January 1, 2015

Like the Britney song goes, "It's been a while"...

"It's been a while
I know I shouldn't have kept you waiting
But I'm here now"
-Britney Spears, "Break the Ice"

Oh hello friends. It's been a while, hasn't it?

I promise I haven't been ignoring you. Every once in awhile, a person takes on so much that they have to let something go. A coworker at work told me, "don't be a goldfish." Goldfish don't know when to stop eating and keep eating as long as there is food, which is the most common cause of death amongst goldfish. (I didn't at all research that last part, so don't take that as fact.) All this is to say that I began to put too much on my plate and had to put this, my beloved blog, on the backburner for a minute.

So what have I been doing since last posting on August 18? Glad you asked. (As a note, I would have illustrated this with pictures, but then I came up with a video to post on Facebook as a "year in review" and now I'm sharing it with you! Scroll to the bottom to check out my year!)

1. Working Girl: Since spring of this year, I had been working on transitioning from my current career in federal consulting to that in the fashion and retail world, specifically in the area of product strategy and marketing. In the middle of informational interviews and networking, another consulting company asked me to interview and made an offer in a federal consulting role. After an initial attempt to receive a counter offer panned, I made the tough decision to take the new job offer. And then things got crazy.

I took almost a week to notify my client about my decision. My client is a very demanding but very kind man - a tough balance, but I think he strikes it. After congratulations, he marched into my senior manager's office and essentially told her that he would be willing to front the money from his program budget to keep me if my firm made me a counter offer. Within 48 hours, my senior manager was able to make me a counter offer equal to the 30% increase the other company was making. Considering that by staying at my current firm, I was able to retain my network, my 401(k) firm contributions, and most importantly (to me), had the unarguable support of my client, which spoke volumes for the quality of my work and contributions.

2. Charity Work: The job offer commotion went down just before Fashion With Compassion (FWC), a beauty and fashion night a charity event I executive produced. FWC featured the first-ever Northern Virginia modest fashion stylist showcase and designer runway. The night was a huge success and raised over $12,000 for the Foundation for Aid and Immediate Temporary Help (FAITH), a social services organization in Herndon, Virginia that serves the Northern Virginia area. It was a TON of fun but I think I'm still tired from it. Did you attend? There was a lot to love from the night - the pop up boutique, the make up artist demos, the amazing DJ - but the swag bags without a doubt were my favorite! I worked really hard to secure the sponsors and am so proud of the contributions various local organization made to our attendees: free month-long passes to all women's gyms, organic, fair trade chocolate truffles, skincare samples, organic argan oil lip gloss, gluten-free and organic caramel candies, new product samples of dried chick peas, coupons for spa services, and so much more!

A huge thank you to my blogger friends - Miss Al-Nahdi, A Day in the Lalz, and The Vintageista - who stepped up for the stylist showcase. They brought their A-game and so much more to show women how to creatively dress their best while still maintaining a demure look.

Also, shout outs to Seema of Modern Mary and Safura and Shyema of Kotyur. Modern Mary debuted some new designs and Kotyur debuted themselves on the runway - both designer lines an amazing success.

3. Run run run: Finally, and maybe my most satisfying, accomplishment over the last few months was running the New York City Marathon. It was not my first marathon, or even my second. I've run a few before. This one is certainly my most proud in that I ran it - all 26.2 miles - while being a kickass career woman, while producing a fashion show and charity event - 8 minutes faster than I've run previous marathons.

It was such a brilliant run. The day was literally as cold as ice - temperatures in the high 30s and 20 mph winds (I saw a table full of water get blown over by the wind, leaving an effect like waves crashing on each other) but I just felt GOOD the entire time. Almost from the start, all I could think of all the amazing and wonderful things in life that had lead me to that moment: the endless love and support of my parents, the deep and enduring encouragement of my friends, and the confidence that I have in my abilities.

And now, here's the video. Enjoy! Here's to 2015!