Archive | January, 2012

Life Goals 2012: January Recap

31 Jan

Sometimes my obsessive tendency to make everything into a giant list of a list of a list gets in the way of actually crossing anything off. I get lost in lists and forget to look around and actually do.

This year is the first year I’ve ever focused on actionable goals and instead of drowning in all my lists, I’m going to hold myself accountable at the end of each month.

Here’s what I will do in my monthly recaps:

Give myself credit for what I’ve accomplished, no matter what it is. Be proud of the progress I’ve made, however significant. Allow myself to look forward with hope and eagerness to continue growing. I will be honest and optimistic.

Here’s what I will not do in my monthly recaps:

Tell myself that whatever I did was not enough. Let myself believe I could have done better. Look ahead with a negative, discouraged attitude.

I’m determined to have every month this year be a success and so we begin with…

January…

Creativity/Writing … I was so busy writing this month! I submitted my personal essay to the Stratejoy Essay Contest – the first contest I’ve entered in years. I began a creative writing collaboration with Peter – someone whose writing I so admire. I wanted to post at least six times in January; this post is my eighth. I wanted to comment on at least six other posts; I didn’t keep track, but I’m please with where I commented and why. I’m happy that I only contributed where I felt I had something valuable to say.

Self-Care/Diet/Fitness … I got into the habit of making my bed every morning. Now, when I get into bed at night, I feel refreshed rather than sluggish. I had some difficult conversations with close friends and stayed true to myself in what I said and how I said it. I set a weekly gym schedule. (I didn’t follow it, but the goal didn’t specify. Ha! Loophole!) I made these delicious cheese straws which really tasted like homemade spicy cheez-its. I set dates for my first juice cleanse and made sure I’d be able to stick to those dates.

Friends/Family … I chose a weekend to go visit Katie in Seattle! I surprised my mom for her birthday by going home to CT for the weekend. I have definitely plans to visit my brother in DC in March (he’s turning 25!). I also made concrete plans to join my entire family in Orlando for vacation in April.

Places … I relaxed at the Russian/Turkish Baths with a good friend, ate at three new restaurants with three different sets of people for Restaurant Week, went ice skating at Bryant Park for free, and did yoga in Brooklyn. I also signed up for #BiSC!

Finances … I got a JOB, yo! A real, salaried, super awesome, challenging, fun, exciting JOB! Also, I filed my taxes.

Looking Ahead…

Now that I have an income, I’m going to budget it. I have at least three things on my calendar that will count as Things I’ve Never Done. That doesn’t include the cleanse I’m going to complete. My brother is visiting one weekend, so I’m hosting a party. I’d like to go to bed earlier, make it to the gym a couple times each week, and continue cooking new and healthy meals. I’d like to find a craft to complete and I’d like to send my friends cards (Oh, craft?).

I’d say February has quite a lot to live up to, wouldn’t you?

Giddy About Sin City!

24 Jan

It starts in my chest – a little flutter and maybe a catch in my breath. Then it spreads into my arms – they are restless and a bit shaky, but in a good way. Jittery. But happy jitters. Then it’s in my gut and exploding upwards again until my heart is actually racing. Suddenly my mouth can’t not grin the kind of grin that gives me dimples. The dimples that only appear when happiness is literally bursting through my pores.

That’s the kind of giddy glee I’ve been experiencing ever since I dropped five hundo on the legendary Bloggers in Sin City (un)Conference.

And convinced my brother to come with me.

So I’ve always wanted to attend Bloggers in Sin City. I’ve always wanted to go to Vegas, too, but neither has ever worked out.

I started this blog in early 2009, right around the time the first BiSC was announced. At that point in my life, I’d never have considered actually going. I mean, everyone going had these super popular blogs with tons of commenters and real followers and from where I stood, it seemed like they all knew each other already.

Also I was just kinda wimpy back then.

But then I kept writing. And BiSC kept happening. And then it became 2012 and I was like, wait, I need to GO. What have I been waiting for?

So I signed up. I signed up even though I didn’t know when I’d have an income. I signed up even though I have met just one person going – and he’s my little brother. (Which is awesome). I signed up even though I still think that everyone else has more popular blogs than I do.

