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  Posted: Jan 8, 2014 2:23 AM FEED
2 Amaro
More coats and scarves blocking drafts than on coat hooks. Also, race car. #myrealhouse

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Posted: Oct 18, 2017 6:41 PM
10 Normal
See the cool shit we can do when women support women and men have our backs?
Also, my kid is rad.
Number 8!

You know. I didn’t think I’d get married. I didn’t think I wanted a family. When we met I was sniffing at 30 and pretty happy. Now I’m sniffing at 40 and content. Content to grow older and wiser. Content to have a house with cracks and creaks and never ending things to fix. Content to still disagree about what time we need to leave to make it on time. Content to be told when I’m being defensive. Content to encourage embracing conflicts as a part of building something interesting. Content to stress about health insurance so we can work how we want. Content to raise this one precious little person to be her best self. I didn’t think this was the path I’d take, but I’m ever so glad to have taken it. It takes a ton of work to be content, and I’m so happy to be doing it together. 📷: the indomitable @olivialeigh
Someone asked me tonight if Forth was my full time job. Oh, sometimes, how I wish it was. I love it because it’s a chance to connect, talk, share, listen. It’s what we need more of. All the time. Forever. Tomorrow is our @forthchicago Fall Salon. I love fall. I love October. There is so much heavy, there has been so much heavy I feel more than a bit sour, lost, angry. But tomorrow, for a few hours, I will see the best of humanity in a group of women coming together. Last year I made these chai latte cheesecake bites with salted caramel. In so many ways it feels inane to be like “look! food!” but I made this. An act of love for women who were strangers and have become friends. Fight on in big and small ways. Push for gun control. Hug harder. Vote and run for office. Reach out to a friend. Help a stranger. Just don’t stop.
🗝🗝You ever consciously undertake tasks that you can own are super metaphors for things happening in your life? I had a whole day of it. We call days like today Quality of Life Days, where we tend to the things we’ve ignored or worked around for ages. Small repairs and minor fixes that don’t take that long once you start but seem annoying to make time for. Sure, there are full bathroom renovations and backyard landscaping we could undertake and I’d love to. If we had endless sums of money and endless time here on earth. But there’s a whole lot between gut reno and doing nothing.🗝🗝
🗝🗝Too often if I can’t do it all I wonder why I should do any of it. With filthy hands and some mutter-under cusses, I managed to repair or replace three doorknobs in our 100 year old bungalow, wrestling with mortise locks older than sin.🗝🗝
🗝🗝So, yea, there’s a big metaphor there about tending to the small things in our control and how they matter and make a difference. I’m sure I could also make all kindsa parallels with the task at hand—making doors long neglected easier to get through. And don't even get me started on that old key, tied to one of left-behind doors in our basement hanging there like a question and a clue.🗝🗝
**About Last Night** So much fun. So much champagne. So many women willingly (happily? gleefully even?) indulging my desire to make cootie catchers. If you missed out, I put the printout on the @forthchicago blog today. Go git it! Thanks to @renttherunway for inviting us, we loved meeting all y'all! Today, we launched Season 2 of the Go Forth podcast. Hip hip! It’s a good week for rad women. Next up, podcast party and panel on 11/9! 📷: @kallisonphoto, 🤚 model @amandaglandon.
Remember cootie catchers? That’s what we called them growing up on the east coast. Fortune tellers, I heard, here.
Well, now I’m calling them Fortune Makers. @renttherunway reached out to @forthchicago to participating in an event called Ladies Who Start Fresh with @goldplaited_. Um, yes please.
Today I got to live what I could only have dreamed six years after starting fresh…combining worlds and using what I loved about teaching to help share what I love about storytelling with a team of passionate advocates for small business owners.
Tomorrow night I’m bringing Forth Fortune Makers to help you tackle a small career step each week that can maybe just maybe lead to a big leap. I’ve done it. It’s terrifying and enthralling. It’s the greatest and hardest.
Come make one, chat with some Forthers and think about what fortune favoring the bold means to you. Be bold. It's the best.
One month. We’ve been home from our Vienna working sabbatical since July 22. I always try to keep a sense of what I call the Retreat High…the things we swear we’ll come back and do differently, be better about, follow up on. I wanted to write more on the family blog, talk less about work during not-work hours, walk everywhere like we did there. Do you do that? Travel and feel changed and then want to maintain and sustain that new you? The month had other plans, because of course it did, tossing shifts our way both seismic and subtle. From wanting to take to the streets to defend people of color to hide under my bed rather than deal with things I knew were coming to take on projects that move the needle for my business and my values, I have things on my heart that deserve my time and energy. For now, I’ll wake this little creature up earlier than she’d like tomorrow to start first grade. There’s always month two.
"Mama. I’m sad and happy to be heading home. At the exact same time." Me too, kid, me too.

