“I do” [tips from me to you]

[Note: We just celebrated our one year anniversary… which means that this post has been in the works for a long time… I might even edit it periodically as I remember  helpful tidbits you can learn from (or laugh at). Enjoy!]

So, it’s your big day. That’s what everyone tells you. What are your colors? Bow ties or ties? Indoor or outdoor? Rustic or classic?

IMG_0262Our biggest fortune was that my husband and I wanted the same type of wedding. We talked through all the details together (we got one of those binders that makes sure you cover every single detail… it was actually pretty helpful! But you can find a lot online; I just like organize-y things, and now it serves as a scrapbook of sorts).

Pinterest: To tell you the truth, I got a Pinterest years ago when my cousin invited me (was it invite only back then?) and she had a “wedding ideas” board. And then I had a wedding ideas board. Nope, I wasn’t even dating anyone. That’s when it started. Country, rustic, hay bales, and mason jars were in. And I loved them. Fortunately that style lends itself to a very DIY approach. (Which also translates to “you can spend a lot of money for Etsy to make things or you can do them yourself and enlist a lot of help from family and friends). Fortunately the DIY look is still very much my style, and still trending, which was good because I still wanted it to be DIY and I didn’t want to spend a ton of money.

But we did. We did spend a ton of money (not in the grand context of weddings, but more than we thought we would). In the wake of [finally] paying off what we called our “wedding credit card” after about 8 months, here is my timeline, tips, and what I’ve learned:

13517496_10208045363666240_2266987436194014577_oSET A BUDGET (and decide on guests):
We didn’t. We sort of did. But didn’t really. We had an idea of how much big things cost (music, photography [thank goodness for family friends], venue [WAY more than we realized… just pray you have a friend with a barn who knows someone in catering who will supply linens, tableware, chairs, and tables…]) and we felt like we knew where we could cut corners (ideas from Etsy, but designing invites and fans ourselves), but things add up really quickly (guest gift bags at the hotel [not necessary, but cute]; bridesmaid gifts [I think they’re necessary… these girls are spending money on you as well]; groomsmen gifts [to point them in the right grooming or stylistic direction]; trips to Michael’s for thank-you cards [and 20 other cute wedding details that end up in your cart]; fake candles [and batteries!]; stamps for invitations; etc.).

Guests:
This was probably the most stressful part. If I invite this friend, why not invite that whole group of friends? If I invite this family friend, the others are going to wonder why they weren’t invited. If I don’t invite this family member, shit might hit the fan. Brian and I made a really hard decision to let my big, close, and geographically closer family take up most of our invites. We thought we were going to fly out East and do a mini celebration with all of that side of the family since they’re all within a few hours of travel from each other, but… finances didn’t work out and we never did that. This is still one of the harder parts, but looking back, we did what we thought would be best and easiest for everyone. And it was still an amazing group. (And we would have needed a bigger venue and budget to invite everyone we wanted to!)

There are a bunch of good resources out there to help you determine who you should invite to the wedding (1. Have you talked to them recently, 2. Would they invite you to their wedding, etc.) (Plus ones are harder… we customized our reply postcards to make it as clear as possible that you have one line to write your name because we only have one chair for you).

Start early:
Invite girl friends to your pinterest board.
Pro Tip: actually go back through and look at your board or else you’ll end up like me and go “ohhh that was a better idea than [insert less cute idea here].”

IMG_2206Picking a date:
We got engaged in early August. By the time we called our parents later that day, we already had a tentative date picked out. DON’T FEEL PRESSURED TO PICK A DATE. EVERYONE WILL ASK YOU. Just say “Sometime next year, maybe in the fall” or some season that sounds far enough away to not make you sweat too much. Or just say “we’re still caught up in the moment–we’ll keep you posted.

Picking the month: We picked July because it was during my summer break and I would have June to do last minute things. This was great. If you can, time it during a slow time of work for at least one of you. For teachers or people in education, I’m guessing you’ll enjoy a summer wedding as well. Unless you want to do a precious snowy ceremony. Obviously you need snow for that.

