Rocket Man

And all this science, I don’t understand. It’s just my job five days a week …And I think it’s gonna be a long long time. ‘Till touch down brings me round again to find. I’m not the man they think I am at home. Oh no no no I’m a rocket man.

—   Rocket Man, Elton John

This week, I had an experience of a lifetime with a behind- the-scenes visit to the Kennedy Space Center. There was a big celebration of the arrival of the European Service Module for the Orion Spacecraft. Orion is the exploration vehicle that will take astronauts farther than we’ve every gone before – back to the moon and then beyond to Mars. It was interesting in a NASA video played at the event, it made the point of saying we’re going for more than just a flag and footsteps on the moon. WOW!  Do you remember where you were when Neil Armstrong first stepped out on the moon and they planted the American flag on July 20, 1969? I do…

My new company – Jacobs – is NASA’s largest professional and technical services provider. While I was visiting, I learned that we are responsible for the development and operations of flight vehicle components of the Exploration Ground Systems including integration, processing, testing, launch and recovery. Who knew?

Before starting the trip though, I had to make a photo of where I parked at DFW Airport. I can’t even imagine space exploration when I could barely find Port Canaveral, and my GPS took me on the most round about voyage know to mankind. But I finally made it about an hour longer than was needed.

A small group of my colleagues and I had an up close view of the Vehicle Assembly Building and advanced research happening at the International Space Station Processing Facility as well as several other Jacobs’ efforts at NASA like thermal protection support. It was truly amazing for an English major and a girl from Garland, Texas to be so close to such state-of-the-art technology and innovation.

An interesting story I learned was about the NASA Launch Control Center. There are four launch control rooms at Kennedy, and each one has these wooden plaques for each mission all across the walls of the room. The plaques have the two little white bars hanging down with the day of the launch and the day of the landing/return. Except in Launch Room 3, which is where both the Challenger and the Columbia launched … on those plaques there is only one white tag hanging. I have to say that was a very emotional part of the tour.

I did get to catch an amazing sunrise from my hotel room before the main event – the celebration of the European Service Module. I actually had a nice reunion with an old colleague from Raytheon who now works at AirBus, a major player in the delivery of the service model.

Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket

This was a special bonus to the visit, totally unplanned and unexpected. I had the opportunity to see the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. This was totally random, but great timing. Again, something I never dreamed I would witness in my lifetime.

 

With all the wonderful experiences in Florida – except for my Florida hair that grows x 3 its normal volume – it is always good to be headed home.

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Sunset over Dallas from the airplane.

What did Dorothy say, “There is no place like home!”

XOXO

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Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie

Ready or not here I come …Gee that used to be such fun. Apples peaches pumpkin pie … Who’s not ready? Holler “I”…

Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie – Jay and Techniques

My sister and I had our second cooking class at Central Market, and it was on Pie and Tarts. Supposedly according to the chef, despite their reputation as a difficult endeavor, great crusts are relatively straightforward. I have to admit in my almost 60 years of life – I have NEVER made a pie crust – mainly because of FEAR. But with Thanksgiving fast approaching, what better time to learn from the best.

We actually made three types of pie dough:
  • Basic pie dough
  • Pâte Brisée
  • Pâte Sucrée
I have to admit I felt very French, and it took me back to our cooking class at the Cordon Bleu this summer. When you take a class at Central Market, they always have something on the table(s) for you to snack on before the class. You can barely see it, but in that one picture there is a white cup with BACON, and not just any bacon – jalapeño bacon flavored with brown sugar. That was a bonus recipe they gave us, and after the class, we went immediately to the bacon section to pick it up. I’m saving it for a Thanksgiving appetizer. It was simply to die for …   Now to the pies and tarts: The top photo is an Apple Galette made with the basic pie dough recipe, the second photo is the Pâte Brisée that we made into a Ricotta Tart. And, the bottom photo shows the Pâte Sucrée with Orange, Almond, Mascarpone filling. The chef also gave us another secret recipe for a quick dressing to go with the mixed green salad. It started by sprinkling directly on the greens: a little Basalmic vinegar, followed by a little bit of Sherry vinegar, and ending with the Olive Oil. It was light and perfect! lTnDB9i5RGuJCq+SAUJiWA   So here was my finished Apple Galette which is gone now because Scott ate the whole thing by himself. He even gave the greatest compliment by saying that my crust was better than the pastry chef at DAC – oh no!  That’s a lot to live up to in the future when I’m on my own, in my own kitchen, with my own rinky dink appliances and tools. I’ll let you know how that works out!   XOXO Amy_sig_0001_Layer-2

