Monday, April 22, 2013

Taking a Little Break

Greetings and Happy Monday, everyone.  I hope you had a great weekend.  Mine was pretty good.  Lots of studying (what's new) but I had a wedding to attend on Saturday afternoon which was a lot of fun.  I left Charlotte proper for the first time since I arrived here as the wedding was about 35 miles north of Charlotte on a lake.  The area was beautiful and it was nice to see water again (there is no water within the bounds of Charlotte).  I will say that driving back into Charlotte made this whole move here feel a little more real.  While moving into an apartment and settling in obviously made the move real, driving around in my own car in the surrounding area was another dose of reality that makes this feel a bit less like a really long business trip. 

I'm feeling a bit better that I did last week, but I can't say I am the picture of positivity.  The foot thing really sucks and the lack of exercise is not helping as I always have relied on endorphins to offset some of the stress of CFA studying.  I don't want this space to become a pit of negativity or a stream of 'woe is me' posts, so I think it's best if I take a step back from living out loud.  I will probably be back in early May, so it won't be a long absence. 

I hope the rest of the month of April is great for all of you, and I especially hope that it warms up for those of you in the Midwest!  I will say that hearing about the 8+" of snow that Minneapolis got last week made me miss that city just a little bit less!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

On Being Dealt Another Blow

Well, I had about a 2 day stretch of positivity - which came to a crashing halt yesterday morning at my doctor's appointment.  It turns out that the nagging foot pain I have been having for the last 1-2 months (maybe longer, I can't remember when it started as this year has been such a blur) is being caused by both a stress fracture and a torn tendon.  I am not sure when I could have sustained these injuries as I have been running such low mileage since the marathon in October.  So I am wearing a lovely, massive boot on my injured foot and can not do any cardio exercise for at least 3 weeks.  At that point I go back to the doctor for a follow-up to figure out the next steps.

To say I am upset is an understatement.  I was totally the girl that cried in the doctor's office when I was told I can not exercise right now.  I am sure some think that is an over-reaction, but with this move to Charlotte, I am in a state of mind where I am clinging to any sense of normalcy, and running was kind of the only thing I could really bring with me from my life in Minneapolis.  Well, unless you count CFA studying, which is obviously not a positive, comforting aspect of my life like running was.

I sort of want to throw up my hands and say ENOUGH.  I cried on and off most of yesterday.  Yes, I am throwing myself a pity party but dangit, I am so tired of being tested and challenged.  It feels like the last 3+ months have been a string of difficult experiences.  The hits just keep on coming and I am just fed up. I'd say things couldn't get worse, but I don't want to tempt fate because I really thought things couldn't get worse than having to move to Charlotte, but clearly I was wrong.

Hopefully after 3 weeks of rest, I will be cleared to do some cardio and my ultimate hope is to be back to running by June so I can start training for the marathon.  The doctor said that *may* be possible, but hopefully it is the case.

So yes, any sense of positivity has completely gone out the door, but for those who challenge me to keep looking for the positive, I ask that you put yourself in my shoes and honestly ask yourself if you would be maintaining a positive attitude in the midst of all that I am currently dealing with.  Yes, eventually I will need to accept all that has happened and find the silver linings, but that time is not now.  At least not for me.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

From the Land of Ma'am: My Apartment

Greetings and happy Wednesday.  Luckily I am feeling much better than I did when I wrote Monday's post.  I have a permanent desk now at work.  Just having that stability is really helping.  I'm feeling more settled, and in general am in a better place mentally than I was on Monday.  Onwards and upwards.

While I may not have really  chosen this move to Charlotte, the reality of the situation is that I am here.  The days are long, but the years are short so I figure I might as well make the most of my time here.  In an effort to motivate myself to see the good, I decided to start a post series that I will call "From the Land of Ma'am."  Since I'll be exploring more areas than Charlotte, I thought a "Southern-influenced" post series theme was appropriate.  And, after all, I am living in an area of the country where they say ma'am A LOT!

