A Farewell to Friend

A Farewell to Friend

2014 was the first time in my life that a friend silently slipped off the radar and into friendship oblivion. I guess I can't really complain. At 33, I was probably due for a big friend fallout. But this wasn't just a friend; this was a really good friend. This was the kind of friend I spent holidays with when I couldn't get home to my family. The kind of friend I lovingly referred to as a "sister from another mister." The kind of friend who was  one of the funnest -- and funniest -- people I've ever known. The kind of friend whose absence hasn't gone unnoticed. And I'm not gonna lie: it has been both hard and horrible.

In my mind's version of the story there wasn't a specific moment where things went wrong. It was more of a slow fizzle. I moved back to Ohio after an extended period of time working out-of-state and we seemed to pick back up where we had left off. A few months later, once eagerly-embraced lunch invites were getting pushed off never to be rescheduled.

At first, I tried to blame it on the age old struggle between Camp Parent and Camp Freebird. I didn't have any skin in the game when it came to Brownie gossip or ballet recitals. She had obligations and a spouse who presumably frowned on standing Wine Wednesdays. But the reality is that I have many busy parent friends. Despite the seeming differences in lifestyles, when a relationship is important to the people on both sides...you find a middle ground. Each side bends a little. You adapt and find a way.

There have been times over the past few months when I've wanted to send my friend a letter. Sometimes I'm curious to know what happened. Sometimes I'm tempted to rant for pages about how disappointed I am. Whenever I start to type, I stop myself. I stop myself because I realize whatever the case or response or reason, I'm writing to a stranger and chasing the ghost of a friendship that has already slipped away.

I recently read a post on this topic, and the author's words really hit home:

Losing a friend is very much like a break-up, in the sense that any form of interaction that you have with that person in the future will never be the same again. No matter how much either of you try, once you have crossed that line of inescapable complications and incompatibility, everything that you shared with each other will slowly deteriorate, until ultimately letting go is the only option left.

The thing about us is that we are fixers. We are the ‘Bob the Builders’ of our own lives, and it gets pretty devastating once we find ourselves in a position where the answer to "Can we fix it?" is “No, we can’t.”

Perhaps there is a point in certain friendships -- a point at which we stop seeing things -- and each other -- clearly. A point at which we believe ourselves to be patching everything together, but in reality we're just making a mess of things. As children, it's easy to know when to call it quits. The summer sun threatens to set, your mother's voice finds you beckoning to pack it in. Things get slightly more difficult in adulthood. We can eat when we want and the sun no longer tells us what to do and when. There are no rule books or guide maps for this. As grownups, we're the captains of our own sailing and sinking ships. Sometimes we surface to find ourselves the lone survivor of something we once believed invincible. Sometimes we're left standing on a shore of silent wreckage, clutching memories as the sole surviving souvenirs of a one-time forever friend.

I miss you friend. I hope your heart is happy. 

Build a Workforce, Not a Workplace

Build a Workforce, Not a Workplace

Remote employee. Telecommuter. Satellite human. Whatever you call it, there seems to be a lot of conversation going on about the evolution of the workplace – and the workforce – of the future. So much so, in fact, that what began as an idea for a single blog post has evolved into a blog mini-series. Over the next couple weeks, I’ll be sharing insights, thoughts and data on remote employment in four parts:

  1. The Flexible Future: Why You Should Focus on Building a Workforce Not a Workplace
  2. I Swear I’m Wearing Pants: Misconceptions About Remote Employment and Employees
  3. From the Mouths of Managers: Advice and Insights on Making Remote Work for Your Company
  4. Welcome to Home Office Depot: Tools, Tricks and Tips of the Trade

So let’s begin.

In the two years since I started working remotely for my agency, a lot has changed in the business world. I’ve gone from being an anomaly to one of the millions of Americans making it happen from wherever we happen to be. And while I recognize that certain industries tend to be a little more embracing of this new trend, I find it refreshing that the general conversation has evolved from, “WHAT. YOU WORK FROM HOME? HOW DOES THAT WORK?” to “I’m remote, too. Don’t you love it?” The “worker bees in fake pants” have become our own tribe of new normal. And it’s catching on fast.

