Friday, March 28, 2014

Dog Days of Winter

One of the things I don't regret about how I've gone through school is going home for spring break.  Let's face it, I'm broke.  I absolutely do not have the money to go to Cancun or Jamaica or Florida for a week.  Besides, Doug and I don't normally have the same break, so I don't see a point of going without him.  We spend all our vacation cash during the summer so I usually just go to Syracuse for "spring break".
This time I was in for kind of a rude surprise.  I left spring in Boston to go back to winter in Syracuse.  I drove up 90 into disgusting, crystallized, muddy snow and was really disappointed.  I was planning on a week of running in the park with my dog and sitting outside drinking beer.  55-60 degrees F is my comfort zone for outside in the spring.
Instead I'm stuck inside with 38deg freezing rain and mud.  It's really nasty and not really a mood lifter.  On top of that, being stuck at home with no friends and my siblings at school has been really boring.  I have had fun taking my baby out for a walk.  It's really nice to get some fresh air and seeing him so happy makes me smile so much.  I really miss Chip when I'm in Boston so I've been spending as much time with him as I can.

He took every opportunity to run through the mud and creek and puddles until he was a brown mess, but it was so worth it.
He's such a good boy!

What an adorable puffball!  I love him to death.  It's like I tell Doug, the only reason we get married is because dogs don't stay in our lives nearly long enough.  Who wouldn't want to be with this guy forever?  So lovable!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tennis Shoes

If you know me, you know I am VERY picky about clothes.  I might even go so far to say I'm kind of a fashion Nazi with my rules sometimes.  I never wear leggings without a really long shirt (they're not pants!), I rarely leave the house without makeup on and one of my biggest rules has been about shoes.  Tennis shoes are for working out, not wearing in public.  I have a wide collection of Bean Boots, flats, riding boots and heels to wear to class/work.
Lately though, I've been breaking that rule.  I am very ashamed, but I'm starting to see a new light.
With the Boston 5k (my first race ever) closing in fast, I've been hitting the gym as often as I can.  Since shoving my shoes into my bag has been proving tedious, I've began to wear them during the day.  This is completely redefining my world.  I've always seen tennis shoes as equipment.  They're part of gear I need for my hobbies, like my bike or my shotgun.  I don't wear my shooting vest around during the day, so why would I wear tennis shoes around?
What was born from necessity has become something I look forward to in my week.  The bright pink really pops against dark jeans, and has added a casual spring essence to my outfits.  It is also nice to not think about scuffing my boots constantly.

Being me though, I have instituted a few rules for myself.  I won't wear sneakers without makeup on, or with a sweatshirt.  I'm pretty afraid of looking like a slob.  Call it a bitch attitude or a complex about being feminine in engineering, but either way, those are rules for me now.

How about you?  Wearing sneakers? OCD enough to have clothes rules?
Also, I'm interested, do you guys call them sneakers or tennis shoes?  Being from NY with Ohio parents, I say both...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ok so now I'm growing up....

Sometimes I get in a bad habit of really working myself up about stupid things.  This week's drama is my crisis of having to be an adult soon.  I still have a year to go, but it'll come fast and I know it.   Besides, I'm a planner.  I plan things out waaaayyy ahead of time.
 As I've been struggling to find work for this summer I've started to become concerned about finding a full time job.  While I know if I sit back and wait the universe will provide, I've still been sweating about one thing.  Where the hell am I going to live?
You see, it's been a weird journey for me.  I grew up out in the boonies of New York on the edge of a state park.  Ten of the easiest, suckiest, and most influential years of my life were spent in a small town where the most exciting thing my friends and I did was push a car through the Burger King drive-through before we went to hang out at the grocery store.  Life was simple and quiet, with the biggest scandals being the dirty dancing at homecoming and the kids who broke into the school on weekends to steal milk cartons.
Then I moved to Boston.  The speed of my life picked up and almost every free weekend was a different story.  My culinary tastes expanded past Friday Fish Fry and Pavone's Pizza and into Fogo de Chao, Atlantic Fish, and Sunday brunches.  With paychecks came Kate Spade and Tiffany's as Boston became a way for me to redefine myself.  
I've eaten at more restaurants than I can remember the names of, and dropped more cash on Newbury Street than I'd ever care to think about.  I've listened to the crowds across the river cheer during the World Series, walked the Back Bay during St. Patty's day, and run along a Santa Con.  I celebrate Patriot's Day, but I know it's really only one day in the warm alcoholic Boston-fest known as Marathon Weekend.
I've began to really consider Boston my home.  This year I started calling the place in Manlius "my parents'  house" while saying I live in Cambridge.  I'd have a hard time leaving, and I'm beginning to think at least in the foreseeable future I won't be leaving.

