Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Pittsburgh Party Circuit

Precisely: Wait, so what's this event on Thursday?

Me: The Holiday Hootenanny.

Precisely: Didn't we just go to that for Halloween?  Does this happen multiple times per year?

Me: No. That was the Halloween Hooha.  Completely different party.

I love this town.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I will have a green thumb.

"About a month ago I got a cactus. A week later, it died. I was really depressed because I was like 'Damn! I am less nurturing than a desert.'"
- Demetri Martin

The above sentiment pretty much wraps up my experience with plants. It's not that I don't like plants, but I apparently have a hard time remembering to take care of things that don't actually remind you to take care of them. Pets and babies have this figured out, which is why I am an excellent pet/baby-sitter.

Over the summer, Precisely and I had a grand vision of keeping fresh herbs in our kitchen, and doing all kinds of flavorful cooking. He bought a basil plant, and I picked up some parsley from the farmers market.  Approximately 2 weeks later it looked like this:

So we went back to using dried herbs for flavoring, and I once again gave up on the status of house plants. The status that says, look at my grown-up house, where there is so much stability and care-taking that living things grow and thrive here.

While home for Thanksgiving, my extremely-talented-when-it-comes-to-keeping-plants-alive mother found herself with some extra little houseplants, and promptly re-potted them and told me I was taking them home.

I rose to the challenge, going to Ikea and buying shelving for the plants to sit on so they will get sun, as well as more potted plants.  I will have plants, and I will remember to water them, and they will not die.

So far, so good.

Look Mom, they're still alive!!

But the real exciting addition to our home in terms of plant life is the Christmas tree that Precisely got. It's darling, and smells great, and definitely makes the fact that it's been dark for hours before I get home less depressing.

Tis the season.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Typical Tuesday Night in the Halling-Preis Household

Me: What are you looking for?

Precisely: I need a cable that looks like a headphone piece on one end, and those red and yellow pieces on the other end.

Me: Ohhh.  I definitely had one of those at the Bloomfield house. But I don't think I brought it with me when I moved.

Precisely: That's exactly the problem. It's something we all had, but no one lives in those houses anymore.

Precisely: They're like the unicorns of computer cables.

Me:  ::blink::

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ideas Worth Spreading

I just got home from TEDxPSU, an independent TED conference held today at Penn State University.  I went, because the CEO and Founder of Thread, the social-venture start-up I work for was one of the speakers.

It's been a long day, and I'm exhausted, but my brain is swirling, and I need to spend some time on my couch in my flannel pajama pants before I can attempt sleep.  It was a good day. Full of learning, and discussion, and hearing about new ideas, or experiencing a new perspective on a universal truth.  There are a lot of good people doing wonderful things in our world.  Unfortunately, there are so many problems.

It can get kind of overwhelming when you're hearing these talks all day to think about climate change, our current political state of affairs, the rise of women suicide bombers, and how the worlds next wars will be fought over water, and all the other horrible things happening, and mistakes we've made as people, and things we're doing to contribute to the destruction of our world and our societies.  There were times today things seemed quite overwhelmingly bleak.

But there's action that can be taken, and people hopeful and passionate enough about that action to climb on stage and talk about it in front of thousands of people. And there are thousands of people listening, wanting to educate themselves, and wanting to know what they can do to make a difference, and that is hopeful. And inspiring.

And so, when my boss got up on stage to talk about the work we will do being in Haiti, and described the events that lead to the creation of our company, and explained how we exist by seeing resources and opportunity amidst abject poverty and trash, I was so proud to be sitting in the audience knowing that I am a part of that.

Our world is a mess. But the good news is there are actions we can take. The problems are huge, but we're not powerless.  There are people that still want to do good. That is heartening.

If you need inspiration to start making a difference, I sincerely suggest you check out TED talks. There are hundreds of amazing speakers, and concepts, and the content is available for free. We have access to more information then we ever have before, it's a gift we should use.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

All the Pumpkin Things!

A couple of years ago in college, my roommates and I started a tradition of a party that consisted of eating pumpkin flavored things in the fall. We called it Fall Fest.  I know, we're like copy-writing geniuses.

We held fall fest last weekend, and it was delicious.

What's cool about Fall Fest though, is that it's started to grow up with us.  We no longer take the bus to Giant Eagle to stock up on pre-made pumpkin flavored treats - this year we made our own pumpkin inspired dishes, with ingredients we bought from stores we drove to in our cars. (Or maybe in our roommates car as is my case...)

This year, the menu included bite sized pumpkin spiced chicken tacos, spicy pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread pudding, homemade pumpkin cookies, a cheese plate, a pumpkin cheesecake, various craft beers, and local cider from Arsenal Cider House, and the best chocolate stout sorbet Precisely has made with his new ice cream maker yet.

I know, right? Fall Fest got fancy!

The best part though, of course was the company.  My friends are simply delightful, and I love them.  We all scatter to spend time with our families over the upcoming Holidays, and it was really nice to carry on our own tradition and spend time together.

Friday, October 28, 2011

In Every Generation There is a Chosen One.

I have spent the past 2 months watching all 144 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I mean, I've done other things too, but in terms of television entertainment, Buffy was it. It's the most addicting, most gratifying tv show I've ever watched, and I loved every second of it.

Obviously I'm super late to jump on this fan bandwagon, but I think the fact that the show is almost 15 years old, and still this awesome, says a lot.

While there were a lot of great metaphors, themes, and subtexts throughout the show's 7 seasons the discussion around fate, destiny, and loneliness of being "the chosen one" has stuck with me.

It would suck, in a lot of ways to be told at 15, hey this is your destiny, what you've been chosen for, what you're meant to do with your life.  And yet, the sometimes paralyzing question, of what the hell am I supposed to do with my life? can seem a lot more overwhelming.

Even scarier, is finding something you do feel drawn towards, and making that leap of faith and throwing yourself into it, without really being sure that this is what you're supposed to be doing.  It would be kind of nice if a council of British men would show up and say, "Yep. This is your destiny. Carry on."

I guess knowing would take all the fun out of it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

This is why we run

"Don't you think it's strange," asked Running Buddy as we were finishing up a 5 mile loop over lunch, "that there are people out there who have never run a whole mile in their life?"

I do think it's strange.  But probably, because running is such a major factor of the way I spend my time, particularly now being 8 weeks out from a marathon.  I mean, I'm sure its weird to swimmers that there are people who have never swam a mile, but I very well may be one of those people.

