Currently (May/June 2017)

currently-may-june-header

And just like that, another several weeks have flown by. How is it July?!

Hands down, May was hectic chaos. Alex came back from Europe and spent a week with me in Denver. I spent a week house/dog sitting for a friend. I spent a week in Pittsburgh for MBA graduation festivities and the long awaited ceremony. Alex and I spent a day in Cincinnati before flying back to Denver and move into our apartment. Two days later, our friends from BSchool arrived for Memorial Day weekend.

I wouldn’t trade the experiences we had but it sure did wear me out.

Hilariously, in May, Alex and I outlined our summer weekends and planned to keep these free to spend time hanging out with each other. These past two years were high-stress and low-free-time so we both were really excited to just BE together again.

But, as it goes, the universe had other plans and we did a bad job protecting our free time. We traveled to Cincinnati for a long weekend to support a friend who’s mom passed away. I started (assistant) teaching a backpacking class with Colorado Mountain Club. We watched pups. Alex went to South Carolina for a bachelor party while I did an overnight backpacking trip with my class. And on the last day of June, part of my family arrived for a 4th of July family vacation.

I’m trying really hard to take better care of myself as these past two months have not felt emotionally or physically great. What was supposed to be a low key summer with few commitments quickly ballooned into the exact opposite and after so many years of running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I can’t keep doing it. I need to protect my time, I need to protect my mental and physical health. I need to make time to exercise and pack my lunch and *eat breakfast*. I need to say no to commitments. If I want things to be different, if I want to feel different, I have to act different and make better choices for me.

The rest of July and August are just as packed as May and June but I’m working hard to take a step back, slow down and take care of myself.

Step one: keep hydrated during this hot, dry week!

Currently (April 2017)

For my 31st birthday in March, I embarked a new, digital mode of memory keeping to chronicle a year in this moment in my life with an app called 1Second Everyday (1SE) which is…exactly that.

Shoot a short video every day, save a 1 second snippet and that’s it! I’m able to save a compilation of days and I’ve decided to group mine by month until my next birthday. A few times in the recent past I’ve downloaded 1SE and tried to make it stick but usually lost steam after the first couple of weeks. But not this time! This time, I’m committed.

While seemingly easy enough to shoot a 1 second video, I find it very challenging to remember to shoot the damn video. Despite working for a mobile app company, I am so not into my phone – as anyone who has ever texted me can affirm. So for me, 1) having my phone in my hand and 2) thinking about capturing a short video during an interesting part of my day (and there are many!) is not my forte.

But 2 months in, I’m am doing a better job at remembering to capture moments. There are noticeably a LOT of Rover.com dogs in this April segment – partly because I watched several dogs but also because I was/am still trying to find my 1SE groove.

I’m excited to see how these videos change over the months; already, May’s seconds are more interesting and I’m refining my style and doing a better job keeping this little project top of mind and finding moments of inspiration throughout my days.

One Time, We Went On Vacation

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

To Europe! For two whole weeks! Together!

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

As Alex was considering which capstone track to pursue, we very quickly decided that he should absolutely do the study abroad track. (Well, in real life, he wasn’t 100% sold at the beginning but I aggressively talked him into it; 6+ WEEKS IN EUROPE! WHEN ELSE IN YOUR LIFE WILL YOU HAVE THIS OPPORTUNITY! I HOPE NEVER UNLESS I’M WITH YOU! GO TO EUROPE!) So Europe it was!

Tepper encourages students to travel during their breaks and gives an extra ‘experience week’ during winter and spring breaks. There are typically ‘treks’ organized that students (and partners!) can participate in and experience Japan or Israel or Yacht Week or Silicon Valley and more. We did not participate in a planned trek either year but we certainly made the most of our experience week this year!

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

We planned to spend 2 weeks in Europe together, prior to Alex’s capstone starting in Germany in mid-March. Before the unexpected anxiety, we’d planned to bounce around, spending a few days in various places. After anxiety, we opted to chill out instead: 5 days in Paris, 2 days skiing in Chamonix and 1 day to explore Germany before I left and his program started. It was relaxing, recharging and perfect.

Rather than a play-by-play, I’m opting instead to share snippets of our week via photos.

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

Europe Vacation // lynnepetre.com

I can’t even overstate how much we needed a vacation – both as individuals and as a couple. Sitting on the plane to Frankfurt, we reminisced about the last time we took a vacation…4.5 years earlier for our honeymoon. Between vacations, we took many long weekend trips, road trips, ski trips with friends – but never a vacation for just the two of us with the sole intention of doing whatever the heck we felt like.

