Saturday, December 18, 2010

We interupt your regularly scheduled programming... bring you a cool new feature to this blog! We will continue with regular blog posts soon...I promise.

If you've been reading this blog for a little while now, you know I work for a company that launched, a website where anyone can post notes to nearly anyone, regardless of knowing their contact information. You can write public figures like celebrities, politicians etc. or you can write your professors, boss, neighbor etc. Give compliments or constructively give feedback and finally have the chance to speak your mind...because your notes are anonymous! Everything is monitored to remain civil but it's a great way to get things off your chest.

Anyway, we launched in September and there have been a lot of great changes to the site since then, based on our users feedback. One of the most interesting additions we've made relating to this blog is the RSS feed. My blog has a page on Fastnote and any notes I get will be streaming right onto this page--look over at your left side of the screen! You can see what others have to say about my blog and you can write me a note yourself.

It's different than simply commenting at the end of a specific post because these notes would generally be more directed to the blog as a whole.

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holidays and read the notes and write one today. Also be sure to check out the site, add your name and tell others what you think.

If you have any questions, comments, feedback etc. don't hesitate to contact me!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Reverb Catch Up

Sorry for the delay in posts, I was gone in Atlanta this weekend...more on that in another post. Here is the past few days of the Reverb project, which I really have been enjoying. Hopefully it's refreshing for you as well.

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?
This answer will be short and obvious. I freakin moved across the country all by myself to a city I had never been and didn't know anyone. Everything was brand new and I made a vow to explore everything, take chances, branch out of my comfort zone and experience everything I could. Tomorrow is my six month anniversary of living down south and I'm still learning new words, trying new foods and meeting new people. I would trade this experience for anything and I just hope it doesn't have to end just yet.

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
My comfort zone. It wasn't exactly by choice but moving to a foreign city will do that. I know I've talked about this a lot the past few answers but it's been kind of a big part of my life. Being single, being the new girl everywhere, no more Jack's pizza, no half-off appetizer nights with my best girlfriends and so much more. It wasn't always easy but I've learned a lot.

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
I have a feeling this question is expecting an answer about being crafty or something but not for me. Surprise surprise it's about food. I made cheese manicotti last night. It's an old favorite and not too hard. It made a fabulous dinner and now I have lunches for the week to save some money. As far as materials go, it included manicotti noodles, string cheese, meat sauce with ground turkey and mozzarella cheese.

There are tons of things I would like to make and just have never cleared the time. I would like to spice up my coffee table by painting quotes, or a quote on it. I would like to make another scrap book. I would like to make another blanket. The list goes on and on. I wish I were more crafty but between justifying spending the money and finding the time, I just push it off. "One day."

Friday, December 3, 2010

Defining moment

Day 3 of Reverb says:
December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

New York in the fall is fabulous. It's not warm and there's the faintest chill, enough to finally wear my brown, healed boots. I had my baby blue Adidas duffle bag slung over one shoulder and my purse on the other as I thankfully hopped out of a taxi that had charged much more than deserved. I arrived to Megan's brownstone, grateful to see a familiar face. After hugs and dropping off my bags, we headed out to lunch down the street to some sports bar. "I just told my brother that I'm hoping she's ok with starting the afternoon off with drinks." Haha, drinks were more than ok to celebrate our reunion.

As we ordered a pitcher of beer and salads, my moment hit me. It was a sudden realization of all my life adventures so far coming together at one single moment. Here I was: still fresh off the plane from Charlotte, where I had come from Rock Hill and spent the last few months starting a southern life, sitting at a table a on sidewalk in New York City, where years earlier I had come nearly every weekend with my nanny friends when I spent a year in New Jersey, sharing drinks with my old roommate from the University of Minnesota. Woah.

I have explored new areas of the nation and I don't just mean on random road trips. I have had drivers lisences from different states and been an actual resident of small towns. I have taken the road less traveled more than once in such a short time span and I couldn't have been more proud of myself than in that moment. Some people spend their whole lives in the same town, with the same people and never branch out. I have ventured off on my own more than once, to foreign places where I didn't have a single friend. Not only have I survived, I have really lived.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reverb Day 2

Day 2 prompt:
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

Well, tricky question. I like to think that my blog is to display my writing skills but it probably isn't. I do put effort into word selection and I try to be entertaining (even if I'm the only one that goes back to read posts, I don't want to be bored!) but mostly it's a mind dump and writing with entirely another purpose than practicing skill. I started this blog to help me reflect on my money habits and to capture my progress at getting my financial life back on track and it just so happened that writing is my best outlet. That being said, things that contribute to my "writing" are mostly money related reasons.

If I am spending more than I should, I tend to avoid writing for a while because I know it reflects poorly in my financial decisions. So my answer would have to be spending outside of my means does not help my writing, but I don't do this every day. Can I eliminate it? Maybe not entirely, but mostly. That way my writing can reflect positive steps I'm taking or how I overcome obstacles, rather than hiding from writing in shame.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reverb 10-A full month of blogging!

