Monday, December 31, 2012

#Reverb12 - Day 31 - Finish the year with a BANG!

Take a moment to yourself, somewhere quiet.

Take a deep breath, and if you have the time/space/inclination do something that has significance for you e.g. light a candle, brew a put of your favourite tea, play your favourite music, whatever.

Think back to where you were all those moons ago, on 1 December when you started #reverb12. All the way back then, I asked: "How are you starting?"

Now, I am not going to ask you "Where are you finishing?" because this is not the end. What I want to ask is, "Where are you now?".

You have spent a month honouring everything that has brought you to this place: the highs, the lows, the messy middles, the exuberant rainbows, the turbulent storms, the fresh strawberries dipped in dark chocolate, the too-tight jeans, the unexpected windfalls, the toddler tantrums (theirs or yours!), all of it.

You have thanked each end every one of these things for the things they have taught you and brought you, and fully know that they reside benignly in your physical, emotional and spiritual being. You know know that while they brought you here and will always be with you, there is no reason for them to hold you back any longer.

You are standing where you are, all that you are, splendidly imperfect and right in the middle of this messy delicious life.

Take another deep breath.

Now quickly and without thinking too much about it, finish these five sentences:

2013 is going to be MY YEAR because... I will get out of it what I put into it and I will be putting my heart and soul into this year!

In 2013, I am going to do... amazing things, like finish my degree, move into a house (rental), try to start a family, and create the life I WANT, not the life I settle for.

In 2013, I am going to feel... Alive, awakened, revitalized, rejuvenated! I'm bringing Sexy Back, hehehe!

In 2013, I am not going to... dwell on the past, sweat the small stuff, worry about things out of my control, or allow myself to get walked all over.

In December 2013, I am going to look back and say... Hot Damn that was an exciting year! And look at me now, a better person, a lighter person, an enlightened person! My husband and I can take on anything thrown our way, just try to tear us down, I dare you!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

#Reverb12 - Almost the end of 2012!

So, here we go - from Christmas Eve to the 30th of December! Here are all but the final #Reverb12 prompts and my responses.

Day 24: What is the single most important habit you intend to cultivate in 2013?
A Morning routine. If there is any habit I need to focus on more than anything, it is a morning routine. Now, that could include working out, being up early enough for a shower, making breakfast at home, or even just 20 minutes of ME time. Regardless, I need a morning routine!

Day 25: How will you be vulnerable?
I will open myself up with no restrictions. I will no longer hide behind a shell and peer through the cracks. Its time to just open myself up and see what happens. I'm so guarded with so many aspects of my life and I feel like in some areas, it is holding me back. Time to leave that behind in 2012 and open up in 2013!

Day 26: How do you intend to carve out more time for the things that are the most important to you in 2013?
Time in 2013 is going to be a tough thing to come by. I will be working full time, attending school full time, focusing on my health full time and of course strengthening my relationship with my husband. I guess if I really think about it, those ARE the things that are most important to me.

Day 27: How will you continue (or start) making time and space for your creative passions in 2013?
I always tend to find a few hours on a weekend to do something crafting. However, for 2013, I want to make time for blogging and sharing. I want to find a community that I feel like I belong to wholeheartedly, and not just partially.

Day 28: Think of three things that daunted you in 2012: how are you going to work towards overcoming them in 2013?
I already overcame one of the largest thing that daunted me in 2012: starting school. 1 month in and I've already completed a 3 credit course and am on my way to the next one. The only other item would be my health. I was on such a great path in 2011 and felt like things were really going to go my way into 2012. But once the year started, everything just fell apart. So many other things were going on and I felt like I couldn't get a handle on anything. And here we are, at the end of 2012, and I have gained back all that I lost last year. Its heart breaking, but I know I can not give up. My husband is on board to making us BOTH healthy just year. No longer just supportive, but joining in the lifestyle change. Here's hoping we can overcome that obstacle in 2013 and beyond!

Day 29: What word did you select to be your travelling companion in 2012? What gifts did this word bring? What word will you choose to guide you through 2013? What do you hope it will bring into your life?
My 2012 word was Growth - and boy did I ever grow. So many things happened in 2012 that just showed me that there is SO much more to learn in this world. Good, bad, fun, sad, it was all about growing in work, in play, and in love! In 2013, I choose the word Action. I will take Action on thoughts and feelings and goals. I will not make resolutions to get me through the year, I will take action for a life long change. Time to get into gear!

