Order, Comfort, Style & Joy Spotlight
My friend Leigh (right) and me
Leigh and I met while we were living in Tallahassee, Florida. I was walking in the afternoon ... normally something I did in the mornings but this day I had changed my schedule (we call it fate!). I passed by Leigh and her husband Jimmy, as they were strolling their baby. They asked what my ties to Jacksonville were (I was wearing a Jaguars baseball hat). Ends up they had just moved from Jacksonville. We exchanged numbers and quickly became good friends. A few years later they announced they were moving back to Jacksonville due to a job change. Within a week, we found out we
were moving back for the same reason. Our "what are we going to do now that we're not in the same town" quickly changed to "we're staying together!!!!!"
Leigh has become one of my very best friends - I admire her in endless
Leigh is that girl that simply has it together. When I asked her about "order" she said one of her biggest things is, "Everything has to be put away so I don't have to see it. Clutter drives me crazy." It's the 'a place for everything and everything in its place' concept. This makes it easy to put things away AND easy to find things when you need them. When I'm at Leigh's house I notice that even her (young!) kids know where things go. She's consistent with having them put away their things. And it's much easier for them because she has helped them establish places for each thing. (What a great habit they are learning!)
Leigh has a filing system that helps her keep papers in order - from work stuff to t-ball info.
I also notice that Leigh has a certain schedule for doing chores around the house. For instance, now that she is working while the kids are in school, she sorts laundry on Friday, washes on Saturday (folding while still warm) and puts away on Sunday ... sometimes Monday. (She hates making her bed, however, and will often just shut the bedroom door - unless company is coming over... I hope that it's okay I included this part, Leigh!)
She also has things in order and ready to go, such as her pool bag. (This is something I've adopted from Leigh.) Anytime we'd go the the pool, she would always be ready to go in a snap, and I would be scrambling around. Leigh would have everything together in a pool bag and it would always be sitting in the garage in the exact same place. So, whenever she headed out, she'd simply grab it and go, knowing that everything from sunscreen to pool toys were right in it.
One more thing under "order" - we didn't talk about this during our "interview" but Leigh's car always looks good... An impossible thing, so I thought, with young kids in tow. Her secret... once a week, she goes to this $4 car wash - it's a drive-through one and afterwards you vacuum the interior yourself. I now do this with my own car - not every week - but as often as I can. When I'm having a really stressful / overwhelming week, I'll make a point to do this - just having at least my car feel and look good can do wonders for my disposition!
Leigh has ALWAYS been there to encourage and support me and ALWAYS makes me feel better about whatever I'm going through. We both agree that it's comforting to know you aren't the only one that struggles with the challenges moms face. And we also value the give and take balance of friendships. There are times when one of us will consume a conversation, or is going through a situation and the other is simply there to listen, help, whatever. But it's not a completely one-sided thing. The balance is really good between us.
- Cookie, her Boston Terrier, brings great comfort to Leigh. "Watching the funny things she does, like the way she gets in and out of the covers on their bed, is priceless to me," she says.
- "We usually have dinner three nights a week as a family. One to two nights a week, I feed the kids early and then when they are settled for the night, Jimmy and I sit down with a nice dinner and bottle of wine and will leisurely eat our dinner as we talk - often for like two hours," says Leigh.
- Friendship: This is something both Leigh and I value. Her friendship has provided tremendous comfort to me over the years... Starting soon after we met in Tallahassee. I remember my sweet little baby turned into a (still sweet but) strong-willed toddler. I left our playgroups thinking "I must look like such a bad mom because I can't seem to get this mothering thing down. And here I am pregnant with a second one - I can't even handle our first!" I hadn't worried so about what other people thought of me since high school, and here I was again... feeling that same feeling. Leigh helped me (more than I think she even knows!) during this time...
And, two things I strongly value with the people really close to me ... I don't have to start off a sentence with, "please keep this just between us..." Leigh is one of those that just knows when to keep it that way. And she is genuine in what she says - not one thing to me and a completely different thing to someone else. Trust and authenticity - love both.
Another comforting thing about our friendship is that Leigh has an amazing ability of being tactful (which is "skillful AND sensitive in dealing with others / difficult issues" - I had to make sure I was using the word correctly and, yes, this definition is exactly how I would describe Leigh).
As I mentioned in the top of this newsletter, Leigh was able to tell me about why she was having trouble using her DearBook - in a tactful way. She knew it was something I really needed to hear. (I strongly believe feedback like this is critical to help your business evolve in the right direction).
We all fall into different categories when it comes to being tactful. There are people that think they are being tactful but really come across as annoying - they are leaving out the "sensitive" part of the equation.
And then there those of who will avoid any type of difficult situation at any cost - not a good thing for your health mentally, emotionally, physically. I know because that tends to be me although I am hoping Leigh is rubbing off on me! I hate the thought of hurting someone's feelings but what I've learned from watching Leigh, is that by being tactful you are doing EVERYONE a favor. (And this surely ties in with "comfort"!)
I asked her how she knows when to say / do something about difficult situations (because some things, of course, you just have to let go of). She told me, "The situations where I will go insane (or make my husband insane) if I do nothing tell me I need to handle the situation somehow."
"I find that my friends' style is often what influences me. Karen helped accessorize my living room... Bridget pulled my bedroom together... And I tend to prefer classic things," says Leigh.
I know Bridget and Leigh will go shopping together, too. Bridgette has a great eye and I know she must make really good shopping buddy. Maybe I can tag along next time they go... Hint, hint.
(This next part can fall under any of the categories but I'm putting in under "style" because Leigh looks so darn good in what she wears - including bathing suits! Part of style to me is how you carry what you wear. And when you are taking care of yourself, you really do tend to have this glow about you - which ups your style quotient!)
Leigh loves the Firm videos and has been working out with them for years. "This has become a part of my life and I am not willing to give it up. My kids know that from 4:00 - 5:00 it's my workout time and they have certain things they go and do on their own," says Leigh. She does this workout twice during the week and once during the weekend. She has a small breakfast and lunch, and then eats whatever she likes for dinner.
Joy, according to Leigh...
Leigh, I hope I got all of this down okay. We did this over margaritas and my notes got harder and harder to read!
- A day at Ponte Vedra Spa
- John Maher
- A good bottle of wine (likes to shop at Total Wine)
- Happy Hours: A spring and summer tradition: Late on Friday afternoons, Leigh and neighbors will pull out chairs, sit in the driveway with a cooler and delivered pizza and relax, watching the kids run around the yard simply being kids. "Often we put this together on the spur of the moment. As busy as life is, we still want to make sure we are having fun," says Leigh. (Easy & affordable - great combo.)
- Lion Coffee - a Hawaiian brand that Leigh has me hooked on (Chocolate Macadamia flavor). These make great gifts (hostess, teacher, etc.). We'll go in on a box of it every so often to save $ on shipping. Lion Coffee Website
- Getting in bed at the end of a day
- DVR: Watching shows with Jimmy that have been recorded (Office, 24, Grey's Anatomy, ER, Desperate Housewives). (I have to take partial credit for this one: I'd been raving for years about how DVR was simply the best thing invented - life changing. They finally have it at their house.
- Long weekends
- Eating Mexican / girls night... We always love getting together and talking about . . . well, "everything."
- Friends: I put friendship under "comfort" but have to put it again under "joy." I can't think of anyone who makes me laugh more than Leigh's husband, Jimmy. We love getting together as couples, and laughing like that is much needed these days!