Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I Get to Work

Since I started working for Brighton, I have had countless weeks full of training. While I have learned so much, there are certainly times people ask me to name something specific after a week of training, and I cannot seem to recall a single, concrete thing. My brain has been working overload the past few months.

There is one thing I definitely remember from a day of training though, and I don't plan on ever forgetting it: I get to work.

During a class, the speaker asked how many of us have to work. Every hand was raised immediately. She then asked us how many of us get to work. We all sort of looked around the room like it was a trick question. The brave souls had a half-raised arm after a few seconds while the majority just tried to avoid eye contact.

Turns out this is the normal reaction. It's amazing how we immediately support a negative comment or question but are hesitant to be enthusiastic about something positive. Just look at all of the negative status updates on Facebook. They get 47 "likes" and comments.

While I love the people, travel and considerable other perks to my job, I definitely sometimes need a reminder when I have to count charms or run spreadsheets that I get to work when so many others cannot due to disability, the job market, etc.

I decided to place a permanent reminder on my work computer so that when I am ready to throw it out the window, I can take a second to remember how lucky I am to even have a work computer.

Here's to a happy every working day-not just Friday.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My 23rd RAOKing Birthday!

Birthdays and Valentine's Day have always been my favorite holidays. While I love when someone else has a birthday, I tend to always be a bit disappointed with my own. It never seems to live up to the hype. For my birthday this year, I decided to change things up a bit.

Instead of the usual day where I am concerned only about my selfish wishes, I decided to spend the day giving to others. I spent the entire morning and most of the afternoon fulfilling random acts of kindness. It was the greatest thing I have ever done on a birthday. Here's my list of 23 RAOK's:

1. I left handwritten notes on three cars with inspirational quotes and a request to "pass on the kindness."
2. I gave bubbles to two little girls who were leaving the grocery store with their mom.
3. I taped quarters to a coke machine with a note to enjoy a cold drink.
4. I went to a park and passed out suckers to all the kids (One of them was eating dirt when I arrived. I think he loved the suckers the most.)
5. I bought a woman's drinks at Walmart. (This was the absolute best one. I came up to her and told her it was my birthday and I would love to buy the drinks for her. She didn't speak for a second and then proceeded to burst into tears while telling me I must be sent from God because of the terrible time she has had lately. We were both crying and hugging, and it was the best five dollars I have ever spent in my life.)
6. I put a quarter in all of the candy machines at Walmart so the next person just has to turn it for free candy.
7. I rounded up all the shopping carts in the Walmart parking lot that were left unattended.
8. I gave a mother of three a gift card for free groceries.
9. I opened the doors at the Dollar General for several customers with their hands full.
10. I flashed my lights at oncoming cars when I saw a policeman waiting to catch someone speeding at the bottom of a hill.
11. I left quarters and a note for a free car wash.
12. I put a flag and a patriotic note on a car windshield.
13. I brought flowers to a woman who has been in the hospital for over nine days without a single visitor.
14. I brought flowers to a woman who has been in the hospital for seven days without a visitor. She told me I was the first person to ever buy her flowers. She was over sixty.
15. I took coloring books to the maternity unit of the hospital for the anxious brothers and sisters of the new arrivals.
16. I took stickers and gluten-free and sugar-free suckers to the pediatric ward.
17. I brought large print crossword puzzles to the local nursing home.
18. I taped a sign for free smiles on the door window of the Cleveland Hospice.
19. I gave two men who had clearly worked a long, hard day a gift card for Little Caesars.
20. I gave a little boy a Pez dispenser with refills.
21. I flushed all of the toilets in the McDonald's restrooms. (I still don't understand why there is ever a need for someone to do that for someone else, but oh well.)
22. I bought the lunch of the car behind us at McDonald's.
23. I took a dozen donuts to the local fire department and thanked them for their service.

This definitely goes down in the books as one of my favorite birthdays.

I can't say I was completely unselfish on Monday.  I played a Texas Hold'em tournament with my family that night, and I didn't share any of my winnings. I also asked for a personalized Minnie Mouse birthday cake.
My mom made this thing entirely from scratch!
 I figure a little selfishness never killed anybody. :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

60 Years of Memories

Last Sunday was a big day for my dad. Not only was it Father's Day, it was also his 60th birthday. I have been one to think for months about the perfect present. My dad is always the hardest.

