Kick Ass Style Over 40

So honored to be included in this style feature (kick ass style over 40, yo!) by my talented photographer/writer friend Karen Walrond. Having grown up with very little money (literally, wearing the same hand me down clothes for a week at a time), it's been such an interesting journey to figure out my style and be intentional about my choices. I take a really curated approach to clothing...I actually don't have a ton of clothes -- I don't even own a dresser!

Anyway, bottom line: I really love the idea of fashion as a conduit for human connection. Also, for not squeezing my muffin top. I hope you enjoy the interview!

Oh My Word, What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

If you look into the sports archive on this site you might notice that all of the posts are about figure skating, save one post about the adorable Shawn Johnson. And if you look into the self-care archive, you'll notice that most of the content is about the Shredheads Challenge. And now those two things are coming together. Oh my word.

As someone who always thought they couldn't run, it was a huge milestone for me to finish my first race last week - a Thanksgiving 4-miler. And while I'm going to continue my running and yoga (a very, very crazy relay race is on tap for the spring) I have decided to try something new this month; a little impromptu Shredheads challenge.

I just signed up for adult figure skating lessons. Literally, just gave them my credit card information about 10 minutes ago.

And the age range is listed as 4.5 and up. What have I gotten myself into?

I have no aspirations to compete (keep me to this statement will you?) but I just want to try to learn. I can basically stay upright but I don't feel particularly confident on the ice. And while I love watching figure skating, I've always ruled out learning formally as frivolous (it is a tad expensive, at $22 a class) and impossible (given my bunions). But I'm so over saying impossible to anything; I need to at least try. I should own the words when I tell Laurel that it's fun and good to try new things.

So this Sunday I'll hit the ice with the preschoolers. Wish me luck.

Why In Real Life Matters

Suffice to say, late nights of the party hopping – not nursing/night terrors/accident/illness/etc. – variety happen pretty much never these days. But it’s not the only reason Monday night was remarkable to me. In stark contrast to the Monday prior, where I was doubled over with splintering abdominal pain (which, by the way, remains a mystery...my labs recently came back normal), on Monday I hit the HP/Staples party co-hosted by the ladies over at Aiming Low. As always, it was fantastic to see my local peeps Sandy, Christina, Tania, Angela, Christy, Jodi, and Jill, as well as connect with new BFFs Barbara, Anissa, Janet, Katie, and Angie. We laughed, we drank pomegranate martinis, we slapped asses (well, that was only me, Barbara, and Tania), we played with gadgets and office supplies, we learned about the altruistic bridge between Boston and Halifax (thanks for the history lesson Katie! I love you Canadians!), we (or rather, I) forgot to take pictures of our awesome friends. It was, in a nutshell, one of those super happy events because after spending so many intimate hours with my laptop, it's just awesome to not only be out with friends, but to be out with friends who understand the online space. At one point I looked up at our table and all of us were tweeting away TO EACH OTHER, giggling maniacally when our sordid tweets made it up on the #aiminglow thread projected on a giant screen. Where else in life is behavior such as this so fun and not totally weird?

Admittedly, I regret a bit having to duck out early, but thanks to a kind and generous invitation from the lovely Barbara Jones, she, Jodi, and I hopped in a cab and headed up to the Paradise to see Five for Fighting (a way easier to spell name for singer/songwriter John Ondrasik). It was the first live (grownup music) show I have seen since I was pregnant with Laurel (aka. a ridiculously long time ago) and I was, for lack of better words, overwhelmed. And not just by the heady smell of beer, sweat, and talent.

Thing is, I spent 20 some odd years as a performer, initially as a scratchy sounding elementary school violinist, eventually evolving into a semi-professional performer who played solo recitals and got paid to play in symphony orchestras. Live music was a big part of my life - largely as a performer, but I also went to a fair number of concerts. And not just classical. Through middle and high school I saw some pretty cool major shows, such as Billy Joel (where I first saw electric violin live and nearly peed my pants), Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, and Sinead O'Connor.

I'm always utterly moved by live music and the same went for John Ondrasik's performance, with the notable exception that the emotions seemed further amplified given that: a) it had been so long since I had seen a live show; and b) in an intimate setting like the Paradise, it really feels as if the artist is playing in your living room (albeit a rather large, sticky floored living room).

Anyway, my point is this. In recent months I have been wrestling with Jon over blog trips and becoming increasingly picky about events that I will attend. Obviously a party and a live show are a lot different than a blogger junket, but even with social events, I find that I have to be selective because there are a lot of them and I often really need evening hours to catch up on work. But clearly, in real life interactions make a huge impact on me. When I meet the people behind blogs, I become more committed to reading them. When I hear live artists, I'm more inclined to buy their work. (Note to self: ask Jon to buy the latest Five for Fighting album on iTunes because I have no idea how to do that. And yes, I had already mentally committed to buying his album before I met Ondrasik backstage.)

