Happy and Fulfilling Times

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I think in a way it was to actualize the fun things happening right now. Do you remember as a kid not quickly sharing something exciting to keep from jinxing it and to make sure it was still going to happen?

I got a good raise.

A few weeks ago we had reviews at work and I walked out of that meeting with a generous raise. It wasn’t impressive in a moving-up-a-tax-bracket way, but it meant a lot to me. In the meeting my boss praised me for my attitude, commitment to detail, and professionalism. Not only that, be he was excited to do my review first because he was most excited for it. He told me that he wants me to be a vital part of this company and fill bigger shoes with a more managerial role. Essentially, be the marketing director in the making.

Not only that, but I figured out the extra income I’d make with the raise and God specifically answered a request with it. I have a large electronic purchase to make, in the thousands range, and numbers nearly matched. That is a huge praise. I know that after taxes it won’t completely cover the device, but I believe that pre-taxes amount matching is from God.

I am doing a bigger part for the non-profit.

This year I didn’t get to be print chair. I got to be publicity assistant. But I’ve done a lot of stretching and contacting and making connections that I think will benefit our cause in the future. And that, despite some stress and extra time, is super empowering for me. I connected our executive director with the president of a county-wide Autism organization and she said she’d like to partner with us to give foster kids with Autism a bigger voice. I kickstarted a PSA process so that we can spread the news of our event via broadcasting from now on. I reached out to bloggers and advertisers and built up my sense of brave.

I’m helping out my brother and sister-in-law.

It’s been seven months and my brother is still dealing with a lot of pain and the concussion has not improved noticeably. With all the medical bills post accident, my sister-in-law is working hard trying to break even while working, driving my brother to specialists, and exclusively nursing their 6 month old son. It’s been tough to keep it together with the financial and emotional strain coupled with the lack of sleep a baby brings. She is so strong and I admire her so much. My brother is such a trooper too. I don’t know how he is coping with so much pain. On Friday or Saturday I’ve been spending the night and helping with my nephew so my brother can rest and my SIL can do the paperwork side of her job/catch up on housework. I try to get the dishes and other little chores out of the way when my nephew naps to help them out.

It’s a very busy but fulfilling season of life, and I’m filled with gratefulness.

Ignoring Ignorance. Choosing to Love.

First of all – my ultrasound results for my legs came back negative for a circulation issue. That’s a big praise report! I still have no idea what is causing my issues but I think it NOT being blood clot or circulation related is a definite positive.

With some of the health issues of late, I’ve gotten constant reminders, not from doctors but my mom, to lose weight. She loves to chime in with “maybe your problems would go away if you just lost X pounds.” (Yes, there is some potential truth to that) She also drives me batty because she’s one of those people who watches infomercials and thinks it or what Dr. Oz has to say will be magical for me. “I’ll buy you this 30 day fix.” “Dr. Oz says to lose weight you should…”

Most recently I showed her passport photos I got done. My hair was down but placed behind my shoulders. The camera angle was rather unflattering because it was angled slightly up instead of straight on. I showed it to her to let her know I was proactively working on getting my passport ready but her first response was, “Did they tell you to put your hair back like that? It’s better in front of your face.” Without being direct, she hinted that my moon-shaped face looked slimmer and more flattering with hair covering the sides and elongating.

My aunt who lives in town was over a while back and I was a little more done up that usual in a dress and wearing makeup for church. Before she left she grabbed my face and told me how beautiful it was. She said if I could lose weight I’d have a beautiful body to go with it. She tried to encourage me with her double sided words, assuring me that some people have a nice body but can’t change their face, but I had the face and my body can change.

I’m still surprised I made it through teen-hood and my early twenties without an eating disorder. I don’t mean that flippantly. I’m serious. My family and extended family have been my worst offenders throughout my life. I still remember the holiday I locked myself in my bedroom after my uncle offered to give me $1/lb that I lost. I thought “wow, I cost less than steak per pound. My total worth is about $220.”

