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09 July 2013

The Congruence Contract : A Year Ago Today

mostly after.
A year ago today was my first day of working from home.

(It's funny to read how it was unseasonably cold. It is hot as balls here now, and my daily wardrobe pretty much consists of beach coverups.)

Last year we busted ass to get my office ready to be my office in time, but as hard as I tried to clean house, I was left with one very tall stack of, er, ephemera, in the corner of the room.

very before.
still during.


(Backstory: I inherited my house—and most of the crap in it—from my mom and my grandparents.)

I promised myself that pile of crap would be gone very soon because it would be annoying me by taking up valuable real estate, and plus it would be so much easier to ebay things now that I had an office with a functioning computer, and my little mailing station, and an organized stockpile of packing supplies.


Still here.

Actually, right this second the vacuum is gone because I donated it. But in front of it is another pile of things now needing to be donated. And some boxes for work.


When I created my Congruence Contract back in March, the 2 big things on my mind were sending cards to our wedding vendors. (Because we got married in 2011. I mean, really.) And getting rid of this pile.

We all know that I didn't really do much on this list until June. (But I did send the notes.)

Sooo. Yesterday was the due date on my promise to myself.

A year to the Monday I first started working from home. 

Technically, I failed big time.


It was a huge list. I mean, like maybe if I-didn't-work-and-had-no-husband-or-friends-and-didn't-eat-I-could've-gotten-all-that-done-in-3-months huge.

And more to the point, giving myself a deadline actually worked.

I wound up starting a bunch of things on my list I probably wouldn't have otherwise—weeding through my enormously embarrassing VHS collection, combining electronic nonsense spread across 3 shitty computers onto one central (and backed up) location, filing a stack of inspiration photos ripped out of magazine (obviously I'm old school). I even listed 2 whole things on eBay.

And finally cracked the code of meal planning! This one was not on the list, but talk about things I have been wanting to improve upon for YEARS. More on this to come for sure.

Granted, a lot of those things got underway just this past weekend, when the looming deadline finally enabled me to prioritize "my stuff" over work commitments and socializing and spending the day on the couch watching countless hours of Too Cute.<--you are="" but="" deadlines="" font="" for="" link.="" re="" right="" s="" that="" welcome="" what="">

So just maybe, this was enough to get me started and momentum will take care of the rest. 

Stay tuned. But don't hold your breath.

28 May 2013

The Congruence Contract

Actual junk from the attic circa 2008.
I am by nature a list maker. I have them everywhere: on scraps of paper, on my phone, my trusty clipboard, forever synced to the cloud in workflowy. And I get a lot done. But some things seem to languish on the lists for an embarrassingly long time. Like, uh, years. Maybe most people just forget these little things they intended to do but never did? The follow-up emails they never sent, the thank you cards they never wrote, the packed closet they never got around to purging. But I don't. All these things I should do follow me from list to list, haunting me like ghosts that whisper "failure".

"Should" may be a dangerous word, but I believe it's a necessary evil. Though often we feel we "should" do something because it's something someone else wants or what we think is expected of us, other times—the ones we "should" listen to—it's because it's something we promised ourselves or someone else we would do, and that unkept promise lingers until we either fulfill it or officially absolve ourselves of it.

I believe this both because it totally plagues me and because I have read many a published expert with the same philosophy. Brendan Burchard's The Charge and its concept of "congruence" may be my favorite presentation of "doing what you know to do". Burchard's challenge is to "follow through on spoken and inspoken promises from start to finish". The "unspoken" bit is what sets "congruence" apart from "integrity" in my mind.

See, integrity I have in droves. I am dependable and reliable to a fault. I don't flake, I don't forget, and if I have to cancel or reschedule it usually involves tears of guilt. Which is exactly why everyone else's "stuff" gets done before mine. Why magazines and TV shows that are supposed to make me happy go unread and unwatched. Why tons of posts go unblogged, and why occasionally, my husband goes unloved.

When there is no external pressure involved, there is very little congruence.

So this is my attempt to inflict some.

Beyond the mental pressure of all those "to do" lists, there's also the physical pressure of all this clutter.

I hear it prevents the accumulation of wealth and other things one may actually want in life. How true that is remains to be seen, but I'm sure game to give it a shot. I was a packrat growing up, but thought I'd left it behind in college, until my accumulation issues resurfaced when I moved back to NY after school in LA, into the house I'd grown up in. That my mom had grown up in. That my grandparents had lived in for 50 years. It, uh, had a lot of shit in it.

And while soooo much has left in the last 6 years, by way of yard sales, donations, and our overworked garbage men, there is still a good bit to go. And it is hard not to get discouraged thinking about how oh my god, how has this... "project" consumed SIX YEARS of my life and is still dragging on?!