Then we picked the day we did (Saturday, July 9) because of the following factors:

1) Couldn’t do near a holiday as lots of folks who work retail have those times blacked out. No one can take vacation. And a lot of people have holiday plans that they don’t want to miss (but they might if they REALLY like you).
2) Consider the cost of flights for people if half of your family (or pretty much everyone you know) is going to need to fly. Are you planning during a peak travel season for your city/area? Is there a major airport or is everyone going to need to fly and drive? Will everyone need to rent a car? (more on this below). If someone flew out that morning due to work or lower flight costs, could they make it?
3) Afternoon wedding: Although it was more expensive, we picked the afternoon option because we didn’t want people to get drunk at 10 am and have the party over by 2 pm. It works for some. It works for church weddings. But it wasn’t what we were going for. We also realized if people wanted to, they could fly in that day and make it to a 6pm ceremony (and I didn’t want to wake up at 6am to start hair and makeup… because, let’s be real: ew.) (This was actually the best decision we made; we were running around the night before until 1 am and actually ate Taco Bell for second dinner at around midnight. We were STILL running around doing errands the next morning. No, we did not have a wedding planner.. it just wasn’t where we wanted to spend our money.
4) We also picked July 9 because that was when the venue was available.  Brian found the most perfect site, we loved the venue, distance from our home/airport/the city, and wanted to make it work.

July 9 in the afternoon it was!

L1009087More on picking the venue:
You can’t really pick the exact date before the venue because of availability, but you can go in with ideas. I told people we wanted a July wedding and everyone said “OMG YOU NEED TO BOOK NOW; IT’S PROBABLY ALL BOOKED OUT ALREADY!” People freaked us out so we went venue shopping. Online of course. Brian found our place. It was a golf course with a barn and an old white shed against which you can take pictures. They also had an on-site prep house for you to do finishing touches and get ready. We only had that space two hours before to get ready, per their event contracting, so we got ready off-site starting at noon (I’ll put my  day-of timeline in below). But two hours was just about enough. (More on what went on to make it happen below; again, DIY meant it necessitated lots of family/friend help with details day of.)

Timeline:
8am: Breakfast with Parents. This didn’t happen: I was panicking about technical difficulties with getting the music from my computer to my iPod and Brian was picking up the sound equipment with my dad.

Actual 8am: Hotel Breakfast: Waffle, eggs, potatoes, coffee, and seeing some of the guests! This was actually the perfect thing. I gave gifts out to the folks who had helped along the way (“I Do Crew” tank tops) and relaxed before heading back to transfer music from my computer to the iPod.

[10am: This was unscheduled meltdown #1: I sent a text to my bridesmaids and all it said was  “I’m in my hotel room. Help.” When they arrived, I broke down crying because I couldn’t figure out the music and I’m normally the one people go to in order to figure exactly these types of things out! I hadn’t freaked out at all yet at any point of the process, so I think a lot of this was just pent up and channeled into the first small hiccup. Don’t worry… Brian got the music onto the iPod in approximately 1.3 minutes].

Noon: Hair, Make-up, and Food. We ordered food to be delivered and drank champagne from sippy cups. We went to a blowout salon as they do hair and makeup and it was SUPER cute). I started my up-do at noon to be done first (as my friend was doing my makeup back at my hotel room) and staggered times with the other stylists for my mom, MIL, sister, and bridesmaids to start at 12, 1, and 2. I think everyone was done around 2:30 since the staff was amazing. It doesn’t hurt to double check that they know they are doing your hair first… my sister got called up with the last available stylist and I started to panic. I didn’t say anything. When the food arrived, I was about to go bridezilla when a stylist saw me silently tearing up and she said, “let’s see what we can do” and undoubtedly performed some black magic because within 5 minutes I was being pampered in the styling chair. Phew!

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Post meltdown #2: My amazing hair stylist getting to work and my best friend feeding me.

2PM: Make-up in my hotel room. This is where I finally got to relax. We had done a trial run and I felt like the makeup was too heavy, so I said, “do a little less eye. But I trust you.” Honestly, when everything came together, the make-up matched the dressiness and the occassion, whereas my trial was done in a t-shirt and jeans on a Tuesday. It was perfection.

