Inevitable Quirk

I find it easiest to break the ice by embarrassing myself in front of people I don’t know. Go big or go home as I always say! So you’re about to read some of the weirdest things about me. I’m all about the quirk. No shame.

I was on a traveling puppet team in elementary school. I took auditions very seriously squeezed a tennis ball for a week to strengthen my hand muscles. Commitment. 

80% of my memory capacity is taken up by song lyrics.

Aaron Carter was the first love of my life. I know how to pick em.

I’m growing a mean cat shirt collection. I’ve got big plans. 

Don’t turn on “Thriller” at a party and expect me to remain calm.

I can’t go a whole day without cleaning my ears. I know it’s bad for me and I’ll probably be deaf by 40.

I can recite the movie Elf effortlessly. I’ve seen it approximately 43,567 times.

I’m either late or I’m not coming.

My burps often sound like baby pterodactyl barks.

Few things bring me more joy than baby animal videos.

I can’t whistle. Doesn’t matter who tries to teach me. I’ve accepted it.

 

Embrace your quirks because perfect is boring. The world needs your authenticity!

That’s all for now on this premier episode. Tune in next time!

 

*Searched for available corgi puppies and watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s while writing this blog post*

P.S. I’ve watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s three times and I still couldn’t tell you the plot line.

 

“Palms are Sweaty, Knees Weak, Arms Are Heavy…”

I am going to be that girl that celebrates the “First Dateaversary” because I worked pretty damn hard for a long time to snag a date with this hunk. I’d been swooning over Jake for several months….longer than I’m willing to admit on record. I was the girl that sat in the back of class and admired him from afar, a stone cold fan girl. But he still hangs out with me – WIN.

To celebrate two years of adventures, I thought it might be fun to get our perspectives on our first date and share them with you…so here goes nothin’!

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HIS:

Driving to Fort Atkinson, WI for my first date with Allie was full of all kinds of emotions. I was terrified, nervous, cautious, and thrilled. This was the girl I had been talking with for months and the girl I had always wanted get to know. I knew she was fun and I knew I liked her but I couldn’t stop thinking about what could go wrong.

What if she doesn’t like me? What if she doesn’t like the show? What if she notices I completely sweat through my deodorant already?

When I parked my heart was already pounding. I couldn’t wait to see her. We had both driven 45 min for this first date and we hadn’t seen each other in awhile. I got out of my car I could feel myself getting hot and breathing faster. Every step started to shake a little more than the last.

After walking in and enjoying our meal, I found myself lost in conversations and laughter. The whole vibe felt effortless. It was fun, exciting, and all feelings of nervousness and cautiousness melted away. I had to pretend to like the nasty raspberry dessert cheesecake because she lit up when the waitress brought it to us–later to find out she hates cheesecake just as much as I do!

I wasn’t in the best stages of health but she never mentioned it.. She didn’t look at it as a definitive feature of my presence but rather looked straight through it–right to the core. I thought to myself: “This girl is something special.”

As we walked back to our cars I was dreading the goodbye. I didn’t want it to end. One thing will forever stick in my mind though.

While we tried to drag out the farewell as much as possible, I will never forget her squealing in excitement looking at a small hill on the edge of the parking lot that was full with dandelions. I leaned against the hood of my car–trying to act cool like Danny Zuko from Grease– watching this girl dance through the flowers. She twirled and smiled at me. In that moment, I knew that I had just witnessed the beginning of an extraordinary adventure.

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MINE:

Two years ago today, I put on this exact little black dress and my favorite shoes to go on a first date with my dream guy. I’d spent hours picking out the perfect outfit. I tore every dress out of my closet and got a pep talk from my mom.

 

We had this date planned for almost two months. Jake had made all the arrangements at a dinner theater in Fort Atkinson, WI. I didn’t know what to expect. I had never even heard of the show Sister Act so I Googled the plot beforehand.

I sang to Aaron Carter (the first love of my life) at the top of my lungs on the drive there to drown out the nerves. I was absolutely terrified. I have about as much game as a toaster and I hadn’t been on a date in over a year.

He showed up in a suit that was a little too big and it was the sweetest thing. Who wears a suit on the first date?! (Fellas, if you want to impress a girl, you wear a suit on the first date.)

He looked at me with excitement and admiration in a way that nobody had ever looked at me before. He was kind, chivalrous, and had the most calming presence. He made me feel important and valuable. Instead of taking control of conversation, he asked about me and truly cared about the answers. It didn’t feel forced or awkward and there was never a shortage of conversation or laughs.

I don’t remember anything about the show or what was said. But by golly I got the guy…5 months later!

I knew long before our first date that he was my person. This is just the beginning.

 

My Momma and My Momma’s Momma

My momma and my momma’s momma (Nana) sat down over wine and talked about life and motherhood. I can think of no better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than digging deep with laughs and even some tears. 

 

What is the best thing about being a mom?

MOM –  Seeing your kids becoming a better person than you are and more successful. Because that’s what you want as a parent.

