why I quit foursquare

I joined Foursquare a year ago when I got curious about all the “4sq” tweets I was seeing in my Twitter feed. What was this social media function? And oh, there are points so it’s like a contest? Sign me up.

I quickly became “mayor” (automatic +3 points) of places no one else checks into like my house and the kids’ bus stop. Then Nancy’s house and the gas station and our local farmer’s market. When I finally became mayor of Biker Barre, I felt a sense of glee.

I never had more than about 35 “friends” (followers?) many of whom I’d never met but was connected to on Twitter. I didn’t consider myself to be competing with them for the top spot on the leadership board but I was definitely competing with myself. One new coffee shop away from a new level of the fresh brew badge? Let’s go here. I loved being awarded +7 points or even +9 points sometimes for a new place I was checking into. My highest single check in (+12) occurred in Hawaii where I was first of my friends to check in said spot, it was the first of its category I’d frequented, the mayor was in the house and I’d already hit x number of spots that day.

Last week when I was home concussed, I didn’t go anywhere after checking in at Sibley Hospital that Saturday (only +1 because I’d been there before) until Thursday when I made the poor decision to try to return to work (+3) before my body was ready. My point totals for the week were near their lowest ever, my head was throbbing, and I thought: why do I care? And furthermore, why do I feel like I need to tell the world where I am at every single moment?

(In my previous bouts of asking myself these questions, I’d justify my addiction with the thought that if something happened to me and the DC CSI team needed clues as to my whereabouts, they could follow my moves on Foursquare.)

We live such public lives even when we aren’t public figures. With all the focus on privacy the last few weeks, I’ve been less astonished on how it might have been violated and more struck by how much we reveal of ourselves.

So this morning, I checked in at Washington Radiology (+1) where I waited two hours to get my mammogram. But I purposely did not check in for coffee afterwards. I checked in at work (+3) out of force of habit but that was my last official check in. As I sat outside Biker Barre tonight, waiting for the rain to subside before going in, I deleted my Foursquare account.

But not before I received an email telling me I’d just been ousted as mayor of Biker Barre.

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13 in ’13

First came 43 by 43, and now 13 in ’13. That is, I’ve set 13 goals that I intend to pursue in the year 2013. A few of these goals are a continuation of my 43 by 43 efforts. But there are some new ones already penetrating my psyche. And because I can think of no better way to hold myself accountable, I share them all with you. I expect badgering, welcome participation and hope for encouragement.

In no particular order:

1. Get spin certified. You know I love my Biker Barre. I’m not expecting to attain a level of awesomeness that will allow me to teach there. (That might have to be a 2014 goal.)  But every time I hear a song I  like, I imagine what I’d do along to it on a bike. In that regard, spinning is as close of a sport to cheerleading as I’ve managed to get in my adult life. Just harder and sweatier.

2. Learn a new wine region. I know my California wines, but it’s time to branch out. And  I know nothing about Italian wines. Bring on the Barolo, Amarone and Brunello.

3.  Host (at least) quarterly dinner parties. I love to cook, but I don’t do it enough for my friends. Just understand if you’re invited to a Chelsea feast, I’m going to cook Italian so I can practice the skills attained in the advanced pasta making class I’m taking from Hill’s Kitchen. And I’m going to multitask by serving Italian wine (see goal #2).

4. Save money for college. Or get the kids discovered. But I don’t feel like I’d make a good stage mom, so saving is probably easier (though not on my shoe budget).

5.& 6. Travel. I promised the kids I’d take them to Hawaii. And I want to go to Italy. To drink obscure Italian wines (see goal #2) of course. It’s listed here as two goals because it’s two trips.

7. Make iconic fashion purchase. I dream of Chanel. And Cartier. But I may have to set my sights lower. I’m sure I will agonize in this very forum over any potential purchase.

8. Open my heart to relationship opportunity. I’m a dating disaster. I tried Match for 24 hours before canceling the membership. I went on zero dates after six months of e-harmony. Set ups are few and far between. After my divorce, dating wasn’t a priority. However, I’m now at a point where I’d like to share my crazy, drama-prone life with another (hopefully calmer and less dramatic) person.

9. Sign new clients. I have this hot new job. It’s time to exceed my potential with some great new clients whom I can help navigate the tricky world that is the U.S. Congress.

10. Publish the sequel to My Night with George Clooney. This is the only goal that has a very specific deadline. Which would be by the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in late April. If you read my first story, you know why this date is significant.

11. Refinance my house. It’s time. That is all.

12. Finish home improvement projects. That means have a deck built, fix up the yard and install window boxes. Maybe build a wine cellar. Some things the Warriors can help me do. Some I will have to contract to have done. And maybe I can bribe my talented brother to come down to Maine for a week of intense help.

13. Live life to the fullest. I know this particular goal will be difficult to measure. But I will know it when I’m feeling it, and those who are close to me will call me on it when I’m not.

There you have it. 13 goals. 11 months left to achieve them. Wish me success.

My Night with George Clooney

I did it. My short story is ready for the world.