Why am I bringing this up? Because I could be very bitter and hate these family members for their words. Instead, I choose to forgive their ignorance and ignore their implications. I am more comfortable with who I am than ever although I do wish to lose weight. And their hurtful comments are now easy to shake off because I know I don’t need to process their unfiltered nonsense.

I wrote about sending comments to spam here. It’s been a life changing way of dealing with negativity and unsolicited comments. I can be conscious of my present state and plan of action without letting the thoughts of others invade my feelings.

I’m changing for me. No one else.

Unroll.me: The Purger and Merger

Sometimes I feel like I live under a rock. Like, didn’t sign up for spotify until the end of last year type of rock.

It’s no surprise that with my fossilized tech sense of living that I also just used unroll.me for the first time ever. And goodness, is it awesome.

You go to the site, then allow it access to your contacts and sign into your email account. Then, magic happens. And if you’re drowning in junk mail like me, this might take a couple minutes.

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There is one catch. They let you unsubscribe from about 10ish things and then tell you to share it to be able to unsub to more. I just shared it privately to my FB and voila. All the unsubs.

Look at that number! I am a worm! I used to shop in person and online A LOT. And what do they do at checkout? Ask you for your email.

It also had blogger subscriptions which makes it easy to clean up blog subs from multiple places like blogger and wordpress. I mostly kept my blog subs but there were a few style/beauty ones I said adios to.

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Step one. I cleared out 57 my first attempt and then realized I had no idea what rolling up emails meant.

Round 2:

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I looked in the FAQ and rolled up emails means instead of getting 80 things you can get them all in one place merged in one email. I rolled up most of my shopping subs, art/event subs, concert subs, and etcetera emails and went from a cleaned up 97 emails to 43 kept in inbox. Glorious.

Here’s what I didn’t roll up:

– My blog subs I love and want to know about ASAP or be able to read via email.
– My top 5 shopping spots only because I do appreciate knowing what’s in season there and getting those quick sale codes when offered. Because 50-75% is amazing. With stuff I’ve already planned to buy, anyway. Not to impulse shop(at least, not as much as before).
– Anything related to banking/medical/bills

It’s a life changer.

While I keep a very uncluttered new email account, I still like holding on to my old one for sales posts and blog subs. It helps me separate things. I like that with the rolled up email I can still keep my retail subs from pertinent places without being tempted to look at them unless I need them. And that my inbox won’t get 30+ emails a day from mindless sources.

So 29 Happened. Still Quarter-lifing?

Guys. I’m 29 now. My last little slice of 20’s.

I’m not sure how much longer I can claim quarter-lifing. If this is a quarter I’ll be making newspapers for being the eldest woman in my county or something. Hah! But I’m not also into my thirds, God willing! I’d like to live past 60 if that’s in His plan. So I’m kind of floating. I’m still dealing with a lot of quarter-lifer issues, so I think the blog name still is very fitting.

My birthday was a mixture of doing taxes, dog sitting, just chilling with my boyfriend, and then a delicious teppanyaki dinner (my first teppan ever).

Being a glass half full person and someone who likes new starts, I’m sure I’ll embrace 30 next year like a boss. I’ll be pumped to enter a new decade of life and ready to take it on. This year being the tail-end of a decade though? That was kind of hard on me. Am I wrapping up my twenties right? Am I where I need to be? Did I do enough? Those kinds of thoughts went through my mind.

To be honest, as a teen, I thought I’d get a good job straight out of college, be married by 27/28 and ideally have my first kid by 30. I’d be so well into my career I could freelance and do the whole STAHM/lady boss mom thing. But the reality is I’m not married yet and that doesn’t bother me. I’m more hard pressed about my job. I have a great job with solid benefits. It’s not in any way ideal, but it’s close to home and pays the bills with a little extra. It’s not anything to brag about or that would make me notable in the design world though. I also live in an area that is high cost so things like buying a house seem like a world away. And I guess part of my humble pie is realizing the greatness I wanted as a teen is going to take more effort than I’ve put in and longer than I desire. And so does the rest of plan A.

