Learning How to Pivot

Pivot is a hot word in the startup world these days. When your first product or business idea isn’t working, you pivot to Plan B. When that happens, it can actually feel like a relief because you are tired of the frustration of the first plan not working out.

My business partner and I are pivoting with the wine company right now. We had been working hard to get our tasting room open on Anderson Street but… that isn’t happening right now. So, we are pivoting and selling wholesale. It was a relief. It was progress. Now we are in 18 stores and making enough on sales to cover our expenses. That is good.

We met last week to talk about the business and some things we have coming up and the tasting room renovations were on the agenda. My partner is annoyingly right almost all the time and he did a good job at reminding me about pivoting. I got that we had to pivot, but I was spending a lot of time and energy trying to get us back to the original plan (the tasting room). A better use of our time would be to say ‘Hey, we pivoted. Where do we go from here to reach our goals?’ It isn’t a pivot if you are just trying to get right back to the original plan. That didn’t work. Move on.

He was right (again) and it was again a relief. It took pressure off. I was able to see the big picture again. I was so obsessed with getting back to the original plan.

As things go, with giant ‘a-ha’ moments. I can’t stop thinking about it and where are other places where I haven’t given the pivot the full commitment it deserves.

Plans change.

Things don’t work out.

Instead of drowning in those details and trying so hard to get back to that, I should realize there has been a pivot. I should decide what my goals are, what are the most important things to me, and how will I take my new angle and make the rest of those things happen?

You Only Have This One Life


Life has been a little crazy lately. We are working very hard to make sure we are doing what we think is right for the long haul. Sometimes setting that foundation means you have to be uncomfortable in the ‘right now’.

Adam realized a few years ago that he was not going to be happy with office/desk life and that he wanted to pursue a career in medicine. So I think we are about 4 years into a 10ish year journey to make that dream happen.

I remember pretty clearly the conversation when he figured out this was what he wanted to do with his life. He was afraid that he was too old to start this new journey or that I would not be a willing participant to see him through. There is definitely a difference between being the wife of a businessman for the next 10 years vs. being the wife of a student for the next 10 years. I chose to be the wife of a man who worked his ass off to chase his dreams.

We are both all-in and making this happen.

What about other dreams? It is hard to make plans for other dreams when the one right in your face is larger than an elephant. What about them? What about having children, exciting vacations, building our empire, chasing my own career aspirations? Do I put those on hold and start a To-Do list for 2019?

The smart decision would probably be to do that. Wait until we are settled. Wait until we have the money. Wait until the timing is right.

I never promised you smart decisions.

So blame the baby. Blame the death of my beloved dog. Blame the tragic funerals I have had to attend lately. Blame the pride I have when I see my husband working so hard to chase down his dreams. Blame the cancer diagnoses of friends and family – strong people being put through way more than they deserve. Blame the weather, for all I care but…

I decided waiting for 2019 is too long.

So I am making a few changes. Some big and some tiny.

Tiny changes – Silly things like instead of being pissed iced coffee is so weak, just order a freaking iced Americano. Small behavioral things like complaining less. Bitch fests can be fun but are they helpful? Eat more kale. No, that is a lie. This whole kale phenom needs to slow its roll. So I refuse to buy-in to kale but I am acknowledging there are lots of little things that I can make better about my day to day.

BIG changes – I am going to travel more and not just staycations.

This Fall I am going to Ireland with my mom. We have both always wanted to go but it has never been the right time and we have never had the ‘extra’ money. I don’t think there will ever be the right time or ‘extra’ money. So we are making now the right time.

What about the baby?! The baby is coming too. I have already met people who grumble about traveling with a baby but you know what? I have talked to even more people who are pumped about the idea. So me and my momma and my baby are going to Ireland.

And after Ireland, I plan on going someplace else too. Just not sure where yet.

BIGGER changes – We are moving to the island!

We bought a house (well another house – we have to still sell our current house). We have already started moving. Baby E will be growing up on an island. I was nervous – I am too busy, it is too inconvenient; we can’t host lavish parties that our friends will come to etc.

What I DO have is a network of family and friends to help me raise this amazing little boy – it takes a village right? I can’t think of a better place in the world to raise a child. A boy that can play outside, go to the beach every day and ride his bike to the store when he can still tell you how old he is with one hand. I am going to like that.

