you’re a pal and a confidante.

I have the best and craziest friends – something to truly be thankful for during these #100happydays.

I think of times like last weekend when I spent my Friday night sleeping at my college roommate’s house when I was in town. We stayed up until 1am chatting – which was aided in part to cracking open college photo albums around 11pm. I saw photos of our first days of college, times on campus and many, many nights out and even a spring break in Key West.

We talked about sophomore year when I needed a haircut but didn’t really have the money to get one, so my friend offered to cut it for me. Wow – what a great idea! Ha! She started on one side and cut off a couple inches, and by the time she reached the other side it was about 2″ shorter than the other side.

We talked about the weekend night junior year when we decided to stay in our rooms and do facial masks, eat junk food and watch chick flicks, only to have the guys down the hall come knock on our door while our faces were covered in a lovely turquoise mask.

We laughed about boys and fun times with them, and also of being a shoulder when things with said boys were not going as planned. We looked through piles of cards and letters to each other and slowly realized what we had let slip away.

Then we talked about losing touch, missing some pretty monumental times in each others’ lives, and while there was that twinge of regret, knowing that it’s OK, and we’re back in touch now. We’ll pick up where we left off. Making time for these friends in my life who have seen me through thick and thin is so important to me – I’m happy to have them, and I’ll be happier to keep them.

I look forward to growing old with my friends, and I’m grateful that among my childhood, high school or college friends that we could easily cast remakes of Golden Girls or Steel Magnolias.

young brains.

Continuing on #100happydays, I have to say that one thing that makes me happy is watching kids’ (mine and others) brains hard at work. I’ve reached that age where I experience equal parts embarrassment for not being able to help with homework and awe for being able to carry on a great conversation about history or politics or even mature conversations on dealing with friends and classmates. I love watching their minds at work and wonder at what point in their lives they stopped needing me for that, and became responsible and intelligent adults. (Relatively speaking, that is. They still act like teens.)

I was in the car with my youngest the other day and the song Pompeii by the band Bastille came on. She proceeded to give me a history lesson on Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, which they had just discussed in Social Studies. I turned and smiled, and loved that she both knew this and retained it, as history was never my strong suit.

While not a monumental write-in-the-scrapbook day in our lives, I’m trying really hard to savor these small moments and be happy with the young adults they are becoming.

there’s nothing in this world i wouldn’t do

I’ve been wanting to start writing again and haven’t really been inspired, or more accurately, haven’t dedicated time. With many #100happydays blog posts, Facebook posts and tweets around, I found my inspiration.

Last week we were on spring break; the kids were home from school and we traditionally don’t leave town. We decided to head to southern Ohio for a couple days, and long story short, it ended up just being my 15-year old and me. Wanting a destination, we opted to visit some colleges and slowly ease into the college search (gulp!). We spent one day visiting The Ohio State University in Columbus, and then visiting the University of Cincinnati. We had a great couple days, both of us were worn out, excited and overwhelmed after two days of walking, touring, listening and trying to fully wrap our hands around the thought that college isn’t terribly far off.

Since returning, I’ve kept my thoughts to myself about this. Our oldest child, my clone in many ways, and a kid that I am endlessly proud of. The thought of him leaving even has me getting a little choked up as I write this. Then I think of his little sister, though while she won’t admit it at the ripe old age of 12, who looks up to him with awe. Like my own siblings, there is bickering and plenty of it, but truly there is nothing they wouldn’t do for each other. I have a tendency to look ahead a lot – and think of them in their 20s, 30s and beyond, and hope and pray that they do grow closer and spend time together without mom and dad hovering.

We heard this song quite a bit on our Ohio roadtrip, and it seemed perfect. There is nothing in this world I wouldn’t do.

Avicii – Hey Brother

against the grain should be a way of life

I’m going to let the lyrics do the speaking for me this week – I heard this song while I was on a run the other day and clearly was not focused enough on my running because I heard and absorbed every word of the song. Not normally a Nickelback fan, I stuck with it because it came on and I didn’t have the energy to bypass the song.

Then I hit replay and ran again with intention, listening to every word. Am I working off of a daily checklist (I am an excellent listmaker, I must admit), or am I really living as if today was my last day? I know we all want this but how do you really make it happen? What nuggets have you found to make you live and savor each moment?

“If Today Was Your Last Day” by Nickelback

My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day’s a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
If today was your last day

Against the grain should be a way of life
What’s worth the prize is always worth the fight
Every second counts ’cause there’s no second try
So live like you’ll never live it twice
Don’t take the free ride in your own life

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you’re dreamin’ of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

If today was your last day
Would you make your mark by mending a broken heart?
You know it’s never too late to shoot for the stars
Regardless of who you are
So do whatever it takes
‘Cause you can’t rewind a moment in this life
Let nothin’ stand in your way
Cause the hands of time are never on your side

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?

Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
Would you call old friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories
Would you forgive your enemies?
Would you find that one you’re dreamin’ of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you finally fall in love
If today was your last day

you got my soul singing.

I was first introduced to The Black Crowes sophomore year at Ohio University by my friend Damon. He played the CD “Shake Your Moneymaker” over and over. And over. They’ve always held a special place in my music collection because hearing them reminds me of so many fun days and events in college.

One of my current favorites is “Soul Singing.” I listen to it all the time – when I’m biking, running, driving, or even needing a little pick me up in my work day. Seriously, try it. Turn it up really loud in your office and tell me that doesn’t put you in a good mood!

I’ve had a few of the most challenging work weeks of my career – long, tedious days working well into nights, doing things I have never done before, but somehow figuring them out (thank you google, friends and coworkers). I am proud of what I’ve accomplished, but I’ve made some sacrifices along the way – missing a conference that is tremendously important to me, having to turn down a bit of a social life lately – but come next week when this is launched, my soul will most definitely be singing. I haven’t done too well with the work/life balance lately and am looking forward to working on that. And I’m pretty sure part of that will include going for a good long run having this song cranked up.

~ “you got my soul singing” – The Black Crowes

she leaves her fingerprints everywhere.

I lost a friend this past spring.
She would have been 41 today.
She had beauty.
She lived with vigor.
She loved all of us.
At her funeral it hit us how much she was the link in our friendships.
She spent her time in animal sanctuaries.
She spent her vacation time in South Africa volunteering.
She traveled to places and touched people all over the world.
She didn’t tell friends she was sick because she didn’t want us sad.
She touched me in ways I didn’t know until she was gone.
She left her fingerprints everywhere.

My past two posts have unintentionally included “fingerprints.” I want to make sure I am leaving them where I want them. How about you?

~ lyric: she leaves her fingerprints everywhere – “Mary” by Patty Griffin

memories like fingerprints

I became an aunt last week. For the 17th time. Every time is as exciting as the last, and it never, ever gets old. My oldest brother (who is younger than me, he will be sure to tell you) and his beautiful wife had a gorgeous, healthy, little baby girl. It makes me so excited for them as they begin this journey into parenthood and I look forward to their kids experiencing all that we did when we were little.

My brother and his wife celebrated their 1-year anniversary in September, and the arrival of my niece brought back some great memories of our trip to Salt Lake City for their wedding. This is my brother who has traveled the world – educated in London, toured Europe while there, spent 10 years in Manhattan and most recently took an amazing transfer to SLC. There is something special about family and about sibling relationships. Picking up as though no time has passed, respecting each other as adults but never losing that genuine sibling bond/rivalry, and having a quiet comfort of knowing that you can sit in the same room, not say a thing but know that we’re just happy to be near each other.

I got the pleasure of spending our last day in SLC there last year with him and it was nice to just catch up without the wedding hustle and bustle and large group dynamic. We laughed, and enjoyed the grown ups we’ve each become. We talked about our jobs, interests and happenings, and inevitably we tied back some funny story from growing up and we just laughed until our cheeks hurt. Prior to the wedding, my sister made a memory scrapbook that we have done for all of our siblings’ weddings, which contains well wishes for the new couple as well as a trip down memory lane. What an amazing opportunity for me to rehash old memories of him playing practical jokes on us (who am I kidding, that still happens) and look through pictures of us, babies in the 70s looking as stylish as ever, but nonetheless perpetually smiling.

We laughed at our string bean legs and sweet hairstyles, and reminisced about how good we had it…quite an idyllic childhood of kids all over the neighborhood playing Kick the Can or Ghost in the Graveyard until dark, my mom’s whistle being heard within a 3-block radius where we’d rush home for dinner, baths and bed. Playing catch in the front yard, playing basketball in the backyard, turning our backyard into a putt putt golf course as long as we didn’t hurt my mom’s rose bushes, practicing cartwheels and making our parents sit through endless dance routines that we’d practice for hours beforehand. Being dragged to church on Sundays, and spending weekends with our grandparents, getting general admission seats at for the Indians games at Municipal Stadium and hoping to not get a seat behind a pole. Having hardly a clue on any financial burden that a large family brought on, always feeling rich in love and having everything we needed. Don’t get me wrong, we fought like cats and dogs in between the finer moments.

I look back and hope and pray that my kids grow up with that same bond and closeness that we had that has now become an eclectic, close-knit group of adults. The memories I have from growing up have made me the person I am today, and have guided me in how I parent and how we want our kids to look back on their own childhoods.

I love making memories – they become part of us, part of our lives, our values, our fingerprints.

(memories like fingerprints ~ lyric from elderly woman behind the counter in a small town by pearl jam)

And if you never try, you’ll never know.

My son had his last cross country meet of the season this morning. He joined the middle school team this year, unsure of what to expect, but ready for a new adventure. He started off slow and steady, running sub-10 min. miles his first practice, winded and not sure he could do it. After a month of summer practices, he had knocked a minute off his pace in their first meet. Every week, we have lived vicariously through this experience for him, the inclement and unpredictable Ohio fall weather, mud, wind, cold, heat, and rain (possibly all in the same race).

