Guest Post: Cait

If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know I like to refer to myself as a runner, but my friend Cait is an actual, competitive, marathon runner. She inspires me to hit the pavement and keep going, even when my body disagrees and was kind enough to answer some questions about running and her passion for fitness with us.

Thanks, Cait!

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Can you give us some background as to why and how you started running?

When I was about 5 years old I started running the Town day road races with my family.  Soon after that it became a hobby that me and my dad did together.  We would do weekend runs together and Christmas morning was always a fun run.  Next I started my first team in elementary school, and the rest is history.

Why running?
Running is the easiest way to get a quick workout in and you only sneakers and an outfit, and if you need a watch.  Other than that its simple, you just go out your door and explore.
How do you prepare for runs? Whether it’s race day or just a casual jaunt?
Race day and a casual run are completely different preparations for me.  A causal run I just get dressed and go out my door. But a race preparation starts really when the entire training starts, hydration, nutrition and sleep. Typical day of prep would include a bagel with cream cheese a coffee and apple juice, and depending time 2 hours before I run I would have a power bar and some water. I additionally 1 hour before race time will start to stretch and warm up.
What have been your greatest achievements with running?
My greatest achievement would be finishing the Boston marathon, or should I say swimming! (A/N: It was pouring the day of the marathon this year!)
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What was running the marathon like, both physically and mentally?
Besides training your body to run for 4 hours, the hardest part was getting over the fact that you are in pain and you are tired.  If running a marathon was easy, everybody would do it.  It takes mental and physical strength that will push you past your limits, and you truly find out what your body is capable of.
Are there any negatives or downsides to running you’ve felt over the years?
I ran competitively for 12 years so there are deff some negatives.  Injury’s will pop up but you can bounce back, the biggest challenge i have faced would have to be the mental burn out. Over training is a common you can experience mental fatigue.
How was it being a collegiate athlete?
Being a collegiate is something I am so happy I was able to do.  I loved being able to compete and miss being able to toe the line and feel the adrenaline pumping.  I wish I could do it all over again.
How have you made the transition from collegiate athlete to casual runner (if you can call it that)?
Transitioning from a collegiate runner to a casual runner was a weird experience.  I didn’t know when to start running again after my break and so I ended up just starting to sign up for 5K’s and half marathons and then some how I got a number and ran the Boston Marathon.
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Any suggestions and advice to offer those who are looking to get into or improve their running?
One thing I would say is to be proud of yourself for getting out there, it is an amazing feeling when you suddenly feel yourself getting better. It is also a great stress reliever so that is a plus.

take your broken heart, turn it into art

Before I begin my weekend recap, I want you all to know that Meryl Streep made me bawl. She’s had a hell of a career, which we’ve been lucky to watch. But at the Golden Globes last night, she gave her best performance. It was raw, real, and so important. Donald Trump’s presidential platform ran on bigotry, hate, and ignorance of anyone who is different than him, and thank everything, so many people are different than him. But so many people aren’t. Electing him president validates the heinous actions and words of trying to make other people feel lesser. Now we all get to suffer the consequences.

Meryl ended her speech on a bittersweet note, quoting the late and beloved “Princess Leia,” Carrie Fisher. She quoted, “Take your broken heart, make it into art.”

Let’s make that the credo of these next four years.

Saturday morning began on a perfect note, pancakes, coffee, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. 

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After I digested my meal and hydrated, I headed to the gym for a killer upper body body strength workout. Lots of push-ups, tricep dips, and shoulder work on this one. For cardio, I ended up doing a lot of walking for the day.

My post-workout snack was my first ever green juice. Spinach, kale, and pineapple. Delicious! I almost hate myself for loving it, especially because I don’t want to adopt an expensive habit!

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My friend Sara and I headed into the heart of Hollywood to the Second City improv open house to take a class. I wasn’t sure what to think, considering I’ve never done improv and only dabbled in acting when I was in elementary school, but I had fun! And I wasn’t terrible. I’ve read a lot about improv in books by Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Rachel Dratch, so even though I’m by no means an expert, I’ve learned from the experts. Glad to realize that my childhood stage fright has diminished.