A Look at the Data

34 million Americans worked from home in 2013. That number is predicted to reach a staggering 63 million – 43 percent of the total U.S. workforce – by 2016.

That’s right. Almost half of the workforce is expected to work from home by the end of next year. While that figure may be a wee bit optimistic, there’s no denying that we are seeing a swift evolution in focus from workplace to workforce. Companies are eagerly embracing the understanding that in order to compete and thrive, they need to build a team of top talent – not just a team that shares an office space. From the employee side, work-life integration is taking precedence, turning flexibility into the ultimate employment perk.

An annual survey conducted last year by the Society for Human Resource Management found a greater increase in the number of companies planning to offer telecommuting in 2014 than those offering just about any other new benefit. While there are surely a multitude of factors prompting companies to embrace remote options, a few of the biggest motivating factors are:

Remote options retain current talent. When it comes to top talent, poaching is the name of the game. There is always someone dangling a carrot offering more money, more plentiful perks or a better deal. In 2014, employees received an average raise of only three percent from their employers. Given the cost of inflation, that pans out to approximately one percent in additional spending power. However, if an employee opts to leave their current employer and accept a position with a new company, they can expect an average 20 percent increase in salary. That’s a pretty enticing difference.

The numbers vary slightly, but the average cost to replace an employee who quits ranges anywhere from 50-150% of their salary. And that figure doesn’t take into account the hit to established client relationships, workflow and the brand reputation. (Think people don’t notice when your agency/company is a revolving door? They do. They really do.) ZenWorkplace.com says it well: “If your company has thousands of dollars that it can just light on fire at the next office BBQ, then maybe you don’t really need to invest in employee retention. But my guess is that the vast majority of companies are simply not in that position. It costs less to retain than it does to replace.”

Moves happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes even the happiest employee has got to go (spouse relocation, caring for aging parents, etc.). But relocating doesn’t have to be synonymous with leaving a company and job you love. (That’s bad for the company and bad for the person.) Remote employment options open door to alternate arrangements that are good for employees and good for business. Employment becomes less about where you are – and more about that special something you bring to the business. (Fun Fact: Remote employees reported higher levels of happiness and were found to be 50 percent less likely to quit than their peers.)

Remote options attract prospective talent. Similarly, remote employment options allow companies to tap into and attract a much wider pool of prospective talent. Chances are, the best applicants for a given position don’t live in your backyard – or even in your zip code. For companies that physically exist in smaller, rural areas, this challenge is even greater. The smaller the city, the smaller the talent pool, which can prove to be especially challenging when it comes to recruiting, attracting and hiring applicants with highly-specialized skill sets.

When your company considers only local talent, you’re hiring for geography, not skill set. I challenge you to find a single case study where being in the same location proved a greater contributor to a company’s success than the passion and talent the team brought to the table.

Remote lowers overhead costs. As part of its BlueWork program, American Express conducts an employee survey, which helps assign employees to one of four categories: Hub, Club, Roam and Home. “Hub” employees’ work requires a fixed desk, and their presence in the office every day.  “Club” employees have flexible roles that involve in-person and virtual meetings; they have the opportunity to share time between the office and other locations. Those in the “Home” category are based from home offices – set up with assistance from the company – on three or more days per week. “Roam” employees are almost always on the road or at customer sites, and seldom work from an American Express office. The BlueWork program has delivered not only improved worker productivity but also saved between $10- $15 million annually in real estate costs, the company says. [source]

So now that we’ve covered a few of the benefits of remote workplace options, let’s talk about some of the struggles. On Thursday I will be sharing a post about misconceptions and misperceptions about remote employment and being a remote employee. In order to prep for the post, I threw the question out to remote employees in my social network. Here were a few of the responses I received regarding the things people have said to them:

“That when you are not in the office you are taking the day off.”

“That it means you either have to work from home or coffee shop.”

“That it’s difficult to keep in touch with co-workers, access files, etc.”

“That you never see your coworkers or talk to them.”

“That you can’t possibly be putting in 8 hours a day at home.”

