Category Archives: Working Gal

One for the Books

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Yesterday was World Book Night. A day/night where thousands of volunteers pass out 20 copies of a book across 6,000 cities and towns resulting in 500,000 books out to light and non readers. My co-worker Amanda and I signed up to volunteer as Book Givers. The process was pretty simple. You filled out an application and if selected, decided where you wanted to pick up your books (We went to After-Words which just might be my new favorite place in all the land). Then, you hand out your copies.

Amanda handed out Bossypants and I dished out Moneyball. We did a few handouts on our way into work and decided that during lunch we’d stop by the Chicago Fire House nearby and then continue to hand out books around the Loop.

Walking up to the Fire House, we didn’t know what to expect. It was raining, so the doors were all closed. Unsure of our next move, we walked in to Mister Firefighter Chris greeting us. The interaction went a little something like this:

FF Chris: Good afternoon, how can I help you?
Hanna/Amanda: We have books. Here are some books. Thanks!
FF Chris: Oh awesome, come on in. Do you guys want some coffee? How about some pictures?
Hanna/Amanda: Yeapictureswouldbegreatofcourseuhhuh
FF Chris: Here, let me grab some guys we’ll get you helmets.
Hanna/Amanda: start sweating and turning red

Firefighters Reuben and Brian join us and Amanda and I suit up in fireman garb. Amanda’s wearing a jacket, a helmet (Captain’s nonetheless) and carrying hoses on her shoulders. I’m given boots, pants, a helmet and yes, even an ax. We stand around chatting in our attire, take a photoshoot and leave the firehouse huge fans of the Chicago Fire Department.

A little book drop turned into an afternoon pick-me-up neither of us saw coming. Needless to say, the rest of the day’s giving was fun, but didn’t include dress up time.

 

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The Happy Secret to Better Work

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Whenever I get into a rut at work, I always turn to one of my colleagues, Sarah. Sarah just always seems to know exactly what I need, whether it’s a baked good from her kitchen, a song, a list of “How You Know Your A Child of the 90s” or even a TED Talk. Girl has a gift.

A few weeks ago, Sarah sent me this TED Talk from Shawn Achor, CEO of Good Think Inc. In just 12 minutes, Achor explains, in a charming way, how to better your work simply from happiness. You simply taking a step back and changing your go-to-way of thinking. By being happy, you’ll be more productive.

It’s through this notion of “positive psychology” that you’ll become a happier human. I remember back in 2007 some author was on Oprah and talking about having a “Happiness Journal.” On that day, I went out, bought a journal and since then, have written down at least three things each day that have made me happy. It’s funny to see the pattern over the past 4 years (a sunny day!!) and the simple things back in college that just seemed to brighten my world (class canceled).

Sometimes you just need a Sarah reminder that the work stresses don’t really add up to much.

Return to Yesteryears

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At first, they started out as a prop in our holiday video. Then, they became something Seth would pick up when he stopped by my desk. And then, on Thursday it became an all-out war with Steve using them behind his head, turning in circles, pointing to the sky.

I’m of course talking about paddle ball. This little toy has become the stress reliever and now, the ultimate go to for laughs. Watching people concentrate with such intensity while willing the ball not to hit them in the face is my favorite moment of every day.

Word has been getting around about my desk activities. Here’s to hoping no one challenges me. Have yet to prove my paddle worth.

paddleball

The Mary Way

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Alright, here is a long awaited Mary Poppins Halloween costume picture. Disclaimer: The shirt, skirt and umbrella I own. The hat (and all its pieces) and bow tie were made out of paper. Thanks YouTube for your folding how-to videos. And thanks creativity for kicking in and ensuring I didn’t spend $1 on this outfit.

Mary Poppins and a Boy Scout. A nanny’s job never ends.

Now I Know the Truth

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Short work week thanks to the holiday on Thursday. And I for one am having difficulty sitting still at work; I cannot wait to be back in STL for some time off! I love the city, but I’m a gal who loves stars and Oscar the dog, so I’m eager to get back to that life.

