Jan 25, 2014
Like the Sound of Music reference in my title. That's one damn freaking awesome movie, but I digress. On this snowy snowy Saturday, I thought I would write about five of my favorite things. (In absence of my brain, which obviously can't think of anything to write about otherwise. lol)
I honestly couldn't live without coffee, nobody wants to even be around me before I had coffee in the morning. It's probably a bad addiction but I don't care, it's not an addiction that I can live without. In the course of a normal day I probably have 5+ cups of coffee... I'm also very particular about my coffee, it needs to be almost black. Just a little drop of half and half is all I use in my coffee. Call me weird, but I want to taste the caffeine that will keep me awake and going all day. Do I have a favorite coffee place? Not really...I mean, I love Starbucks but mostly their flavored coffees. If I am going to have a nice almost black coffee I would go for Dunkin Donuts Turbo or make a k-cup from home.
2. My iPhone
While occasionally I may curse out my iPhone and may say how much I hate it, I don't. I love my pink iPhone 5c. This phone contains my entire life & work life. It really helps me to stay organized and have everything I need all in one place. As many times as I switch back and forth from iPhone to Android, I always come back to my trusty iPhone because really; nothing else compares. The only (silly) issue I'm having right now is trying to find a case that looks good on my phone because it's pink underneath! (But that's a pretty cosmetic and crazy issue I have!)
3. Bath and Body Works Candles
I am obsessed with burning candles all of the time but they have to be Bath and Body Works candles. I think they even beat Yankee candle with their scents and how long they last. I constantly buy tons of these when they are on 2 for $20 sales because I go through them so quickly. I love their Christmas scents (especially Fresh Balsam) and yesterday I bought two new scents, Cheers to Capri and Cinnamon Sugared Donut. They smell amazing and I'll be stocking up on more of these. (I just left my coupon at home. lol)
4. Coach and Michael Kors Handbags
I was always a huge Coach fan until my sister introduced me to Michael Kors bags. Once I purchased my first Michael Kors I was hooked on their bags. However, I'm still a huge fan of Coach too. I will always be faithful to both brands because I think they are incredibly durable and classic. I love my once-a-year designer bags. :)
5. My Kia Forte
I just got my car in October and I absolutely love it. It is definitely one of my favorite things because it's (somewhat) sporty, has everything I could ask for and is just a great car. I'm not much a fan of smaller cars but this one has really made me fall in love with it. I really do love my car and don't know what I would do without it. (Literally...it's my way to freedom. lol)
What are your favorite things?
Jan 18, 2014
Even though it was one of my resolutions to lose weight, I started a little late on my journey. I felt that I had to be completely ready, committed and in the right mindset to change how I was eating for good. This past week I felt like I was completely ready.
I went grocery shopping after work on Sunday and got healthy food for the whole week. (I would have gotten food for the month but I'm on a limited budget until I get my paycheck!) I felt that I was completely ready and motivated to lose after weighing myself and realizing I gained back most of the weight that I lost last year.
This year I will not fall off the wagon, rather I will hold on for dear life no matter what. That's fact. I can't fall off the wagon again, I get extremely depressed and turn to food and hating myself when I eat horribly. I want to change my life this year and feel amazing about myself.
I set my weigh ins for Saturdays and today was my first weigh in of my plan. I was surprised to see that I lost 7.2lbs. You may think that's a lot for one week but I know my body. I usually lose between 5-7lbs for the first two weeks but after that it levels out to about 0.5-1lb a week for the duration. It's mostly water weight but that's water weight that is already making a difference in my body shape.
Already I feel that I have more energy and feel better about myself. I love feeling that way.
Here's to more weight loss in the coming weeks... :)
Jan 13, 2014
Today is noted as Make Your Dreams Come True day and while I don't have any smaller dreams that I could make come true, I wanted to write about how my dreams have changed now versus when I was a child.
My mom always stressed to me that I can do anything that I put my mind to and work towards, so I have always had some pretty great dreams.