“That you work in a bubble of isolation.”

“That you must get nothing done.”

“That you are lazy, haven’t showered in two weeks and only wear pajamas. Pajamas? No, sir. Yoga pants? Well, yes.”

Curious. What comes to mind when YOU think about remote employment and employees? 

The Quintessential Cancun Packing List

The Quintessential Cancun Packing List

Historically, I was never a good luggage packer. Case and point: I went to Italy for 10 days in the mid-2000s and took two full suitcases weighing in at just under 80 pounds. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to do lots more traveling. Whether by necessity (or sheer laziness), I have managed to tighten up my packing routine upon accepting that there is never a reason to take nine pairs of shoes on any vacation.

Prompted by a recent trip to Mexico, I felt compelled to put together this Quintessential Cancun Packing List. Be advised: this isn't an exhaustive list, it's a list of items I found most useful, helpful and handy during our week abroad. (You're on your own when it comes to determining how many pairs of underwear to pack.) I hope you find it helpful! Feel free to leave a comment with any additional suggestions or questions. (And if you're looking for an amazing place to stay in Playa del Carmen, I can't say enough nice things about The Royal Hideaway Playacar. Pure perfection.)



Swimsuits Assuming you vacation like most of the coastal Mexico-going population, you're going to end up spending the majority of your days in a swimsuit, basking in the sun. Take more swimsuits than you think you'll need. I would a recommend a minimum of three swimsuits for a week-long vacation so you can hand wash, line dry and rotate as needed.

Swimsuit cover up A pretty swimsuit cover up comes in handy when your skin needs a break from the rays, you want to do a casual lunch or cringe at the thought of parading from the pool to your room baring all for the world to see. One of my best pre-trip purchases turned out to be a pair of black, stretch, wide-leg palazzo pants I scored a few days before our trip.

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Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 1.13.43 AM

$50 from AE

Tank tops I would be nothing without my Old Navy Perfect Fit Ribbed Tanks. Well, I would be something...and that something is naked. These are a go-to staple of my daily wardrobe at home and transitioned nicely into vacation. They roll, pack and travel well, and can serve as staple daytime pieces or nighttime pajama tops. Bonus: Their tanks comes in TALL...and are actually long enough for tall-girl torsos!

Maxi Dresses Maxi dresses are a beach-going girl's best friend. I packed a variety ranging from classic black to bright, bold patterns and they served me well throughout the trip, both day and night. Many resort restaurants have dress codes, so be sure to check with yours and pack appropriately. We found that maxis offered the perfect combo of comfort and class for our nights out.

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Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 12.03.24 PM

Scarf/Shawl Depending on the time of year you visit Mexico, you may be surprised to find that temps dip when the sun goes down. (Restaurants also keep the air cranked low for the comfort diners.) I got a lot of use out of a light scarf/shawl/wrap I brought along. You can pick up similar versions in a variety of colors on ebay, typically for well under $10.


Large Sun Hat "I'm not a hat person," you say. Well, neither am I. And you're going to have to get over it. As much as I love those unfiltered, equatorial rays, a large sun hat is an essential to surviving the Mexican sun. You'll be able to easily spot those who ignored and resisted this advice by the pain, suffering and scarlet red they're sporting across their face/neck for the duration of their trip. We typically freely soaked up sun (slathered in sunscreen, of course) between sunrise and 1 p.m., donning hats after lunch when the rays got super intense.  Realizing I will only wear a floppy hat on the beach (and never again in my "normal" life), I was pleased to discover you can score some super deals (under $10) on ebay. Just be sure to allow at least a month for shipping, as many of these lovelies are coming on a slow boat from China (literally). $4.66 on ebay


Jewelry Leave your good stuff at home. In all likelihood, you'll be spending a great deal of your time outdoors, in the pool, on the beach or in the ocean. Keep the accessories and accoutrements simple and pretty. $22 on etsy 


Sunscreen Pack sunscreen. Lots and lots of sunscreen. Pack way more than you think you'll need ... in a higher SPF than you think you'll want. (Seriously. Even then it may still not prove to be enough.) While most resorts do sell sunscreen, most travelers aren't keen on paying $15+ a bottle. We went through several bottles of SPF 50 during our time in Mexico -- and still came home so tan we looked orange. Be sure to take lotion sunscreen and leave the spray sunscreen at home. We found that the spray stuff was no match for "gentle" ocean breezes. Whatever you do, don't forget to also pick up a lip SPF! Lip burns suck. 