A last picture from our last night. Five weeks. Five countries. Hours in the car, endless new places. Adventures I didn’t even think to plan for. Things I’m glad we planned to do. Big expansive nature and tiny ancient allies. And tomorrow we will lug our bags and our bods back in the car to Vienna. Through Heathrow. To home.
On this trip Loie became a traveler. Asking good and hard questions. Trying new things. Bearing with inconvenience and changed plans and big asks from us to her. Staking claims and expressing preferences in a respectful and thoughtful way. Dealing with languages and cultures new to her with grace. And she talked more about who she wants to be when she’s an adult and where she wants to go and how she wants to live than she has before.
Every place we got to became the place she wants to live someday and, at the same time, had to withstand a critique to home. Because as much as we take her places we want there to know the power of community, neighbors and belonging.

Our last week in review is up on the blog! Link in my bio.
I can name all the ways traveling with a six year old for five weeks can be exhausting. You know, the questions (you go into enough churches with a kid, and you’ll come out questioning everything you believe too), the puking, the limited eating options, the questions, the extra expense, the limitations, time spent looking at pigeons and for playgrounds, the scheduling challenges and the endless questions.
But. I can also say I’d never get up early enough to be one of the first dozen people at San Marco when just a few hours later it would be teeming. I’d never sit on steps playing Uno and drinking Prosecco. I’d probably have skipped the gondola. Too clichéd!
But when you are with a kid, cliché can become magic. Early mornings can become magic. Well, more magic than sleeping...but just by a hair. Yes, she sat there singing Moana. But I'll take a sense of exploration and possibility. And I was there too with the gondolas still at rest and the city still, for the most part, asleep. Venice was exhausting in all the best ways, just like parenting.
Today starts our actual real vacation. No working (except those emails I sent, shhh) in the sabbatical, just sabbatical. And I was feeling peevish as the weather in Hallstatt, the most charmingest place ever, was forecast to be nothing less than the worst. All rain. Relentless.

And it was living up to it last night. We pep talked as a family. Game day! Snuggles! Fun! And I went to sleep being ok with how much we’d spend on a place to stay near beautiful things we’d have to sprint and dash to see if we saw them at all.
We awoke to rain, gobs of it, and grinned and said it would be ok. But maybe we’d try to do a few things? Fast googling and layering of clothes and maybe Brett brought a trash bag to use as a poncho.

These two make me want to give the impossible a shot. And then the best day unfolded. With a few spritzes but main moody, lovely clouds and a nice breeze and a salt mine and gorgeous intersections of human beauty and natural beauty. So at dinner I confessed how much I wanted today to work out. And it did.
Over on the @forthchicago blog I shared about how we manage workspaces, motivation, time zones and client expectations while on our working sabbaticals.
As we wrap up our month in Vienna this week, it’s so dang nice to be able to say it’s been our most successful trip to date in terms of proactively managing our work lives.

