The Trouble with Treasure Boxes

Let me know if this sounds familiar:

Step 1: Graduate from college.

Step 2: Move into your parents house for a couple months while you look for a job. (But totally don’t need to come home for dinner every night if you don’t want to because you’re an adult now. (But do anyway because you’re broke.))

Step 3: Ah! Finally. Get a good job. Move into your own apartment. Adulting commences.

Step 4: Get married, buy a house, have kids…

Step 5: Parents decide they don’t want to hoard your crap anymore and drop off 12 boxes of said crap on your doorstep and leave. Parents turn your childhood bedroom into a home gym.

Oh, I forgot to include…

Step 0: Save every birthday card you ever received since you were 8.

This is my life. Except the home gym – that was Monica from Friends.

With the new year now upon us, I make a familiar resolution to want/buy/have less stuff. My first step in keeping this resolution is to go through the boxes of childhood memories I’ve been hiding in our attic. It’s a process, so I started with a small goal of consolidating 4 boxes into 2. The strategy involved the typical “toss, donate, keep” rule. Sounds easy enough until the nostalgia washes over you!

Here’s a sampling of what I found in my treasure boxes…and what I ended up doing with them!

Notes. Oh my goodness. Pages and pages and novels of notes written in civics and passed before chemistry class. Together, these notes create a very detailed history of critical events happening between 1999-2005. Which is why I am keeping every single one!¬† One thought I had while carefully unfolding each origami-esque corner of notebook paper was that “kids these days” will not have a tangible time capsule of their social lives during the formative years. Most communication is done in short-form text messages that may or may not contain clip art of an eggplant. I spent several hours sifting through these notes, so maybe on the bright side, kids will grow up and have more time as adults to save the planet or cure cancer.

Greeting Cards. Does anyone else find it difficult to throw away greeting cards? What’s the shelf-life of a greeting card? One week? One minute? How about 21 years? I did a little bit of keeping and tossing as I went through a ton of birthday cards, bridal shower cards, thank you cards, etc… For those that landed in the toss pile (please don’t be offended if your card is in the toss – I literally kept every. single. card.), I learned that I can donate the fronts to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children so that they can be reincarnated as beautiful art projects by the kids! Although I don’t think I’ll be donating the front of this birthday card that my big brother designed in Greetings Workshop and printed at home, circa 2002:

Posters. As much as it pains me to do so, I must toss the many Tiger Beat posters of Leonardo DiCaprio (and apparently Lance Bass – I was a Backstreet Girl, so this was an odd find) into the recycle bin and rely on Google Images for my Leo fix of the 21st century.

School Projects. I am keeping my “Geometry Madness” handbook in case I need to help my daughter with her homework in 14 years. That’s totally practical, right?! But I’m also keeping some projects that were not necessarily done in school, but in my free time – ya know, career planning. As a kid, I wanted to be a major league baseball player, veterinarian, editor, and evidently, a marketing director. That was up until 5th grade. For the 10-12 years that followed, I pursued a career in fashion merchandising before pivoting to marketing ūüėČ Anyway, when I was a marketing director, I wrote this very stern message to one of my associates:

“Dear Michael Watson [Marketing Manager],
The company is a beginner marketing company, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be organized and not have a budget. For any company, beginner or advanced, should have everything they need. I care about this company. I can’t let it crash and burn. Having only a little over 7 million is poor for an aquarium in NY. If this company doesn’t shape up, I will have to move you to Chicago. They know how to handle this better. I can’t do this all by myself, so I need everyone’s help.
I would like to be a speaker at your next meeting. I need to speak with everyone.
Lauren Pritchett
Marketing Director”

Hey, with a few substitutions, this could totally pass for an email in today’s corporate world!

Super Pumped About This

Here’s the before and after of my latest kitchen remodel:

Pump Supplies Clean kitchen

After 10 months being back at work (subsequent to 9 weeks of maternity leave) and more than a thousand pumping sessions at my desk, on my living room floor, in the car, bathrooms, conference rooms, UNLOCKED conference rooms, closets at 4am… 11am… 3pm… 10pm…

Between low supply scares and building up a freezer stash…

I am officially DONE with the pump for Callida!

It was the biggest inconvenience, disruption, annoyance, and challenge of my life.

So why even go through all of that, you might ask?

Because beyond the struggle, it was the biggest pleasure to do for my daughter! I love my career and my family. I had the ability and desire to produce breast milk so I did it. And I’m happy I did.

To all moms who are just trying to feed your baby, keep it up. It is not as simple as it seems, is it? Own  your decisions. Be proud. You are doing a great job.

8 Places Raleigh Needs That Don’t Revolve Around Alcohol

We¬†are¬†in the midst of an urban evolution here in North Carolina’s capitol. There have been several tweets and sound bites about¬†places closing in downtown. Sure, I’m sad to see a few of them go, but I’m excited to see what’s coming. In Raleigh’s case, change means growth and growth requires change.¬†Will 2016 finally be the year that a¬†grocery store comes to downtown? Will it mark the¬†Fall of the Bottle Shop Empire? I love a good craft brew as much as the next guy, but for the love of Joel Lane, please no more new bars, Raleigh!