Day 30: Describe joyously and in great celebration the BEING that you ARE. 
The best way to describe the Being that is Me, is to read my About Me page! It is all about me, glorious me!

One more post before the end of the year! Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

#Reverb12 - A Week of Reverb

So - between studying, work, and Christmas, I've completely slacked on my duties to keep up with #Reverb12 this year. So - I intend to do 2 big posts to finish out the year. This one will be up to December 23rd, and the last one will be til the 31st! That will put me right up to my New Years post! Without further ado, let's jump right in!

Day 16: Who inspired you? My husband. Every day, the Caveman inspires me to keep going. He was, and is, my biggest supporter when I decided I wanted to go back to school. His outlook on life is amazing and I know there is a reason we were meant to be. He calms me down, keeps me level, and maintains that cool look towards life, as if to say "Bring it, I can take whatever you throw!" I'm  jealous, but also inspired, by that outlook.

Day 17: How did you make a difference? I can't really think of anything I did that made a difference. I dont' feel like I affected someones life in any profound way. I feel like there are many things I let myself down on. I didn't do any charitable things this year. I know I did great, but I really feel like I didn't make a difference. I just lived. That's really all I could do in 2012. A fabulous year, a busy year, but just a year when the day is done.

Day 18: The colour of you? Orange. Always Orange. Bright and cheery and happy. And yet I also see it is lonely and angry and full of despair. Its close enough to red to be full of frustration but also close enough to yellow to be full of hope. That's how I am, that's how I always am. I live on this line, always wavering from one side to the other. Some days I'm dark orange, hiding in a corner, wallowing in the thoughts in my head, hoping to find a light at the end of the long dark day, week, or even month. Some days I'm bright orange, bouncing through life without a care, loving everyone and everything and trying to remember to be grateful for what I DO have instead of worrying about what I don't. Its a delicate line I live, but it's my line and I live it to the fullest!

Day 19: How did you nourish yourself? To be honest, I didn't nourish myself at all in 2012. In fact, I was mean to my body all year. I stopped going to Zumba, regular exercise, no more hot yoga, started eating worse, let negative thoughts fill my head, allowed stress and work to control me, and just beat myself up emotionally and physically. I was NOT good to myself, not at all. I want to change. I need to change. I'm starting to change. I feel like every year I learn more about myself that causes me to rethink how I've done things in the past. "Hard Work and Determination" just don't seem to cut it for me. My body and my brain don't work with that philosophy. I want to take better care of myself in 2013. I have plans and goals and I have a husband on board to help me reach those! It'll be a new year, but I'll make the best of it yet

Day 20: What was lost and what was found? Keeping this one simple. I lost thousands of dollars in debt when I finalized my bankruptcy. I found a new respect for money management. The mentality for money management has always been there for me, but I let a horrible relationship dictate my financial decisions for 5 years and wound up in the biggest hole I could ever imagine. I'm recovering, quickly, and on track to reach my financial goals much quicker now! Student loans are getting paid off fast, and I just bought my first car with CASH! Making progress!

Day 21: What’s on the dream list?
* Finishing my Bachelor's Degree
* Live in a HOUSE, not an apartment
* Become a mommy
* Move somewhere with BETTER Seasons (I want SNOW in Winter and SUN in Summer)
* Start my own company (hmmmm - family business with my Daddio sounds good to me!)

Day 22: What was the greatest gift you received in 2012?
I got my Christmas present from the Caveman at the beginning of December. He gave it to me because it is to be used as a TOOL, not a TOY! He wanted to get me something that would help me with school that I really wanted. So, he went out and bought me a Kindle Fire HD! I was completely amazed that he bought it for me. We are a little tight with money, but he still wanted to get me something that I could have fun with but would also be EXTREMELY helpful in me accelerating through my coursework to finish my degree. I couldn't have been happier!

