Wednesday, April 25, 2018

I Am A Homeowner

One year ago, I sat in my cousin's kitchen while getting my hair done and stated that within a year I would be a homeowner. 

Well, on April 9th, 2018, I'm happy to say that goal was checked off of my list.

I think, at first, people thought I was just being rash. This drastic change had happened in my life and that I must be determined to do something big, make a statement. Changes happen and people do all sorts of things - but it's usually things like cutting or dying your hair. Which, I did. Remember, I was getting my hair done when I stated my goal.

Buying a home was bigger than that to me.

I've spent the last year really working on myself. Learning who I am again. Being confident in who I am. Loving who I am.

With that learning experience you realize what you're capable and worthy of.

There was no reason, I, a single, hard-working woman couldn't buy a home on my own. I believed in myself. I could do this and I wanted to do this - FOR ME! I wasn't doing this for anyone else but myself.

There were people who didn't think I could do it. Some even told me so. People love to doubt what you're capable of.

"How can you afford to buy a house?"
"Your parents have to be paying for this..."
"The only way you'll be able to afford this is if you get a roommate."
"You realize you're responsible for it all. There's no maintenance man to call when something breaks like there would be if you rented."

Sometimes the comments would sting. Why do they feel the need to doubt me? More than anything, it added to my desire of wanting to do this even more.

"Sometimes,
the most powerful thing
of all
to be
is underestimated."

It made accomplishing this so much sweeter. It reminded me of how people thought it was odd I wanted to go into the IT field. "Women don't belong in that line of work." Well, I'm in it and I'm doing just fine.

I knew what I was capable of and I knew I would/could do it - Both in my career and buying a home.

So it began...I saved, I kept an eye on the market, and when I was ready I asked to be put in contact with a realtor. I did a walk through of the home and that night put in an offer. From there, the rest was history.

Overall, it was a smooth and easy process. I truly picked a great first home. I've learned so much about the home buying process. I've made great friends in my realtor, mortgage broker, and home inspector. Things couldn't have gone better and I owe a great deal of that to the great team I had around me.

Since settlement, it's been a work in progress. I wanted to get all the cleaning and painting done prior to moving in. I felt that having to move around furniture would slow down that process. Now, I'm able to get it done and have it be right. (Details on the work I've done will follow)

It actually took a while for it to sink in that I own a home. There's still times that I'll walk in, sit down, and just stare at everything around me. Soaking it all in that I did it, that it's mine.

"She believed she could, so she did."

I bought a home on my own. There was no "gift money" from family. There was no inheritance. I paid for it by myself with money I'd worked hard to earn and save. I've purchased all the furniture and appliances I needed by myself too. I've also decided not to have a roommate at this time.

And I don't talk about doing it by myself in a "I'm rich and loaded with money" type of way. I say it more because I'm not rich and I'm not loaded.

It took a real and conscious effort to save and plan. Some of the savings were from when I was a kid. That money you got for your birthday or Christmas that I chose to invest and build rather than buy the latest toy. I'm grateful to have parents who know the importance of putting money aside. I also shopped around for my furniture until I found exactly what I wanted at the price I was willing to pay. I didn't just walk into a furniture store and say I'll take the first thing I saw. That mentality didn't fit into my budget. I think it's important to set a budget and stick to it. Everything adds up fast and if you aren't careful you'll be in over your head in no time.

Most 26 year-olds don't have the opportunity to do this by themselves. I'm grateful to be in the position I'm in. I'm excited to make the place mine and have it feel like home. I've been envisioning it since I first walked through the house and it's going to be great to see it become reality.

Would you like to see or hear about some of the transformations I've done? Stay tuned...

Friday, April 6, 2018

Oh, how I've missed you...

"Sometimes the greatest way to say something is to say nothing at all... "

It's been quite some time since I've written a blog entry.

Sometimes it's necessary to step away for a while. In fact, for me I made it a requirement. I wanted to write. I wanted share. But at the same time, I didn't. So, I didn't.

About a year ago, my life took a complete 180. There's no exaggeration about that. My life was headed in one direction and then one day it all came to a screeching halt. Upended, spiraled, twisted, flipped - however you want to describe it, it happened.

And I'm not here to discuss or rehash what took place then. The past is in the past and nothing will change that. In fact, at this point, when I think back to it, I wouldn't change a thing. It happened for a reason. You learn things when your world flips. And oh what I know now! Trust in the path you're put on despite how rocky and terrifying it may be at the beginning. Slowly but surely that light reveals itself until you no longer see that dark black speck from your past.

I've missed writing. I've missed keeping up with my blog. There's been plenty of times I've wanted to write about life, what's happening in the world, my stance and take on things. Instead I've waited, slowly but surely, knowing that the right time would come to reenter this world. April felt like the right time.

