Some faves from the past few days:
- Absolutely incredible NYT correction (via Gothamist):
The end of the year is a time of top 10 lists, thoughts on the past, and hopes for the future. Since I’m a fan of lists, here are 10 things I learned this year:
- There’s absolutely nothing more painful than confronting the mortality of a family member. Many of those close to me know that the first half of 2010 was an *extremely* difficult time for my family. Worse than dealing with terrible family news was dealing with a constantly changing prognosis and having an unclear path of action. I have never cried more or been more disoriented at work than I was January through June.
- Clarity is a real gift. I’m pretty direct and prone to making quick decisions and following through on them. As I observe others struggle with this, I’m grateful for my own ability to decide and move on. From choosing a restaurant to ending a not ideal relationship rather than waiting for it to die, I feel better about everything when I put a stake in the ground and go with it. For reference, check this out.
- I really enjoy country music. For a girl who’s not into manual labor, I could not possibly enjoy the twang of a guitar or lyrics about corn and tractors any more. While I’ve loved country music since I was little and sang Hank Williams (Sr) and Willie Nelson songs with my dad, I realized recently, that it’s the only genre where I can honestly say I like 75% of the music enough to not change the radio.
- Metallic flats are a 5’10” gal’s best friend. I bought 9 pairs of metallic flats in 2010. I returned one.
- Do not ever go to McDonald’s on M Street for a snack post-midnight. @MsSpinach and I did and a stranger showed us a picture of his own genitalia. No McFlurry will ever take that memory away.
- I work with wonderful people. Not sucking up at all, but my co-workers (and former co-workers) are some of my favorite people which makes going to work every day a pleasure. Follow #Ogilvy360DI and #360DI (because we haven’t totally chosen a hashtag…) for more great banter. But know that the best stuff happens over email. And the absolute best stuff is printed out and posted on the “Natty Mail” wall that @KaitlynWilkins and I share.
- Sometimes, I get so caught up on “what’s next” that I don’t enjoy “what’s happening.” And no, I’m not talking about the TV show. I have noticed that when I’m not 100% happy with where I live or other details of my life, I very actively start thinking about moving and making changes. But sometimes that concept of “leaving before I leave” really prevents me from making the most of what I’m doing in the moment.
- Even a tired franchise can reinvent itself. I thought Survivor, Top Chef, and Real Housewives had all seen better days. Let me tell you – Survivor Heroes v. Villains, Top Chef All Stars, and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills have proven me wrong. When is Flavor of Love coming back?!
- Gchat is beyond essential to the way I live my life. My predominant communication with two of my best friends in California, one of my brothers, and many of my coworkers happens over gchat. I actually couldn’t imagine life without it. Maybe even more so than DVR and a smartphone… and it takes a LOT for me to say that. Despite believing in Facebook, I don’t feel that way about Facebook chat – I think gchat is a more personal place for me. I’ll accept most friend requests on Facebook, but gchat is way more private than that.
- I have the best family in the entire world. My parents are more fun, more generous, more compassionate, and ten times stronger than I knew — even in 2009. My brothers and I are unbelievably lucky to have them — and to be able to make fun of them as much as we do. (Sorry, Mom, I know it was a rough Christmas from that perspective… at least you didn’t buy us Nutcracker tickets this time?!) Similarly, while I am VERY different from both of my brothers, I can’t think of two people who I love, respect, enjoy, or roll my eyes at more.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on 2010. If I only think about 2010 from about July forward, it was a really great year. And if I take the year as a whole, I can’t think of one during which I learned more about myself or life in general.
Here are some of my favorite links, etc, from the past few weeks:
Okay, I’ve been meaning to post these for a bit. Each link is something I toyed with giving its own post. But I’m busy with work and too lazy to take the time.
Click the links… you’ll enjoy.
- Pretzel M&Ms — if at all possible, they’re even better than the sum of their parts. A colleague informed me that there hasn’t really been a successful candy launch in the past 50 years. Apparently Take Five comes closest and even those are tough to find. Kiddos, do not let Pretzel M&Ms die a sad candy death.
- Nantucket — I always loved Nantucket growing up just because it was where my family went to really be together. Unfortunately, last summer was the first time I didn’t go since I was 3. In July, I was able to go up with Lydia and Abby and had an incredible time (and am headed back in 10 days!). I always knew it was the one place my dad was really able to relax and unwind but now that I have a job that’s demanding (albeit without the whole “life or death” element), I was able to see Nantucket in a whole new light. Lydia’s brother Mark took this picture and she sent it to me — it just seems to capture how special the island is.