Day 23: Name three excuses -- stories you tell yourself that are holding you back -- that you are going to let go of in 2013.
I'm going to let go of my emotional attachment to food.
I'm going to let go of the internal fear I have that I am not good enough for the great things I already have.
I'm going to let go of half my wardrobe - not hanging onto anything anymore that is too small or too big.

So there you go! Next week I will post the last of the #Reverb12 posts.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

#Reverb12 - Tastebuds

What was the most extraordinary dish you sampled in 2012? What made it so magical? 
The first two weeks in August, I was in Sacramento for a business trip. I was with another co-worker and one of my bosses doing a big project. One of the first nights we were in town, we dined at the Cheesecake Factory. After a 12+ hour day, you can't go wrong with Cheesecake! One of the items on the appetizers menu was Avocado Eggrolls. My boss insisted we had to try them because they were absolutely delicious.

Now, I have never been a huge avocado fan. In recent months I have become more open to trying foods I previously didn't enjoy and avocados is one of them. My co-worker and I decided to order the plate and give it a try. And boy were they delicious! Avocado, Sun-Dried Tomato, Red Onion and Cilantro Fried in a Crisp Wrapper. And it came with a Tamarind-Cashew sauce, the perfect amount of sweetness!

Friday, December 14, 2012

#Reverb12 - Important things

What was the most important thing you learned in 2012?

This year, I learned patience. I'm an impatient person most of the times. Yes, there are many things that take me a long time to decide on, but 9 times out of 10, i'm an impulse person and usually feel dumb afterwards. but this year was all about patience. With people, with work, and with choosing my school. I've taken the time to think things through before making decisions. I'm more patient with people and have learned to not get so worked up about people and situations I can't change to affect in any ways. I've learned how to just wait for things at work, reluctantly, but doing it. I hope I can take this into 2013, as I feel I will need a lot of patience to get through the year.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

#Reverb12 - Self-portrait

Please post your favourite picture of yourself from 2012, self-portrait or otherwise!
I have a number of memorable and favorite pictures from there year - but this is one I'm really proud of!

Me after finishing my FIRST 5K, the Color Run on Mothers Day 2012!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

#Reverb12 - Dancing

What made you dance in 2012? What made you weep?

Weddings! SO many weddings! They made me dance AND made me cry!

The first one was in April in Vegas. Two great friends of mine decided to do a recommittment ceremony in Vegas with close friends and a couple family members! It was the first time I have ever been a bridesmaid and was so incredibly honored. After the ceremony, we had a party bus for the evening. There was lots of drinking, dancing, and merriment to be had! It made me happy to be able to be in Vegas, with my friends, and celebrate!

The next wedding for the year was in May in Philadelphia. I attended Penn State my freshman year of college and am still friends with a handful of people I met when I was there, nearly 10 years later! This year, one of my dearest friends got married and I was able to make the trip across the country to see it! It was nice to bring the Caveman with me to meet people that I talk about but never get to see! And there were a number of group dances on the dance floor with my girls! They all belong to the same sorority, a sorority that I was asked to join but never got the chance to pledge because I moved back to Washington  I feel like the honorary member with these girls and it was so great to see them!

And then of course my own wedding! The friends who were married in Vegas helped with the DJ activities for my own wedding and it was a blast! Getting to dance to some crazy songs from my childhood with my mom, in front of all my family, was absolutely amazing! I miss late night weekends of watching movies, listening to loud 80's music and dancing around the living room with my mom and siblings!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

#Reverb12 - Bye Bye Jelly Bean

What was music to your ears in 2012, literally or metaphorically?

"All debt from your car accident is now paid off"

One of the greatest things I heard all year. Nearly 2 years after my accident, that totaled my lil Jelly Bean, I no longer owe a dime!

Monday, December 10, 2012

#Reverb12 - Risks

What was the greatest risk you took in 2012? What was the outcome?
Short and Sweet - the biggest risk I took in 2012 was choosing to go back to school! I know there are many life things ahead of me in the next year or two, and adding in being back in school is only going to make it more interesting! 

I spent MONTHS weighing the pros and cons. Ultimately I decided that all the pros outweighed any con I could come up with. So, my term started December 1st and I am embarking on what I hope is only an 18 month adventure to obtain my Bachelor's in Business Management. I think it will go great with the skills and knowledge I already have and compliment my drafting and design degree perfectly!

