Note From the Universe

There's nothing challenging that has ever happened in your life that one day you won't look back upon with deep gratitude.


Note from the Universe

Be there. Go there now and never leave. Imagine that your dreams have already come true. Live your life from that mindset. Predicate your behavior on that reality, not the illusions that now surround you. Filter every thought, question, and answer from there. Let your focus shift and be born again - because dwelling from, not upon, the space you want to inherit is the fastest way to change absolutely everything.


Note from the Universe

Sometimes when you've had a difficult day, or met difficult people, been let down, disappointed, or heartbroken, it's easy to completely forget the most important thing of all... you're alive.


Steve Jobs on Not Settling for Less

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."


Flashback: Daily Candy 2008 Halloween Lexicon

These are too good to be left out of the Halloween season, and a DC Lexicon always makes me chuckle.

n. The effect of constantly being startled by the number of revealing costumes surrounding you. (There’s so much cleavage in this room, I’m getting the boo-bies.)

candy rapper
n. The smooth-talking little kid who “trades” with all the other kids for the best loot.

n. The overcoat you inevitably have to wear every year, which totally kills your costume.

monster mesh
n. The effect of too-tight fishnets.

v. When you decide to go as yourself, only sluttier.

vampire weekend
n. The massive 48-hour hangover that comes from attending too many Halloween parties.

veepie crawler
n. One of the hundreds of Sarah Palin/Tina Fey costumes you’ll spot this year.

n. That ho who copied your witch costume.

wicked witch
n. Just a regular witch. In Boston.


Red, Red Wine

Last Christmas, I finally broke down and bought a decanter since James and I have been enjoying more red wine. I love the decanter, despite its slightly awkward pour near the end of the bottle, but I have often struggled with cleaning it, especially if someone ::cough, cough, James:: didn't rinse it properly after use. After a bit of Googling, I found a solution that worked so well, it wouldn't be right not to share. A mixture of lemon juice and salt - I used about 1/8 c lemon juice and 1 tsp. salt -- gently swirled around the vessel took off the red wine reside without soaking for longer than it took to put the ingredients away. The directions cautioned against using too coarse of salt or swirling too briskly, for fear of scratching the glass, but you honestly don't need to. Definitely a keeper!


Steve Jobs on Print Media

"I don't want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers. I think we need editorial oversight now more than ever. Anything we can do to help newspapers find new ways of expression that will help them get paid, I am all for."


Lessons from Our Marketing Summit

Last month, I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend my company's marketing summit, which included many types of marketers from around our business and the world. We had a packed couple days, and the time spent helped spark some new ideas and relationships. Some of the takeaways I felt most beneficial are below. I've been told before that you have to ask, and an important part of asking is framing up the WIIFM for the person of whom you're asking something. Our CMO presented a framework that puts more structure around the process of asking, and I like that it's direct and brief. I guess he wants us to spend more time actually doing something rather than just talking about if/why we can!

1) Frame It - so other people can understand what you're doing & what you're asking of them (it's about discipline)
2) Make It Better - solicit input and feedback from trusted resources (it's about humility)
3) Overcome Obstacles - What do you need to overcome and how are you going to do it so that you can gain consensus? (it's about persistence)
4) Sell It - the best way to persuade a decision maker (it's about commitment)
What other steps or information do you think are important to include when asking for something at work?

Other general ideas that jumped out at me included:
- Create experiences for your customer, client -- whomever you are serving. The speaker’s example was the Library Hotel in New York City, which seems pretty awesome if you ask me!
- To successfully offer mass customization, you should modularize your offerings. This way, you can build and deconstruct, almost as though you're using Legos.
- Logic => Magic => Ignition
- Good ideas aren't about the, "Ah ha!" moment. They come from slow hunches and require long, slow development and clarification.



the product of limited time, well spent

Not that I was a Steve-aholic, but there has obviously been an outpouring of content about and from him floating around of late, and you'll see some of it surfacing here. I thought this post from John Gruber via Dooce provided a different perspective and a simple, powerful insight: we also should aim for our lives to be the products of limited time, well spent.


Steve Jobs on Innovation

"Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it."