This year Loie’s worked along side me in the mornings journaling as I work through administrative stuff and checking off to-dos. (Night time here is for calls and Slack and stuff.) Next week I’ll be sharing more about tools we use and how we plan financially.
If you’ve been curious how we do it, go check out the post and leave a question, I’ll try to answer all that I can!
You can, if you try like I try, plan and micromanage every second of a trip, especially one with kids. It feels comforting. Lunch will be here. Play time will be there. And then they sleep! It is in my nature to schedule the heck out of our trips (ahem, and lives). Not over schedule in the sense of having too much to do but schedule in the sense of knowing what we “should” be doing at any one moment. Being married to Brett and being mom to Lo have interjected some much needed interference to my typical Type A-edness. We call the serendipitous moments that happen when you let go of the plan The Cloud. ☁️☁️Today, The Cloud brought us to a Lindy Hop dance party in Letná. I had picked the place for the Metronome and a beer+playground combo. And fate or the universe or the cloud reminded me to make space for something that would be far more impressive, impactful and incredible for our kiddo. Thanks, universe, for reminding me to check myself before I wreck myself. Planning has its place. So does serendipity.
This weekend I may have hit peak pastry and maximum gelato. A recap of our two days in Budapest, which was non-stop seeing + snacking is up on the blog! Link in bio.
🌎🌍🌏This week Lo’s at an art camp. So while we could be napping or day drinking I’m spending as many hours as I can in places like the Esperanto and Globe Museums, both part of the National Library. 🌎🌍🌏Lo’s a real trooper, willing to wander and listen. But everyone is happier today being where they’re at—her with seven other little girls talking about Jackson Pollock and Keith Haring and me reading every, yes every, word on every placard at both these ridiculous in their niche wonderfulness spaces. Language and globes, boy, do they shape and reflect our knowledge, understanding, power and insecurities. I like to think I know a lot of things. Today I learned so much. I’m grateful for those humbling moments of “I did NOT know that.” or “Oh! That makes so much sense.” With globes, it was learning that until recently (like, recent in the last century or so) globes were made in pairs…a celestial sphere with a terrestrial one. And with Esperanto, sure I knew it was quixotic. But I did not realize the ways in which is foretold the coming of the EU or euro and the ways in which it terrified Htiler and Stalin. Keep on scaring power with words, y’all. It’s our mightiest weapon.🖌>🗡
Much of our working sabbaticals is about settling in. Local store, local café, local park. Today was Loie’s first day at a local week-long art camp with 7 other little girls (so cute, right?) This past weekend we Two full days in Budapest and we did every dang thing we could. Baths to funicular to top of St. Stephen’s to the hills of Buda and the lights along the Danube to the stunning Parliament to a totally unexpected Red Bull Air Race that made for a bizarre backdrop. We were all exhausted at the end of both days and so happy to have driven out of town at 6 am today feeling like saw and did and ate and tasted and tried and went to as many things as we possibly could. Big props to the weather for holding up, the kid for holding it together and one of the prettiest cities for making us lose and catch our breath.
When I look at the intent we set forth on our very first trip and in our very first blog post, I’m stunned at how true to it we’ve stayed. I have a totally different job, we have a kid, things are always shifting but the reasons why and the how we try to live those whys has held consistent. That doesn’t mean we don’t ever revisit and revise. One of the main reasons we chose Vienna was (beyond wine and schnitzel) its proximity to other places. It made the week at the end easy with Venice as an anchor. But it also encouraged us to try longer overnight trips instead of day trips on some weekends. So here we were this morning, me lazy with coffee, thinking we had everything under control to head to Budapest. And then a Rube Goldberg of delays and issues started. We sorted them all out, tout de suite, and we’re here at our weekend digs. I’m eager to see a city I’ve dreamt of visiting since I was young and my dad would remind me over and over at the dinner table (yes, truly, nerds ruled supreme at our house) that it was, in fact, two cities. And then I did it to Loie about 10 times on the car ride here and the cycle of life continues. I even take my coffee like my dad, now, too. A review of Week Two in Vienna is live on the blog. Link in bio.
Despite seeing The Kiss and other celebrated paintings bedecked with gold and swirly patterns through much of my adult life, it wasn’t until Loie’s class started an artist study that I learned more about Gustav Klimt as an artist. He loved squares. I love that he loved squares. He used a square “finder” fashioned out of cardboard to select his preferred views. Those humanizing details tickle me. Cardboard! I own cardboard! Loie took those iron-on Pyssla beads from IKEA and made a bunch of view finders that she carries around in an old purse from some wedding I went to ages ago. Watching her move through Klimt’s studio and speak with passion and knowledge “He loved cats, mama, and people loved his gardens, they were pretty wild..." overwhelmed me. I expected to be the one telling and showing and giving information today. Instead, I got to see the power of a great teacher, a great school and a great kid.
In trying to talk to Loie about the value of getting lost we wound up, you guessed it, lost in the woods somewhere in the Vienna Observatory complex and stumbled upon a Scooby Doo worthy building. A perfect, unplanned moment since she loves space and I love pretending I'm the perfect mix of Velma and Daphne. I'll admit, when she asked if it was haunted, I for sure paused for a second. I have since looked at Google maps in satellite mode trying to figure out exactly where we were. No dice. I guess we were exactly where we needed to be.
One of the biggest misconceptions we face in our working sabbatical is folks thinking we secretly jet off for a five week vacation each year. Golly, I wish. Instead, we build a flexible structure to support both our jobs, our kiddo and our marriage while battling suspect internet, late nights and a desire to Tetris the crap out of every moment. I wrote up a bit on how we’re making it work in Vienna. Link in bio!
Wien Week 1 in the books. We’ve had crap sleep but plenty of energy, sublime conversations, overwhelm at the grocery store, goosebumps at the art museum, joy at the universality of play, giggles at the marionette opera, pantomimed requests for help with guys working concessions at the pool, great terrace dinners, way more white wine than we usually do, decisions that each day is the best day ever and relief that it’s all going well. It's also so, so, so hot. We're sharing more on the family blog, link in this here profile. Come say hi.