Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What A Summer

At various points in my life I have been really busy. 
My senior year of high school I was an officer in no fewer than ten student organizations simultaneously.
When I was Miss Vermont I averaged four hours of sleep a night for an entire year because of the demands on my schedule.

So please understand how serious I am when I say that this summer I have been really, really, really busy. 

June and July were packed with international trips (heyyyy 30 hours in Paris with my boyfriend!), and a TON of campaign work, but I was like "Ok, cool, this is a lot but I've totally got this handled."

Then during the first week of August the you-know-what hit the fan. 
(I tried to come up with a less crass metaphor, but really that's what happened.) 

My mom had a stroke completely out of nowhere and has been sidelined ever since.
The good news is that she doesn't have any significant cognitive impairment and there's no paralysis. The bad news is she's just too tired mentally and physically to do most tasks, including things like driving and running her three businesses. 
Yes, three. At one time. 

And that is why my schedule suddenly spiraled out of control. 
All of a sudden I was responsible for a full time job, a political campaign, running three businesses, and a variety of other projects I had on the side. 
(Semi professional blogger here, y'all.)

So this is basically how I've been feeling for the last month and a half:

People keep asking how I'm getting through this. 
The answer? 
Coffee. My super supportive boyfriend. My competent campaign manager. Useful family members. Kind friends. 

Literally every single hour of every single day is packed with SOMETHING URGENT that I have to do. It's a lot. 

So essentially...
Please send wine, Catalyst Coffee gift cards, and don't be mad if I haven't watched your snap story lately. 
Support the campaign here and keep your fingers crossed!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Things I'm Coveting: My Birthday Wish List

My birthday (i.e. the BEST DAY OF THE YEAR) is in nine days. I've been so focused on campaigning, flying, and organizing the I actually forgot it was so close until Martin reminded me last night. 
I'm not hard to shop for... as long as you have excellent taste and buying experience for Monelle
For everyone else, here are a few things that would make excellent birthday gifts this year, in plenty of time to order them for June 24th arrival. You're welcome. 

I legitimately don't know if these are a "want" or a "need". I'm pretty sure I need at least five pairs of these to get me through future elections too. 

Y'all know I love working international flights. I figure this baby will draw some Crew Scheduling karma my way so that I'll end up in Europe more frequently. 

A beautiful and practical gift. I've been coveting this case for about 18 months now. 


I'm in love with Jetset Candy. This is the JFK charm, but ideally mine would be PHL or one of their other adorable destination charms. They have this USA Passport stamp one that is adorable. 

I'm not usually this whimsical, but this travel wallet has SO much organization at such a great price. 

I'm turning 26. It's time for a really adult investment handbag (that can be monogrammed).

This smells like fresh French elegance. #goals

Easy and fun. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Fear Means Go: Take the Leap

I don't know about you, dear reader, but I am very consistently scared. 
Beyond my actual phobias (heights, blood, and needles, FYI), I'm primarily afraid of failure.

Trying new things can be really scary because you're opening the door to failure and all of the negative emotions that come with it: embarrassment, shame, disappointment, and heartbreak all come to mind. 

Two things are really important here.

1. "Failure" isn't actually a negative thing.

2. Life truly begins at the edge of your comfort zone. 

In my quarter century here on Earth, one of the most important lessons I have learned is that failing at something can often be the best thing that can happen to you. 
We have a lot of ways of talking about this idea. Maybe you've heard someone say "When God closes a door he opens a window." or something like "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need." 
Having faith that if you do fail, it's because something better is coming can be one of the best ways to plow ahead towards your goal or your dream, no matter how much it scares you. I can point to countless incidents in my own life that illustrate this idea. If I hadn't "failed" the first time I ran for office, I never would have found the job I love so much now. If I hadn't "failed" at being married, I wouldn't have found the wonderful man I'm currently in a relationship with. 

Failure is always going to hurt, but it doesn't have to be a negative. 
You can learn from it, grow from it, and achieve more and better things because of it.

Speaking of growth, to really live you've got to grow, no matter how uncomfortable it is. Your comfort zone might keep you safe, but if you stay inside of it your life will stagnate. At best, you'll be a very boring person...probably one with a boring life. You'll go to work, go home, see the same people, do the same things, and you might not ever understand the underlying feeling that something isn't quite right. 
When something scares you, it's a good indicator that you should try it at least once so that you have the chance to see who you might become.  

When you're afraid, it means that something is big enough and important enough that it deserves your very best effort. Fear means it's time to take the leap because something matters. 

If you have a dream, go all in. Try. Dare greatly, and grow. 