He is a life-changer. As a teacher, coach and friend, he has a natural ability to see the best in others. With this in mind, has undoubtedly impacted the lives of virtually anyone who has ever known him. Too often people don't hear how much they mattered in the lives of others until they are six feet under. The gift I, along with my mom, got him this year ensures that isn't the case with his life.

We bought sixty vintage envelopes and stamped them numerically. We then contacted past students, players, family members, etc., and asked them to write down their favorite memory with him. After they were received, we packaged them individually into the letters. He was able to read (more than) sixty wonderful memories his birthday morning.

I have a quote hanging in my apartment that reads, "Those who love passionately teach us how to live." I bought it because it reminds me so much of him. That is exactly how I have always seen my dad, and it was a resonating theme in the letters written about him- his love for family, life and competition inspires others.

Thanks to everyone who sent in letters. It was the best gift I have ever given.

I guess I better get started thinking about next year. This one is going to be hard to top.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

If you do not know my mom, you really should. I guess we all grow up loving our parents because that's just the way it goes. It wasn't until I started getting older that I realized I love my mom for so much more than just because she gave birth to me.

She is the most generous, intelligent, and truly kind person I know. I was looking back at all of the old photos in her scrapbook room trying to find ones of the two of us. Out of thousands of pictures, she is only featured in a few.

I wasn't surprised. She is always the first to stay back to let the rest of us shine, despite the fact that she is the best and brightest of us all.

They say all girls become their mothers. I hope I am half the woman she is. 

Have a great Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Southern State of Mind

Last week I was in California for a national sales meeting. I had the best time meeting fellow sales reps as well as all of the other people who work for Brighton's headquarters. I have a new found admiration for anyone who works in a factory.

Everything is done by hand--including painting the inside of each individual belt hole!

I'm telling you, I have never in my life had so many people point out my accent as I did on this trip. Apparently people in other areas of the country don't use phrases like "crazier than a looney bird" or "not worth a lick." They also don't leave their purse unattended. I guess I'm always in a Southern state of mind.

Note my bag. People kept telling me, "You're not in Tennessee anymore, people will steal your purse!"

This is one of those looney birds I was talking about.This man had his rear end in a trash can with these signs sticking off his limbs.

One of the other things I was amazed at was all of the food. I especially loved when it was a pretty presentation like this one.
Thank goodness the hotel had a gym, or I would have been in some serious trouble.

Besides all of the product knowledge I learned, I also realized that going to bed close to midnight and getting up at 5:00 am for several days in a row does a number on the bags under your eyes. Luckily, I recently purchased Erase Paste by benefit. This stuff is a vacation in a jar.
I was able to look as excited as I felt all week.

I wonder if I should see if one of the Brighton designers would be interested in creating a mustache ring like this in Brighton's signature silver? :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fake It 'Til You Make It

Between trying to get settled in a new job, apartment, car and city, I have been slacking on my blog posts. I promise to get better.

Last week I got to work at the Atlanta Market. As a fashion enthusiast, of course I was thrilled to go. Fellow coworkers were teasing me the entire trip because I told them I would love to just take a picture of this place so I can say, "I get to work here!" Between launching a new brand and learning more than I could ever remember, I completely forgot to take a photo of it. Luckily, I found this one on the internet.

It almost does it justice.

One of my favorite and most frustrating things about the Market was getting to meet all the other sales reps across the country. They were all so polished, sophisticated, classy and any and every other adjective used to describe an extremely well-dressed woman.

I have always loved telling others about how I got an article of clothing for ten dollars or some other ridiculously cheap price. After hearing the other women speak about their outfits, I quickly realized that I should keep to myself the fact that I paid thirty dollars for my dress--and I thought it was expensive! I wouldn't have had a chance to tell them anyways. In a sea of $400 dresses, nobody asks the girl wearing a thirty dollar dress where she found it.

Being the newest and youngest rep, I am determined to not also be the worst dressed. I have been combing the malls with any spare time this past week because I fly to California on Monday for an entire week of outfit comparisons/competition. My goal is for at least one person to ask me where I got something. I don't think that's too much to ask.

In the meantime, I'm stealing toilet paper from the malls to supplement my spending. I guess I will always be cheap--just a little better dressed.

Fake it til you make it, right?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

We're Only Half-Crazy

Around June I suggested running the Disney Princess Half-Marathon to my mom. Completing one was on both of our bucket lists. If we are going to run one, we decided we might as well make a vacation out of it and run with Disney princesses.