DownTown

Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city. Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty. How can you lose? The lights are much brighter there. You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares. So go downtown, things’ll be great when you’re, downtown, no finer place for sure. Downtown, everything’s waiting for you…

Downtown, Petula Clark

Anyone who knows me knows that I believe in the power of vision boards and goal setting. And, most importantly, it is important to write down your goals and aspirations in order to hold yourself accountable and measure results.

Here’s a picture of the very first vision board I ever created:

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It’s amazing how many things have happened in my life since I created this first vision board based on the things I focused on – that’s the power of the law of attraction.

Here’s a shot of my 2018 Goals that I created back in the second week of January 2018:

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As you can see, several of my goals dealt with my passions for reading, cooking and travel.  Also, I documented my desire to move back to Dallas and find a new job listing the qualities I was looking for in an employer. (BTW I’ve covered over my weight goal that I’m still working on to meet by my birthday, but I can report that I’m getting closer, and I have until December 29 to make it. That’s 50 days as of today…)

Work

 

This is the first time in my entire career that I’m working downtown. Growing up in Garland, Texas, I never dreamed that I’d be working downtown. Downtown Dallas always scared me, but now, I’m right there in the middle of the action. One way streets this way and that, skyscrapers, people everywhere – in many ways it seems like madness coming from someone who has always worked in the suburbs. Every morning, I drive past the bus station and the McDonald’s and the old red courthouse. But, when you’re outside your comfort zone, that’s when you’re really growing, and I feel like I’ve grown so much in the past 6 weeks

Also, by working downtown, I’m within walking distance to one of the greatest stores in the world. It’s Christmas time in the city…

 

In the evening, I pass by the school book depository and the grassy knoll, and I can’t help but think where I was on the day we lost JFK.

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New Job

 

I’m really enjoying my new job at Jacobs Engineering and my position leading communications for their Aerospace, Technology and Nuclear line of business. I can draw upon my experience at Raytheon and Bechtel for both external and internal communications. I have found my colleagues to be very collaborative and supportive as I learn this new business and start building new relationships.  I’ve already had the opportunity to travel back to Washington D.C. (twice) and next week I’m headed to Kennedy Space Center for the delivery of a European Service module (whatever the heck that is…)

 

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Now to finish up 2018 and start working on goals for 2019 and a new vision board. You should try it for 2019 and see where you land at the end of the year. It can be an eye-opening experience.

XOXO

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Sugar, Sugar

Oh sugar, pour a little sugar on it honey. Pour a little sugar on it baby. I’m gonna make your life so sweet, yeah yeah yeah. Pour a little sugar, on it oh yeah…

— Sugar Sugar, The Archies

At the beginning of the year, I made a list of my personal goals for 2018. One of the goals included taking cooking classes. We had the opportunity this summer to take a class in “Making Croissants and Chocolate Rolls” at the Cordon Bleu in Paris, but we really couldn’t takeaway our treats at the end of the class because we were staying in a hotel and moving on via train to Brussels.

So, the next opportunity was this weekend at Central Market in Dallas. My sister and I took a class on making pumpkin rolls.  With Thanksgiving coming, it was perfect timing.

There were only six people in the class, and we had three chefs to help us. It was a great experience, and I was able to bring the finished pumpkin roll home to Scott.

We learned how to separate eggs, make meringue, caramel, and the pumpkin roll itself. My work in progress:

Next week, we’re moving on to pies and tarts. I highly recommend the cooking classes at Central Market.