A wise person once told me, it takes a year to fully move on from something. In the past year, I've found this to be very true.

Take that year to create new memories, new traditions, new everything. A year to develop and grow without that piece that's now missing.

Do you wallow and pout with the change ahead of you or do you grab hold and take it on full speed?

I've been going full speed. So much change, so much that's good, so much happiness.

I hope you all are ready to hear what's been going on and the journeys I have ahead, because there's a lot of them.

2017 was a year filled with healing, resilience, and perseverance

2018 will be a year filled with continuing down this path and watching all that I've worked for in the last year come to fruition

Are you ready? Because I know I sure as hell am!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Do the positives of social media really outweigh the negatives?

Social media is a large part of most people's lives. Whether it's Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, there's at least one of these you've chosen to participate in, if not all of them. And we check them often. What are other people up to? Oh look, there's photos from Point-to-Point yesterday. You document your whole trip to Baltimore and back in multiple 10 second clips.

It's great. It's convenient. It's so easy to do. And with smartphones, it's always at your fingertips.

But is it really as great as we think? Does it cause more problems in our lives than we're aware of?

Think about it.

How many filters did you scroll through so that you look your best?
How many selfies did you have to take before you got that one that was finally acceptable to share?
How many times do you check your posts to see how many likes you have?
What's the latest and greatest gossip going on in other people's lives?

We constantly share, but it's always filtered in some way.

Can't share this photo, I look like I have a double chin.
Can't state what I'm really thinking or feeling because it'll upset someone.
I don't want to change or update this because I don't feel like dealing with all the attention that will come from it.

We've become so insecure about who we really are and I think that's because social media has created this standard that if you post something, you better be ready for the opinion that's coming your way, whether it's a positive or negative one.

We've become so scared of the negative that we strive to always show the best instead of showing the truth.

There is so much power that's held over our heads because we rely so much on the reaction we get from others. The smallest of things can stir emotions.

Did you see so-and-so's relationship status changed?
- Take a step back and think about what those two people might be feeling depending on how that relationship status changed
He/She didn't like my picture so they must not find me pretty.
- If you don't feel pretty, you can't expect others to feel that way about you
Maybe if I un-tag myself from everything or delete a post it'll act like it never happened.
- We all saw it. It still happened. Once it's out there in the cyberworld, it's out there, no matter how much you try and erase it
I can't believe so-and-so supports xyz. I could never support something like that.
- You don't know everyone's story, so try learning more before jumping to conclusions. Agree to disagree.

Judgement is cast so easily today and more times than not, it's negative not positive.

Why can't we support one another? You don't have to agree with everyone and all of their opinions but that doesn't mean you have to bash them either. That's the joy of being different. You don't have to be the same as everyone else and that's okay.

Learn to love yourself and not care about the filter or if it's your best angle. You don't need to try and fit the stereotypes that have been put out there. Show what you really look like. They'll see the truth when they see you in person anyway.

Also, don't have your life revolve around what's going on in others lives. Unless that person is closely related to you or it affects you directly, there is no reason for it. It's one thing to care about people and what they are experiencing, it's another to insert yourself into their situation.

So, the next time you go to post or share on social media, take a step back and look at the situation. Are you positively contributing or no? Are you posting for you or for others?

I've been absent from social media for almost a month and for me that was the positive thing to do because of the negative I could face which is something that I didn't need. Not because I'd done anything wrong but because I didn't need the opinions and interference of everyone else.

Put yourself in the other persons shoes. Remember you are enough and that you don't need the acceptance of others to determine that. Celebrate in the joys of others and comfort those who are struggling. The world around you will also continue to revolve if you don't check all of social media every second of every day.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Wedding Dress Shopping

I stumbled across an article yesterday that normally I wouldn't read. But this one caught my eye. Probably because it had to do with an activity I've actually been doing lately...wedding dress shopping. The article was called "12 Things Nobody Tells You About Wedding Dress Shopping". A large part of me wanted to see how applicable it was to my own experience. So here's my comparison.

1. Wedding dress shopping is exhausting

I've only been wedding dress shopping twice. Once in November and once just a few weekends ago. The first time I went trying on wedding dresses, I didn't feel it was exhausting at all. It was on a Friday night so I'd finished an 8 hr day of working. I probably tried on about 10 dresses too. Maybe because it was the first time, the excitement of it all outweighed the process but I really did enjoy myself. Now my second trip...oh that was a different experience. I was tired by the end. The dresses felt heavier than I remembered from the first shopping trip. Was that possible? This trip was in the morning so I thought I would have been refreshed from a nights sleep but after more than a dozen dresses I was ready for a nap. I guess my recommendation would be to only visit one store in a day. Any more than that and it becomes too much.

