Monthly Archives: March 2011

A New Chapter in Life: Career Fear

This week, I’ve been two floors up and a mile high in Denver, helping my company transition another employee into my role. My last day is on Friday, and I’ve never been more terrified in my entire life. Well, maybe one or two other times… but this one’s pretty bad, too.

I’ve had my ups and downs here, like pretty much 110% of the population and their respective jobs. Still, it can’t be denied: This is the longest I’ve been employed anywhere. I have the most supportive boss I’ve ever had, and he’s always gone to bat for me. I’ve increasingly taken on more responsibilities, and actually enjoyed it when I wasn’t having mild panic attacks and mysterious stomach pains. We’ve won awards. And most importantly for me, I know the lay of the land. People ask me questions. I have the answers. I know everybody, and everybody knows me. I can do this stuff in my sleep.

This is very powerful for somebody like me, an egotistical perfectionist with an inferiority complex. Ask FI, or any of my friends, or my dad, for that matter. I do better when I know what’s going on. And when I don’t know what’s going on, I pretend I do. Which never works out well.

But the fact of the matter is for me, after 5 years in the same role, the job becomes less challenging and more frustrating. I feel like I know everything there is to know, and my self-imposed misinformation on this point leads me to despair and stagnancy. I do nobody any good, including myself.

So on Monday, I’m starting a completely different role, moving from editorial work to marketing. My coworkers keep wishing me luck on the dark side. My replacement told me he’s sure there are happy marketers, just like there are happy plumbers. Hey, I’m pretty excited, but I’m also scared out of my pants. I won’t know what’s going on. Nobody will know me. I won’t know anybody. What if I fail? What if everybody sees I’m a fake, I don’t know how to do anything, and I have to crawl back on my hands and knees? And then they say no, you left, sorry, and I die alone and penniless?

Because that’s always what my fear ends in: dying alone and penniless.

I’m jumping in with both feet, but I wasn’t prepared for the emotion this week brought. It’s been such a mixed bag that, at one point, I almost changed my mind in a bizarre streak of panic, hunger, and altitude sickness. But I know that would be stupid, because this new opportunity came to me for a reason. It’s my responsibility to run with it, even if it ends in disaster, even if I am exposed as a nincompoop, even if I have to crawl back on my hands and knees and I’m still denied. Because who am I to say where I belong?

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Heyyyy, Cupcake

Cupcake shot from whitneyinchicago (Flickr)

Photo by whitneyinchicago

Pretty much right from the beginning, we knew we wanted to do cupcakes. The first thing that prompted the decision was the fact that they wouldn’t require a cake cutting fee. That, followed quickly by…

  1. Cute
  2. Delicious
  3. Flexible (choosing 2-3 flavors gives everybody something they’ll probably love, unless they’re on a special diet)
  4. Affordable
  5. Cutelicious (what? It’s totally different than 1 or 2)

meant that they were the certain front runner for cakes. While I’m in awe over the tumbling, ruffly creations on television shows and the glossy pages of bridal magazines, I knew they weren’t for us and our wedding.

So I started my cupcake search in the town where we’re getting married, and found two possible choices. I can’t explain why, but my eye was especially drawn to Pastries by Design. Maybe it was the filling options. I love me some filled cakes.

We were super impressed with the owner, Lyndsy, and her shop. She was straight to the point, and they have really awesome policies — only bakers can make deliveries, your cakes are made Wednesday, filled Thursday, and iced Friday for a Saturday wedding, etc.

We had 5 selections to choose from:

  • Yellow cake with dulce de leche filling and vanilla buttecream
  • Almond cake with raspberry buttercream
  • Red velvet cake with cream cheese icing
  • Chocolate cake with fresh strawberry filling and chocolate buttercream
  • Chocolate chip cake with fudge icing

Which basically resulted in Mr. Ladyfingers and I taking over the chocolate chip cupcake and me scarfing down 4 cupcakes as breakfast.

We ended up going with yellow/dulce/vanilla, red velvet/cream cheese, and chocolate chip/fudge for cupcakes, and chocolate chip/fudge filling/vanilla buttercream icing for our 6″ presentation cake. Um, how excited are we? Soooo excited. Basically, other than the marriage part, the cupcakes are the MOST EXCITING part of the day!