Today he went out there, his last meet of the season. Determined to have his best race, something in him clicked this week. Obviously every week he has wanted to do this, but this week he was bound and determined. One of the best things about this sport is that his goal can simply be to PR every week. He doesn’t need to worry about his teammates, he can run against himself.

Well beyond my middle school years and team sports, my activity of choice is spinning. My spinning instructor holds “race days” every month – an intense 90-minute group cycling event that pushes our bodies and minds to new heights. Not only do we finish our 90 minutes, we own those 90 minutes. I am in a zone, intense and determined. Like my son’s cross country team, we have amazing pack energy; we can energize each other, but ultimately, only I can push myself. Every race day ends with Coldplay’s “Fix You”  – to inspire us to “fix” ourselves from the inside out – mentally having an intention for our ride, believing in our abilities to achieve whatever we put our mind to – both in our rides or as we exit those doors.

I watched my son today as he walked off the course for the last time this year, grinning from ear to ear, so happy that he began this adventure on August 1.

and if he never tried, he’d never know the feeling he had today as he crossed the finish line with a sub-7 min. mile pace.

Thank you stranger, for your therapeutic smile.

What a difference 18 years makes in advertising and marketing. I was once a 22-year old, overly-driven media planner with intentions that included master negotiation, prime editorial placement, bonus TRPs and wowwing clients. OK, so I guess most of that still rings true, but my career has evolved into so much more.

Even early on in my career, I always wondered this: If advertising and marketing went away, would humanity really see an impact? How am I making a difference and contributing to the world through my career? After our son was born, I thought, “There you go. There’s my contribution by trying my hardest to raise compassionate and kind children.” That sufficed for a while, but something always seemed to be missing, I wanted to do more.

Fast forward many years, and enter the world of social media which is now such an amazing part of my career as well as my personal and everyday life. My worlds are colliding and my life is my passion is my career is my happiness. I have joined the world of “social good” and am fortunate to be able to use both my personal voice and my business voice to spread the word, raise funds and awareness and make a difference for people, non-profits and companies from coast to coast, and yes, even make sure that my kids are aware and a part of it.

I have been taught that one person can change the world, and that one (what may seem like in their eyes) small contribution can truly rock a community. Have you met Amanda Hite and are you following #bethechange or #nokidhungry on twitter? How about Nate St. Pierre and Jay Monee from Love Drop? I am lucky enough to work with the restaurant group who sponsored the first Love Drop, and my family drove to Chicago to be part of it. Talk about a life-changing moment and that feel good feeling that is still with me and my family today. How about Joni and Wally Doolin and People Report? Two people who changed the service industry standard with mindsets such as, “We have learned that leaders who embrace social responsibility as a mission critical value tend to attract talent, encourage engagement, develop raving fans in the marketplace, and in the end outrun the competition.”

I was introduced to the song “Bowl of Oranges” by Bright Eyes in August while we were on our annual family camping trip. These lyrics struck me and summed up perfectly how one little act sends ripples of good from person to person.

 “So I sat with him a while and then I asked him how he felt.
He said, “I think I’m cured. No, in fact I’m sure.
Thank you stranger, for your therapeutic smile.”

Our “smiles” and small actions are impactful. I’ve learned to never underestimate the difference I am able to make every day.

dream, little darling. dream.

I attended a social marketing event for work in February of 2010 ( – check it out) that changed my outlook on so many things. I left with an itch. An itch to start my own blog, to put my thoughts into words and share. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to get started and then got home and spent – what almost 2 years now? – wondering which of my many passions were worthy of me writing, what on earth people would want to read about me.

I was talking to a friend a few months back about my goal to start a blog, and as we talked I saw a common denominator in all aspects of my life. Music.

I work out to great (some might call “crazy”) music. I love having music on in the house, in the car, on walks. I sing while I cook. I have music on while I’m working and various playlists depending on what I need to get done that day. I may be running late to go on a trip and not have a thing packed, but I’ll have a brand new playlist for the plane or the event that I am attending. I make playlists for gifts – for births, birthdays, holidays, friendships, roadtrips, or quite frankly for no reason whatsoever. What a beautiful way to express feelings.

I love music and its impact on my mood. I love reading lyrics for myself and love finding a lyric that I can send to someone to help them or to let them know I am thinking of them. I have dreamt about what I want this blog to be and about how it will evolve – in my day-to-day life or reflecting on days past. I’m excited to watch it grow and hope you will too.

I am finally hitting “publish” – a big deal for those of you that know I’ve been wanting to do this for months and months. Check back for more of my favorite lyrics and songs – and how they impact me, and hopefully you as well.

(dream, little darling. dream ~ lyric from you never know by the dave matthews band)