Which brings me to my next point. It doesn’t matter! I remember in high school when I was floating around on the outskirts of the “popular” crowd. I remember feeling intimidated and excluded and just generally not cool enough to join in.

And then I think about how that was 10 years ago and I get really proud of where I am now. Of course I anticipate being a little nervous rolling into Vegas to party with 58 people I’ve never met. But there’s not one trace of doubt that I’ll fit right in. There’s no part of me that wants to hang out on the outskirts and watch – and I’m beyond thrilled to be ready to dive right in.

Something even more exciting? BiSC has partnered up with Paper’d App to cover the full cost of registration for one lucky attendee! If I win, I’m going to split the cost with my brother (#SibsInSinCity!) and also look into getting an iPhone … so, you know, maybe I could actually use the super cool app that paid for my trip!

Life Goals: 2012

16 Jan

I realize I have these all outlined in a tab up there for your visual enjoyment, but I’ve never really done the whole make-goals-and-follow-through-on-them thing so bear with me.

For a lot of people around me, 2011 was an awful year. In my immediate group of friends, 2011 saw a restraining order, disappointing relationships, one shocking death after another, job losses, and huge changes in family dynamics.

Given everything that’s happened in the last 12 months, it’s easy to hoist 2012 up onto that Pedestal of Awesome Years. But if I learned anything in 2011, I learned that I have to make my own Awesome Year. So I’m following in the footsteps of Nicole and what I’m sure are countless other bloggers and living this year on purpose. With specific goals. With actionable goals.

***

…I want to find another creative outlet, outside of writing. I want to create tangible beauty, which sounds so cliché but is so true. I used to love art classes and working tirelessly at a drawing or a mound of clay or strands of wire and then stepping back to see something so unique seem to appear out of nowhere. Out of my own hands.

…I want to be a more active blogger. I love this blog and I love sharing stories with you – I want there to be more of you. I want to connect with you more and that has to start with me. So I’m going to make a better effort to comment, to communicate, to tweet, to email. Whatever it takes.

…I also want to write more. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil – I even founded my own publishing company when I was in grade school and published family news letters and short stories to be sent to my subscribers. I even won some writing contests, one of which got me a free week-long trip to London! I’m going to enter more contests, submit more essays, write more.

…I want to have better sleeping habits. I want to visit my family more often. I want to do nice things for the friends I care about and visit the ones who are far away. I want to explore New York City and cure the restlessness that’s been wriggling within me for months.

…I want to get healthier. This means cooking more, eating less, working out more. I do want to lose 20 pounds, but I’m determined to do it right, which is something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember. I want to run faster and feel better and be happy and proud when I look in the mirror. Naked.

…I want to be in complete control of my finances. I want to pay down at least 75% of my credit card debt and still enjoy life. That will take some work, I know.

My word this year is COMMIT because it terrifies me. I’m committing to these goals, to staying in New York City, to a career, to my friends, and to myself. Most of all, I’m committing to myself.

2012? Bring. It. On.

Everyone’s On Fire, or That Time My Grandma Set Me Up

13 Jan

So I got fired recently. Oh, you heard about that? Ok well lucky for you that’s not the point of this story.

I sent the obligatory Crappy Life Update Email to my ginormous immediate family since they are all (very loving) gossip mongers and hounds and if I didn’t tell everyone the (simple) story myself, it would snowball out of control until what really happened is that I was actually lit on fire.

(Yes, I actually got laid off, which is different from getting fired, but I didn’t want to make a joke about my family thinking I got laid. Or something.)

Moving on. So my grandma calls me shortly after this email goes out. She’s so frantic you might assume she was actually on fire, but no, she’s just very concerned and loves me very much and wants to know how I’m doing.

Unfortunately, it’s in this same conversation that I have to admit to having a boy roommate. It sounds like her already palpitating heart comes to a complete halt until she very nicely composes herself and accepts my explanation that it is 2012 and girls can live with boys and not date them and not be awkward and also not be destined to burn in hell. (Again, with the fire. That was unintentional.)