So inspired were we after class, we decided to see an actual improv show. Second City was sold out, so we walked over to UCB to find that they too were sold out. Bummer. Plans diverted, we opted for Chinese takeout, Friends reruns, and some wii games.

I set my alarm early for Sunday (and by early, I mean early for Caitlin on a Sunday), ate an omelet, toast, and fruit breakfast, and headed back out with my friend Sara to hike.

I’m like, kind of obsessed with nature, you guys. My advanced apologies to all those back east who suffered through a snowstorm and are house bound thanks to the cold. Los Angeles hit the seventies this weekend. I’m not that sorry.

I’ll allow you to live vicariously through me.

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I’m obsessed with open roads. Metaphors or something.

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Seriously, the clouds.

 

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I climbed a rock and made it my temporary home.

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After our adventure, we ate the best tacos I’ve ever had in my life, journeyed to Ikea (my first time), then went to Target so I could buy a blender. Laundry, cleaning, crying over Meryl Streep, and writing this post made up the rest of my Sunday. Happy Monday, live well!

 

 

 

 

New York City!

It’s Monday and we’re all back to the real world! For me in particular, since this is my blog and it’s a bit of a shock having spent the past few days in New York City, aka my favorite place in the world!

After a whirlwind week of working, my friend Lauren and I hopped on the bus to visit our friends Bobby and Ruben. The bus ride was a little long, especially as the anticipation built, but we got through with a lot of chatting.

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Once we arrived late Thursday night, we had dinner at a Mexican place where lots of chips and salsa were had, as well as a grilled chicken and pepper dish that was pretty okay. It was time for bed as Lauren and I had a busy Friday planned.

On the definite agenda on Friday afternoon was the NBC tour, so we headed towards Times Square and had brunch at a diner. I selected the single pancake, scrambled eggs, and bacon, which hit the spot! I’m not used to waiting so long to eat in the morning, so I was hungry! The weather was beautiful and perfect for walking around, though Lauren and I might have been the only ones wearing shorts. On our travels, we noticed two very long lines, which I thought might be for those elusive eateries that Buzzfeed always posts, but one was for what we concluded was a Hamilton meet-and-greet (understandable) and the other was for Chik-fil-a ( a rousing, huh!?).

After we took in the scene, we found ourselves at 30 Rock! We found where we were supposed to meet for the tour and then we had an adventurous debacle trying to locate a restroom, and then a restroom that was actually open. We did make it back in plenty of time, but almost missed the tour anyways because we were browsing the store. Whoops! The tour was fun and informational, plus just plain cool getting to sit in the audience of SNL (sans actual show), but it wasn’t all that overwhelming. It didn’t help that Lauren and I were bunched in with a bunch of teenagers on a class trip.

Back into the sunshine and away from the teens, we made our way over to the Highline which we walked on our way to meet Bobby.Though it was a little congested, it’s such a nice walk with spectacular views. Here would be a great time to insert a pic of the view, but we were busy taking in the scene. Once we stepped off near Chelsea Market, it was time for some refreshments.

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The final leg of our afternoon took us to Union Square, where we hopped back on the subway to get ready for dinner that night. Lauren and I were excited to try Tao!

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The food was excellent, especially the sweet and sour cauliflower! We also shared chicken and pad thai dishes, finishing off with a giant mousse-filled fortune cookie. Post-dinner, we decided to take advantage of the still-warm and beautiful evening weather and hit up a rooftop bar. I can already predict this will be my favorite thing to do in the summer, even though I don’t think every place I go to will offer views of the Statue of Liberty.

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Once we arrived and got our drinks- boozy popsicles in wine!- it started to rain! There was a cover and heat lamps above us, but they only lasted so long until we were the only ones left and had to leave.

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Lauren and I racked up a ton of steps, especially on Friday- almost 30,000, and then a lot on Saturday too!

On Saturday, we started our morning off right with a workout! I’m now a big fan of hitting up gyms for one-day passes when I travel! For my workout, I spent a half hour working through a strength training circuit before hopping on the treadmill for a run. Since losing the last ten pounds, I’ve definitely gotten faster and was able to stay at a strong, but comfortable pace, except that I was battling a bit of a bellyache. I finished my hour up with a core workout before getting ready for brunch.

