Thursday, February 9, 2012

Money, Always Stressing Me Out

So, one of the goals I've already achieved is to save $2500.  When I made the list, that amount of money seemed really, really ambitious.  I know, that is a little sad.  However, at the time I was not sure I would have a regular part time job for at least the first year of the challenge, and I didn't want to set myself up for failure, you know? 

Now, since I did end up with a regular job, I reached the goal pretty quickly.  Clearly I was not thinking on a big enough scale.  Unfortunately, no sooner did I decide, "Yeah, I can totally save at least twice that much!" than a bunch of expenses came up.  Or. . .I elected to do some expensive things?

I just spent 2 hours trying to book a reasonably priced roundtrip flight from here to New York.  Not only did it take way too much time, it cost almost $200 more than I had anticipated.  The trip is for a professional development and networking seminar, so it's a good thing for me, but the costs are stressing me out!  I haven't even finished booking my hotels or pricing out the shuttle and public transportation.  Add to that the First Aid/CPR course I just registered for, some belated christmas presents to be sent, and a recent inability to bring my own food for lunch, and I'm looking at a close to maxed out credit card.  I still have enough saved and coming in to pay off the card every month, but it's not doing great things for my saving.

With graduation coming up in May, and me still without a good idea of what I will do next, I am increasingly stressed about saving and being able to support myself.  I've started tracking my finances on LearnVest, and I am working on one of my other finance goals- developing a secondary source of income, but I still feel a little sick every time I think of money.  :(

Am I the only one who feels this way??  A small, naive part of me thought that once I was in my mid twenties I would have this money thing figured out, and the reality is just not that simple!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I had an earth shattering, soul crushing realization the other day:

I will never be able to learn, do, or accomplish everything I want to.

This isn't to say I won't reach some of my goals, or that I won't achieve things in my life, but the plain truth is I want too much.  I want to be fluent in Russian.  I want to be a graceful tango dancer.  I want to be successfully self employed and maintain diversified streams of income.  I want viola to always be a real and serious part of my life.  I want to sleep enough, eat well, and live fit.  I want to have a rich and varied social life with wonderful, trustworthy people.  I want to be strong and bold and take risks.  I want to do all of that and look really damn gorgeous.  I want all of that and more- things that didn't make it on to my 101 list, like understanding string theory and the physics of acoustics.  Learning a coding language.  Identifying constellations.  Mentoring someone.  Climbing a mountain.  Learning to ride a bike!  Writing an ebook.

Are those things achievable?  Of course!  All at once?  Yeah. . .no.  It's funny that after I had this downer of an epiphany, I saw this quote (from dailySpark)

You can have it all; you just can’t have it all, all at once.
Right now, I really feel like I'm struggling with this.  Why can't I have it all at once??  We've grown up being fed this "you are so special and wonderful and the world is an oyster waiting to open up just for you!  rainbows!  puppies!  you deserve your perfect life!" (yay for generation "look at me!  me!  me!  me!" *sigh*) and that's just not how it works.  I prided myself on not being too entitled and always trying to keep that in check, but a part of me bought into it.  I am a little ashamed, and very disappointed.  I have always been a dreamer, the girl with her head constantly in the clouds, planning for the future.  It may be cliche- but the future is now.  It's time to face reality and prioritize.  So what if I can't get everything I want right now?  That's life.  I need to focus on giving every day my best and not sighing about what I'm not doing yet.  Time to start making some real choices.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winter Hook

So, this is mostly about my beer review, with a little Austin exploring thrown in.  As someone without a car, I am not afraid of a little walking.  For example, last week I walked over two miles to go to that tango event because I missed my bus (sigh, I know), but at the time, did not think it was a big deal.  However, my coworker was so appalled/impressed that I went home and mapped it, discovering it was actually a 2.34 mile trek, and that damn, I was booking it!

