When it all happens at once…

At the Tourism Rally with my hospitality lady crew

Last week, within 24 hours of each other, I received two phone calls that separately would have been phenominal successes, but together just about blew me away with happiness. One was from my husband letting me know that the offer we placed on our very first home was accepted. The second was from Waggener Edstrom Worldwide offering me an Account Executive position at their firm. Like I said….phenominal.

After I calmed down from the rush of hearing that news and realized I was still at work and in the middle of a hellish long day at that, I thought to myself, “Heather, this is the part where you realize prayers are being answered.”

I have worked as the PR representative for The Fairmont Olympic Hotel for nearly 3.5 years and couldn’t imagine getting to where I am today without the experiences I have had here. If you work in the hospitality sector then you can skip down to the next paragraph of this post…if you don’t, let me give you a quick glimpse in to the world of working in hotels/F&B – ready? It’s is the single-most challenging heart-pumping lose your mind exhausting omg-so much fun exciting celebrity spotting voice losing long long days spent running up and down floors economic downturn suffering say yes Sir and yes Ma’am tweeting non-stop about the most interesting events to see your city – awesome. Phew! That’s it in a nutshell.

Long story short: in a big swimming pool, the hospitality industry is the deep end and I was thrown in to it. Guess what? I loved every minute of learning how not to drown. What a better way to learn how to be a young professional in the PR industry then work in one of the most glamourous hotels in Downtown Seattle, rub elbows with the city’s elite, learn from the best of the very best, and fail forward as often as possible. My time here at The Olympic will always be characterized by deep relationships with bright and inspiring individuals and many many many stories that I’ll one day be able to jot down in a book that I’ll be forced to publish under an alias.

So what’s my new adventure? I have accepted a position as an Account Executive with Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. I’m thrilled to be doing a bit of a 180 degree turn in the PR industry and switch from lifestyle PR to tech as I will be sitting on a Microsoft account. The adventure ahead is a bright one and one that I am truly looking forward to. Sometimes I think being 27 is “getting up there” and I feel like time is running out for me to do the things in life I really want to do. But then I realize that I’m being paranoid and 27 is still young enough to run out there and grab as many experiences that come forth.

Today, my husband and I head to our potential new home and to meet the inspector. After all this the house is ours. In one short week, I was blessed with two fantastic new endeavors and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s moments like these….

To all of those reading this post that I met while working at The Olympic, you are the bomb.com. This hotel was home to epic memories to which you all play a part and I will never loose sight of that. Most of you I will remain in good contact with and you better believe I will be jumping over the pond from Bellevue to crash all my favorite happy hours and tweet-ups as often as possible.

Eat, Pray, Love: No thank you.

Elizabeth Gilbert, you annoy me.

I will come out frankly to admit that I did NOT like Gilbert’s memoir. Her lackluster and self-righteous novelesque book left me bored, agitated and sad. Bored because her travels were nothing new. Agitated because egotistical writers often leave that taste in your mouth. And sad because I had gone against every thing I stand for and jumped on a bandwagon to read the “best book of the year” just to conform with the thousands of women who obviously saw something I failed to see. Or Gilbert failed to convey. Either way, her tall-tell tales did get me thinking about one thing in particular: does writing a memoir always have to be about you? I don’t think so. For example, I’m currently reading “A Mennonite in a Little Black Dress” by Rhoda Janzen. Rhoda’s story is deep, revealing though lighthearted and silly in parts. But what makes Rhoda’s introspective piece shine compared to Gilbert’s trail of one-up’s is that Rhoda doesn’t come forward as an authoritative, in-your-face, i’m-better-than-you-so-learn-from-me leader that commands your ear. She’s unassuming and friendly. I related more to a 50 something Mennonite from the boondocks after reading her tales then I did a 30 something wanderlust – someone I would expect to relate more to.

My point is that I think Gilbert had a chance. Her travels are entertaining, her minor characters are interesting at times and even some of her opinions, I would agree with. But wha bothered me was that she obviously had gone through a rough marital relationship, one that many many a women before her and after her have and will endure. Not every woman reading this book will be as fortunate as she to have the disposable income she had. Like when she takes half a chapter to let everyone know that she is wealthy enough to pay off her husband just to leave him and still have money left over (from her book sales and fancy writing assignments) to travel the world. She could have been more humble in her telling her story and I would have gladly joined the ride. But when you bring out the “bitch” in the writing, I tune out.