3:30PM: To the Venue. ProTip: Check out what traffic might be like at the day and time the week before (Google will actually let you project forward to a specific time, but you can also just map your route a week in advance using an app). For us, there was traffic. It was stressful. The guys showed up late. And my mom got lost. But it was okay.

4PM (ish): Arrive at Venue. Bridesmaids got dressed (maybe at the hotel… memory is hazy). My mom finally arrived and she helped me into my dress. Then we took Bridesmaids & Bride photos on the bed. So much fun 🙂

4PM-literally the last minute: Set-up the reception space, outdoor sound, and little details. See below for a description of the madness.

4:30PM: Guys Get Ready. I don’t know what they did, but we had picked out boutonnieres and matching socks, so presumably they helped each other put these on. There are really cute photos of them all spiffed up. It’s pretty precious.

5PM: First Look. I am a big fan of the first look… mostly because I don’t believe in the “it’s bad luck to see the groom on your wedding day” (since he came to the hair salon to get my laptop and iPod from me and solve the music dilemma, he actually saved the day… I don’t see any bad luck there!).

5:30PM: Guests arrive.

6PM: Ceremony. WE DO!

_C1A44726:30PM: Cocktail Hour & Photos. THE PHOTOS TOOK WHAT FELT LIKE FOREVER. I do not have a ton of suggestions on how to make it go more quickly, but maybe if I had told our families the plan and we didn’t have to find people, it would have gone more smoothly… but hey, I had wedding brain and things turned out fine. (We had a list of photos we wanted and had given it to our photographer/day-of-planner slash amazing wedding savvy friend beforehand).

7PM: Romantic Alone Time. HAHAHAHA. This didn’t happen. We signed our paperwork, made our marriage basically official and then realized we needed to make our entrance because we were all starving.

7:15: Formal Introduction & First Dance.

7:30: EAT. We started the buffet and then our band announced tables (I think?) Pro-Tip: Have someone make sure you eat. I was chatty Kathy and only had half a plate of our delicious food. And maybe have someone make sure you always have a drink in your hand and that half of the time it’s water.

8:05PM: Speeches. I don’t know if this happened on time. But they happened and they were great. However… I remember crying the next day because my mom told me my brother wanted to say something during this time but we neglected to even ask if any other family members had anything they wanted to say. Still sad about that.

Warning: If you do open it up for toasts, beware of the weird relative who tells a bad drunken story. This is when you turn to your spouse of one hour and say “I’m sorry. Mom said we HAD to invite them.”_C1A5263

8:25 pm – Father/Daughter Dance and Mother/Son Dance

THEN DANCING. Friends, this was seriously the best part. Our band (The Shy Boys: if you’re in the Tacoma area, BOOK THEM). We spent a good amount of money on them, but it was worth every penny.

9PM: Cake Cutting
9:30PM: Bouquet Toss
9:35 pm – Garter Toss

MORE DANCING.

L100015310:30 pm – Formal Departure… we probably did this closer to 10:45

10:30 pm – Bar closes

11:00 pm – Clean Up Begins / Music Stops… We had already left, but so many of our friends and family helped clean up. This was such a help. This was definitely a piece I hadn’t thought about.
We also had a one-way shuttle arrive to take people back to the hotel in case folks had been drinking (we figured everyone is an adult and can figure out how to carpool or get back to the venue the next day).

11:15PM: Hotel After Party. Totally unplanned, but Brian and I were like… what do we do now? We were amped up and I hadn’t had much to drink and I wanted a beer. So I got one from the convenience store in the lobby. And as our friends and family arrived, some in cars, the rest on the shuttle, we greeted them and actually got to hang out with them. It was a great unplanned part of our big day.

Day of set-up:
I am so glad I didn’t have to help with this. Although I was asked a few times where certain decorations went, I simply replied “I don’t care: artistic license.” Brian and the boys however helped set up the sound equipment. They got a little sweaty, but cleaned up nicely.L1009293

ProTip: if people ask if they can help with anything day-of, say YES. I did and enlisted the help of “the nurses” (my mom’s old coworkers turned best friends of hers and mine) and they HANDLED IT. I had labeled most of the decorations and had drawn out what the centerpieces should look like (wood circles with lanterns and decorated mason jars with cut baby’s breath… style however looks best).