To kick off my post series, I thought I'd share some pictures of my new home with you.  I've been in my new apartment for a little over a week now and am mostly settled in.  I still have some organizational projects to do, but for the most part I am pretty much settled.  All in all, I like my apartment.  My main complaint is the lack of storage.  I have 1 closet total - no entry closet, no coat closet, nothing.  Just one smallish walk-in closet.  I had 3 closets, a linen closet, a kitchen pantry, and a storage unit in my last place so it's a drastic change for me to have such little storage.  I tried to fit as much into my closet as possible but admitted defeat last week and ended up renting an onsite storage unit.  I just couldn't handle throwing more out or donating more (I did a lot of that before my move and have sort of had it with purging).

I am fairly happy with how it is arranged, with the exception of the placement of my dining room table (I want to pull it away from the wall), but that is not a piece of furniture I can move on my own, so that will have to wait.  Here are some pictures of my new space.

Living Room
The living room from a different perspective (the door on the left leads to my balcony)
My beautiful kitchen
My bedroom (I have a sliding glass door that leads to the balcony which overlooks a courtyard)
My building has a lot of great features such as a concierge who signs for packages and notifies you of their arrival via email, a small gym, outdoor pool area, yoga studio where you can do workout/yoga DVDs, a small movie room, and a business center.  It's quiet and it's just over a 1/2 mile walk to work.  On days when I don't want to walk to work, there is a free trolley-style bus that picks up in front of my apartment building and drops me off right in front of my office building.

So all in all, it is a good place to live.  It's small, but besides the lack of storage, I think I will be pretty happy here.

What do you like best about your home?  Do you like your floor plan?  I picked this apartment primarily because of the cost and proximity to work, but also because of the open floor plan, which is the kind of floor plan I had in my last place and the kind I prefer.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Happy Monday everyone.  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  Mine was mostly filled with studying and organizational tasks, but I did have social plans on Saturday night so that was fun.

I tried to write a post with some thoughts on how things are going so far here, but it was turning into this bitter diatribe, and no one really wants to read about my frustrations with the lack of coffee shops or the fact that there are no chipotles walking distance from where I work or live, or how I had to sit at a different desk every day last week because they didn't get a permanent location set up with me, and so on and so forth.  So suffice it to say that last week was not a great week, but hopefully things improve as I settle in.

I thought I'd ease back into blogging by doing the "Currently" post that Kyria posts month!  Oh and by the way, Kyria is running the Boston marathon today!  Go, Kyria, go!  I will be tracking her and cheering from afar!

Current Book - Emma by Jane Austen.  Becky, Kyla, and I are all reading this and will do a blog swap at the end of the month with our reflections on the book!  I haven't read an Austen book in years, but so far I like this one!

Current Drink - Cherry Limeaid Crystal Light.  I drink over a gallon of it a week!

Current Excitement - I will be home for a quick 24 hour business trip at the end of the month!  I can't wait to see Phil and some of my other friends!

Current fashion trend - I am still loving colored pants.  My favorite ones are some red ones that I got on sale at Banana Republic before my move.

Current Love - Sunshine.  The weather has been beautiful here lately so I am soaking up the sunshine on my walks to and from work.

Current Food - Nothing very interesting as I am still settling and stocking my cupboards with food.  

Current Indulgence - The occasional Snickers bar from the vending machine.

Currently Pondering - When/if my perspective about Charlotte is going to change... 

Current Mood - Tired.  Between work, studying, and settling in, my days are very long.

Current New Find A local podiatrist.  I'm having foot problems which are preventing me from running right now (which really sucks), so I found a podiatrist and have an appointment this week.

Current Outfit - When I am home from work, I am all about comfortable clothes like yoga pants and t-shirts.
Current Peeve - The fact that I didn't have a desk when I started work last week.  I uprooted my entire life, I wish they could have found time over the last 10 weeks to arrange a desk for me. I know it's not personal and they just didn't 'get around' to it, but it still really really annoys me.
Current Song - Still loving that Pink song I featured in my monthly post.
Current Triumph - Getting all of my clothes to fit in my closet.  I rearranged things and it looks much better.  I still need to do some purging but that will have to wait until after the CFA.
Current TV Show - TV?  What's that?  The only show I watch these days is the morning news program when I am getting ready.