In 2015 I promised a whole bunch of stuff and it didn’t all work out, and in 2016 my birthday was spent at the hospital as my uncle was dying, so I’m keeping 29 year old plans simple.

1. Open that darn IRA/IRA-ROTH already!
2. Continue to learn about adulting in the realm of finances and “future” smarts
3. Get myself on a better habit/schedule of life tasks. And that includes self care
4. Work on keeping up to date with design skills
5. Spend more quality time studying my faith and acknowledging God’s work in my life
6. Be braver in making local friends.

The Silence is Dumbing

There are days where I clock in and clock out and in those 8 hours have never spoken a word.

There are days where the only dialogue I get outside of my house is the total charged for my groceries.

There are days I spill my guts through texts and emails because that’s the only outlet I have.

I feel like my conversational skills have atrophied and when I open my mouth, I am clueless on how to share what I’m thinking or don’t even know what to say. As my mouth moves, my brain cringes at the vomit I half-heartedly conjured.

I feel like sometimes I disregard my feelings because it’s too hard to accurately portray them. Or I don’t sufficiently give my cause. And I hate that, because those are the only swords I have that convey mental capacity and tenacity.

I feel like my vocabulary and thoughts only work on paper or typed out from a keyboard.

One of the compliments I have often genuinely received from others is that I’m a good listener. I wish I could equally project myself and cultivate my speaking ability to match my propensity to listen.

I do enjoy listening. But I also want to be heard.

“We Did It Again!”

Home Alone 2 was a staple in my home growing up. If I had to describe my dad’s favorite movies to you growing up it would be “Christmas movies and James Bond.” I’m pretty sure the James Bond part is out the window now, especially as the R rating becomes more scandalous in nature, and it is now “Christmas Movies and Netflix War Documentaries and the occasional reality series about something boring like Ice Road Drivers.”

All that to say, the infamous line of Home Alone 2 is “We did it again!” Kevin’s parents look at each other in distress and mirror each other’s words in bewilderment.

I’m kind of there, but in a different way. And I think anyone not living up to their goals/NYR might be feeling the same. Sometimes we’re creatures of habit or find ourselves repeating things we wish we didn’t.

For me that is being too busy.

I grew up in a very close knit church. It was kind of expected that you were heavily involved and helped out. I love being a part of ministry. But now I don’t feel compelled to volunteer out of guilt or because I’m afraid no one else will step up. That being said, maybe I still feel compulsive sometimes. I can carve out an hour for X can’t I?  [The answer is no, Laura!]

I also hid myself in academics growing up because I was awkward and felt that if I couldn’t keep a conversation or make friends easily at least I could use facts and mental capacity to help. This mostly meant someone with average or slightly better than average tried to get straight A’s because I’m no genius. And it stopped working after college anyway. But there is still this echo of needing to better myself mentally or build new skills. Sometimes healthy, sometimes consuming.

Anyways. Being busy is how I defined myself for years. It’s something hard for me to shake. And now as January wraps up I can see things heaping up in my arms already.

I’m not sure what balance looks like but this week was

Mon – Date night
Tues – Bible Study
Wed – Seminar
Thurs – Non-profit Meeting/ Non prof work
Fri – Art Lesson

I think the earliest I got home/relaxed any of those nights was 8:30pm. And that’s after putting in 8+ hours at my job. This is why I might be kinda nuts.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I was super organized, but I’m not there yet. My Wednesdays will open up after the series of seminars is over, but I know I’ll be craving something to fill the spot. And that’s why I need to tell myself to calm down.

I’m looking at this super full week and how I feel right now and how this is too much and filing it for when I get a crazy notion that I need to do more. Finding balance is taking me a while.