Anyway, there are a lot of reasons for running.

And because I like to eat, and drink beer, and my roommate just bought an ice cream maker, exercise will never be an optional part of my life. It doesn't have to running I guess - it's just that running is the only thing that has stuck.

See, the secret to running, is that it doesn't feel good until after those first 3 miles.

Miles 1-3 suck. Almost always. It's like you have to remember how to run all over again. You feel kind of stiff, kind of disjointed, and all the parts of your body are working against one another. Why is it so hard to put one foot in front of the other, and what are you supposed to be doing with your arms?

But, then. Then, you hit mile 4, and suddenly you're warmed up, everything snaps into place, and you stop having to think about it, because you were born to do this.

And then running is fun.

And yea, a lot of that has to do with pleasure center endorphins flooding your body.  I mean, we wouldn't run this far if it didn't feel good.  But more than that, you have these moments when you hit your stride, and you are so focused on what's happening right now that you are totally present. And suddenly, for a few seconds at least, you know that you are exactly where you need to be, doing exactly what you need to be doing, and you understand the universe and your place in it.

I don't meditate, but I think the goal there is something similar, no?

Anyway it doesn't happen every time, or even on every long-run, and I have yet to discover a recipe of distance, music, weather, or terrain to make it happen.  But is it ever worth it, to get out of bed for a couple of hours on the weekend just to try and reach that feeling.

That is why I run.

So while I feel kinda sorry for those who have never run a mile in their life, maybe they've found something else that gets them there.  I feel more sorry for the people who run, but never go more than 3 miles, because they don't even know what they are missing.

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's the most wonderful fashion time of the year

It's starting to get cooler, Pittsburgh colleges are swarming with students, and even though the equinox is a week away, we're coming into fall.

I've been walking around with The Long Winters song, It'll be a Breeze, stuck in my head, because in addition to feeling nostalgic, the opening line is; This fall I don't know if I survived. And while it's more likely that they're talking about a fall, like a tumble, I like to interpret it as though they're singing about not surviving the season.

But I digress, Fall is here - and that means.... Fall Fashion!!!

What with the layers, and the no sweating, and the fabrics, and the boots, is there any better time of year to get dressed in the morning?!

No. There isn't.

In addition to the September issue of Vogue, and NY Fashion week, and back to school feelings (does that ever go away?), I have once again fallen in love with my wardrobe now that my main objective in choosing an outfit is not "what won't be completely sweat through after I walk across the Smithfield Street Bridge?"

This season, I decided I was going to purchase a cape.  (Which are very, and completely different than their unfortunate cousin, the poncho, that along with gaucho pants and sweatpants in public, should be banned.)

Luckily, having a roommate that works at ModCloth means that when I mention I'm looking for a cape, he gchats me links of outerwear as they go up on the website.

Which is how I've found myself in the possession of a lovely cape, that has made it's debut today, and which I couldn't be more happy about.

The downside of having a roommate who works at ModCloth, is that a week after I purchased my cape, I get an email from said roommate, with the subject line Cape #2? and a link to a darling new arrival.

Which makes me beg the question, how many capes is it appropriate for a girl to have?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Being Thrown into the Woosh

My sister, like most college students, took an abnormal psychology class to cover some requirement. Luckily, she did not use this class as license to start analyzing me, but she did share a story about a schizophrenic who talked about something called "the woosh".

I'm paraphrasing here, but I believe the story went something like, the guy was in group therapy and began describing "the woosh".

"Somedays," he said, "you wake up and step right into the woosh, and just go wherever it takes you. Other days you can't get in the woosh, and it just goes right by you."

All the other patients in the group seemed to understand exactly what he was talking about.  And since then, my sister references "the woosh" frequently.

My sister has lived most of her life in "the woosh", and probably will continue to, and I'm sure we all know people like that.

I, on the other hand, don't often find my self in "the woosh", except occasionally during scheduled unstructured amounts of time, and even then, I suspect that setting aside time to be in "the woosh", defeats the purpose of "the woosh" entirely.

Girls like me, need more often, to be thrown into "the woosh".

Which happened a couple of weeks ago, during a trip with the Thread team to Haiti, when hurricane Irene shut down JFK, and canceled my flight home.

After a lot of pleading, batting of my eye lashes, and a first class upgrade, I had a new flight, and 4 extra days in Haiti.  4 days, of unplanned time, 4 days out of the office, and 4 days away from the phone/internet.

Hey woosh, sup?

And you know what?

I was challenged. At first. But then I gave in and learned, and discussed, and read. Reflected, rescheduled, shared, connected, played games, danced, sang, and generally had a great time hanging out in "the woosh".

Sometimes it takes being thrown off of your scheduled path, to be assured of what direction you should be going in.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I am trying so hard to like vegetables.

I've started training for the Philadelphia Marathon. Yay!  And it's still fun, since I'm only in the first few weeks, except for one thing that became glaringly apparent, which, is that like most American's my diet sucks.  And you can't train with a lousy diet. Your body won't have it.

I'm not hopeless. I stay away from fast food and pop soda, and have even started to cut my meat eating down to a couple of times a week.  But, I still love me some icecream, and wine, and oh my god cheese! And these things do not a marathon diet make.

I've written before about my hatred of salad.  And it's time for me to just be honest with myself and admit the fact that I don't like raw vegetables.  So, I need to do the adult thing, and start finding ways to sneak raw veggies into my diet.

I decided to start this initiative this week with green smoothies.  I mean, it's easy. You throw some fruit and some veggies in a blender with some ice and orange juice, and a minute of blending later, you have breakfast! Also, you knock out 4-5 servings of fruits/veggies in one meal first thing in the morning! And you can drink it while you get ready... Multi-tasking!!

Yesterday I had strawberries, banana, spinach, and pea shoots.  Today it was strawberries, bananas, and kale.  I read a lot of things on the internet that told you the fruit covers the taste of the greens, and you wouldn't notice them, but they are liars.  You can totally taste it.  And, no, I don't think it tastes good.   So far, my strategy has been holding the smoothie in one hand, and a mug of black coffee in the other, to immediately chase the smoothie and get rid of the taste of healthy.

The kicker though, is that I feel great.

Like, full of energy, practically skipping to work in the morning great.


Raw vegetables are so good for us.  And you know what? 10 mins of discomfort in the morning, is totally worth feeling good for hours.  And hopefully this will eventually translate into running farther, faster, better, stronger.

