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#SUPERWOMAN BEGINNING IN THE MIDDLE | CO-FOUNDER CATHERINE WILLIAMSON TALKS TO HARNESS

On renovating homes, working with her husband and quitting her job The before and after pictures are truly spectacular — from broken walls, floral wallpaper and old tiles, Catherine Williamson and her husband, Bryan Williamson, transform lifeless spaces into bright, welcoming homes. The images speak for themselves as Catherine and Bryan build an empire. With reality television show offers, 50K followers on Instagram and features on sites like Oprah.com –we wanted to learn more about the co-founder of Beginning in the Middle, a former accountant from New Jersey. Catherine is the oldest of five siblings. Growing up, their mom did not want them to have cable, so they played with each other and made crafts. “That fostered a lot of creativity in all of us,” Catherine said. “I just r...

LAST ROW ON A MINI PLANE

I was sitting a few rows behind a woman not much younger than me. She was dressed in a trendy brown skirt with a complimentary cream blouse. Her hair was dark brown and it looked blown out in a hurry. I admired her outfit and the fact she was wearing her hair down, because the thought of travelling in an airport exhausted me. I couldn’t imagine wearing anything other than jeans, a warm pullover and tennis shoes. My hair thrown up in a blonde bun. The brown haired woman looked so relaxed on the plane. This was definitely routine for her. She must travel for work I concluded. As the flight attendant was making her rounds through the cabin before lift-off, the brown-haired beauty whipped out her iPhone Plus and threw in some earplugs. Some of you may judge me for eavesdropping. Well judge rig...

IS EVERYONE DATING BUT ME?

One day, while scrolling through my personal Instagram account, a strange thought crossed my mind. Is it just me, or is everyone  dating?  As I scrolled through engagement announcements, wedding photos, anniversary celebrations and newborn photo shoots, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was normal to still be single and enjoy it.  I’m only 24, of course  it’s normal. But only a few weeks earlier I was in an entirely different place: Tinder, if we’re being honest (we’ve all been there,  I won’t tell if you won’t). It was a few months post break-up, and there I was, already in search of the next relationship to fill the void because being alone terrified me. Everyone around me seemed to be in a relationship, and it was all I could see.  This is the first ti...

HAPPINESS IS SHIFTING GEARS

Happiness comes in the moments you learn how to shift between the gears. When the road starts to get a little bit harder.. and a little bit taller.. and you push your foot down on the pedal picking up speed – making it quickly over the hump. It’s when life changes and you slip through the crack just in time to see something new and experience something amazing. Does anyone else see the people around them stuck? Stuck with cinderblocks tied to their feet? With each year change became harder and quicksand started pulling them under. They stopped fighting the sinking feeling and started to give into the weight of the world on their shoulders. They forgot to beam in a different direction when the trees started to shade. Sometimes I worry about being stuck like mud. Always reaching ...

BRIDESMAID-ING: 8 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

He asked. She said yes. And then? She asked you. Minutes after he was no longer just her boyfriend, you were no longer just her friend. You were someone she’d want up there helping her seal the deal. It’s an honor! It’s also not about you. And sometimes that’s the hardest part. Over the past year I’ve gotten married and stood up in four other weddings. Having done the preparations numerous times, I thought I’d share some tips I’ve learned for bridesmaid-ing well. Brides aren’t the only ones who can earn the “zilla” added to their name. We’ve all gotta do our part not to lose our cool on the big day. Here are eight things that have helped me!    1. Celebrate; don’t control.  We can all agree that weddings are some of the BEST events of the year. And yet, there is a tendency in all of us to ...

RELATIONSHIPS IN MODERN SOCIETY

Does our generation want relationships? Or do we just simply want a partner to spend cold nights and post funny Snapchats videos with? Our generation, the Millennials, are slowly lowering our standards and losing our hope for the fairytale enchanted romance that we used to see in the Disney films.   The reason why? Well, it has been caused by the rapidly advances in technology, with all the dating apps and social media sites. What we want is a Facebook official relationship with tons of likes and comments, overly-publicized engagements and those cutesy pictures that make our friends wish they had those as “#relationshipgoals.” Unfortunately, our generation is plagued with instant gratification, quick answers—and that is why we rush into things. There is this constant struggle b...