They apparently finished setting up as the first guests were arriving. My aunt and Co. even did chalk art! I am glad our photographers got photos, because I didn’t realize that this would be something that, although I put so much thought into every little detail (from spray painting and decoupaging mason jars, to making cute signs from reclaimed wood, I would not have time to really take it all in.

The Prep:13567005_10208158061763622_5423697172432120480_n
Fortunately, I had all of June to use how I wanted to spray paint pallets to my heart’s content. But things always take longer, so make sure you make the time (and space) to store everything).

Otherwise your spare square footage (and your parents’ garage) become your storage units.

The End Result:
You get married. Hopefully it was to the right person. And you’re broke for the next year. And maybe you decide to have a kid. We decided that being broke didn’t make us unhappy, so we’d just keep pursuing things that made us happy and kept us broke.

Stay tuned for our parenting chronicles: Coming August 2017.

In case you want more photos…

Favorite DIY Details:

 

 

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Centerpieces! We collected jars all year 🙂

 

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If you know someone with access to a heavy duty printer, DIY your invites! ❤ Thanks, Auntie Lynnie!

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I wanted s’mores at the wedding. So we made s’mores “bark.” Thanks to my Sister in Law, Karina! 🙂

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Old window frame and a Costco photo print!

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Found an old window on the side of the road and printed photos!

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Saw fans with the ceremony info on it on Etsy… DIY if you have a printer and a husband who will glue popsicle sticks to the fans with you!

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Again, you could buy these on Etsy… Or go to Starbucks and pick these up for $2 and then pray you have good handwriting on a curved surface!

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My favorite touch. Mom surprised us with these handmade by her. ❤ The “Love” banner is from the dollar section at Target and the rustic door belongs to our neighbor!

 

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My mom took engagement photos for us and we sent postcards (cheaper than envelopes) as Save the Dates

 

 

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Why I Write

I noticed I haven’t written on my blog in about a year. I don’t know if I’ve always known this but it became clear to me the other day: I write to help me move past something. I write when I’ve come out of a depression. Or a stressful situation. Or a long journey.

 

I don’t write when things are good. I write when I’ve come out on the other end of a learning experience.

Today, however, life is good. It has been good.

Last summer I married my best friend. Last summer we said our “I do”s on a cloudy, rainy, perfect Pacific Northwest day. Last summer moat of the “I”s became “We”s.

… and this summer, we’re having a baby.

Like I said. Life has been good. Not the kind of good that makes you look around the corner waiting for the other shoe to drop. Just the kind of good that when you step back for a minute, you smile. I like that. I like being able to share our joys with our friends and family and have them smile too.

But it wasn’t all sunshine. Nope. The clouds were real. We got pregnant in July and then we cried in August. I went off my meds in “preparation” for a successful pregnancy (but really it was more so stubbornness and impatience) and was probably the worst human being to be around (dramatic, but I’m pretty sure Brian is a Saint for putting up with my mood swings, my short temper, and my extra vulnerable feelings.)

I like talking about meds because I was and am one of those people who believes that a good disposition and the right attitude can bring you out of a funk… yet I know full well that sometimes your brain chemistry fights every ounce of energy you devote to that end.

So, I want you to know Zoloft is my friend. We are 20 weeks along and I’m the most happy and level headed I’ve ever been, despite the hormones that are raging internally.

This baby has been great. I joke to people that “I should do this more often” as this is the best I’ve felt, since I have no migraines, no period, and I’ve had no terribly negative pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness.

The jeans are not quite fitting; a few of my dresses are too tight in the chest; and maternity pants are amazing. That’s how I know my world is changing. In another 20 weeks (more or less) my world will definitely be changed.

While we’ve had it easy, we know it will be hard. We will probably fight about things like swaddling methods, diaper changing, and whose turn it is to get up. We will probably not sleep. We will probably be in over our heads.

We will probably love every minute of it. When I met Brian, I knew he could deal with my crazy. I knew he was in it for the long haul. And we’ve since grown to look together in the same direction.