I'm trying really hard here. That's gotta count for something, right?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Avoiding the Boring

There's a patch of sidewalk on Smallman street in the Strip District, that has 3 hopscotch games painted on the cement.  On each square, in addition to a number is a sentence.  Each game tells a story, or makes a statement, and yesterday, while I was walking home, the last couple squares of one in particular caught my attention.

Because I think about quitting a lot of things too.

However, I think that there are few things as tragic as a boring life. And while it's something that can be easily avoided, I think it's also something that can sneak up on you slowly, and by the time you realize it, it's too late.  It's a great fear of mine, to wake up 10 years from now only to discover that I've stopped paying attention to living, and have fallen into a routine and am boring.

So, I'm gonna keep on trying to cram in as much experience as I possibly can. Without, you know, losing my mind or anything like that.  Although it should be said that crazy people are rarely dull.

The bottom line? Don't quit. 'Cause that would be boring.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dinner Conversation

Me- You know what sucks? When you try a new recipe, and it turns out it's gross, and then you eat cereal for dinner.

Precisely- What did you make?

Me- ::sigh:: It was a chilled soup, with plain yogurt, spinach, and chick peas.

Precisely- ::wrinkles nose:: First of all, yogurt, is not a soup.

Me- It's what the recipe called for.

Precisely- No, no, a chilled soup is like a gazpacho. Not yogurt.  That is some vegan nonsense.

Me- Yogurt isn't vegan!

Precisely- Either way, it's gross.

Me- Yea, it was yucky.  ::eyes up Precisely's dinner plate which is half pasta, half green beans::

Precisely- ::raises eyebrows:: What? Jealous of my Yin Yang of nutrition?

Me- So jealous.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Anatomy of a Proper Sandwich

There are some things in life I just know to be true.  Things like, I know how to make a good sandwich. While the majority of my culinary skills may not be what one would call advanced, I can make a sandwich that rocks.

Last night, I stopped by my sister's apartment to go to a party.  Lynn had made hummus, and bought a bottle of wine to bring, and just when I thought I couldn't be more impressed with her adult-ness, I mention I'm hungry, and she immediately responds with, would you like a sandwich?

Heck yes, I want a sandwich!

So she pulls out a sandwich wrapped in paper and some cheese, and says, this is from Panera, and here's some cheese if you want to add it. (This should have been the first warning sign, any good sandwich already has cheese on it. duh.)

I unwrap and open the sandwich to add the cheese and stared at it.  Sitting on the 2 pieces of bread was a slice of tomato, a piece of lettuce, and some green spread, that I assume was a guacamole type substance.  I blinked and looked again, but nothing had changed.

"Lynn!!" I yelled.


"There's nothing on this sandwich!!"

laughs, "It's vegetarian!"

Which, I mean, come on!  Vegetarian sandwiches are great, but they usually involve some mushrooms, or eggplant, or I don't know, anything more than a piece of lettuce and a tomato. I mean really Panera, what do you even call that sandwich?  It's an insult to call that thing a sandwich.

Lynn grabbed some turkey out of her fridge, so between that and the added cheese, I actually was able to eat a proper sandwich. And it was good.  Just be wary of the vegetarian selection at Panera...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Should be

Yesterday, I was a productive, happy member of society.  I was up early, and worked hard.  I ate a lot of fruits and veggies.  I went for a run, caught up with friends, attempted a Pirates game, and enjoyed a torrential summer thunderstorm instead. It was a good day.

Today. Work was alright, and after an evening event was canceled, I found myself with a free night. A rarity in the middle of the week.

And instead of being productive, or doing anything fun, I find myself completely at a lack of what to do with this time, and have ended up curled up on the couch with a book, angsty over the fact that:

I should be going for a run.

I should be doing more work/research.

I should at the very least be reading something substantial, and not a murder mystery.

I should be out somewhere, socializing, meeting new people, maybe even finding myself a date for this weekend.

I should be doing something summery, summer's almost over!

I should be painting my toes, playing the piano, sewing that dress I've been thinking about, making my own crackers, doing something, anything, with this free time.

And while it's important to stay motivated, and important to grow, and to be challenged and do things. Sometimes, what you need is nothing.

So what I'll be doing now is closing up my laptop, and going back to my murder mystery. I'll get back to  all those things tomorrow.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Apples not falling far from trees...

Yesterday I drove across the state with my running buddy, Frank and Tassy.  They were going out to the Jersey Shore to celebrate the long weekend and fourth of July.  I joined them for the a ride across the turnpike to visit my folks over the weekend.

For those of you who don't know Tassy's story, or how he's become connected to my life, you can read about it here.  The shorter version is that Tassy is 18, comes from Haiti, and has quickly become one of my favorite people.

Tassy has a terrific voice, and loves music, but it became quickly apparent to Frank and I that he has not had a lot of experience with classic rock.  As he will be attending high school in the fall here in the states, we decided it was only necessary to use these couple hours to introduce him to Zeppelin, Hendrix, the Stones, etc.  We set up a Pandora station and were having a great time singing along, drumming on the steering wheel, and generally waxing nostalgic about music, that while certainly not from our time, was what we were raised on nonetheless.

At one point, we turned around to ask Tassy whether or not he liked a particular song, also mentioning that is was great and famous, and therefor implying obviously that he should be loving this, when I realized.

"Oh my god," I said to Frank.  "Do you know who we are right now?"


"Our parents!"

And there we were forcing this poor kid to listen to classic rock while we sang along and talked about how great it is on a road trip in the summer.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Music, shameless self-promotion, Katy Perry, n'at.

The boys over at the awesome music blog Draw Us Lines, were looking for chicks to offer some female perspective to their line-up, and I ::blushes:: was one of the chicks they asked.  I guess because I like music and have opinions.

So, for my first piece, I wrote about Katy Perry.  Or more accurately how a hipster named Darwin Deez made me really start liking her song Teenage Dream.

You can read it here.

Also, next weekend Draw Us Lines is celebrating their first anniversary with a birthday party that is basically putting all 24 of my birthday parties to shame.  Meaning, it's going to be really fun, and you should buy a ticket.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The bet.

I do not have a good track record with bets.  In fact, I can't outright think of a time I've ever actually won a bet, which I suspect may have something to do with my disbelief in the theory of probability.  The point is however, that this doesn't stop me from participating when the offer of a bet comes up.  Oh god, that's the definition of insanity isn't it?