NANA – I would have to agree. I think there’s incredible fulfillment in seeing your children become contributing high functioning human beings.

MOM – What I’ve learned from you guys that I wish I would have learned when I was younger is to follow your passion and somehow discover that before you’re middle aged. 

 

What was the hardest thing about being a mom? The most rewarding?

NANA- The hardest thing about being a mom is not feeling like you did everything that you could have done. Also dealing with your own measurements of your abilities as a mom. The most rewarding is seeing the fruits of your labor. Your kids don’t grow up to be good people by accident. They don’t just happen to become responsible, contributing, loving people. They’re formed into that.

MOM- The hardest thing is the worry. It doesn’t stop. I’ve heard that it’ll never stop. Sometimes you have to let your kids go through difficult times. I’ve learned with different experiences how much you get involved and how much you don’t.

NANA- And seeing your child in pain. Physical, emotional pain. It’s like someone’s cutting your arm off.

 

How did being a mom changed you?

NANA – For me, I became a mom so young that I don’t know who I am as an adult not being a mom. So I don’t know that I can say that it changed me. It’s just part of who I am.

MOM – I think it made me more focused and responsible and I had a purpose. But I always knew that I wanted to be a mom. But I always thought I would have three kids. Two boys and a girl.

NANA – Right. Me too. I just got an extra boy. Boys are less drama than girls, but harder to keep alive. (laughs)

 

 

As a mom, what was one of your most proud moments?

NANA – WOW I’ve had SO many. My cup runneth over if you will. My kids have made me proud in a million ways a million times.

MOM – I would agree. I can’t pick just one

 

Favorite motherhood story?

MOM – I don’t have a particular story but I think seeing the different personalities that you and Ryan have. You’re more outgoing but Ryan is a little more reserved. And then how you were into dance and choreography really young and that was it and you stuck with it. Ryan was so different. He would try everything and finally settled on football.

NANA – I definitely have favorite memories for each of my kids. There are so many funny stories that come to mind.

 

If you could go back to any decade, where would you go back and why?

MOM – I would say the 90’s. That’s when our family was born. It was just such a fun time. 

NANA- A lot of good things happened in the 90’s

MOM-  Even in the documentaries you watch, even in terms of world events it was pretty calm.

NANA- You got married, I got married, Allie was born, Rylee was born, Ryan was born. We built a house. The 90’s were good.

MOM – And we didn’t have phones. We didn’t have any money to speak of but it was good. We had so much fun. Lots of laughs. It just seems like life was a lot simpler then.

 

If you could go back and give advice to your 20 something self-what advice would you give?

MOM – I think I would have said a couple of things. Forget about the boys. Go off, go way to college, and travel. I couldn’t imagine going to New York City at age 20. It just never crossed my mind. I love the idea of traveling, I just hate flying. But I would say go out there. 

NANA – The grass isn’t greener. Nobody has the right to keep you in a place for their own convenience. Ask for help. 

 

 

So would you consider yourself a perfectionist and how do you deal with that?

NANA- I think I used to be a perfectionist. I used to be really hard on myself and really hard driving in every aspect of my life. Then life slapped me around a little bit. Now I just roll with it. I’ve adopted the “The world won’t end if I don’t do this perfectly.” I’ll do my best and it’s not worth killing myself over.

MOMMA- I try and focus on my goals and what I’m doing. I just try and reel it back in. Still definitely a perfectionist but I try and prioritize.

 

How do you stay inspired?

NANA – I’m mostly inspired by great ideas. Just innovative, great shit. It just energizes me. I love big thinking out-of-the-box shit that works. It’s gotta work though. If it doesn’t work then it’s not a great idea. Its intoxicating for me.

MOMMA – I have to say I’m kind of going through a period right now where I’m really trying to get that inspiration. I went through burnout. Massive burnout in the last two years. Now I’m kind of working on what inspires me now.

NANA – Sometimes that takes work and it’s really hard. You wouldn’t think so. But sometimes it takes some real soul searching.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the fabulous mommas out there!

 

 

Lady Cave 2.0

Welcome to my humble abode!

I’m so excited to take you through my new little place in Madison, WI. My mission was to truly love every piece of my apartment.

While it is still a work in progress, I couldn’t be more thrilled with the progress. It’s starting to feel like a home!

 

Couch from Ashley Furniture // Rug and white fur throw pillow from TJ Maxx // Coffee Table was found at Goodwill for $6! // Vase was $5 at Goodwill // Lamp was originally from Walmart and I spray painted it gold // Lamp shade from Target //

I absolutely had to have this amazing gray tweed couch. It was a love at first sight and my big girl furniture purchase. I told myself if I purchased that piece, everything else in the apartment had to be free or thrifted. So far so good!

 

(Left to Right) The large Brooklyn Bridge photo was taken by my cousin Will of his wife Lena // The gold hands print is by my friend Katie Boeckman // The Kate Moss print is from Etsy in a frame from Michaels // The black and white piece in the lower right corner is also by Katie Boeckman // Charcoal ugly selfie piece is of yours truly by yours truly.