C-town of the South

We're headed to Chattanooga tomorrow to spend the night with friends/celebrate a birthday, and I am so excited. Chattanooga reminds me a lot of Akron, and I love going to enjoy the slower pace of life AND see Ruth! The birthday boy requested Halloween-themed beverages, so I decided to whip up some tasty desserts to compliment. How cute are these?
I'm so proud! And pumped for a fabulous weekend! xoxo


Note from the Universe

Absolutely fabulous is only ever a thought away. Think it!


Procrastination is a Dirty Drug

Since I have been falling victim to procrastination of late, I thought this article from the Harvard Business Review blog was quite timely AND helpful! Paraphrased....

Ways to Avoid Procrastination
1. Figure out what's holding you back
Ask yourself why -- is it something you don't like to do or something you don't know how to do? Once you've identified why you've put something off, you can break the cycle and prevent future bouts of procrastination.

2. Set deadlines for yourself
Create a schedule with clear due dates for each piece. Small wins make the work more manageable and contribute to your sense of progress.

3. Increase the rewards
Focus on short-term rewards and/or embed the reward into the task itself.

4. Involve others
Ask for help, turn to a trusted colleague or a friend or look for an example as a starting point. Share what you are working on and hold each other accountable.

5. Get in the habit
It's a habit you can cultivate.


Note From the Universe

It's as if before you there are countless doorways, all leading to new and different hallways. So you wonder and think, calculate and stress, over whether or not you'll knock on the "right" one.

But what you can't yet see, is that all of the hallways beyond all of the doorways eventually lead to the same great room, in the same great house, with the same great party.

So, may as well pick the one you want? Huh?


Note From the Universe

There is perhaps, no greater debilitating belief than thinking there are elements of your reality that you cannot control - be they fate, karma, the influence of other people, your stars, your palm, your loves, your looks, your personality, your intelligence, your sense of humor, or chocolate.

You simply decide everything, moment to moment.


Note From the Universe

Two of the most important questions for all aspiring rock stars are:

- How big do you want to be?
- What are you now doing about it?

"Rock stars" being metaphoric for "be happier." I just didn't want to immediately flip you out.


Flank Steak & Cheese Sauce

In July, we went to St. Maarten with my dear college friend, Melissa, and her husband, Mark. We stayed on the Dutch side by Cupecoy, which is very near the French border on the opposite side of the island from the cruise ships (good choice!). On our first full day, we were headed on a drive around the 37-square-mile island when we came to Grand Case, which is supposed to have the best authentic French food on the island. It was just lunch time so we weren't scoping full meals (except James, who is, of course, always hungry) but we scored front-row beach chairs at a nice looking restaurant on the water. It was the perfect place for sun, a dip in the clear blue bay, Carib beer and flank steak.

Wait, flank steak?

Yes. As we're all munching light snacks in the 85+ heat and humidity, James ordered an all-out meal: baguettes, flank steak, noodles, cheese sauce (now that I'm thinking about it, I hope there was a vegetable in there somewhere). To this moment, James will swear it was the best thing he ever ate. He even made us go back another day, but that's another story.

The whole point of all of this is that James has developed an obsession with flank steak and cheese sauce. So one Friday after work, I was feeling adventurous and incredibly nice, so I asked James to join me at Your DeKalb Farmers Market (love!) to pick up the fixings for his favorite meal. I took some creative liberties with the help of Bon Appetit and its Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Sauce, and we had an absolutely phenomenal meal. While it was not authentic to whatever deliciousness we had in St. Maarten, the cheese sauce was to die for. The mushrooms added a little extra flavor and the chipotles gave the tiniest hit of heat at the finish. We rounded out the meal with non-descript grilled asparagus and warm bread, but the star of the sides was a Wild Arugula Salad with Garlic Croutons, Shaved Parmesan and Lemon. Even James thought was delicious, and he normally avoids arugula like the plague. It was light & fresh, and the dressing was the perfect complement to the parmesan. We also snagged a yummy, under-$10 bottle of Mouton Cadet Bordeaux, which we will pick up again. There were even leftovers for the next day, though I will caution that the fat in the cheese sauce nicely separates from the cheese sauce upon reheating, which could be a good or a bad thing.

Overall, it was a wildly successful adventure and it's re-ignited my desire to cook. Watch for more yummy dishes coming soon!


