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Cross-posted: 5 Rules for Putting Yourself First

Last week I wrote a blog post on the “5 Rules for Putting Yourself First” for Girls in Tech, an organization focused on the collaboration, promotion, growth and success of women in the technology sector. I’m on the board of directors for the Boston chapter. I figured it was appropriate to cross-post here because this advice can apply to those women who are in their twenties and trying to figure it all out. Jobs, relationships, new apartments or houses, new routines – it can easily get overwhelming. Not sure about you, but I often find myself trying to do as much as possible all the time, and sometimes you just need the reminder to slow down and put yourself first.

I know I’m preaching to the choir when I talk about the wonders of technology. Gadgets, social networks, search engines, software, mobile innovation.. hell—even the remote control on my air conditioner. It’s these technologies we turn to in order to save time and make things quicker and easier. But ironically, it’s the time we save using technology to do more and more. We have gotten so good at multitasking that our lives are becoming more hectic than ever. And the “we” I’m talking about is women.

Where am I going with this? Kim Wroble and Lorian Williams-Willis of Advocate Christ Medical Center in Chicago paint a great picture:

“You are the last to bed at night and the first one up in the morning. You are a mom, wife, sister, friend, playmate, student, cheerleader, career woman, organizer, vacation planner, finance manager … the list goes on and on. While managing all these different roles, who cares for you?”

Economy notwithstanding, it’s important that we stay in tune with our pace to make sure we’re not overextended. We’ve gotten so used to this “make it happen” mentality that we often push our own emotional and mental boundaries to get things done. There are many more incredible technologies awaiting innovation, and as they become available, there will be new chances for us to squeeze more into our schedules. So, let’s keep the mental breakdowns to a minimum, shall we?

Read the rest here…

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August 2, 2009 at 5:09 pm Leave a comment

Looking for Inspiration: Bedroom Decor Ideas

Now that we bought our bedroom furniture, we’re ready to finally paint and decorate our bedroom. We originally started with navy as our primary color, but after buying such dark walnut furniture, we might need to lighten things up a bit. Granted, we’ll hold off on buying a new bed collection (need something to put on the wedding registry), but I’m on the lookout for some inspiration anyway. Here’s what I’ve fallen in love with so far:

hdvote-cook-bedroom_w609

6Charalambous_houseinpotoma_lg

lori-dennis-orange-bedroom3_lg

Charalambous-Andreas-Tan-Bedroom_lg

erinn-valencich-mariah-bedroom_lg

July 27, 2009 at 8:08 pm 5 comments

Domestically Detached

“The moment when something major is accomplished, we are so relieved to finally be done with it that we are already rushing, at least mentally, into The Future. Wisdom, however, requests a pause. If we cannot give ourselves a pause, the Universe will likely give it to us. In the form of an illness, a massive Mercury in retrograde, our car breaking down. And we find ourselves required to stop, to sit down, to reflect.” -Alice Walker

Sorry guys, have a few things going on right now, and fully intend to get back up and posting on a mostly daily basis by next week. And, I just like the quote above. I’m trying to give myself more pauses.

May 8, 2009 at 9:08 am Leave a comment

Love Thy Neighbor… or Don’t?

Ok, nobody’s twisting our arms to make friends with our neighbors. I’ve gone my whole life without knowing half of our neighbors, and that’s been just fine. When we moved into our condo, however, I felt slightly obligated to reach out and forge friendships with the people who live in the condos around us. Not so easy, I’m finding.

moving_inGone are the days when a neighbor pops buy to borrow a cup of sugar. Not that I was expecting a welcome muffin basket, but of the 5 people that live in close vicinity, I was kind of surprised that only one made the effort to introduce himself. In fact, he invited Shawn to a local bar to catch the Bears game. But, it was a Bears game. From time to time, we’d see this neighbor, exchange hellos, and once in a great while he’d stop by to see if he could borrow power tools, but that was about it.

I suppose I couldn’t expect it to happen overnight, but since we really didn’t know anyone in Portsmouth before we moved here, I was hoping we’d immediately connect with all of these new people, share potluck dinners on Sunday nights and help each other shovel out our cars after snowstorms. Maybe even go half-sies on wi-fi? No?

The thing is, I am dying to know what these people do for a living. 4 of them regularly stay home during work hours (I know this because they’re always here when I work from home once a week). If they’re home while most people are at work, does it mean they have a sick telecommuting job? Are they super rich and just don’t need to work? Are they famous bloggers that make their means solely by their advertising? Were they recently laid off?

It might be a good thing that we’re not friends with our neighbors. I mean, there’s a reason interoffice dating is strongly discouraged, right? If it turns sour, you’re stuck seeing them every day and it could just make an uncomfortable situation worse. But, maybe the warmer weather will inspire a few more friendly conversations. Until then, we’ll keep to ourselves and if anyone needs sugar, I hope they’ll take Sweet & Low.