Double Whammy: When good times and bad times share the same date.

This Sunday was Josh and my dating anniversary. It was also my Uncle Norman’s birthday. His first one since he passed last year. Of course it doesn’t mean anything to him anymore in heaven, but to his family and friends that are still here? I miss him and know my aunt is going through a rough patch right now as she is coping. Yesterday was pouring rain and she didn’t even make it to church. She was home alone on a gloomy weather day, mourning her husband. That got me as I empathized with her. Josh took me to a yummy restaurant for dinner that evening and ended the night with a surprise movie date where it was just us, a big screen, and a pint of ice cream to share between the two of us. There were feelings of great sadness and great happiness yesterday.

Last year on my birthday I had one of the hardest birthdays I’ve ever had to face. Josh had just surprised me and taken me out to lunch on my lunch break and dropped me back at work. The phone rang about 30 minutes later and my brother informed me if I wanted to say goodbye to my uncle I better go to the hospital now. I cried so much throughout that day. And I was there, emotionally distraught, until the wee hours of the next morning when my Uncle drew his last gasping breath. I am wholeheartedly thankful for that opportunity. To bond even deeper with my cousins and aunt and my family as we drew strength from each other to make it through this very hard goodbye. To let my Uncle know, however lucid he was, that all of us were there. But I know without a doubt that my birthday this year will be hard to celebrate. It’s also marks my last year of being in my 20’s. And it’s a sad reminder that I have no close local friends to celebrate it with. My closest friends are scattered hours or days drives away from me.

I probably sound like I’m throwing myself a big pity party, but really, I am just a deeply emotional person conflicted by the happiness and sadness of life contrasted by loss.

Regret on Repeat

This year so far has gone very well for mental health and well being. I feel balanced, positive, and have been good as far as being present and taking things one day at a time. Last Friday, however, I felt like I blew it.

Work has been a bit awkward lately as we tackle extra projects and everyone is waist-deep in their work. This meant less communication and a monthly meeting being delayed for nearly two months. In that period of time, I did my best to seek out and persistently take on what I could but communication was more minimal that usual. I kept telling myself this next meeting I’d finally get everything straight.

The meeting came around, my portion was rushed in about 10 minutes, and the flurry of other information caught me off guard. Anxiety crept up and I realized but couldn’t control the onslaught of nervous and not-nearly-effective questions I contributed and I felt compulsive and incompetent for the group discussion. It was just not a good meeting. In the end the moderator asked if next group some of us felt comfortable leaving figures in a small sector’s hands and I hastily volunteered to sit that meeting out. I felt like I made such a mess.

That night my head spun and the feelings of regret and replays of the meeting flooded my head. It took a lot of effort to finally fall asleep. You win some, you lose some. I’m glad the next day was filled with fun at a theme park with cousins so I could destress.

What I couldn’t take into consideration  was that at that meeting, it was pointed out that the ads I designed were top scoring for the publication. And yes, that is a team effort to put together, but also equally my merit and design work as the graphic designer. I might have felt like a failure and even seemed awkward to my peers, but the proof is in the pudding that I am able to contribute to the company and our efforts.

This evening, now that my mind is clear, I think I’ll pour myself a big cup of coffee and untangle the emotions and try to come to terms with both the positives and negatives. The positives to encourage me, the negatives to mental prepare for how I can perform better next meeting.

Starting Off on the Right Foot

I feel like I have a firm grasp on this fresh year. It’s only in the recent year or two that I’ve been extra mindful and I can see areas of improvement from it.

I feel like a lot of the burden that’s lifted has to do with -stuff-. I’m still not at my aha! point but I’m getting there. In each category I’ve noted basic observations AND given myself a room to spend. This will help me narrow my wants and save up for specific items instead of impulse purchases and hoarding because of deals and clearance.