Be forewarned: if you plan on doing any ecotourism (cenotes diving or snorkeling) while you're in Mexico, you'll want to look into rules and regulations before you go. Many protected zones forbid the use of non-biodegradable sunscreen. Similarly, we had heard rumors about April through August being prime "sea lice" (jellyfish larvae) season. Though we had no problems resulting from our snorkel, the ocean was too rough for us to do much ocean swimming throughout the rest of our trip. Several people recommended picking up a bottle of Safe Sea to avoid stings/bites, so if you're planning to bank a lot of ocean time, it may be worth looking into.

Moisturizer Bring along a good moisturizer to replenish your skin after a day spent in the sun. Not only will it make parched skin happy, it will help lock in and preserve your tan.

Cleansing Wipes I never leave home without a pack of cucumber cleansing wipes in my bag. From hand washing to face cleansing to snorkel sterilizing (see below section on snorkels), these little guys came in super handy throughout our trip. The cucumber also offered a welcome, cooling refresher in the midst of the midday heat.


Dry Shampoo Ladies: leave the curling rod and straightener at home. Take the dry shampoo. My hair loved the wind, salt and humidity in Mexico. It has never looked better (with virtually zero effort). My advice is don't bother fighting the elements, and instead embrace the beachy-ness. But keep a bottle of this spray magic on hand for those moments when you need a quick cleanup and boost.  (A note of caution: This bottle is just-barely too big to be stashed in a carry-on bag. I lost an entire can coming back through security in Cancun and it made me very sad. Be sure to pack it in a suitcase so your dry shampoo doesn't suffer an equally dismal fate.)

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Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 12.49.56 PM

Cosmetics I'm a firm believer that there is no makeup more beautiful than the natural glow that follows a day spent basking in the sun. A couple coats of mascara and a lip gloss were all I need to transition from day to eve.

Anti-Diarrheal Medicine  It seems like everyone has a story about a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend who was stricken by intestinal disaster while traveling in Mexico. Perhaps we just got really lucky (more likely: our resort was just that good), but no one in our group had any kind of GI issues on our trip. (And we even ate off-resort the afternoon of our snorkel excursion.) Having said that, it can't hurt to pack a little Imodium, if only for peace of mind. The only thing worse than vacation diarrhea is being stuck indoors with vacation diarrhea.


Cash (in one-dollar US bills) Bring a couple hundred dollars in US one-dollar bills for tipping. (I blew through mine in five days, so scale accordingly.) Assuming you're parking it at an all-inclusive, you should still be tipping and tipping generously at every opportunity. (You're never going to meet people who work harder or are more deserving.) Our concierge informed us that staff prefers tips in US dollars, so there is really no need to convert to pesos unless you have some burning desire to carry around a wad of foreign money.

There are a million websites that will advise on proper tipping amounts. My only insights on this matters are as follows:

  • Tipping at meals: Even at an all-inclusive, when eating a five-course meal it feels insulting to leave a tip of a few dollars (I saw people do it. Ugh!) -- especially when the level of service and attention you're receiving is exceptional. For dinners and fancier meals, we felt it was more appropriate to tip what we would have expected to tip had we paid for the meal in the United States.
  • Tipping for drinks: Around the pool, we tipped a couple bucks per drink. Our poolside waiter was amazing throughout our trip, so we decided to also leave him a big tip on our final day. Some people suggest handing out a big tip upon arrival in order to "get better service," but we wanted our tip to be a token of gratitude for exceptional service and attention -- not an incentive. On a similar note, don't forget to occasionally walk up to the bar to tip the bartenders, as well. They're working hard back there!
  • Tipping for housekeeping: I left a few bucks for housekeeping twice a day (daytime cleaning and turndown service.) Be sure to tip daily (rather than one big chunk at the end of your trip) as maids rotate, and you'll likely receive service from different people throughout your stay.
  • Tipping for transport (airport to Playa del Carmen): Our concierge suggested $20 is an appropriate tip amount for the driver for the Cancun to Playa trip. (45 min in a private van with six people.)
  • Tipping for activities: Don't forget to tip your hosts and driver if you head out on a snorkel/dive/adventure excursion.