And the busy body worries? Convenience of a ferry? Lavish parties? I think more than those things, I need to enjoy my days more and maybe doing less will make me appreciate them more. Oh and I still can throw a lavish party, people will just have to bring sleeping bags.

BIGGEST (and smallest) changes – I am going to appreciate this one life I have.

When I look back at the last decade or so, I know I could do better. I could have been kinder, I could have done more, I could have been happier. As cliché as it is, I think about a poster that I have seen at Saddleback for the past few years. I can’t remember it exactly and if I try Googling it, it seems to be attributed to too many different folks. The message of it is that life isn’t made of minutes or days but of moments.

I want to look back on my life, especially this stretch, and see for myself that I crushed it – baby and all, med school and all, career and all.

You only have this one life. Why are we saving it to live later?

Boring Life

“Wouldn’t life be boring if you were married to a man
who said all the right things all the time”

– My husband

Ikea 1 – Amanda Pants 0

You won this time Ikea but I’ll get you next time and you meddling kids!

We thought we were intelligent people. We thought we were organized. We thought we had a plan. We thought everyone else was just being dramatic. But, as we left tired, disheveled, over budget, grovelling messes… we realized we brought a plastic spork to a knife fight.

Ikea must be respected.
Your first trip to Ikea is not to be trivialized.

Tips for your first Ikea trip

If you are planning your first trip to Ikea any time soon, let me give you some tips that no one else will give you… they would much rather point and laugh at the new kids.

  • Do your research and know what you are looking for. Your brain will fall out of your head after the first corner, so have a list to revert back to.
  • Bring your smartphone and take photos of the tags on the items you are going to purchase. You need to know the item number and where the item is in the warehouse section. (Thank you Melissa for this one!)
  • Speaking of the warehouse section, you WILL be responsible for picking out your own items at the warehouse. Getting big items? Bring a big strong person with you. I think Ikea is staffed by Oompa Loompas – no one will be around to help you.
  • Bring bags. Ikea doesn’t have shopping bags, unless you want to buy them at checkout.
  • The downstairs ‘marketplace’ is the equivalent of the largest candy aisle at a supermarket. You probably do not need any of those things. Keep your wits about you.
  • Do not ever go on a Saturday afternoon.
  • Make a day of it… this is not a quick trip. We grossly underestimated how long our trip would take. We are VERY fortunate to have wonderful friends who were able to watch Otto for twice as long as they expected (Thank you AGAIN Melissa, Andrew and Dante).
  • Know your partner. I saw more couples arguing in Ikea than I do at last call in the Old Port on a Saturday night. Ikea is a stressful situation and I could easily see marriages falling apart in there. Remember that you love eachother and it is just a home products store. Your marriage is more important.

In the end, we did survive and so did our marriage (I did have a meltdown in the curtains section but I am only human). We got the things we went for, we think – we will see when we drag some of this stuff out of the boxes. We got more than what we went for, but apparently that is quite normal. We also learned a lot and will be much better prepared for next time… if we can muster up the courage for a ‘next time’.

Thank God I Never Found Someone Like You!

Oh that Adele song… it hurts to listen to is because it is something we have all felt at some point in our lives (if you have a pulse and a heart to be broken that is). SNL even recently spoofed it (song and spoof are below if you need a good cry or a good laugh or a good laugh AT a good cry).

I have had my heart broken before.
I have loved and not been loved back.
I have a type of person I thought I was looking for.
I have an image of what marriage is like.

And then there was Adam and my marriage. Thank God.

One of the first evenings I hung out with Adam, before the courting or the dating or the house or the ring… I said to him ‘YOU would be PERFECT for my friend Steph!’

Steph has a type and it is Adam. Big and strong, hairy, funny… but that wasn’t MY type.
Thank God Steph didn’t snatch him up!