In the midst of struggling with Gilbert’s wishy washy roller coaster, I thought to myself, “would people have this aversion to my memoir’? The answer would absolutely be ‘yes’, and I realize that. However, I stick to my stance that just as Rhoda has taken a her story and translated it to others in a nonchalant manner all the while making it entertaining, others can do the same. Make the memoir about the readers journey through your life. Then they’ll want to stick to the end. Just sayin is all…..

Mustaches vs. Cancer: Why YOU should care about hair.

MvC

A few years ago, a lacrosse team of guys existed in the sunshine filled valley of Salt Lake City. And boys being boys, they challenged each other to just about anything that yielded a champion; even mustache growing. Even though a few of them were folically challenged, their hearts were in the right place when Stefan Turkula decided to rally a few others to turn this hair-raising competition in to a fundraising opportunity for children with cancer. Thus, Mustaches vs. Cancer was born.

MvC is entering in to it’s third year and no other has looked more promising. The premise of this stache-tastic event is simple: Shave, Pledge, Grow, and Rally. Men from around the world pledge to shave their staches this October 4th and start fresh. With white mugs and excited fervor, they embark on a campaign to get loved one, co-workers, and random strangers to sponsor their mustache. The rules require the participants to post a picture of themselves weekly to show the progress of their efforts. Each week is a new addition to the website (www.mustachesvscancer.org) and each week its worth tuning in to see the hilarity, the passion, the hairness that ensues! Some men pose with their pets, others prefer the serious approach, and then there is always those participants that are blessed with a fertile face and work wonders with their mustaches.

As a woman, you’re probably wondering, “why in the heck does this mean anything to you?” The answer? “Why NOT!” Mustaches vs. Cancer is the single-most creative third party fundraising platform since Movember. And yes, we get asked all the time, “Did you copy Movember?” The answer is no. However, Movember is brillant and their strong reach throughout the world is really unmatched. The edge MvC has over Movember is that it’s all for the kids. The funds raised by growing for the cure goes to uncompensated care funds and research funds for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Care Center.

Thanks to the hundreds of men who have competed, the thousands who have donated, and the support of communities all over the nation, MvC has raised over $76,000 year to date!

So why should you care? Because this is the funnest way to help fight cancer, I can think of. For those in the Seattle area who know me and follow me on Twitter, be sure to also follow @GrowForTheCure for updates on the competition and those participating. Also be sure to join us on Facebook where we’ll be posting videos and links to our site for events in your area. And most importantly, be sure to check out the website after October 4th Shave Date to start selecting your favorite stache to sponsor OR if you are a mustache growing gentleman yourself, sign up!

Thanks for reading this till the end and learning about the power of hair. Hopefully you’ll join us in the cause!

A long walk

Walking is completely under-rated. It is one of the most down-to-earth (literally and figuratively) modes of transportation that actually allows you to experience what your passing through. Being that life is consistently on fast forward, I took it upon myself to walk nearly everywhere this weekend. It was so cleansing and refreshing to really see things. Breath in my community and hear its pulse. I walked and I learned.

It began on Saturday morning when I woke up to the sunniest day our new Fall season had seen. Quickly throwing on a pair of yoga pants, some tennis shoes and my sun glasses, I walked out my front door and on to Beach Blvd. on Alki. No headphones or cell phone. Just me.

I have run this street and its sidewalks dozens of times over several years, and each experience is just as great as the last, but not memorable. I’m running and running but not looking and listening. So on Saturday, I walked for 2.5 hours and experienced what Alki really had here all along. I made sure to peak into every store front, looked down every alley between here and the bridge. I listened to my neighbors conversations and took note of strangers passing by. I saw 3 birthday parties, 4 volleyball matches, 2 sidewalk sales, 3 garage sales, 1 ice cream truck, 1 car wash rally, at least a dozen dogs, 4 cruise ships, 3 ferries, 2 para-sailors and enough smiles on peoples faces to keep me going.