2. Not every wedding dress boutique is going to shower you with champagne

100% true. Now neither of the boutiques I visited had champagne. I was okay with that. I wasn't there for a drink, I was there for a dress. I think what I'd like to share most on this topic is that not every boutique is going to give you the attention you feel you deserve. My first trip, I had a single person who was there to help me into each dress, pull dresses for me to try on, etc. My second boutique trip I had someone but they only pulled the dress for me. My mom ended up helping me into each dress and we were really the ones left to do everything. I was surprised as I'd heard nothing but good reviews regarding the customer service at the 2nd boutique but it certainly wasn't something I experienced there. Do your research to make sure you're going to get what you want out of the experience at the boutique.

3. The wedding dress you end up getting will probably looking NOTHING like the one you've always dreamed about

This one blew me away. I really didn't think this could be true but it 100% was. I had an image in mind before I started shopping of what I thought my dress would look like. What I've ended up choosing does have a few features from what I had in mind but it also has a few that were complete opposites of what I expected. Be open minded.

4. Which is why you should be open to trying on any and all dresses

Yes. Try it all on. My salesperson had brought me a dress and she even said "don't judge it until you try it on". This is their job. They see people try on dresses all day every day. They know what looks good on certain body types. It's important to remember that you still have the final say. I was lucky enough that my sales person was spot on. The dress I've chosen is the one she picked out for me. If she hadn't brought that dress for me to try, I probably never would have found it.

5. Don't buy a wedding dress you have to talk yourself into

I feel lucky that I found my dress and I found it pretty quick. I think of all the dresses I tried on before and after the one that really caught my eye. They were all nice dresses but they weren't MY dress. Don't settle. Find the one you really want.

6. Also don't buy a dress that makes you self-conscious

 Buy a dress that makes you feel beautiful. I felt so comfortable in the dress that I chose. It showed off my features and curves well. I knew I felt beautiful in it the moment I walked out of the dressing room and saw myself in the mirror. The expression that came across my face made that clear. I also wasn't wearing crazy spanx or anything like that when I tried it on. I felt that was a good sign.

7. You should feel beautiful in your dress at all angles

Take photos from every angle, if the store allows it. Something might look great from the front and awful from the back. You want something that looks good from anywhere.

8. You don't have to buy all your accessories at once

I haven't even started looking at accessories yet. I knew that once I had my dress I could look anywhere for accessories to go with it. I also know that depending on the type of veil I want, my mom can likely make it versus buying it.

9. The less people you take with you, the better

This is a tough topic. I took a group with me my first shopping trip and I was 100% okay with that. I had a total of 7 people with me. Most people think that's a lot. It was important to me though to include certain people in the experience. It's a once in a lifetime experience. Now my 2nd shopping trip, I only took my mom and my maid of honor. I wasn't into doing a whole ordeal of a shopping trip. I wanted it low key and it was. I'm also glad I didn't have as many people the second time since the shop wasn't as impressive and welcoming.

10. Your opinion is the only one that matters

 The more people you take, the more opinions. Luckily I didn't have to worry about that even with taking 7 people. Everyone listened to what I had to say and didn't butt in with their opinions first.

11. You might not find "the one" until you've almost given up

I can't speak from experience on this one. Remember to be patient.

12. You'll know it when you find it...but there doesn't have to be tears!

It was written all over my face when I found "the one". I didn't cry though. My maid of honor may have but I didn't. It didn't mean that I wasn't in love with my dress though. Everyone is different. As long as you know it's the dress for you and you're excited about it, that's all that matters.


Less than 8 months and I'll be able to share the dress I've chosen!!! It'll be here before I know it :) Happy Saturday everyone!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Kids vs Adults - Holidays

How is it already half way through January?

Time is going by so quickly and I know that's only going to get worse the farther into this year we get. This year is going to be filled with so much good. I become a MRS. this year and I think that's what I'm looking forward to most. I've just started feeling the slight stress that comes with planning a wedding but mainly I'm just excited.

With things going by so quickly, I often find myself saying "I need a break!" A day to catch up on the little things. I'm one of those people that feels guilty taking time off of work though so I never do. Even when I'm sick it's a struggle to make that call saying I can't make it in. And with today being MLK holiday, it brings me to this post's topic...Adults should have off all the same holidays that kids in school get off.

Today is considered a holiday and schools are closed. I'm still sitting at work though. Why do the kids need to have the day off if the adults don't?

I get that kids are exerting themselves in schools (or at least they're supposed to be). Learning isn't always an easy thing. I think mental activity can be just as draining as a physical activity at times. These kids get these breaks almost every month. A day off here, a day off there. I think adults should be having those same days off. Not because they asked for that day off but because it's just the standard to be off.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not asking for the 2.5 months off that kids get during the summer. That's unreasonable. Businesses couldn't succeed if everyone was off for 2.5 months. But what's wrong with adding MLK, President's Day, Veteran's Day, etc. to our list off days off?