I have a lot of friends that are runners.  This is great.  It means I am consistently encouraged to get out of bed, leave the couch, stop working for an hour to meet someone to go for a run.  You also form a special bond with your running buddies.  It's nice.

After the Pittsburgh marathon, of which several of us ran the full, half, or a relay, we caught the racing bug, and began scheduling races through out the summer.  It was determined that the group would run the Race for Roch in Mount Washington in July.

It was all fun and games and witty email chains until Regina threw out the question "Wait, should we make this a bit of a...race?"

To which I, who can never turn down a dose of competition responded with "Oh, I don't know should a group of ambitious relatively type A people make a race a race? Heck yes, we should make this a race! We should make this a race with a cash prize!"

We've decided that rather than cash, the winner gets to assign karaoke songs to the losers while the losers buy the winner their drinks of choice.

This has inevitably lead to emails full of tough talk and threats to pick songs exclusively from Cats, make everyone sing the same Jimmy Buffet song, orders of expensive aged scotch, and the hill work we are all doing in preparation for July 30.

I don't know what I was thinking.  I am not a fast runner.  Especially not in Pittsburgh July heat, uphill, in the morning.  However, I'm hoping that my gut-wrenching fear of karaoke will cause an endorphin induced miracle that allows me to win.

We'll see.  In the meantime, I've got hill repeats to sprint.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The wknd!

Regina Anderson
just sent you a reminder i JUST got about the bbq
there will be a film crew there
so dress bbq cute
i had no doubts that you wouldn't
now it's official
what to wear what to wear!
i'm peacing out

So now I have to figure out what "bbq cute" is, and wear that...

Luckily Redd Up Thread Up is tomorrow!  Yay clothing swapping!

Have a delicious weekend.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hallucinations > Malaria...I guess

One of the common side effects of most malaria medications is weird dreams.  Sometimes anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations can occur.  On the other hand, without it, you know, you risk malaria.  And then they just give you the same meds at a much higher dosage.

I was just in Haiti, where it is now the rainy season, and full of mosquitos, and therefor we were all taking malaria medications.  I was the only one in the group on chloroquine, which is taken once a week for 6 weeks as opposed to every day for the week you're there.  I hadn't thrown-up, or experienced blurred vision, and my dreams are always vivid and weird, so I was under the smug impression that I was avoiding all the possible unpleasant side effects.  Until someone in my group told me that by week 4, I'd be swatting at things that weren't there.

On the plane back to Pittsburgh, as we were about to land, I noticed that the woman sitting in front of me had a dog in the bag under her seat.  The plane was dark, and the dog was poking his head through the top of the bag, so that was all I could see. He had also been silent the whole flight, so I was surprised that I was just now seeing him.  Or was I?  I started questioning myself, staring at the dog wondering, "Are you real?"  I kept looking away, then looking back to see if he was still there.  Eventually, his owner leaned over to pet him, and I relaxed, relieved that I wasn't hallucinating dogs on planes.

I mentioned this to my fellow threadheads as we got off the plane, and we all laughed about it.  10 minutes later in baggage claim, I saw the woman with her dog again.

"That was the dog,"I pointed out to Lee.
"What dog?" he immediately responded.
"Don't.  Don't event start with me." I said.

So far, still no side effects, however, I will probably blame any weird behavior on my part for the next 4 weeks on the chloroquine.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

And the livin's easy...

Volunteering at last year's Night at the Tropics.  An annual summer soiree benefitting the Aviary. Yay Sundresses!

They say that smell is the sense most closely associated with memory.  I would argue that at times music can be a stronger reminder, but the scent thing is definitely true.

Our apartment takes on a certain scent when the air conditioning is on.  Not good or bad, just distinctive.  I forgot about this until I came home this evening, and as I climbed the stairs was hit in the face with a deluge of memories from last summer.

Summer is here again y'all, and with stuff like this, and this, oh, and this to look forward to I think it will be swell.  I hope everyone had a great Memorial day and is wearing lots of SPF!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Running, Endorphins, and Ultra-marathons

11:00:02 AM Kelsey Halling: so, I finished born to run.
11:00:15 AM Kelsey Halling: wanna do a 50 mile race when we're 27 and at our peak?
11:00:21 AM Running Buddy: duh

I don't know that we actually will.  Talk to me in 3 years.

Between reading Born to Run, running the Pittsburgh half marathon, and running a 5k with my girls from Girls on the Run, running has dominated this month.

Luckily, the wet coldness that was April and the better part of May has suddenly broken out into 80 degrees and sunshine. So with no spring, Pittsburgh has catapulted into summer. And that means running weather.  It's light out early, it stays light out late, you don't have to wear 20 layers, and you don't spend the first hour with your lungs burning waiting for your body to get numb so that you stop feeling the cold.  No, instead, you throw on a t shirt and shorts and run out of the house, and have a great time and wonder why you ever stopped doing this so much.

My favorite part of Born to Run, wasn't the crazy stories of ultra-runners (though they were inspiring), or the evolutionary evidence that homo-sapiens were in fact born to run (though that was fascinating), it was the recounting of the sheer joy of running.  Of what it feels like to reach that point of mind-body-spirit connectedness that is all consuming.  The realization that not only is running fun, it makes us better people.

Around mile 2 of last weekend's 5k, we hit another hard uphill, and the girls I was running with were starting to slow down.

 "If you keep working this hard," I said, "then you'll get endorphins, and that will feel great."

"What are endorphins?" they asked.

"Well, when your body works really hard, it releases these chemicals, called endorphins, which make you feel good as a reward for working so hard."

They nodded before one of them leaned into the hill and took off yelling "Come on, body!"

It was awesome.  We finished the race in 40 minutes.  I was so proud of them.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Some Things Lately, That Have Changed My Life

Occasionally, we encounter major shifts in our lives that change things forever.  We get new jobs, we move to new cities, we cut all our hair off, we start or end a significant relationship, we get an iphone.

More often though, we encounter slight changes, either by incorporating new habits into our daily routine, or perhaps breaking bad habits, which essentially change our lives.  In that spirit, here are some things, which are really not a big deal at all, yet have made me healthier, happier, and shifted my perspective.

