What I learned at Alt Summit.

Welp. I survived Alt Summit.

Don’t get me wrong — it was pretty awesome. Loads of nice, fun, creative people. Colorful decor. Parties. Loads and loads of parties.

Obviously, I’m a little exhausted. But my Instagram feed has never looked more exciting, so I can’t complain too much.

And besides a pretty cool new group of friends and a handful of photo booth strips, I also walked away with a couple of lessons that I’m going to start incorporating into my real life.

Y’all ready for this?

1. “Having guts always works out for me.”

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 10.27.54 PM
I have never and will never say no to a photo booth.

New York-based designer and typographer Stefan Sagmeister was one of the (and quite possibly my favorite) keynote speakers at Alt. Besides a host of other inspiring projects, he’s working on a film based on one of his personal maxims, “Having guts always works out for me.” (Click here for a clip and then just TRY to tell me you don’t want to see this.) The gist is that by living a braver life, one will experience greater happiness.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my phobia of embarrassment, so this talk and concept really resonated with me. I can speak first-handedly about the fact that when I put aside my fears and just do the thing I’m really agonizing over, I experience greater joy than when I let the fear win.

Stefan actually showed us a little cartoon that explained how our brains (specifically, the amygdala) are hard-wired to allow fear to register in our bodies (through adrenaline and such) faster than any other emotion, the idea being that it will help keep us alive. You know, instead of just preventing us from speaking up during that department meeting or telling our crush how we feel about them.

It was really reassuring watching that little cartoon. I’m not a scaredy-cat freak. I’m just human.

But the fact remains that sometimes I let my fear impede my happiness. So the first lesson I learned at Alt Summit is that I need to buck up. Embrace the fear and know that by ignoring it, I’ll ultimately achieve greater happiness. I’m going to work on this.

2. I don’t really want to be a famous blogger anymore.

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 10.28.05 PM
My version of Alt style. (Yes, it’s a thing.)

Yup, I’ve decided. I’m not sure I can put my finger on exactly which presentation it was that I realized this is something I’ve got to do, but by the end of the week, the idea had solidified in my brain. (I think it really stuck during a presentation from Tiffany Brown, Content Strategist at Pinterest.)

Here’s the thing: For most of my adult life, I wanted to be a journalist. But for literally my entire life, as far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. That was my thing. It is, arguably, the thing I am best at in the entire world.

You know, I was just going to add a joke to make that statement sound less “blah blah look at me blah blah”, but I don’t really want to apologize for feeling that I’m good at something. So…deal with it.

The point is, being in a room full of people who wanted to turn their blogs into their livelihood, I realized that I don’t. Sure, when I wasn’t fulfilled by my work, I thought maybe making money off my blog would bring me happiness.

But looking at it as the reality it is for (a few) professional bloggers, I realized that I just don’t have any interest in that anymore.

What I do really want to do? I want to write fiction. I want to write a novel. Preferably several, but I’m starting with the one. And I figure the more I put that idea out into the universe, the more likely it is that it will actually happen.

Phew. It’s kind of scary putting big dreams out into the universe, right? But I’m facing my fears and all, so I guess it’s a logical next step.

3. Someday I should probably retire to a small, beautiful town in the middle of nowhere.

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 10.28.17 PM
Fact: Bloggers make the prettiest business cards.

After strolling through Salt Lake City and Park City for a while, I can definitely say I harbor a few secret fantasies of living the simple life. While I think, to a degree, I like a certain amount of stress in my life, it is pretty tempting at times to give it all up and settle in a quiet suburb.

Plus, everyone is so nice. And the rent would be so much cheaper.

Not any time soon. But, you know, someday.

So…yeah. I sort of think I didn’t learn any of the right lessons Alt was supposed to teach me. (Except maybe the first one.) But life’s about making your own way, right?

Besides everything I wrote above, I am pleased to report that I met a lot of really cool people, including a handful of gals I can honestly say I think I’ll stay friends with. And if that’s the only thing I can say for sure, I think I’m okay with that.

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 9.02.37 AM
Steph of Modern Parents Messy Kids, Carly (not a blogger), Jordan of Jordan McBride Wedding Design, and me being awkward.

What I’m up to.

So I’ve got a pretty big couple of weeks ahead of me.

This morning (bright and early), I’m flying to California for a tour/meeting at the Facebook headquarters. Actually, by the time you read this, I’ll probably already be in the air if I’m not already in California. (Yes, I am extremely excited.)

Wednesday morning, I’m hopping another plane to Salt Lake City for Alt Summit, which is basically a workshop/conference of the top design/DIY bloggers around. It’s supposed to be awesome. (Yup, I’m excited about that one too.)

I get back to New York on Saturday, and then it’s just a short six days before I head to Las Vegas to meet up with two of my oldest, dearest friends, Annie and Becca.

Seriously, I love those ladies. And I really love this photo of them, poached from the post linked above:

225759_506471530171_9958_n

How could you not love those faces?

Anyway. Then things calm down (ish) for a while. (Though we may be taking an impromptu trip to Colorado at the end of February…fair warning.)