I've seen this Reverb 10 on a few of my favorite blogs and figured I'd try to join. I know my writing isn't as great as theirs but it's been the most significant year of my life and reflection is probably good. Well actually, I know it's good.

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

Wow...2010. It took a lot of thought to find a word that truly encompasses the massive roller coaster that was 2010. With the help of a friend, the best word is probably CHALLENGING!  Let's recap and see if you agree:
  • Last semester of college with 18 credits, two jobs and an internship.  
  • Started teaching myself about money and started this blog.
  • XMG's brother's lukemia came back over spring break, while we were relaxing in South Padre, TX.
  • Swallowed my pride and prayed.
  • LOTS of trips to Wisconsin to be with XMGB and family.
  • Studying for finals and potentially not passing.
  • Job hunted in the worst economy ever.
  • Jumping through lots of hoops two weeks before graduation to get my study abroad credits counted so I could graduate.
  • XMGB got an infection. In WI every other day when we weren't taking finals. (It's a 4.5 hour drive).
  • Broke my foot and ankle the evening I finished finals and was trying to celebrate. 
  • XMGB's brother past away-by far the worst experience of my life.
  • Sat in my pajamas on college graduation day, helping write the obituary in Wisc. 
  • Two weeks later I moved to Charlotte, NC for my first job.
  • Started from scratch, not knowing a soul and created a life of my own in a place I had never been.
  • Got my very first apartment and bills all by myself.
  • Forced myself out of every comfort zone I've ever had.
  • Ended my three-year relationship with XMG.
  • Went crazy for a guy who has a very complicated life and felt a real heartbreak.
  • Discovered what it feels like to have a muffin top and stomach rolls.
  • Joined a church.  
  • Went to New York.
  • Went to New Mexico.
  • Met a lot of new people (still am).
  • Kept an open mind and made lots of friends.
  • Tried lots of new things.
  • Learned what free time feels like and tried to learn what to do with it.
  • Learned what it's like to have a credit card balance.
  • Paid my first student loan bills.
  • Visited home.
  • Maintained all of my friendships with my closest friends from back home minus one.
  • Got a different second job and tacked on babysitting
  • Still trying to figure out where to go from here as far as jobs, where I want to live and who I want to be.
And there's still a whole month left in 2010 and I know it has a lot in store already. Every month I tackled a few more challenges and so far I've survived physically, mentally and emotionally and have most of my life still in tact. Whew! But I can definitely say for sure that I'm exhausted.

My word for 2011, at least I hope, is calm. I need a little bit of time where life mellows out just a little. I need some stability, some security and some time to just relax and enjoy.

What are YOUR words?!

Apparently it's December already

Time really does fly. I'm about to celebrate my 6 month anniversary with the Carolinas-baffling! So it's been a while, and I mean a while! I've been here and there and all over so I'll do a brief summary via bullets, mixin' things up!

  • I visited KP in Cary. Fun as always. Lots of good food, lots of good talk, lots of laughs. Love her. Did alright with money until I found Old Navy. Two words: Sweater sale. Crap. 
  • Paid Chase loan bill. Never fun. No Justin Beiber look alike though at least.
  • Major headache/flu for a few days. Missed some work. My upcoming paycheck is going suck really bad. Hello ramen. 
  • HOME!! I surprised my dad and sister with the help of my mom to come home for Thanksgiving!! SO SO SO FUN! LOVED being home, spending a WHOLE day with my family laughing and eating and playing games! Loved seeing my friends and seeing my breath when I breathe and hearing all the accents. The number one thing I'm thankful for? The fact that I can return home much worse off than when I left and everyone still loves me unconditionally and I'm welcomed with open arms by everyone I love. Best feeling hands down. 
  • Budget? What budget? I didn't spend much at all while at home (thanks mom and dad!) and haven't done much spending besides bills, gas and groceries since I've been back but I haven't updated my budget in well over a week. I'm not worried but I probably should do that soon. 
  • My second student loan payment comes on Friday. Ugh, it's already getting old. I have enough money set aside for it though but I will wait a little while to pay it I think. 
  • I cooked my lunch on Sun and have done a good job eating it all week. 
  • I'm obsessed with guacamole and take every chance I get to eat mexican...heffer. 
  • ATLANTA! This super nice guy I met tailgating one weekend has offered me a FREE ticket to the Gamecocks SEC championship game in Atlanta this weekend! Road trip! I'm going with my friends from here and meeting up with him later. How nice of him is that?! I'm still shocked since I've only met him once but I know we'll have fun! We leave Fri straight from work and come back Sun!
  • I'm writing another story for The Herald for next week. It's a two parter and I'm happy to contribute more! 
  • I am also obsessed with Ray Lamontagne. Especially "Let it be me" but really, all songs are great. Also, "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" is my favorite Christmas song and it's my new ring tone :)
  • I got a Blackberry again. My mom got a phone upgrade and I got her old one for free. I've re-joined the 21st century. Yay. 
That's all for now. I'm starting this Reverb 10 project. I will keep the posts separate from my going-ons but I think it will be fun and keep me writing more...which I'm sure you're just THRILLED about! Don't lie.

Happy Hanukkah and Happy December!