welcome. thanks for visiting. i love sharing my stories, so regardless of who you are, feel free to look around. this blog is about my adventures and living on purpose. i hope it provides you with some entertainment... even if it's at my expense!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fiscal Dilemma

In anticipation of February (Money month), I am thinking about things I could do that I enjoy and also make some extra money. I need to cut back in some areas, but I also really, really enjoy giving gifts, doing little craft days with my godchildren, and being able to go lunch and other places with my friends. Instead of cutting back on these activities, some of my most favorite things in the world, which consume too much of my disposable income, I want to increase the income.

I had thought about getting a part-time job, and I would, but school needs to be priority right now, and I think I would kill myself working or doing school any more than I do already. Since I already got rid of my cable back in October, and since I'd also like to start reading more, I'm thinking about crafting and listening to audio books. It seems like a productive thing to do that would be fun, educational, and give me the chance to sell some things on etsy. I made a tablecloth for my Christmas table this year, and it inspired me to make one for every day.

I plan to use a simply patterned fabric as a base, then applique fleur de lis or other pretty shapes on in a more ornate fabric, and bead through the shapes for some pop. It got me to wondering whether this is a common project (I figured it was), so I researched etsy both to check out the competition and get inspiration. Let me just say, there was N O T H I NG. Nothing that I would put on my table. They were all either farm fresh, cheesy, lacey or downright boring and doubtfully handmade. No wonder I've never bothered with a tablecloth! I'll admit there was one cute quilted-type tablecloth (still, not what I had in mind), but it was $120 dollars (quite a bit more than I'm planning on selling mine for, but hey, I'd take it), and the seller had never sold one. There was nothing there for a modern girl.

This first attempt may not turn out perfectly, and in fact, after looking at some of the amazing fabric on etsy, mine that I bought from Hancock looks pathetic. But hopefully, my design will jazz it up. There are some other things I've thought about making, including a baby mobile out of my little paper bird designs. For now, while I'm out of school til the 17th, I'm going to work on this tablecloth for the next few free nights. I haven't invested in a sewing machine yet, so that means a lot of needlework, but I enjoy it and it's fun for me to see something I made completely by hand. Don't worry, I'm sure a machine will be purchased soon enough. I'm not completely stubborn, just about 75%.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pregame Jitters

The new year is almost upon us. 2010 on the whole basically sucked, but I learned a lot that I wouldn't trade for the world. I've gotten back to a side of myself I didn't know still existed, and for that, 2010, I am eternally grateful. As for the rest, however... I'll continue to try and forget about it.

I read Eat, Pray, Love recently and was inspired. It put me back in the adventurous mindset I used to have. Travel around the world for a year for no other reason than to increase your happiness and learn how to better live your life? Why not? But I live in the South. No one does that here. And if they do, they're moving to Dallas.

I also read A Year by the Sea, because I looked for books on the "If You Liked Eat, Pray, Love, We Just Know You'll Just Adore..." list. A Year by the Sea was similar in theme. Middle-aged women head to the Cape to reclaim their femininity (weird word, isn't it?) and learn how to make themselves happy, instead of worrying about what they've been concentrating on: their families. This was a wonderful book, with beautiful insight and inspirational quotes. In addition to my relating to it for my own purposes, it also helped me to understand the mind of my then-boyfriend, who had begun talks about leaving me and the home we had created together.

I'd like to do my life a little differently than I have been. I want to experience and appreciate my life to the absolute fullest. But where to start? In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin doesn't have the time, the money, or the inclination to "run away". She has a husband and two very young daughters, but still wants what the other two women wanted. She wants to learn more about herself and make herself happier. She reads many books about happiness and its achievement, writes her own "commandments", and discovers four different "spendid truths". I don't know what I'll discover in 2011, but I hope there's something profound. Either way, I have absolute confidence that I'll be satisfied with the results.

I have chosen twelve different themes, just as Mrs. Rubin did, but mine are different. Her book is about her experience with a concept, not an exact blueprint. I feel like my themes could be subject to change along the way (I'm a pretty flexible person), so I won't enumerate them all just yet. For now, my first month will focus on discipline. Each month will have about five resolutions or goals, for a total of 60. For the resolutions, I will attempt to keep them going through the rest of the year. The goals should be taken care of before the month is up. The average person needs three weeks to form a habit, so I'm hoping that I will be forming some great habits in the 28-31 days I have available to me for my resolutions each month.

I plan to:

1. Exercise three times per week
2. Talk less
3. Arrive to work and other set appointments 5 minutes early
4. Keep my sink empty
5. Put my makeup on at home

1. Some of these don't need explanation, but here goes anyway. I have been a member of a couple of different gyms, but for whatever reason yadda yadda. I know everyone has either heard it before or been there themselves; suffice it to say I've purchased bright and shiny second-hand elliptical machine, and I plan to use it. I also own the meager "equipment" necessary for pilates, and a couple of dumbells left behind by the afore-mentioned boy. This will do for now, and I can always add to it later. The point is to start.

2. I have always been a talker. One of the most often heard questions of my youth: "Is this going to be a long story?" I haven't learned my lessson yet. I don't absorb what other people are saying (that's called, l i s t e n i n g  - I know, complicated concept, no wonder I haven't mastered it). I love to talk, and I love people's reactions to my talking. I love to make people laugh. But sometimes I need to be quiet. I'm not sure how I'm going to gauge my progress here, but I'll figure it out. Hopefully, unloading on this blog will help.

3. I'm late to work damn near every day. I feel like, even though it hasn't created any issues for me at my current job, it shows a lack of respect to my bosses and coworkers. It could also be a problem at my next place of work. For those reasons, I'd like to have a little more discipline, show more respect, and be able to get started on my work ontime.

4. I am bad about throwing rinsed-off dishes into the sink until they pile up. Then, I unload the dishwasher and reload it. It's not that this will be any more work, it's just in the timing. It's gross to have dirty dishes in the sink, it doesn't take long to unload a dishwasher, and if I'm going to be dating again, I need to attempt to appear to be not-nasty.

5. For the past several years, I've done all my makeup in the car. The fact that my drive to work is upwards of twenty minutes long has been too tempting. I tried to start doing at least my base at home, but that didn't work because I just quit using base. It's not safe, has got to be getting all over my car, and is embarrassing when I'm on the road.

I'm concentrating this month on things that will make me feel better about being me. I already have lots of things to feel good about, but I want to continue to be a better person to people around me consistently throughout my life.

I am keeping a spreadsheet and marking an X for each day that I feel I succeeded in my goal. Some of these will need some tweaking, like the exercise resolution, and for that one I'm giving myself two X's per time and one bonus for all three days in one week. This handy spreadsheet gives me a grade based on my performance at the end of the month. I. LOVE. GRADES. (see: "Abby's Grades are her Crack" in the addiction section of your library). Anyway, this should be a great motivator, and I have also set it up to give me a grade at the end of the year. (I LOVE A'S). Ahem.

Many of my other months will be about fun, or knowledge, or productivity. I have so much anticipation for the coming year, and I think that will be one of the most fun parts! For instance, I plan to write a book in a month. That's the one I'm most excited about, so I had to say something about it.

Did I mention I'm a big-mouth?

More on my progress after the first of the year!