But. Better late than never. Better 6 years than 10. And while I don't expect I'll get it all done in 2 months, everything I do will be more than I'd get done without this initiative.

Which brings me to my official list, which is posted below. Anything on there look familiar? Like something you too might be putting off? It may be pretty specific to me, but surely there's a pile of paper somewhere to be sorted, a book to be read, or an email to be sent? I know I'm not the only one who secretly doesn't have her shit together...

If you make your own list—with your own deadline—then we can cheer each other on?! I know it's not as glamorous as a life list, but I have a feeling it might be just as effective...

You can see that I've already been procrastinating this since April. Oops. 
I've only gotten one thing done—donated the LeBaron—which is simultaneously laughable and commendable. I'm blaming it on my poor wording of the "contract" bit. Like I'm gonna clear ALL my clutter on July 8th?! BY July 8, BY! Duh. 
Ah well, onwards!

11 November 2012

Camp Mighty 2012

I’m going. Here is my life list. I’m sorry I don’t have more to say about this right now. I’ve got shit to do.


1. Learn to play drums.
2. Hike Macchu Picchu.
3. Get pink/purple ombre highlights.
4. Blog/photography project of NYC facades and eventually other cities.
5. Write, pitch and publish my first ever article for a “real” publication (print or online).
6. Hang out with lemurs in Madagascar.
7. Start up a stuffed animal swapping/adoption site. Because I still can’t just give them
away to anybody.
8. Have my own business.
9. Own a Fiat 500.
10. Eat at least 1 extravagant dinner a year.
11. Learn how to meal plan and grocery shop really effectively.
12. OR Make enough money to afford food delivery.
13. Act in a play.
14. Visit Iceland in the summer and also in the winter.
15. Drive around the SW in a vintage convertible.
16. Visit all the beachs in Croatia.
17. Visit the Trulli in Italy.
18. Go to Israel with Nicole.
19. Visit Marfa, Tx.
20. Return to Ozona, Tx.
21. Dance on pointe again.
22. Fly first class on one of those fold-down beds.
23. See the pyramids (for my mom).
24. See Petra.
25. Be photographed by Bill Cunningham.
26. Stay in the ice hotel.
27. Hole up on a cliffside in Greece.
28. Become a lawyer.
29. Own a pool.
30. Try living in South America.
31. Stay in that treehouse hotel in Dominica.
32. Go to Carnival in Trinidad.
33. Save, share and celebrate historic homes (like La Selva) in a lucrative way.
34. Sail down the Amazon.
35. Hole up in the English countryside – preferably where Doc Martin takes place.
36. Stay at that hotel in Kenya where the giraffes stick their heads in the window.
37. See orangutans in the wild.
38. Learn to sing one song that won’t embarrass me at karaoke.
39. Visit Komodo Island and see the dragons.
40. Stay in an overwater bungalow in French Polynesia or the Maldives.
41. Get my yoga certification in Bali.
42. Learn archery.
43. Buy a crumbling building in Italy.
44. Swim with whale sharks.
45. Learn massage.
46. Write a fantasy novel.
47. Publish a book.
48. Go on a spiritual pilgrimage.
49. See the gorillas in Uganda with my college anthro professor.
50. Go yachting in the Mediterranean.
51. See blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos.
52. Go glamping.
53. Open a bar.
54. Write a screenplay from one of my favorite books.
55. Appear in Vogue.
56. Visit Hagia Sofia.
57. See a capybara in the wild.
58. Run a marathon.
59. See one of the ideas on my very long list turned into a tv show. (J.J. Abrams, where
are you?)
60. Birdwatch on every continent.
61. Learn spanish web/silks.
62. Drive from LA to Seattle on PCH with Scott.
63. See the pigs in the Exumas.
64. See Great Whites breach in South Africa.
65. Teach personal finance to high school/college kids (and their parents).
66. Open a gourmet milkshake shop.
67. Join Mensa.
68. Visit Djibouti because well, have you seen it?
69. Somehow transform my love of hotels into a career.
70. Flip houses.
71. Live like a king in Patagonia
72. Live in London.
73. See the non-touristy part of the Great Wall of China.
74. Have a purpose that makes me excited to get out of bed every morning.
75. Get my teeth fixed.
76. Take a cooking class with Carla Hall.
77. Swim with dolphins.
78. Make a quilt.
79. Brave a small plane in Belize.
80. Live for a while in Merida, Mx.
81. Act in a movie. Act in a movie that people see.
82. Learn ballroom dancing.
83. See marmosets and tarsiers in the wild
84. Cage dive with sharks.
85. Learn to scuba dive.
86. Go to Martinique.
87. Show Scott Hawaii.
88. Learn fencing.
89. Find out who my grandfather’s birth parents were.
90. See the Northern Lights.
91. Go hiking in the Himalayas.
92. Volunteer with the sloths in Costa Rica.
93. Stay in every room at the Roxbury Motel.
94. Take my 10 best friends on vacation somewhere amazing for my 40th birthday.
95. Get a PhD in history or cultural studies.
96. Take a writing class from Erica Jong.
97. Learn Spanish.
98. Learn about Ayurveda.
99. Visit Easter Island and see the statues.
100. Help renovate a French chateau
101. Trace my roots in Ireland and Germany.
102. Visit Yves St Laurent’s house in Morocco.
103. Work on an HGTV show.
104. Visit Philip Johnson’s The Glass House.
105. Own a dog.

