved Kara Goucher finished 5th. Kara, who gave birth to a baby boy 6 months ago (!!) ran a personal best and has vowed that she will continue running the Boston Marathon until she wins. I love her gumption.

The men’s race was equally as exciting because a world record was smashed by Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai who ran the fastest 26.2 miles in history (unfortunately the downhill portion of the race makes it ineligible for an official world record).

I, of course, had to hit the treadmill after work and have my own imaginary marathon run. While running, I couldn’t help but think about the passion and determination on the faces of all the runners I watched today. It’s very hard to worry about your relationships, your boss, your financial situation, your hair when doing something as solitary and physically exhausting as pushing your body forward in a perpetual motion. With each foot fall you can leave your worries, your stresses and your frustration behind you. You can’t stress about any extra pounds on your body because you are consciously working towards making them history. You can’t worry about work because you are in no way capable of doing anything but putting one foot in front of the other. There is also something that happens when working out, your thoughts tend to lean towards the positive, the hopeful, the optimistic. You’re moving forward and so are your thoughts.

So yes, baby we were born to run…(or walk, swim, bike). Find something that lifts your heart rate and your spirits and keep doing it. Every day.

Funk-y Feelings

I am literally in a funk. I don’t know if it’s the weather (I have seen maybe one or two glimpses of the sun), the time of year, the anticipation of spring and summer or the general need for a vacation. All I know is I am in a funk. I don’t feel like going out on the weekends and I generally just want to stay home and watch reality tv. (However, recent studies have shown that some alone time is actually healthy and can lead to creativity and happiness. I will definitely be weighing in on this in further detail in a later post.)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not depressed. I am actually quite a happy person, by nature. I can find joy in the smallest things (a good dinner, a captivating book, some snarky celebrity magazines) but lately I just can’t seem to shake this general sense of “eh.” That’s the best way I can put it.

So because I’m in this funk, I start looking back and thinking “when was the last time I was really happy?” When was the last time I was super excited to get out of bed in the morning? It’s kind of like when you lose something and you have to retrace your steps to see if you can find where you dropped it.

I was happiest when I was writing freelance for magazines. I wrote about sending love notes and getting rain insurance for your wedding. I wrote about curiosity and health. I wrote book reviews and a story about building pools (yes, some stories were more random than others). I loved writing these stories. I loved researching and crafting the perfect words, pitching them and waiting to hear back from editors. To put it simply, I love writing.

My job is PR. That’s what I do for a living. I enjoy it, I really do. I love working with authors, crafting press releases and pitching ideas to the media. But sometimes you want to stretch your creative muscle. You want to do something for work AND for fun. You want to do something that both inspires and intrigues, something for yourself.

I may not have the time to write and pitch magazine articles, but I do have a platform to express these thoughts and explore the new things I learn along the way. I think that by writing these blog posts about the interesting things I discover, I will be creating both balance and pride in my life, in my work and in my heart.

Truly, it’s all about curiosity. Studies have shown that curious people are happier people.

So my journey towards relocating my happiness is going to start here. With you. With my research, my thoughts and my words.

Early Signs of Spring

Today was a perfect day. Do you ever have those days that are just fully enjoyable from beginning to end? That was today. But technically, that’s not true. I started off the day in a state of turmoil. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, how I wanted to spend my precious free time. I have so little of it these days and it sometimes seems that I am paralyzed with indecision. But I made a decision. I chose to spend time with someone special, doing things that weren’t productive. I wasn’t organizing or cleaning or getting a jump start on work. Instead, I went out for a breakfast buffet that was beyond delicious (even if I did dump half of my hash browns…covered in ketchup…into my lap…twice). Then we went for a walk and found a bench facing the water. We sat and talked. About nothing and everything. The sun was warm, the air had a little early spring chill in it but the day was bright and perfect. Even better, I was dressed appropriately, a sweater AND a jacket…I tend to under dress at the first sign of spring and 9 out of 10 times I’m always cold…needless to say, I jump the gun for warm weather. So there we were, enjoying  a lazy Sunday, full from a delicious brunch and casually walking the streets of this quaint, quiet, historical town.