Over the last five months we have been training. It wasn't always fun, and it wasn't always easy.

The next photos were taken after a ten mile Christmas run and a 6 1/2 mile run in the rain.

I'll admit that I have never been a huge fan of running. Leaving for the race (at 3:30 am), we shared a cab with a woman who is a serial marathoner. She said they are addictive. I just smiled, keeping my opinion that she must be crazy to myself.

As it turns out, she might be right.

Couples old enough to be my grandparents were dressed as Cinderella and Prince Charming. Four sisters who ran next to us had a brother who came and surprised them at the finish line with a carriage. People who did not even know anyone in the race were holding signs saying things like, "Hey stranger, I don't know you, but I'm proud of you!"

So much pride and energy surrounds a marathon. My mom realized that earlier than I did. She was crying before the race even started.

She cried after, too. Crossing the finish line with my mom is one of the greatest memories I will ever have-- we even had our own personal cheerleader (my dad definitely deserves a shout out for his support and superb foot massages). How could I not want to repeat that?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Two Weeks Notice

"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."-John Wooden

The past couple of weeks I have been trying to decide if moving to Nashville is the right decision for me. I would be leaving the security of a job with excellent benefits, my family and the city I have known all my life.

While the thought of leaving my family and missing my nephews play basketball certainly makes me want to cry (and did during a weak moment leaving a game last week), I don't want to be the person who stays somewhere forever due to the fear of failure while stuck in a stagnant career. I want to be the person who takes risks, makes changes and is able to tell crazy stories about my adventures when I get old and gray.When I went to Nashville three years ago, I fell in love with this bench. I always said if I ever lived there, this spot would be my second home. It looks like it will.

I turned in my two weeks notice this morning fully ready to start a new chapter of my life. 615, I'll see you soon.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What I Wish They Taught in Business School

I just had my one year anniversary at my current job. It made me start thinking about what I have learned while working here. I also thought about what I learned throughout my four years at UT and how I have actually applied that knowledge in my current position. Here's what I figured out:
  1. Business school should require all students to take psychology and sociology classes. I have come to realize that to be successful in a business environment, the ability to communicate to all employees and adapt your communication efforts on an individual and group basis is just as important, if not more so, than knowledge and abilities.
  2. They should teach you how to operate a deluxe copy machine. I know this sounds crazy, but I didn't know how to fax, scan, add ink, etc. to this gigantic printing machine in the copy room. I could have developed the Theory of Relativity, but without this secretarial knowledge, I would still have been viewed as a moron.
  3. They should tell you to have a candy dish and to keep it stocked. It's the fastest way to make friends, I'll tell ya. Beware though, run out of candy and they sometimes get angry.
  4. They should tell all students that Casual Friday does not mean wrinkled jeans and tennis shoes--no matter what anyone tells you. We have had several interns who come in on a Friday in just that, and it is bad news. Luckily, I was raised by a man who wore a tie no matter the day and a woman who always wears a blazer. I didn't have to learn this lesson the hard way.
  5. They should tell you to hang interesting, meaningful things in your office. I currently have a large painting of a magnolia by my favorite artist, my grandmother, directly behind my desk. It always sparks conversation on local artists, the movie/play Steel Magnolias, etc. I also have a photo with Warren Buffett, UTK memorabilia and three framed quotes displayed. Having my office decorated with personal things certainly creates easy conversation. It also just makes me happy to come to work.
You know how I was able to convince a colleague to take that picture of me holding up the #1 sign? Bribed her with candy. Business students should seriously be learning this stuff.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Holiday Wrap-Up

I had the best Christmas and New Year's I remember in a long time.

Unusual gifts that express a person's individuality and eccentricities are the best. My Christmas was full of them:


This is a ring crafted from a man through Etsy. It's the symbol of the Deathly Hallows from Harry Potter. It's also small enough to fit my child-sized fingers. Another plus.

And I got to eat red velvet pancakes Christmas morning before a 10 mile run with my mom.Post run.

I don't think a better Christmas day has ever existed.

While I love Christmas, I am not a fan of New Year's. At all. For some reason it always ends up an emotion-filled disaster. Not this year though. I stayed in, turned off my phone, ate fondue and watched movies with my family. It was perfect.

In case you're wondering about my New Year's resolutions, they are to be more open and honest with others, have a little more adventure and less caution and wear red lipstick more often.

I hope y'all had a happy Christmas and fabulous New Year's.