I started figure skating when I was three years old and my ultimate goal, when I was younger, was to be a figure skater. I had dreams of being in the Olympics and winning all of these medals for my figure skating. Skating three days a week solo and one on a synchro team, I felt like I was working towards my goal at a fast pace and I had a passion for skating. Lessons, competitions and exhibitions went on for fourteen years until I was 17 years old. When I was 17 years old I fell during a local end of the year exhibition and found out, after the fact, that I had broken a small bone in my ankle. That injury took a lot out of me, going to physical therapy after healing that I was out for a few months at that point. Once I got myself and my strength back, I decided that it had been too long and lost faith in myself. I figured that I wouldn't be testing at, what was supposed to be, my skill level and I didn't want to be a level behind my old teammates.
Eleven years later, as I sit here as a 28 year old, I regret my decision. I regret not going back to finish out my figure skating dream. I know I could have been great and could have possibly gotten to a higher competitive level. Would I have gotten to the Olympics? The odds were against that but I could have kept believing that it was a possibility. I still skate for fun and I teach my kids how to figure skate, but that's about it. I no longer have any figure skating aspirations, unfortunately.
Art has always been in my life and has always been a passion of mine but when I was injured it became a larger portion of my life. While I was injured I did a lot of painting and drawing because I honestly had nothing else to do. I realized that I wanted to go to art school and wanted to attempt to become a professional artist. At that point in my life, I didn't realize how competitive the art field is and how many artists do not become famous. Before I graduated High School in 2003 I found out that I was accepted into a small art college on a full scholarship, I was beyond excited that I solely got the scholarship based on my skills and my portfolio. I realized that I really was as talented as people had said I was.
During my Freshman year I fell in love with a friend of my brother, got engaged and was pregnant by February of 2005. Unfortunately, because of being in an art school, they would not allow me to continue while pregnant. (They didn't want to be liable if anything happened because of the materials used.) So I traveled back home, still having high hopes and aspirations for an art career. I had planned on going back after she was born.
When my daughter (Alayna) was born, everything changed. I found a job at home, got a second job at H&R Block and continued on researching everything I could about Social Media Marketing, SEO, Internet Marketing, etc...
Eight years (and one more daughter) later, my aspirations and life goals have completely changed. I now own my own business, still work for H&R Block and now want to become a successful business owner.
In ten years I hope to have a successful business, still working for H&R Block (which I love) and married with one more child. I hope to own my own home and am able to help support my family with my business, while still being at home with my kids.
Looking back, a lot has changed. Maybe I didn't become an Olympic figure skater or a famous artist, but I still have my whole life ahead of me to dream. I have two beautiful kids, a boyfriend who is amazing and know that my future is going to be great no matter what happens.
Jan 11, 2014
In 2013 I made two resolutions:
- Lose Weight
- Be Financially Aware
Did I accomplish any of those? None at all. Actually, I did become a little more financially aware and made less frivolous and expensive purchases, but I still didn't do as well as I had hoped. I didn't really deposit any money into my savings as I had hoped I would. In terms of losing weight, I went on a diet for 3 months and did lose about 30 lbs but then gained it all back when I lost motivation and started to eat like crap again when I got down with myself. Do I regret it? Of course I do. I always regret it when I mess up my diet because I have to start from square one all over again. It makes me so angry at myself.
I'm planning on changing all of that this year. I've been eating better for the past week, I've had more energy and I have the motivation to get up each day, go to work, eat as best as I can and be a great mom. I really feel like things are changing this year and I feel so positive. I think my new view of myself and my life will really continue to help me out in my goals for this year. Even though I'm not 100% self confident, I'm trying to have a more optimistic view of my life and trying to follow the word "believe" as my key word for 2014. I want to believe in myself, my life and my abilities more than I have in the past. It is true that if you believe in yourself, others will believe in you more. I just feel like things are finally looking up for me. I was promoted at the end of December, I now have a boyfriend who loves me, I actually have money in savings and I'm getting things straightened out at home.
Changing things is not easy but it is possible. They say it takes approximately 21 days to form a new habit, which is actually less than a month so it is basically just a matter of staying motivated for those first few weeks until I get used to my new lifestyle. It will happen if I just have patience and give it time.
Did you meet any of your resolution goals in 2013?
Did you meet any of your resolution goals in 2013?
Jan 9, 2014
Sometimes I don't know why things happen the way they happen.