That is a lot of introduction to say, I walked down to the capitol building with my boyfriend tonight to look at the big decorated fir tree.  We took an extremely long route that mostly involved wandering around the UT campus talking seriously until we decided to really go somewhere.  I don't know, is it weird to get pleasure out of looking at a freakishly large tree with lights and Styrofoam stars on it?  If so, I'm such a freak.  I mean, I didn't giggle and skip around or anything, but my boyfriend was pretty surprised by my "joy" at seeing the tree.  While I wouldn't say I was joyful, I do like what the tree represents.  For me, Christmas time is family time.  It's when little things are special.  We pull out ornaments we only get to see once a year.  We make foods that signify "yep, it's the holidays!"  We watch movies and read books and poems that put magic back into our lives.  Sure, it's an overly commercial holiday and I have issues with perceived gift giving inadequacy.  But it's a time when people are (or can be) nicer to each other.  When we take stock of the great people and things in our lives and actually take the time to make memories and be with the ones we love.  I think that's great.  I love Christmas music and decorating, cookies and being around my family, advent calendars and anticipation.  While the getting of gifts has lost the amazing luster and excitement from my childhood, I still love carefully removing wrapping paper.  Sometimes ripping it off.  I love seeing everyone's reactions to the gifts I have tried to tailor to my friends and family.  It's fun, it's magical, it's special.  Who doesn't want a little extra special in their lives?

Winter Hook (12/14/11)
Red Hook, Seasonal
WA, NH, OR (not sure which it is??)
2 out of 5 
Soooo heavy.  The tagline is "Has absolutely no interest in sitting on Santa's lap," which is appropriate, considering how bitter it is.  I mean, it says "Dark and Bold" on the packaging- I should have been appropriately warned, no?  Sigh.  I just can't help my penchant for trying seasonals.  Slightly unimportant note- I love their packaging.  A+ to whoever redid their logo and bottle design.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pardon My Dust

Please bear with me as I get everything set up on the blog!

I am backdating all of my goal explanations to the date I started the project, but as soon as that's done I will begin updating to the present and filling in more information on the goals I have already completed and am currently working on.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Too Hot. Way Too Hot.

I ask you, whose bright idea was it to have a hot sauce festival in the middle of August, one of the hottest months in Austin?  And then I have to ask, who thought it would be an awesome idea to go to it?

Yeah, that last one was me.  I had good reasons- It's an Austin tradition!  I'm trying to get over my dislike of spicy things!  It will be a fun outing with my boyfriend!  Unfortunately, those reasons did not really outweigh the pain and discomfort of the event.

Triple digit heat- check
Blazing sun and no shade- check
Stupidly not bringing water- oh boy, check check

And here's the best part- something so spicy, so hot that I could not stop crying.  I felt the unrelenting burn ALL THE WAY DOWN MY ESOPHAGUS!!  My sunglasses kind of helped hide the crying. . .but I felt so embarrassed.  Luckily, my sweet boyfriend (after he finished laughing/patting me on the back in a somewhat patronizing way) bought me a beer to try and soothe the burn.  It kind of helped.  Better than water, anyway, because at least it has some carbs.

Anyway, it was good for me to get outside my culinary comfort zone, it gave my boyfriend and I something different and unique to do on a Sunday afternoon, and I learned an important lesson about festivals- in general, no matter how exciting or different they sound, it's still going to be a bunch of people you don't know milling around with overpriced food and beer in the vicinity.  Expectations appropriately altered!

And, to get in, you had to donate canned goods, so there was a little good Samaritan in the mix, too.  What's not to love about that?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

098. Plan my meals/snacks in advance

To complete this goal:  Create a meal plan on a weekly or monthly basis at least 4 times.  Prepare meals and snacks in advance so I actually follow the meal plan (with reasonable deviations) at least 4 times.

Why?  Eating right is a huge contributing factor to how good I feel.  To be more responsible about taking proper care of myself food wise is a big step in the right direction.  I'm sick of being on a stupid blood sugar level induced emotional roller coaster.

097. Get my diploma framed

To complete this goal:  Have my Bachelor of Music diploma framed.  When I get my Master of Music diploma, have that framed too.

Why?  Even though it's just a piece of paper, I am proud of myself for earning those degrees.  I want them to be safe and protected- and displayable! 

096. Clean up and organize my computer

To complete this goal:  
Go through all the folders on my laptop and external hard drive. 
Reorganize into easy to find categories. 
Delete unnecessary files. 