Smelling the Proverbial Roses

Last night, Ryan, James & I were debating the attributes and design of BMWs versus Mercedes - the former being Ryan's mode of transportation and the latter mine. This conversation had followed a discussion of how unfortunate it was that Ryan's parents no longer stock their refrigerator with Dom.

What happened to me?

Once upon a time, I was a small town girl growing up in a family where money was tight. I lived in hand-me-downs, and my dad worked two jobs for most of my childhood so we'd have enough money to do fun things like play softball or take our now infamous educational vacations. We drove modest cars, shopped at discount stores and rarely went out to eat without a coupon. And I didn't have any less happy of a childhood for any of this.

Now I wouldn't buy a house without granite, hardwoods and stainless steel appliances, and I HAD to install crown molding because who the heck built a condo without it? When it came time to replace my car, I didn't look at anything other than Mercedes, and my handbags have to have a designer tag. James & I think it's acceptable to go out for dinners with price tags at which my mother and father balk.

How, and when, did I become this way?

I'm still painfully proud of where I came from -- but it wasn't a good enough place to stay. I listen to country music about simple lives in small towns, and while it touches a cord in me, it does not portray who I actually am today. After working so hard to stop being so judgmental and be a better, more genuine person, I think I've lost hold of those attributes. Instead, I feel like I've gotten caught up in the drama, the city, the competitive young professional circuit... and in the process, I'm forgetting the important things in my life.

I've regained my focus on my marriage, which had been suffering until last fall but is now stronger than it's ever been. I should take it as a lesson learned that progress can be made, but it will take time and effort. I want to focus on my friendships, exploring the history & culture of Georgia, going outdoors, reading books and reigniting the passion I used to have about so many things and people in my life. I want to rediscover the hobbies I used to have and find new ones, new interests and new people.

There is so much to love, enjoy and explore as we travel through our lives, and you don’t have to be driving a luxury car to get there.

Note From the Universe

Sure, there have been surprises. Some, not so fun. But you have to admit, with hindsight, moving forward was actually easy. Something worth remembering. And there have been surprises that suddenly changed your entire life for the better, and there will be many more.


I Call Him Frank

I'm still blogging here, but.... I have started a new project. Mosey on over to I Call Him Frank, will ya?


Note From the Universe

All that you need to have all that you want will be provided, as if by magic, once you know what you want and do something about it every day.


Note From the Universe

For the earnest student, taking responsibility means never forgetting to have fun.

Note From the Universe

For the one who continues, failure becomes impossible and winning becomes inevitable.


Note From the Universe

The reason for all challenges is so that you can finally learn that none are bigger than you.


For My Momma

My parents married straight out of high school and soon found themselves with two young children and wanting a better life for their family. It was my dad who continued working so my mother could pursue her degree in education. As far back as I can remember, my mom was attending college part-time, which set an early and lasting example of the value of education and the importance of staying dedicated to a task for my sister and me.

I watched my mother start her career in her early 30s, make several tough job decisions and eventually go back to school for her master’s degree before landing her “dream job” at a low-income school – when she was nearly 40 years old. Since then, I have truly seen the amazing woman my mother is. She has become a well-respected leader in her district, a mentor to other teachers and a “mom” to many children without stable parents in their lives. When I see her at work, I am so proud to say that I am Mrs. Schelat’s daughter.

Throughout all of this, my mother also showed me how to be an all-around good person –volunteering in the community, leading my sister’s Girl Scout troop, pushing us to always reach higher, and cheering me on from the sidelines at every game, meet or competition. She is half of a 32-year marriage, an amazingly supportive daughter and is truly one of my dearest friends.

My mom may not have changed the world, but she was shaping mine. Like many others, I see it more now than I ever did when I was growing up, especially as she has now taken in my husband and his sister after they lost their own mother, and she has been just as wonderful to them as she’s been to me. My family is blessed to have her, and I am incredibly grateful every day.


Note from the Universe

In time and space, if you just look for what's right - in others, in relationships, in yourself and your journey - you'll always find it.

Same when looking for what's wrong.


Today's Three Things

1) Cornhole Boards

2) James

3) Georgia Tech. Go Jackets!

