Dear [Baby],

I originally wrote this post about six months ago, but decided to hold off on posting it at this time.


You are precious. Your life has just begun and you have a lifetime of moments ahead of you. And my wish for you is that you get to experience every single one of those seconds. The joyous, the painful, the thrilling, the terrifying, the precious, the bittersweet – all of the good and all of the bad. Take in and savor each and every emotion. Hold on to those memories. Because the adventure ahead is just beginning and you’ll need all that you know, all that you’ve learned to make your journey your own.

When you’re young, the years fly past. Summers seem endless until the snow falls, and before you know it you forget to remember the last browned leave hanging from a tree. And they say that as you get older time seems to move faster with each passing year, but I disagree. I think we stop savoring the moments and truly living each experience that passes us by.

No longer do we whiff the scent of a fresh cut blade of grass as the spring’s rains subside. The first flakes of winter loose their glittery charm. Instead, we’re always ready and waiting for the next big thing – even if it’s happening, right then.

So do grow up, do grow old. But while you do: Live. Experience life.

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Today was a Sad Day

I’m not sure just why, but today was a sad day. It loomed over me on my morning walk. The air was crisp, not as humid as it had been. The sky was fresh blue, but there was something lurking in the distance.

As the day went on, these suspicions were confirmed. A reminder of a court hearing appeared on my Newsfeed – I wished them well (this has been left intentionally vague). Later, the follow up for that hearing’s sentencing was delivered to me via text, and my eyes welled. I was left with so many questions. But there was one thing that mattered the most:

I feel more at peace.

In this life, we are touched by so many. Those who are close to us, related by blood. Those who we pick up along the way, the ones who feel like they were meant to be in your bloodline. But then there are the ones we never meet, the ones whose stories we read, the ones whose lives never directly cross our paths. And yet, somehow, our lives can still be touched by theirs.

To the family who lost their sister, their mother, their daughter too soon: You are in my thoughts.

Dear Dad

When my fiance and I got engaged, he reluctantly called his dad … and I was so jealous. While this may sound a bit strange, let me explain.

I think I was around the age of 2 when my parents got divorced, so needless to say I don’t remember that part of their relationship. The thought of them promising each other happily ever after has always just been something I searched for in old photos. But still, I look to find what’s now long gone.

In the years of my childhood that followed, I literally have no fond memories of my dad. Mostly it’s just anger over events that were missed or his selfishness. And, I’m not going to lie, I’m often jealous of other women who are close with their fathers. Oddly enough, I still consider myself a “daddy’s girl.” However, I chalk that up to always wanting what we can’t have.

I have a lot of respect for my fiance, because despite a poor relationship, he still respects his father. The fact that his dad was one of the first people we called to announce our excitement was something that spoke volumes to me. I didn’t even want to text my dad the happy news – this celebration was about us after all.

To tell the truth, now that I’m planning my own wedding, I think I’m just upset that my dad won’t get to walk me down the aisle. I realize that this is ultimately my choice, but why would I choose someone who rarely remembers my birthday to “give me away”?

Instead, I’ll have my Papa stand by my side. While I’m not sure he’ll ever understand or that I could fully explain, my Papa’s love for me has given me the strength to be the person I am today. It is my dream to be the rock that he is for my own family. And, as such, there’s no one else I can imagine asking to help me join in beginning my lifelong adventure with Mike.

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Looking for Something to Say

It’s been more than a year since my last post; and I’m truly ashamed of that. It says on my wrist, “I’d rather write than speak,” but I haven’t been putting pen to paper much that often. However, here I am just more than a year later in flight to Phoenix writing to you again. I never take the time to do what I love.

Growing up, I wrote before I could. I made up stories on paper, retold my dreams and jotted down memories. All my life I’ve leaned on the power of the word to get me through. Whether times have been happy or sad, I’ve found comfort in the genuine attachment to the written word.