Copies of your documents Be sure to pack copies of your documents (passport, driver's license, credit cards, health insurance card, etc.) should you lose something along the way. You'll also want copies of the customer service/help numbers for your credit cards. I took paper copies and left digital copies with a family member back home. In the event of an emergency, having copies of your documents can expedite the pain and suffering of trying to get your proverbial document ducks back in a row. You may also want to pack the location and phone number of the nearest U.S. Consulate, should you need to get in touch. (Or consider registering your trip through the Smart Traveler Program.)

Small Laundry Soap Next time we head down, I plan to take a small laundry soap so I can give my swimsuits a quick hand wash to get rid of the ocean and pool gunk and grime. (This trip I ended up washing them with shower gel...)

Plastic bags I packed a whole box of gallon-size plastic bags I picked up at the Dollar Tree before vacation. We ended up going through almost the entire box, using them for everything from stashing damp swimsuits on our last day to protecting cameras/iphones from sand and water in our beach bags. Also be sure to toss in a few larger bags (grocery or garbage) for dirty laundry and layering in suitcases.

Pen (blue or black) Pack a pen somewhere easily accessible for filling out customs forms on the plane before you arrive in Mexico and when you return to the United States.  (Also you might want to sneak a peak at a customs form before you have to fill it out.) Note to those traveling OUTSIDE of the US: pretty much everywhere else on the planet birthdate is entered as DD-MM-YY (rather than the American format: MM-DD-YY.) Be sure not to mess that up on your form! You'll also need to provide the address of your hotel/resort/accommodations on the form, so be sure to pack that in your carryon.

Luggage belt The arrivals/baggage claim area of the Cancun Airport was mayhem the morning we arrived. Anything you can do to differentiate your black suitcase from the hundreds of other black suitcases will expedite your wait at the carousel and get you on your way to enjoying vacation. (I'm a fan of these neon luggage belts!)


$7 on Amazon

Snorkel If you plan on going on a snorkel excursion during your stay, it may be worth packing your own snorkel set (or at least the snorkel portion). We definitely had doubts about the sterilization of the "rented" snorkels -- and ended up using the aforementioned cucumber wipes to do our best impromptu cleaning. If you're weird about germs (or the thought of shoving a mouthpiece a stranger has been sucking on in your own mouth) -- maybe invest in a snorkel of your own and bypass the vacation heebeejeebies. There are tons for sale on Amazon available at varying price points.

ONE LAST TIP... If you're planning  to use a credit card or debit card while you're abroad, be sure to give your bank/credit card company a heads up before you depart. Without advance notice, many financial institutions will cut off access when you try to make a purchase abroad, assuming the card has been stolen. And that's no fun. (Some credit card companies have a place on their online portal where you can submit trip details and bypass having to make a call.)

{DIY} Vinegar + Steel Wool Stained Crate

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset I have always had an affinity for old things. I'm terribly at yoga-style meditation, but find a sort of silence, calm and peace from perusing the aisles of antique and thrift stores in search of secondhand stories. Several years ago, I bought an antique crate from the 1800s. My Dad helped me frame it up and turn it into the most amazing piece of furniture I own.

Alas, with the rise of Pinterest, vintage crates are in high demand these days. (And I can't quite bring myself to budget hundreds of dollars for wooden boxes.) Thankfully, I recently discovered a solution. (Quite literally -- a solution.)

The recipe is simple and uses two items you probably have in your home right now: white vinegar and steel wool. (You can also go further down the exploratory rabbit hole by adding tea bags to the mix.) There are hundreds of posts that share the how/what in great detail (here's a great one), so I'm going to provide the readers digest version.