Day 17 – A Song That Makes Me Happy

This is a tough one, actually, because a lot of songs to which I feel a strong affinity do not evoke a positive emotion. I know it sounds horrible, but I think that's one of the reasons I listen to country music. For the first few months after I moved to Georgia, I would come home from work crying on a nearly daily basis because I'd heard a sad song on the radio that made me think of home and my parents. Fast-forward 3+ years and I am still listening to country, but now it simply makes me nostalgic for my small town upbringing. Even a lot of rock songs make me feel that way. I guess I'm happy with where I am, but I struggle with the contrast of where I've been.

I don't want to skirt two questions in a row, so I guess I'll have to answer most of the songs from  Katy Perry's Teenage Dream CD. I'm not normally into pop music, but her songs are catchy, and they make me want to crank it up and dance... especially Fireworks, Last Friday Night and California Gurls. Maybe it's because I think I'm a California Girl at heart?



My recommended purchases on Amazon consist of OPI nail polish, Harry Potter paraphernalia, Alton Brown cookbooks + related cooking accessories and fitness DVDs. Am I that predictable?

Day 16 – Your first kiss

I plead the fifth. It wasn't with DH, so I don't care to re-hash.

Instead, I want to say how wonderful my husband is.... I love you, boo!

Georgia Tech Football: Whiteout vs. Miami - September 2009

Oysterfest 2010

Hoover Dam - Feb. 2010

NYC - June 2010

Destin, Fla. - July 2010

August 2010

Auburn beats Alabama - November 2010

Park Tavern -  December 2010

First Anniversary, August 2008

Mini-honeymoon, September 2007

August 25, 2007

Georgia Tech - September 2009


Note from the Universe

Low days exist to remind you that you still have choices. High days exist to remind you of how fast you rebound.


Day 15 – My Favorite Movie

I don't really watch movies. One of three things happens every time:

a) I fall asleep. There was a point in time where James wouldn't take me to the movies anymore because I fell asleep in three consecutive trips to the theater. First, I fell asleep before The Watchmen even began, then I made it through about 10 minutes of Monsters vs. Aliens and then, ::gasp:: I dozed off in the middle of Harry Potter 6. If you know me, you know this is blasphemy.

2) I get bored. This usually happens when we try to watch something at home. I'm a perpetual multi-tasker, so I cannot bring myself to sit in front of the TV and ONLY watch. I have to be cleaning the house, doing laundry, etc. etc. Inevitably, I will get up in the middle of the movie and go find something else to do.

3) I get agitated. I hate suspenseful movies, and I hate movies when, funny or not, I know some kind of awkward or uncomfortable situation is coming. I get so personally agitated that I have to get up and leave until the situation has passed.

So, clearly, I haven't seen a lot of movies, and those I have are generally old or for children -- do not expect anything too deep or too advanced. For example:

- 10 Things I Hate About You - This movie came out when I was in eighth grade, and not only did I look like the little sister, the movie had a lot of parallels to my life. I wouldn't say I have the same connection to it as I used to, but it's like a long-lost part of my past of which I can't quite let go.

 - Boondock Saints - I think half the fun of this movie is the cult following, but I also love the raw, gritty filming style and the storyline that, while in an unconventional way, ultimately teaches good behavior.

- Breakfast at Tiffany's - I am not even sure when I first watched this, but I instantly fell in love. I knew what she meant the first time I walked into Tiffany. I decorated my first guest room with BaT, and my guest bath is currently Tiffany blue. I love this movie for all that is is, and for all that Tiffany is.

- Elf - I could quote this entire movie, and it never gets old.

- Elizabethtown - My college roommate got me hooked on this movie. I think the music caught me first, and the road trips solidified it. I'd give anything to drive all over all the roads this country has to offer and see the sights that time and interstates have left behind. Kirstin Dunst's carefree nature seals the deal.
- Forest Gump - I love, love, love Tom Hanks. In fact, I'd add many of his other movies to my list of favorites, such as Philadelphia, Big, The DaVinci Code, Road to Perdition, Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile... the list goes on. Essentially, he's fabulous. This movie also provides a wonderful look at American history and how even the most average person can experience and influence so much. It has a rockin' soundtrack, too.