Here's to a new Adventure!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

#Reverb12 - I {heart} The Bloggess

What was the best book you read in 2012, and why?

"Let's Pretend This Never Happened" by Jenny Lawson.

I have written about Jenny (AKA The Bloggess) before and in that time she released her own book. A mostly true memoir, in fact, that was the best thing I read all year. She's wild and crazy and should probably be in an institution  but she faces life every day and conquers it in the most glorious of ways. She has a daughter and an awesome husband named Victor that love and support her and her crazy antics. There is a small part of me that wishes I could be more like Jenny and tackle the world with all the magic that she does!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

#Reverb12 - Relationships

Considering the idea that nothing lasts forever: what was the most important relationship that you fostered in 2012?

How will you continue to nurture it in 2013?

In 2012, I had 3 stages of significant other. I started 2012 with a great boyfriend who I loved so very much and could see myself spending the rest of my life with him. Within 3 months, he proposed in the most amazing way ever and I couldn't have been happier! We set a date for the summer of 2013 and slowly began the planning steps.

However, by summer time, not only had the idea of wedding planning and the stress of everyone's "advice" gotten to us, but familial situations had us rethinking what we TRULY wanted. And suddenly, we were planning a wedding for end of summer 2012!

Having a husband is a wonderful thing. For us, we still operate in much the same way we did when we were boyfriend and girlfriend. We knew, even at that level, that anything we did would affect the other and that we had to work together to get through life's ups and downs. If anything, being married has helped solidify our methods of working through things and has made things a lot easier. 

I have no worries that we won't continue this same method into 2013 and beyond. For the 3 years we've been together, although we've faced some difficult times, we always seem to work WITH each other and not AGAINST each other. It is one of the things I love about our relationship and hope to only strengthen it in years to come.

Friday, December 7, 2012

#Reverb12 - Growing

What's the one thing you want to take with you into 2013?

As odd as it sounds, I want to take my growth with me into 2013.

As part of last years Reverb, I chose one word that I wanted to capture in 2012. That word was Growth. I wanted to grow personally, emotionally and financially. I wanted to expand my career, my skills, and my relationships, both professional and personal. I feel like I fully accomplished this in 2012 and I am a better person because of it.

And for that reason, I would like to continue that in 2013. I feel its natural for people to grow and learn every day, but when you make the conscious effort to do so, you grow leaps and bounds! You open your mind to new things more willingly and take on more tasks that allow you to learn new skills, expand your knowledge and make yourself more valuable.

I want to grow more in 2013! I feel I still have so much to learn and so much to do! Bring it on!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

#Reverb12 - Learning

Compare the “you” from the beginning of 2012 to the “you” that you are now. What new skills or talents have you learned or discovered this year?

The "me" from the beginning of 2012 had hit a weight loss wall and was struggling to get back on track. She was extremely broke and stressing about finances every waking moment. She was handling a huge project at work and feeling like she was drowning in work and no one was listening to her. She was contemplating her future and her options to go back to school. She was rethinking how she handled her relationships (famiily, friends, significant other). The "me" from the beginning of 2012 felt like a stepping stone for everyone else's successes. She was breaking through a major barrier and still had so much to tear down before feeling like a whole person again. She was talking small steps backwards to reevaluate everything and wanted to take a slower approach at life.

And now? At the end of 2012, what have I learned or discovered?

I'm a rockstar, that's what I am! I still have some barriers to break down, but I am steam rolling things down left and right now. Instead of taking steps back, I pushed full steam ahead. I handled my financial situation like a champ and am making things much smoother for me to handle. Still some work to do in 2013,however I finally feel confident that I am making smarter financial decisions that will lead to great things in the future. I'm still drowning in work, but I've stopped being the stepping stone. I'm standing up for myself and taking names! I am an overachiever at work and I'm finally making sure people are aware that it was ME who did the awesome work that made a client happy or made a project a huge success. I'm not letting anyone push me over anymore and it feels great. I feel more confident in the workplace, with clients, with management. After spending most of the year weight my options, I started back at school to finish my Bachelor's degree. I'm hoping to learn some new skills to use at work, but also finally have a degree to support the vast knowledge and long list of skills I already have. 