I spend a lot of time dealing with Boston Mamas business that is sort of tedious and annoying, such as deleting bad pitches and interacting over poor event coordination. But there's so much awesomeness - all centering around in real life interactions such as those at BlogHer, the Brand About Town retreat, and Monday night's events that makes me so grateful to be in this space and to have these friends who are even more awesome in real life than they are online.

Me, John Ondrasik, Jodi Grundig, and Barbara Jones backstage.

The Act of Artful Blogging Is Not Dead

This past weekend I headed to the Utah desert for a think tank retreat as part of Brand About Town’s inaugural advisory board. I am honored to be in this advisory role alongside some truly smart, funny, and passionate bloggers (Julie Marsh, Kelly Wickham, Gwen Bell, and Amie Adams), and to interface with the impressively thoughtful and forward thinking Brand About Town team. As I’ve described on this blog, it’s been a rocky year for blogging, particularly if you run in mommy blogging circles. And I’ll admit that I’ve had plenty of moments where I’ve felt rather blue about the state of blogging, feeling like an idealist, writing-focused dinosaur amidst a vastly growing sea of bloggers hell bent on “getting something” from blogging (other than community and a forum for self expression) and elbowing their way to the head of the pack (tangibly in a swag line or otherwise).

But this meeting gave me hope. It was inspiring and rejuvenating to talk about blogging, social media, and brands in a constructive, creative way. It was humbling to be in the company of brilliant women who care deeply about the online space and for whom creativity and connection are at the forefront of consciousness. It validated my hope that the act of artful blogging is not, in fact, dead.

Related to this, there was one ironic piece of this weekend. We had the pleasure of sitting down for a fireside chat with Julie Powell (the writer whose blog turned into a book and then the movie Julie & Julia). Julie achieved The Dream that has launched so many starry-eyed blogs. But the fame clearly has brought along many challenges; not only the personal challenges one would expect when your life gets turned upside down and someone offers to buy your story, but also in the sense that with fame, it’s possible to lose the very thing that is so appealing about blogging in the first place: the ability to be raw and open and to trust that people are coming to you because of you and what you have to say, not because of your persona (and possibly what you might do for them...OK, there, I said it).

Yes, Julie Powell has made it to that mythical other side, but what was very clear to me is that it’s the craft that is important to her: the way words can help you through a process, the challenge of creatively assembling words to convey a story engagingly, the connection you can foster when you write about things that matter to you and others.

I’m not saying that all blogging needs to be memoir form, but I do urge people to think about why they are blogging. To get past the obsession with monetization and leveraging and swag and junkets. To look at the occasional sample, trip, or affiliate check as icing on the cake, not the end all be all. To return to the basics of creativity and communication.

You might just be surprised how inspired you will be.

Oh Michelle, How You Rock

Because I've been doing such an awesome job cutting down on procrastination, I totally forgot about the fact that Michelle Kwan performed in Seoul, Korea a few weeks ago. I almost felt like a bad fan, but I think it's a good thing.

Anyhow, yesterday I remembered and looked for the performances on YouTube. They basically affirmed why Michelle will always be in a league of her own.

This first clip is of her Carmina Burana program -- very dramatic; definitely has the feel of a competitive short program:

The second clip is of her Winter Song program -- feels like an exhibition piece and basically moved me to tears:

It's a shame we won't see Michelle attempt a historic Olympic bid this year but with these clips, I almost don't care. Now I'm hoping that since Michelle will be a Tufts Jumbo this year, maybe she'll perform at the Harvard Evening with Champions.

Dancing with the Stars Roster = Meh

Oh bugger. After feeling as if Dancing with the Stars really found a way to offer something for everyone with its roster last year, I'm feeling rather unspired by this year's list. I pounced on the link with baited breath, then exhaled with a resounding, "Meh." Oh well, I suppose this is just as well for my productivity. Though if any of you want to offer arguments for why I should tune in, I'm all ears. I do like me some glittery dresses.

Welcome to Boston, Michelle!

Michelle Kwan just announced that she'll pass on a run at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver - not surprising but oh, how fun it would have been to see her compete through the 2009-2010 events leading up to her bid. She's in a league of her own on the ice and I might just have to break out my grainy VHS tapes of some of her past performances in commemoration. I am, however, pretty psyched that she is coming to Boston, where she will attend the Tufts Fletcher School. Just knowing she's remotely in the same vicinity is an honor. Welcome to Boston, Michelle! And if you ever need a tour guide or want to grab a coffee at Diesel, I am so there.

How Do I Get Myself to Seoul?

I have long wanted to visit Seoul, Korea, birth land of my ancestors, but time and circumstance (not to mention my limited, fumbling Korean) just has never presented the right circumstance. However, I almost peed my pants when I read this news, and now I ask the question, how do I get myself to Seoul in August?

Yes, I know. My priorities are totally messed up.