- Harry Potter - Do I really have to explain?

- A League of Their Own - Tom Hanks! Baseball! WWII-era! All of my favorite things. :)

- Lord of the Rings - My uncle actually bought me the first two extended editions of the movies, thinking I liked them, before I ever watched either of them. James made me watch the first two and then then see the third when it was in theaters, all within two days. By the end of The Return of the King, I was crying. This is one of the few true epic stories that I've ever seen, and it has every element that a great storyline demands. The effects are spot on, the actors are phenomenal. All around a great film.

 - Talladega Nights - In my defense, I first watched and loved this movie long before I ever became a NASCAR fan. It's funny and lighthearted, and I loved cars. Now that I am slightly obsessed with NASCAR, my driver is Jamie McMurray (Losing is never fun, but here's something to keep your spirits up. It's real nice. I got it at Target. It was on sale.), AND I've been to 'dega, it's even better.

- Two Weeks Notice - Hands down, one of the funniest movies ever. I share Lucy's sarcastic sense of humor and love Hugh's accent (who doesn't?). This is a go-to for me, any time.


Today's Three Things

I've taken a hiatus from Today's Three Things for a while, but I've had a rough week and think its return is needed.

1) Sunshine & blue skies
2) Precious babies
3) My fabulous husband


Note From the Universe

The "right" circumstances, people, and opportunities are just like "good" ideas - they come to you fastest, once you relax.


Note From the Universe

There's truly nothing that need keep you from seeing the truth and choosing joy.


Note From the Universe

You're the kind of person who saves so much time every month with wise decisions, creative thoughts and simple kindness, that if you were anyone else, you'd toot your own horn, take the next week off, and stop feeling guilty for not doing more.


If I Reigned Supreme

For the 10+ years I have been driving (Eek! Has it really been that long?!), people who do not use their turn signals have been a constant point of irritation to me. Clearly, directionals became a required feature on all vehicles because they make driving safer for all of us. Just think, if everyone used their blinkers, there would be fewer instances of unexpectedly getting cut off on the freeway by non-users and you could confidently make that left turn without wondering if oncoming traffic is going straight or turning.

For these reasons, among others, if I reigned supreme, I would install a new standard feature on all vehicles that actually prevents you from turning or merging unless your turn signal is activated. If we can design cars that stop (safety feature!) and parallel park (convenience feature!) themselves, I think we can do this for both safety and convenience.


Today's Three Things

1) 500 GB Hard Drives

2) Keurig coffee pots

3) Organization


Today's Three Things

1) The Fabulous Fox Theatre

2) Taco Mac

3) Good times with good friends


Today's Three Things

1) Snow!

2) Snow Days!

3) Spontaneous QT with friends


New Years Non-Resolutions

I’ve never actually made a New Year’s resolution. They have such a bad rap, and I feel like attaching the “resolution” status makes you more likely to fail as you probably don’t start off with a true expectation of success.

I do, however, like the idea of establishing several goals for yourself for the coming year. They serve as a constant reminder of what I CAN achieve and encourage us to always reach a little bit higher or go a little bit outside our comfort zone. That being said – here are my goals for 2011.

Graduate. I was forced decided to take a semester off school this fall due to an insane number of business trips some conflicts with work, so my graduation has been delayed. While I still will be wrapping up in 2011, I’ll finish classes in December instead of May. I’m not happy about feeling refreshed after the break, so I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things and knock this MBA off my to-do list.

Travel. I got bit by the travel bug last year with all of the adventures James & I were lucky enough to take. Now I have a severe case of wanderlust and can’t wait to rack up some more frequent flier miles. The list of possibilities include:
          - Great Britain
          - Germany
          - Seattle
          - Chicago
          - Bahamas

Skydive. Ryan asked if we were interested in going skydiving, and I promptly declined. But the more I thought about it, the more interesting of a challenge I decided it would be. Plus, I’m afraid of heights, so why not?

Run. This is probably the lamest item on my list, but I want to actually use my Atlanta Track Club membership this year. I only made it to one ATC race last year, but there are about 20 5 and 10ks I could have attended. I’d like to shoot for half of them this year, and if I’m feeling really ambitious, maybe I’ll throw in a half-marathon.

What are your plans for 2011?