Monday, August 30, 2010

Song, Song of the South

I leave Thursday morning for Georgia.  I could not be more excited about being back down there to see my two best friends.  A little history goes into this long journey...

My senior year of high school (I am aging myself slightly - 2002) I was one of only 300 chosen to attend a scholars program in Washington DC.  After seven days of pure bliss I left with a long list of contacts and two of the best friends a girl could ever ask for - both of whom will someday be in my wedding. 

Allison is the Georgia Peach of my life. She is pure southern and a truly beautiful person both inside and out.  She commands the attention of a room by simply walking in.  Her momma is retired school teacher and her daddy a cotton farmer.  Allison was born and raised in Morven, GA and attended school in Dixie.  She and I were inseparable during my time at Florida State University.  We spent countless weekends together and share so many memories.  Unfortunately, after moving back to Minnesota, we lost touch and just this past year (with a little help from FB) found each other again :)  She is now a wife and mother-to-be. 

Meghan is close to identical to me....less my blonde hair and the addition of her dark hair.  She is as happy as the day is long and never leaves the house without lipstick and pearls.  Meghan is the only daughter of Panama City/Boston parents - both of whom are incredible people.  I spent my very first spring break with Meghan in Panama City Beach and we have MANY memories (most which shall never be shared) from those seven days.  Meghan and I both attended Florida State University to study Political Science and as with Allison, we lost touch after I moved back.  She is now working at the top (actually running :) a lobbying firm in Tallahassee, FL.

These five days back down south will be filled with so many of the experiences I miss most...back to my second home.  I have my top 5:
  1. Waffle House - this is my FAVORITE place to eat. Ever.  
  2. Sonic - I will not leave without stopping for dessert.
  3. Grits and Sweet Tea - Allison has been instructed to put her feet up the entire time I am there (she is 7 months pregnant).  Thus, I will be taking on the task of cooking.  Southern Woman for the weekend :)
  4. Football - Friday night :) nothing like a taste of southern football.  You all do it much better than we do up here.  
  5. Peaches - not sure if they are in season but I want a fresh one.  

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I LOVE to eat.

I love to eat. Let's just be honest, who doesn't?  Second only to one thing:  cooking.

My love affair with being in the kitchen began at a very young age.  Growing up on a farm in North Dakota all of the women in my family cooked.  My earliest memories of both my Grandmothers are accompanied by the smell of turkey and stuffing, hamburger being browned, fresh chocolate chip cookies and banana bread.

I consider myself lucky to have these memories and to have been taught firsthand that an electric mixer whips cream too fast (my Grandma Shirley would say that it doesn't taste as good if you haven't worked hard enough for it) or that a measuring cup and/or spoon is never needed....taste and smell are "just enough darling".

After leaving political law (and before launching I applied to the best culinary program in the country.  Using a recipe I had create and changed a million times over and my ability to write a killer essay, I was accepted.  Although I have postponed becoming a chef, I still create and cook almost daily.  My Grandmothers dream of the day my 1st cookbook hits the bookstore shelves and I cannot wait to share with the world my love affair with the kitchen.  I think I may have just created the title.  

Thursday, August 26, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 2

I have fallen behind....

Day 2:  Something you love about yourself.

I love my heart.  I think it is okay to brag about that.  I love that I have this overabundance of love for others and life and what I do and my family.  I feel and I have emotions and morals and values and ethics.  That all comes from my heart.  What I do and the way I express myself - this all comes from my heart.

I cannot wait for the day that I can pass this on to my children. 

Catching a breath...

The last few weeks have been busy.  Busy is an understatement.

My condo is a disaster and I have not made my bed or unpacked my suitcase in weeks.  As I trampled over the large pile of clothing in my bedroom this morning, shaking my head as I did and carefully manuevering my heels so that I didn't catch on a piece of clothing, I stopped to examine myself in the mirror before I walked out.  I saw high-waist cream pants, a red silk shirt, cream pumps, long blonde perfectly curled hair and pearl earrings.  Pausing for a moment and catching my breath as to "pep talk" myself before I stepped out into the world, reality slapped me in the face.  I am perfectly imperfect.

I sometimes have to remind myself to stop.  Stop and enjoy myself now.  Stop waiting to meet Prince Charming because although he will add incredible things to my life he will not define me.  Stop waiting to be at the peak of my career because although I will be changing the world it will not define me.  Stop worrying about what I will wear tomorrow because although it is important that I present myself well it will not define me.  I am just as perfect today as I will be tomorrow and after I meet my Prince Charming and after I am at the peak of my career and after I am a mother.  My boss and mentor gave the best advice:  She said, "building a life is hard, building a family is hard but as women we need to stop and stare at ourselves in the mirror and enjoy what we see.  This is your life, your journey."  Throw the instruction manual out the window and introduce yourself to the world you beautiful, perfectly imperfect woman.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 1

I recently saw a post for "30 Days of Truth" and decided why not try it.  30 days will not kill me and it gives me something to think about when I lay in bed at night sleepless (which has been the case much of the last week).

Day 1:  Something you hate about yourself....

Let's just start it off good and dirty. 