 How about you?  Any students relocated permanently to their college town? 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Should we Ban Bossy?

Girl Scouts of America and Lean In have started a campaign to ban the word bossy.  I hope they don't mean literally (that would be weird) but highlighting the stigma of that word is an interesting idea.  The main idea of it is that by middle school most girls are no longer interested in being in leadership positions, especially over boys.  As a driven woman in the male world of engineering, I have a lot of thoughts on this.
Being a smart girl is hard.  It's really hard to find yourself when you're young.  There's a constant conflict between being "girly" and being intelligent.  This never fully goes away.  I've already been in situations at work where it's hard to make my voice heard because I'm a woman.  I had to go through nicer men in the office to get my opinions up the chain of command.  Needless to say when my contract was up I quit, but it's still very discouraging.  If you're a fashionable or attractive woman, it can be hard to be taken seriously.  Walk into any career fair of hiring office, and you'll see women in pant-suits, pencil skirts and blazers.  It's a sea of black, grey and beige.  Walking into an interview in a bright, conservative tea dress can make it almost seem like you care more about your looks than the job (that hasn't stopped me yet though).  As someone who refuses to become a grey zombie, I find I have to seriously up my game in interviews to seem like a good engineer.
When these problems start at the entry level, imagine the problems that arise when you're a manager.
Actually, I'm pretty sure they disappear.  If you're a good manager.
You're probably thinking they would compound, but being in various work environments and seeing how good bosses handle themselves, I don't think women managers are seen any more negatively than their male counterparts.  A good manager leads by example, is respected, and forgiving.  You have to be likable to lead.  Period.  I've gotten around the gender barrier by being one of the guys.  You have to joke, be relaxes, and listen.  If you're my way or the highway and have a huge stick up your ass about "immaturity", of course you'll be labeled a "B-Word".  Except in the grownup world, you're not "bossy", you're a "bitch".  But guess what, men that act like that as a manager don't get away with it.  They're labeled too, with a "D-Word".
  Roll with the punches, dish out playful sarcasm, and most importantly take what you dish out.  Take jokes about being a woman in stride, and later dish some out about being messy or joke that their a jackass.  A sense of humor goes a long way and makes you more approachable.  If you throw shade at anyone who crosses you, no one will want your input.
Get your work done.  People aren't leaders because they want to be; they're leaders because others want them to be.  You know how to solve problems and solve them fast.  You can get a team to work together efficiently.  If you just bark orders at people, that's not effective or pleasant.  Your team will hate you and you'll hate your job.
This is what we have to teach young girls.  I remember being in middle and high school, and being told to work to hold my own as a girl interested in STEM.  You're taught to be unwavering in your opinions, and to "be a leader".  Well not everyone can be a leader, and if you go into a project dead set on it, then no crap people will think you're bossy.  Being a leader isn't a personality trait you can just have at all times.  It's a privilege given to you when you've earned it.  You earn it as part of a team, it's not a mindset that allows you to be above the team.  That definition is not made clear to young girls, and they begin to think that they have to be a leader all the time or none of the time.
So is banning "bossy" the answer?  I don't think so.  That seems like handing out free bitch passes.  Instead teach girls to earn leadership, rather than demand it.  Be unwavering in your determination to be an equal member of the team, not above the team.  Women still have a little way to go to be complete equals in engineering, but they way to this isn't by barking orders, it's by being "one of the guys."  When you're a good team player, people will naturally want you to be in charge.  So let's focus less on banning "bossy", and more on banning attitude problems.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Current Loves Part 2

