Friday, May 25, 2012

For My 100th Post - Things I'm Afraid To Tell You

Happy Friday everyone! This isn't my usual fashion/home/music/art post, but I have a few things to share today. This is my 100th post here on AWNL!! Wow. Did I seriously find 100 things worth talking about since October of last year? I know I inherited my mother's gift for gab and while they may not have all been "worthy" topics, I've had a great time writing about what inspires me and sharing the things I love. To all of you - those who have been here since the beginning and those who may have stopped by via Google, Pintrest or Twitter, thank you for your readership and support. Having people to talk to is what makes blogging so fulfilling and I'm grateful for every single person who spends a few minutes of their day here with me.

Today, I'm participating in a "cocktail party" of sorts, orchestrated by Theresa over at Inspiration Cooperative. This party is really a movement (started by EZ at Creature Comforts) that's been rippling through the blogger community over the last couple of months. The title: Things I'm Afraid To Tell You. In a world of beautiful imagery, perfect interiors and designer everything, its easy to think that bloggers practice what they preach. I know I always thought that if someone is writing about a $2,000 handbag, they must own at least a couple of the same. But what I've discovered though this wonderful group of bloggers is that is certainly not the case. Behind each blog, there is a person who has flaws, fears and challenges to overcome and their "real life" is usually far removed from the things they blog about. So in that spirit of full disclosure and honesty, here we go:

1.  I can't seem to finish what I start: My daughter's 1st year photo album only made it to October 2010 (she was born in March of the same year), I got about 40% through my closet spring clean and now its almost summer, I've got 5 pieces of furniture in my garage, all of which I keep meaning to refurbish, unused Groupons, blank canvases, unframed art work, half-completed craft projects. You name it and I've probably started it. I like to attribute it to my thirst for knowledge and my many, many varied interests, but however I try and spin it, the fact remains I start a lot of things, but seem to finish few. Sometimes its a factor of time and other times I just lose interest, but that bag in the downstairs closet with the 15 newborn onesies I bought to start my embroidered onesie business on Etsy (it was during maternity leave and you moms all know how crazy we can get post-birth) is another great example. At work, I'm focused, efficient, and great at checking things off my lists, but at home, it's a whole other ball game.

2.  I wish I wasn't messy, but I am.  Take a survey of my sorority roomies and each one can tell you about "the thing" that lived at the end of my top bunk. Deserving of a name, "the thing" referred to the pile of yoga pants, jeans, satin button-ups, dance team uniforms, unmentionables, and UCLA hoodie sweatshirts that regularly collected on my bed and sometimes spilled onto the floor. It was usually at least a week (sometimes two) before I found a free afternoon to handle it, only to begin again the next day. Sharing a house with a spouse and toddler makes things even more dicey on the cleaning front and I still struggle with it. "The thing" still exists, but now lives in my closet where I can shut the door and contain it for as long as I need to.

3. I don't want to judge, but I do. Why we women are so hard on each other, I'll never fully understand, but it seems to be in my DNA to judge, even if nothing ever comes out of my mouth. From the woman on the cover of that recent Time magazine (that's a conversation that should include cocktails), to the woman ahead of me in line at Starbucks whose 2 year-old picked up every item in the serve yourself refrigerator (did I mention he was coughing like crazy too!), and the woman in the courthouse elevator sporting her daily uniform of mini-skirts and sky-high platforms. I judged them all in my head and discussed these lovely ladies with anyone who would listen.

4. I used to spend more than I made. At my law school orientation they warned us - if you live like a lawyer when you're a law student, you'll live like a law student when you're a lawyer. Sadly, their sage advice went in one ear and out the other and I lived a very comfortable life during my 3 years of grad school. I wasn't totally shocked when those trips to Saks, delicious La Jolla sushi and rounds of drinks for friends caught up with me around the time of graduation and I found myself in some serious debt. But there's a happy ending to this story - with the help of my then boyfriend (now husband), a lot of determination, and a stay-away order from major department stores and South Coast Plaza, I paid it all off and have been debt free ever since (aside from my student loans of course).

5.  I struggle to make it all work. A few years ago, I remember my sister telling me about two editors she worked with in New York. She described them as the two chicest moms she knew. They worked full-time, had impeccable style and taste, spent weekends at the park with their kids, painted, blogged, volunteered at school, hosted incredible dinner parties and worked-out on a regular basis.  I decided early on that when I became a mom, I would be just like them. But here I am, 2 years into motherhood, and I'm struggling to get the laundry done, the dry cleaning picked-up, and some semblance of dinner on the table.  That effortless chic look is so not happening these days and I haven't hosted a dinner party in a year. I'm constantly forgetting appointments, birthdays and to-do's on my lists and have left my keys in the front door, overnight, on several occasions. There never seems to be enough time to get everything done and I always feel I'm failing at a couple things on any given day. Did I mention I haven't worked out in almost a month?

