Welcome Update #63


Rachel Flesch, Artistic Director

This week has been filled with stress for me, and I'm avoiding writing about it at every cost. Instead I'm going to share with you a story from my childhood.

I've been thinking a lot lately how I miss the easy days of school and lazy summers free to do what I want. I grew up in a neighborhood filled with kids, granted I was the oldest by about three years, but I never outgrew the fun! Summers were the absolute best, my parent's had requested that the neighborhood kids not knock on the door at sunrise, so instead they knocked on my bedroom window. Our days were always full of adventures; putting on carnivals, practicing for a Wizard of Oz play that we never put on, Pokémon battles, bike races, water wars, and wars with the neighboring street.

The two streets were night and day, us being day and them being the terrors of night. They didn't have a sidewalk so a lot of the kids would come over to our street and disrupt our turf. This was not taken lightly. What typically started as name calling, and competitive banter typically led to intense Pokémon battles. After which the loser (always the other team; they didn't have the man power and cards we had) would ride off in rage.

Within the hour they were flying back down the street at the speed of light hurling water balloons and firing off water pistols. We would squeal and hoped our costumes didn't get wet before we could hide behind the bushes. Okay, maybe it wasn't exactly like that for everyone, maybe it was like that for me. Megan, a girl who is practically my sister, would storm after them in rage, typically managing to tackle someone to the ground that she'd then attempt to beat the crap out of. One of the twins would climb in the tree, rip off his shirt and hang upside down chewing on leaves and beating his chest in what I believe was supposed to be an intimidation strategy. The other one would scream at the top of his high pitched lungs and run after the enemies squealing about how they got his cowardly lion costume wet and were going to pay. My sister typically would head in the house to get mom, and once the wrath of mom was made clear, so were the streets.

Then the sun would begin to set, and our parents would call us inside for the day. The next day as the sun would rise we'd begin it all again. I miss being a kid.

Welcome Update #58


Rachel Flesch, Artistic Director

Camping, I’ve been a few times. I seem to surround myself with people who just freakin’ love nature. I mean these folks want to put on shorts and frolic through high grass that’s full of mysterious bugs and plants that can do unspeakable things to your skin. Summer comes and the sun is just boiling you alive. Maybe it’s different for them, you know? The sun looks at me and is like, “He he, we fattened this one up now it’s time to cook her!” These people want to do nothing more than be outside though, and I just don’t get it. 

“Hey Rachel can you get a few days off work?”

 “Yeah, sure what’s up?”

 “We’re going camping!”

 “Oh, yeah… um, about that… I’ve got some plans.”

 “Oh that’s too bad.”

 “Yeah, sorry. I just need air conditioning and Wi-Fi to make sure these plans pull through.”

I mean I just don’t get it. What’s fun about sleeping outside? Even in a tent, it’s like “Oh, hey… we’re in the middle of nowhere, you can’t get cell phone reception, but don’t worry you’re safe. This thin fabric shelter and zipper door will protect you from the slasher in the woods!” 

Even with cabins it’s frightening. I have friends with access to a cabin, and I swear the pictures they take they have to be like “Ok, stand in the corner over here and angle the camera upwards just a little. This will keep that giant gaping hole in the floor from showing up when we tell people how cool the cabin is!”

Not to mention the sleeping bags. I mean can anyone REALLY get a good night sleep in a fabric tomb? Plus, let’s face it, you always start out freezing, but wake up swimming in your own sweat. You can’t unzip it in the middle of the night either. That’s just opening the door to all sorts of scary things. Plus you’ll wake up everyone else. If you so much as breath in one of those things you sound like the kid who wore those parachute pants to school in the 90’s.

 I could go on forever about how much camping horrifies me. Take the bugs for example, have you ever noticed that the bugs actually seem bigger when you go camping. It’s like “Oh, look a mosquito. Oh, hey… that’s bigger than my head. RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!” 

Let’s not forget about the raccoons, I remember the first time I went camping it was with a friend in middle school and her dad was like “Oh, you gotta tie the trash in a tree to keep the raccoons away.” In the middle of the night it sounded like those raccoons were having a frat party with our trash. 

Someone asks me to go camping and I’m looking up renting cabins, the fancy ones with flat screen TVs and spa packages included with them. My friend’s like “Oh, no. I was just talking about roughing it.” Well, it doesn’t have Wi-Fi… I thought we were roughing it. No, they’re talking about wiping with leaves. I remember as a kid being told to just shake it. Yeah, cause that works. Oh here, I’m like a dog. I can just shake it off of me… no, it doesn’t work like that. 

