Friday, May 29, 2015

Our Date at the BYOB Paint Class

I have always, always (and by always, I mean since last year when they became popular) wanted to go to a BYOB paint class. Finally last week I decided to RSVP spots for me and Kevin. I wanted to surprise Kevin, but of course he already knew what is was almost immediately after I told him not to make plans for Saturday night.  I’m not sure how he figured it out. I didn’t leave any receipts lying around, and I didn’t even tell anyone my plan. But, he somehow figured it out (he says it’s because he knows me so well).

The class we attended was a special “Couple’s Class.” One person paints one side of the scene and their partner paints the other side of the scene. Kevin painted the side with the swings (his group was called The Swings – which mostly everyone in the class started calling The Swingers instead.) My side was for The Tree People, who I referred to as The Tree Huggers.

I actually felt nervous before we started to paint. I was pretty sure I would make a complete mess out of my canvas. But, even after drinking, it wasn’t as hard as I imagined it would be. The teacher was really easy to follow and if I messed up, I somehow found a way to fix my mistake.

This is something I definitely want to do again!

P.S. I can finally mark something off my bucket list.

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Holiday Shopping During Summer

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Call me crazy if you wish - I already started planning for Christmas. It all started because I had a really slow day at work, and for some reason, I had a strong desire to shop. I go shopping maybe a couple times a month, but that’s just window shopping. I typically only buy myself new clothes/shoes a couple of times a year. I’m trying to work on this minimalist lifestyle.  

I obviously couldn’t leave my office to head to the mall, so I was stuck to online shopping at one of my favorite websites, Etsy. I didn’t want to buy myself anything because 1- I have no room for anything in my apartment and 2- trying to be minimalist here. I thought about birthdays, anniversaries, father’s day – anything to give me an excuse to shop online and possibly buy something.

Then it hit me, what a great time it is to shop for Christmas!

Last year I went a little nutso and created an Excel spreadsheet with everyone’s names, what I purchased for them, what I paid for their gift(s), and then whether it was already wrapped or not. At the end of the spreadsheet, I had the total for all the gifts and even an average price per person.  I created the Excel because I was shopping months in advance, and I didn’t want to forget that I already purchased a gift for someone and then buy them something else. Not that they would complain about getting two+ gifts, but I was working on a budget. My wallet wouldn’t enjoy it.

I created the same Excel spreadsheet last week before I started hunting for gifts on Etsy. I came up with great ideas for about half of the people on my list! I haven’t actually purchased anything yet though. I think I’m going to wait until July or August to start buying them.

There are a few downsides to shopping early for Christmas:

  1. Storage. If you live in a small place with only one closet (seriously, we have one closet – we don’t even have a pantry), then you run out of storage very quickly. 
  2. Memory Loss. You may buy something and then completely forget about it, which is why I suggest making a detailed list. 
  3. Holiday Blues. There’s something fun about holiday shopping near Christmas, when all the stores are decorated and everyone else is hurriedly shopping around for gifts. When you get your shopping done months in advance, you have no reason to go to the mall or buy anything during the holiday shopping rush. 

Last year was my first year of early shopping, and I have to say it made the holidays especially relaxing because:

  1. No stress. I didn’t have to worry about finding a last minute gift or finding a parking spot at the crowded mall. 
  2. Budget Friendly. Buying gifts throughout the months leading to Christmas really helped me budget. I didn’t have to worry about having a large credit card bill during the holiday because my gifts were purchased (and paid for) over a few months – not just on one credit card payment. 
  3. Time. Not only do you have the time to really think about the perfect gift for someone, but you also have the time to have that perfect gift custom made or delivered if you buy it online. You don’t have to worry about shipping times or if things will get lost in the crazy winter storms. 
  4. Christmas Spirit. When you don’t have to focus on rushing around the malls to buy presents, you really get to focus on what the holiday really means and you really get to enjoy and relax on your holiday time away from work. 

Last year it was hard for me not to buy things during the holiday season when everyone else was talking about buying presents and going to the mall about every day. I crazily felt the urge to buy things too – even though I already purchased gifts for everyone on my list. To fight this, I waited to buy my wrapping supplies until the holiday season officially started.  I couldn’t imagine wrapping the gifts months in advance too! I have to do something holiday-ish during the season or else it wouldn’t really feel like the holiday, would it?

When do you usually shop for gifts?

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I Promise

I rarely say “I promise” anymore. I remember as a kid and even as a teenager, the words “I promise” came out of my mouth regularly.  I’m not sure if that’s because we were younger and people assumed we rarely meant what we said, so they needed some sort of validation. Or, if promising things was just the cool thing to do (pinky promise, anyone?).

Are the words “I promise” just not necessary anymore because we are adults?  Do people just assume that, as an adult, you’re an honest person and that you’re going to do what you say you will?  