It's been a long time since I've written one of these, but I figured I'd fill you all in on what's been big in my spare time these days.  I present: MY CURRENT LOVES dun dundun so exciting

Gravity Falls:  Ok so guilty secret, I'm kind of in love with this show now.  I got halfway through the season  and then realized it was a Disney Channel show, but you know what, I have no shame.  It's actually really witty and sarcastic.  The plot is also really intriguing so I'm kind of sad that it won't start back up again until the summer.  Something to look forward to since Breaking Bad is over.

The Wood Brothers: I just saw them in concert a couple weeks ago, and I must say it was the best show I've seen in a long time.  If you know me, then you know the significance of that, because my box of ticket stubs is overflowing and I have Phish, the Dead, Michael Buble, and Crosby Stills and Nash under my belt.  These guys rocked it though.  Chris Wood was amazing and thoroughly entertaining on bass, and his brother Oliver has a wonderful voice.  They had a few guests up too, such as Chris Kasper who held his own with the guys pretty well.  Definitely worth a listen.

The Little Drummer Girl: I've finally gotten back in the habit of reading before bed, but it's kind of killing me because I stayed up til 1am reading this last night.  Le CarrĂ© is well known for his Cold War era spy novels, but oh wow he is not limited to that.  This book tackles the Arab-Israel conflict in an interesting way and I cannot put it down.  I highly recommend this book if you like any of his other work.

Reeses Eggs:  These are my all time favourite candy.  No question.  It's the perfect ratio of peanut butter and chocolate end of story.  If you want to be on my good side get me a bag of these.  Doug once hid a bag until Christmas and gave it to me.  He won Christmas that year (because life is a competition).

Running Shoes:  While these aren't a new thing, with the weather warming up I've been reinspired to start running again.  The Boston 5k is right around the corner and I encourage everyone in the area to go and be a part of the weekend.  I'll be running the 5k on Sunday before the marathon on Monday.  I'd love to meet you there.  
Remember, they can take our legs, but we'll never stop running.  Always Boston Strong.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wedding Belle Blues

I was planning a wedding that was supposed to be a year away and it was already becoming a major source of stress in my life.  It's no easy task planning  a wedding these days, especially if you have no religious traditions, a feuding family, and a very small budget.  I was starting at ground zero, looking for a venue, drafting a guest list, thinking about food and drink.  Before I even got to the band or DJ question, our wedding was going to cost over $10k.  Um, excuse me?  I feel rich whenever I find a $5 bill on the sidewalk. $10k?  I've never even conceived having so much money at one time, let alone spending it all on one thing.  It was so stressful, and got to the point where anytime anyone mentioned the wedding I got nauseous and started to shake.
Then I got to thinking; why?  What's the point of it?  Doug and I will get married, but why spend tens of thousands of dollars so people can eat mediocre food, get really drunk, and dance to music with relatives they barely like?  It just seemed stupid to me.  I live in Boston, none of my family does.  I could go to Syracuse, but none of my friends could come.  I could have an open bar with shitty food, or good food and limit the drinks.  Why the hell am I shelling out this cash for a day that holds little more meaning to me than the day "Thursday" does to you?
I mean, Doug and I will be 22.  We'll need to get a house, cars, food, furniture, day to day things.  It didn't make sense to me to start my life with Doug in debt.
So I decided not to.
My dear family and friends, I love you and you'll hear it here first, there will be no wedding.
I can't tell you what our future holds, where we'll be or what we'll be doing, but I can tell you that you're welcome to share it with us.  I'd rather you come see our new house, grab drinks, or go on a trip with us than pay lots of money on one night where we'll barely spend time with you.  Let's make dinner together or go to a concert.  Doesn't that sound better than listening to music off some guys ipod, eating chicken/fish/steak at a table with little place markers next to people you haven't talked to in years?
Our happiness doesn't need to be contained in one day, and I'd rather it not be.
I figured I'd let the news out sooner rather than later, and I hope you all understand our point of view.  The relief that swept over Doug and me with this decision is how we know it was the right one.  We have no disappointment with this and hope you don't either.
See you all soon.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Boobie Baskets