Great Fun! Great Food!

Bon Appétit!

XOXO

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CHANGES…

Time may change me, I can’t trace time.
Strange fascination, fascinating me.
Ah, changes are takin’ the place I’m goin’ to.
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…
Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older.
Time may change me.
But I can’t trace time…

Changes, David Bowie

Well, it’s been a couple of months since my last blog post with a lot of changes taking place in my life. I’ll do a quick update so that I can get back into a better blog routine:

1. THE MOVE

I’m in Dallas full-time now, and it’s such a relief to be home with family and friends.

When I moved to Northern Virginia 6.5 years ago, I brought 4 suitcases and a few pieces of furniture. Moving home, I needed a panel van and the entire back of my SUV to bring everything back. And, that’s after I gave away most of the furniture to friends in the area.

2. THE OLD JOB

Before I left, we celebrated the company’s 120TH  anniversary. It was a month-long celebration where we  held 80 worldwide birthday parties, produced 20 project video vignettes, developed a weekly trivia history game, and created a new corporate overview video. I had the opportunity to visit a project site in Corpus Christi – an amazing work to see in progress.

I was actually able to “retire,” and I said I was “retiring from commuting.” During my time in Virginia, I made many great friends and memories that I will always cherish.

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Taking a selfie with our Chairman and CEO.

3. THE NEW JOB

After the weekend move, I started a new job the very next Monday. There is no rest for the weary, they say. I’m working downtown Dallas for the first time ever. Never would I have imagined working downtown, but it’s been exciting and a great learning experience. I’ve already been back to D.C. twice during the first month, and I’m headed to Kennedy Space Center in a couple of weeks – NASA is a very big customer. I’ve been orienting myself to a new company and out of my comfort zone, but growing – meeting new people, learning new programs, and customers. Overall, it’s been an extremely positive transition. What can I say – I love to work and keep busy.

More to come on the job, travel and experiences in this new position.

4. THE RENOVATION

The renovation of our back porch is complete. We had a great contractor and things went very well with the changes. We love the results, and we still have a few tweaks to make. The investment in this new living space will be well worth it now and in the future.

From this:

To this:

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5. THE VISIT FROM MY GRANDBABIES

Finally, my husband asked my son-in-law to play in the annual member-guest golf tournament at Dallas Athletic Club. They’ve played together in the past, but the most important part of the ask this year was that I got to see Mallory and my little Kennedy and Max. Now, I have two car seats here in Dallas for future visits.

Good thing, Scott and Zach came in first in their flight. I guess he better ask them to come again next year!

Being back in Dallas is much more convenient and closer to Denver. We’ll be up there during December to babysit, and while we’re there, we are planning a quick trip to Aspen to visit Chris and Suzanne in their new house.

6. THE OTHER THINGS IN WORK

I have some other things I’m working on to meet my 2018 personal goals. I’ll share those in upcoming blogs. Also, at the first of the new year, some exciting opportunities are in development and may come to fruition – more on that later.

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These boots are made for walkin’

So a quick summary of September and October: lots of exciting ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.

Now, I can get back on a regular schedule with my blog since my life is getting back into a normal routine.

XOXO

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Sweet Home Alabama

 

Big wheels keep on turning, carry me home to see my kin. Singing songs about the southland, I miss ‘ole’ ‘bamy once again and I think it’s a sin…Sweet home Alabama, where the skies are so blue. Sweet home Alabama, Lord, I’m coming home to you.

Sweet Home Alabama, Lynyrd Skynrd

It’s a road trip – to Alabama!

Sister and I are headed to Atmore, Alabama – home of my father’s family – home of the Poarch Creek Indians. We have some business to take care of since I’m working with the committee on a new coffee table book – Woven Together: The Story of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. We had our final review before it goes to press – a very exciting project due out at Thanksgiving during our annual Pow Wow.