12 October 2012

Thoughts : Blogging

“Today I thought about blogging about one-sentence synopses of what I thought about blogging about today.”



On Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 4:05 PM, KA wrote:

exactly! i might just start doing this with my blog...
"Today I thought about blogging about one-sentence synopses of what I thought about blogging about today."
or is that too meta?


On Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 4:03 PM, Aimee wrote:

perfect. I would read it, since it wouldnt take a ton of time to read, its a blog for the busy folks.


On Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 4:02 PM, KA wrote:

Bwah. Let's just start a blog that says, "today i thought about blogging XX" and that's it.


On Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 3:58 PM, Aimee wrote:

Its the thought that counts.


On Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 3:54 PM, KA wrote:

Ugh. I *thought* abt blogging the other day, does that count?

10 July 2012

Style : Work

Check out those demon eyes.
Clearly I was born to be doing this, right? 
Like the internet needs another person blogging photos of their outfits. Ugh, I hate myself already. 

Yesterday was my first day working from home (and by working I mean supervising movers and figuring out how to squeeze all my crap into my 10' x11' office), and I figured I'd celebrate by documenting my last week of leaving-the-house clothes. (Ok, if you've been following the weather in NY you'll notice it was my technically my second to last week's wardrobe.) Obviously, I'm already getting SO much DONE. 

It was actually oddly fun and relaxing taking these by myself with a tripod. Click 10 sec timer, try to look fierce, fail miserably, repeat. I might make this a regular thing to motivate myself to continue dressing thoughtfully. (Even if it's just in one of FOUR pairs of Uniqlo legging pants I just bought. They're seriously that awesome. Work from home pants, what what.)

I was pretty proud of this week's outfits, especially in light of the unseasonably cold temperatures (I don't know how to dress for 70's) and fact that I've been doing a lot of manual labor at work. There's a solid color scheme going on, and I think this would make for an excellent vacation wardrobe, as it all can be mixed and matched and repeated ad infinitum.

This is the face of someone who's not usually productive before 9am.
Top: Target?
Shorts: Express
Shoes: Keds

Outtake, ftw. Unless you enjoy my fiercely stressed out face.
Pants: Target
Hoodie: H&M
Shoes: Toms
Scarf: Target

This one does not photograph well. I'd like a do over with some skinny white jeans.
White shirt: Converse for Target
Tank: for Target
Pants: H&M
What is this, FashionToast? Look at that pose. I clearly think I'm on ANTM.
My first serious attempting at mixing prints. I think it's working.
God I love purple and persimmon.

Onesie: Express
Scarf: Target
Belt: NineWest via TJMaxx
Shoes: Keds
Bag: Prada

More intense modeling.
Skirt: Vintage, my mom.
Tube: I don't remember
V-neck: Express.

04 June 2012

Birthday : Goals


photo of yours truly by the mr, scott eric johnson


For the past few years I’ve been doing a year in review .pdf thing courtesy of Marcus Buckingham after I read one of his books and signed up for his mailing list. (It’s the only thing I’ve ever gotten from his mailing list, and it has just now occurred to me that I hope tons of good stuff hasn’t been trapped in a spam filter or something.)


Essentially you write down the highs and lows of the past year, what you learned, what your goals are for the coming year and how you plan to achieve them.


Because I’m a procrastinator, doing this exercise gets later and later every year, and has now settled around my birthday, which I think is as good a time as any. My outlook on the prior year has gelled, and I have a decent stock of where I am and what I can get done in the next 8 months. Sometimes my goals are Mondo Beyondo level unrealistic and others have been downright manageable.


In an unprecedented move of transparency, this year I’ve decided to share some of them.


Here are the juicy ones:


1)  Create business plan, packages, website and take on 1 new client.

Now that I’ll be working from home and the proud owner of an extra 10 hours of time a week, I’ve decided I want to officially brand myself as a business manager, and reach out to creative solopreneurs and tiny businesses who are finding they can no longer do it all themselves and need administrative and strategic help, but aren’t ready to commit to hiring “staff”.


2. Focus on Honeymoon Diaries as a blog people might actually read, and/or as a potential business or stepping stone to other career opportunities.