We moved out of my childhood home in August due to a reverse mortgage (that turned into a foreclosure) that my grandparents left us when they passed away. Our moving was a few months earlier than we really had to move, but we found the perfect one family home and didn't want to miss the opportunity to live there. My mom lived at that house all her life, so there was 28 years of my life there and 61 years of her life there. Needless to say, some things were left in the house when we moved and we were periodically going back and forth to move more and clean some things out.
Tuesday I went to the house to check the mail and to grab a new bottle of floor cleaner and was met with a mess. A flood.
Water everywhere; the entire second floor was flooded. Boxes that we were packing and items water damaged, gone. A pipe had burst in our extremely cold weather and water was spurting everywhere like an open hydrant.
I walked down to the first floor only to find more of a mess. The ceiling in my old bedroom was on the floor, my old ceiling fan was hanging by two wires. Thank God the electricity was turned off back in August because our outlets near the floor board would have ignited an electrical fire if the water had gotten into a live outlet.
What a mess. It was the most depressing site, seeing your childhood home completely flooded and ruined. I cried, my mom cried, the girls cried. Mostly, my crying was about family memories that were gone forever. Family videos got flooded, family pictures were water damaged, so much was lost.
I made it down to the basement to turn off our main water line but it must have been flooding for a day by that point because there was ankle deep water everywhere in the house. My art studio in the basement, however, was somehow spared. I don't know how, but someone must have been watching over that room and all of my hard work inside of it because it wasn't flooded or touched by the water at all. I can only believe that was a miracle, seeing how every other room was a watery mess.
Today we went back to save what we could and told the bank that we are finally leaving that house and not going back. Everything we left in the house is now their possession and they can do whatever they would like with it. We saved what memories we could and brought them to our new house. They told us that due to the extent of the flooding the house is going to have to be condemned and demolished. Our old house was over 100 years old and it was a wood framed house, which is now compromised because of the water seeping between the floorboards and inside the walls.
It's a sad thought to know that the house I first lived at, grew up in, where my kids were born and where my grandparents died is going to be completely gone in a few months. The place where all of our memories are will be gone forever, but we will still have all of those memories to hold on to.
At least this happened after we already moved and not while we were still living there. That's the only good I can find in this heartache.
I decided to choose one word for the year 2014 to focus on and really try to model myself and my life after. I scribbled down a list of probably 15 words that I thought were important to me, but as I kept reading the list believe kept sticking out to me. The reason why is very simple; I need to believe more in myself and what I can do with my life.
Instead of constantly putting myself down, I plan to think about something I love about myself and work on building that up along with points that aren't so strong. It's hard to change a mindset you have had for over 10 years, but it's possible to do and I believe it would be a very strong shift for me in my life. I really need to stop second guessing myself or being too chicken to do things that I know I can do, I need to have faith in myself and take chances.
When the clock hits midnight on 01/01/15, I want to feel like a new person. I really want to have more faith in myself, I want to know that I really tried to accomplish my goals to my full potential and I want to look at myself in a whole new light. I don't want to feel down on myself or disgusted with my life choices, I want to feel like I can do absolutely anything that I set my mind to.
What is your goal word for 2014?
Jan 7, 2014
So yesterday was National Cuddle Up Day but today is more of a cuddling kind of day. The news says that this is the coldest day in our area since 1993, and I can feel it. I walked out of the house today to go to work and immediately I felt the cold stinging my face. (That was the only part of me that was not covered up!) Some schools in the area closed due to the cold but my girls' school did not. I kept them home only because my mom walks my girls' to school when I go to work at 8 am. I wasn't going to let my disabled mom walk my girls to school in weather with a wind chill -16 degrees and ice all over the place. If any of them slipped on the ice I would have felt horrible for having to go into work so early.
I wish I could have stayed home and cuddled up with my girls but instead I had to go into work to open my office this morning. Of course, I stopped by Dunkin Donuts to get myself a nice and hot turbo coffee and a bagel, which they messed up on me! I couldn't have gone into the office today without coffee, that just wouldn't have worked for me!
When I get home from work today I am going to get into comfy, warm sweats and cuddle up on the couch with my girls, hot chocolate and a nice warm blanket to watch TV all night. I am considering today my Cuddle Up Day. :)
Jan 5, 2014
I will be the first person to admit that I'm not always smart with money.