We will probably need all the help we can get, but we are probably going to be okay. That will be our new happy: figuring out life with Owen.

And that’s why life is good.

 

 

 

 

Chasing Happiness

Many of you know that I identify as a happy person. I jump at chances to thank my parents for giving me a wonderful childhood, for taking me in after I graduated with a Master’s degree and no job, for continuing to supply me with support and love (both financially and emotionally) as I started to embark on the journey of REAL adulthood.

I wasn’t one of those kids who said “Well I’m an adult now, so blah blah blah.” I once told my dad to drop me off a block away from school on the first day at my preppy high school, but he quickly shut that shit down. When I was 18 and home from college during a break, I asked to “throw a party” and when my mom and dad said “sure!” I then tried to push the boundaries and responded “with alcohol?” and again, they shut that shit down.

They gave me the right amount of rules with the right dose of common sense. They let me fail, they let me succeed, and most of all, they made sure that I learned to think on my own. To go out on a limb and try new things. They showed me how to be happy with what life hands you and how to work with it when it’s not quite what you expected. They taught me to love learning and to love a good challenge.

And they taught me to enjoy reading. To this day, a go-to gift for my mom or dad (pending room on their HUGE bookshelf they co-opted from my sister) is a good book. Because of this, I have read SO. Many. Books. (Well, I’ve started reading more than I’ve finished) (and okay, I’ve listened to many more than that–audiobooks are my newest obsession)… (But I digress).

Reading has allowed me to experience other people’s definitions of happiness. It has allowed me to question the possessions in my life… the people in my life… the values I assign to things in my life.

It led me to Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. (A hard copy, might I add!)

Happiness project cover

Why did I pick it up? I wasn’t sad or depressed or lacking happiness in my life. But it called to me. Its happy blue cover with a bluebird flying called to me. I’ve always been a sucker for a good cover. But it was the idea of the book that got me most: that happiness is a project. It’s something you aspire towards and something on which you have to work day in and day out.

I believe we all have a certain amount of innate happiness. Some people are naturally irritable, some naturally entertained (e.g., me) and find joy in small things.

What I wanted from reading this book was to be able to actually recognize all of the things in my life that are good and all of the things that are keeping me from being truly happy. Like I said, I identify as a happy person, but that doesn’t mean that I am happy all of the time. I struggle with anxiety, both social and personal (more generalized), and I live my days in a haze of side effects of ADHD. (Side note: I recently started an ADHD med and I have to say that I can actually finish things by deadlines! And stay focused! It’s GREAT. Why didn’t I cry in a doctor’s office sooner?!?!)

Basically the book has reminded me that you have to fight right. You have to try new things. You have to have an empty shelf. I still don’t, because I just put wedding related mason jars on it… but prior to that moment IT WAS AMAZING (and dusty).

If you haven’t read the book yet, go do it. Pick it up. Listen to it. Get the Happiness Journal that goes along with it. I do week-long journaling episodes where I write down all of the good for one week then get distracted again… so if I ever finish my Journal, it will be hysterical: part angsty teen, part melodramatic grad student, part struggling young adult. It’s an entertaining mix.

Anywho. Sometimes I just feel the need to get these types of literary feelings out. And sometimes I think someone else might benefit from hearing about a “happy” person who still struggles with actually being happy. So there it is.

I’ve begun my own Happiness Project of sorts and might post about it. But for now, I’m going to return to cleaning my apartment… and chasing happiness.

One mess at a time…
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33 Days

That’s how many days (says TheKnot.com) until I get to join my guy as his legally wedded wife and call myself a Mrs. fo’ life. I’ve been crafting up a storm and so many ideas have been running through my head, but in the end, there are things that matter more than the small details… like how many people we get to bring together, celebrate with, and call family. I’ll still worry about the details, but I try to remind myself to focus on the big things. Like getting the marriage certificate, so this nuptial is legal, and filing for a name change (and having to change it in 2.7 million places). But that’ll be fun and worth it.

So, yes, I’m going to take his last name. No I don’t feel contra-feminist for that. It’s kind of like getting a nickname at camp… and since I never really went to camp (well I went to Bible camp, but I don’t think they gave out nicknames… just bibles) it’s my chance to get a new name.

