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Here’s to 2015!

Happy new year! As 2015 starts, I look back on 2014 and think it went so fast and so slowly at the same time. I made a lot of changes in 2014. Most for the better. Some not.

But I won’t give up on change. I won’t give up on trying and improving. Resolutions are really just plans, and I break plans that I make for myself all the time, so instead of resolutions I’m creating some simple strategies instead.

And I’d be fooling myself if I thought/said/pretended my life wasn’t full already. Adding the typical resolutions that only pile on MORE are just setting up for failure even more, so in that spirit I’m strategizing for both MORE and LESS in my life in 2015.

  • Pray more.
  • Trust more.
  • Do more.
  • Express more.
  • Worry less.
  • Think less.
  • Plan less.
  • Wait less.

How are you starting 2015? Do you have success with setting resolutions? How do you hold yourself accountable?

The House Hunt: Part 2 – Mourning and Moving On…

So that perfect, wonderful, awesome dream house that took us by surprise? Yeah, we missed out on it. Pat had been “thawing” and was showing more and more interest in the house as the week started. By Wednesday I asked my mom if she thought we should inquire to the agent, since I hadn’t seen an accepted offer notice go up on the listing – and believe me, I was checking it about 5x/day. She said calling them might show our hand if we weren’t totally set yet to put an offer out, and give them the chance to notify anyone else that was in our same position, which could start a bidding war situation. So I told her to wait. Well, she didn’t. Because she’s my mom.

She called the agent and he said they had already accepted an offer. I was pissed grumpy because I was SURE I hadn’t missed an accepted offer notice being posted with my obsessive listing watching. :) According to rules that, like…govern realtors and stuff (?), you only have 24 or 48 hours (can’t remember which now) to mark a listing with “under contract” after an offer has been accepted. It took him almost a week for that notice to go up, and after we inquired! – so I centered my anger and bitterness on him for that. I felt almost like there really wasn’t an accepted offer and he was lying to us, maybe to give buyers he was working with longer to put together an offer – something that would give him the whole commission instead of just half and is completely unethical to do. But Pat and I were bigger people and refrained from filing a complaint against him for his lack of timeliness on the accepted offer notice, which could get him fined. It’s like we’re adults or something…

So back to the house hunt for us. It is fun to look at so many houses, but can easily get frustrating with how time consuming it is. We’ve been toying with different thoughts regarding what we should go for too – more of a fixer upper, a nice but smaller starter house, or stick with the family ready size we’ve been looking for? Thanks to my mother, we’ve even started considering building. Building isn’t something I thought we’d want to do until it was the opportunity to build our absolute DREAM house – something we won’t likely be able to afford until quite a ways down the road – but it is a possibility, and might be a fun project… [famous last words, I’m sure].

Anyone have a house building experience that WASN’T an absolute nightmare? Most stories I’ve heard lean towards the “horror” genre, but apparently not terrifying enough to scare me away yet…

The House Hunt: Part 1 – Taken by surprise

It’s official. We have begun the elusive hunt. After 2 and 1/2 years in our apartment we’re ready to take a leap and spread out a little – or a lot – more.

My mom has been a realtor for about 7 years now, so I’ve seen her help a lot of people house hunt and now it’s our turn. Our lease is up at the end of September, but both Pat and I like to feel very informed, so we’ve started to keep an eye on what’s being put out on the market and how things are moving.

We saw a few houses through appointments last week, and made 8 appointments for today. To be perfectly honest about 6 of them were completely not an option – either gross, poorly maintained/remodeled or overpriced – most of them all three. We were just about to see our last showing and then I remembered another property that I had seen listed, but hadn’t seen pictures posted for yet. We were nearby so I suggested we drive past to see what it looked like. And then we saw what it looked like.

It is an awesome house. It hits all the checkmarks. The right number of beds, baths, garage spaces, type of basement, yard size, neighborhood – the only thing that could be improved was a slight change in layout of the kitchen and maybe a different color of appliances, but that’s being really picky. But, we weren’t expecting to find anything we were really serious about until at least late spring/early summer.

This was our kick in the pants to talk to someone and get all of our pre-approval ducks in a row. After talking numbers, this house hunting things feels official now. It’s like we’re adults or something…

Now, if you know me at all, I’m not one to sit on something. True, I like to feel absolutely informed, get all my details, research back and forth, up and down – but if I want something I usually make my mind up pretty quickly. And I really like this house…and I think I want this house…so I am (not so secretly) kind of jumping out of my skin, not knowing what to do with myself while trying to keep things slow. Pat is more calm and collected (at least for now), especially since, like I said, we weren’t expecting to find something we like for a few more months. So now it’s kind of a wait-and-see sort of thing. We’re going to look into what our conditions are for our lease – if we could get out early with a penalty or not – and what type of allowance we can afford ourselves in terms of lease and mortgage overlap (we wanted to allow ourselves a little bit anyways to hopefully be able to paint and move in comfortably without too much of a rush).