Once I reached the bridge I turned around and entered Jack Block Park, which in my opinion must be one of Seattle’s cleanest public parks. I wondered that park for over half an hour walking down dead end corridors and peering through the gardens. I discovered hidden beaches and views of Seattle you can’t see from anywhere else.

On my way back I encountered a hugh mob of divers all gathering around the Water Taxi landing. They were all so lively and vivacious. A loud hum of chatter came from the crowd and I picked out small tips and tricks of diving and even a snippet of a story from one diver who encountered an octopus just that morning!

My walk that day ended with a sunburn and a whole new perspective on my little neighborhood by the sea! Today, I went for my usual run, but this time I stopped at the beach on the last 1/4 mile and walked down to the sand. I took off my sneakers and walked to the water. My feet were hot from the run and the cool water was the perfect relief. I walked the beaches edge until i couldn’t go further and then, with feet to pavement, walked back to my apartment reveling in the sunshine we’d been blessed with. I felt connected. I felt at peace.

My mini journeys this weekend inspired me to slow down more often. To” stop and smell the roses” is a saying that we seem to take lightly. So often I look upon an instant in a day and am taken aback at its quick arrival and fleeting passing. Wouldn’t it be genuine to take a moment and really live it. Instead of running to get somewhere, we could be walking to become someone.

Putting pen to paper…and blogging.

For years I have kept journals. Writing page after page of secret knowledge, coming of age tales and hyper-local activity. Reporting on the 5 feet around me was my passion. I have a half dozen books and each of them represents a different chapter in my memoir. The first is pink, bubbly and clearly from my years in elementary school and Junior high. It had a “lock” on it that was hacked by my little sister a couple times and released my confessions of first kisses, crushes on the cool guy in school and dreams of becoming an actress. It smelled of my mothers perfume and carried misspellings and childish gossip. It may have been the realest thing I ever produced.

The next couple of journals in the series are rebellious and tattooed with emblems and stickers of bands that influenced my teenage angst and passions. Their pages are littered with fortunes, comics, news clippings, love notes and pictures. My words spill about the pages incoherently; mumbo jumbo to anyone reading them outside of myself. They were true representations of my chaotic mind, wise beyond it’s years and yet immature in so many ways.

The college journals are much more sophisticated and beautiful…or at least seemingly so. They hold the beginnings of my love for my husband, when we were just freshman in college and learning about what we thought was destiny. I filled its pages with bios of those that were influencing me and those that were killing me slowly. One of my favorite journals is the one I call “Mi Vida en Espana” (My Life in Spain). This booked is filled with my days abroad when I completed my degree in Spanish Language & Culture at the Universidad de Complutense in Madrid, Spain. I spent nearly four months in that amazing country, fulfilling a lifelong dream of mine. Never was there a time in my life when I felt so free and bewildered by what the world had to offer. It was a very thrilling, eye-opening and adventurous time in my life and that little journal holds glimpses into that era.

I think my point is that these books, all varied in shapes, sizes, colors and content, hold pieces of who I am. They tell truths and lies, drama and passion. All on paper. Until now. This blog and it’s entries now represent a different era in Heather’s life. The digital era. The time where a great deal of my professional and personal life is spent in front of a monitor with a keyboard at my fingertips. You might be asking yourself, “Why now? Why did it take you so long to make the switch?” I must admit that I have been reluctant to start a blog for so long for two reasons: One is that I wasn’t sure I could get the kind of release I needed by confessing to an online portal as opposed to a page in a book that no one will ever read. I doubt still that I will, and so this blog might limit me in that way. Less of a confessional and more of a conversational. Secondly, I wanted to hold on to that tangible thrill of putting pen to paper and painting stories in cursive. There is something oddly romantic about writing on paper. The feel of the smooth threads, the type of pen you choose. The mistakes and misspellings and crossed out words. It’s vulnerable in a way that online script can never be and for that I enjoy it. I will still continue to write in a journal from ime to time; maybe turning to the bounded book for comfort now and then. We shall see where this all takes me.