Current Wish-List - That plane tickets back home were less expensive.

Currently Delaying - Putting up the last of my picture frames as I had them my friends arranged in a collage for me in my last place. and I am not so good at things like that.  I am considering waiting until my friend Heidi comes to visit in August and having her help with this as she is very good at projects like that!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Checking In...

Greetings and Happy Wednesday, everyone.  I made it to Charlotte in one piece.  As expected, the goodbyes were really tough and I spent much of Sunday in tears...  But I am here and trying to embrace the April quote from my Erin Condren planner:

However - I am giving myself this week off from 'bloom where you are planted' because I think it's kind of impossible to be happy/optimistic in the midst of unpacking.

There have been some positive things since I arrived.  First off, the weather is beautiful!  The sun is shining and the temperatures are in the 70-80 degree range.  Meanwhile, there is a snow storm that is hitting Minneapolis and may drop 8+" of snow.  So I would definitely rather have this weather.  Secondly, a co-worker took me Target on Monday so I could buy some things that I couldn't pack in my suitcase, like a pillow.  Oh and by the way, I think it is awesome that Target sells wine.  Yes, this is making my list of positives.  Target is not allowed to sell alcohol in the states of Minnesota and North Dakota (and in other areas of the country I believe). Now I am not a big drinker at all, but I do enjoy the occasional glass of wine, so a box of wine may have made it in my cart.  Yes, I realize drinking boxed wine is super classy, but it's practical for a person like me that tends to just want one small glass.

There have been some not so positive things since I arrived, mostly related to moving in.  It went smoothly and the moving company was great to work with (side note:  I have never been called ma'am so many times in my life).  BUT - I totally underestimated how much I needed to downsize for this move.  I really thought I had gotten rid of enough stuff as I took several loads to goodwill and a car full of things to my parents.  Ha.  I did not even come close to downsizing enough.  I am bursting at the seams.  The lack of closet space is my biggest challenge as I only have one small closet in my bedroom that barely fits the clothes I own.  So yah.  Round 2 of downsizing will be happening. 

So that's where I am at right now.  I don't know that I have ever been so busy or overwhelmed.  Moving in the midst of CFA season is HORRID.  I'm so stressed from that as the review process is not going very well this year and I am not happy with how I am doing on my practice assessments.  And I'm stressed from the disaster that is my apartment.  I am hoping the moving company can return this weekend to pick up the boxes because that will really help reduce the look of clutter that makes me tweak out. 

I have a fairly quiet weekend ahead of me, so I am hoping to get lots of CFA studying done and some purging done.  And I am crossing my fingers that my car arrives soon so I can do another goodwill drop.

I hope you all have a great rest of the week.  Besides a guest post on Friday, I will probably be quiet around these parts for the next week or so as I try to get settled in.  When my place no longer looks like a total and complete disaster, I will share pictures. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Thanks for the Memories

Well, the packing and removal of my belongings is complete, and it went very smoothly.  I don't really think I can find the words to do justice to the feelings I felt as I sat there and watched the movers box up my belongings and cart them away.  I am not going to sugar coat this experience.  At the end of the day as I walked around my empty apartment that I loved through-and-through, I felt as empty as it looked...  I knew it would be a hard day, but it was actually harder than I thought it would be.  But so it goes.

It is hard to believe my last weekend in Minneapolis has come.  For the most part this weekend came really fast - too fast, actually.  But in some ways, the last three months since I found out about this move has felt like one long goodbye.  I have tried to live in the moment as much as possible and have been fairly successful at doing this, but in the back of my mind, I was often thinking things like 'this is the last time I will do this,' 'this is the last time I will see this person before my move' etc etc.  I am really really sad to leave, but in some ways, I am ready for the move to be behind me as I am sort of tired of living in limbo.  I feel like I've metaphorically had one foot in Minneapolis and one foot in Charlotte for the past couple of months, so I am ready to have my feet firmly planted in one place.  Plus I am ready for the clock on my one year commitment to Charlotte to start ticking.