1. Get something made of wood. In my case, a $10 pine crate from Michael's. You may want to lightly sand to get rid of any sticker goo or waxy coating. 2. Add white vinegar to a sealable jar. 3. Add a puff of steel wool to the vinegar in the jar. 4. Wait 48+ hours. (Longer seems to be better. I forgot about mine, went on vacation and came back two weeks later. Results will vary based on time of "soaking" and type of wood. The photos you're seeing in this post are the product of NO tea and two-week-old stain.) 5. (Optional) Steep some black tea and apply to wood item. The tannins the tea adds to the wood will supposedly alter the color, resulting in a "blacker" look. 6. Tarp off your area. (This stain will stain anything it touches, including concrete!) Apply your stain using a sponge brush.* 7. Marvel at how virgin wood is instantly transformed and takes on the appearance of some marvelous relic that has been hanging out in a barn for the last 80 years.

*I found I achieved the best results when swabbing on semi-haphazardly. You don't want this to look like a perfect paint job. You want it to take on the look of some history. I did a rough swab job, allowed drips to remain, applied additional layers, etc. This is one of those projects that seems to suggest the less strategy, the better the outcome.

Here's where I started... Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 4.19.36 PM

Here's where I ended up... Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

{Sponsored} Minted + Mexico: Paper, Paradise & Happily Ever After

MIN-84O-INV-001_A_PZ Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Minted.com

It has been almost a week since I left Mexico, and I'm still experiencing a major case of the post-vacation blues. That's how you know you've been on a truly special trip; you wake in the middle of the night dreaming about sunshine, sangria and Sergio (not necessarily in that order). You convince yourself that if you can inhale deep enough, you'll catch a breath of that glorious ocean air. (You find yourself quietly checking flight schedules against your calendar at 2 a.m. as visions of Mexico 2.0 dance in your head...)

I'll be honest. Until this vacation, I'd never really given much thought to the notion of a destination wedding. But one afternoon we found ourselves lounging in the pool watching as the resort staff begin erecting an arch on the beach. Over the next several hours, they transformed a few boards and rolls of material into a site fit for a magical moment. As wafts of white tulle danced in the breeze in front of a stunningly aqua sea, I began to see the destination wedding appeal. But it wasn't just about the beautiful backdrop. 

Over the course of our stay, I heard several people refer to a "Mexico State of Mind." By the end of our trip, I wholly understood what they were talking about. It's a passion for the present moment. It's joy in being together with the people you love. It's finding beauty in everyone and everything. It's simply enjoying your life. There's something to be said for beginning your forever journey in a Mexico State of Mind and starting the clock on "happily ever after" with a major emphasis on the happy.

Though I did receive two marriage proposals while in Mexico, it's doubtful I'll be walking down the aisle anytime soon. Nonetheless, Minted.com's new Wedding Collection  has provided me with some visual eye candy and fodder for fantasy. These are just a few of the invites I have cast in my hypothetical destination Mexico wedding. Whether you're going sassy or simple, ritzy or rustic, when it comes to finding the perfect paper, Minted has got you covered. As for finding the perfect partner? That's up to you, my friend.

ps: If you're not in wedding mode, check out Minted's Art Marketplace to score yourself (or at least your walls) a little something pretty. I was originally introduced to Minted by way of The Homesteady, and have since formed something of an addiction. My collection of office "animal art" has benefited greatly with the addition of Runny Bunny and Swift Fox.

*pps: Sergio...call me, maybe.

MIN-OY5-IFS-001_A_PZCan't you almost smell the tropical flowersMIN-DRZ-INV-001B_A_PZThis print reminds me of the gorgeous, hand-embroidered Mexican tapestries we saw in many of the local markets. Such pretty!MIN-84O-INV-001_A_PZDoes this count as "something blue?" I think it does. MIN-FF9-IFS-001_E_PZThere's something to be said for simple elegance. And gold. MIN-48Q-INV-001J_C_PZ Love this pattern.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. In exchange for writing it, I received compensation from Minted.com. I only recommend products or services I personally use and believe offer benefits to my blog audience. All opinions are my own. 