JUICY CAMPUS QUEEN

Freshman year of college, I was the subject of a contentious feminist debate on my college campus. Remember the website Juicy Campus? (I know…this is going somewhere though) “Who is the biggest ball-busting feminist on campus?” Only one answer, “Meryl Duff,” sat in the replies. Yes, I was browsing Juicy Campus, and yes I found my name in the anonymous reply. My first thought was “Oh my God, people here know me?” and my second thought was “…as a ball-busting feminist?!” Now, after some intense self-reflection as to why I was even looking at the Juicy Campus website, I moved on to how people knew me as a “ball-busting feminist.” Was it “Penis Registration Day” or was it my argument of sexist language in my First Year Seminar? I guess I’ll never know, but I was both proud and slightly incredu...

8 HERBS EVERY WOMAN NEEDS TO KNOW

I grew up in the Midwest attached to my Grandmother’s side, making herbal medicine. I would tag along behind her singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider until she gave me the look. I knew the look meant I better keep quiet or I’m going to be standing in the infamous kitchen corner. We had our ritual walk out to the garden every evening after dinner dishes for my entire childhood. We prepared herbs almost every summer night until I was “too old” to do such things. One fantastic summer, my west coast older cousin came to visit for the summer. It was the best summer of my kid life. Then one day, her whole teenage world crashed. She was wrapped up in blankets with  pain relievers and terrible menstrual cramping. My Grandmother, being her natural herb savvy self, held my hand and we went into the garden ...

PREGNANT, BUT NOT INCAPABLE

Struggling with body image issues is common. Bullying, body-shaming and “fitspiration” have changed the game for women everywhere. It’s not enough to be skinny, you have to be strong, you have to prove you work for it and you have to document it. Pregnancy is no exception. I have heard so many stories from women I work with, who got pregnant and just gave in and enjoyed eating extra calories, indulging in cravings constantly and sending their significant others out for pickles and ice cream at 10 p.m. I’ve also seen so many women on social media who stay super fit throughout their entire pregnancy, wearing tiny shorts and sports bras, with bodies worth envy 30 weeks in.   I found out I was pregnant during the CrossFit Open – a five-week period in late winter when CrossFitters from all over...

ON BEING ASIAN AMERICAN

There has been so much discussion about race in America. I’m not going to make any comments on what I think is right or wrong. I just want to share my experience as an Asian-American. There is an interesting intersection as an Asian in America – first generation Chinese-American, to be more specific. Even though we, generally, do better for minorities, we are often seen as foreigners. Smart. But nonetheless, we are seen as “others.” We are seen as exotic, foreign, even oriental (like a rug…). Growing up, my family was isolated. My parents didn’t know English very well, so they stayed within their own bubble. After my dad immigrated here, he slowly brought family members over, one by one. I can’t imagine how lonely it was when he was here by himself...

LULLABY FOR MOM

When did you first feel like a grown-up? When you graduated college? When you got married? Bought a house? Had a baby? Not me. Adulthood sucker-punched me at age 53, when I had to make decisions about my elderly mom. Mom was a formidable woman. She came from a poor Cuban family of 11 children, the middle child in a family where the four girls were significantly less important than the seven boys. It’s sobering to be faced with the raw realization that you are a witness to your parent’s entire life. No, you weren’t there for all of it, but you heard the stories about her youth, how she was teased by her siblings, how she had to walk for miles to get to school in shoes resoled with cardboard, the heartbreaks that defined her. You begin to uncover the mystery that is the most influential pers...

I GUESS WE ARE JUST FRIENDS

I wake up a couple of hours later because I’m cold. I see you across the room, sitting at the computer. You’re dressed already. You see that I’m awake and you smile. “I was about to slip out. You were sleeping so good I didn’t want to wake you. I’m just checking my email right quick.” I can tell right away that your mood has changed. You’re no longer as comfortable with me as you were before. This change makes me feel naked and it has nothing to do with what I’m wearing, or the lack thereof. I get up and begin to get dressed. Even though it’s spring and it’s warm, I put on jeans and a lightweight hoodie. I’m familiar with this new mood and it chills me to the bone. It makes me feel nervous and alone. You’re no lo...

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