Have you ever been to campground showers? They apparently don’t have hot water, because that’s part of “roughing it.” I’ve never been to prison, but I have a feeling that whoever designed those showers has.

 You know brownie points to you if you actually enjoy all of that, but know that when it starts to rain you can’t redeem those points for a place in my resort hotel.

Welcome Update #55


Rachel Flesch, Artistic Director

When you're a kid it seems like forever, but as an adult the phrase "time flies" takes on a literal meaning.

 In one month I'll be turning 25. I look back on the last year, and I can't believe how fast it's gone! If you'd asked me two years ago where I'd be today I wouldn't have said here. In fact I'd probably have said, "two years from now? Well most likely I'll still be stuck in retail, and I'll probably be in a higher position." Well none of that has happened, but I'm not complaining. Heck if you'd asked me seven years ago when I graduated high school I'd probably tell you I'd own my own graphic design firm by now!

 Changes are happening all around us, things we didn't see coming pop up all the time and that's what's great about life; it's full of surprises. They may not be the "SURPRISE! OMG, I SCARED YOU," type, but they're unexpected twists in the plot that can change the whole course of the story. They can lead to a new ending and unexpected subplots full of their own twists and turns. This past week alone has been full of things that make me say, “Wow." My "sister" just found out she's having a baby girl, making me an aunt for the first time! This is beyond exciting for me since I freakin love kids! My oldest cousin just graduated high school and I still can't stop looking at him as a little kid. A really good friend of mine just got married, and I also still see him as the awkward 12 year old boy I met ten years ago. It feels like the older I get the more rapidly time is moving. 

 As a teen I volunteered for a summer at the Columbus Public Library, I loved it! I was supposed to sign kids up for the reading program, but it was slow and being the diligent hard worker I am I asked if I could help in any other way. I got the opportunity to push around a cart and shelve books like an actual librarian. Do you know how excited this made my little nerd self? Go to a game store for a midnight release of a big MMORPG and look at the kid in line jumping around and fist pumping as they open the doors, now multiply that by 10 and you have me. The best part? I found so many books to read that summer. I actually checked out the entire Choose Your Own Adventure series, and read every possible ending. I loved those books, and looking back now I have an even greater appreciation for them. I like to look at my life as one of those books. For those who haven't read them you basically get to a point in the story where it gives you two or more options. You select one, turn to the coordinating page and either have a happy ending, or a bad ending. I like to think of the possible outcomes for my decisions, and even after it's been made I think "what if?"

 Treat life like the adventure it is, and remember to choose wisely because you can't always turn back the page and try again.

Welcome Update #46


Rachel Flesch, Artistic Director

Making up my mind.

It’s something I’ve never been good at. When I was a little girl I was set on being a prima ballerina. I never took the lessons, but I wore the tutu and leotard with pride. I remember my dad would take me the recreation center and lift me up so that I could watch the other little ballerinas through the window of their practice room. We could never afford the lessons, but I could always dream. 

A few years down the road I went to school, after which I decided being a teacher was more in my interest. That didn’t last long though as my passion for drawing was always a prominent trait. I decided I wanted to become a professional artist after submitting a drawing to a local kid’s television station. 

My mom is a wonderful artist, and always encouraged me to draw. She’d give me her old books and show me how to do physically accurate figure drawings at a very young age. I was never featured on the station’s segment mind you, but I didn’t care I knew what I wanted to be or so I thought. Middle school and high school were filled with drawings of fashion designs and interior layouts.  All the while my artistic passion had translated itself into the digital world. 

Finding something that I really enjoy is hard for me and I still don’t know what I want to be when I “grow up.” I’m a person who insists on committing to a job for at least a year before deciding I absolutely hate it. So, what am I doing this year? As of now I’m actually working on getting certified to be a bridal consultant. Who knows how long that interest will last? I’ve never been a girl who wants to settle for one thing in life. I want to do so much! I think that’s why it was so hard for me to decide on where I want go. I’m only 25, and I know for some that’s an age when college is ending and career paths are settling. I’m just getting started though! There are so many more years of life I have to live, why let them go to waste doing the same thing day in and day out when I could be doing everything I’ve dreamed about, and more.