The Power of Me

1917731_623443457452_2042715_n The Women's Fund recently reached out and invited me to write a post sharing what the phrase “Power of Me” means to me. Those many only be three little words...but together they're one heck of a big statement.

So big, in fact, I had trouble getting this post started. I sat down to write several times last week, and found myself in late-night standoffs with every writer's worst enemy: a cursor taunting me from a blank, white screen.

In search of a spark of inspiration, I googled "powerful women." The images that popped up were a grid of symmetrical smiles, pearl necklaces, tidy hairstyles and practical heels.

Point taken, but that's certainly not my kind of power. My smile is lopsided. My signature hairstyle is a messy bun. I go barefoot whenever possible.

Up next, I headed to the Thesaurus in search of synonyms. What I found were: forceful, controlling, wicked -- adjectives better suited for a Disney villainess casting call than characteristics of someone I'd want to know or spend time with.

Just when it seemed all hope was lost, I stumbled my way across an etymological revelation that gave me the clarity I'd been seeking.

The word "power" comes from the Anglo-Norman French poeir, an alteration of Latin posse (‘be able.’) Posse is the same root behind the word "possible."

And for me, that's what the Power of Me all about. Possibility and potential.

It's hard for me to pin it down in words, in the same way I would struggle to articulate the experience of blinking or breathing. I come from a long line of courageous women who have pushed boundaries, crossed lines and defied norms. Women who raised happy families and raised the bar. In doing so, they also raised me to understand that given enough determination, dedication and hard work, anything is possible. I've never considered that a belief...because in our world, it's fact. There are generations of stories to prove it, and a certain kind of courage that has been handed down in our DNA. A willingness to stand up, stand for something and take a stand.

As I'm writing this post, it has occurred to me that maybe there's a reason it was so hard to write about the Power of Me. Perhaps it's because my Power of Me is just one chapter in a much greater story. A story about the Power of We.  


*This blog post was sponsored by The Women's Fund of Central Ohio. In exchange, I received two tickets to The 2015 Keyholder event. (One of the most inspiring nights in Columbus!) 


How to Be Good: It's So Obvious That It's Not

Screen-Shot-2015-03-18-at-9.45.39-AM-769x439 For some reason, whenever I go grocery shopping, I find myself drawn to a random row of product in the baking aisle. The “weird flours,” if you will. I always wonder about the people who are purchasing those little bags of coconut flour and hazelnut meal. “What are you doing with all that chia seed,” I find myself wondering. It’s like they’re all part of some kind of super secret culinary club.

Don’t mind us. We’re just hanging out in inconspicuous packaging on the middle shelf. Move along. Nothing here to see.

Except it turns out there is. Well, maybe it’s not something to see, but it’s something to hear. It’s their story. And it’s a really, really great story.

I stumbled my way across this video last week, not realizing who it was for. The wisdom captured my heart, and by the time the brand reveal hit, I was sold. They could have been selling earplugs or cardboard boxes for all it mattered, but as it happens, they’re selling the weird flours — and the man (and philosophy) behind those weird flours is pretty dang awesome.

I may never have a use for coconut flour, but I’m going to find one. If for no other reason than the world needs more Bobs.

"It’s so obvious that it’s not – how to run a business, that is. First, make something you love. That way it’s hardly work at all. Then make it as well as humanly possible. Pour your soul into it. Your back, too. Focus on the thing and not the money. That’ll generally take care of itself. Do it honestly, with integrity. Tell the truth, no mumbo jumbo. Don’t get greedy. Don’t cut corners. Smile whenever possible. And treat people with respect; your suppliers, your employees , your partners…most of all, the people who buy that thing. Charge a fair price, just what you need to keep going. Then keep things going, even when you could cash out. Why? Because way back at the start, there’s another obvious thing even geniuses forget. That thing you make? that thing you love? It should be a good thing in some way. After all, isn’t that the point? Isn’t that why we’re here? To help one another. To add something. To make folks a little happier, a little healthier for doing what you do. And here’s one last obvious thing. If all goes right, you turn down all the deep pocket suitors and just give the operation – the whole shebang – to your employees instead. Okay, maybe that last part isn’t obvious…to anybody but Bob."