1. A Hula-Hoop

Remember those?  There's this awesome chick in Pittsburgh, named Stefanie Moser, who is a hula-hooping genius.  She teaches a hula-hooping class at the Union Project, and she also makes her own hoops!  She was a featured artist at this year's Love of Friends.  I ordered a hoop from her, and she asked for my measurements, and colors I liked.  I told her I love purple.  When I went to pick up my hoop, she explained, "I know you said you liked purple, so I obviously used that, but then I was going through your facebook profile, and noticed a lot of red too, so I used that as well."  She didn't just make a hula-hoop, she custom-made me a hula-hoop.  (and my generation loves anything that makes us feel special)

But, why did I want one in the first place?  Well, I have the space in my apartment, and I figured that if I was going to be hanging out watching tv or something, that it's better to hula-hoop while doing it.  Hula hooping is just the right level of activity, to be able to actually enjoy watching a movie or television, while not feeling like a total couch potato.  It's also not a bad way to strengthen your core (which is helpful in running.)  Finally, and most importantly, it is fun!  Really fun!  You should try it.  And you should order your hoop from Stefanie.

2. Twin Peaks

The 90's television show my parents watched, yes that Twin Peaks.  After hearing about it forever, I finally decided to check it out since it's on Netflix.  And it is so much better than I could have hoped.  It's scary, and funny, and hilariously dramatic, and the style is terrific. While you probably won't find me hiking through the woods of northern Washington anytime soon, you may find me checking out career options with the FBI  (the same thing happened when the artist and I watched x-files).

3. Leah Shannon's blog, Brazen Kitchen. 

I know Leah through The Midwife Center, we're both on the Let Them Eat Cake planning committee.  I read her blog, and thought it was cool, but then, THEN, I started trying her recipes.

First of all, Leah is a vegan, and I am not.  BUT, I don't like to cook meat, and her recipes looked so appealing and easy that I couldn't help but try them out. (I may have snuck some butter in.)

Last night, I tried her vegan macaroni and cheese recipe.  People, if you know me, you know how much I love cheese.  Particularly when melted, baked, and served with carbs.  If anyone was going to be skeptical about this dish it would be me.  But, you guys, it was actually delicious!  She doesn't use fake, soy cheese either. The sauce is made totally out of veggies.  I couldn't have been more shocked. And happy!  Healthy mac and cheese?!?  Hello new staple food in my diet!

4. Standing at my desk.

I saved my favorite one for last.  I've been hearing for months now how sitting all day long is 1) making us obese and 2) killing us.  In fact, further and scarier research shows it doesn't even matter if you work out regularly, you're still at risk for lots of unpleasantness if you sit all day.  No thank you.  I don't train for marathons, just to have it all negated by a desk job.

I started to hate my chair.  Finally, last week I read yet another article on how sitting is killing us all, but this one had a solution.  Put a box on your desk they said, and set your laptop on the box.  Voila, standing desk.

So I did that!  And it's been amazing!  My posture is better, my back doesn't hurt.  I'm more productive.  I don't get the 4 o'clock slump, or the after lunch slump, in fact, I haven't been tired at work at all since I started doing this.  Stand up, you'll feel better.  And you'll burn a few more calories too.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

In which, I explain Take Over Tuesdays

Precisely and I have this thing about reading one another our horoscopes for the day in the morning.  I'm not sure when this started.  Probably when there was an app for daily horoscopes.  Like most of our inside jokes, I decided to take it one step further, and bought a book on Astrology I found for a dollar on clearance at Marshalls as a Christmas present to us.

We celebrated the winter solstice in 2010 by drinking Woodchuck cider, and reading each other information on our respective signs.  Precisely is a Scorpio.  I am an Aries. (duh).*

The book was mostly what you would expect of something that cost a dollar, complete with some wonderful stock photography which we found hilarious.

The thing that stuck, was Take Over Tuesdays.  See, each sign has a corresponding day of the week, which is supposed to be extra powerful, lucky, full of good energy etc.  The day for both Scorpios and Aries (according to the book) is Tuesday.

Upon learning this, Precisely (the writer) immediately deemed this concept "Take Over Tuesday".  (We're both Type A's remember).

So, Take Over Tuesday is the idea that THIS is the day each week, you work really hard, for the whole day.  You take over at your job, in your work-out/training routine, with your social life.  You go big or you go home.

This doesn't mean you get to slack for the rest of the week, but it does ensure that all that stuff that needs to be taken care of, gets taken care of.

We even have a special chocolate coffee we save for Tuesday mornings only.  No seriously, it's Godiva Chocolate Truffle, my Mom got it for me for Easter, and it is D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!!

So this morning, I have an important meeting, and then after work, I am kicking my butt into running 12 miles, because I'm registered for the Pittsburgh half-marathon which is in 13 days, and I have been the laziest slacker to ever slack in training (if you can even call what I've been doing training) up to this point.

Try it out world.  Even if you're a Capricorn.  Take over today!

* We do not follow that stupid new astrological chart, with the Ophiuchus sign.  We follow the one we grew up with.  There's no way I'm a Pisces.  Not now.  Not never.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sizes. ::sigh::

As most women are aware, you are never one clothing size, because each store/designer/label has their own way of sizing.  This is why we have to try things on, and why a good tailor, not diamonds, is a girls best friend.

The NY Times just wrote an article on the ridiculousness of sizing throughout the apparel industry.  I myself can attest.  Last fall I bought a new pair of size 8 jeans from the GAP, because after training for the Philly marathon, my size 8 jeans from Banana Republic were too big. (They're owned by the same company!) I have skirts in sizes 4-10 and they all fit. Usually I'm an 8-10 in dress sizes.  When I called a boutique to order a bridesmaid dress last month however, I was informed that according to my measurements, I fall between a 12 and a 14.

Despite all these different sizes, my measurements remain the same.  So, hey, could we drop the sizes and just start measuring things in inches please?

Last week I was visiting my parents, and my Mom and I spent an afternoon shopping.  We stepped into a Chico's where the following took place.

Saleswoman- "Have you shopped at Chico's before?"
My Mom- "No."
Saleswoman- "Ok, well welcome!  Just to let you know, we use feel good sizing, so a 0-4 is a 1, a 6-10 is a 2, and a 12-14 is a 3."
Me and my Mom- ::blink::
Saleswoman: "Let me know if I can help you find anything!"

Later while looking through a rack of clothes...

My Mom- "Wait, so what size am I again?"
Me- "I don't even know, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.  You know what makes me feel good? Knowing what size I'm supposed to try on."

We didn't buy anything.

Can we please start acting like men and Europeans, and measure our clothes by our actual measurements, and not some arbitrary number that is supposed to make us feel good or bad about ourselves?  I promise you, clothing manufacturers, I have more important things to think about and remember, and when I shop, I'd really just like for it to be easy, and not require trying on 3 different sizes of the same garment, until I discover what size I am today.

