5 Things I was Surprised to Learn About Wedding Dress Shopping

In the past 6 months or so, I have been to 10 different bridal boutiques to try on wedding dresses. I've had a blast seeing what's out there and spending quality time with my friends and family, but I've been feeling like the experience is less "Say Yes to the Dress" and more like "Say Maybe to 100 Dresses." I can't quite figure out why I'm having so much trouble finding the one. Could it be that the emotional/borderline transcendental "this is THE dress" moments that I see on TV are mismanaging my expectations? Am I not capable of loving an article of non-black clothing? Or, have I just not found the right dress yet? For this week's Be There in 5 Thoughts, I thought I'd share my analysis on what's holding me back from finding this process to be as magical as I'd anticipated. 

5 Reasons You Haven't Found Your Passion

"How did you find out doormats are your passion?" is a question I am asked frequently when I meet new people.

I will usually reply with a boilerplate about how BTI5 came to be, but the truth is, I always want to explain to people that doormats are not my passion. They are the vehicle that allows me to do what makes me work passionately. 

These may seem like unnecessary semantics, but I feel very strongly that people would feel less daunted to find their calling if they realized the difference between the two. Just like the phrasing of the question, "how did you find out doormats are your passion?," I also used to instinctively emphasize the end product more than the process. Now I can see how this line of thinking caused me to be own biggest roadblock in so many ways. In case any of you are looking for meaningful work, I thought I'd share the 5 main reasons I wasn't finding my passion, in hopes that it may help you find yours. 

Business

5 types of rug requests that typically don't make the cut

One of my favorite things about this job is getting to make custom rugs that are meaningful for people, and I especially enjoy reading the inside jokes that people get for their loved ones. As long as it's not offensive, someone else's trademark, or overly complicated, I try to make my customer's requests come to life. Occasionally, I'll get a request that I just can't get behind, and they usually fall into one of these five categories: 

5 Reasons You Can't Find BFFs in Adult Life

Note: This is an entry I wrote in 2014 that I wanted to include as part of the blog reboot, given the list of 5 is on-theme :)

I [not so] recently entered the second quarter of my life. A quarter I imagined would be remnant of Rachel, Ross & the gang, where my friends would be my makeshift family until I got my ish together enough to have my own family. We’d sit around, laugh, drink coffee and navigate our way through our confusing late twenties together.. because that’s just how it works. Assuming I was on the same track, I moved to a big city and took a big job and was completely intoxicated with excitement. At the time, I didn’t realize I was too busy Mary Tyler Moore-ing to notice the reality of my situation. It never occurred to me that the excitement of a new city was also paired with the fact that I didn’t have an existing network. And now, a couple years and several acquaintances later, I still haven't built much of a local network. I'm lucky to have some amazing people in Chicago that I know from past lives, but I'm talking about making my own, consistent, brand-new friendships. The further I get into adulthood, the more I realize I have absolutely no idea how to make a close friend. 

How did this happen? Best friends are just something I’ve always had, more specifically, something I’ve always had in close proximity. Friends are the one constant in life that help you solve your problems; I never thought that friendship (or lack thereof) would surface as a problem itself. Back in college, I used to groan that a restaurant wouldn’t take a reservation for 12. Now I am annoyed that my iPad and I don’t count as a party of 2 (I want a table, damnit!). And it’s not for lack of effort; I’ve been on girl dates aplenty. But I think the farthest I’ve gotten is a pleasant rapport where we like each other’s status updates and often text that “we should meet up sometime soon!” but never do.

So I’ve been racking my brain, what is the problem? How come no matter how many networking events I go to, intramural games I play in, or drinks I get with a friend’s sorority sister’s friend’s colleague’s cousin (true story), it feels so difficult to develop meaningful friendships as an adult? Is it them, is it this city.. or, god forbid, is it me? When I was younger, I would have answered this with a series of excuses as a coping mechanism to make myself feel better. Now, as a self-proclaimed mature and worldly woman in my mid-twenties… I will still make excuses. But as many great thinkers before me have done, I will disguise these biased excuses as pillars of truth in the form of a numbered list. So here is what I (and other friends whom I’ve asked in similar situations) have found are the most common setbacks in the art of adult BFF making:

Business

Be There in 5 Thoughts

When I started Be There in Five, I wanted it to be more about selling products. As I say in my 'about me' section, it's a tongue-in-cheek representation of not having to be perfect; an intentional salute to one of my biggest flaws. I want Be There in Five to be a relatable brand that reminds us all not to take ourselves too seriously and to provide products (remindoor mats) and content (website) that can make your day a little less stressful.

However, I have gone in and out of wanting to provide the second piece, because honestly, it's tough out there on the internet. These days, your emphasis has to be on getting the clicks; misleading captions, share-worthy headlines, and editorialized photos are prioritized while content feels secondary. To keep people's attention, you have to have so many visuals and so little text and as hard as I try, that is not me. I am verbose. I go into a lot of detail. I will edit and edit and then just decide on making the font smaller so it appears shorter. The problem is, when I try to fit the mold of what I 'should' do, it becomes insincere. And when it's insincere, I won't work hard on it. So instead of avoiding this blog altogether because I don't want to make slideshows of stock photos paired with self-explanatory 'small biz tips,' I am just going to use it to do what I like to do; write. I want to share my experience so far, learn out loud as I move forward, and try to maintain the accessible spirit of Be There in Five the best I can.

Once a week, I want to speak openly about an aspect of my business or life that has been helpful to me and is worth sharing. To keep my verboseness at bay, I'm going to organize each post into a list of five key points on the topic, for now calling it Be There in Five Thoughts, because 1. they are my thoughts and I am my business and 2. because I quite literally won't be going anywhere until I finish them.

Until next time!