What I have, I wasn’t looking for. Heck, when we met (or re-met) I had a bet with a friend to not date anyone for that summer. I wasn’t looking and this is what found me:

I have a man who thinks I am perfect, even when I am really, really not.
I have a man who makes me laugh and isn’t scared to be silly.
I have a man who likes to go out and DO things with me.
I have a man who pushes me to be greater every day.
I have a man who thinks we have a lot more living to do and a lot more things to try.
I have a man who has a wonderful family that love and support me.
I have a man who loves MY weirdo family and my little island.
I have a man who wants to be his absolute best for me and himself.
I have a man who is more handsome every day and smarter every day.
I have a man who loves my dog and has supported me in our toughest year but let me make all the decisions I needed to.
I have a man who will tell me I am wrong.
I have a man who is hairy… but I will have to learn to deal with that.

None of this is what I was actually looking for but I sure am glad I have it.

Now thank you Adele, for making me sad but then making me think. Thank you for making me very, very happy that I never found the someone I thought I was looking for.

Now here is the Adele song if you need a good cry

And here is the SNL skit if you need a good laugh at the good cry you just had

Who Needs Two Reversible Belts?

How many reversible belts do you need?So after our car broke down .7 miles from our destination in Hoboken, NJ…
After a man named Pedro towed our car to beautiful Bloomfield, NJ…
After we realized our car broke down .1 miles from the Pilsener Haus Biergarten
After we schlepped all of our belongings to aforementioned beer paradise and camped out like Occupy Hoboken for the full day…
After drinking beers that I think were called the Gwen Stefanis…
After Adam dancing in the corner with said large pile of belongings…

We were walking to our amazing host’s apartment. Danny, our host, was stuck carrying Adam’s suit bag which had a strange and obtrusive weight at the bottom of it, which made it odd to carry.

Danny: What do you have in this thing?
Adam: My shoes. Oh and my reversible belt.
Amanda (in horror): You have reversible belt?!?
Adam: Well, yea it is like having TWO belts. I actually have TWO reversible belts and they are both in there.

I.. umm… but… who needs TWO reversible belts?!
How many reversible belts does a grown man need? My vote is zero.

The Kisses That Never Happened To Remember

Get your mind out of the gutter! I am talking about a movie.

Last night I watched An Affair To Remember, with Cary Grant, for the first time. I have been rifling through some classic lately that I never saw.

I admit I started the movie as a pessimist. Watching a movie from 1957 now is almost silly. The boat they were on was a joke of a set, the backgrounds of the places they were travelling were laughable. As I began the movie I didn’t think I would be able to get into it at all.

Then as the story progressed and our lovers had their first ‘kiss’ I was floored that the kiss wasn’t even on screen – it was halfway up a flight of stairs! In a world now where sex scenes count as PG rated movies – this renowned romantic movie didn’t even show the kiss! How crazy is that? I knew at this point that I was too engrossed in the scenery and what wasn’t being shown that this movie was. not. going. to. get. to. me.

An hour and a half later, when I found myself bolting into the next room for tissues… I couldn’t believe this movie with the no kissing (they more smoosh their faces cheek to cheek) and the silly sets and fake New York backgrounds not only got to me but got to me more than most movies I have seen.

What the hell happened?

I have reduced it to this – what wasn’t shown, what sets couldn’t capture your imagination takes over. You imagine their sweet phone conversations or the kiss or the struggles they went through. You didn’t have to be shown. I read a lot and this movie engages you like a good book. It wasn’t passive like many movies today. You needed to do a little engaging on your end as the viewer and I think THAT is how this movie got me by surprise.

Stupid love and feelings.

Cheers to Three Years

Three years ago today I married an amazing man, in a hurricane, outside, in Maine. I flubbed my lines, my dress was weighed down with mud, my family and friends built bridges out of pallets and items found around the yard, people lost their shoes and ruined clothing – and it was amazing.

Because of the rain, we had to scrap the guestbook, the table favors, the slideshow and many other details but none of it mattered. Your wedding day isn’t about bows, ribbon, crafts or photos – it is about love, family, friends and moments.

I have too many favorite moments from that day and I hope I always remember them. I loved the moments Adam and I snuck away and I loved the moments we were surrounded by hundreds of people but felt like we were alone. I loved the laughter of our friends and family as we sloshed through mud and sang like we were trying out for Star Search. I love the stories people came away with that day and I love how much we still talk about the wettest wedding of our lives.