I don’t do it much now, but I prefer writing in pencil. It’s something about the feel of graphite on paper. But pencil smears, it smudges and disappears over time. And now, it’s so much easier to open a laptop than track down my notebook. Still, I wish I wrote in it more.


It seems kind of worthless, doesn’t it – writing for the first time in more than 365 days about the idea of writing. Is it that I have nothing to say? No, we all know that’s not true. I do think there’s something to be said about the accessibility to writing online. I’ve never written for others, only myself.

Better to write for yourself and no have no public, thank to write for the public and have no self. – Cyril Connolly

So while I want to write and share my thoughts, opinions, emotions and feelings with the World Wide Web, I’m also terrified to do so. Scared to be judged, worried I’ll be misunderstood. Yet still I don’t put pencil to paper and write for myself.


As scary as it may be, I do like to share my writing with others. In college, we had writing workshops where we’d share our stories, poetry and samples with others. The feedback was thoughtful, never hurtful and inspiring. I took to creative assignments without fear, and often surprised even myself with the end result.

Maybe it’s just that I had more to say at 20, or maybe it’s time to open those old workshop assignments to get the words flowing again.

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In Flight Entertainment

En route from Philly back to Chicago, I got up to use the bathroom – something I hate doing, peeing on airplanes. While walking back down the aisle of the fully-loaded plane, I realized that about 90 percent of the travelers were using some type of electronic device. Most were on tablets of some sort, a lot on their smart phones and few from the stone age (like myself, now) were on laptops. One thing that I did see, and was (sadly) surprised by, there were a couple reading books! And no, I’m not just talking from Kindles, Nooks and iPads, I mean real paperback novels. Some were even flipping their way through magazines.

This brings me to something my aunt said last (Saturday) night: Autism is survival of the fittest. Actually, I shouldn’t quote her on that, I think she said that one of her co-workers made the comment – forgive me, I don’t remember specifically. Anyways, as I did when I first heard the statement, you may be wondering where this assumption/belief/thinking comes from. My aunt explained that as we get more wrapped up and involved with electronics, there becomes less of a need for face-to-face communication. Funny how things all tie together, as the (paperback) book I was reading pre-bathroom trip discussed how those who are autistic are not able to look others in the eye, which leads to difficulties communicating.

Whether or not there’s any truth in the statement above, I have no idea. I do not know enough about autism or the true effects that electronics have on communication skills. However, I do have my own perspective of the issue of electronics, which I think take away from real conversation. In fact, it takes away from a lot of other interaction as well, at least in my opinion. Take for example when you first discovered the Internet. If you are around my age, it was when you were in your preteens. My friends and I used AIM to chat with each other, so we were still communicating. Now, that somehow seems less.

With the birth of social media, it seems as though the actual conversations have slowed. This may seem to counter today’s teens who spend their hours staring at tiny smartphone screens texting their friends, checking their Twitter feeds and the like – often simply reposting a “friend’s” post. But when I was just getting to explore the world wide web, it was something I used when at home with nothing else to do. It was something that I did when I couldn’t be hanging out with my friends. From what I’ve seen, kids today are more interested in what’s on their electronics than what’s happening right in front of them. And to be completely honest, they aren’t the only ones. I’ve been guilty of it myself, as have a number of my friends, colleagues and family members.

Not having a child, I could be wrong with my perceptions. But the use of electronics is changing the way we operate in more than just the realm of communication. I’ve seen video clips of small children unable to flip the pages of a magazine, because they are more familiar with their parents’ tablets. My brother and I have discussed children’s inabilities to write well, because they no longer have to put pen to paper. At some point, won’t they even be unable to spell correctly, as speak to type and other applications become more commonplace? Well, that’s a frightening thought.

I do think that there are a number of benefits for going electronic, especially in the classroom. Isn’t it easier for children to carry around their iPads with all of the books they’ll need for every class in one light-weight place, rather than on their shoulders in backpacks that are too heavy? The Internet is a wonderful outlet for researching, especially when writing papers. So, yes it is a good thing that kids these days have access to all of these things – but what’s the limit?