Well, there are 5 things I'm afraid to tell just about everyone and now I've committed them to paper. Have a great holiday weekend! I'll be cleaning my closet, refurbishing furniture and hitting the gym. Just kidding. 


Lauren said...

Oh my GOSH. This is my first time here thanks to Theresa's cocktail party, and honest to god, I could have written this EXACT POST. I never finish what I start, every new year I resolve to open my heart and be less judgmental, I just got control of my spending in the last year, I'm a mess, AND I have been doing a lousy job of making it all work this year. Dang. Nice post. I really appreciate you!

Bethany F. said...

Love this post, although I have a feeling these are your ONLY 5 imperfections!

Prippy Handbook said...

Love that advice from the smart folks at your law school... wish I had gotten the same advice when I was going through those 3 years! Not sure it would have mattered, but I definitely laugh thinking about the lush law school life lived.

New to your blog - love it.

Suzannah said...

Love this! I can particularly relate to #5! I think any mom who "does it all" is either a.Lying or b. Has a lot of help. End of story.

Loving your blog, keep it up!

Erin said...

Well first off, CONGRATULATIONS on your 100th post! And how fitting it should fall on today of all days. I loved learning these things about you, thank you for being brave enough to share them!

Yes, as women we all are guilty of judging other women. Silently. Out loud. Whichever. Frankly, it's easier to beat down on people than it is to be nice. It also feels better sometimes! I'm guilty of it alllll the time. That mom on the cover of Time mag? My head almost exploded. (sidenote: tell me you saw the follow up interview on the Today show where her kid whined and acted like a brat every time the mom stopped paying attention to him.)

Anyway, congrats on pulling yourself out of debt! That must have been a toughie. I'm guilty of leaving my keys in the door all night, too. And I don't even have motherhood to blame it on! It's not just you :) I have a pile of laundry from vacation that is mocking me in the corner of my room but only enough energy to drool on myself. I'm impressed you do what you do given all you have going on. Come on, give yourself some credit!

Don't feel bad about having a million unfinished things. Take it as a sign that you enjoy a wide variety of interests and can give in to your impulse to jump in feet first and try new things. It's a good thing!

Have a wonderful weekend, Jennifer! Congrats again on your milestone. What a good one it was! xoxo

SuchSmallSteps said...

First of all, thanks for stopping by my blog. I can totally relate to your post- I never seem to have it all together, either, and I've been a mom for five years! And not judging is really hard. Women can be so hard on each other, which is sad, but I do it, too.
I went to UCLA and was in a sorority, too :) I'm guessing you are younger than me but maybe we were there at the same time!

Theresa / InspirationCOOP said...

First. Happy 100th post! We have to celebrate soon. ;)
I'm going to go on record and say that this is the best blogging day of my life. With each post I read I'm just in awe and my heart swells a bit more with each one I read. I also love that bloggers are finding and connecting with new bloggers.
I can relate to all that you write here. 1-5, yup...At one point or another in my life. Remember when you sent me to The Conversation and Gwyneth shares that wonderful piece about women judging other women. It was pretty powerful stuff. We are all guilty of it, sometimes silently, sometimes masked as concern. As long as we remain aware of it, it's a step in the right direction.
I like that you have 10 different things started...It makes you interesting and multi-faceted. (Which you totally are!)
Thanking you for joining the party today. You are a wonderful woman. You know that, right?
Have a great weekend, Jennifer!
PS~That last sentence made me laugh. I can totally picture you saying that in real life. ;)

Amy @ said...

What a great way to ring in #100! I must admit, reading this makes me feel a bit better. Whenever I see your blog, I think, wow, how does a mom of a little one have time for this kind of beauty in her life. I enjoy beautiful moments, but the stuff around me is pretty much all chaos all the time. I guess I need to give myself a break now that I know you have a THING too. Congrats! Love taking a deep breath to see the lovely things you share. (Since, you know, I share things like ear infections and t-ball quotes.)

tina said...

Wow 100 Posts... that sounds so amazing!! I've just looked, I'm just under 50 posts since 1st Jan so am looking at around Xmas for my 100th mark:) Big Congratulations Jennifer....