This song off Ellie Goulding‘s Halcyon album is helping me power through the hours of the work day.

Getting Some Perspective

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Every year around this time, I feel like most of us start analyzing life. And realizing that all the trips, dinners and other plans we broke over the course of the year in the name of work don’t leave us very fulfilled. I think at times, we put way too much pressure on ourselves, telling ourselves that we simply must get this done. Right at this very second. When often times, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.

A journalist for The San Francisco Egotist recently passed away and spent the past year documenting his life and thoughts with cancer. One piece/post in particular has made its way around the advertising sector, “A Short Lesson in Perspective.” It’s worth the read. The full read. I cannot remember the last time I sat at my desk and read something so profound, so moving and so incredibly truthful.

“The creative industry operates largely by holding ‘creative’ people ransom to their own self-image, precarious sense of self-worth, and fragile – if occasionally out of control ego. We tend to set ourselves impossibly high standards, and are invariably our own toughest critics. Most artists and designers I know would rather work all night than turn in a sub-standard job. It is a universal truth that all artists think they a frauds and charlatans, and live in constant fear of being exposed. You don’t have to drive creative folk like most workers. They drive themselves. Just wind ‘em up and let ‘em go.”

To Ease Your Pain

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I’ll never forget the first time I heard the  song, “If I Needed You.” It was in Stepmom and Julia Roberts sings it to Benjamin when he’s in the hospital after getting stitches. Ever since then, it’s a song that willingly pops into my head whenever I’m having a not so great day.

Yesterday, while listening to NPR’s World Cafe with Mumford & Sons, I got a sweet, sweet surprise. There, at the end of this fantastic podcast, is their rendition of the very song.

With the Film Fest going on, working and volunteering with Chicago Cares (all this week), it’s just what I need to keep myself going.

Note, I have no idea who this woman is featured in the film.

Under the Weather

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After a few hectic crazy weeks with work and moving Mom, it’s finally happened…I’ve gotten sick. And luckily, Mumford & Sons dropped their new album yesterday in the States so I have a soundtrack to go along with my sneezing, coughing and jackhammering from construction outside (happening right outside my window). Seriously though, their new album is insane. Just when I think I have a favorite song (“Hopeless Wanderer“), another song comes on (“Holland Road“) and I find myself unable to declare a favorite. Give your ears the joy.

Post about our FamFest 2012 coming soon!

 

Here’s Mumford & Sons Live on Letterman appearance that I seem to just keep on playing throughout the day.

No Headphones Thursday

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I’m plugged in when I’m at my desk. Earbuds in, music to the two level and I’m rockin’ all afternoon. But lately I feel like I’ve become plugged out of my working life. I thought the world was over when my iPod died 2 years ago and that I would never be able to stomach a commute or walk down the street without listening to music. But I’ve survived. In fact, I welcome the city’s sounds to act as my music while getting from Point A to Point B.

So I’ve started having “No Headphones Thursdays” where I don’t wear headphones, all thanks to an article I read last week on Thought Catalog. I can still listen to music, but it has to be through my speakers, so it’s not all-encompassing my surroundings that I can’t hear my phone ring. And it was going well until this song came through, because all I want to do now is put on headphones, play this on loop and have myself a little dance party.

Youngblood Hawke— We Come Running

In a League of My Own

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Last week, Werk was hurtin’ for some ladies to show up for the co-ed softball game. I typically go, but as team mom. I’m bringing the snacks, the beer and the cheers. I was quite content with my role. But alas, they needed me to not only “play” but “play” something other than catcher.

So I decided to really put my best foot forward and dress the part. The whole part. I must say, I played the best softball of my MW career. And karoaked afterwards in this to “You Can’t Hurry Love.” Many thanks to the lads at the window table and their “Dottie, Dottie, Dottie!” chants.