Other ways I know I’m getting married and it’s not just a piece of paper:

  • A colleague made a powerpoint of a presentation we’re doing in August and put “Lindsay Stoddard” as my name
  • A friend asked when we’re going to have kids. (“Soon” isn’t soon enough for people sometimes! And for us, too, sometimes! But don’t worry, we’ll do what’s right for us.)
  • I talk a lot about the future and use cute sayings like always using “We” and referring to us as “best friends.”
  • Brian said we can’t have kids ’til I learn how to clean up after myself (so I’m gonna fake it and lure him into a false sense of security).
  • I read the book “The Magic Art of Tidying Up” (the pop-novel about a Japanese culture of tidying that ANYone can benefit from) and I will say, Brian is happier when I throw clutter out and plan to create space for more fun things to put in their place… I mean…

So, people are right: a lot will change, but a lot won’t.

  • We won’t wake up the next day and have marriage figured out–we’re going to have to work on it every day. Challenge accepted.
  • We will still live on-campus in our very adult apartment in the “dorm” I oversee.
  • We will still bicker over the messes I make and how I “literally don’t see” clutter.
  • We will still like and watch different shows, one of us on the phone with earbuds and one of us on the TV.
  • I will always be too cold in the bedroom and in the car and he will always die of heat in our apartment and mess with the car temperature controls
  • I probably won’t stop using the emergency brake when I park, despite never having lived in a hilly place.
  • He will still call it a documentary a “docu-men-TAREy” when it’s totally a “docu-mentaree.”
  • We will also have to continue to make decisions that benefit us and our future. We’ve always been pretty good on this one.

I’ll have to keep working on not taking my mistakes so seriously (because I’m not that fun to be around when that happens). He’ll have to continue to deal with car/electronic/cooking-related items and I will continue to make the bed, avoid using dishes so I can blame the dirty ones on him, and surprise him by separating whites and colors whenever I do the laundry.

The fun part about us is, he likes the home-y things (my weakness) I purchase for our apartment and I actually have grown used to watching sports and paying ludicrous amounts for MLS games and beers at the stadium, which is his weakness. We share in each other’s triumphs and support each other through our mishaps.

I can’t wait to say “I Do” to a life of challenge, a life of support, a life of adventure, and a life of love with this guy.

I guess this is the part of my blog where I am no longer truly my namesake, “Girl in Like,” but rather, “Girl in Love…” and while I didn’t believe it would happen to me at some points, somewhere deep down I knew it had to… and when I met him almost 3 years ago, he was doomed from the beginning, because I wasn’t letting go.

I’ll post again soon about what it’s actually been like to try and plan a wedding “on-a-budget” — that is a whole other topic that deserves some room.

Miles of smiles,

Girl in Love

p.s. Yes, I’m 12 years old and have already practiced signing my signature with his last name:

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On Patience: Advice from the conclusion of a a successful, albeit lengthy job-search

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 10.08.06 PMSo, it’s cliché, but patience really is the key.

Two months after *nothing* came from what I thought were AWEsome interviews at a national job interviewing fair (for student affairs jobs), someone told me that “people who get jobs right out of The Placement Exchange are more likely to leave sooner or be unhappy with their experience.” This has no basis in truth, but hearing something that resembled hope or optimism at a time when I felt most vulnerable (read: I can do this job, but I haven’t convinced myself of that yet) was extremely important.

It reminded me to be patient and not give up.

Here’s what patience looked like for me:

I started my actual searching in January of my second year of grad school.
I felt WAY behind, so naturally I freaked out.

I waited until the last minute to reach out to prospective employers.
But, I only interviewed with ones I actually could really see myself working with.

I measured myself against what I saw as “all of the amazing colleagues and classmates that were better than me and probably way ahead of me and just all around more qualified than I was.”
Hint: NOT PRODUCTIVE

I job searched in only one geographic area.
Then I opened it up to the whole US (minus the parts that get humid, minus the parts where I didn’t know anyone, minus the parts where I decided weren’t close enough to a major airport)… okay, so I didn’t open it up a whole lot, but if you know me, you know I can’t do humidity.