Everyone’s house hunting experiences are different. What has yours been like? Anyone else hunting currently, like us? If you’ve gone through the process already, was it a whirlwind or a slow, dragging process? What was the most frustrating part? The most exhilarating? Any advice for us? I’d love to hear anything anyone has to share!

Dear Apartment Management…

Dear Mr. or Ms. Apartment Manager,

Why, if you post that you close at 6pm, do you close earlier? And why do you hold my packages hostage as a result? If you’re going to leave early, the nice thing you could do is at least leave a note on the door apologizing for the fact that you thought whatever you had to leave work early for was so important – the rest of the world at least sets up an out of office message if they’re out during their normal business hours that people get when they try to contact them to do their job…why don’t you? I had somewhere else to be tonight, and I have a lot of work to do. I could have stayed at work until I needed to leave to go where I’m headed tonight, but no – I left early to be able to stop at your office, just in time (I thought) to pick up my packages before you closed. But nope, I was there at 5:57pm and door was shut and locked, and sadly I could see my packages just inside the door, sitting sadly and lonely, outside of my reach.

Hostage packages’ rightful owner and grumpy tenant

PR Tidbits – A&E: You’re Doing It Wrong

Back in college my PR professor started giving us a standing assignment for our classes that we called “PR Tidbits.” We were supposed to come to class with 1 example of a situation in which we saw good or bad PR practices being exercised, and be ready to discuss it a little – saying what went well or wrong, and how they could have better handled it or any other opportunities we saw to improve upon it. It started out in the 100-level courses as a way to get students to recognize the role of PR in our lives – many didn’t recognize how essential PR was to most everything that surrounded us in the news, media and culture. Eventually each of us came in to class each day with so many examples of, and opinions on, good and bad PR by companies and pop-culture personalities that we could spend the entire class time discussing them.

I still often think of our “PR Tidbit” exercise – mostly when I see something go so horribly wrong that all I can do is want to find whatever agency or person is representing those people or that organization and just shake them. I actually often think of an imagined interaction going much like a V8 commercial. –>

Working in PR professionally, we sometimes talk about some of these gaffes and epic wins at work, but most of the time we’re so focused on executing what we’re doing for our clients well that we don’t have much time to discuss them. For sure we share them on social media, but mostly I complain about them to my husband – which he suffers through mostly (love you, honey). But since the internet is the homebase of rants and raves, I figured the best place to unload about these types of things was right here!

Recently Phil Robertson – of the “Duck Dynasty“…well…dynasty – gave an interview to GQ magazine in which he expressed many of his Christian beliefs, one of which being that homosexuality is a sin. This interview was probably not unlike many others he’s given to numerous other media outlets, but none of those outlets were probably big enough (or liberal enough) for an organization like GLAAD to notice and to make a public statement in response. Their response called out A&E, the network that carries the show, to re-examine (i.e., cut) their ties with him because of what he said. When asked about the matter after GLAAD’s statement, A&E first issued a follow-up statement from Mr. Robertson that gave an explanation for why he said what he said, but then the network came back and condemned his remarks in the interview and stated that they would be placing him on hiatus from the current season’s filming of the show indefinitely. (Here’s a fairly non-bias recap of the situation, including most statements made.)

A&E: You’re doing it wrong.

Now before the flamethrowers come out (from either side) I will state that I probably share many opinions with Mr. Robertson, but this is not one of them. I consider myself a Christian, but ideologically we differ in this area. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

But even having a differing opinion than him, I can see that by suspending Phil’s involvement with the show, A&E is 1) changing the dynamic of a well-loved show where Phil is a main component – especially being the patriarch of the family and the company that is well-liked by many, many people, and 2) is alienating probably the majority of the show’s viewers.

Anyone who has watched the show should be able to discern that the Robertson family are Christians, and probably conservatively so. Most people with any cultural reference could also infer that they are republicans even. They hunt, they wear camo, they really like their guns and they even refer to themselves affectionately as “redneck,” in opposition to the “yuppies.” Each episode ends with a family praying around their dining table – a scene that probably doesn’t even often take place in the homes of the people that watch the show, but that those people that watch the show can appreciate.