I, for one, will find it a sad day in the future if we are no longer talking with one another face-to-face. As will I be disappointed if my children aren’t taught to write the alphabet – in both print and cursive! While I recognize the fading age of the paperback novel, I mourn its death. I propose that kids are encouraged to continue passing hand-written notes in class. I hope little girls keep writing in their journals, hiding the keys to these locked dreams away from their big brothers. Electronics are great, but there’s something to be said for the written word and face-to-face communication.

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Body Image

Over the last year, I have struggled with my weight more than ever.

Growing up, I was never thin, but I was also never fat. I know plenty of girls who suffered eating disorders throughout their childhood and teen years, but I guess I always just accepted my chubby cheeks, thick thighs and belly. Fore the most part though, I was fine.

In high school, college and after graduation, my weight fluctuated. A boyfriend led to extra pounds, and the following break up shed what I’d added plus some. Biking and hiking around the city always kept me fit, and I owe something to that. Still, I was never skinny.

But after a three-month recovery, I was finally thin. I joked: Great weight loss trick, get hit by a truck. But at that point, I was unhealthy looking and the doctors urged me to eat, eat, eat – even if it was ice cream and potato chips. So, I did. And I got healthy. Then, I got fat.

I don’t weigh myself, to me it’s more about how I look and less about my actual size. Because of that, I think my body image issues have worsened. On top of the pounds, I have a hideous scar. Fake it as I might, never will I feel confident laying out at the beach in a bikini – no matter my size. I’m hesitant to even let a peak of my mid-drift slip into view.

(For those of you who are unaware, I have about a 12-inch scar running down the center of my abdomen – the result of emergency surgery.)

Some people say it’s beautiful, and I want nothing more than to wear my skin with pride. But it’s not. Either side of the scar is off-balance, as the left will always remain a little bit swollen. And more than anything, that scar serves me as a daily reminder. No, it’s not something everyone can see, but I always know it’s there. It greets me in the morning when I shower, and kisses me good night when change for bed.

If you follow me on social media, you know well that I’ll be participating in Mudderella Chicago this May. Not only have I found this training as an outlet for aggression and stress, but of course I’m also getting stronger. However, over the last six weeks, my visible body has not changed. Tonight, that hit me as a frustrating and disgusting fact. What do I have to do to be happy with my body’s image?

Still, I can feel myself getting stronger, and for that I am infinitely proud.

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What’s a Tragedy?

I’m sure if I had a lot of followers, I would get a lot of backlash for what I’m going to say in this post. However, I don’t, so I’m not too worried about it.

With the breaking news of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death (may he rest in peace), social media has been set ablaze with grieving fans posting about the “tragedy.” From what I have read, it sounds like this was the result of an overdose – please, correct me if I’m wrong.

Of course, death is a difficult thing for many to warp their heads around, especially when it comes unexpectedly. I don’t blame these people for grieving. However, I do not think that ODing constitutes the same response as an actual tragedy would. In my opinion, a tragedy marks reference to something that was out of the victim’s own control: terrorist attacks, disease, murder. But choosing to pump yourself full of too many drugs and paying the ultimate consequence for those actions? No, that’s not a tragedy.

Now, don’t think that I don’t find the news of Hoffman’s death sad. I am, after all, human – of course I do. I enjoyed his work and think it’s a shame for him to have left this world at just 46. I also wonder what led him to an early grave? There’s always a driving force behind addiction.

I’m hesitant to post this, or at least to link to it on my social media profiles. In no way am I looking to spark a controversy, this is just something I’ve often thought when hearing breaking news of celebrity deaths from over doses, reckless driving and other unhealthy decisions. Shouldn’t I feel safe to feel my thoughts on my personal blog anyway?

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Do Wishes Come True?

Throughout my childhood, I must have spent $100 in pennies, throwing wishes into fountains. Of course, that change never came from my pocketbook. I’d ask my mom, grandma or an aunt, “Can I make a wish?” How does one say no to that?