Monday, April 18, 2011

How to Host a Fundraising Brunch

Chef Carrie, presides over the delicious spread.

Here are some things I know to be true:
- Brunch is the greatest meal invented
- Entertaining is fun
- Volunteering is sexy

It should come as no surprise then, that I said "yes!" without hesitation when my close friends Regina and Carrie asked if I would be interested in hosting a brunch at my apartment to fundraise for Planned Parenthood.  After all, what with the government threatening to shut down, I'm happy to support them in any way I can.

Regina and Carrie hosted a brunch last fall to help fulfill their fundraising commitment to sitting on PPWP's board, and it was so fun and such a success, we decided to do it again.

Brunch is so exciting, jazz hands were obviously in order.

The thing is, hosting a brunch is a really easy way to fundraise.  It's low stress, low pressure, and low cost for both you and your friends that you invite.  If you ever want to raise some fast cash in a couple hours to help support one of your favorite organizations, I would definitely recommend hosting a brunch.  

Here's what we do:

We supply the food and beverages.  We invite our friends, and invite them to invite their friends.  We collect $20 per person who comes, and we donate the proceeds.  We all have fun.

Like any good kid raised by Midwestern parents, the coffee maker went on at 7:30 and didn't turn off until well into the afternoon.  If you're an experienced entertainer, perhaps you already have a large caterer-style coffee urn.  I do not. (yet) But I do have a carafe, so am able to have 2 pots of coffee hot at any given time.  Also, use mugs.  We had paper products for everything else, but coffee tastes better out of a mug.

Enlist lots of help:

Eric made sausage patties.

Bethany made Sangria.

Regina was taking pictures.

Brunch has some lovely beverage options.  We offered:


Bloody Marys!

And of course, the aforementioned coffee and sangria.

I made waffles.  This waffle iron was a wedding gift to my parents.  I took it with me when I moved to Pittsburgh.  More than 30 years old, and it's one of my favorite small appliances.

And of course, what I consider to be central to any successful gathering.  The cheese plate.

But, what really made the day a success were these guys:

And these folks...

And all of them.

Big THANK YOU to everyone who came, cooked, hung out and supported.  We had a blast, and of course, can't wait to do it again.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Precisely went ahead and surprised me with my birthday present a day early.  These are the most over-the-top, ridiculouly awesome, purple shoes, I've ever owned.  These are America's Next Top Model Shoes.  These are... I can't do them justice in words, here's a picture:


Also, thanks to the Mod-stylists, for approving this purchase.

Monday, April 11, 2011

In which I finally get a horizontal Driver's License

My Driver's License expires this weekend, so today I was responsible and coupled in a visit to the DMV with a Dr.'s Appointment, so that I can continue to drive zipcars, get through airport security, and go to 21+ establishments.

The last time I got a new license, I was a year away from turning 21, so this is the first time that my license appropriately reflects my status as a grown up and is horizontal rather than vertical.

The picture is a lot better too.  Unlike passport photos, in which you are not allowed to smile, and always look terrible, you have a chance at taking a decent license picture.

The last time I went to get a new license however, I could have cared less.  It was August, so the summer weather had just hit that point where it stops being fun, and becomes instead that unbearable, sweltering humidity, mixed with thunderstorms and rain showers that rather than cooling the day down, just make everything wet.  As a result, my hair was slicked up, makeup would have run right off my face so I wasn't wearing any, basically I looked like a real prize.

On top of that, I had just had my heart really broken for the first time, and leaving the self indulgent routine of eating ice-cream in bed while listening to Aimmee Mann, to instead venture outdoors with all the happy people wasn't high on my list of Things I'd Like to Do.

But, I dragged myself out of my apartment, and hopped a bus to downtown Pittsburgh to go to the DMV anyways.  The DMV in downtown, is next to impossible to find.  In fact, I wouldn't have found it (I was still using a flip phone then), except that I ran into a co-worker who was able to give me directions.  By the time I found the building and was standing in line in the un-airconditioned, crowded, DMV, I was in less than a good mood.

They finally called my name to have my picture taken, I sat down in front of the camera, and looked at the sticker, the guy told me to look at.

I didn't smile, didn't care what I looked like, I just wanted this whole stupid license ordeal to be over with so I could go back to my dramatic self-pity party.

He snapped the camera.  The picture showed up on the screen.  I looked at it and shrugged.  The DMV guy looked at it.  He paused.

"Maybe, we try that again," he said, "You can smile you know..."

When the guy taking pictures at the DMV tells you to re-take the picture, you know it must be truly awful.  So I smiled a pathetic-fake smile,  and that's how I ended up with a license that made me cringe every time I had to bring it out.

It was kind of satisfying today, watching the woman punch holes into that old license, while handing me my shiny new one.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake

I have the honor of co-chairing the Midwife Center's Annual fundraiser this year, with my event-planning partner in crime Regina.

We were volunteering at a Midwife Center event last night, and decided to create a video invitation to the event.

I hope you can join us on Saturday, May 7! It really is a great event.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Night at the Opera

Last night my sister and I went to the Pittsburgh Opera Company's production of Turnadot.  It was awesome.  The costumes and sets were beautiful, the music was awesome, the Benedum center was sold out.  Opera is very not dead.

Discussion during the intermission after the first act:

Me - "The thing I love about Opera is how fast everything moves.  There's going to be an execution!  Father I've found you after so many years!  I love her!"

Sister - "Seriously.  She smells good!  I'm going to marry her!"
(reading program)  "and in act 3!  She kills herself to save his life, and he's all, oh thanks, I'm gonna go make out with this other chick now."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Movie Night

Me-  "Also, I rented a movie for tonight."

Precisely- (with skepticism) "what is it?"

Me- "It's called Never Let Me Go.  It's based on a book I read a couple years ago.  Its about these students at a boarding school in England, only they're actually clones who get their vital organs harvested."

Precisely- ::blinks::  "Perfect."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Run Baby Run

I was 19 when I ran my first 5k.  Basically an adult.

One of the things I remember noticing were how many kids there were running that race.  Up until then running races had seemed completely beyond my capability.  After that first 5k however, I was hooked, and continued increasing the length and frequency of the races I'd enter until I ran the Philly marathon last fall.