This pretty much sums up brunch.

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Bottomless mimosas! For my actual meal, I chose eggs benedict with spinach with a side salad. Delicious! A little tipsy and a lot full, we made our way over to Central Park to sit in the sun and just relax. The best!

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That is the face of a happy girl! I mean, look at this view from lying on my back:

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Once the sun started to go down, so did the temperature, so we knew it was time to head back. For dinner, I had part of an amazing cauliflower (vegetable of the weekend!) crumble and spaghetti in a lemon cream sauce. For after-dinner drinks, we had trouble finding a spot that stuck, but we finally did find one (my poor, sore feet!) and enjoyed a nightcap before heading back to bed.

Sunday sadly was our final day and we kicked things off with brunch. I had trouble deciding, but the waiter recommended the hot dog (kind of an odd choice for brunch, sure) and it didn’t disappoint. By the time we got back to the apartment, Lauren and I decided to pack up and head out to stay in the general area of our bus. Even though we weren’t hungry at that time, we knew we would be once we were on the bus, so we trekked over to Whole Foods with our luggage and got some snacks.I enjoyed a roasted chicken sandwich and a cookie! The journey home was even longer than the one there, and even though I love and miss New York, I was happy to be home.

For one, after a weekend of indulgences, I always love getting back into my food and exercise routine as it’s so motivating to feel healthy again! Another, I always feel so inspired by the city and ready to work hard, so I know I’ve got a lot of exciting things to do over the next few months- and choices to make!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, wherever you are and whatever you did! Happy Monday!

Sometimes, You Just Need Whipped Cream

I shared this note last night on Facebook, but I wanted to extend the sentiment on my blog:

The beautiful thing about people like David Bowie and Alan Rickman is that they lived as their authentic selves. Creativity sparks ideas, inspiration, and movement. Such endeavors appeal to our humanity. It’s why we love them. It’s why we mourn. At the end of the day, we are all human. We all suffer, struggle, and fail, but these passionate types, these people, they, we, we all triumph, shine, and overcome. In death, we love and we grieve, but we also remember that they have lived, with us and for us, and that is a remarkable thing.

So when they say, “Let’s Dance,” we respond, “Always.”

A bit on the less serious side: Exciting news! According to Facebook, I joined the social media world 10 years ago from this very day. I don’t know how to feel about this. Old, for one. I was in high school 10 years ago. From my calculations, I would have been 16, so a sophomore? Yikes. A lot has changed in the past 10 years and I’m not ashamed to say, the majority of that has been for the good. If we’re being real though, that’s not so much a milestone for me as it is for Facebook. Good for you, book of faces.

On a list of other random happenings in my life, I’m beginning to suspect that I’m just into hot chocolate for the whipped cream on top. I’m not even sorry. Yes, the chocolatey, warm goodness makes the melty whipped cream taste that much better, but when I’ve had my share of the cream and it’s just the hot chocolate left, I’m all, eh.

My morning started with a quick, repeating meal before my Spin class. Peanut butter and jelly on an English Muffin. Wrong cannot be done with this combination. Warm, toasty, peanutty, and sweet.

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For my workout, it included the aforementioned Spin class, which was killer thanks to a ton of sprints and hill climbing. It’s butt-kicking, but works up a great sweat! I finished with a brief core workout before heading home to get my inner- Yogi on.

I’ll also take you back to last night’s dinner of chicken drumsticks, brown spinach rice, roasted Brussels sprouts, and a big salad.

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Now onto the work, work, work that needs to be done. It’s Friday though, so Happy Weekend-having to you all!

Birdman: It’s Weird, Man.

Considering the Oscars are airing and I’ve barely seen any of the movies, I figured it was time to at least catch one of them. I did see The Theory of Everything around Thanksgiving and I thought that was a good movie with great acting. It will most likely win Eddie Redmayne a Best Acting Oscar, but it won’t win for best film.

The two biggest contenders are Boyhood and Birdman. Eventually, I will see Boyhood, if only for the fact that it was filmed over twelve years, though that may be the only interesting part about it. I watched Birdman last night thinking I was really going to like it. I wanted to like it. The cast is excellent with Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, and Edward Norton among them and I think everyone did a fabulous job of portraying their characters.