So much has happened in the last 10 years I've spent in Minneapolis.  I learned how to live on my own.  I had my heart broken and mended.  I got my MBA.  I started blogging and met this whole community of amazing people.  I became an aunt - 6 times!  I watched dear friends marry their soul mates.  I watched my sister marry her soul mate.  I became a faux-aunt to the children of friends.  I trained and ran my first marathon - and then two more.  I said goodbye to friends who moved onto new cities.  I met new friends.  I discovered my love for Paris and all things French.  I shared that love of France by starting the tradition of Julia Child Night with my aunt.  I passed the first two levels of the CFA. I bought a condo.  I became a landlord.  I figured out that I really am a city mouse.  I joined a running club and met a whole bunch of friends through that.  I tried different jobs and found the career path that was meant for me.  I figured out who I really am and what I value in a lifestyle.

The last 10 years had their fair share of difficult times.  But looking back, the good far outweighs the bad.  All of these experiences and memories have made me who I am today.  They are tucked away in my heart and I will carry them along on this journey I am taking.  10 years ago, I could not fathom moving across the country.  And certainly not alone.  But these things I will do.

On Sunday I will board my one-way flight to Charlotte.  There will undoubtedly be many tears shed, and while it's been a long goodbye, I really know in my heart that it's more of a 'see you later'.  It's a one way ticket, but I think of it more as an open-ended ticket.  I firmly believe there will be a return flight some day.  I don't know when and I don't really know where (Minneapolis?  Chicago?).  But, barring the highly unlikely scenario of me falling in love with the south, I feel confident that I will find my way back to the Midwest.

I know I have tough times ahead of me as I begin to adjust to my new home, but I also believe that, similar to the photo below, the clouds will part and the sun will shine through.  And, eventually, I will be ok.

See you later, Minnesota.  Thanks for the memories.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Book Review: Capital of the World

Truth be told, I haven't been seeking out much non-fiction these days given the amount of heavy reading I do for the CFA each week.  But when I was asked if I'd like to review "Capital of the World" by Charlene Mires for a TLC Book Tour, I couldn't say no!  It tells the story of the the race to host the United Nations.  While I knew the UN was headquartered in New York City, I did not know much more about the roots of that organization.  I had a vague recollection of learning about the formation of the UN in a high school history class, but that is about I knew about the UN.  It was interesting to read about the various cities that campaigned hard for the opportunity to host the United Nations in their city.  A lot of cities threw their name in the hat from big cities like San Francisco to smaller, less known areas like the Black Hills of South Dakota.  That one shocked me the most to be quite honest.  I have been to the Black Hills several times, but I can't say I would have ever guessed that they tried to house the United Nations headquarters!

If you enjoy reading non-fiction and are curious about the origins of the United Nations, then this is the book for you!

Do you enjoy non-fiction?  Do you read many non-fiction books each year?  These days I don't but once the CFA is behind me, I would like to start reading a non-fiction book every 2-3 months.  My heart will always belong to fiction, but I do see the benefits of sprinkling in some non-fiction among the lighter fiction books I read!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Looking Forward: The North Carolina Edition

Well, it's officially moving week.  Tomorrow is my last day in the office, the movers come Thursday morning to pack/load my belongs and my car, and then I will be staying with Phil until Sunday when I take my one-way flight to Charlotte...  Yikes.  I think that might be a 'sunglasses on' kind of flight to hide the tears I imagine I'll be crying. 

That said, I think I am well overdue for a positive post about this move, given the fact I have not written anything positive about it thus far.  So I thought I'd do a looking forward post with a North Carolina focus.

When I move to NC, I'm looking forward to...

- spring.  I know Charlotte has had cooler weather lately, but it's still a walk in the park compared to what we've had lately (hello 8 degrees with the windchill on April 1st).  I am looking forward to green grass and trees with leaves and blooming flowers.  And temps that don't require a winter coat, hat, and gloves!!  And maybe I can wear my cropped pants without freezing!  

- attending a good friend/co-worker's wedding later this month.  She graciously invited me to her wedding when she found out I would move in time to be there for her special day.  She is getting married in the Lake Norman area, which is apparently a very beautiful area.  I will also be attending her 'last night out' dinner the first weekend I am in Charlotte.  It feels good to have social plans the first two weekends I will be in Charlotte.

