My Christmas Wishlist – or – Why I’m going apeshit over the holidays this year

I haven’t properly celebrated the holidays since 2009. Initially, my family stopped doing gifts for reasons financial, philosophical, and – later – emotional. And we never got back to it in full swing. But this baby girl (yes, I’m referring to myself in third person) has a steady income and a need to shower my loved ones in PRESENTS!!! To fully understand my obsession, you must first understand the backstory(s). I’ll concede.

2009: Christmas as usual. I got my travel backpack and my mother’s commitment that she’d go to Europe with me in May. Basically, I got the world for Christmas. Big potatoes.

2010: The family had a rough year, emotionally. In lieu of presents (though we still did stockings), we started volunteering our Christmas morning, serving those less fortunate than we. Also, I saw little kids hug my dad like he was their personal angel. An amazing sight, friends.

2011: The year that rocked our lives. Several people died and Christmas would have been miserable. We volunteered again, and celebrated the coming new year (and new start) like it was the new Y2K.

2012: We were in Europe (I know, I know, woe is we) and didn’t do gifts or stockings. We did share some trinket-y little gifts, soak up the joy of each others company, and revel in the beauty of Paris. I should omit this one from my sob story.

2013: I moved Christmas Eve. For the bajillionth time. Christmas day, I got Chinese food. (Kind of evens out 2013, huh).

So now this year!! Not only am I going home, not only do I get to drown my favorite people with love, but I’m bringing home the boy, too! AB gets to meet my puppies, see my childhood home, sit in my glorious jacuzzi… It’ll be epic.

Now, as for the below…Ideally I’d show you everything I’ve found for my lovelies – the good, the bad, and the illegal. But I like surprises, so instead I’m posting my wish list. And I suppose this also serves as a little teaser for my yet-a-work-in-progress 2015 bucket list, because I plan to buy myself most of these little tchotchkes.

So excited for the holidays!

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 9.20.49 PMWORK GOODIES: gold foil print, Kate Spade gold folders, space heater | WARM GOODIES: J. Crew duck boot, brown sweater boot, knee high socks, hat, black nylon boots | WORKOUT GOODIES: gym shoes, GAIAM gym bag, amiigo fitness tracker

Once Upon a Time… I was a writer

cat-sleepingI’ve started writing this post more times than I care to count. And each time I come to the same conclusion: I don’t have anything to say. It’s a blank. The last time I wrote, I was a month into my new job. It’s been four months, the longest dry spell Musings She Wrote – and its predecessors – has ever seen.

Meanwhile at work, I’m now hurtling toward the six month mark, I’ve earned a place on my client teams and taken on increasing responsibility. Also, I’m completely tapped of creative energy.

I used to write because I felt I had some burgeoning, bubbling creative upchuck (remember ‘brain barf?’) and needed an outlet. And now… I come home and I’m exhausted. I pay my rent, I make food, I go to the gym, I work. I’m completely tapped of that creative energy. Each. And. Every. Day. And that’s not to say I’m running on empty; one of the few nuggets I retained from high school physics is that energy doesn’t die. It’s just converted into different forms of energy.

By the time I get home from the office, I’ve spent nine hours turning whatever creative energy I had into stay-awake-during-client-call energy, and into media pitches, into strategic plans and outlines, into social media campaigns.

And with what little (if any) energy remains, I convert into physical energy at the gym, where I lift heavy things repeatedly.

By the time I stumble home, I maybe cook. Or clean. If nothing else, I’ve learned to be grateful there’s not something else – a puppy or a child – in the picture. Being an adult is amazing, splendid, beautiful. And wholeheartedly the most exhausting thing ever.

At work this week, I was talking to my boss about a new writing class she’s taking at the MOMA. She’s learning how to write art critiques, just for fun – to engage the creative side of her brain that isn’t always engaged by client work.

I have kickball. I have the gym. I don’t have an art writing class. A while ago, I wrote up some steps to boost creativity, to beat writers’ block. Only, I don’t think this is writers’ block. I’m just drained. And short of illegal substances, and/or inserting a caffeine drip into my bloodstream, I don’t know how to combat it.

But I want to use my brain. I want to be creative. I want my art critique course. And I’m taking suggestions.

Step one was stumbling through the two weeks it took to write this post. I wrote something, and it wasn’t a list of tweets or a media plan or an email (actually I draft almost all my blog posts in Gmail drafts, but I digress). But I need something more. It’s bucket list time soon, and I want to look forward to some new challenge.

Calculus class? I’ll take it. Photo blogging a scenic walk every weekend? Sure. Painting? Drawing? Sommelier courses? How do y’all engage your brain? And how do you stay awake past 9 p.m.? When did naps go out of style?

Making My Pod Pretty

photo (4)I like glitter. And pretty things.

This is how I tried to explain to a coworker in my “pod” why I spent my free time sticking stickers to tacks to decorate my desk. There was some judgement. Well, judge away. I find that when things are pretty (and organized and clean), I am my most productive and creative. So I take the time to surround myself with pretty things.

I’ll be brief, but I thought I’d share my desk decor.

Clockwise, from top left: (1) This little quote is a new favorite and inspires me to not only be the best that I can, but to show improvement—and ultimately get hired for realsies; (2) the DIY shiny thumbtacks referenced earlier, materials from Target; (3) my favorite picture of my family, from a trip to Baja, Mexico in seventh grade; frame from Marshall’s; (4) a soon-to-be-purchased, bright mouse pad, $12 on Etsy; (5) a leather weekly planner from Barnes & Noble; and a tea cup pencil holder, $3 at Marshall’s.

Pretty, but not too over-the-top. Just enough to make my desk feel like home. That’s a good thing, right? Comment with ideas for additional ways to personalize and decorate!