I hate that I more often than not overreact.  My mother says I have been this way since I was a little blonde thing bopping around.  I cried too hard over bumps and bruises.  Ending relationships was always traumatic and anything lower than an A  in college was detrimental.  I wish I had the self-control to stop, think and then react.  I tend to apologize for overreacting, a lot.  For those of you who know me....I promise I am working hard to fix this.  After all, as unique as I am, I am nothing close to perfect. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ohhhhhhh it's MAGIC you know....

This past week I spent 6 days in Las Vegas for work.  What kind of work (I've been asked quite a few times) expos.  The largest in the country. Designers from across the country and around the world gather for a week of parties, appointments, interviews, buying/selling and meeting young ladies such as myself. 

I am not the "typical" buyer (not that there is one).  The week was epic.  Memorable.  I left filled with new ideas, a fresh taste of what is to come and an appreciation for my dresses, heels and pearls. So much to come for Peppermint Park.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What IS in my closet (do I even know)...

This post is dedicated to someone who told me I needed to donate some of my 150 dresses because I was spoiled. (NOTE: I work damn hard for my wardrobe)

I recently have begun "going through" my closet(s). I say "closet(s)" because there are three. Yes, three. My condo consists of a kitchen, dining room, office, living room, master bedroom and master bathroom....and three closets. When I was looking for condos, a large closet or multiple ones were at the top of my Must Have In My Condo list (right next to big kitchen). The older gentleman who owned the condo had recently remodeled and was SO PROUD of his closet work. Honestly, I must read "girl who needs a large closet" or just carry that look because John took an extra 15 minutes to show my the closet systems he had created. I love this man's ability to know a clothing-obsessed young woman when he sees one.

Back to the story....

I did a massive pull (removing things I do not need) and donated to a great cause.

[My mother is the principal of an inner city Transition Program. She created a "Community Closet" where her students are able to shop (without money but with points earned for doing good things), as most of the students in her program (over 1,000) are at or below the poverty level...some without parents, parents themselves and without a place to call home.]

I found that not only do I have a lot of clothing but that my taste in designers has grown to exceptional levels (we are talking WWD status). This past week in Las Vegas for M.A.G.I.C. I was able to meet with a lot of these brands and discuss at a higher level what fashion is to me and to Peppermint Park.

As women we use fashion to define ourselves. We dress to our character. Our individual style is the accessory to our personality. Our accessory to who we are as individuals.

After meeting with many of the labels I carry in my closet, this comment stuck with me the most: "Your energy is amazing. Addicting. Your style portrays who you are as a woman. Confident. Classy. Beautiful. You are a woman who knows what she wants and exactly how she is going to get it. The man that ends up with you as his wife is one hell of a lucky man."

Moral of the story:
  • No matter what your individual style is you are beautiful to someone.

Laughing so hard it hurts.

Last night, after returning from a week in Las Vegas (for work...I know it sounds boring), my two younger sisters, mother and myself had a "girls night". Normally, these trips involve shopping and eating at a new restaurant. We did "normal" last night.

My youngest sister is off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison next week and busy preparing for rush week (which begins next weekend - so proud she is following in the family Sorority footsteps) thus the evening began with a trip to IKEA (her rush week attire has been provided, of course, by myself and Peppermint Park). Following my sisters and myself around a store is at minimum entertaining. One might find themselves in shock at our mother's ability to manage us all - even after 26 years. We argue, laugh, hug and chat nonstop. After our mother decided she had "had enough" and after 30 minutes of "where do you want to eat"...we decide on Tex-Mex.

Somewhere in between ordering drinks and waiting for our food, a discussion about memories begins. Mom fills my sisters in on how bossy I was and my sisters giggle as they discuss "no wonder she doesn't have a boyfriend". We swap stories about growing up and how much we love each other. Literally, the entire time, I was laughing so hard it hurt. I apologize to anyone in the restaurant who experienced this...maybe next time the hostess will not stick us in the middle of everyone.

Moral of the story:
  • Laughter is the best medicine and family makes life worth living.

Yes, I want to talk about me...

With this being my 2nd blog (a much more mother-approved blog), my hope is to blog my way through 26....hopefully finding inspiration and inspiring other classy young ladies along the way.

I grew up on a grain farm in eastern North Dakota. The daughter of a farm boy turned accountant and teacher, my upbringing was storybook. Family dinners each night at 6:00, holiday feasts with presents galore all in a house which my mother made into a warm, loving home. As the oldest of three girls I was destine to be a wife and mother from the start. From an early age I loved cooking with my grandmother, helping my mother with laundry, bossing my sisters around and playing "house". I graduated from high school and went off to Florida State University. My love for all things southern grew in my four years down south. I spent countless weekends on my best friend's farm in southern Georgia and the coast. After graduation, I moved "home" to watch my sisters grow. After absolutely not a thing about my future which I had planned actually rang true, I decided to step out of my political law comfort zone and jump into the unforeseen future of a start up company.

In June 2010, along with my CEO and fabulous mentor, Peppermint Park launched. It amazes me how much I have grown and how fast the last four years have passed. It seems like just yesterday that I was a blue-eyed ND freshman on the FSU campus. Now, at 26, I run a company.

Nevertheless, some things have not changed. I am still as bossy as I was at 6. I have found a fabulous "medium" between my entire 26 years as a "Midwest girl" and the four years I spent in the south. I am still searching for Prince Charming, reading cookbooks, finding time to write my own, decorating my life with passion, travel and love. I hope you enjoy.

All my best,