thank you, Oprah

One thing I don’t talk a lot about on my blog is that I worked for Harpo and The Oprah Winfrey Network just before my current job.

My time there definitely had its ups and downs. Compared to my first job at a publishing house, it was really hard work. I honestly didn’t know if I’d make it six months. But six months turned into almost four of the most challenging, thrilling, inspiring, and unforgettable years of my life. I learned so much. I worked on projects that were meaningful. I shared the stories of people who were influencing and changing the world as we know it, and, in turn, changing me.

And then there was Ms. Winfrey herself. An icon. A change agent. A powerhouse for good. Although I never worked closely with her, her magic was felt at all times. When she spoke, we listened. Just as many did last night to her moving speech during the Golden Globes while she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

I happened to turn on the show right before her speech, and listening to Oprah speak brought back so many emotions. Joy. Pride. More than anything, gratitude. For the time when this inspirational woman—and the amazing corporation and its even more amazing employees (read: my lifelong friends)—were part of my everyday life.

And then my joy turned into sadness. Sadness that our country’s leadership lacks this ability to empower and inspire the way that Oprah does. I cried tears of longing for a better time for this country and its people, and I get emotional just typing this.

But I realize that I cannot rely on anyone but myself to make change. And I realize that I can lead by example, and I can focus on the small acts of kindness that can have a ripple effect to create bigger, better change.

Will Ms. Winfrey run for president? Oh, I have no idea, but what I know for sure is I need a little more Oprah in my life. Don’t we all?

I’m so thankful for that transformative time in my life, and the woman it has made me. Grateful is an understatement.

She’s Arrived! Meet the Newest Second City Gal 

It’s been a little more than eight weeks since I’ve posted, but I swear I have a good excuse. Nate and I welcomed the sweetest little girl into the world on Friday, June 26. She is healthy, happy, has a head of vibrant red hair with beautiful blue eyes like her daddy and a feisty personality like me. She already smiles, makes funny faces, and loves cuddles. She has stolen our hearts, and I am head over heels for her. She’s the newest Second City Gal: Ellie.

Now, it has been quite a roller coaster, and let me tell you: the highs are high and the lows are very low. No one can really prepare you for how stressful, anxiety-filled, life-altering (should I continue) those first few weeks are. You are mentally and physically exhausted. I cried when I was happy. I cried when I was sad. I cried when I didn’t know if I was happy or sad. I felt guilty for wanting to go to work because that would be easier than the mystery of motherhood (25 hours of labor–yes, 25–would be easier). I felt fragile, like I could break at any moment, and I did…a lot…yet I had to keep it together for this tiny human that I’ve been excited about for the past 10 months. I felt scared that I wasn’t as joyful as I thought I could or should be. 

One thing I did know was that I felt (and still feel) extremely grateful for everyone who texted, called, emailed, visited, sent a card, made food, brought/sent a card or gift, held her, and gave me the support I needed (still need). There’s nothing more special than sharing this experience with others.

People kept telling me it would get better. I stared at them blankly thinking, “When?” But it has. I’m definitely not out of the woods yet. I still feel vulnerable, but my confidence has grown. I’m starting to know Ellie more: what she needs and what she wants. It’s truly like getting to know a stranger who relies on you to survive. She is a good baby, and I feel blessed for that. 

I miss her when I’m not with her…her smile, her smell. I love the way our pup George protects his sis and kisses her toes. (I call us the three musketeers now because we are always together.) I look forward to the many adventures we will have as a family now. A family…it feels unreal to say. 

I daydream about what she’ll be like in five years, 10 years, 20 years. What she’ll look like. I hope she is a smart girl, a sweet girl. I hope she laughs a lot, and knows that she can come to me with anything and everything. I hope that she finds love in her life. I hope she has a good support system of friends. I hope she doesn’t grow up too fast. I hope she doesn’t stress too much. I hope she feels safe. 

I hope she knows I will do anything for her: I just want her to be happy. And know I will love her always. 

Love you, Ellie. You are everything. 

 xo. Mommy

   

My Second City Gal Resolutions for 2014

Happy New Year, everyone!!!

It’s hard to believe a year ago I was picking out a name for this blog, and now it’s what I spend a lot of free time thinking about. This blog is definitely a labor of love, but I’m so grateful for all those who come with me on my adventures, those who give me ideas of places to go and things to do, and those who read the blog! It’s because of you that I want to continue to explore this great city, even when I want to sit on the sofa with my boys and watch TV.

Let’s recap some of my favorite moments from 2013, shall we?

I can genuinely say I enjoyed all of my experiences, which I didn’t think would be the case (I swear!). If I hate something, I won’t hesitate to let you know, haha.

So what can you expect to see in 2014? More journeys throughout Chicago, that’s for sure, but I want to kick it up a notch and give you more variety. Step further outside of my comfort zone, both mentally and physically. I think it’ll be good for both of us, haha.

I also want to work on my health and fitness. Going to these new restaurants really does a number on your waistline…so this year I’ll definitely be incorporating more health-conscious adventures into the mix. My sister-in-law gave me a yoga mat, strap, and water bottle for Christmas, so no excuses!

Be sure to check out the updated to do list for some ideas.

Lastly, how about some photos from last night?!? Cheers to a happy and exciting 2014!

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