Now the people who are really into the show and the family that makes up the wacky “cast” of characters, they probably also know that the oldest Robertson son was a pastor for many, many years, that the cast often makes appearances at churches, that Willie’s teenage daughter Sadie does a weekly YouTube series with a friend called “The New Different” that focuses on living a life focused on God rather than worldly things, and that overall the family is a conservative Christian family dedicated to living their faith.

These people that know these things are probably also the people that buy the Duck Dynasty and Duck Commander merchandise – in other words, the people pumping the most money back into the Duck Dynasty machine. These are people who also like to hunt, to wear camo, to own guns and might even refer to themselves as redneck. And even if these people don’t agree with Phil Robertson’s view on homosexuality, I can tell you one thing – these people probably really love their right to free speech (*Edited to add: Of course he was an at-will employee and A&E has every right to fire him due to his remarks if they want to – but most people probably won’t see it that way, instead probably seeing it as discrimination for his comments/discrimination against conservative Christian beliefs).

Now I could see the dilemma if A&E aired this show as an outlier and it just happened to have really random great success on their network. They might feel the pressure to come out against the statement and the show if it put a large percentage of their other shows at odds with it or alienated the audiences of these other shows. But their other shows consist of material that is most likely attractive to the same audience that adores Duck Dynasty. A sample of some of their most popular or current shows include Rodeo Girls, the series of Storage Wars shows, including Storage Wars: Texas, Longmire, American Hoggers…noticing a pattern here? Hell, the History channel, which is an A&E network, has a show called God, Guns & Automobiles.

Now A&E knew that the Robertson family’s faith would have to be a part of the show coming into the deal with them. Here’s a quote from the GQ article…

And then, of course, there is their faith, which plays no small role here. During the family鈥檚 initial negotiations about the show with A&E, Jase told me, 鈥渢he three no-compromises were faith, betrayal of family members, and duck season.鈥 That refusal to betray their faith or one another has been a staple of every media article about the Robertson family.聽It鈥檚 their elevator pitch, and it has made them into ideal Christian icons: beloved for staking out a bit of holy ground within the mostly secular, often downright sinful, pop culture of America. –GQ

And although A&E has managed to keep mentions of faith in the show on the wholesome level rather than ideological or politically motivated, the content that has aired dealing with their faith has still managed to not repel the millions of viewers that tune in to the show. And Phil made these comments in an interview, not on the show.

So A&E, where’s the problem with Phil’s participation in the show? And why do you think suspending him indefinitely was a good business move?

Anyone else have an opinion on A&E’s decision? Now, I said an opinion on their decision, not a flamethrowing rant on homosexuality or sin in modern culture, etc. Let’s keep the comments to the subject of the examination of a PR fail or win… :)

Hello, world. I’m Sarah Doran.

Sarah Doran. Sarah Rose Doran. Mrs. Doran. That’s me!

It’s a weird process to become a new you, when nothing about you or your life has really changed – we were living together already, all of our finances were joint already, I was even on his insurance at his last employer because they allowed covering “domestic partners.” I haven’t even started the process of changing my name on everything yet. Though I did change my twitter username (priorities!). I am now officially @SarahRoseDoran. I can request copies of our marriage license now and I’m sure the process of changing all of my accounts, social security, etc. will be long and annoying, and I will miss signing Laupan (I love my cursive L), but I am dedicated to becoming Mrs. Sarah Doran.

It seems like the wedding was sooo long ago, even though it’s only been two weeks. I think it has something to do with life without wedding planning. You know how when you listen to a song or see a show/movie/commercial for the first time, you digest every detail of it and it seems like it fills each second – and the second, third, fourth time you listen/see it it seems to rush by? I think that’s what I’m experiencing. I’m experiencing life without wedding planning paying attention to each detail and second. Planning and thinking about the wedding was my reality for a solid year and a half. Now that it’s over, I have time and brainspace to concentrate on other things. It’s kind of awesome.

I’m looking forward to getting back to the barn. It’s been almost two months since I’ve ridden last. I’m almost (almost) looking forward to how sore I’ll be the next few weeks as I get back into it. I’m hoping to be ready to do the jumping course at Hunter’s Pace, a hunt-style trail ride, at the beginning of October. But even if I don’t think I can handle the full jumping course, doing the non-jumping course (and trying a few of the jumps like I did last year) will still be fun, too.

The Final Countdown to Mrs!

Only five days left until I become a Mrs.! I’m excited, but I will admit it hasn’t fully hit me yet. There’s still lots to do before then and I’m sure I’ll be caught up in all of that until the day before or even that morning.

I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now change your Facebook status to married.

“I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now change your Facebook status to married.”