Were the sweets the best part of your planning? Are you doing cake, cupcakes – or something really cool that I don’t even know about?!*

*thanks to Will Ferrell for this one. Get it? I hope you do.

NWR: Buried

Last night, my external hard drive crashed. 100 GB of music, gone. As I brushed a few tears from my eye and started making my list of essentials to rebuild my library (that’s right, folks – it wasn’t backed up), I realized how few of the songs and albums in my iTunes library I would actually want to pay to download again. And then I looked around my house, and started wondering how much of THIS STUFF I would pay for again if given the chance.

I’ve long known that I have a stifling relationship with stuff. That became evident when I had to delete most of my belongings when moving from a 700-square-foot apartment, where I lived solo, to a 1200-square-foot rental home, where I live with my now-fiance. I sold stuff, donated stuff, and generally rid myself of years of unhealthy associations. It felt awesome.

Then, we moved into our house, and I started piling it all on again. My common refrain for months was, “Look what I bought – but it only cost me $20!” After doing that 7 times every month, I struggled to figure out why I was always short in my checking account, when I never bought anything pricey. It was my rush to get more stuff.

Today, I look around and see things I’m hanging onto “just in case.” Art supplies I may still come to use. Books I might still read – and books I will never read, but which my kids may want to read. Clothes I may still fit into, or grow to love. Board games we may still play. Tchotchkes with which I may still adorn my home.

Every time I start to do a clean-out, I pause. But what if I regret this? What if 10 years from now I wish I hadn’t thrown away my 6th grade yearbook? What if 6 months from now I decide I want to start reading Agatha Christie and wish I still had those “Five Classic Murder Mysteries”? What if I decide I want to wear my orange suede skirt one day, and while scrambling to find it I realize, with regret, that I donated it to Salvation Army?

I think the biggest thing I need to let go of, bigger than even the stuff and the urge to accumulate stuff, is the sense of panic I feel when it’s time to shed all those things. It’s my association with things that I’ve had since a little girl – shoeboxes of pebbles from the playground, notes from my 6th grade friend, journals and drawings, barely started collections.

How do you shed your stuff – and your urge to fill the gaps with more stuff?

Good Luck to the New Couple!

Look! Look! Look what I just found at the sweet office supply store of Russell + Hazel!

Russell + Hazel quips and queries set

Um, these would be PERFECT for our “well wishes for the couple” cards! I love the good luck icons, and can definitely work those into a little sign instructing guests on what to do with these cards and the pile of pens. And at only $24, it’s an extremely affordable alternative to trying to design my own cute cards, and a much cuter alternative to simply using blank white cards. Love love!

Did you find little treasures like this along your planning journey? Do share!

Come to Our Party!

Back in March, I met with our friend, Designer Mama, to start going over ideas for our invitation designs. She’s an awesome graphic artist with great taste, and a sweetheart to boot, so I was naturally super excited to see what she came up with. I was nervous about asking her to help with the invites, but I couldn’t imagine doing it myself, and I didn’t really want to outsource it to somebody I barely knew. I was willing to pay her whatever she wanted, so imagine my complete shock when she said she’d do it as a gift! I could have hugged her. I probably did.

I tried telling Mr. Ladyfingers how excited I was, and he reminded me about his idea: Buy a pack of 50 party invitations from Target and call it a day.

Heh.

To start the process, I brought over my Super Freakishly Organized Binder of All Things Wedding (which, incidentally, I had left under a friend’s car seat a few weeks ago and went batcrap crazy thinking I’d lost it). One of my very favorite things to save are wedding invitation images (actually, any kind of stationery), so I had plenty of ideas! We started going over them to see what unified those designs that I loved.

Image via Grey Likes Weddings/Designs by Storkie

Weddingbee/Ms. Sloth

Minted

Michael Duerksen

Image via Oh So Beautiful Paper/Design by Bird Dog Press

Now that we had established what I liked – varying fonts, interesting organization, semi-traditional but slightly fun and definitely unique – we could get started. We hammered out the invitation wording, I left her with a few of my pulled inspiration photos, and just a few weeks later, we had the finished product!

What about your own invitation design? Did you accumulate a lot of inspiration from all over? What were the defining elements in what you loved? And did you go DIY — I am so jealous of your talent! — or outsource, either to a close friend or another professional designer?