Now, I’m back into the swing of Denver life while he finishes his last few weeks in Europe before coming home for graduation. To say I’m anxious for him to be home (especially with current, unpredictable government) is an understatement. 3 weeks!

 

Real Talk: Moments (and Monsters) of Stress

20160405_190303-01-v3

Last week, like much of the past few months, I was feeling overwhelmed. At work, I’ve had a couple open positions on my team since summer/early fall where I’ve picked up a bulk of the slack which has made for long days and nights, focused on work and leaving little room for anything else. Obviously, this is not sustainable and fortunately, I’ve filled 2 of my 3 open positions (yay!) so there’s a light in sight.

But last week in particular, I was feeling it. I’d spent the prior weekend house/dog sitting for a neighbor, had commitments every night after work and was planning to spend the weekend in the mountains with my girlfriends. ‘So busy!’  (I hate that phrase but it rang true last week.) Toward the end of the week, feeling frazzled and stressed and I knew I needed to pare back to keep my sanity. So I did just that and had started to write a blog post as a reminder for myself to say no sometimes, to prioritize my own mental/emotional/physical well being and that the friends in my life would understand if I needed to spend some down time with myself. (And, of course, when I talked to my friends about this, they were more than understanding and echoed the feeling.)

The universe works in funny (and not so funny) ways sometimes. Just as I had changed my weekend plans to allow time to recharge on Sunday, I started receiving text messages from Alex, mid-flight, that he was having what would turn out to be his second panic attack in less than a week. At the time, he/we didn’t know what it was – he’d never experienced this before and given family medical history, it was easy to jump to scary conclusions – so the paramedics took him from the airport to the emergency room in Pittsburgh. As soon as he called and told me they were planning to keep him overnight to run a few additional tests, I bought a (very expensive) red eye flight from DEN > PGH.

It turns out that everything, medically, checks out – thank goodness – and it was truly ‘just’ a panic attack both times. No blood clot, no heart damage, nothing medically to worry about. As we spent time over the past few days talking about it, he has many aspects of his life that have caused high stress for extended periods and he’s left very little time to take care of his own mental/emotional/physical well being. Sound familiar? Now, his challenge is to figure out how to recognize and manage that stress before it gets to the point of panic attacks in the future.

As scary as this weekend was, it brought everything in our lives to a screeching halt and immediately made us focus on what is truly important in our lives: being healthy and happy for ourselves and each other for so many years to come.

It really underscored the importance of making time for mental health on top of physical health – to decompress, to reflect, to meditate and to just chill. We can only shove out the stress and forge ahead for so long before the beast rears it’s head and forces us to pay attention and slow down.

Talk about being inspired to make a change, right? In looking at the silver lining, this experience opened up a conversation we’d had in snippets, during a particularly stressful week or day. We had an honest and thoughtful conversation with about our stressors (big and little) and created a plan of action for getting through the daily moments of stress while also working towards recognizing and categorizing stressors into ‘definitely worry about now’ and ‘out of your control’ buckets.

As I find things that work for me (meditation apps, yoga, reflection journals, etc), I’ll share here on this little corner of the internet for myself but also maybe for you, in case you need the gentle reminder to take care of you, too.

When The Holidays Include An Open Heart Surgery

Back in Denver tonight after 2 weeks in OH/PA and I am really missing my family.

I flew home to Cincinnati on a Saturday, one full week before Christmas and for the first time in several years, all of my siblings (5 of us!) were home, too. Our youngest sister, Lexi, was scheduled for an open heart surgery on Monday, 12/19, so we kids made it a point to be home a few days before to celebrate Christmas together and rally around Lexi ahead of her surgery.

Heart Surgery 2016 // lynnepetre.com

Heart Surgery 2016 // lynnepetre.com

Per Lexi’s request, we went to a Christmas church play, ate Christmas dinner (including her favorite ‘red noodles’) and exchanged gifts on the night before. I snapped lots of photos throughout the night and ensuing days; while we all expected and hoped for the best on Monday, our baby sister would be facing a major, 8 hour operation during which machines would be pumping her blood and breathing air into her lungs. It was hard not to acknowledge the seriousness of what the next day would bring and push out the worst case scenarios from bouncing around our brains. But that night, we put aside differences, laughed and hugged, and really savored our moments together as a family.

We caravanned down to Cincinnati’s Children’s hospital on Monday morning after a night of restless sleep to spend the last few minutes with Lexi before she was wheeled back to the operating room. In true millennial fashion, she sent out one last snap before the doctors came for her.