I could go on and on and on about how much I love running, but that's not what this post is about.  This post, is about a program called Girls on the Run.  Girls on the run is an international running program for girls in 3rd-5th grade.  For three months the girls meet twice a week to run, and the program culminates with a 5k race.  In addition to running we discuss issues like self-esteem, peer pressure, and healthy living habits.

I've wanted to get involved with this program for a while, and this spring, was finally able to work it into my schedule, so I am an assistant coach.  It is so. much. fun.

For one thing, now that I don't babysit anymore, I am hardly ever around children.  My friends aren't having kids yet, I don't teach, and it's dawned on me that it's very strange how I am completely detached from an entire segment of the population.

Secondly, I had forgotten how little 8-10 year olds are.  They are adorable.  And still at that age where they're goofy, and nice to one another, and it breaks my heart to think that in a couple of years they'll turn into mean girls.  (I think they'll come out on the other side of puberty just fine though.)

Third, getting to share my love of running with these girls is awesome, and it's also so cool that they're getting introduced to running in a 5k already.  I wouldn't have changed the fact that I was singing 6 hours a week at 10, but I would have certainly preferred Girls on the Run to intramural soccer, and it would have been cool to begin my love affair with running earlier in life.

Spending time with these girls helps to put things in perspective as well.  Last week we discussed emotions.  At one point during the conversation one of girls was talking and said "...I mean, because most people are really happy and content, so..."  She continued talking, but I don't think any of us coaches heard the rest of her point.  We were totally fixated on the statement "most people are really happy and content."  She said it so surely, like it was an obvious statement.

How awesome, for that to be your view of the world, and how awful that it isn't more true.  We are so good at making our own problems, when really we should be the happy content people these kids think we are.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Today in my Coaching Session...

Me: I have my whole life to settle!  Why start now?

My Coach: I think that might be my favorite quote of the week.

I win!

P.S. - I think anyone can benefit from working with a coach, but especially if your a twenty something, do it.  It's totally worth the investment, and has been awesome.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Advice on Dating

So I might be in dating hibernation mode right now, but that doesn't mean I can't offer unsolicited dating advice to the internet.

The following was actually a response to a friend after she emailed me to tell me she was going on a date and was super excited and nervous.  Then another friend who read my response told me I should make it a blog post - and here we are!

Because dating is fun, but sometimes it can be hard, and really it's something that I think we should all do more of.

- Relax and have fun and don't put pressure on it just cause it's a date.

- Any time you need new conversation filler -  just ask questions - people love to talk about themselves.

- Wear something you feel comfortable in, nothing is more distracting than sitting on a date concentrating on the fact that your shoes hurt, something is too tight, or fidgeting with an ill fitting piece of clothing

- Don't check your cell phone unless you have to.

- Laugh at his jokes. (but only if they're funny)

- Utilize the forearm touch

- Offer to pay, but if he declines, offer to pay for the tip

- If you're having a good time - keep the date going, suggest after dinner drinks, or coffee, or something

- If you had fun, and want to see him again, say so.

- If, at the end of the night you want to kiss, don't be too shy to initiate it.  Or just tell him to initiate it. (Guys can be real wimps about that.)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dating Hibernation

I have this pattern I've repeated for the past couple of years that I've recently started referring to as"dating hibernation".  It's basically exactly what it sounds like.  I don't really date/have much  interest in dating during months of December - March.

Maybe it's the cold.  Maybe it's the 5 lbs. you put on in the winter.  Maybe it's the fact that holidays (Dec.), followed by my organization's annual fundraiser (Jan.), followed by Love of Friends (Feb.), doesn't leave me with much free time this season.  Maybe it's just become a habit.

I feel like I've been asked a lot lately if I'm dating anyone, to which I say "no", and when asked "why not?" I don't have any good answer to give other than "I don't feel like it."  I don't think people would necessarily understand what I mean were I to start responding, "Of course I'm not dating anyone, it's February!"

Now of course, I'll change my mind about this the moment I to meet someone who is wow-ing.  But, I'm picky, and am so far enjoying my hibernation.

I have a lot of friends who are in really amazing relationships that are moving forward to exciting next levels; marriage, moving in together, making the relationship official on facebook.  They are totally inspiring to me, and I would be a liar if I were to say I didn't want that for myself.

It's a choice, being single.  And one that I'm quite happy with lately. And just to be clear, not dating does not mean there's no flirting.  That's a skill that needs to be practiced year-round.

Come April, I'll shed my tights, and winter parka, and the 5 lbs, and start dating again.  Until then, I'm going to enjoy cooking dinner for myself, working on some really exciting projects, and going dancing with my friends.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pittsburgh > Your City

Rated #1 Again!

And why shouldn't it be, things here are great.

Though, if Port Authority would get their act together, or we finally get some light rail, maybe we'll make it into the worldwide top 25.  We don't stand a chance with those European public transit systems...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Things Precisely Tells Me as I Leave the House.

"Stay Skinny!"

"Remember, only half the salad."

"Lose the bubble hem!"

"Maybe that coffee is all you should eat today…"

"Have a wonderful day, eat a lot of chocolate.  I just read that the world’s supply is running out."

"What, did your sister wives pick that outfit for you?" (in my defense I was about to go for a run and yea, the clothes were baggy and ugly, but whatever I was just going to sweat in them!)

"I don’t care how wide your scarf is, you’re still not Swedish."

He keeps me grounded.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Conversation with my Mother on "Groundhog Day" , and while she Might Think I'm Crazy, I think I Make Total Sense

My Mom visited this past weekend.  She came out with some neighbors who were checking out the University of Pittsburgh.  It was a really fun weekend (it's always fun to show off Pittsburgh to people visiting for the first time).  We drank champagne (because I was all out of regular wine), I put her to work crafting for Love of Friends (she's a teacher, cutting things and crafting is a talent of hers), and at one point we started talking about the movie Groundhog Day.

Mom: "That's a movie I would like to watch.  I haven't seen that in ages."

Me:  "Yea, that's a good movie.  Well, we could certainly rent that."
        "Man that would suck.  Out of all the days to have to relive...Groundhog day?  Really?"
        "Although, I guess it would be better than re-living, say, Christmas over and over and over."

Mom: "Why???"

Me:  "Because, then it would be like that story you read to us as kids about the boy who wishes it was Christmas every day, and then Christmas was absolutely horrible!"

Mom:  "I guess reliving Christmas every day would not be so great."

Me:  "Really, the only way it wouldn't be so bad, is if you were re-living a totally normal, boring uneventful day over and over."

Mom: "wait, what?"