Come along for the ride…

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Picking up Kimberly in Terrell, Texas. She’s a good one to take on a road trip – better than me – because she had a basketful of goodies to make the long ride much more enjoyable.  Take a look at her homemade banana pudding…

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Now tell me, who gets banana pudding on a road trip?

We’re making progress through Shreveport, Ruston, and Monroe, Louisiana and finally hit Vicksburg and the mighty Mississippi River.

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To remember the history of this great waterway is to pay homage to the growth of the United States. Going across Mississippi, you certainly can’t miss Jackson …

 

My daddy used to sing this one to us when we were growing up … although I’m really not much of a country & western girl.

No road trip would be complete without a stop (or two) for gasoline and those bathroom breaks. It’s amazing the older you get, the more times you have to stop. I can remember when I would drive to college in Phoenix from Dallas, and I might only have to stop one time for a bathroom break … truly.  In those days, you had to stop at truck stops, and all I can say is YUCK…

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Next, it’s Hattiesburg and then finally, we hit the Alabama state line. This is really hard for Kim since she’s such an Aggies fan – that’s what happens when you join the SEC.

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We’ve made it to our destination staying the night at Wind Creek Casino & Hotel. As tribal members, we get a few benefits, and this is one that we take advantage of when we’re in Alabama.

We met with the committe the next day, did a little gambling at the casino, and then it was time to head back to Texas where we passed the time by doing a little Karpool Karaoke…

I’m still grieving for Aretha…

XOXO

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Day Dreaming

 

Day dreaming and I’m thinkin’ of you … I wanna be what he wants when he wants it, and whenever he needs it. And when he’s lonesome and feelin’ loved starved, I’ll be there to feed it. I’m lovin’ him a little bit more each day, it turns me right on when I hear him say… (Hey, baby, let’s get away) (Let’s go somewhere far) (Baby can we) well I don’t care …

— Day Dreaming, Aretha Franklin

The Queen of Soul died this week – RIP Aretha Franklin (1949 – 2018). I’ve always loved her voice and her empowering songs. Day Dreaming is one of my favorites because to me, it’s not so much about day dreaming as it is about visualization. I believe in the power of visualization and the law of attraction – mental imagery.

Here are three easy visualization techniques to try. When I look back at vision boards that I’ve created in the past, it’s pretty amazing the things that have happened in my life and career because I believe, I put it out there,  and I focused on the accomplishment.

Companies use the power of visioning all the time.

Try it sometime. It really works!

Monday

 

Suit: Kasper; Tank: Chicos; Shoes: Aldo

Tuesday

 

Skirt: White House, Black Market; Shirt: Loft; Shoes: Vince Camuto; Jewelry: David Yurman

Wednesday

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Skirt: Loft; Sweater: Whistles; Booties: Public Desire; Jewelry: Chanel & David Yurman

Thursday

 

Pants: Loft; Shirt: Express; Tank: Alfani; Shoes: Vince Camuto; Earrings: Dior

Friday

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Jeans: AG Raw Hem Skinny Jean; Top: H&M; Wrap: Purchased in Brussels; Shoes: Public Desire; Jewelry: David Yurman & Dior

XOXO

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With a Little Help From My Friends

 

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends. Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends. Yes, I get by with a little help from my friends. With a little help from my friends…

— With a Little Help From My Friends, The Beatles

I initially intended that this blog wouldn’t be all about me. I wanted to share my friends’ advice and tips because I have a wonderful network of beautiful friends. So, this week we’re talking SKINCARE, and I’ve asked some of my dearest friends about their skincare regimen. I’ll also share mine.

I’m that 70s girl who grew up worshipping the sun. This was way before SPF 50, and I lived on “Bain de Soleil for the St. Tropez tan” in the back yard with the water sprinkler for relief.  (We were poor and didn’t have a swimming pool.) In college, I scheduled all my spring semester classes either early in the day or at night so that I could lay out and tan in the afternoon. I went to college in Phoenix – one of the best places in the universe for a sun worshipper.

But, now it’s 2018, and I’m paying the price for those days in the sun.