Work can be just as draining as school. I would think employers would be more likely to add these other holidays to the list because it would allow their employees time to be refreshed. I know I personally feel more ready and willing to work after an extended weekend. It probably shows in the work I accomplish too.

By giving employees off on these holidays it would also allow families more time to spend together. The kids are off and the parents are either left having to take off work to stay home with the kids or the kids go to daycare. If parents automatically had off, they could happily spend time with their kids. They wouldn't have to feel guilty taking time off work or for spending the money for daycare.

So, who is with me? Who else wants off on these holidays? I know I could have definitely used the break today.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Resignation

Last week I mentioned a possible job offer and how I was taking the appropriate steps to better prepare myself.

Well, I did in fact receive the job offer. You work so hard to present yourself and your skills in the best way to hopefully receive that job offer. What I didn't know was how I'd end up feeling actually getting the job offer.

The nerves that I didn't feel during the interview were officially live and present. I worked for this and I wanted this, so why was I so nervous?

I think it's normal to be nervous. Sure you wanted this but now you're realizing things are about to change if you accept the offer.

The routines you know and the day to day work you've done for over 3 years aren't going to be there anymore. You're going to work with new people and take on new tasks. You're going to work longer hours but also receive better compensation. There's a give and take that comes with accepting a new job. Does the reward of this new position outweigh the risk of leaving familiarity?

Friday, I called the owner and officially accepted this new position. I felt that I was ready to take on this new adventure and that this was going to be the best fit for me. I'm sure my voice was shaky as I told him my decision but his comment that I "made his Friday with this news" reminded me I was making the right decision.

While I felt so much excitement for what lies ahead with this opportunity, I felt this dread in the back of my mind for what I had to do come Monday morning.

I officially had to resign from my job this morning and state when my last day of work would be.

I think something has to be said when you dread resigning from a job.

Sure, it's awkward to tell someone you're leaving their company but that's not why I dreaded this talk. Some people jump at the opportunity to turn in their two weeks notice because they can't wait to get out of there. This wasn't the case for me either.

I actually enjoyed my job and specifically the people I work with.

I've gotten to experience and learn so many new things during my time here. I've made some great friends who made me look forward to coming to work every day. Sure there were times that sucked but that happens every where.

As I shared my news with my manager and co-workers, they told me how much they'd miss me but understood why I had chosen to leave. I'm glad I was able to have a positive impact on those around me while I was there.

Just a few more weeks until I start this new job. I can't wait to see where things go from here! As so many have told me, this is just another step in adulthood and "Welcome to the real world!".

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Never Stop Learning

I wrote a while back about how I was finally graduating from college. On May 22nd, I walked across that stage and was recognized for earning my degree and graduating with honors.

It was a wonderful experience and one I will always remember, especially because I worked so hard for it.

This summer has felt so odd though not taking classes. That had been such a huge part of my routine for so long that I'm actually missing it now.

I've recently had the realization that just because I'm not taking classes doesn't mean I have to stop learning. We should never stop learning.

There's always going to be things out there that we don't know or could learn more about. If we keep ourselves closed off from experiencing new things or learning new ideas, we're keeping ourselves from progressing and becoming better versions of ourselves.

I've been looking for a full-time job now for quite a few months. It's been a process to say the least.
But I've been learning the entire time.

Each phone interview or in person interview gives me more experience and helps me to be better prepared for the next one. I've learned more about myself and my strong suits or areas where I could improve.

After meeting with a company last week regarding a job, I saw that if I was to get the position I'd end up taking on some work I have zero experience in.

For many that's terrifying and even a deterrent from continuing the pursuit of the position. For me, I chose to look at it differently. Yes, it still gave me an uncomfortable feeling. But I'm choosing to view it as more of a challenge than a setback.

It will show I'm a hard worker and can take the initiative before being asked. It shows that I'm resourceful and can find the answer to a problem even if I don't know it off the top of my head. It shows I'm flexible and willing to grow.

I'm a firm believer that if you want something bad enough, you'll work to get it. If I really want this job, I'll work to learn as much as I can so that I could do my job the best I possibly can.

You don't always have to learn from books, not everyone is a reader. Some people are better at learning visually or by doing things hands on. We're fortunate enough to find resources like these right on the web. I could have downloaded or purchased a textbook on the material but instead I found a video series that covers it. Find what works best for you.

Just remember to continue to learn in all things. Don't limit yourself as to what you're capable of.

Who knows, maybe I won't get the job but I'll have new knowledge and maybe even certification I can add to my resume. It's a win either way.