The premise of the film also intrigues me. It analyzes how people deal with fame within that culture, both from a perspective of a blockbuster icon who is beloved and a theatre extraordinaire who is esteemed. The film also toys with the role the audience plays in creating film. We rely on big gestures, those moments that we can put all over Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the ones that make us feel connected to that world in a range of emotions. Such a fascinating concept!

I like how it took such a romanticized world and made it imperfect. I’m not sure I’ve seen a more realistic perspective of what it is like to work in that industry-granted, I myself have seen it in person on a limited basis-even though there were implausible facets included as well. In popular culture, especially with the rise of reality television, the line between what is real and what is imaginary has been completely shattered beyond recognition. It’s why we obsess over celebrity lives, or at the very least, why we are invested in them to some extent. Part of it too is admiring their talent and what they are able to do, but since many of us do not have the money, fame, or appearances to do what they do, we like to watch. We like what we like to watch to be very big. They make this point in the film. It’s subtle, but it’s there, and it’s true.

If I’m confusing you, watch the film, think it over, then we can chat.

For my tastes, the film took a weirder turn than I would have enjoyed. I can’t exactly dig into it without spoiling it completely, but I will say that as a film that gets you thinking, it works. I wanted it to run out a certain way because it would have made more sense to me, but it’s not my film. Now that I’m thinking more about it and have reviewed the film, I don’t hate the ending as much as I first did. Sure, it was a little bizarre, but now that I’ve connected it in my mind to the points I’ve made above, it at least makes more sense to me.

See Birdman. Not just because it will win the Oscar, but because the film is bitter, edgy, and rough.

Moving onto meal recapping, I started my Saturday morning with my favorite peanut butter pancakes. I wonder if this is actually a surprise to anyone? I don’t know how this happens, but I always seem to have a difference in the amount of batter my recipe makes week-to-week. Last week, I had four huge pancakes and one little dollop. Sometimes, I barely make three. This week, I had four medium-sized cakes. I don’t change up my ingredients or how much I put in there, so it’s just strange to see such a disparity. Maybe I’m just bad at judging how heavy handed I am at spooning them onto the griddle. Regardless, with more peanut butter on top, some jelly, toasted coconut, a side of berries, and an episode of Parks and Rec, life was good.

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My mom and I did our grocery shopping run on Saturday afternoon because Sunday is Oscar day messy from rain and, yup, snow. By the time we got home, I was hungry from lunch and needed to refuel before my workout. I heated up this bowl of wonton soup from Trader Joes and toasted a piece of whole wheat sour dough with cheese and pepperoni. Veggie sticks and a handful of popcorn were on the side. I’m excited because I got the ingredients to make my own wonton soup- though I am lazy and bought Trader Joes frozen mini wontons to put into it. Basically, I just want to be able to add more veggies to my soup.

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After a brief digestion period, I took myself to the gym just as the snow was beginning to fall. Before my sister Lauren joined me, I started with a few stretches and a couple of planks. I held a forearm plank for 1.5 minutes, then did 1 minute for each side of side planks. For our strength routine, I led us through a dumbbell circuit. My sister stuck with me through two sets of ten reps and two sets of eight reps. As she headed for a cardio workout, I continued on to do two sets of six reps and two sets of four reps, raising the weight as I went along. On my last set of bench presses, I was actually able to lift 110 pounds, which is my all time high. My muscles are definitely in recovery mode, but they aren’t feeling too sore!

I started on the treadmill with a couple of sprints to get my heart pumping for my cardio workout. After ten minutes worth, I did a Plyometrics circuit of box jumps, side step ups, jumping jacks, skater jumps (side to side), and high knees, before finishing with five minutes of jump roping. Side step ups are something I discovered in one of those fitness magazines that I hadn’t thought of before. Just changing up that range of motion has made a difference in my muscles.

For dinner, I started off with a plate of homemade nachos. I just took tostito chips and crumbled cheese all over them and heated them up in the microwave. After, I made a massive salad stocked with veggies and these chicken strips that were leftover from I’m not sure where. It was a filling meal and still left room for ice cream during the movie. Can’t go wrong!