I just wanted to warn you in case I go AWOL for a bit. I promise to come back with loads of fun stories. Loads. And hopefully even a photo or two. (Who are we kidding? There will be photos. I promise to be discerning in which ones I use to blow up your Instagram feed.)(Assuming you’re following me…)(@justinelorelle)

I think that’s everything you need to know…oh! Also. I cut my hair. And I was going to write a post about it, but then I went, “UGH. Not again. No one cares.” So on the off-chance you do care, I give you this photo:

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 4.37.27 AM

Voila.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Review: Palmolive Fresh Infusions

It’s hard to get too excited about doing the dishes.

While it’s certainly not my least favorite chore (lookin’ at you, taking out the garbage), I won’t be sad if we one day own a dishwasher. (As in the appliance…I do not support indentured servitude.)

But something I do Get excited about? Free samples.

So when I received a an email from Influenster asking if I’d like to try out a bonus sample of Palmolive’s new Fresh Infusions dish soap, I figured it couldn’t hurt my dish-washing experience.

When the samples arrived, I was first shocked to see that they sent me not a tiny sample bottle, but three full-sized bottles in three different scents. (Yeah, we won’t need to buy this stuff for a year.)

20130118-073245.jpg

Not only do they come in pretty bottles, try actually smell rather pretty, too. So far, I had no complaints.

And I’m pleased to report that I wasn’t disappointed with the quality of soap either. I hadn’t purchased Palmolive in years (I always kind of thought of it as an out-dated brand. I mean, doesn’t Ralphie mention in it A Christmas Story?) But now that they’re obviously stepping up their game, I could definitely see used reaching for it in the supermarket in the future. (You know, after I get through these three bottles.)

Have you tried the new Palmolive? What did you think? Do you actually spend any time thinking about your dish soap?

I almost got hit by a car today.

I was almost hit by a car this morning.

I don’t want to over-dramatize this. I’m totally fine. For the most part, I was not actually struck by the car. And it was entirely not my fault. (Mom.)

Here’s what went down.

I was walking to my office from Penn Station, like I do virtually every single day. I have to cross a series of streets and avenues to do so. In the name of total disclosure, I’m admitting right here and now that I do not always wait for the walk signal. If no cars are coming, I cross the street.

This is not just a me thing. This is an everyone-in-New-York-who-doesn’t-have-time-to-wait-to-cross-an-empty-street. (Insert: “New Yorkers are so impatient” joke here.)

Despite my penchant for (not actually illegal)(I don’t think?) jaywalking, I’d like to point out that in this case, I was crossing 9th Avenue because the crosswalk sign was telling me it was my turn to walk. The little white man was fully lit. It wasn’t even a blinking red warning hand.

So I crossed.

I was aware of a black sedan that wanted to turn left onto 9th Ave. He was slowly inching out, and I figured he was just waiting for the person crossing in front of me and me to get to the sidewalk. Then he would turn because his light was green.

Just because I know my mom is going to read this and think something to the effect of “If I had only just never let her leave my womb, this would never have happened!!!!”, I feel the need to point out that there was no way I could have seen this coming or prevented it. Short of just never crossing the street ever. I did what any normal person would have done. I crossed when the crosswalk told me I should cross.

Anyway. I was about two steps from clearing the front of his hood when I realized he had no intention of stopping and was in fact speeding up to turn.

I’d love to tell you that in that moment, time slowed down. Or that everything crystallized and became very clear for me.

In reality, it all happened super fast. But in a fit of The Next Karate Kid-edness, I slammed my left hand down onto the hood of his car and vaulted the rest of my body clear of the car.

The moment my feet hit the ground (and the driver apparently registered that the loud thunk he had heard was his car making contact with a human being), he and eye made equally wide-eyed eye contact. Both our mouths hung open for a second in total shock. (Well, his mouth was suspicious shaped into words something like “oh ship”, but I’ll leave the speculation to you.)

It was at that moment that I had no idea what to do next. Technically, nothing had happened. He had done something stupid (not watching where he was turning…I have no idea what he was looking at) and kind of illegal (turning into a crosswalk where pedestrians were walking), but technically nothing bad had come of it. I was so shocked and flustered, I honestly just kept walking while making furtive glances over my shoulder to see if anyone had noticed. (I honestly think no one did. Or they just didn’t say anything.)

To the driver’s credit, though he had started to just drive away, I watched him pause for a few seconds, obviously wondering if he should get out and do something. I guess he took the fact that I was not hanging around as his cue to vacate the scene. I don’t know what else I would expect him to do. (“Hey! Hey, you! Buy me a coffee for almost crippling me!”)

The point is, I’m totally fine, if not slightly rattled. But honestly, I have to chuckle at the fact that I’m pretty sure if any of us are going to walk away with a phobia about this, it’s the driver. He’ll become one of those guys who always thinks he’s hit someone because he almost did!

The kind of ironic thing is that just this morning, I was having trouble coming up with a blog topic and was thinking, “Man, it has been a really long time since I had a classic New York moment!” I should have just given it 45 minutes.