My Mac


To say that I am excited about a recent purchase is an understatement. I’m not just excited about my new iMac, I’m overwhelmed, terrified, exhilarated and optimistic. I have been a PC person for my entire adult life so this is the equivalent of suddenly driving on the opposite side of the road. What I can tell you is that what I have seen so far is beyond my greatest expectations. I am going to completely sound like an “I’m a MAC” commercial, but seriously, this is one awesome computer. I love the clicking and dragging aspect of it. I love the overall simplicity of the entire operating system. Yes, it is going to take me a long time to get over the fact that THERE IS NO RIGHT CLICK but other than that, I’m in love.


I also have to say something about the support they have over at Apple. It’s unlike any other electronic purchase I have ever made. This morning I had a two hour MEET YOUR MAC class and a lesson in the One-to-One program they offer. This is a program that allows you to set up meeting times with someone at the Apple store whenever you want and they will walk you through whatever difficulties you are having. In a word: AMAZING!

{Just FYI, I am in no way affiliated with Apple nor am I receiving any compensation…I’m just a girl who’s excited about a new toy!}

Happy Blogging

I really believe there is a therapeutic quality to blogging (or maybe just writing in general). Writing has the power to act as a reset button. No matter how unhappy or frustrated you are about something, just the act of writing it down helps to clarify things. It can even make problems that seemed larger than life suddenly seem a lot more palatable. I believe this is why many of the blogs I read always sound so upbeat and optimistic. Once you write it out, it no longer carries the weight it once did and you are able to look at things more objectively and come to more helpful conclusion.

Today was a busy day. Busier than I had originally hoped (or anticipated) it would be. I went to my friend’s bridal shower, went to the gym (where they were shooting a commercial!) and then hit up Target and the grocery store. I left the house around 10am and didn’t return until close to 8pm. I’m completely exhausted and even though I would have liked to have spent the Sunday lazily reading the paper and surfing my favorite blogs, I am happy with all that I accomplished and enjoy the feeling of living a FULL life. Seeing friends, meeting new people, being healthy, shopping…really, what else could I ask for in life?

I’m back.

I hate that I haven’t written here in almost a month. I have been overwhelmed with work and life and just haven’t taken the time to sit down and write out my thoughts, my activities, my inspiration. Nothing. And the worst part is I am the FIRST person to get frustrated when my favorite bloggers go unexpectedly silent. So I’m sorry.

Secondly, I was thinking about why I haven’t blogged in awhile and I think it’s because I started to lose focus. I got away from the reason I started this blog to begin with, as a place to record my thoughts, document what I’m doing in life and reflect. I also became bogged down with finding a cohesive theme and making sure that I had clever pictures and a post that had a clear beginning, middle and end. Well guess what? That’s not real. That’s not life. Everything that happens doesn’t lay itself out like a perfectly cohesive essay. Life is messy. Life is confusing. One minute we feel like we are on top of the world and the next we are stuck in traffic or dealing with people with bad attitudes. Life is choosing the one line in the grocery store where the person in front has lost their wallet. That’s real life. Sometimes there is no reason or lesson, it just happens.

Today was sunny, so sunny that I spent the entire day outside. When you live in New England and winter seems to last forever you take advantage of the sun the minute it comes out. It wasn’t even that warm (maybe 50 degrees in the sun) but I forced my winter logged body outside and breathed in as much fresh air as I could possibly get into my lungs. I went for a long walk with my mom and marveled at every bud we saw on the trees or tiny flower pushing up from the earth. And now, it’s not even 11 at night and I’m ready for bed. I’m exhausted. I literally think the fresh air wore me out.

After my full day spent outside I gathered a few things for dinner, some chicken salad, a french baguette and some cheese and crackers and made myself the most simple dinner (very Parisian) and yet it was DELICIOUS! Sometimes the most joy really does come from the simplest things.

Tomorrow I am going to a bridal shower for a really good friend. I had such a great time picking out a gift for her, wrapping it and making it look perfect.

Now I’m off to bed (ridiculously early but obviously much-needed). I have resolved to post here much more frequently if for no other reason than I would love to have a simple place where I can let my thoughts wander and share bits and pieces of my life.

I will leave you, sweet readers, with an inspiring quote I found from one of my favorite bloggers (Elise Blaha).

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company a church a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we embrace for that day.

We cannot change our past.  We cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one thing we have, and that is our attitude.

I am convinced that life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.

And so it is with you, we are in charge of our ATTITUDES. – Charles Swindoll