If I had to name one thing that has made me the most self-conscious, it would be my breasts.  I'm not sure if it's a blessing or a curse (guess it depends on who you ask), but they are ginormous.   Ever since 8th grade I was scared that they'd be the first thing people notice about me, and that they would give off a sluttier impression of me than I ever wanted.  In middle and high school I used to deal with this by wearing a lot of t-shirts, preferring to look square shaped than like a bimbo.  In college though, I decided I should start wearing clothes that actually fit me because despite my boobs, the rest of me is actually pretty skinny.  The result was that I looked like a freakin Barbie doll.
Buying shirts and dresses that fit became a complete nightmare, and don't even talk to me about swim suits (most of my summer hobbies no longer include water)
To every girl that wishes they had bigger boobs, know that I would trade mine with you in a heartbeat.  They hurt my back, stretch my shirts, and almost smack my face when I run.  I'd been so annoyed by them that I was seriously contemplating a breast reduction to bring me down to single letter cup sizes.
As a last ditch resort before surgery, I decided to go into one of those lingerie shops that isn't Vicky's and only sells really nice bras and panties.
I went into Every Body Bras in Fayetteville, near where I grew up in New York.  It was a quiet, calm shop with some very nice and inviting ladies (including the owner) jumping out of their seats to help.  I was measured, looked over and helped with picking bras for my needs.  They helped me try them on, showing me how they should fit and where the straps should rest. I learned that the way Victoria's Secret measured me, I was a cup size too small and a band size too big.  Who knew?
I ended up buying 5 bras, 4 regular and 1 sports bra, totalling around $400.  It was an investment, but remember I was getting desperate.  I have to say I am very, very impressed with the changes I've seen!  I don't bounce even when I run, my back feels better and drum roll please, they look smaller!  It's a complete dream come true for me.  I'd have never guessed that something so simple could make such a difference in my life.  The best purchase was by far the sports bra.  I'm able to run in better form and for longer now that I have a good bra that fits.

I am officially a lingerie convert, and will only be buying my bras in local specialty shops.

If you're interesting in the brand I bought, Panache is a good place to start.  They made my normal bras and sports bra, and are only for D-K cup sizes.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Water water everywhere

One of my 101 in 1001 things to do was drink an appropriate amount of water throughout the day for an entire week.  I figure that once I made it a whole week, it would become a habit and I would be hydrated all the time.  There is a lot of incentive to doing this, such as reducing stress headaches and improving mood (things I'm very interested in)
January I really dropped the ball and only remembered to bring water with me like once.  I had an old Sigg bottle that was heavy, dented, and hard to clean.
Last month I decided enough was enough and I got a Camelbak bottle.  My sister has kind of a problem with water bottles, meaning she buys too many.  She buys water bottles like some buy crack.  She has been living by her 3 Camelbak bottles lately though, so on a trip to Target I decided why not.
I grabbed the Eddy .75L bottle in hot pink and I haven't put it down.
You can buy it here
I've been really impressed.  It's such a sleek, lightweight bottle that I don't mind throwing it in my bag everyday/  It's also REALLY easy to clean.  The bottle comes completely apart, even the little mouthpiece at the top comes off the cap so you can just wipe it off and be done.  I find myself filling it 3 times during classes, which is around right on track.  I've been feeling more energized and a little calmer since I started drinking more water.
Who knew something so simple like a lighter water bottle could make such a big difference?  I hope you join me in making steps to a healthier life as well!