My mother raised me on her own after my father passed away and she never really taught me ways to be smart with my money. Rather, I picked up on all of her (not so good) spending habits while we were out shopping as a child. My mother hardly used cash and always had her credit card or used a check while out and about. I remember asking her, "Why does that machine just give you money when you ask for it?" I was talking about the ATM. Obviously I didn't grasp the concept of an ATM and the fact that you have to put money in for it to come out.
Because of my mother not explaining financial caution to me, I got a credit card at 18 and spent more than I could handle. I did attempt to pay it off with my minimum wage part time job, at the time, but I didn't get very far and decided to give up. After that I got a few more credit cards and took on even more than I could put on my plate at that time. Fast forward 10 years later and I'm struggling to pay off my debt, including student loans.
For this reason, I want to teach my kids how to be financially savvy now that I believe they are both old enough to understand the concept and value of money.
> When should you talk to your kids about money?
I think around 6 or 7 is the best time to do so. Some people say that you should start as soon as they are old enough to understand what is going on in the world around them (2-3),but I feel that is way too young. I think around 6 years old they are old enough to understand how much money they have and what happens when they buy something. It's important to tell your children that money has value and when they spend it, it's gone until they can make some more money.
> How to talk to your kids about money?
It's important to let your kids know that money just doesn't come to them with a magic wand. There's no money tree, there's no easy way to get money. The only way to get money is for them to earn it themselves. We are following the way of age = allowance amount. (i.e. If your child is 6 years old, they will get $6 a week if they do their chores and behave. If your child is 8, they will get $8 a week and so on...)
My kids know that everything we have, we have to pay for. I explained to them that every month mommy pays for the rent so we can live in our house, cable so that we can have TV and internet, electricity so we have lights in the house, our cell phone bill and other bills to keep living how we are living. Of course, they found that out the hard way when our cable was shut off when I was between jobs. As much as they wanted Disney Channel and Nick Jr. back, they had to patiently wait until mommy had the money to pay for it. As much as I am ashamed to admit that fact, I'm sure that I am not the only person that has happened to in the past.
Explain to your kids that saving is important for the future. Do they want to go to college? Do they want to buy a car when they get older? Is there something special they want to save their money for? Then they have to SAVE. We are doing the envelope method.
We have two envelopes per child and each has "My Money" on one and "Savings" on the other. I have a small lock box that we will be keeping our savings envelopes in so they are not tempted to spend any of it. The envelopes for the girls to spend, I will be keeping in my purse each time we go out just in case they feel the need to purchase anything when we are out and about.
I am going to follow the method that for them, 10% goes into savings and 90% they can keep for themselves. So that would mean that Olivia (6) would have to put $0.60 into savings every week and Alayna (8) would put in $0.80. I explained to them that though those amounts are small, they will add up over the course of a year.
We are also turning this into a math lesson for my girls. We found two blank check registers when we were moving and I knew they would come in handy. We put each girls name on one of them and will start this week entering:
- How much they get at the end of the week- Calculating how much they have in total- Entering in their purchases- Deducting their purchase amounts to equal how much they have left.
I feel that if we put this all down in black and white it will be a lot easier for them to understand where their money goes and how fast it can go when you want something you don't need.
Why am I doing this?
Plain and simple -- I spoiled my kids for years. They seem to think that every time they go shopping with me they are entitled to my purchasing them a toy, which is not the case. I want them to completely understand the concept of money and how quickly you can spend it without even realizing it. If I don't teach them now, I worry that in the future they will get into the same problem I am now in, trying to pay off tons of debt.
Do you teach your kids to be financially savvy?
Jan 4, 2014
Every single year I make resolutions and break them within the first two weeks, which is exactly what 74% of the population does! This year I'm really motivated and driven to meet my goals. I'm making personal, business and blogging goals for this year and putting them on my wall by my workstation. I feel that if I print them all out and put them on my wall, I will be more motivated to actually continue on than if I didn't have them right in front of me. I do feel that will help me to achieve all of my goals for 2014. So what do I say? Bring it, 2014! I can overcome whatever obstacles you throw at me! (
1. Lose Weight - This is so self explanatory! I think the problem usually is that I start a trendy diet like Nutrisystem, Atkins, etc... I just get tired of following the rules and eventually quit. This year I'm not going to follow one of those diet plans, I'm going to create my own. I'll take some basic ideas from the more trendy diets, but I'm not going to completely limit or restrict myself. I'm going to make the entire family eat healthy and I'm going to attempt to make all of our meals from scratch so I know exactly what goes into them and can calculate it from there.