 

Can we all take a moment for the perrywinkle chair?! The cat throw pillow was stolen from a friend’s apartment in college // Round purple pillow is World Market // Casted dancer sculpture is from my grandad’s antique shop in Stevens Point, WI //

 

One of the reasons I fell in love with this apartment was this sweet little spiral staircase. The 5th star squeaks just a little.

 

This piece has some intense meaning to me and guess what…it was found in the dumpster! After having a hard time in the self love department, I decided to write things I loved about myself and put it up somewhere I could see it everyday. It now sits above my desk.

 

Another one of my favorite parts about this apartment is the storage space!! This amazing walk in closet houses my very own little boutique. All of the items you see here (besides the dress form) can be found on sale on my POSHMARK closet!

 

It’s all in the details ammirite? These little fellas can be found at Target!

I’m adding things I love everyday and can’t wait to share the progress with you.

 

Taking on Mad City: 5 Things I’ve Learned in Transition

Photo by Anna Marie Photography

 

A month ago today I packed up my life and moved to Madison, WI.

I felt trapped since I graduated from college 2 years ago. I was working a job that was draining me mentally, physically, and emotionally. I dreaded getting out of bed every morning and would go to bed immediately when I got home. My creative drive was gone. The cherry on top? My car was totaled in an accident and I was finishing up physical therapy treatment for whiplash.

Perfectionism kept me in the same place. I didn’t want to make the wrong move and fail. My next move had to be spectacular or I felt that I wouldn’t be able to justify it. I put so much pressure on myself that I settled in my comfort zone.

On a Tuesday night in early January I got a call from a dear friend about a job opportunity at a non profit in Madison whose mission is to “Connect, inspire, and empower women.” SAY NO MORE. I applied and my interview was 2 days later.

After being offered the position and had two very clear options on the table:

  1. Stay unhappy but comfortable financially.
  2. Be happy and uncomfortable financially.

It was time to jump out of my comfort zone.

I quit my job and had two weeks to pack up my life, find an apartment, and hightail it out of Rockford like a bat out of hell.

Suddenly, I found myself with a new car in a new city, living in a new home, and starting a new job.

I’ve learned 5 really important things in making this big transition:

  1. The universe hears your cries for help and will clear your path for you. All you have to do is show up.
  2. Doubters will be perfectly placed in your life to push you a little bit harder.
  3. If it’s not a “Hell yes!” its a “NO.” I apply this rule to most everything.
  4.  It is ok to ask for help. (I had to swallow my Leo pride for this one.)
  5. I doubt myself every day and I shouldn’t because I am brave as hell.

 

I’ll be honest, Madison was never on my list of ‘next step’ places and the transition has not been easy. In fact, it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do and I couldn’t be happier.

Here’s to creating the life you love to live.

Weekend in the Windy City

There’s something about getting lost in a big city that always leaves my heart rejuvenated and full. The windy city definitely did not disappoint, especially after serving us all of the looks after the first snowfall of the year. I am so excited to share some of these photos with you after our little weekend getaway. I should definitely get in the habit of taking more photos when we go places…

 

Love you fiercely,

 

Allie

 

Photos by Jacob Kujawa and yours truly.

4 Creative Questions to Ask in an Interview (…and 4 questions to AVOID)

So you nailed the interview and then the very last, best question hits.

“Do you have any questions for me?”

First of all, the worst thing you can say is “Nope! I think that’s it!”

So what should you ask?

Going into an interview you should already have a good idea of what you want in a work environment and where you work best. That being said, it is important to ask thoughtful, insightful questions. Consider it an interview for both parties and an opportunity for you to shine.

1. What do you do to encourage creativity in your team?

If you are a creative like me, it is important to have a boss/supervisor/mentor that understands how creatives work. They are different than your typical entrepreneur. They’re definitely not accountants and should not be treated as such.

2. Would you consider this work environment to be collaborative or independent? 

This is where it becomes important to know exactly what you want in a job. Do you want to be able to bounce ideas off of other people or would you rather come up with the magic on your own?

3. How do you keep your team focused?

Hiring managers obviously aren’t going to tell you if they intimidate their team to get shit done. But you can definitely tell if they are trying to intimidate YOU when answering the question.

4. As a manager, do you believe it is important to focus on strengths or strengthen weaknesses?

This will give a lot of insight into the kind of manager they are and this the kind of work environment you should expect. It comes down to focus and what you are hired to do. You should be hired for your strengths but in many cases, you may be expected to focus more energy on things you aren’t good at so they can make sure they made a well rounded investment in you.

So lets just bring it home with some of the not so great questions to ask in an interview.

AVOID questions like:

  1. What is a typical day like in this position?
  2. What do you love most about your job?
  3. What are the best and worst things about the job?
  4. What does the salary package look like?