General Bedroom:

– It is most important in this current living situation for belongings to be functional.
– It is better to be functional/multipurpose than aesthetically pleasing or stylish.
– Well constructed but replaceable/donate-able furniture won’t tie me down.
– Furniture that folds up/breaks down to move is ideal when thinking longer term
– My room is a private place. It needs to only visually please me. This includes tidiness.
– Continually remind myself this isn’t a permanent living situation; stay minimal.
– Surround myself in things that bring me joy.

Room to spend: New window privacy clings/window treatment, secondary comforter that is thin enough to go in my washing machine and doesn’t require a trip to the laundromat

Books and Wardrobe:

– Mark a day each month to review and donate excess or reorganize
– Take advantage of Amazon Prime Book rentals/free items
– Get back to the library and checking out books
– Don’t buy hard copies unless they are keepers
– Work in magazines for self care wind downs and discard/donate ASAP
– Pare down to only black socks (because I’m too lazy to bleach white socks)
– Reduce spending on accessories/pare down cheapie accessories
– Actually wear the jewelry/accessories I love and treat them with care

Room to spend: Sterling silver jewelry at discount, affordable digital books, new clothes ONLY IF I lose enough weight or need to replace staple (like jeans)

Bathroom:

– No more value sized bottles that bore me before they’re used up
– Replace empties as needed. Don’t stock extras/multipacks if possible.
– Use up beauty products I have. Avoid beauty aisles in stores.
– Figure out holy grails and don’t stray
– I don’t enjoy makeup/styling. So stop spending/exploring like I do.

Room to spend: Quality skincare and lotion (only to replace used product)

Kitchen:

– Keep it to basics; this is a shared area I am reprimanded for
– Reduce bulk buys and stocking up
– Work to eliminate my pantry
– Simplify meals to require less ingredients
– Treat myself to on-plan meals out, but allocate in budget
– Use more frozen produce to supplement space/reduce waste
– Get into a habit of washing things as I meal prep

Room to spend: Dining out (no more than 2x/week), Unique ingredients to cook with *that day*, On plan snacks (limit options)

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Weight Loss Room to Saves (Rewards):

15 lbs – Beach or Hiking Day (~$15 for parking pass)
25 lbs – Foot Spa Massage (Basic Package) (~$25 + tip)
40 lbs – Facial  (~$50 + tip)
50 lbs – 2 New Outfits and Foot Spa Massage (Nicer Package) (~$150)
60 lbs – Nice Workout shoes (~$80)
70lbs – Fancy meal out (~$50)*
80 lbs – 2 New Outfits + 1 New Workout/Class (~$250)
90 lbs – Fancy meal out (~$50)*
100 – Disneyland or 3 Day Adventure (~$250-500)

* I know treating to food is usually a no-no but if I am past 50 lbs I’m pretty sure I have a better grasp on food and I don’t feel bad about rewarding with a special meal!

A Thank You

I don’t blog for the reach or to eventually earn some income with the traffic. I don’t even blog to keep people I know in real life in the loop (although some of my besties do read this, hello guys!) Is it weird that I kind of like a sense of anonymity?  My goal for blogging is to record what’s on my mind and heart and have a spot for reflection. I also hope to make a couple blog friends or people it can help along the way. I’ve noticed a couple of you regularly like something or comment when it is relatable/etc and that’s very encouraging to me. Thanks for following/frequenting/adding to my blog. I appreciate you! ❤

2016 was a heavy year, am I right? I feel like a majority of my posts were health/fitness related or heavy inner dialogue. Thanks for hanging in there through some pretentiousness and also some dark times. Thanks for encouraging me with your comments and posts on your own blog if we mutually follow each other.

I’ve had the privilege of drawing inspiration or expanding my thoughts on life through your blogs and sometimes I’ve just laughed at a fun memory or meme you’ve shared. Thank you for that.

Here’s to making some awesome blog entries in 2017. One that make us laugh together, cry together, reach out, and encourage us to grow.