Here’s what I propose as replacements to these newly vacant locales.¬†Though¬†I am almost certain that these places are all already spoken for, a girl can dream.

Seaboard Station

Old: Tyler’s Taproom
New: Trader Joe’s. Need I say more? Seaboard Station is prime for downtown’s first grocery store.

Hillsborough Street

Old: McDaid’s
New:¬†A movie theater. Actually, put a movie theater back in the building that actually was¬†a movie theater and bring Porter’s back to this location! Alas, there are existing¬†plans for a new restaurant to take over the former book store that was previously known as¬†Varsity Theater.

Downtown Proper

Old: Battistella’s
New: Pret a Manger. A Pret opening in downtown would signify that Raleigh¬†has truly¬†made it. It says, we’re world-class and we can serve pre-packaged yet magically¬†fresh sandwiches.

Old: The Oxford
New: Dean & Deluca. A multi-purpose grocer or market that sells coffee, deli items, and wares. A locally-minded spin-off of that idea¬†would be a¬†scaled down version of Charlotte’s¬†Atherton Market¬†or Union Market in Washington, DC.

Old: Troy Mezze
New:¬† A tea room. I recently had afternoon tea at The Umstead in Cary and oh. em. gee. It was absolutely divine and it is now a necessity to have tea every weekend with my lady friends. Call me a lush. It’s ok. I can take it. Bonus points if the tea room is kid-friendly and caters to little ladies (and gentlemen).

Warehouse District

Old: Brewmasters
New: Reboot of Joe’s Place but with Laser Tag. The Warehouse District is hip and artsy and a 90s throwback like Joe’s Place would be welcome there. And let’s be real, laser tag is crucial for any city approaching the half-million population mark.

Old:¬†Jillian’s (no one is talking about this spot?!)
New:¬†Raleigh Beach. Let’s make Matt Tomasulo’s¬†fantasy a reality.

Old: Capital Ice Market & Grill
New: Capital Ice Market & Grill. Must we gentrify EVERYTHING?!

Less Stuff, More Presence for 2016

My infrequency of blogging may make it hard to believe, but I actually love to journal! In fact, I maintain¬†three pen and paper journals.¬†Each¬†night, before I go to sleep, I write down what happened that day.¬†I like writing in my¬†journals because it’s fun to keep record of simple day-to-day activities. Even more than that, journaling helps me to take stock in everything I have in my life.

When I look back at entries from 2015, rarely do I find details about the Amazon Prime package that arrived or some crazy post on my Facebook Newsfeed. They are about what I made for dinner, where I walked Quailford, the yoga pose I finally did, visits from friends and family, and my feelings toward events and people. At the end of the day, if the latter is what I actually want to remember, then why do I spend so much time on Amazon and Facebook? I am not beating myself up about spending too much time on my devices. That sort of negativity gets me nowhere, but it is a realization of what is important.

At work, I¬†create¬†goals for each¬†quarter and then list out the key results I must obtain in order to achieve those goals. I’m going to do that ¬†now for my personal life: in 2016, I resolve to put less emphasis¬†on stuff and more importance on being present. In order to do that, I will learn to become a better listener. I will commit and accept¬†acts of kindness. I will show gratitude¬†with intention.

Find a Changing Table in Raleigh

Six months into motherhood and I’ve met¬†a fair set of public-facing challenges so far. I know there will be many more to come (toddler meltdowns, anyone?). But there is one that is particularly burdensome¬†to me and that is the lack of changing tables that are available when Callida and I are out and about.

How is it that restaurants provide high chairs for our little ones, but no changing tables in the restroom? I don’t really see the logic there. Sure, I change her before we go out and hope that everything stays put¬†while on our excursion, but let’s be honest: babies are unpredictable. I’ve heard of stories when moms had to change babies on their legs or on the floor. That’s not sanitary or fun for anyone involved. A clean, convenient changing table is needed. They are $200 on Amazon.

That’s why I created a Google map of changing facilities in Raleigh! Y’all know I love maps (remember my Breaking Bad¬†map?) and I also love knowing where the nearest bathroom is. ¬†It’s open to the public so anyone can go in and add a place to it using a key of varying changing table availability. Click here to check it out!

Unfortunately, the map is not super mobile-friendly but knowing Google, that will change soon enough! But for now, it is best to use this map on your desktop.

Instructions on how to use this map:

  1. Search for the place of business on this map.
  2. A green pin will appear on the map marking the location. Click “Add to Map”.step1
  3. The business will show up in the bottom of the list on the right. Click the paint bucket and select a color and shape based on the availability of changing area the business has!step2 step3
  4. Optional РEdit the business to add a description of the changing table and click save. step5
  5. And voila! The more people that contribute to the map, the more moms and dads it will help!

[MAP] Find a Changing Table in Raleigh

  • PURPLE STAR: Changing table available in women’s and men’s room or family bathrooms
  • PINK: Changing table available in women’s room
  • ORANGE: No table but some sort of changing area available
  • RED: No changing area