First, I’d look at the date to see how old the penny was, and then hold it tight in my tiny hands. I’d squeeze my eyes shut tight as I rubbed my wish into the copper. Before tossing it in overhand, I’d open my eyes to ensure it was safely delivered.

Never once did I feel a magical response, as though my wish would be granted. And never once was my wish granted – I know this because that wish was always the same.

At some point, I’m not sure quite when, I stopped wishing on fountains. With this, the hope for my wish slowly faded away.

On this past Christmas Eve, though, I saw a shooting star. It was a brief, magical sight in the clear, dark sky – when I was a child, I would have believed it was Santa’s sleigh. While it had probably been 15+ years since I’d tossed a penny in a fountain, I found that my wish had changed. Yet still, seeing that meteor’s tail glowing behind it as the rock entered Earth’s atmosphere made me wish again.

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I Guess That’s How The Future’s Done

Do you ever hold on to things and you’re not sure quite why? I have knick knacks that make up a well-told history, but really have no meaning. Some may hold some sentimental memories, but there’s no real value in any of it. And no, I’m not talking hoarder-style. I do have a lot of belongings, but the majority of it is clothing and books.

However, there are some things I’ve held on to past their time of need. Some date back years, while other only weeks. For instance, I have a framed photo of my best friend from high school and I on the shelf in my living room. We haven’t spoken since early in college, but I keep that picture on display. I’m not sure why, I just never thought to replace it.

I have a piece of loose leaf paper I once received folded eight times from a stranger when getting off of the bus at my college campus. After a bad day – of which I don’t remember the cause today – I read inspirational words on that paper. When I looked up to see who had turned my day around, I saw no one. It didn’t change my life, but the words written in blue ink have remained tacked to my cork board since.

Every single spare button that’s come attached to a sweater, jacket, shirt or blazer I’ve purchased are bunched together in a small sack. I doubt I’ll ever do anything with one of them, and many are from clothing that’s long gone. Still, I keep them on hand.

I have Beanie Babies, remember those? Not the entire collection from my childhood – those are boxed up somewhere in the basement at my parents’ house. I have four, all of which I believe I’ve obtained since leaving for college, and – if I remember correctly – were given to me by my mom. There’s a pink sock monkey, his name is Poet. The other three are a pig (of course), a giraffe and a bear. Every time I have to find a place to put them, I wonder why they’re still around or how Maize hasn’t de-stuffed them, but still … I keep them.

Yet, in spite of all the things I keep without knowing why, there are other things that must go. Eventually, once treasured cards get tossed in the trash. The now rarely printed photograph gets replaced. Things break, they fall apart, and lose their necessity. Other things, are harder to throw away, but simply need to go so you can let go. Tonight, I did just that.

A bag full of damaged property that held nothing but poor memories was taken out to the alley and shoved into an overflowing garbage bin. The musty smell that had been hidden in a storage room for months was finally removed. The only belong worth saving had been recovered – yes I know the exact date – on November 25, 2012. It was a ring I had adored and feared was destroyed beyond repair. But lo and behold, the first time I ventured into that bag of nightmares, it was found.

I’m not sure why we hold on to faded memories, in our mind’s eye or with physical objects, but we do. What’s in the past is just that, passed. And perhaps it shouldn’t matter, but it does.

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Social Content Marketing

As an editor and writer in content marketing, it’s important to stay updated with social trends of the field. I, for one, am fascinated over the information available with services such as Google Analytics and, recently discovered, Google Media Tools. To say the least, I’m a big Google fan.

I think the information available with these two Google goodies can do a lot more than just increase SEO performance. These provide the keys to actually developing quality content that’s worth reading. Knowing what people are looking for makes it a lot easier to create it.

So, why aren’t writers doing this? Does there need to be more focus on SEO performance along with quality? Rather than simply focusing on the keywords, grammar, regularity of posts, linking and getting the actual writing done, there needs to be a focus on the research. This shouldn’t be left to the SEO specialists or client-facing roles, it needs to be a central focus of the writers and editors.

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