2. Get My Kids More on a Schedule - I feel like everything here is so hectic. I have a set time for them to get up on weekdays because of school and a set time for Alayna an Olivia to do their extracurricular activities...but I do not have a set time for homework, dinner, bed time, etc... That's what I want to do. I want to be more strict, set tasks that they have to do every day and have a set time for everything. I feel like it would be a little more predictable and I may stress a little less than I do now. It's going to be hard to re-program my kids to follow a schedule but I think I can definitely do it. They just have to see that I am 100% completely serious and not going to back down.
3. Be More Responsible with Money - I did pretty decent in 2013 with this. I occasionally spent a little more than I should have, but not on large, frivolous things. In the past I've purchased purses that I really couldn't afford, electronics, etc... This year, however, I mostly went over budget on groceries, the kids activities or some small things that I purchased for myself. I'm definitely going to create an actual budget for myself with amounts that I can spend per month and I will stick to it. Since I'm going on a diet I don't have to spend money on eating out, since I won't be going to the city as much I can cut back on gas and since I'm going to be starting my full time job soon, I'll have some extra income. I hope that I can do even better this year. I'm also going to be starting the 52 Week Savings Plan, which I will blog about soon.
4. Get Organized - On any random day, if someone came to my door to visit I would be mortified to let them in my house. Why? I don't clean as much as I should. My living room is usually a mess, I usually have dishes in the sink until I feel like doing the dishes and laundry is never done. I won't even comment on my room and my kids' rooms, they look like hurricanes came through with great force. If you ask me to find something for you I will almost never be able to on a moment's notice. Finding something usually takes hours or days of searching until I happen upon it. I want to change that. I want to find a system of organization that works for us and I want to stick to it. My kids have to learn to clean when they finish using a toy or game and I have to remember to clean up once I bring laundry in my room or change my clothing. It's going to be a learning experience for us all, but one that we have to take on head first.
5. Be with my BF - Not too long ago I started dating my amazing and loving boyfriend. We talk about a future and know that we will probably end up together. I definitely am hoping that this year we could either move in together or take more steps towards starting a life together. I don't want to jinx myself and talk about this too much because honestly, I've waited a long time to find someone as amazing as him. I just hope that we can continue on strong and combine our families to create one larger one. :)
6. Pay Off 20% Of My Debt - I usually want to set my goal larger and pay of all of my debt every year. That's completely not acceptable for me since my debt is more than I actually make per year. You can thank credit card stupidness as a teenager and crazy student loans from college. I want to take just 20% of my debt and pay it off this year. Then I can continue on every year after paying a little bit off at a time. I don't want to be completely debt free this year, but want to work towards that as my ultimate goal in the future.
7. Be More Patient - I am the most impatient person you will ever meet. I yell at my kids, my mom, creditors, telemarketers, random people in the grocery store, people in a mall parking lot...I'm not kidding, ask any of my friends. I need to learn to be more patient and not yell as much. I'm not a mean person by any means, but I can just be loud when things aren't going my way. lol I'm the first one to admit it, at least!
8. Focus on Myself a Little More - The other day I got fed up with the way my hair was. Naturally, it's crazy damaged, wavy, frizzy and just looks like complete shit. I got up the energy to finally go to a salon and ask for help. My stylist was great, she told me that layers would thin out my hair a lot more and showed me how to let it air dry with rubber bands as well as curling it once it's dry. (Loser more wavy curls.) Her outcome was amazing and it actually lasted three days without getting any kinds of dry or disgusting. I also know I should just spend more time on myself more often and not concentrate on my kids 24/7. I have to care about myself more as well.
9. Play More with My Kids - I'm usually so busy on my phone, on my computer, cleaning or cooking that I tell my kids I can't play kitchen or a game with them. Don't get me wrong, I do play with them, just not as often as I really should. I'm going to be less concerned with the house and get on the floor to play with my kids more often. They're not going to be kids forever and by then I will regret not taking the time to get on the floor and play with them.