I thought 2012 was going to be a rough year. I wasn't looking forward to the billions of things that I knew I would struggle with throughout the year. I just wanted to hide in a whole. But now, I can look back at this year and say WOW! I did a LOT! I went to Vegas, I went to Philly, I got engaged, I GOT MARRIED, I moved, I advanced my career, I got a new puppy (to keep the other puppy company), I finally got a car (after 2 years of not driving!). And all of this I did because of my Caveman. Talk about a husband who is consistently supportive and provides encouragement and constructive criticism that keeps me going daily! I don't think I would have accomplished so much had he not been there to endure it all with me!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

#Reverb12 - Dream Destination

What was your dream destination in 2012 and why? 
My dream destination this year was New York. 

At the beginning of this year, the only thing Caveman and I were planning was moving in the summer and a trip to Philly for a friends wedding at the end of May. We got really excited about how our finances were looking and the prospect that we would be able to extend our Philly trip and get 3-4 days in New York City. It is a place that we both badly want to visit and were so excited to go! And then.... we didn't go!

Right as the New Year started, a good friend of mine called and said she was getting married and I was to be in the wedding! Oh boy was I thrilled! This girl and I are very similar and have very few female close friends, so I was totally honored and couldn't believe it. And then she said that they were doing a destination wedding in Vegas, but with real dresses and tuxes (no shotgun/drive thru style)! That made me even more excited because I have never been to Vegas. And then the date.... April..... THIS YEAR!

There went our New York plans. Our extra money went towards our trip to Vegas. And I loved EVERY MINUTE of it!! Well, except the part where we walked for miles and my feet got blisters! It was lots of fun to spend a whole weekend with some great friends, experience a new city and watch two amazing people get married! Wouldn't have traded it for the world! 

Just means we will have to save New York for another year! Perhaps 2014?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

#Reverb12 - Celebrating Me!

How are you going to celebrate your self this festive season? 
Not a whole lot I can do to celebrate myself this festive season - but I will do something pretty nice for myself that I desperately need. I will be getting a haircut - a REAL haircut. Not a super cheap Hair Masters haircut! I will be going to a salon to actually get a haircut that makes my hair look pretty! It's the little things that matter to me and make me feel better about myself! hehe!

This is Claudia from Warehouse 13 - and this is the hairstyle I would really like to get! I think my bangs and whatnot are finally long enough to achieve this! Only a few more days til I can get my haircut!

Monday, December 3, 2012

#Reverb12 - One Wish

Imagine a scenario where you only had one year left to live. What is one thing that you really wish to do that you just haven't had the chance to accomplish yet?

I would like to add: what steps could you take (however small) to ensure that you accomplish this thing in 2013?

I'm a very realistic dreamer. I like setting goals and wishes that are achievable, even if not for many years. I have almost everything I could ever want. A good career/job, loving friends, a supportive family, and the most caring husband ever. We have a nice life, 2 lovely puppies, and simple things! The only thing we would like is a home with a yard for our pups to play. But if I had to pick one thing that I really wish, that I haven't accomplished yet, it would be to be a mother.

I want a family of my own. I want to pass down traditions, teach my young one the rights and wrongs of the world, watch them grow and learn, and one day be proud of the life I brought into the world. With Christmas coming up, I sorta get jealous when my friends start new traditions or share old traditions with their kids. I really want to be able to do that one day with my own kid. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE spoiling my Nieces and Nephews, but its not the same.

Caveman and I were going to wait a year or more before we tried for a wee one, but we've recently talked about just trying now. If we keep waiting until we are "ready" and "prepared" to have a child, we will NEVER have a child! We feel we can handle anything, and adding a bundle of fun to our life, as crazy as it may be, would be awesome and fulfill a part of our lives that only a wee one can! Plus, Caveman as a dad would just be amazing to see!

As for what steps I could take to ensure I accomplish this in 2013.... well, I'm sure you can figure that out for yourself! ;)

I know the scenario is "if you only had one year left to live" - but I still feel that even a few short months of being a mother would be the best experience in my life.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

#Reverb12 - Your most Significant Expenditure?