With a little help from my friends and a little help from our friends, here is the skincare products we’re using at this stage of our lives.

Amy McGhee Ochs: the one who still doesn’t take that great care of her skin

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I’m still not that great at taking care of my skin, but I’ve found that SK-II is making a difference. The story on this product goes that a “monk in Japan observed that elderly workers at a sake brewery had smooth, clear and young-looking hands from years of submerging them in the fermented yeast, and the rejuvenating ingredient pitera was eventually isolated for cosmetic use.” I actually heard this story when I was at a communications conference from a guy at Proctor & Gamble, the company who owns SK-II.

I can tell that the deep crevices in my forehead have smoothed down a bit – much better than Botox or fillers that I’ve tried once or twice in the past. I also use Beauty Flash by Clarins for my face and eyes. I was watching this YouTube video with a fashion blogger, her mother, and her grandmother, and truly these women looked fabulous.  The grandmother recommended Clarins Beauty Flash, and I went out and bought it immediately.

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If I was more diligent, I would have a better night time routine. I hate to admit it, but most of my attention to my skin is in the morning. I don’t use much make-up, only eyes by Laura Mercier and a new brand I’ve found By Terry is getting in the lineup. They have some great brightening serum.

Nancy Mays Archibald: the friend who helped me discover David Yurman

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Night time

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Make up drawer

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I’m a Lancôme user. Renergie Lift day and night creams are my daily moisturizers. I do use Fresh, cream Ancienne, occasionally, like in cold winter, or after too much sun exposure, but it’s really heavy and very expensive. Now that my neck is sagging, I put my moisturizer all the way down to my collar bone or décolleté area.

Getting a facial has become an important ritual for me. At this age, I have more time and money, so I try to get one every month. I’d love one every week!  My esthetician does the work, and I relax. It really does make my makeup go on smoother.

Helen Ward Baker: the friend who is my favorite realtor, interior designer, clothes & shoes critic

Well here is my facial routine:

  • Have used this product for over two years. If I try something new I always come back to it.
  • Cleanser morning and night followed by serum
  • Morning use Hydrating Intense Moisturizer
  • Evening use the cream
  • Oh and a little Botox helps!
  • Image Skincare has products for all skin types
  • In the winter, I switch back and forth between The Vital C product and the Ageless product.
  • They also have an awesome Hyaluronic Filler

Sheree Wesson Deardoff: the friend who was my college roommate

I’ve used Rodan & Fields sensitive skin products for about the last 4 years or so (I don’t really remember when I started). My daughter-in-law began selling the products, and I wanted to support her, so that’s how I got started with them. First I tried the “redefine,” which was supposed to help older skin and somewhat repair lined skin. Apparently, though, it was too much for my skin or I was allergic to something, and I got a pretty bad rash. Once I switched to the sensitive skin, my skin did so much better. I also love the serums (skin and eye) which both seem to help brighten the skin. The eye serum has helped a lot with diminishing dark circles under my eyes. My very favorite product, though, is the Lash Boost. I’ve never had great lashes, but they have improved and increased with the product.

So, as I’ve aged, my skin seems to have become more sensitive to products than in my youth. I have also used Origins products, but only select ones don’t irritate my skin. My favorite from Origins is a face oil. I was skeptical at first, but it really does seem to add moisture to my skin. I’ve also used a coconut oil blend (3 ingredients). Both of these I primarily use at night. The R&F I use each morning.

I’m not sure I really have any advise or tricks except to drink lots of water, protect from the sun using sunscreen and hats, get plenty of sleep, and moisturize using something that works for your own skin. I wish I had done all of these things as a teen and 20-year old.

Darlene Singleton: the friend from work who recently retired and is living her best life with grandkids and travel

  • Never did and probably never will —
  • Don’t use moisturizer except what is in my tinted moisture makeup
  • I heard Sally Fields say years ago to wash your face every night – no matter what time you get home – so I do that

Vickie West Shine: the friend who is always ready to go, anywhere, any time, any place (even if we get stuck in elevators)

  • The eyes have it! I don’t leave home without it!
  • Mornings, noon, and night I use the brow growth serum and Lattise at least once a day!
  • The lips!  Darker liner on outer line, light in the middle for a pouty lip, the YSL plumper and gloss!