Three years in and none the wiser

I don’t have any marriage advice, we are still figuring it out ourselves. I do know I am my husband’s biggest fan (and that is saying a lot – he is kind of a big deal). I know I wouldn’t have achieved half of what I have in the past few years, without knowing he has my back. I also know a lot of my drive comes from wanting to make him proud of me.

I am happy to celebrate three fun years of marriage and I look forward to celebrating 4 years, 5 years, 30 years and 50 years too. I am lucky I found a man that makes me laugh, challenges me, catches me when I stumble, pushes me to be a better person, listens to me, inspires me and loves me as much as I love him.

Everyone says that it is good luck to have rain on your wedding day.. I prefer a different saying we heard from our wedding day:

A wet knot… is a tight knot

So Cheers to Three Years and Cheers to many, many more!

Picking Your Head Up

My head downPretty crazy week over here in my world. Our life just carried into the next chapter – Adam started Med School this week at UNE. We have quite a journey ahead of us. I am now the bread winner for the family and Adam is going to pour himself into school for the next 8 years or so.

I am so excited to move forward, especially after a year or two of a semi-holding pattern. But, being the control freak I am – all this change has me in a tizzy.

Adam is at school about 45-50 hours a week and has lots of studying to do when he is not. We traded cars, I handed over the keys to my Jetta that has done me good for the past 7 years and he handed over the reigns to his Jeep Wrangler (see you later good hair days). We are going to have to get used to a smaller income and the dogs are going to have to get used to not having someone home with them all day. Big week… big week.

So I have had an exhausting week between trying to run the dogs each morning, keeping up with housey stuff, a busy week at work and gearing up for the Beach to Beacon (10k that was yesterday). The most exhausting part though has been the roller coaster inside my head. I am a worrier, a planner and I can deal with ANY situation as long as I know what I have to deal with and right now… I am not in control of any of those things.

Picking my head up

By now you know I run but you may or may not know I joined a running group last winter. I can run a 12 minute mile for ever. I have done 3 half marathons and plenty of other long runs. 12 minute miles and I can just do it. What I can’t do is run faster. I get nervous and panicky when I run faster and I am terrified that if I run faster, I will burn out and not be able to complete my distance I am supposed to run.

With this running group, I have a coach. Our group’s running coach, Ziggy, is a true legend to Maine running and probably the sport itself. Going into this I thought he would tell me I held my arms wrong, my stride was too short, that I leaned forward too much – nope. The biggest advice Ziggy gives me at races, timed mile trials or 880 repeats is “Pick your head up Amanda!” I run with my head down.

I heard the advice and I tried a few times but changing your ways is difficult so I think I accidentally gave up.

Smoke from White Birch FarmI recently started taking horse back riding lessons again. Every other week I head up to White Birch Farm and have a lesson. It has been great and I have forgotten so much since last time I rode. There are hundreds of little things that I need to relearn and I need to get to know these horses, my instructor and the ways of this farm.

A few months in though and I already have had my biggest weakness pointed out (repeatedly), I need to pick my head up! I ride with my head down, pretty much looking at the horses head. If we pick up the pace and are trotting or hopping a fence, I will never make it – we will be running into the fence before I even look at it.

So I need to pick my head up

I have started picking my head up when I run and I have noticed a few things:

  • It is an empowering feeling to see what is ahead of you. It makes you immediately feel stronger.
  • You are taking on the road versus the road coming AT you. With your head up you are like ‘I will run over there and then up there’ but with your head down, literally you just see asphalt coming at you. You are almost playing defense on the road coming at you versus taking charge of where you are going.
  • It makes me a little sick, almost like motion sickness. I have to assume running with your head down versus up does something to your breathing. Right now I just now it makes me a little light headed but I think that will get better.

For horseback riding, by picking my head up it makes the horse know that I am in control of our situation. I am going to have an eye out and we are headed over this way and it is going to be cool.

In this next chapter of my life – I can keep my head down and internalize, over analyze every situation and make myself crazy (like I did this week). Or I can pick my head up and look at our future. My husband is getting to study to do something he loves. He is achieving his goals. I am acheiving my goals and we are going to have better lives because of it. Just like running and riding, I need to look ahead to where we are going and not drown in the details of getting there. There will always be ‘what-ifs’ but they will always work themselves out.

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”
Wayne Gretzky