I'll leave you with one of my favorite Garfunkel and Oates songs, "Loser". 
There's a little bit of strong language involved, so don't watch it around the kiddos, but it's awesome. 

"You are such a loser, good for you.
It's something that a lot of people can't do.
Trying is hard, that's why people don't do it.
Losing is hard, they can't make it through it.
But not you." 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Things I'm Coveting Today: 3.28.2016

 I'm not really a "watch person" but since I'm required to wear one for work I figure I might as well make it one that tracks my steps and shows me my text messages in addition to telling the time. It IS 2016 after all. I've been considering making the switch to the Apple Watch for a long time now and now that my company recently announced we're all going to be getting raises next month...maybe the time to make the big purchase is coming?

I have been pining for a signet ring for years now. It's so simple, classic, and perfectly personalized. This one would do quite nicely for me, thanks very much. 

How perfect are these for spring?! I love having one or two really pretty and bold pieces that I can pop on with any boring outfit as a little way of saying "look how fun I can be!"

Classic and perfect. The end. 

I'm allergic to pineapples but I actually love them, so instead of consuming them (no pina coladas for this girl, womp womp) I wear them and decorate with them. 

Rumor has it that the bottom compartment of this bag can fit THREE pairs of shoes, so basically I need to get my hands on it and test that out. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Five Ways Running for Office and Being a Flight Attendant Are Exactly the Same

I recently announced that I would be running for public office in Vermont. For those of you who haven't known me for longer than five minutes, being an elected official has been my goal since I was ten years old.
Along my political journey, I was lucky enough to begin my career as a Flight Attendant, which is perfect because in Vermont we have a part-time citizen legislature. All of our Representatives and Senators have other jobs because they only convene four days a week for about four months of the year.

I don't plan on writing about politics much on this blog- this is a space for packing tips, products I'm in love with, and my advice on applying to be a Flight Attendant.

That said, I have noticed five ways in which my life in the sky and my life in politics intersect.

5. You deal with the public.

There are people in this world who find interacting with the general public to be challenging and exhausting. I don't. I'm an extrovert's extrovert.
My favorite thing about being a Flight Attendant? It's the people. 
I love meeting passengers and coworkers who have completely different life experiences than I do. I adore interacting with locals on my layovers, learning about the place they live and how they live there.

People are also my favorite part about running for office.
The best part of politics is helping people. Whether it's connecting a constituent to a service they need, answering questions about the democratic process, registering a first time voter, or answering questions about my positions on the issues, the best part of all of this is the opportunity to help people. 

4. You know how to be patient and calm with people who don't understand the rules.

On the aircraft, the rules we enforce are to keep you safe. Most of those rules come from the Federal Aviation Administration and are the result of studying what has gone wrong in the past when an accident or situation has resulted in injury or loss of life. For example: you're required to put your seat backs forward, your tray tables up, and to stow your bags completely under the seat in front of you for takeoff and landing because those are two very vulnerable times during a flight. Those are the two points when you're most likely to have to evacuate the aircraft, and if (God forbid) that needed to happen, your reclined seat, open table, and bag could impede that evacuation process. So when we ask you to do those things, it's not because we're being controlling, it's because we want you to be safe.

When running for office, you're more likely to run into someone who isn't familiar with how to register to vote, where to get an absentee ballot, or a volunteer who isn't familiar with the legal requirements of the campaign trail. These things are less likely to compromise an individual's physical safety, but they are critically important to your future. Civic responsibility and engagement are extremely important parts of being a citizen of this great country.

If I encounter confusion or resistance in either situation, I just explain the rules with a smile, offer information, and ask the person I'm interacting with (politely) to change what they're doing.

3. You know how to follow the law.

As a Flight Attendant, if it's a Federal Aviation Regulation applicable to the aircraft cabin, you have it memorized and you follow it. As a political candidate, you follow all kinds of laws about campaign donations, financial disclosures, and many other things. (Examples: how far a sign can be from a road, and laws about putting pamphlets in mailboxes.)

If you're lucky enough to win an election, you're going to be making the laws so you'd sure as heck better be good at following the law. 

2. You're trained to be calm in a crisis.

I constantly encounter people on and off the plane who have absolutely NO idea that Flight Attendants are on the aircraft to protect passengers in an emergency. Our main job has nothing to do with offering you coffee, tea, or water. In the air, we are the police, the fire fighters, the EMTs, the counselors, and anything else that needs to be done to ensure that our passengers are safe. Trust me, you could absolutely pour your own drinks and you can bring your own snacks, but I'd like to see you evacuate a burning airplane with 180 people on it in under 90 seconds.