- Lilly Pulitzer — ummm… pink and green Palm Beach floral explosions have NEVER been my thing, but while on Nantucket I wandered inside Lilly and fell in love with two navy dresses. Kudos to Lilly for doing navy so well and kudos to me for being so open-minded!
- “Good” guys — FYI when someone has to tell you and the world on repeat that they are a “good” guy or a “nice” dude, they probably aren’t. Actual good guys don’t have to promote it that much.
- I love my job — last summer I was just settling in to a new city and new job and new office, but this summer I was able to actually enjoy the work I do. I get to do everything from fly to London for an online tennis clinic with a fashion brand to use social media to reveal an overhauled, but still iconic, American SUV (video for the reveal below) AND still send snarky emails all day long. Pretty awesome.
It’s been a while since I made a solid list, but here we go.
5 Things I Love
- Boston Rob. So you should be watching Survivor Heroes v. Villains if you enjoy some of the most fascinating physical and psychological games ever to appear on television. And who is the ringleader of this tropical circus? None other than Boston Rob. While unfortunate, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I find smart but arrogant men to be wildly attractive. Hence, the reason I find Rob Mariano to be the picture of perfection:
- Cocktails that come in coconuts. Dad spent the last hour of our three hour drive to Rincon telling me about this Pirate cocktail that comes in a coconut and makes you forget all your problems… and anything else you wanted to remember. I had half and sent Dad back to his room with the rest of mine. Since I slept until noon the next day, no word on whether he was feeling it the next morning…
- Really great copy writing. For reasons that I’ll keep to myself, I have been having some conversations about LARPing with @idamaster which led him to discover Strongblade.com — a website that sells foam swords for live action role players. I don’t know who writes for the site, but he/she is an absolute master of the English language. Here’s part of the description of the Sword of the Apocalypse (if you have the time/inclination, I recommend perusing the rest of the site. I may also ask you to buy me the Pendant of Sorrow for my birthday…):
The Apocalypse is such a cool concept. The end of the world. Dead people rising like zombies. Fire in the sky. Skeletal men riding horses. An epic battle for the fate of humanity with burning meteorites sizzling through the air. Small people wearing boots on their hands and jelly smeared over their feet. Semi-naked women eating handfuls of mayonnaise. Bubbling pools of beer everywhere. Um. Well, that’s sort of my vision, really. I’m not quite sure if that’s the verbatim biblical account of it.
- Fat, naked babies. Or rather, one specific fat, naked baby. Seriously, how amazing is this chub?
- Ke$ha’s Tik Tok. Ellie hates it, I love it. Awe-some.
5 Things I Don’t
- Having US Airways cancel my flight less than 5 min after I hang up the phone with Jarred in India who rebooked the flight for me in the first place. Oh and when I asked if that very flight would be canceled, he said “I am only allowed to tell you what my screen says.” Unhelpful, Jarred.
- Having American Airlines “rebook” my canceled flight 5 days later, but actually having them not do that at all and ending up not having a seat.
- Snowpocalypse 2010. It was pretty, but it ruined my pants, gave me a bruise, resulted in many hours on the phone with airline customer service, and stranded me without food for a few days. I did take this picture when I walked past the White House though.
With cameras rolling, Sunny took off from his perch in a nearby tree, swooped down and captured a fleeing cottontail rabbit in his powerful talons in just about the time it took you to read this sentence.
This past week, certain aspects of my job made me think about what could have been if I’d pursued other career paths. However, I realize that the jobs I’m most interested in probably don’t play to my strengths. In a twist from my usual lists, this time I’ve got 5 jobs I’d love to have, but at which I’d be terrible and 5 jobs at which I’d be awesome that I’d hate to have.
5 JOBS I’D LOVE TO HAVE (BUT AT WHICH I’D BE TERRIBLE)
- Secret Agent — okay, this totally tops my list of awesome dream jobs. You get to travel, strategize, talk to people, go to parties and drink cocktails, use cool gadgets, ferret out the inside story, and dodge laser beams. I’d also be able to wear black all the time without my mom criticizing me for being a downer. Unfortunately, secret agent Karen won’t ever happen because I’m a) terrible with secrets* and b) about a -7 on the stealth scale.