Even though the word “promise” rarely comes out of my mouth, I make promises all the time. When someone asks if I’ll save them cake and I say “of course”, that’s a promise. When I tell someone I will be somewhere at a certain time, that’s a promise.  I’ll argue that saying “I love you” is a promise – you’re promising someone that you’re there for them, that you care about them, that they can trust you.

I like to think I don’t break any promises I make to other people, but I’m sure I let a few slip away. Maybe I forgot about the promise or maybe I just decided to not care about keeping the promise.  I’m sure it happens more than I realize.

I do break promises to one person in particular. Myself.

“I promise I’ll go the gym today.”
“I promise I’ll take time to relax tonight.”
“I promise I won’t eat too much candy this week.”
“I promise I’ll stop spending money going out with friends.”

I tend to make excuses.

“I’m too tired to go to the gym today. I’ll just go tomorrow.”
“Oops. I ran out of time. I’ll just go to sleep and read tomorrow.”
“What can happen to me if I just eat one more piece of candy??”
“I know I shouldn’t, but this sounds so fun!! It won't be too expensive!”

Other broken promises include pretty much everything on any bucket list I’ve ever created. “This is the year I’m going to Enchanted Rock!!” – What I’ve said for 5 years in a row now. It’s on my current bucket list too. Let’s see if I make it there this year.

I’ll make another promise to myself: this year I’m going to try to accomplish most things on my bucket list. I tried to come up with easier goals, like read a book a month or have a BBQ on the beach, but we will see how it works out.

The hardest item on my bucket list is going to the gym 4 days a week (and going once a day for 30 days straight). Let’s see how this goes. I wrote the bucket list about a week and a half ago, and I have yet to go to the gym – off to a great start with this one!

When I write my bucket lists, I have a lot of motivation. THIS IS THE YEAR I’M FINALLY GOING TO DO THESE THINGS!!! And then a week after writing the list, I tend to forget what’s on it, or even worse, forget I even wrote the list in the first place.

It’s because my motivation just plummets after the initial excitement goes away, and with a lack of motivation, I can come up with tons of excuses for not doing things. Or, it’s because these things cost money – I can go months and months without buying myself clothes or jewelry, so even though I really, really want to go to the BYOB Paint Class, I can’t help but think I should/can spend that money on something or someone else.

I should have added “Complete bucket list and stop making excuses” on my bucket list this year. 

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Monday, May 18, 2015

What a Week!

Since last blogging, my life has been a little more hectic than usual. I attended a sales training class for work Monday-Wednesday, and I had to stay in a hotel (even though I only lived 20 minutes away).  I won’t lie – staying in the hotel was great. I slept like a baby since I had my own bed, and it was awesome to not have to drive to work and sit in traffic.  The class was pretty much nonstop. Breakfast at 7:30. Class from 8-6ish. Then a networking dinner that usually ended up with a lot of people staying out until 1 or 2 AM. I usually go to sleep around 10, so it was definitely a change of pace for me! Not to mention all the networking. I can be outgoing and talkative, but after too much, I like to have some space and just be alone. There was definitely not enough time in the day for me to do that.

On Wednesday the 13, I celebrated my 25th birthday. The class sang me happy birthday that morning, and then surprised me with candles and cupcakes before dinner that night. They ended up singing me happy birthday 3 times that day. When I first found out the class was during my birthday week, I was sort of bummed because I wouldn’t be able to see my friends and family – but in the end, I had a great birthday! Kevin even came up to the hotel and played poker with my coworkers.

I was supposed to stay and present to the class on Thursday, but I had to leave early because my sister went into labor! I’m now an aunt to a sweet, sleepy, beautiful boy. The baby came earlier than expected, but luckily my sister and brother in law were prepared for his arrival.  I’m still grasping the whole concept. It’s weird to see someone pregnant and then, just like that, they’re no longer pregnant but instead have a little human on their lap.  

So, my birthday was the 13th. His birthday was the 14th. And guess what? My sister (the mom)… her birthday was the 15th! How awesome is that?!

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Too Busy on the Phone

My phone is always next to me. Even when I’m asleep, it rests a few inches from my face on my nightstand.  When I’m watching a movie, my phone is within arm’s reach on the coffee table.  My phone is just a few inches away from the keyboard I’m typing on.

Part of me enjoys having technology so close. I can stay up-to-date with my friends by checking my social media accounts; I can stay in contact with people that I don’t see very often.  I can see the latest & greatest trends on Instagram, and I can laugh at the funny memes people post. I can watch the videos my friends make on Snapchat and see the adventures they’ve recently had. I can stay updated on current news through the News Outlets’ Facebook posts. Most importantly, if someone needs to get into contact with me, they can. Pretty easily too.

I feel safe when I have my cell phone on me, whether it’s because I know I can easily call for help or because people can easily reach me in case of an emergency. 

The other part of me hates that it’s so easy and so addicting. How many times do I check Facebook a day? How many times do I look at Instagram?

I check Facebook, especially during the work week, probably 6 times a day. Instagram? That’s probably 15 times a day.  I only check Snapchat about once a week or when I’m incredibly bored.