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One of my finer looking pictures! Enjoy Oscar night! I’m really just watching to catch a glimpse of Chris Evans and/or Harrison Ford. Well, also because I want to act like I’m “in the know.” Oh, and the opening number! At least I’ve seen two of the films…

Happy Birthday Sister!

Today is a special post that was inspired by the fact that it is my sister’s birthday. I was also motivated to write this in such a way because in a few months, she is going to marry her fiancé Nick and I am the Maid of Honor (like you haven’t heard). At the reception, I will be giving a speech and for some reason, she thinks that a line of people will have to read and edit it before I say it because she thinks it will be inappropriate.

I am here now to prove, on her 28th birthday, that I can be funny and sweet, nostalgic and inspired, and I will make her cry so hard that no other speech made by mankind will ever make an impact as close to the one I will. I’m going to leave that whole damn house in tears.

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Here’s my evidence.

Dear Sister,

It is your 28th birthday and telling you that Halloween is the perfect day of birth for you because you are a witch is still funny.

Sometimes we dress as devils.
Sometimes we dress as devils.

You have reached the point in your life where your age is closer to 30 than 20 and I can say this safely because I am only nearing 25, which is a perfect mid-point. However, if prompted, I suspect that you wouldn’t really be upset about this. I believe you might say that your life is in the exact right place where you would want it to be, getting ready to marry the love of your life and on the path to pursuing your true professional passion. It will never not be funny that you want to be a librarian, even though I have nothing but respect for librarians and for you. But yes, you are a big nerd.

Note the glasses. Okay I have glasses too.
Note the glasses. Okay I have glasses too.

Congratulations, you have survived 28 years so far and 25 of them have been with me as your sister. We are very lucky to have each other and Jimmy, our brother, who is pretty cool too. We are lucky because not everyone can say that they mark their siblings as their closest friends.

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While I wear a tiara, you wear a half-hearted bun on top of your head (because you’re a librarian- you get that, right?).

Aw, it's kind of cute.
Aw, it’s kind of cute.

I am obsessed with all things popular culture and you prefer Shakespeare, though we both have a healthy appreciation for the other side. My personality explodes onto people and you are more reserved. For me, it is difficult to jump higher than a foot and you leap like a gentle feline. The stage door is almost a religious experience for me, while you stand on the side waving your first and glaring. My head is huge, but both of our hair is thin and we will forever be giving Jimmy, with his full head of hair, the side-eye because sometimes life isn’t fair.

IMG_0650We both love Disney and musicals and will sing very loudly, almost harmonizing, as we drive home from seeing the Backstreet Boys even after all this time. Talents for reading and writing sear through our blood, as well as being prone to having a sweet tooth.

This was taken at the Backstreet Boys concert this summer.
This was taken at the Backstreet Boys concert this summer.

We’ve seen the best and the worst of each other and we are still talking at the end of it. I will be very proud to be walking down the aisle at your wedding as your Maid of Honor and as much as I might joke, I take this role very seriously. I am proud in general to know you and be inspired by you. I would not be who I am without you as my older sister and I hope you understand that. Don’t throw up from all of this mushiness, that’s my role remember?

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For these 28 years (I was always watching for those three years I wasn’t born, waiting to make my entrance), I have learned a lot about sisters and I would like to share through these pictures I found.

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Sisters will hold you up when you can’t hold yourself.

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Even when you are crying and afraid or just being a pain in the ass.

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Sisters dress a lot alike when they are younger.

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And they also like to dress up.

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Sisters enjoy tea.

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Sisters live in tents pretending their pajamas are gowns.

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And wear the classiest tiaras they ever could make.

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Sisters are thoughtful, bright, and strong.

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They support each other when they do something smart.

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And feel old when it happens to their little brother.

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Sisters laugh so hard they get stuck in the sand.

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And that doesn’t change as they grow older.

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Sisters pose for the selfie before it was the selfie.

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Then they do the actual selfie.

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Sisters will always hold your hand.

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And one thing I know for certain: they are very good at walking down the aisle in support of the other.

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Let this be proof that I can use my power with words for good.

Happy birthday!