I can relate to most of your points and it shows me that we're all human with similar problems (give and take.) It's funny how, sometimes, saying things out loud (in this case writing it down) can make it all seem less 'scary'. That's how I now feel about my post:)

Thank you for sharing so honestly about yourself. I always love coming here for inspiration...

ALI MODE said...

Amazing sis! So, so proud of you! Lord knows I only made it to 50 or so before losing steam. Your accomplishments are so inspiring and I think you know that your five here are very much my five as well (except #4 - mine wouldn't have the "used to";).

CC Pais said...

To me you are "that mom" who can do it all and be gorgeous! I love your passion for life... And lucky for you, and your genetically blessed body... A month of not working out is nothing!

Sam Lennie said...

Congratulations on your 100th post, what great timing for a thought provoking post.

Blogging is the one thing you have stuck to :-)

We all start things that we don't finish - I've an Etsy store too that has just a couple of items in it that have been there for a while!

Big kudos for solving your debt crisis and sticking to it too.

Struggling to make it all work is a normal experience. I think you are probably being quite tough on yourself and that you are a wonderful lady, just the way you are.

Thanks for sharing your innermost thoughts, it's really fascinating learning more about you x

Tori said...

Congratulations on your 100th post Jennifer! That's pretty awesome : )

You remind me of myself all pretty much all of them especially starting something and not finishing it (what's up with that?)

I love how you wrote everything, you're very funny!

Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

I feel you on the can't finish what I started thing. I cleaned out the kids closet, drawers, old toys, blankets, etc. about two months ago to finally take over to consignment/goodwill and guess what? ALL that stuff is still sitting in our guest room where I proudly organized it to get moved out.

I think it's natural to judge. I mean, weren't we taught to have an opinion? Form our own beliefs? So long as we aren't cruel, I think it's okay to have a judging moment and simply move on.

Great shares!

annie said...

Hey happy birthday! 100 posts is such a great feeling isn't it? And how odd that it happened on Theresa's watch.

I judge alllll the time too. Anyone who says they don't is lying. Or the Dalai Lama.

And those NY women are talking sh*t. Perhaps they should write an 'about me' post too!

What is a stay-away order? is that a real thing?

Lovely to read all these things about you Jen xxx

California Chic said...

Hi everyone! I know I'm a little late, but I just wanted to thank everyone for dropping by to visit. I'm so grateful for each of you!

@ Lauren - So glad to meet you! Someone recently told me to work on being kind to myself and cutting myself a little slack. I'm sure you are making everything work and doing a great job of it!

@Bethany - thanks for visiting! I could have easily made a top 50 list (ask Andrew), but narrowed it down to five:)

@Prippy Handbook. Thanks for stopping by. It didn't help that I had a Saks down the street from my apartment in San Diego for the entire 3 years of law school!

@Suzannah - thanks for your encouraging words! I'm always inspired by your blog and your messages of self-improvement!

@Erin - I missed that T.V. interview, but I'll google it. I like your positive spin on the many, many projects that get started but never finished. Your multi-tasking always blows me away too. I have a feeling that your place is usually spotless!

@Suchsmallsteps - So nice to meet you. I graduated UCLA in 1999. I keep telling myself the motherhood thing will get easier - but I'm trying to learn to be okay with a little mess and dirt an a to-do list that might just not get finished.

California Chic said...

@Theresa - no of this would have happened had it not been for you bringing all of us together so thank you thank you thank you for that. I feel so lucky to have met you - you inspire me in more ways than you know!

@Amy - I always love reading your blog and it warms my heart. Laundry seems to usually be last on my list so at this point I'm just embracing the thing as a member of our family:)

@Tina - I almost backed out a couple times because I rarely write personal things on my blog, but I'm so glad I did and it has inspired me to change the way I think about blogging.

@Ali - you are one of the people who inspired me to go for it in the first place so I owe you a ton. Love you.

@Celeste - thanks honey. You are the poster girl for the mom who does it all with style and grace!

@Sam - Good point. I have suck with blogging, in part because of all the wonderful people I've connected with along the way:)

@Tori - Thank you for stopping by and I'm glad I made you chuckle. Better to start and not finish than to have never tried at all, right?

@Haydee - I can totally relate! I've got two bags in the corner of our bedroom that can't seem to make it to goodwill! Adding it to my to-do list now!

@annie- wouldn't that be great to have the people we try and emulate share some of their struggles too? A stay-away order is a real thing, but only in criminal cases - like ordering an ex-husband to stay away from his wife or a stalker to stay away from a celebrity.

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