10. Get More Pictures Taken of my Kids & Myself - I really should take more photos to print out of my kids, since most of them are on Facebook or Instagram. I never know when that stuff could be spontaneously deleted by some glitch and then I will regret it. I also need some headshots of myself for my blog, business and my outside job as well. I'll try to do them all myself, but if I can't I will seek professional assistance!
What are your most important resolutions?
Jan 2, 2014
The time has come again where we can sit back and analyze what happened in the past year in order to figure out what to keep doing and what to change in the year in front of us. I know that in 2013, even though I had the best intentions, I didn't have the time to concentrate fully on my blog and I really do regret that. As I've always said, blogging is a emotional outlet and a way for me to share who I am with others and it is incredibly important to me. 2013 was very busy with my mom being sick, moving and being in between jobs, because of that I was not able to blog as much as I would have liked to. I've worked hard, in the past few weeks, to come up with an editorial calendar for 6 months which would definitely help me with my blogging. I'm getting back on schedule with my writings.
I barely concentrated on my business in 2013, which I hate myself for. My goal for the future is to grow my business successfully so I would be able to make that my sole source of income. Unfortunately, frustration, depression, plus the other three factors above also made me not able to put my all into it this past year. Though, I may have two new clients for 2014 -- so that's pretty exciting. This year, I want to put my all into my business to try to grow it to be successful, I want to accomplish my goals.
So what are my blogging goals in 2014?
1. Follow My Editorial Calendar - I've worked hard in the past two weeks to put together an editorial calendar for my blog. I really wracked my brain to come up with topics that are unique, fit my blog niche, and would be interesting to my readers. I really want to follow my editorial calendar so that I am able to keep up creating new and interesting content to draw in some new readership as well.
2. Get Some Sponsorships, Ambassadorships or Reviews - I used to work with a few different companies (Libman, Nutrisystem, etc...) for different blogging ventures but had to resign from working with them due to life happenings that were beyond my control. This year, I want to work with companies again and get some great products going for my readers to have the opportunity to win. Though, I know that before I get that far, I need to build up my blog a bit and get my readership back up.
3. Build My Blog & Readership - I used to have close to 2,000 followers/readers and a lot more pageviews than I have now. I understand that it's because of the fact that I had to flat out abandon my blog for a little bit while I worked on life. One of my blog resolutions is to create interesting and engaging content to build my readership back up again. I'm going to get there by 2015 and hopefully will even surpass my goals by that point. This year I am going to concentrate heavily on blogging and learning more about the art.
4. Work on Business & That Blog - My business will definitely flourish in 2014. Since I have more time now to work on my business and it's blog as well, this year will be a great one for my business. I will have funds to put aside for my business and various business investments which will also help me along to gain clients and visibility as well. I also have two potential clients that are interested in negotiations in the coming weeks, so that will also be a huge thing for me. I have faith in myself for this coming year. (Shameless plug: Infopoint Virtual)
5. Take More Photos for Blog - A few months back I invested in an amazing new camera and have used it extensively to take photos but not for my blog. I want to start learning how to properly use the camera and take more photos to share on my blog. I really want to feel like my blog is completely mine with photos and content by me.
6. Push my FB Fan Page - Irony? I'm a Social Media consultant and work with other companies and brands on the importance of Facebook and Twitter in their businesses and promotion. Though I don't push it myself. The pot calling the kettle black, right? This year I really want to focus on using what I do for a living to promote myself.
7. Read More Blogs & Comment - I have my few favorite blogs that I'm reading daily, though I need to take the time to find new blogs and make more bloggy friends by commenting and getting some comments in return. I always see great posts but hardly ever comment. I need to reach out more often.
8. Try to Attend Blogging Events - Two years ago I attended PLENTY of blogging events and had such a good time doing so. I was able to meet some great bloggers, learn some useful tips and got awesome information. I need to get back into that, it was a blast.
I really want to change myself and my blog for 2014 and I believe that I have the motivation and drive to do so. I'm going to be working very hard, but at the end of the year it would be completely worth it. Look for my Personal 2014 Resolutions post in the coming days.