     

     

Thank You, My Dear Beautiful Friends!

 

XOXO

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I Am Woman

Oh yes, I am wise, but it’s wisdom born of pain. Yes, I’ve paid the price, but look how much I gained. If I have to, I can do anything. I am strong (Strong). I am invincible (Invincible). I am woman…

I Am Woman, Helen Reddy

I grew up in a home surrounded by women. I’m the eldest of three girls raised by a single mother who was very, very smart, but held back in her career because she didn’t have her degree. I promised myself growing up that I would never let anyone use that excuse against me.

I started working when I was 15 years old and haven’t stopped since. I went to college,  graduated, and paid off my student loans over the ten-year grace period.

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Sisters: Lisa – the baby, Amy – the elder, and Kim – the typical middle wild child.

I had a daughter, and my daughter had a daughter (and a son), but this post is about girl power.

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Mallory, KiKi, and CoCo

Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of #metoo and #timesup moments in my career, times when I’ve been disrespected, mansplained and/or totally ignored or bypassed. This is when resilience and grit come into play.

I pray that my daughter, granddaughter, nieces, female friends and colleagues won’t have to experience nor tolerate this same type of behavior in the modern workplace.

It’s a new day.

It’s a better day for women in the workplace.

Stay strong and invincible.

Monday

Skirt: Loft; Shirt: Express; Purse: Amazon; Shoes: Mango; Jewelry: Old Pawn Turquoise

Tuesday

IMG_3768Pants: Old Navy; Blazer: Alfani; Shirt: Ralph Lauren; Shoes: Vince Camuto; Purse: TopShop

Wednesday

Dress: Baukjen; Shoes: Zara; Purse: Teddy Blake

Thursday

Dress: Lush; Shoes: Tory Burch; Purse: Celine

Friday

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Skirt: Loft; Top: Belk; Shoes: Tory Burch; Jewelry: David Yurman

 

XOXO

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At Seventeen

And those of us with ravaged faces, lacking in the social graces, desperately remained at home inventing lovers on the phone who called to say “come dance with me” and murmured vague obscenities. It isn’t all it seems at seventeen …To those of us who knew the pain of valentines that never came, and those whose names were never called when choosing sides for basketball. It was long ago and far away, the world was younger than today. When dreams were all they gave for free to ugly duckling girls like me.

At Seventeen, Janis Ian

 

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17 things I would tell my 17-year old self

1. Use sunscreen.

2. Invest in Apple stock.

3. Max out your 401K, every year.

4. Get a sleep study as soon as you know there is something wrong with your sleep habits. DO NOT WAIT.

5. Stop the Yo-Yo dieting. Eat right. Eat healthy.

6. Exercise daily. Learn to love it.

7. Change companies more often to move up in your career – loyalty is dead.

8. Travel more internationally – there is a great big world out there waiting to be discovered.

9. Be meticulous and THROW THINGS AWAY.

10. Don’t fight your hair … it’s time is coming.

11. To the above, innovation comes from need (think: flat irons, DryBar).  What do you and others need?

12. Keep up with your golf game. Be consistent.

13. Learn something new every day (at least every week!)

14. Marry a man who will dance with you (whether he likes it or not.)

15. Talk to your grandparents – on both sides – to hear their stories. When you want to know more, they won’t be there  to tell you.

16. It really doesn’t matter what other people think.

17. There is great power in a vision board and the law of attraction. All things are possible for those who love the Lord.

 

And lastly, something I’ll always remember from one of the greatest shows on the CW network, One Tree Hill:

Pretty soon, we’re going to all graduate, and I can start over. But it’ll be harder for the people who need this place to make them feel special. People who use high school to build themselves up and then find out that the real world doesn’t care so much about who you were in high school…”

XOXO

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