Welcome Update #42


Rachel Flesch, Artistic Director

As Palmer Grove grows so do our responsibilities. It's amazing to look back and think just a year ago I was being asked to free-lance a few graphics, before I knew it I was the graphic designer and shortly thereafter I was asked to step up and take on the artistic director responsibilities. It's been an amazing whirlwind year, and I never in all my nearly 25 years of life imagined I'd be here right now. Working on this team is a wonderful thing, and has really required me to learn and grow as a person. I've always been a procrastinator and while I've had jobs with responsibilities I haven't had any serious deadlines in quite a while.
Much like Palmer Grove has grown in size I have had to grow, and develop my skills to adapt to the magazine. I've gone from the girl who lives day by day to the girl who carries a planner and schedules out her life months in advance. It's crazy how just missing one thing can throw off my whole life now. It's a literal domino effect, and while it's stressful I can't deny that I just love it.
Not only have I garnered more responsibilities at Palmer Grove, but I've also been given more leadership responsibilities at my other job as well. The past few months have really allowed me to grow up. It's different, and kind of mind blowing to take a step back and look at myself. To think that just seven years ago I was graduating high school, and had no idea what I was doing with my life. I was the girl who slid by with the bare minimum in school, and never felt like I'd amount to anything. Being given the opportunity to be here, and do what I've done with such an amazing team of people has really helped me realize my potential. A year with Palmer Grove has changed my life in ways that I never imagined it could. Never in my all my wildest dreams could I imagine I'd be the artistic director of such a wonderful publication.
It brings me true joy to be here, and I look forward to many more wonderful years!

Welcome Update #37


Rachel Flesch, Artistic Director

I didn't realize just how much I have missed giving back to others. Working three years in retail is pretty much the equivalent of selling your soul to your job. There is no set schedule; you leave work, sleep for 4 hours, then make your way back in to do it all over again. There isn't much time for anything else. Having a job with a set schedule now actually allows me to schedule other things in life. One of those being community involvement.

In high school I didn't have a job outside of the summers, so any free time I had was spent volunteering. Helping others is something that I love to do! It took me a while to realize how much I actually missed it! A few months ago a friend of mine from church announced she was heading up a community garden project. I've wanted to start gardening for a long time now. I feel like I've been recently channeling some of my grandma's favorite past times, specifically starting with my new found passion for baking. So, why not let the gardening bug get at me too!

Being able to participate in an event that is helping the community in so many ways really brings me great joy. From being able to help those less fortunate cut back on food budgets, to improving a bigger sense of community and socialization. It really warms my heart to be able to give back.
Rachel Flesch, Artistic Director

Writing the New Year’s update is something I greatly anticipated doing. I've been blogging for about ten years now and I always do a New Year’s update. Usually it consists of my resolutions; most of which simply carry over to the next year as I, without a doubt, always fail to complete them. This year though is different, it's a new year and I have one resolution; stop making resolutions. To me the definition of resolution should be: a goal I would love to achieve and could, but won't put the effort into because it's not a serious goal.

 I didn't even spend my time ringing in the New Year in any of my former traditional fashions. Growing up we always went over to my great aunt’s home to celebrate with all the cousins (I have a large Italian family). As we grew older and apart though my parents opted to do late night movies as a new tradition; that's how I saw the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. Then a few years back my friends and I started the tradition of gathering around and doing a White Elephant exchange, partaking in yummy food, and of course our competitive nature demanded board games. For anyone who doesn't know a White Elephant exchange is where you wrap up your unwanted junk... I mean your shiniest objects that you want to give to a better home. Then everyone draws a number and goes in order, you can either steal from someone who went before you or pick a gift from the mystery pile. It's always great fun, and we have a group of siblings notorious for re-gifting things from past years and making sure to wrap them nicely to trick people. There is always the option, however of wrapping them in beat up pop can boxes with news paper wrapping paper that only fits halfway around. You never know what you'll get you may end up with the plastic lawn crow that's been passed around for four years and has earned the name Chad, or you could end up with something entirely not-so-new like two Super Soakers from the late 90's!

 While I did get to participate in the exchange, the majority of my New Year was spent at my church's parsonage trying to help them get a large fridge through a tiny door frame on the condition that if I could get it out I could have it. You see I'm moving into a new home this week, it'll be my first time on my own and while it's slightly frightening I look forward to it. The place needs a little TLC, and I can't wait to begin turning it into a comfortable and lovely home.