Here’s the thing. I’d like my work to entail looking at photos of hotels all day. Yes, this sounds like a ridiculous thing to do for a living, but there are lots of bloggers and others doing ridiculous things for money, so why shouldn’t I be one of them? And yes, asking the universe for this scares the crap out of me for several reasons. Mostly because I don’t do well with good things happening to me, and so I can't handle or imagine how GOOD it would be. How happy PLAYING in the world of pretty travel dreams makes me. Happy like a little kid happy. Summer mornings happy. Even though I’m now putting it out there for the world to see, I can’t imagine actually letting myself want this, this thing that I already do day in and day out, at least when I’m not actively avoiding the things that make me happy. (Which is a big issue for another post and possibly a therapist.) At the very least, if Jetsetter’s recent Pinterest contest showed Aimee and I anything, it’s that we’re not the only ones that want to look at travel photos all day.

3. Continue taking acting classes and find out what it is I’d have to do to do more with it:


Well this is a BIG and SCARY one. Perhaps the biggest and the scariest. The thing is, I like acting. A lot. I’d like to see what it’d be like to do more of it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, except the little voice that’s told me since childhood that the bananas-ness of “being an actor” is so, well, bananas, that I might as well not bother. Except that I have started bothering and all I want to do is see what it would be like to do a teensy bit more, so that stupid voice can shut the fuck up right now.


4. Write article about orphans and investing. Look into whether there are any personal finances blogs or components of personal finance blogs for high school and college kids out there. Get involved.


This is a good one, in two parts. See, I’ve been really into $$$ this year, and specifically I’ve been thinking about how us young adult orphans react to investing for retirement. When, you know, we saw our parents not make it to retirement. This feels like a real article, meant for somewhere bigger than this blog. And thusly, I’d like to make it so. And then keep that ball rolling.




So that dear readers, are my big scary goals for 29. I should probably try to have some fun in there too.


wedding ( 43 ) wedding planning ( 33 ) thoughts ( 27 ) adventure ( 25 ) travel ( 19 ) style ( 18 ) life ( 17 ) house ( 16 ) photography ( 11 ) shopping ( 10 ) interior design ( 8 ) 2011 Syllabus ( 7 ) Mexico ( 7 ) blogs ( 7 ) renovation ( 7 ) clothes ( 6 ) dresses ( 6 ) hotels ( 6 ) Costa Rica ( 5 ) DIY ( 5 ) engagement ( 5 ) honeymoon ( 5 ) marriage ( 5 ) road trip ( 5 ) commuting ( 4 ) food ( 4 ) friends ( 4 ) ideeli ( 4 ) organizing ( 4 ) Ikea ( 3 ) Wedding Wednesdays ( 3 ) art ( 3 ) bath ( 3 ) beauty ( 3 ) doing ( 3 ) health ( 3 ) tropical ( 3 ) white ( 3 ) writing ( 3 ) H and M ( 2 ) HUD ( 2 ) Style Saturdays ( 2 ) Upstate NY ( 2 ) beach ( 2 ) birds ( 2 ) carpenter ants ( 2 ) cdcli ( 2 ) damask ( 2 ) drink ( 2 ) etsy/ebay ( 2 ) goals ( 2 ) hair ( 2 ) monkeys ( 2 ) reading ( 2 ) subway tile ( 2 ) summer ( 2 ) the great house clean out ( 2 ) 12 Bones ( 1 ) APW ( 1 ) Asheville ( 1 ) BS ( 1 ) Blossom ( 1 ) Brooklyn ( 1 ) Chimney Rock ( 1 ) Christmas ( 1 ) Honeymoon Diaries ( 1 ) Italy ( 1 ) KnitWit ( 1 ) Lake Lure ( 1 ) North Carolina ( 1 ) Pittsburgh ( 1 ) Thinking Girl's Thursday ( 1 ) Winter 2011 Syllabus ( 1 ) antiquing ( 1 ) architecture ( 1 ) barbeque ( 1 ) bitching ( 1 ) black friday ( 1 ) camping ( 1 ) cashmere ( 1 ) celebrity style ( 1 ) consumerist ( 1 ) crafting ( 1 ) eBay ( 1 ) fail ( 1 ) fruit ( 1 ) growth ( 1 ) hoodies ( 1 ) icons ( 1 ) lingerie ( 1 ) mango ( 1 ) mixology ( 1 ) mold ( 1 ) money ( 1 ) movies ( 1 ) music ( 1 ) new york ( 1 ) office ( 1 ) oh la la cheri ( 1 ) plumbing ( 1 ) pop culture ( 1 ) proposal ( 1 ) street style ( 1 ) sunset ( 1 ) tequila ( 1 ) tv ( 1 ) vanity ( 1 ) volcano ( 1 ) wallpaper ( 1 )



because Oprah

is not an expert at anything either.

the Discerning Dilettante

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