I wanted to ask my fellow modern women out there – what do you do about your changing to your married surname when it comes to social media? I’ve always known I would want to take my husband’s name, but I guess I never considered that when creating my twitter, gmail, instagram, and every other social media and website account possible because I most commonly use Srlaupan (my first initial, middle initial and last name). I kinda screwed myself there, didn’t I? :)

I currently have a unique last name, so it’s always been easy to secure usernames with it. However, I’m now changing to a much more common last name – Doran. And combined with my ULTRA common first name, I had a hard time finding a username that was available that I liked.

I admit that a while back when we first got engaged I went out and parked two options for Gmail and Twitter – sarahrosedoran and sarahrdoran. The second one is shorter (by 3 characters) but I do like using my first and middle name. I’ve tried coming up with a more unique, evergreen username based on just my first and middle names so I could change over BEFORE we got married (one less thing to think about this week/right after the wedding would have been nice), but I couldn’t come up with anything that wasn’t taken.

I’m not too worried about my SEO, because I don’t own my own business, I haven’t done too much freelance work and I’ve only “been around” for a few years. But for women business owners and those that have worked long and hard to establish their personal brand, I can’t imagine having to make the decision about not changing at all, changing over personally but not professionally, or changing over completely and losing a bit of their hard earned SEO/name recognition.

How did you/do you plan on handling a married name change in this world of SEO and social media identities?

I Swear this Woman is my Spirit Sister

Have you checked out Humans of New York yet? It’s a really interesting site created by a photographer in New York City (duh, of course) who takes street portraits and includes info or quotes from each person. Warning: it’s extremely addicting to just keep scrolling and reading, so venture over there with the same caution you’d take with Pinterest.

This lady’s quote resonated with me COMPLETELY today:

鈥淲hen I was younger, I thought listening was just about learning the contents of someone鈥檚 mind. I鈥檇 always try to finish their thoughts, just to show them that I knew what they were thinking. As I got older, I learned to listen better. I realized that by trying to anticipate their mind, I was ignoring their heart.鈥

That is me. That is COMPLETELY me. I’m the younger version of this lady.

Even though I could really “be a contender” in a contest for longest written run-on sentence, in real life I’m pretty succinct. Almost curt, you could say, sometimes. My mind moves too quickly and I know I need to slow down and that sometimes in communication the real thing to be learned doesn’t lie in the “point,” but the learning that happens when you really listen and get to know someone. Sarah: work in progress.

If you’re lucky…well, then you’re not me

So, imagine you find yourself at work, and what do you know? There happens to be a large amount of coffee (well, there’s probably more sugar and cream in that mixture than anything) saturating your lap. Nevermind how it got there – there’s probably only slightly more than a million ways that you could have pulled off that one – now you have to address and triage the situation.

If you’re lucky, you don’t have any meetings in the next 20 minutes, so you’ll have time to do something to make it not look like you’ve soiled yourself for the rest of the day. If you’re really lucky, your office has a locker room with a sink where you can rinse out the affected clothing items. If your luck continues, one of your fitness junkie female coworkers has a fully stocked locker down there, including a hairdryer that you can use to dry the rinsed-and-now-wet clothes. But if you’re really, really lucky, you wouldn’t be such a clutz and be in this situation anyways.

Hello World. It’s been a while.

When I said lots has been going on in my last post I really wasn’t kidding. Fast forward two months and there has been a new thing crossed off my 101 in 1,001 list, a decision on our honeymoon, an accident, engagement pictures, a new car, applying for a new job, a trip to South Dakota, a trip to Arizona, an offer for that new job, and a crazy two weeks finishing up at the old job. I’ve been writing thoughts down intermittently but haven’t gotten the chance to finish any posts – but I promise to change that.

Today we are going to head out to shop for suits for the guys – fingers crossed this place has one that is a style we like, a fit we like, AND can come in all the needed sizes for our guys. I definitely thought the suit process would be easier than this – aren’t the GIRLS supposed to be the difficult ones to dress?! That was easy peasy.

Also, this afternoon is my bridal shower! It definitely feels weird. I haven’t had the “this shit just got real” moment regarding the whole wedding yet, but I feel like I’m on the verge. I did think that I would be super anticipating my bridal shower, going out and buying a new dress especially for the occasion and just basking in the bridal glow and joy – that hasn’t really happened, but I also think the stress of changing jobs (spoiler: the new job is mine) could be affecting that. As well, I always imagined my bridal shower would be on a bright and sunny day, but today’s not only going to be rainy, but thunderstorms are forecasted for the entire afternoon. Oh well. Let’s hope this weather karma means that the wedding day will be gorgeous in exchange. :)

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