 The main reason I resolved not to have any resolutions this year is because the only resolution I accomplished from last year is the one to move out. Ironically I was completing that process as the clock ticked down to midnight. It felt refreshing, and yet it made me realize what silly things resolutions are. Had it not been occurring on New Year’s I probably would have never remembered it was one of my resolutions. What I'm getting at is what I started with, resolutions are pointless. Regardless of if you make them or not change will occur. Sure you can push it along, but some things just fall into your lap. You can't always control life, and the changes that take place. Sometimes you just have to let things go as they need to and allow your resolutions to resolve themselves.

 May your new year be filled with achievable goals, not back burner resolutions!

 Happy New Years to all our wonderful readers!

Welcome Update #28


Rachel Flesch, Artistic Director

Hello again everyone. I once again have struggled with what to write here specifically after procrastinating till the last minute. Then I realized I could talk about my problem with procrastination. It's really more of a bad habit in the long run. If you've read my profile you know I'm the type of person who wants to do a little bit of everything. That's just it though; all I ever do is a little bit. Then I get bored or lose interest without finishing. Truth be told though I never really get bored or lose interest in anything, I just find something shiny and start saying I'll finish that on a rainy day. Then apparently Ohio doesn't have enough rainy days (yeah right) because nothing ever gets done.
Take this issue, I have stuff I still need to finish, and every day I wake up thinking about it (not kidding) but it never gets done. I'll do it because I have to, but only because I know certain other staff members enjoy crime shows and by now probably know how to clean up all the evidence after a murder. Truth be told though I do it for the magazine, for my team, and for my Palmer Grove friends and family. No, I'm not being cheesy or saying what I should say, I'm saying what I mean.
Let’s move back on track because I was starting to procrastinate away from the topic at hand. November, as some may know, is known as National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. It's something I've wanted to participate in for a good five years now. I've always wanted to write a novel, so naturally a month dedicated to it was perfect for someone who wants to do a little bit of everything. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It's quite a feat; it's an average of 1,667 words per day. Thinking about that I figured, "that's going to be so easy!" I had a story in mind, one that had been in my head since sophomore year of high school except I planned to tweak and twist it from a medieval fantasy to a modern young adult fantasy. 

The first week and a half went great, I was good about staying on task, and even getting further than I was supposed to be... but around 22,000 words I kind of tanked. I lost interested in my own story. I loved the story, and I still do, but I just was burnt out and had gotten to the point that I was rambling, and over describing things to reach my goal before midnight each night. I wasn't caring about my work anymore. It was my competitive spirit coming out with the goal of simply winning the race. Even then though I could still keep up... but about day 14, I procrastinated. I decided to skip my words for the day and just do them the next day, then the next day, and the day after that, and well by day 19 I was overwhelmed and quit all together. 

November's over and yes I've picked back up the novel and gone in to tweak and twist some things so it's back on track, but it was hard. Ultimately do I regret procrastinating on it? Yes. However, this is the one time I think procrastination played out in my favor, it made me realize that taking time to smell the roses actually helped me love what I was doing again. It brought purpose to my writing.
So in the end while some see my procrastination as a bad thing, it's not always terrible. It never hurts to take a step back in life and simmer for a bit.

Welcome Update #22


Rachel Flesch, Artistic Director

I hate the word not because of what it means, but because of what our society has warped it to mean. Essentially when you tell someone you're on a diet it sounds temporary, as though to say, "This week I'm eating dry grass and drinking spring water till I can fit into that little black dress I bought, next week though I'm going to wear it to an all you can eat buffet!" A diet shouldn't be temporary, and by definition it describes the food you intake in a day. It doesn't have to be something that will bring about a "positive outcome." 

My diet, for example, consists of bottled water, coffee, fast food, salads, and anything else salty and sweet I can scrounge up when I'm feeling munchy at work. Essentially it's bad, and I need to change it, not temporarily till I can feel good about the weight I'm at, but permanently. So many people want results NOW, so they rush to ration themselves to a cube of cheese a day and crash diet their way to "success." It's not healthy though. Losing weight rapidly means one thing, you'll gain weight rapidly too. Your body needs time to adjust to your new eating habits; habits which should be a permanent lifestyle change not just a temporary fix. 