Heart Surgery 2016 // lynnepetre.com

The next hours were agonizing. Lexi was the longest case of the day so we were shown into a consultation room to post up for the next 8 hours. A nurse came in to update us every 1.5 hours; in between, we read books and emails, slept, colored, took coffee breaks, flipped through hospital TV channels. Time has never moved so slowly as it did that morning.

Heart Surgery 2016 // lynnepetre.com

And then, early in the afternoon, Lexi’s doctor joined us in our room to deliver the best news I’ve ever heard – surgery was a success and everything went smoothly. They were cleaning her up and moving her to the ICU and we’d be allowed to see her in a couple of hours.

Miraculously, Lexi came out of surgery and surprised everyone with how great she was recovering. There were hilarious post-surgery conversations that I will never forget (although, she may not remember them as clearly). She was awake, aware and in good spirits. After 1 day in the ICU, she was moved to the ‘step down’ room where she spent one night and came home the following day. After 2 days in the hospital after open heart surgery, she was coming home!

Heart Surgery 2016 // lynnepetre.com

The week between Lexi coming home and Alex and I trekking back to Pittsburgh was truly magical. My brothers and sisters were home, my husband was with me, my parents and their spouses were home and off work. I went to yoga with my brother and my husband; we played cards around the kitchen table; my dad and his wife came over every single day.

Alex and I spent great time with his family, too – snuggling with our newest nephew and his amazing parents, catching up with a brother who just started college and sister who is about to graduate college. We spent an afternoon bowling and eating barbecue and instead of exchanging gifts this year, we opted to play games together on Christmas morning, spending precious time together that we rarely get as adults.

And now, back in Denver by myself, I’m feeling a little sad and lonely. The post-holiday blues. I feel so lucky and grateful for these days spent with my families this holiday season because in every facet, we slowed down and focused on the meaning of Christmas – sharing love and joy with each other. And this year, more than most, I plan to carry this light into my new year, too.

Life In Denver, Again

Cross Country Drive // lynnepetre.com

More than a week ago, I packed most of my things into the back of OsCar the Outback and drove myself back to Denver. I drove 5 hours to Cincinnati on Thursday night, 5 hours to St. Louis Friday night and 12 hours to Denver on Saturday.

I moved into a duplex house with a roommate – my first roommate in 7+ years – and, surprisingly, the arrangement is going very well. We get along fabulously and spent the weekend doing very roommate-y things: making homemade pizzas on Friday night, watched a movie and YouTube videos Saturday night and Sunday, ran our own errands but caught up later in the evening.

My roommate has a little dachshund, Schnapps, who is a gentle and goofy old man of a dog. His signature move is to run up to anyone who has food and sit up on his hind legs, like a kangaroo.

I send so many snaps of this strange pose because it makes me so happy. I miss Philly a lot and it’s nice to have a little pup running around so I can get a few furry snuggles at the end of a work day.

Living just 3 miles from work, I’m biking to/from again like I did this summer. In fact, I’ve only driven my car a handful of times the past week (mostly to get furniture/items from Target for my new room) and I’m excited to continue biking or riding transportation regularly. Of course, the whole reason I drove the car back out is to maximize mountain time and now that I’ve situated myself in my new room, I’m looking forward to fall and winter mountain adventures!

Like this!
Like this!

When we left Denver last year, Alex and I talked about how whenever we did/do find our way back, it would never be the same as when we left. I agreed at the time and never really expected that I’d be back in Denver, without him, so soon after we left. It’s certainly not the life we left behind but I’m excited about it all the same. Work, travel, building new friendships, making time for hobbies, sleeping on both sides of the bed. 😉

I find myself missing Alex and Philly the most in the quiet moments in the evening, when I’m hunkered down in my basement room for the night. And in every moment of my weekend which has been such treasured time over the past year when I’d get more than a few minutes of time with my husband. Now, I’m figuring out new routines to keep myself happy and occupied during those times, as is he.

It’s emotionally hard to be separated and not feel left out when he’s hanging out with our friends or I’m at our favorite football hangout without him. But we both remind ourselves and each other that this long distance is a fleeting moment in the story of our lives. And the benefits outweigh the sacrifice. I know this to be true and I’m not wishing away the time, but I am looking forward to when Denver is OUR city again.

Heading West, Again

welcome to lynnepetre.com // lynnepetre.com

It’s a gorgeous fall day in Pittsburgh; humidity is low, temperatures have dipped and the sun is shining brightly. The kind of day that makes me appreciate spending time in the midwest for this moment in my life, yearning for the crunch of leaves beneath my feet as I walk Philly around our neighborhood, snuggling under a blanket with my husband in the evenings in our poorly-insulated old apartment.