So anyway. That’s the story of how I almost-and-sort-of-did get hit by a car.

 

Sicky poo.

Well, this weekend was by no means the most fun two days I’ve ever had, but it was entirely necessarily. Let me break it down for you.

Remember on Friday when I was all, “Yo peeps, I think I’m comin’ down wit somethin.”

What, you don’t remember me getting gangsta on you? Well…we’ll just agree to disagree.

The fact is, I told you I thought my body might be trying to get sick. AND I WAS RIGHT.

I spent the rest of Friday feeling progressively worse. And considering the number of people in my office who have recent contracted the flu, I didn’t need a medial degree to read the signs. Achiness? Check. Sore throat? Check. Chills? Check. General run-down-edness? Double check.

I ended up leaving around 4 p.m. in an attempt to get home before it really set in.

But what is the true sign that I was really not feeling well?

I FELL ASLEEP ON THE TRAIN RIDE HOME.

The long-time readers of this blog will realize what a feat this was. (Um, hi post I wrote in April of 2010 about this very topic.) When I told my husband what I had done, he got a look of genuine concern and said, “Oh man, you must really be sick.”

Turns out I had a fever of almost 100 degrees. So…yeah. I was.

When I got home (and I have to mention this because it will please my mother to no end), I took this medicine that my mom swears by to prevent flu-like symptoms from evolving into full-blown flu, Oscillococcinum. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s pronounced oh-sill-oh-cox-ih-num, and it’s some kind of homeopathic medicine that looks and tastes like sugar crystals. The crystals come in these tiny tubes, and if you feel the flu coming on, you’re supposed to pour one of the tubes out under your tongue and let the crystals dissolve. You do this every six hours until symptoms subside.

I have no idea how or why it works (I don’t have a medical degree, remember?), but it has never failed me. Highly recommend it if you’re getting the flu.

Anyway. Back to our story.

I then proceeded to loaf on the couch until 10 p.m., where upon I promptly fell asleep for over thirteen hours.

Let that sink in for a second. I slept for over half a day. Until almost noon the next afternoon. This from a person who has trouble sleeping passed 9:30 on a day when I’m genuinely tired.

I felt worlds better after my mini coma ( and no longer had a fever), but I wasn’t exactly doing cartwheels just yet. And despite all the sleep I got, I still dozed a bit throughout Saturday and didn’t really leave the couch except for emergencies. Saturday night, I slept nine hours. (Yeah, all this sleep was kind of glorious.)

By Sunday night, the only remnant of my sickness was some congestion and post-nasal drip. Which, while not ideal, is bearable.

Honestly, I know there is never a good time to get sick, but this really wasn’t the worst time. I didn’t start feeling really bad until Friday, so I didn’t have to miss any work, and I was struck on the one weekend this month that I had zero plans to begin with. (Well, that’s not entirely true. We were supposed to go to a concert on Saturday, and we had to skip it. But Joey was able to sell the tickets, so even that wasn’t as bad as it could have been.)

And considering the busy schedule I’m looking at through the next month, a weekend of almost thirty hours of sleep ain’t too shabby. That’s a part-time job’s worth of sleep right there.

So anyway. Today, I’m feeling much, much better besides the lingering congestion. And hoping that now that I’ve had my seasonal fall cold and my brush with the flu, I’m officially done getting sick until my seasonal spring cold.

Anyone else get the flu? Apparently it’s a pretty big thing this year? Everyone’s doing it, as it were?

Give me some credit.

I can’t believe I remembered to tell you guys about my coat but forgot to mention my actual big news.

Drumroll…

I PAID OFF MY CREDIT CARD DEBT.

(Like, a week ago. Woo!)

Those of you who have been around for a while know why a big deal this is to me. It has literally been my goal for a couple of years now. That’s crazy.

So anyway, it’s gone. I mean, I still have a car payment, but in my brain, that’s more like rent or a monthly subway pass. It’s going to be around for at least another year.

So anyway. Thanks to all the people who offered words of encouragement along the way. This was a big one, and I appreciated your virtual support more than you know.

Enough about me. What big goals have you guys accomplished lately?

Bundled.

You guys. Winter has broken me.

And by that, I mean I finally bought a puffy coat. It looks like this:

20130111-072234.jpg

So…yeah. It happened. Because while afternoons have been strangely balmy in NYC lately, mornings and evenings spent commuting to and from work have been rather uncomfortable.

Plus, on days like today when I feel like my body just might be trying to get sick, nothing feels enter than wrapping myself in a cocoon of synthetic down and a giant scarf and just pretending no one else is around.

Though, to be fair, I do the pretending part anytime I’m on the train.

Anyway. It’s big news in my world.

Speaking of actual news, the next month and a half has somehow gotten kind of busy. I have a lot of catch-up dates with friends, I’m going to Salt Lake City for Alt Summit in less than two weeks, then I’m off to Vegas for Super Bowl weekend. Then I basically have to start packing up my life because a move will be right around the corner. Wacky.

So what I’m saying is, if I am getting sick, lets get this thing over with, shallll we?