I once lost nearly 40lbs in a summer, primarily from a drastic diet change. Some of the stuff was fine, I was able to sub out things for fatty foods, and cut out fast food and sweets, but was I willing to do that forever? No! Some days you need those comfort foods, or a bar of chocolate or to just be able to grab a cheeseburger after a long day at work to cope with life's situations. Since that Summer I've gained back every pound, and that's been entirely due to stress. I'm slowly learning to adjust my eating habits though so that I can feel healthy again. Don't forget about exercise too I wouldn't have gotten there without it.
Here are 5 tips that I've utilized in my weight loss journey 
1. Cut out as much of the fatty sugary goodies you can. Substitute fruits and yogurts when possible. At first it'll seem horrible, but trust me after a month of cold turkey and withdrawals your body will get over that need for sugar and you'll feel a surge of energy.
2. Exercise, exercise, EXERCISE! I cannot stress this enough. It will make a world of difference. Whether you get a gym membership or just look up videos on the internet, it will help keep your energy levels up, your stress levels down, and allow you to progress even more towards improving your lifestyle. Also try to do it at the same time on the same days, schedule 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week that you'll be able to exercise. Doing so will help your body out, and even though it may hurt the first few days keep it up. This will help loosen up your muscles and eventual you'll get used to it. Keep the phrase "feel the burn" in your mind. If you can't feel it you aren't doing it right.
3. Smart decisions. If you're going out (let's face it you can't avoid it forever) make a smart choice. Just because it's a salad doesn't mean it might be the best decision, especially once you considering that crispy breaded chicken on top, and that creamy ranch dressing. A grilled chicken sandwich hold the bread may be the wiser choice in the long run.
4. Portion control. As American's we are trained to clean our plates before desert. Your eyes are usually a lot bigger than your stomach and tests have shown that when people are blind folded they realize they are full before they get even halfway through their plates. Try it for yourself one day; you'll be surprised just how little you need to eat to be satisfied. Remember also that just because that little bag of personal potato chips seems small it doesn't mean it is one portion. Sometimes those things can host as many as 3 PORTIONS per bag, and the caloric intake is enough to cover a whole meal.
5. Calories aren't everything. While counting calories can be important don't forget to look at fat, sugars, and protein. Sugars are very fattening, and can hide behind other words like corn syrup and glucose. Protein is important as it plays a big role in filling you up. Try making sure you are getting enough protein in every meal. This will really help satisfy you, especially focus on non-red meats like chicken and fish. They contain other nutrients that your body needs as well as less fat content. Eating protein BEFORE exercising will help you perform better, and up your energy levels, and that'll keep you going strong all day long.
There are so many other things, and in reality I could go on about it, but I'm going to go exercise instead!

Welcome Update #18




Rachel Flesch, Artisitc Director

I've tossed around ideas in my head for the past few days in regards to what I should write about here. My first inclination was to go the easy route and to discuss my recent change in position with Palmer Grove. Stepping up into the Artistic Director position has been quite a change. There are a lot more responsibilities, but I'm taking them on with all the zeal I can muster. Enough of that though; as I stated that was my first inclination. There cannot just be a first, that would be an 'only'. My second inclination was to share with you my new obsession. Thus I shall.

I've always been one to enjoy a good inspirational quote every now and again, though I've always relied on someone else to supply me with that quote. The first quote I ever found and I loved was a few years ago. "Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none." It's by William Shakespeare, and it was one of those quotes that came about during a rough time in my life. It was about a year after high school, I wasn't in college, I had no job, and I had a small cluster of questionable friends. My world was crumbling around me, and I realized I trusted, and relied on too many people. I let go of those friends. It was the hardest thing I'd ever done. They were my last thread of reality, the last thing connecting me to people in the outside world and I released them. For the first time since Kindergarten I was requited to live without a single friend. I didn't even know how to make friends, people just always came to me and it happened! That quote was one of the things that helped me realize I needed to reach out to someone I'd wronged in the past. That's how I got my best friend from middle school back, and essentially how I started on the path towards becoming who I am today.

I bought a small dry erase board for my desk at my other job, after getting it to stay on the wall of my cubicle (we won't discuss how many times it fell down and hit me) I realized I really didn't have anything to put on it. So I began to scour the internet for a good quote to put up there. I came across a plethora of quotes. Who knew significant people had so many significant words!? Not only do I now write them on the wall of my cubicle, but I also have attached 30 of them in a rotation on my email signature. Yes you might say I have a bit of an addiction. So to wrap this up I'm going to share five of my favorite quotes with you, and trust me it was very hard to narrow it down to just five

"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."
- Marilyn Monroe

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one."
- C.S. Lewis

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."
-Robert Frost

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
-Groucho Marx

"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me."
-Ayn Rand

If you enjoy my writing, or just want to see what else I've got up my sleeve check out our up and coming issue releasing on October 3rd. I have officially completed my first article!