Got the email for today's #Reverb12 prompt, and got excited. Something I could actually write about and quantify!
What was your most significant expenditure in 2012?
The best way to describe my most significant expenditure is with a picture.

A heartfelt discussion, a change of plans, and 28 days notice led the Caveman and I to move our wedding date up a whole year and get married in the most amazing way ever! The craziest part of the wedding planning is that for 2 weeks after we made the decision, I was on a business trip in Sacramento, CA. We decided on the last day of July that we were going to get married the last Saturday in August, and it was a whirlwind of planning immediately afterwards.

That weekend, I went dress shopping. On Saturday, I went with my good friend and tried on a handful of dresses that were OK, but nothing really outstanding. I decided on a dress that was pretty and in my price range, but would have to go to a different store to get it in my size. On Sunday, I went to the second store with the Caveman's Aunt and Uncle. I tried on the OK dress, but then Aunt pulled a dress that I loved off the rack. I was nervous to try it on, because it was outside of my price range, but she insisted. Putting the dress on was like magic. I felt like a princess. I truly felt beautiful and I immediately started crying! When I had to choose which dress to get, I said I would buy the OK because it still looked good on me and I could afford it. Aunt and Uncle asked me if I really wanted the other dress. Of course I said yes, but with the wedding date moved and the lack of funds, I just couldn't afford it. That was when I really started crying, because they offered to cover the additional cost to get me the dress I loved!

After that, the whole wedding process just snowballed to completion! We had our marriage license and wedding venue selected within 5 days. And during the 2 weeks I was in Sacramento, so many family members stepped in to help!

My grandma took on taking care of food and place settings, she even helped create the post cards for the guest book idea we used. My Aunt helped house things at her place and put things together. The Aunt and Uncle that helped with the dress, made our wedding cake. The other Aunt handmade my veil. Caveman's mom made the bouquets. His Grandma cleaned up my dress and fixed all the loose beads. She even sewed on little clasps so that the small jacket would stay clasped to my dress! My close friends handled music. Caveman's former youth pastor did the honor of being our Officiant. and our 2 best friends agreed to step in as Matron of Honor and Best Man. And even on the short notice, our originally photographer (the amazing Luminous Photography by Krystal) wound up being available to cover the event. It was like all the pieces just fell together.

I will admit that there were some hectic times. There were moments where I felt like things were getting TOO out of hand. We changed  the date by a whole year, and agreed to keep the event super small and intimate, but that didn't stop people from trying to grow and grow and grow the plans for the day. We agreed only immediate family and the super CLOSEST of friends only. I felt bad that we couldn't invite everyone we wanted to, but time, venue, and finances just wouldn't allow it!

It cost us all our savings. Especially since we did it only a month after moving. It was the largest expenditure we had all year, and was worth every penny we spent. I've shared a few pictures over the last couple months, and have been meaning to write about our wedding for ages - now I have! and I will end this with a slideshow with TONS more pics of our magical day! Caveman and I could't be happier!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

#Reverb12 - How are YOU starting?

Its that time again! The time to reflect on the past year and prepare for the next. Its time for #Reverb! This will be the 3rd year that I have participated in the December blog challenge.

This year I was invited by Kat at I Saw You Dancing to follow the prompts she will be providing throughout the month. Each day in December there will be a new reflective prompt to respond to. So without further ado, let's get started with the first prompt!
How are you starting this last month of 2012?
Take a moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath and ask yourself the question: how do you feel...
... in your body? in your mind? in your day job? in your creative life? in your heart?
Exhausted, excited, broke, full of love, married, happy, healthy-ish, anxious, nervous, defeated, depressed, eager, hopeful.

There you have it. I closed my eyes, I took a deep breath in, and thought about how I felt. As a feeling came to me, I wrote it. 13 words to define where I stand right now. These are feelings I experience each and every day. Some more the others, some I wish I could get rid of. I don't want to elaborate on all of those feelings quite yet, but to see them written out makes the think about where I can make improvements to the negative feelings.

So how am I starting this last month of 2012? I am starting it with a fresh mind, a fresh set of eyes, a new outlook on life, and a more positive attitude towards living. I am married to the love of my life. I started school to finish my Bachelors. I am achieving greater things at work each day.

I'm starting this month with a BANG!