During a political campaign, there will be many twists and turns. Some of those can throw you for a loop. You just have to be calm, methodical, and as we say in the aviation industry, your training will kick in. 

1. The sexism.

Depressingly, the number one way that being a Flight Attendant is exactly like being a woman running for public office is the sexism.

I don't just mean the sexual harassment that can so frequently occur on the airplane,
I mean the constant undercurrent of skepticism whenever I tell anyone, male or female, that I'm a Flight Attendant. People hear "flight attendant" and they think "ditzy", "stupid", and "brainless".

When I tell people I'm running for office, it takes them a second to wrap their heads around it because I'm young, I'm blonde, and I'm female.

The last time I ran, other candidates in the race made comments to me about the large purse I carried ("Did you bring lunch for all of us in that thing?"), my physical appearance, and my clothes.

Now, some people might say "Oh, they were just joking! They didn't mean anything by it."
I'm actually pretty good at not being offended when I can tell that people aren't being malicious. I generally don't mind when people call me a stewardess instead of a flight attendant, as long as they aren't being intentionally derogatory.
Here's a good way of determining if your comment or joke is sexist: ask yourself, "Would I make the same comment about a man?"
If the answer is no, you're being sexist, and no matter how accidental it may be, it's wrong.

Some people use age as a stand in for gender.
They might say "Well, you're awfully young." but sometimes what they mean is "What could you possibly know about hard work? You're just a girl."
There are people who have questioned, and who will continue to question, if I'm qualified to run for public office given my age. To anyone wondering about that: my age is an asset.
We need to have diverse voices that represent our electorate sitting in our chambers of government.
In Vermont, 35% of our population is between the ages of 20 and 44. 
Our median age is 38. 
And yet, the average age in our House of Representatives is 60 years old. 

51% of our population is female, but only 41% of our State Legislators are female.

In order to live up to the promise of our democracy, we need to have voices at the table that are representative of our population.

The best way to fight sexism in the sky or on the ground is by raising awareness, talking about it, and being bold.

So basically, in the words if the indomitable Leslie Knope:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I Flew! I Flew!

The last few months have been pretty slow flying for me here on slow.
On the one hand, it's been good to be able to focus on a few other things I've been working on and to get a lot of cross stitching done

BUT. Crew Scheduling FINALLY called me for a trip last week! 

I had layovers in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Phoenix and I just had the BEST time. 

In LA I was able to spend time with my Aunt Anna, Uncle Scott, and my cousins Sarah and Tommy. I hadn't seen these guys in about two years and it had been nearly 14 years since I'd visited them at their house in California. 

My Aunt Anna is also my Godmother and it's always been a fun Bright Family thing that we look extremely similar.

Meanwhile, I look just the slightest bit related to my not-so-little-anymore cousins. Sarah is a senior with SO many accomplishments and Tommy is a sophomore who is very talented in his own right and carrying on the Weber dynasty at their high school. I'm super proud to be related to them. 

It was so hard to say goodbye! 

The next day I ended up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where the weather was lovely. I took a nice long walk to the War Memorial and enjoyed the view of Lake Michigan.

When we got to Phoenix I immediately changed at the hotel and hiked about two miles to my favorite BBQ restaurant, Little Miss BBQ. I waited in line for two hours and it was completely worth it. That brisket and those jalepeno cheddar grits...mmmm. 

That night I worked the red eye back to Philly and landed around 6am. 
All in all, a very satisfying four days in the air!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thirsty Thursday: Skincare Edition

When I started Flight Attendant training I knew that once I started flying all the time I was going to need an impressive moisturizing situation to handle the wear and tear on my skin. Enter the Korean beauty line, Dr. Jart+. I've been using Dr. Jart+ skincare products for about a year now, and let me tell you, I'm obsessed. Here are a few of my favorites and two products I'm dying to try.

Sheet masks are the coolest. They help your skin and you get to look like a super creepy horror movie character. It's a win-win. This one is delightfully cool and I've found it's fabulously plumping.

This little bottle is an absolute everyday essential. I use it every morning, whether or not I'm wearing makeup that day. 

I have been super super impressed by this product. I got it as a sample and LOVED how full the coverage was without looking cakey or makeupy. It's the first BB cream that I've truly been able to sub in for my full coverage foundation and it's very moisturizing. It works perfectly over the Ceramidin Liquid. 

If ever a perfect facial moisturizer existed, it's this one. That's really all I have to say about that. 

I haven't tried these bad boys yet, but I'm just dying to. Colored clay that turns into foam? A combo kit? Sign. Me. Up. 

I'm not really a contouring pro, but I feel like this kit could make me one. I'd love to give it a try because this seems like it could totally work.