Clean keyboard/fan out with compressed air.
Clean laptop screen.

Why?  It's so hard to find things on my computer, and I know there's a lot of crap on there I'll never need or use again.  Simplify and organize, divide and conquer- make it easier for me to get stuff done.

095. Sort through Zune music and make playlists

To complete this goal:  Download all music from my old (broken) Zune to my computer.  Listen to all music and delete the stuff I don't like.  Make at least 10 playlists and upload them to my new Zune.

Why?  I have so much random music that I'm not sure I've ever listened to!  Because music is such an important part of my life, I want to make it easier for myself to listen to music that fits my mood.

094. Clean out and update all social networking sites

To complete this goal:  Right now I'm on two social networking sites- Facebook and Myspace.  I never did anything with my myspace account, so I would like to just delete it completely.  As for Facebook, update my profile (haven't updated it in at least three years), remove any friends that I'm not actually friends with, update profile picture, and download all tagged photos of me (then untag the unflattering ones).  If I decide to get on Linked In or any sites like that, similarly keep things updated.

Why?  I don't really enjoy social networking sites.  I find that they become a time suck and are emotionally draining in terms of the bs that ends up on there.  However, they come in handy for some things, so I don't want to get rid of them completely.  Making my web presence a more accurate reflection of my real life presence just makes sense.

093. Go through my room at home

To complete this goal:  Sort through my things that I have left in my room at my parents house.  Decide what to get rid of, what to keep with me, if anything is appropriate to temporarily leave in the (now) quasi-guest room, and what to put into storage (only if absolutely necessary!)

Why?  My parents want to be able to use that room as a real guest room, and I really don't need all that stuff anymore.  Going through all those papers and books and knick knacks should be nice a cathartic.

092. Keep a simple housekeeping program

To complete this goal:  Develop a simple, consistent schedule to keep my apartment tidy and not like a sad tornado has ripped through it, making it difficult for people to find places to sit, to set their glasses, or to walk unmolested to the sink.  It would be nice for me to not be embarrassed to have people over.

Why?  As I mentioned, it would be so great if I could invite people over without shame.  Also, my mom makes those little comments that I so dislike about the state of my living place.  And that's not even including how tiring and frustrating it becomes for me personally, to live like this.  Time for a change!  Time to grow up a little bit!

091. Have a camera and notebook with me

To complete this goal:  Carry my camera around.  Have something to write on and write with.  Be prepared to record ideas, moments, or tasks at any given time. 

Why?  So often I'll have an idea or think of something that would be good for me to do, only to realize I have nothing to write it on.  Granted, most of those ideas are probably not as great as I thought they were at the time, but still.  The camera is because I am trying to be better about capturing moments or events or just things that amuse me.  I have almost no pictures from my undergrad years, and it makes me a little sad.

090. Embrace a different kind of style

To complete this goal:  Play around with fashion.  Try an outfit with gothic touches- corsets, heavy eye makeup, split gauge earrings, colored hair clip-ins, etc.  Or go more boho- flowy, bat wing tops, brown boots, delicate necklaces, etc.  Clearly I have some ideas about this already, though the category names are pretty arbitrary.  Anyway, wear at least one outfit that's not my normal style, like I've wanted to but have been too embarrassed to.

Why?  I don't want to be afraid to try something new in something as innocuous as fashion.  Also, I've always loved thinking about outfits to put together, but play it very safe regarding what I actually wear.  It's time to let that go, while I'm still young enough for it to not be a big deal to experiment.

089. Wear sunscreen!

To complete this goal:  
Step 1: Find a sunscreen that won't make me break out or look shiny.
Step 2: Incorporate magical sunscreen into my daily makeup routine.
Step 3: Do this consistently (this means at least 20 days out of 30).
Hopefully this will make it a habit.

Why?  As a fair blonde with blue eyes, I am extremely likely to get skin cancer at some point in my life.  Add to that my 3+ serious sunburns and an immediate family member that was diagnosed with skin cancer, and I'm almost certainly going to have it.  There is no excuse for me not to make this happen.  Hm.  Maybe I should have put this under health, as those are the driving factors, but it is way too late for that now.  Too many tags to change!!!