When I find myself standing in line or sitting at a traffic light, I tend to pull my phone out and browse social media. What happened to just sitting there, patiently waiting for my turn to go?  Or enjoying the song on the radio? Or browsing through a magazine off the rack?

It’s like I always have to be doing something to pass the time. I always have to be in the loop and know what’s going on.

The past few months I’ve been paying attention to my phone usage. When Kevin and I go out and he has to go to the bathroom or something, I used to immediately pull my phone out and catch up on whatever mundane things I missed until he gets back to the table.

I  hated being that person; the one who can’t stand to sit alone at a table without looking at her phone.

I’m trying to be more conscious and enjoy the moments instead of occupying myself on my cell phone. I wonder how many great things I missed because I was too busy looking down at a screen instead of looking up at my surroundings.

What about you? Do you think you spend too much time on the phone?

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

It Felt Like Forever

I don’t remember the date or even the month, but I remember how sunny it was outside and driving an hour or so from Austin, Texas, where I was attending college. It was me, my boyfriend at the time, and his friend, driving along the Hill Country’s curving roads in an old Tahoe. Once we got to the park, the smooth paved roads disappeared, and we were left off-roading on a bumpy path.

Once we got to The Spot, we parked the car, which I thought would for sure have a flat tire, and got out into the bright sun. The Lake. There were boats and wake boarders gliding quickly on the lake below us. There was a couple lounging on a random huge rock that was so big and tall, it stuck out slightly above the water. The perfect spot to sit – right in the middle of the lake.

The three of us were above the lake, looking over a 40 foot cliff to the water below. We were there to jump.

Our friend put his towel on the grass, and before I knew it, ran off the edge of the cliff. Just. Like. That.

My ex went next, but he stopped when he got to the ledge. But, then he disappeared off the ledge in a matter of seconds.

I could hear the big splashes below, and I could see them disappearing under the water for 30 seconds or so as their bodies went deeper and deeper into the dark lake water.

It was my turn. I walked to the ledge of the cliff and looked down. Then I backed away. Then went back to the ledge. Then backed away.

I did that repeatedly, trying to get up the nerve to jump. The entire time I was there, strangers came and went. Girls holding hands and jumping in together. Boys running off the ledge and doing flips in the air.

To the left of the ledge, there was a taller ledge, about 120 feet, that was very popular. Every few minutes people would jump, creating even bigger splashes. You'd hear people cheer for the jumpers; you'd hear the jumpers screaming as they fell to the water below. Then they'd climb up the side of the cliff and jump again.

And then there was me, too afraid to make the jump.

After two hours of standing there and watching, I started to not feel very well. I don’t know what it was, but I always assumed it was a heat stroke. My vision went bad and everything was lime green.  I was carried to the car and was given Gatorade while the AC blasted on my face. After 10 minutes or so, I felt back to normal and went out into the sun again.

I knew I needed to get into the water to stay cool from the hot sun. The only way was to somehow climb down the side of the cliff or to jump.

I walked back to the ledge, let my toes dangle a little of the side of the cliff, and I jumped.

It was as if time slowed down as I was falling. It felt like forever; I remember looking around me, looking down. Being scared. And then I hit the water, and kept going deeper and deeper.

My first thought was, "Ouch! My boobs." And then the second thought, with my eyes open, was "Wow. This water is dark. How much deeper will I go? What if a fish gets me?!" And then I got more scared.

Thankfully, I didn't travel too far down and no deep-water creature snagged me. Even more luckily, I didn't hit a boulder, which was why I was so afraid to jump in the first place.

I spent the next few hours lounging around in the water, making my way to the huge rock in the middle of the lake.

I promised myself I'd never cliff dive again. I have yet to break that promise.

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Monday, May 4, 2015

25 Before 26 | A Bucket List

My 25th birthday is just around the corner, so I figured it's time to create another bucket list (although I'm terrible at accomplishing them). Here are 25 things I want to do before turning 26 in 2016.

001. Learn how to make an awesome cocktail. 

002. Use my giftcards (& stop hoarding them).  

003. Go to the gym for at least 30 days straight (& after that, continue going at least 4 days a week). 

004. Visit a state I've never visited before.

005. Get a new tattoo. 

006. Learn a new recipe.

007. Shoot a gun for the first time.

008. Grow my own peppers.

009. Paint at least once a month.

010. Hike Enchanted Rock.

011. Attend a BYOB Paint Class.

012. Spend a weekend in Austin.

013. Go dairy free for at least one month.

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014. Bake a pie from scratch.

015. Have a BBQ on the beach.

016. Keep my fingernails painted.

017. Go at least one month with zero alcohol. 

018. Go to a strawberry farm.

019. Spend more time outdoors.

020. Read at least one book a month. 

021. Redo my wardrobe. 

022. Consistently blog.

023. Use my professional camera.

024. Learn how to use coupons.

025. Open an Etsy shop with Kevin.

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