Click here and you can read of it for yourself. You might even be able to do so at lunch, depending on how much time you get to take. In fact, you should start reading it at lunch or on your metro ride home tonight or first thing when you wake up in the morning. (I will cut you some slack that you might already have Friday night plans.)

This is an electronic book, published by Amazon’s Kindle Direct Program. But you don’t have to own an actual Kindle to read it. All you need is an iPhone, iPad or android or any other device that is compatible with the Kindle app. The app is free, so if you don’t have it, go download it now.

Before you cough up the $2.99 to read my story, I thought I’d give you a little description of what to expect.

My story is:

Funny.

Better than 50 Shades of Gray.

My story is not:

True.

Porn. (Sorry.)

And you can enjoy it for less than the cost of a tall latte at Starbucks, 1/7 the cost of a one-class pass at Biker Barre, and 1/166 the cost of these dream shoes by Bettye Muller at SimplySoles.

I feel a little dazed now that the big day is here and my story is out there for the world to read. Chalk it up the late night (it was 1:30am by the time I finally hit all the right buttons to send my story to Amazon) or the typical feeling of quiet exhaustion after you have fulfilled a huge personal challenge. I’m sure I will be more emotional later, once the realization sinks in that I just bared a significant part of my soul to you all. While I do hope you like it, I did this for me. As it turns out, proving to myself that I could publish a story was the best gift I ever gave myself.

And now I’m going to stop before I do open the emotional floodgates.

May you enjoy reading My Night with George Clooney as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Month of Chelsea

Photo by chelseachronicl

I have designated November to be Month of Chelsea. I’ve had enough of tears, frustration, bad weather, illness and death. I’ve had enough of sleepless nights, back pain, and wondering when things will turn around. There’s no sense in waiting for change. It’s time to make it for myself.

I had this epiphany exactly yesterday, on day one. And what did I do on this day? I early voted. It took a five-hour split shift on a rainy day to get it done, but it was important to me to fulfill this civic duty. In between line waiting, I spent some quality time with my hairdresser and dropped by the kids’ school where I had a nice chat with the principal about my kids’ education.

So far day two has found me breakfasting with one of my favorite people in DC and receiving this unexpected gift in the mail from my friend Kassie. It’s my very favorite shoe of all time, the Treat by Bettye Muller, custom dyed in a gorgeous coral-orange shade. Later today, I hope to make it to Biker Barre and after, to visit with my old boss to discuss an idea I have to return civility to Washington, DC. Yes, I am thinking big this month.

On tap for day three I have Weekend Warriors, one of my favorite days of the month. Other goodies in the Chelsea queue include: publishing at long last my story; heading to Michigan for Election Day to campaign for the Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs ballot initiative; and later this month, I head to San Francisco for Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. And then there is my upcoming vacation to Hawaii.

How can November not be month of Chelsea when I’m spending seven days of it in Hawaii?

I won’t torture you with daily updates, but did want to share my newfound energy, enthusiasm and purpose. If we all decide that November is going to be our month and we all made the most of these 30 days, wouldn’t all that positive energy result in a vast amount of goodness?

I’m not saying that this is the solution to all the world’s problems, but at least for one month, I promise to not let the negative get in the way and to live each day with the promise it deserves.

meet Katie…

If you don’t go to Biker Barre, you might not have met co-owner Katie Fouts. She’s a badass on (and off) the bike. And the woman can dance, if her spin room moves are any indication. I suspect she teeters on the edge of crazy fun to go out on the town with. She’s inspiring. (I’m a sucker for the whole “I was unhappy in my previous career and made a complete change” storyline.) She’s energetic, smart, and gorgeous.

I was most honored when Katie approached me a few weeks ago and asked if she could engage my services in finding her a gown (make that two) for Inaugural festivities in January.

By way of an aside, let me note that Katie plans to attend the balls regardless of who wins the presidency, though she assures me she does have a preference as to who emerges victorious. Attending an Inaugural ball just happens to be something on her DC Bucket List.

Initially, we met to discuss strategy, over wine of course. We decided she needs a black dress for Inauguration Eve and a spectacular dress for the big night. She set a budget. She started a Pinterest board, Cinderella Time. And we scheduled our initial date to shop.

Who knew our shopping date would fall on Frankenstorm Eve? Being ever the cautious one, I questioned the sanity of heading out to Tyson’s after her Sunday Brunch Spin class as planned. We discussed rescheduling. But the endorphin high after her class pushed us both to go for it. (I mean, it wasn’t even raining yet.)

We hit two stores: Neiman Marcus and Saks. At Neiman, I suggested we look at every dress. I pulled gowns we had pinned and gowns we were unsure of on the hanger because I wanted to push her boundaries.

