Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pace yourselves, it's gonna be a long, bumpy ride!

Five Ways to Climb the Corporate Ladder, Pronto! Woah, "Pronto"? Does that mean that I am falling behind every moment I'm not climbing? Or, maybe it doesn't matter because Why Women Still Can't Have it All - wait, nevermind, Women CAN have it all - but only if their man pulls their weight, HA! I knew there was a catch!

It is no wonder I feel slightly stressed and like there is an ever increasing pressure to not just succeed in career, home, personal life, but that if I don't, I am short-selling my potential. So, I guess I will just sleep when I am dead, which, with this kind of internal and external pressure should be about five years away.

We don't turn off our phones, even on vacation. We check our email, social media outlets, work and cell voicemails...all before getting out of bed in the morning. When do we give ourselves a break?

To anyone else who feels like this describes their daily life, let's get off the hamster wheel!

I attended a public relations luncheon today where a panel of successful and well-known public relations professionals shared some valuable experiences and pieces of advice learned over their careers. Many pieces stood out as good ideas to take back to the office, and one that stood out as something to take with me always.

Learn how to turn it off - all of it. A room of proud "news junkies" who are addicted to the constant stream of news, many of them checking for updates about the new Catholic Pope that came during the discussion, like this idea. Sadly, most know that it isn't realistic.

Our generation has had cell phones since high school and were the first members of Facebook. We are programmed to never turn it off, but we should. If we want to climb that corporate ladder - and quickly - we need to find a pace. Our career, and life, shouldn't be a constant sprint, it is a marathon and we are going to need to take breaks. Maybe for a week here and there, maybe for a few years when our priorities change, whatever it is, we need to pace ourselves to reach our goals whatever they are.

So if you need an afternoon to unplug, find a way! If you need a week's vacation after eight months of no days off, take that week and tell your colleagues what constitutes an emergency to call/text you, and let them handle the rest! We are no good when we don't take time for ourselves once in a while, a mental health break if you will, can be very refreshing and leave you more productive and ready to do whatever you have to, pronto!

And for a fun little end to this, I bring you the Top 10 Most Stressful Professions and I love that my hubby and I are both on this list!

Good luck! Take a vacation, even if it is just 15 minutes to grab coffee!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I love a man in uniform

A pilot uniform to be exact! Being the wife of a pilot isn't a job for sissies, that is for sure! I am my husbands #1 fan - whether that is literally cheering for him on the soccer field, or in his professional pursuits. When he said he wanted to be a pilot, I cheered him on, having no idea what that would look like.

First things first, yes I get to fly for "free" KINDA. And, yes, that is great KINDA. But you can go ahead and feel jealous if you want, that is fine with me. I'll share the small print on that perk later.

Being a pilot is tough. The education is fast-paced, intense and constant. And it should be. But during school when he had to leave the house at 4 am for a flight, I thought, "This is just temporary" and went back to sleep. Actually, no, I never sleep well when he is flying, EVER. When he was a flight instructor manager, one of his employees crashed a plane with several students on board. Nobody survived. When that 6 am call came in to him, it shocks you back to reality - those poor families, the phone calls that have to be made to them, they were so young, this happens in this industry... I sat in the bathroom at work and cried for a while when this happened. My heart broke for everyone who lost a loved one, mourned those lives lost too soon, and confronted my worst fears a little too close for comfort.

Back to me not being a sissy.

Fast-forward a few years. He left that flight instructing job that had a decent paycheck and benefits, was in town, and had no future. We knew the career he wanted meant he would have to become a commercial pilot. The week after our honeymoon (per the deal we made) he began applying for commercial jobs. He got the job he wanted with a great company. But, this meant he would be going back to training. This intense process took him out of state for several months, only seeing him at Christmas. Months on end without my hubby, with no family around, during the holidays when everyone is doing coupely/family things...ya that sucks!

My hottie hubby flying us to beautiful Sedona for my birthday!
Then the first year started and the pay is terrible! Oh my goodness. We sold his car and he got a beater. We cut back on EVERYTHING. Then there were other adjustments.

I cried when he left for the first time because it would be the end of us living together full-time. I force him to unpack EVERYTHING when he comes home because I feel like he isn't really home if he doesn't. He leaves for three, four, five, sometimes seven days at a time and I'm alone. You adjust, though.

I've learned to not care that I go to 75% of social things alone. I've learned to juggle my busy work life, with home responsibilities with my personal life on my own. It's a good thing I'm a planner because I would never get things done!

But he loves his job - like LOVES it! Plus, when he comes home I always get excited. Those few days together aren't wasted so there are some perks you don't expect. We enjoy every minute, plan fun things every time he is home (or plan to ignore the world for two days before he is gone again). Plus, seeing him happy, grow and succeed in a career he loves is the most rewarding part. It is also fun to drop into conversations, "....and since my husband is a pilot..." as often as possible and get to talk about how proud I am of my man.

Then there is the travel. Yes, I kinda fly kind. We pay an annual fee to fly domestically for $0 per trip...if there are open seats, and if I don't get bumped by someone with more seniority which happens A LOT. My first experience flying for free I got to my family in the Midwest easily. Coming back west I spent nine hours  in Philly, only to get bumped from every flight back west they had so I jumped on the last flight to San Francisco. Then, I ran through the huge airport to give my hubby a kiss as he boarded his flight for the night (hi and goodbye!) and curled up on a bench and slept until 5 am when I could finally get home. So, ya, free??? KINDA. None of this is for sissies!

Friday, March 8, 2013

I have an popcorn!

I love popcorn - like serious addiction. Hubby bought me a popcorn popper one year for Christmas as a last-minute, "I hope she likes this" kind of gift and I LOVED it! After seriously nailing savory popcorn that I like early on, I started thinking about what else I could do with popped corn.

My first batch was peanut butter chocolate popcorn! Wow was that yummy and Kyle ate way more than I did! I'll post that another time.

I love some sweets, but am much more of a salty or savory type of person. When salted caramel became popular, I was in heaven.

Now onto my caramel popcorn. Do NOT think of that funky cracker jacks stuff - which is fine, but not my thing - this is caramel carried to your mouth lovingly by little while popped corn kernels.

Here is my first original popcorn recipe, Salted Caramel Popcorn.

Air pop about 8-10 cups of popcorn - set aside in bowls with enough room to mix!
Combine 1/2 c butter, 1 c brown sugar and 1/4 c corn syrup in sauce pan - melt for 5 min. Add 1 tsp vanilla, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp baking soda. Coat popcorn! You will have to stir quickly before the caramel cools so that everything is coated.

Now, line baking trays with parchment paper or a little corn starch to keep from ruining your baking tray.

Finally - I added another drizzle of caramel. Melt some more butter and brown sugar with a pinch (seriously a pinch) of baking soda. Drizzle this all over the popcorn, sprinkle with some coarse salt and cool.

Then the hard part....waiting....and waiting until it is cool - like an hour or two!