I focused on the (very cool) job that I really wanted: residence hall director. Me and about 2,000 other applicants apparently.
So then I opened it up to jobs that I could “deal with,” which just meant that I felt like I was ignoring my mission and my initial goal of being the coolest and most supportive RD ever…

I only cried when I was feeling really hopeless.
So about once a day was all I had time for 😉

I called home and asked if I could move back in with my parents.
They said if my brother didn’t beat me to it, it was all mine.

I made plans to job search from the Pacific Northwest, as that was where I wanted to be.
I left the guy I had really fallen for, but we stayed together because, as we both agreed, it would only be a month or two before I knew where I’d be working come September…

HAHAHAHAHA.

It was 6 months.

6 months of wondering why I didn’t yet have a job.

6 months of being able to spend precious time with my family.

6 months of agonizing over comparing myself to others.

6 months of hanging out with my dog.dog and lindsay

6 months of applying to jobs while hanging out with my dog.

6 months of worrying.

6 months of getting to again appreciate how hard my parents have worked and how much they care about their kids.

6 good months even though everything was up in the air.

However, during 4 of those months I was able to work for my alma mater while my amazing friend, mentor, and soul-sister became a mother. And that’s pretty neat.

The best part is that during those same 4 months I actually continued to strengthen some of the things I had been trying to learn in graduate school: how to work with people who think/work differently than me; how to address conflict; how to take criticism constructively; how to supervise individuals, not a team; and most importantly, how to trust in my self and my abilities.

I think I will always still be working on that.

Anyways, fast forward to a few months into my first “big-kid” gig and I’m happy, yet I struggle; I’m challenged, yet I feel supported; I’m comfortable, yet I push myself; and I’m learning… which is everything to me.

Oh, and Brian found his job within 10 minutes of meeting a “connection.”

How do I get one of those? 😉

So, patience, my friends, looks very different for every one of us. In my journey, I didn’t feel I had a choice (as in, I wasn’t getting job offers and turning them down in order to “wait for something better” type of patience), but I didn’t settle and I didn’t ever truly commit to something that wouldn’t fulfill me. I painstakingly waited until “the right thing came along.” And then I pounced on it, and they saw what they were looking for in me.

And that’s more awesome than getting a job right away. Sort of. That would have been cool, too. But then I’d be at some other school, with other coworkers, with a potentially annoying group of students to work with 😉 but I got mine. Patience really does pay off…

Over and out,
Employed Girl in Like

My Rear View Mirror

Rearview Mirror

Not going to lie… I totally had to google Mr. Marshall McLuhan and as with all things in my life on which I’ve I’ve spent time, I don’t regret it. McLuhan was a Canadian communication theorist. If you didn’t know, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and theory. 

So I love theory.

I love the way it sort of explains everything without predicting, without excusing, without generalizing. If it generalized, it would be called a fact, not a theory. A theory leaves room for much, much more creativity, e.g., the theory of evolution or the big bang theory. We’re constantly discovering more and more about our selves as a planet, a (human)race, and as an evolving system. We can look to our past to see what might be in store for our future.

This isn’t always that easy.

For me, this has meant realizing that all of my “big” life journeys came at the last minute.

I was the last person accepted into my high school, where there were only, like, twelve spots. I was easily the least naturally talented person to make the cut for my HS varsity basketball team. I somehow made the “first-chair” spot on the Los Angeles Youth Honors Orchestra that got to play at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood after having only played for a few years. 

I chalked all of these things up to luck. Or mistakes, at best.

I did this with my graduate school opportunity as well.

I was the last person, or so goes the story that I know, that was offered a spot in a program of fifteen graduate students. I was also the person who I saw as being “least qualified.” I thought to myself throughout most of my two years, did they make a mistake? Was I their last resort? Even when comforted by friends in the program who told me that I deserved to be there, I told myself, well, even if I am here by mistake, I’ll make the most of it.

Why? Maybe I can attribute it to the theories I’ve read and identified with: theories of the female psyche, low-confidence, impostor-syndrome, and why we as women typically don’t ask for raises or don’t boast about our attributes. Theoretically.