Of the ten gown we brought into the dressing room, the first three I suggested she try emerged as favorites.  I will hold back on sharing a photo of the top contender for now, as we want to see her in a different style by the same designer. (We may stage our own little public opinion poll.) While we loved the David Meister Animal-Print Gown on her (pictured at the top) I feared that she’d be yanking up the strapless bodice all night and that the sequins would chafe her underarms. We also loved a Catherine Dean gown (pictured below) for its edgy factor, but it was way over budget. (I don’t normally endorse trying on dresses over your budget but in this case, we wanted to try something out of the ordinary.) Both dresses were flattering, but neither was our favorite.

Our Inaugural Gown Pursuit continues. Stay tuned for the next update.

In the meantime, if you can introduce Katie to an eligible bachelor who’s tall, hunky and able to match her dance moves step for step, maybe she’ll comp you a spin class.

what are you waiting for?

If your closet needs an infusion of fall fashion, head on over to the Periwinkle pop up shop today from 11:00-8:00, tomorrow and Saturday from 10:00-8:00 and Sunday from 11:00-4:00. Owner Elizabeth Mason (a woman I want to know better given the transition she made from politico to style maven) and her team will have on hand goodies from her three boutiques and we wouldn’t want her to have to drag any of these items back to Virginia or National Harbor, would we? For these four days, Periwinkle will house a fourth boutique at Tabula Rasa, located at 731 8th Street, SE. Going to Barracks Row for lunch or happy hour? Or maybe a workout at Biker Barre? You have no excuse to not at least pop your head in and support this tiny moment in time when women’s retail comes to Capitol Hill. Maybe we can show enough support to talk Elizabeth into a fourth permanent Periwinkle outpost.

falling for fall

photo credit: http://www.polyvore.com/come_hither_fall/set?id=58371091#stream_box
I’ve had a love affair with fall my entire life. I’m just not a summer person. Perhaps if I could, as my friend Sarah says, summer on a lake (just the use of the word “summer” as a verb connotes leisure) or if I didn’t live in a landfilled swamp, I’d feel differently. But nothing lifts my spirits like the first nights that dip into the 60s, allowing for open-window sleeping, sweaters, and my all-time favorite, riding boots.

I’m not completely convinced that fall is imminent, but am fed up with summer. Two mani-pedis ago, I abandoned the bright shades that aren’t very me but which I feel compelled to adopt in warmer months. And earlier this week, I knocked two items off my fall wish list, though I hope the purchase of said items doesn’t have the effect of extending this dreadful summer.

Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I must disclose that I was inspired to assemble my top ten list by DC Style Factory and her list earlier this week. Thanks, Rosana, for reminding me on a 92-degree day that fall might be around the corner.

And because it’s never too early to wish upon a star, my list:

1. The Bettye Muller Roxy in Bordeaux: I have lusted over this shoe since style sister Austin from SimplySoles sent me a photo of it before they had it in stock. This is one item I already bought because I panicked the other night when I noticed they only had two more pairs in stock, one in my size.

2. Western Jean Shirt in Desert Willow Wash by Madewell: I was not only inspired by Rosana to make a list, but to add a dark wash denim shirt to my wardrobe this fall. I have a summer weight, chambray one, but the darker wash version appeals to my sense of fall. Except when I stepped into the dressing room at Madewell, I liked the fit of this western version better. I would NEVER in a gazillion years have ordered this shirt sight unseen. I wasn’t even going to try it on until the saleswoman suggested it, and I’m glad she did.

3. More Minnie Pants: I fell in love with these pants a few years ago, then fell out of love when I was feeling a little heavier than I like to be. I’m usually a skeptic when it comes to any pant on me that isn’t floor length, but the Minnie has been the one exception. However, the pairs in my closet, aside from looking well-loved, are actually a little too big (thank you, Biker Barre!) so new Minnies go on the list for fall. The only debate is what color(s)?

4. Essie Nail Polish in Stylenomics: I suffer corals and fuschias in the summer because I technically live in the south, but my northern sensibilities want to wear dark nail polish all year round. While I normally default to OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark or the Essie version, Wicked, the color I have in mind now is a dark green, and Stylenomics looks to fit the bill.

5. Opera-length Fingerless Gloves: I first coveted a pair from DVF that cost a shocking $350 more than this affordable pair. I love fingerless gloves to allow for easy access to my touch-screen devices, as well as for the fact that they won’t cause wear and tear on my manicure. I want to wear these with jeans as much as I do a fantastic dress. And at this price, it’s a no-brainer that you will soon find them in my possession.

Other items that round out my top ten wish list include (6) a new LBD, object of my affection yet to be identified; (7) more bracelets and bangles to stack on my wrists; (8) new jeans, maybe even the sexy boyfriend style Wardrobe Oxygen swears by; (9) the Marie Jo Carole Bodysuit, or at least the Avero plunge bra in raisin since I’d slightly intimidate myself in a bodysuit; and (10) a new wool coat. My old ones are on the verge of being threadbare; I needed to invest in a new one last winter. I can’t decide whether I want a reliable neutral shade or pop of color. I will try to not let indecision get the better of me this season.

There’s so much more I covet, but these essentials will work with my existing wardrobe and get me into and through the glory days of what I can only hope will be an extended fall.