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Introducing Fun Friday Interviews

My sister is the person I look up to most in this world. She’s three years older so she’s done almost everything before me (except that Master’s nudge, nudge). I couldn’t think of anyone better I wanted to start Fun Friday Interviews on. Throughout the weeks, my hope is to talk to a multitude of interesting people on things that are important to them, make them unique, or have any stories they want to share. This week is focused on my sister’s new job working in a library and the building excitement she’s feeling as she’s about to embark on a new journey- a Master’s degree in Library Sciences! (Even though her wedding is more exciting for everyone else, especially me, her maid of honor.)

Her words are bolded.

Hi, Lauren, thanks for agreeing to do this interview. I figured that since you are my sister and the bride to my maid of honor, I would feature you as my first profile.

You often use the word “career crush.” What does this mean exactly? How do you pursue it?

I use the phrase “career crush” to describe the long list of careers I’ve considered seriously. At different times, I thought that I wanted to be a lawyer, a teacher or professor, a campus minister, and a college administrator. Each time I changed my mind, I learned as much as I could about a particular job, eventually lost interest, and moved on to something else. I’m interested in a lot of different things, so it was hard to settle on just one career path.

Tell us about your exciting new prospects and your thoughts on “finally” (for lack of a better word, said in a slight sarcastic tone) finding the job of your dreams.

I started a new job a few months ago in a college library, and I’m starting a grad program for library science in a few weeks. Considering my history of indecisiveness, I was a little nervous that my interest in this field would fade as it did before. But I really love working in the library so far!

You’ve heard countless stories about my own experience, but what are your thoughts about graduate school?

I’m a little nervous about going back to school after five years out (especially after hearing what a headache it was for you), but I’m also excited. A lot of people think that libraries are “dying,” but really they’re just changing and growing to take advantage of new developments in technology. There are amazing things being done in libraries these days, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the field.

I’m at the point in my life where I’m looking to start a new career track, which comes with a lot of anxieties and reflections. Often, I have found that I wish I had double majored in college because I think that would lend me more experience with where I am now. Having landed where you are now, do you have any thoughts/regrets/reflections about what you majored in in college and how that affects your progress?

There was never a question in my mind that I wanted a liberal arts education with as many English classes as they’d let me take. Taking English, philosophy, and psychology courses taught me how to think critically, and I’ve never wished that I had chosen a more “practical” major. I’ve sometimes wished that I had double majored in another field, but I really liked the freedom to take a few courses in lots of different fields. I don’t think I’d do things any differently if I could go back.

What are some of the major influences in your college and post-college career that have made you a confident worker?

I’ve gained most of my confidence from experience and the encouragement of my supervisors. Entering the professional world is scary for everyone, but you have to take a leap of faith and trust that your best will be good enough. It really helps to have great mentors who guide you through when your confidence dips.

What is your relationship to work? In this sense, I am thinking how I’ve realized that for me to feel truly rewarded and challenged, the work has to be my passion, not something that is done.

I’ve always wanted to find a career I’m passionate about, which is partly what led me to change my mind so many times. But I also try to think of everything as a learning opportunity. Even the jobs I hated have been valuable experiences in the long run. I didn’t love being a personal assistant for a difficult executive, but the job taught me to be a lot more organized, and someday I’ll be a better manager by avoiding all of his terrible habits 😉

In your advice to me, we’ve discussed the issue of the “quarter-life crisis.” What is this? Do you think it’s an important period of time everyone should battle or am I just being dramatic?

The quarter-life crisis is a real challenge that every college grad seems to experience at some point after graduation. We were lucky enough to be told all our lives that we could be anything we wanted to be, which can actually create a lot of pressure. There are a LOT of different career paths out there, and having so many choices can be overwhelming. It helps if you can take a little of the pressure off and just assume that it’s going to take you a few years (at least) to figure out what you want to do with your life. You’ll probably surprise yourself by hating something you thought you’d love and vice versa. Just try to stay positive and learn as much as you can — even if you decide to change fields, you’ll develop transferrable skills that will be useful no matter where you end up. You’re not wasting your time by exploring your options.

I hope you enjoyed this interview! Especially if you are at a place where you are thinking about what you want to do. Thanks again Lauren for participating! You’ve always been very supportive of this blog and I really appreciate it!