Me:  "You know, a totally average day, then it wouldn't be so bad to relive it, cause really, Tuesdays aren't all that different from Wednesdays, and most of the time you can't really tell the week days apart anyways, so it wouldn't be so bad.  Maybe you're living Tuesday over again, but maybe it's actually Wednesday which just feels a lot like Tuesday."

Mom:  "Ew, that's weird.  Why do you think that?"

The discussion kind of ended there because I was exhausted and went to bed.

But I still think I'm right, and not that I'd like to have to live any day over and over again, but if I did, I'd want it to be some random boring Tuesday over Christmas or any other holiday for sure.  I feel like when it's all said and done, the special occasions and holidays are great, but what we'll really miss are the boring average every-days.  What do you think?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thoughts While Apartment Searching on Craigslist

2 bedroom in Pittsburgh...oh really?  Pittsburgh?  that's it?  That's as specific as you're going to get?  Well guess what I don't even believe you. There's no way this apartment is even anywhere near Pittsburgh.

This is nice!  Oh my gosh this is so nice!  No wonder, for that much money it better be nice!  WHY DON'T I MAKE A MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR?!?!?!  :: reconsiders career in non-profit ::

This is cool, this is nice.  The northside!  Gah!  Why the northside? That might as well be Siberia without a car!  Maybe I should buy a car...

Ew.  floor to floor carpeting.  no.  

This looks promising :: opens listing :: oh no. no way we're living in a building that looks like that.  How did that design ever get approved?  The seventies must have been an awful time...

Hmmm, handyman special.  We could do that.  We're industrious!  And the rent is so cheap!  of course, we've talked about doing a lot of things... and we're really not home much... and I don't really want to spend the time I'm home ripping out tiling... and I always hate painting 5 minutes into the process.

So Precisely and I are moving.  Well, looking to move.  And yes, we have a pretty sweet apartment.  Open, with lots of natural lighting, tons of space, a sweet shared walk-in closet, BUT, we've also had a leaking roof since I moved in.  And it's been patched, but it keeps coming back, leaks spring up in new places, and we're not in college anymore, so a leaky roof is neither romantic or tolerated, and our landlord seems to be less than interested in the maintenance of the roof, and we don't have money to make him an offer for the building... so we're moving.

Anyone know of a 2-3 bedroom apt. opening up in Lawrenceville come May or June???

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hanging With the Wicked Smart kids, How do you Like Them Apples???

So Boston.  It was great.  Couldn't have gone much better actually.

On work:
The meetings were fantastic.  Informative, productive, more successful than I think any of us had originally anticipated, and have only furthered our excitement and enthusiasm in moving this project forward.  Nothing beats an education like the one you get through learning by doing.  The learning curve might be steep for us, but it's also such an exciting space to be in.

On travel
Boston gives next to no warning in terms of traffic.  You see a sign for an exit/detour/closed lane and it happens right away.  We put our rented Camry through it's paces, but it all worked out.   Even when we got stuck, in a snow bank, in a cemetery in New Hampshire, and dug our way out with a sign.

I couldn't have made this up if I'd tried.

On Cambridge
We were staying right in Harvard Square, which actually proved to be more boring than one would think.  Apparently, the wicked smart kids spend their weekends studying or something because it was surprisingly quiet for a college campus.  This was especially strange for 3 kids that had gone to state schools.  We still managed to have a good time though; ate, drank, danced, and were merry.

Also, you can't get into Harvard's library without a Harvard ID.  You can request a guest pass, but the process seemed to require a process more intense than that of applying for a passport.

All in all, Princeton > Harvard.

On Coffee Shops
Maybe because, like Seattle, Pittsburgh is often gray and rainy, so we have a large number of coffee shops on any given street, in any given neighborhood.  And nice coffee shops too.  Coffee shops that are warm and cozy, and have good lighting and lots of table space, and comfy couches, and make you want to spend your afternoon working there.

This is not the case at Harvard.  There are apparently only 4-5 cafes in the neighborhood, meaning that on a Saturday, they are swarmed and overflowing with students.  This lack of space resulted in us holding an afternoon work session at a Mexican restaurant.  As it turns out, margaritas and queso sauce, make for a pretty good time while outlining operational processes, and drafting financial projections.  Note to self: Hold more meetings at Mexican restaurants.  Note to Cambridge: More coffee shops.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Back-Up Singers, Boston, and Sacrificing One Dream for Another

When I was 7, I wanted to be a back-up singer.  I had seen an episode of Full House, which had concluded with a performance by Jesse and the Rippers.  My young impressionable self decided that being a back-up singer would obviously be just about the coolest thing ever.

I told my Dad about my back-up singing ambitions, and he was more than supportive.  "I think that would be so fun," he responded, "being up there with the band, in the midst of all the excitement, it would be great!"

Then I told my Mom.  Her response was a little different.  "A back-up singer?!  Why don't you want to  be the lead singer??"

I did it anyways.  In college.  Katie Geise and the Polygons was probably my peak of coolness.

(KG & the PG's)

So, when the artist asked if I would be interested in singing back up with her band Big Hurry for their upcoming CD release show, I was thrilled.

Look at them!  Aren't they cool?  I have crushes on all of them!

However, as I grew up, my ambitions began to expand beyond that of being a back-up singer.  Somewhere along the way, the idea of entrepreneurship and being part of creating a business popped into my head, and has been something I haven't been able to shake.  Then, because of my current work in non profit, I became more and more interested in the newly emerging 4th sector, the triple bottom line theory, trade vs. aid, and how businesses can positively impact and perhaps even solve social problems.

Somehow, the stars aligned and I've found myself involved with a group of truly amazing individuals who are working on forming a social venture in Haiti.  There was some nice press on the project that was picked up by Yahoo a couple of weeks ago.

We have the opportunity to go to Boston this weekend to meet with some industry folks who can hopefully give us some more insight and education into how to make this operation work.

Unfortunately, going to Boston means missing the CD release show.  More than missing the opportunity to sing back-up and maybe play tambourine, I'm upset that I will be missing the show.  I have watched this band from their first public performance, evolving into the talented group they are now, and becoming friends with them along the way.  I'm sad to miss out on celebrating this major milestone with them.

So, if you are in Pittsburgh, I urge you to go to Brillobox on Friday.  Big Hurry puts on a great live show, they have awesome guests performing with them, it will be a great time.

As for me, I'll be rocking out to the the new CD on the plane to Boston, because watching a business evolve is pretty cool too.