Theoretically I should have been telling myself during this job-search process that, historically speaking, I haven’t ever gotten things “on-time” or according to (my) plan. 

My plan has been to be really organized and have things come easily. (Insert privilege-recognition here).

I HAVE had it relatively easy, but that hasn’t taken the place of some good old fashioned work-ethic, a few thousand dollars worth of loans, and a family that has pushed me to pursue what makes me happy, even if that means a few tears here and there when it doesn’t seem to be working out.

This summer has been an emotional roller coaster of excitement, disappointment, patience, and persistence. 

I don’t think it’s been what any one would call easy, but I do remind myself every day that I am so lucky to be surrounded by a family that can and has been supporting my unemployed self. (Again, insert privilege-recognition here).

I have loved helping out with groceries, IMG_6030 taking care of/hanging out with my sister, IMG_5821 leisurely going on hikes with my parents, and attending all sorts of local entertainments that I didn’t make time to do while I was in college. IMG_6038

It’s a weird feeling to be perfectly happy with all of the above, yet feel discomfort at the fact that this was not my plan. I did not want to be a boomerang child. I did not want to move back home. I did not want to free-load off my parents (although they keep telling me that if I was being paid for my work with my sister, it more than covers the cost of me living here). I simply want my “plan” to work.

But as with all things in my rear view mirror, I should know that these things take time. 

I committed to looking for a job in Residential Education IN the Pacific Northwest to be able to be close to my sister, my brother, his wife, and my parents. I committed to that because of my goals for myself, for my career, and for my own mental happiness (for whatever reason, rainy weather totally is my happy place). So here’s to commitments and patience.

Oh, and apologies in advance to my dear boyfriend, Brian. I hope you will grow to love the rain as much as I do. ❤ I’ll buy you a good raincoat when I’ve officially stolen you from the northeast and gotten that full-time job.
Patiently excited, girl in like signature

The Art of Accepting Your Rejection Call

Prepwork: Drink a lot of coffee so you can stay up late applying for jobs.
IMG_5690

Step 1: Apply to a lot of great jobs in your dream field with your dream degree that you just earned.

Step 2: Keep your diploma in it’s frame in the box… ready for your first office wall.

Step 3: Know that you might be in a cubicle.

Step 4: The Phone interview
1. Be exactly what they’re looking for.
2. Be yourself. But not too much of it.
3. Play up your enthusiasm for the job:
“I know that this is exactly where I want to be right now.”
Oh…. wait… that’s not playing it up. That’s my life. Yep, I do actually want to live in a “dorm” with 18 year olds, guiding them through the metaphorical $hit storm that is life.
4. Show them that you DO have weaknesses, when they’re actually strengths.
“I work too hard” — Employer: GREAT You’ll fit right in!
“I enjoy long days and minimal sleep” — Employer: We have the perfect position for you!
5. End with amazing questions that they’ve never heard before:
….. Oh, wait… I don’t have any of those…
6. Wait for a call-back.

The Call-Back
Me: “Hello, this is Lindsay.”
Potential Employer: “Hi, Lindsay this is such-and-such university. We’re glad we reached you, are you free to chat?”
Me: (Totally have not been waiting by the phone jumping everytime it rings only to see on CallerID that it’s just my parents asking me to get milk or bread from the store) “Yeah, definitely.”
Potential Employer: “Just wanted to let you know that we’ve offered the job to someone else and they have accepted, so our search process has concluded.”
Me: “Yeah, oh that’s great. I’m so excited for you and your department. We’ll keep in touch. I loved getting to know you all.”
Potential Employer: “Oh you’re so great, Lindsay. You’re going to be awesome where ever you go.”

So, something like this played out for me a few days ago…

My mom woke up this morning and told me that she had a nightmare that I didn’t get a job.

I told her quickly that the nightmare wasn’t just a dream. That actually happened yesterday 😉

Being my ever optimistic self, I know that this is just one speed bump on the way to a beautiful road trip. So, here’s to new beginnings. Again. And many more amazing opportunities to come.

Good luck to all my friends in the midst of job searches.
We ARE amazing and we all are going to be great.

We just have to convince the employers of this small detail 😉