But this is likely my first and last midwest fall day this season because, today, I begin a drive west to move back to Colorado.

Earlier this summer while working in Denver, I knew spending this upcoming year working remotely would not be the best decision for me, professional or personally. Truthfully, I knew this the moment I left Colorado last July.

Working from Home // lynnepetre.com

Being the sole remote person on my team was challenging; I missed interacting with my coworkers and I felt really isolated. Growing and leading a team remotely is extremely challenging and, this summer alone, I added 4 new members to my team and currently have open several open positions for my territory. Things at Ibotta are moving so fast and it’s such an exciting time to be part of this company that I don’t want to miss out on the unique opportunities and experience in front of me.

Alex immediately supported the move; he’s always encouraged me to find and follow what’s important to me in a career. After many thoughtful conversations, we made a game plan and I found a short term apartment in Denver before I left at the end of the summer. I will be spending most of my time in Denver and ‘reverse remote working’ where I’ll work remotely for a week in Pittsburgh every few weeks so I’m able to still spend time with Alex.

I’m as excited to move as I am sad to leave. 

For much of the past couple of years, I’ve felt like I’m in the passenger’s seat, figuring out how to fit my plans into my husband’s school schedule. This, though, is me taking the driver seat (literally) and making a decision about what’s best for me, a decision that sets me up for current and future success and is a decision I feel really good about. I’m excited to continue to grow in my career and be in the office as the next months unfold.

Of course, it’s not without it’s tradeoff. I’ve cried many tears about leaving Alex and Philly. About the life experiences Alex and I will have separately from each other. About missing out on the precious little time I have left with our Pittsburgh friends before graduation in May. About not living a short drive from Cincinnati.

It’s going to be hard and exciting and lonely and rewarding, all a the same time. In the end, these 10 months of long distance will fly by and be an interesting story in this ‘unconventional’ moment of our lives. (And after 2.5 years of long distance dating, 10 months feels like the blink of an eye!)

Moving to Denver // lynnepetre

See you soon, Denver. Just 1500 miles to go.

How Is It Already August?!

20160618_201226-01

For the first weekend since my first weekend in Denver, I am IN Denver with NO plans. For the past 8 weekends, I have either traveled, backpacked or had friends in town and, while I’ve loved every single minute of it, it feels really decadent to have a down weekend…before the next round of madness.

This weekend, I am packing up the room of my ‘summer home’ in preparation for the next, full-time tenant who moves in next weekend. On Tuesday, I leave Denver to meet up with Heidi for a wild west road trip through Idaho and Oregon in the #YourLead van. When I return, I move in (very temporarily) to a friend’s basement until I shift to another friend’s house where I’ll be house/dog sitting while they’re out of town. From THERE, I’ll fly to *back* to Portland, OR, to run with Paula, Katie, Heidi and others in Hood To Coast. From THERE, I’ll red-eye myself to Pittsburgh to spend a (probably exhausted) day with my husband before he starts his second and final year of grad school the next day. Aug Updates // lynnepetre.com

The past few weeks have brought roller-coaster emotions, from the very high (Alex surprising me with a ticket to spend a weekend in Vegas with him) to pretty low (finding out important but scary family health news). I backpacked in the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness for my final backpacking school overnight. I spent a final weekend in Los Angeles with Alex before he ends his internship this coming Friday. My brother and his girlfriend visited this past week and we went to Red Rocks Amphitheater for LCD Soundsystem (which was AMAZING!). And as work goes, I feel as passionate as ever and am very excited about what the next months hold.

I’m honestly flabbergasted that the summer is already coming to a close. And while it feels like I just arrived, I also packed so many great experiences into these past 11 weeks.

It’s hard sometimes for me and Alex to see the forest for the trees of this season of life. We can get so laser focused on how much we miss each other, how much we miss ‘real life’ together in the same city (with two incomes!) and forgetting this chapter is a finite moment.

The past year has brought so many interesting and important adventures into our life that we otherwise would never have experienced. Never in my life was Los Angeles on my radar or in my consideration set for a place to visit or consider living. We’ve road tripped across the country multiple times (and will do so a few more times before this season ends). And this summer, I’ve rediscovered my self-reliance in so many facets of life and have been humbled by the outreach and willingness of friends to loan a car or ride or, most importantly, an ear.

Alex and I have grown so much as a married couple, as individuals and as professionals this summer and past year that, without taking a step back to reflect, it’s easy to forge ahead and not appreciate what we’ve learned and who we’ve become, together and separately. And I’m pretty damn proud of who we are and where we’re headed.