- visiting John and his family in the Raleigh area!  I have known John through blogging for many years and we met briefly last year when I was in Charlotte for work.  In June I am planning to visit him, his wife, and their 2 adorable girls.  John is preparing for an Ironman in the fall (I might go spectate since it's in Wilmington which is about 3-4 hours from Charlotte!) so we will definitely be doing a long run together!

- checking out the U.S. National Whitewater Center.  It's about 20 minutes from Charlotte, so very easy to get to.  I am considering getting a season pass for this place as I can see myself going there often.  Judging by the name you might think I will go white water rafting, but I am actually not a huge fan of that; instead I want to paddle board, kayak, zip-line, check out their trails (Kyria, I might actually try trail running!), try canyon crossing (whatever that means), and maybe try rock climbing. 

- visiting the Asheville area.  I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Asheville.  It's in the mountainous area of NC and that is where the Biltmore is located (which apparently looks like a French Castle!).  There are so many things to do, I might have to go here more than once to take it all in.

- visiting the Outer Banks.  This is another area that I have heard nothing but good things about.  It sounds like such a beautiful, charming place to visit.  It's a LONG drive from Charlotte, though, so I am not sure if I will get there this year, but we'll see.

So there you have it.  Some positive aspects to this move, most of which I'll work on discovering after the CFA exam is behind me.  I think I am going to treat myself to a North Carolina travel guide book after the move as I figure that will help me find other areas to explore.  After all, I do want to make the most of this year (or however long it ends up being) that I spend in Charlotte.

Have you been to North Carolina?  Any must-see places I should add to my list?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Music, Books, Miles, and Looks of March

And just like that, another month has come and gone.  The frantic pace of life continues for me but I am hopeful that things will slow down once the move and the CFA exam are behind me.  March was a challenging month due to the amount of traveling I did for work, but it did have it's highlights, like my going away party and celebrating Easter with my family yesterday!  I could have done without the tearful goodbyes, but such is life these days.



Just Give Me a Reason by Pink - I really love this song.  I imagine it is something that most married people can relate to (from what I've heard), but even if you aren't married I think the concept of being bent, not broken is something resonates with most, if not all of us.


I had another ok month of reading.  I fit in just over 74 hours of studying and managed to read 3 books on top of that.  Not too shabby.

Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe - Phil highly recommended it as he was certain I would love it.  Luckily he was right!  It was really fun to discuss this book with him.  In a way it kind of reminded me of the book "The Rules of Civility."  Long story short, it's about a Wall Street executive who makes a mistake that throws his life into a tailspin.

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe - I have wanted to read this since I first heard about it, but I patiently waited until my book fast ended to purchase it.  It is such a great book.  The author's mother finds out she has pancreatic cancer and Will begins to attend treatments with her.  They start to talk about books so decided to form a 2-person book club.  The book is a love letter to Will's mother and to the written word.  It is definitely worth checking out!

The Walk by Richard Paul Evans - I was in need of a light, easy-to-get-into book, so decided to read this book.  It is a really fast read and was just what I needed.  It's not spectacular and it's not something I'd necessarily recommend, but it was an enjoyable read.  It had one quote at the end that really resonated with me:  "we can be victims of circumstance or masters of our own fate, but make no mistake, we cannot be both."


Not the best month for me in terms of miles.  I ran 59 miles which isn't great but is better than last month.  It doesn't help that it was wicked cold last month.  I'd like to say the number will be higher next month but I'll be dealing with unpacking/settling in, so it might be another lackluster running month.  We'll see.  I really need to get my mileage base built up again as marathon training will start in June!


My favorite outfit of the month was actually the outfit I wore for my going away party, but I haven't gotten the pictures from my boss's wife yet as they left for Spring Break shortly after my party so maybe I will share the photos next month!

Here are 2 runner-up looks, though!

I pulled out this springy blazer for my trip to Florida as I figured the seer-sucker material was appropriate for that climate!

This top is a little bit 70s between the color and the lace, but it is springy so I wore it so I could feel like it is spring even though it's clearly not spring based upon our weather (will the snow ever melt?).