Sunday, November 24, 2013

Friendsgiving Day


Alright folks, I am doing something radically different this year for Thanksgiving and I have to be honest…I could not be more excited about it. I’m ditching the stress of the large family gathering and going a healthier, more intimate route by organizing my own take on the perfect holiday; Friendsgiving Day. I know there are folks out there that have done this in the past, but this really is the first year I am taking the leap and owning how I want to spend this day of gratitude. 

On the agenda for the day? An AMAZING dinner menu at BLT Steak at the Ritz Carlton in Charlotte (see photo above for the array of deliciousness). At the table? My best buddy from Austin and a few other friends that will be joining in on the fine dining, locally sourced organic foods and NO dishes when it’s all over. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. But what I don’t love is the unhealthy food traditions, arguments over why the turkey is taking so long and who forgot to bring the whipped cream and a whole host of other stressful moments that take place even when you have the most normal of families. 

This holiday diversion really represents what I have been striving for all year with my Project Revive mission. A new take on things, a healthier outlook and taking a few moments to pamper myself in a way that’s meaningful to me. I will own that I felt guilty about this decision for a few days, only natural given my people-pleaser mentality. However, once I gave myself permission to break with tradition and do what’s best for me, all that guilt just faded away. I’m looking forward to a top 10 meal and amazing company on Friendsgiving Day. Can’t wait to share updates from this new adventure!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Social Sass: Pool of Support

As I have explored Social Media more and more, I have found a few things remain the same. Firstly, there is no shortage of funny cat videos out there in the halls of social media. Secondly, when a crisis arises, I can count on my friends to provide a vast pool of support. This past week my father took ill and was hospitalized for a number of rather serious health problems. The thought of calling everyone and providing individual updates was overwhelming so my family and I took to the social media streets to share news, updates and more. The outpouring of support was a delight and I truly felt like everyone around me was sending a digital hug. I found myself feeling far less stressed out and even making comments about the awful coffee at the hospital to keep things light. The ability to check in at the hospital let friends know where I was in case they were having trouble reaching me and even better, I could keep track of my siblings and know when it was my turn to take a shift. I realize there are folks out there that feel sharing things of this intimate nature are inappropriate in the social sphere and I totally respect that. However, with our digital lives so entwined, I found a profound comfort in the online camaraderie the medium provided during a very difficult time. I know moving forward I will be far more interactive with those going through similar challenges so they know I am offering up that same pool of support. It truly does help to know friends near and far have your back! Aside, Facebook really does need an “I’m sorry to hear that button” for occasions like this…I can’t be the only one uncomfortable with “liking” a status sharing a health concern for a loved one.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Social Sass: Connect the Dots!

Facebook Friends For Real! Love you C-Money and John Pie!

 As I shared in my most recent post, I visited DC for a long weekend to visit friends and to tour a few graduate school programs. What I didn’t share was for the first time I decided to test out social media as my main vehicle for connecting the dots with everyone I wanted to see when I was in town. I know, it sounds a little strange not to send an email or place a call. But does it REALLY sound that weird? With the plethora of mobile devices in everyone’s hands social communities like Facebook, Twitter and more are as frequently accessed as email or text. So I figured, why not? The worst thing that could happen was I’d spend my long weekend touring the sights on my own. 

This next part might sound mildly creepy, but I spent a few days before my trip scanning the pages and tweets of the folks I knew I wanted to spend time with. Were they going out of town or traveling for work? Did any of them have birthdays, weddings or baby showers to attend? Amazingly, I was easily able to narrow down my larger list to the friends I knew would be in town and hadn’t publicized any plans yet. Next step was firing off a handful of Facebook messages sharing when I would arrive, my plans for school visits and soliciting some good old fashioned hang-outs (the non-Google+ kind clearly). Before I knew it I had lunch plans, dinner plans, brunch plans, coffee plans and a trip that was overflowing with friends all connected by social media. I made sure to check in at my locations, post pics and I was delighted to see how many friends followed my journey along the way even though they couldn’t be there with me to enjoy it. Now, full disclosure, I did send a few texts to folks to let them know I was running late or to confirm an address…but we’re talking 5 or 6 at most. Everything else? Social Sass, baby. Who knew…

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Live From our Nation's Capital!

First and foremost, sincere apologies for the pregnant pause since my last post! I’ve been traveling non-stop for work so things have been a little nutty with work and school. With that out of the way, I just spend an amazing weekend re-connecting with my former hometown, Washington DC. To say it was a blast would be a profound understatement! 

Beyond visiting some of my favorite places I had an amazing meal with a dear friend at a restaurant called Elizabeth's Gone Raw. A swanky, raw, vegan restaurant on L Street just past 14th Street, dinner was one of my top 10 dining experiences. For those of you unfamiliar with the raw food movement, it features unprocessed vegan foods that are never cooked over 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Those loyal to the movement believe that cooking above these temps causes foods to lose their enzymes and much of their nutritional value. Conversely, raw foods are rich in living enzymes and, believe it or not, COMPLETELY delicious. The meal featured a 5 course tasting menu with delicious treats like almond pot stickers, celery and apple sorbet, zucchini pasta with raw, rye bread croutons and a cashew, raw chocolate tart for dessert. All accompanied by an organic wine pairing. Yum-O!

I also had a chance to catch up with one of my best girlfriends at Baked & Wired in Georgetown. A foodie bakery favorite, I sipped on an exotic bean cappuccino and nibbled on a cheddar jalapeƱo biscuit all while chatting it up in the warm winter sun. People watching and conversational perfection! While I love Charlotte, I have yet to find a place like this that offers such a funky flare to its neighborhood constituents. One in a million for sure!

More to come on the visit this week, but I will leave you with this…road trip, fun and friends and I still lost 2.5 lbs. Yeah, I’m that good.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Social Sass: Remember When?

For all its amazing advantages, connecting with friends old and new, learning from influencers, participating in the great debates of our time, I have to go on record saying that I miss some of the offline magic I used to take for granted. Case in point? The picture above. I stepped away from my desk at work today to grab coffee and to pop in on a conference call and came back to a plain old post it note from one of my besties. Just a simple sentiment inquiring after…well it’s evident from the post-it. And it occurred to me that with all this technology including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, I can’t remember the last time I just wrote someone a note. Life is so busy I often choose text or instant messaging to meeting for coffee or lunch.  I hit the like button in favor of stopping by someone’s desk to congratulate them. I comment on a blog rather than commenting at the real life water cooler. I am sure we all do this without even thinking these days. 

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade the fun of social media for anything. I just have to wonder what real-time connections we’re missing out on because we don’t take a break now and then to write one of our buddies a cute little note (This one made my day in case you couldn’t tell). For example, how much people watching do we miss in a restaurant because we’re so busy taking photos of our food and checking in with a status update?  Are we so busy tweeting from a concert that we forget to watch the band? Granted I am sprinkling a little dramatic fairy dust here to make a point, but this little note did something for me today besides make me smile. It reminded me that I need to walk over to a friend and give them real, live thumbs up once in a while and revel in the real-time-offline conversation that we all took for granted once upon a time.