With a few more weeks of summer chaos, I’m excited for the last adventures each of us has on our schedules but more excited to reunite in Pittsburgh at the end of the month. Less than 3 weeks till our little family is reunited!

Up Next: MBA School Summer Break

2015 in Review - April // lynnepetre.com

The first year of Alex’s MBA program has officially finished and he is on ‘summer break’! Kind of a misnomer because ‘summer break’ in business school is the time between school and internship. For Alex, he has a month off between classes ending to his internship beginning but other students had just a few days to get from Pittsburgh to their internship (but they have typically have a longer break at the end of their internship before classes start again in September).

Most of the first year of business school is focused on finding a summer internship and we always knew that for Alex, this likely meant not working in Pittsburgh. We spent many hours discussing cities, companies, lifestyles, future goals and more together as Alex identified his target companies for the summer. In many cases, the internship leads to a full time offer so we wanted to set ourselves up for the best post-MBA decision possible.

In March (on my birthday, in fact), Alex landed the best internship for his skills set and ambitions – it’s the perfect bridge between what he had been doing before school to what he wants to do after school. He’ll be working for a super cool media tech company, in Santa Monica/Los Angeles, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that his apartment will be 6 blocks from the beach. Homeboy is living the Summer Internship Dream!

Ibotta Entrance // lynnepetre.com

We also knew, before we even moved to Pittsburgh, that if Alex’s internship was not in Pittsburgh, I wanted to spend my summer in Denver. Working remotely is hard and working remotely and leading a team at an aggressively growing and extremely innovative company is even harder. While I’ve come to enjoy my personal life in Pittsburgh and feel like I am in a good ‘working remotely’ rhythm, I’m missing out on in-office collaboration and career growth opportunities. Plus, it’s lonely! I miss talking to my coworkers in person and socializing. Without Alex in Pittsburgh, I would surely become the crazy hermit lady who goes days without talking to anyone in real life and nobody (especially not me) wants that.

So, all this to say that Alex and I are en route across the country, wheels pointed west! We are spending a couple of days with our family in Cincinnati and then will drive to Denver. Alex doesn’t start work till early June so he’ll/we’ll have a few weeks of downtime in Colorado before he finishes the last, 17-hour leg from Denver to Los Angeles.

Petre Road Trips // lynnepetre.com

These next few months of Summer Break are sure to be chaotic with both of us working at companies we’re excited about and traveling/exploring on weekends and I couldn’t be more giddy. And bookended by a cross-country road trip?

Summer 2016, I already love you.

One Little Word: Resilient

Since 2012, I’ve been picking a word for the year to use as my spirit guide, helping me navigate the days and weeks in the upcoming year. Previous words include: perspective (when wedding planning), create (when I had copious free time), focus (when I was ready to make a shift) and last year, light (when I knew the road ahead wouldn’t always be sunny).

This year, my word jumped out about a month ago. In the midst of me feeling sorry for myself and frustrated about something that wasn’t exactly as I would have picked for myself, I wondered when I’d lost my ability to adapt, to go with the flow. 2015 was a year I spent digging my heels in to avoid the change ahead, like a dog on a leash who refuses to walk past something scary ahead, instead of embracing the new experiences to come.

Of course, it’s perfectly normal to be sad and mourn the ‘old life’ but I was disappointed in my ability to see the silver lining in moving. Me! A gal who moved to Atlanta twice by herself for an internship in college! A gal who moved across the country solo after college on her own to a new state! And this time, I moved with my most favorite person, to a city that’s close to my family (and where they put french fries on all foods!), and I spent much of my time feeling pouty about it.

And thus, the word.

one little word 2016 // lynnepetre.com

Resilient: a person who is able to withstand or quickly recover from a difficult situation. 

Not that I expect the next 12 months to be difficult, per se, but I do know there will be challenges ahead and I want to remember to handle them with more grace and flexibility than I did in 2015.

In the next 12 months, Alex will be interviewing for and securing a summer internship (likely not in PGH), I will continue traveling to/from Denver for work and we will begin evaluating our post-MBA-school options and location. (And 6+ months after that, B-school will be over and the next adventure begins. WUT!)

I’m getting too far ahead of myself but remembering to be resilient throughout the upcoming year will be key to my happiness and making the most of the short time we for sure have left in Pittsburgh. There will be bumps, there will be U-turns and there will be inadvertent literal bridge crossings (because it’s not Pittsburgh if you don’t end up on the wrong side of a river from time to time) but this gal will be resilient through it all.