- TV Producer — also a total dream job because I’d get to wear a headset and tell people what to do all the time. However, I learned this week that video production and I are not a good combo. I lack patience and my poor hearing means I can’t really help with audio.
- Gospel Singer — almost daily, I hairbrush sing to Aretha Franklin/Whitney Houston/someone else awesome in my bathroom. I would totally love to be a soloist with a big choir backing me (see Karen Clark Sheard singing Rejoice and Be Glad). Obviously my voice is one barrier and not having a particularly sincere or close relationship with Jesus is another problem. As I type, I’m thinking this one might still be kind of achievable if I faked the religious part and wasn’t a soloist. Stay tuned…
- Inspirational School Teacher — have you seen Stand and Deliver (aka Flashdance for mathletes)? I have. It’s epic, I love it, and every time I watch it, I think I should quit my job and go teach calculus at an inner city school. I’m not going to though because I’ve driven through neighborhoods that I seriously thought were the ghetto and later learned that they’re not even close.
- Food Critic — if you know me, you might be surprised that this is on the list. Here’s the thing, I love food and would love to be a food critic, but I think my hatred of all flavors Japanese and aversion to shellfish mean I actually wouldn’t be able to do the job. I mean, the New York Times can’t hire a critic who wouldn’t touch half the menu at Le Bernardin, right? Maybe if I could be a beef/pork/dairy-only critic? Now that I’ve typed that, I think that might be the greatest job ever invented…
*unless you told me a secret. In that case, I totally kept it.
5 JOBS I’D ROCK (BUT ALL OF WHICH I’D HATE)
- Cosi Sandwich Maker — sometimes when I’m at Cosi, I think to myself: wow, Karen, if you jumped behind the counter, you could make a much better and faster sandwich. Afterall, you know that fresh herbs aren’t the same as lettuce and that feta cheese spread shouldn’t be slathered on like Greek food is going extinct. And then I remember if I had to make sandwiches at Cosi for obnoxious yuppies on their Blackberries all day, I’d probably shoot myself.
- Flight Attendant — last night I watched a number of flight attendants seem to have a fundamental lack of understanding basic geometry as they tried to force bags into their overhead bins (FYI, turning a bag diagonally will take up MORE room, not less). I’m also great at pushing a cart and handing out beverages. I’m not going to be applying for this job any time soon though because they have to watch the same movie like 1000x each month and if each month’s movie is as bad as Jennifer Aniston’s Love Happens from last night, it’s just not worth considering.
- Ad Agency Project Manager — I can make schedules and manage budgets with the best of them. At my first agency, at least 50% of their project managers were functionally handicapped. 80% were picked up in the unemployment line or the Port Authority. (Melissa didn’t fall into either category, but even she benefited from my suggestions for how to do her job better…) I wouldn’t take this job though because it might mean working with someone like me and that sounds PAINFUL.
- Bar/Bat Mitzvah Party Starter — remember those dancers at bar and bat mitzvahs who would get everyone up and dancing? I’d be so awesome at getting your grandmother dancing to “Celebration.” Going to a lot of bar mitzvahs as a 26 year old sounds totally sketch though so I’ll take a pass.
- German Real Estate Agent — I like to wear black turtlenecks and glasses and eat bratwurst and say “das haus,” so naturally I’d be a great German real estate agent. Life in Frankfurt would be a little lonely though. If anyone wants to move with me, I’ll reconsider.
SPECIAL BONUS: 5 JOBS I’D HATE *AND* AT WHICH I’D BE TERRIBLE
- Masseuse — I don’t like the idea of touching strangers.
- Midwife — I never recovered from having to watch a video on midwifery junior year of high school. I don’t really like fat women, newborns, pain, or bodily fluids though so this doesn’t sound like a match.
- Drug Runner — Reiterating from earlier, I’m not particularly stealth. In addition, I had to google “blow” to find out if it was heroin or cocaine… last month. Finally, I like following the law, do not like bullets, and definitely don’t like the idea of filling body cavities with blow (or something else).
- Postal Service Employee — I’m prone to paper cuts and get lost easily. Also, I could see myself opening other people’s mail out of curiosity. Way too much temptation with this one.
- Valet Parker — I didn’t legitimately pass my driver’s license test and don’t know how to park a car and/or go in reverse. So, yeah, not a good choice.
Looks like I’ll be staying in PR for a bit longer!