UPDATE: I was right! The warmer weather definitely inspired a few more friendly converstaions. We’re all outside a little bit more and we’re all less inclined to haul inside to escape the cold. Shawn managed to have longer conversations with two of our neighbors to find out that they are *both* moving in the next month! Within 9 months, we become the veteran residents! This is a fun little twist, but it kinda sucks because we’re finding that our neighbors are actually really nice! Fingers crossed that the next set are just as cool..

April 17, 2009 at 10:48 pm Leave a comment

Why I’m Domestically Disabled

I blame my parents. They didn’t really make me help around the house when I was younger, and thus I didn’t really have a reason to learn the ways of running a household. Okay, that sounds wildly spoiled. The truth is, my parents did encourage me to help around the house, but my laziness was a much stronger force.

I know exactly where it started too. The dishwasher. We didn’t have a functioning dishwasher when we were younger, and for the first 15 years of my life, the dishes went from the cabinet to the sink to the drying rack and back to the cabinet. Between cabinet and cabinet, there was a little task of actually doing the dishes after you ate off of them. I hated this task. Sponges smelled funny, I could never reach the bottom of the cups and my fingers got raisin-y. I did everything in my power not to do this task, up to and including blatant disregard for my parents’ request for assistance. There was TV to watch!

Fast forward to the last couple years before Shawn & I moved into our condo. We lived with my dad, who had established a pretty solid routine for himself of Saturday morning cleaning, Sunday night bill-paying and nightly cooking. Cooking was never one of my strongest abilities, and since I don’t get home until 7 p.m. or so, it was usually ready for me when I got home (okay, that sounds spoiled, and rightly so). When it was just me and Shawn, we often opted for take-out. Convenience over cooking, nine times out of ten. Additionally, my dad is an incredibly gracious man and supported our goal of purchasing a home together. As such, he gave us the opportunity to live at home rent-free, as long as we picked up the cable & internet bills and a tank of oil here and there. I’m very very fortunate for the opportunity he gave us to save as much as we did; there’s no way we would own property right now otherwise.

But, before now, had I ever paid a rent payment or even seen a mortgage bill? No. Had I ever wrapped my head around the need to plan several meals a week, shop for said meals, and feed more than one mouth? Not really. Do I frequently consult the internet to find out how to get stains out of my clothes? Regularly. Am I domestically disabled, with lots to learn and lots to share? Definitely.

April 9, 2009 at 8:59 pm 2 comments

Gardening for the Condo-Dweller

So, I’ve never been interested in gardening. It wasn’t until college that I was even interested in fruits & vegetables, but that’s besides the point. Shawn’s parents have a pretty elaborate (in my definition) garden in their backyard. Shawn spent some time tending to it when he lived there, and actually has a bit of a green thumb, to my surprise. Anyway, Shawn’s parents visited this past weekend and their enthusiasm has rubbed off on me a bit.

I don’t know the first thing when it comes to building and maintaining a garden, but one thing I do know is that we have basically no room. Our “landing” is shared with our three neighbors and I feel weird making them look at our makeshift garden. Maybe windowsill is our only solution? Lucky for me, Oprah’s website has a “What Kind of Gardener Are You” quiz, which taught me a little bit about container gardens:

windowsill-gardenContainer gardens don’t require nearly the time or commitment that a larger garden may, which is music to my ears (I’m kinda lazy when it comes to watering plants and whatnot). But, they need at least 5 hours of sunlight, which could be an issue unless they’re placed in a very strategic location on our “porch”. Leafy vegetables like cabbage and lettuce can tolerate the most shade, but root crops like beets and carrots will need more sun. Fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers need the most sun, which is kind of a bummer, since I’d likely plant these before any other type. Wait — I can plan vegetables right? Or am I stuck growing herbs (in which case, let’s be honest, I probably won’t bother)?

Any of my apartment-dwelling friends start a container garden or something comparable? Do you think I can put my garden on the inside in the window, or does it need to be outside? Is that a stupid question?

April 7, 2009 at 8:41 pm 1 comment

Just publish the damn thing, San.

The time we tried to put an offer on the first place we looked at (duhh). Our first (overwhelming) trip to Ikea. The process of building a pantry in our kitchen with no regard for the fact that neither of us had handled power tools before (thank you Closetmaid). Neighbor nicknames and the potential legal action we thought about taking against our condo association. These, among others, were going to be topics for my first blog post. These, among others, happened months ago.

Not that I had to talk myself into starting my blog, but who knew first time homeownership was so damn time consuming? Well, most of you probably did. Seeing as how I lived in the bubble known as “Dad’s house” until I purchased a condo with my boyfriend (with no buffer of post-dorm apartment living), I had no clue what I was in for.

Thus, the idea for this blog. When you’re going from zero to homeowner in (what seems like) 60 seconds, it’d be nice to have a “Becoming an Adult for Dummies” book. Since I didn’t, I wanted to chronicle my experiences here and — if possible — help some other unsuspecting 20-somethings who might find themselves in similar situations. I know some colleges offer those kinds of courses, but they should really make them mandatory.

January 4, 2009 at 5:05 pm Leave a comment


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