After her shock wears off and she’s sure I’m definitely not on fire or going to be on fire or suffering some deep emotional duress from being laid off (hold the sex jokes here, it’s my grandma), she has some other news.

Her friends from church have a daughter who just moved to New York. Will I please call her?

Seriously – that’s what she says to me. “My friends from church have a daughter who just moved to New York City. Can you call her?”

I said, Grandma, that’s awkward. But if you get me her e-mail address I’m happy to reach out to her that way!

Did I mention my grandma lives in Idaho? Can you imagine that phone call?

“Hi, Sara. [Oh, yeah, we have the same name, too.] This is Sara. My grandma knows your parents at church in Idaho. Want to hang out in NYC?”

Right? Awkward.

But then I get a letter in the mail with some stationery with Sara’s information printed on it. All of Sara’s information. Her e-mail address, her phone number, and her physical address. Like I might mail her something. Grandmas!

So I got this letter the other day and I sent Sara an email seeing if she wanted to hang out. Of course she did, since I’m nice and we have the same name and we are both from Idaho and now we’re in New York. Also, since she’s new and wants to make friends.

I met Sara today at Cafe Lalo, which is that super cute cafe featured in that horribly dated movie You’ve Got Mail, which is of course all about being introduced by that awkward old guy telling you that … you’ve got mail.

Appropriate setting, I think, for a blind friend-date set up by my grandma. In Idaho.

Oh, and there’s still no one on fire. Or getting laid.

Vet Friends Are The Best Friends

11 Jan

One of my best friends from college is a veterinarian. Aside from giving me major bragging rights on how smart my friends are, I discovered on New Year’s Eve this year that having a vet friend is incredibly helpful in certain situations.

Let me back up. The plan this year was to ring in 2012 at the Washington Hilton in D.C. with about 40 of my best and closest friends, all of whom I’ve met at least once. The party has a “creative black-tie” dress code, so obviously a new dress was in order.

I found my classy little number at Forever 21 for the steep price of $14.50. It was short, tight, purple satin and damn sexy. If that’s not creative black-tie, then I don’t know what is.

On a typical creative black-tie night – that is, any night out involving sparkles, juniors clothing, and too much booze – my routine is fairly predictable: I’ll straighten my hair, throw on some eyeliner, redden my lips, and accessorize. I also always, always have back-up outfits.

But I really wanted to mix it up for this party. I felt so hot in my dress, I wanted everything else to reflect that. Playing around with makeup isn’t really easy for me – I have smallish, very dark eyes and naturally red lips, so anything over the top kinda goes the hooker route. And not in a creative black-tie way.

So I decided to try to use a curling iron. And I also didn’t take one single back-up dress.

Well, to start, the curling iron was a fail. There was an epic battle between the curls I wanted to create with the curling iron and my natural ringlets rebelling. The natural ringlets won, so I had to resort to my default straightened hair.

I bet you know what else was a fail…

Ladies: You know when there’s that awkward side-zip on a dress that also has a waist seam? And how that zipper always catches right at the seam, no matter how loose or tight the dress is? Well my super classy creative black-tie purple satin dress had that awkward side-zip and also a waist seam.

And the zipper caught.

And then the zipper broke off.

So there I was, standing in my brother’s room on New Year’s Eve an hour before the party starts with boring straight hair and absolutely nothing to wear. It’s not even like I could have gone progressive creative black-tie and worn my brother’s clothes. He’s 10 inches taller than I am.

I burst into tears of despair and panic and hopelessness as I called every single one of my girlfriends attending the party to see if there were any extra dresses.

There were not.

But that’s when having a vet friend became the best thing in the world.

“If we can find a needle and thread,” she said, “I could … well, I could sew the dress onto you.”

My tears stopped. I stared at her. My brother was already downstairs asking his female roommate (who also did not have an extra dress) if she owned a sewing kit.

Vet Friend spent the next half hour on her knees literally suturing me into my dress.

It stayed on all night and no one could even tell I had pink, brown, white, and blue thread sutured all up and down my side. (Except for when I told them. And I did tell everyone.)

The best part? I didn’t take anyone home with me, but I still got to rip off my dress at the end of the night.

Sutured into my dress and I still managed to steal the decorative balloon pillars.

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