Hey there, 2017

Happy 2017!

I hope everyone had a fun and safe new year! Andrew and I got together with an old group of friends and hung out together to celebrate. We hadn’t seem some of them in a couple years, so it was really fun to catch up and see everyone again.

We played a lot of Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros, and even a bit of Quidditch from the GameCube, which I totally killed at (Ravenclaw FTW!). Me and my girlfriends talked about our favorite books that we read this year and had suggestions for each other – I know, things got real crazy. ;)

We hadn’t even planned on staying up til midnight because Andrew had to work yesterday and also has to work today, but we just ended up staying and I’m glad that we did.

This year was the first year that I didn’t call my mom at midnight. She is a new year’s baby, so my family usually does a big celebration for both her birthday and the new year, but they kept things pretty low key this year and she told me not to call her at midnight because she would be sleeping. XD

I know that everyone makes resolutions at the start of the new year, and I used to really really hate them, so much so as I wouldn’t make goals. I’m still a big believer that if you want change, you should do it immediately and not wait for something silly like the new year to happen.

That being said, my heart has changed a little bit. I think the new year is a good time to stop, reflect, and give yourself some guidelines for the year. But I also believe that if the goal isn’t working or if circumstances change, throw that sucker out.

Review of Goals from 2016

Be more consistent in my blogging
I left this goal a bit open-ended as I didn’t want to set specific parameters that I had to meet, which I know is opposite of how you’re supposed to make goals, but in my head I was hoping to blog roughly once a week with exceptions here and there. I published 57 posts in 2016 so I feel like I really did well with this goal! I had a lot more posts in the first half of the year than the second half, but I’m pretty happy with how I did. Plus I had a lot of big life changes and I’m still learning how to work full-time and manage this blog. It’s been a lot of learning, but I think I’m starting to get the hang of it!

Read 52 books
This goal with a close one this year! I really struggled towards the end of the year when I started working full-time. I could squeeze reading in between classes or listen to them when I was at my internship earlier in the year, but it’s hard for me to listen to audiobooks at my new job when I’m constantly learning new things and needing to focus.

That being said, I completed my goal with a couple of days to spare! If you want, you can look at all the books I’ve read this year, or read about my favorites!

Be bold
Another open-ended goal, but a necessary one. I’m very introverted and quiet, and as a result, I feel that I sometimes won’t speak for myself or pass up opportunities because I’m scared of what people might think or the outcome of it. But I realized that that’s not really a way to live life, so in 2016 my goal was just to be more bold. To push myself out of my comfort zone when it’s easier to just stay quiet. To just speak.

And I did. Not in a big and brash kind of way, but in the little things here and there. I went out of my way to meet new people. In job interviews, I wasn’t timid; I boldly proclaimed my accomplishments, achievements, and future goals. I applied for jobs that I wasn’t sure I would be qualified for, but I thought why miss out on an opportunity because I’m scared?

In groups with new people or people that I don’t know very well, I worked on being talkative and speaking up to get to know people. Andrew and I have been together almost seven years, so in that time I inadvertently started using him as a crutch. That boy is a natural talker, and half-the time we can’t get him to shut up (I kid)! So I would rely on him to get conversations going and to do all the talking, but no longer.

I initiated conversations last year. I asked questions. I went out of my way to talk to people. It was so refreshing to let that fear go of what people might think of me when I open my mouth. It may be small to a lot of people, but that is so big for me. I worked on this so much this year that I’m now much more comfortable doing it and I’m not so anxious in social settings.

For example, last night at our little party with our old friends we hadn’t seen in a while, I was so comfortable and laid back with them because I wasn’t so nervous just to talk. I didn’t know some of them very well and there were some new people I hadn’t met before, but I was so much more comfortable just talking with them and asking about their life. A year or so ago, I wouldn’t have talked much at all, but this year I wasn’t even the quietest person in the room.

I’m by no means an outspoken extrovert now, but I’ve come a long way and I’m really proud of that.

Goals for 2017

Read 52 books
I know, a no-brainer since I’ve been making this goal since 2013, but a goal all the same. I don’t read as much as I want to with working full-time and maintaining a blog and other everyday duties, so this is to encourage me to read more. Even if I don’t hit this goal of 52 books, I will still be proud of how much I did manage to read. Follow my progress on Goodreads!

(Just a fun fact: my mother-in-law’s goal is to read 100 books this year. Like, what even? How do I even compete with that??)

Get organized and get rid of the clutter
I am naturally a very clean and organized person. I don’t like messes, and I actually find enjoyment taking a big pile of stuff and organizing it all out. But I’ve realized that you can organize and sort out in all these neat piles and put all this stuff in these creative storage devices all I want, but it’s messy and unorganized a day later because I have too much stuff!

My desire to get rid of some stuff is partly inspired by a book I read called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Simmered down, she basically says that if a belonging doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it. Why surround yourself with stuff that doesn’t make you happy and just stresses you out?

That really resonated with me, and while I think some of her methods might be a bit extreme for me (like no, I’m not going to get rid of the four paper towel rolls I have because I bought them in bulk because I don’t need them right now), I took away a lot from the book. I have a lot of things that I’ve held onto and kept for a long time that I don’t use, don’t make me happy, and have no real reason to keep.

I know this aligns quite a bit with the minimalism lifestyle that a lot of people have (hi Georgie!), but I don’t think I’ll go quite so far with it. There are some things that do bring my joy even if I don’t necessarily have a practical use for it. Like I realize that I really don’t need all 150+ books that I own (I don’t even know if that number is even remotely correct), so I’m going to keep almost all of them. But I will take a step back and say, okay which of these books did I buy, read, and didn’t even like? And maybe I’ll get rid of 20 or so.

So call this what you will: a bit of minimalism, a bit of KonMari, and a bit of I just want my house to have less stuff.

Be debt-free
We are so close to being debt-free! Andrew and I have saved up quite a bit towards the end of last year and I’m planning on paying off my student loans this month and my car next month!! I am so excited to not have those two loans hanging over our heads and to put more of our money into actual savings for future things (like a house!).

So this goal is a bit of a mix between paying off all my loans and then staying debt-free. We are considering buying Andrew a new car later this year, so this goal may go out the window if we go that route, but it would give us a good foundation that if we do decide to buy a new car, we will have a good down payment and our loan will be pretty small.

Make our home feel more like home
I love open-ended goals, so here is mine for the year. We have been in our house for seven months now, and I still haven’t even come close to finish decorating. I have decorated the living room and kitchen some, but our bedrooms have no decorations whatsoever.

I don’t consider myself a very good decorator because I am so indecisive. I know when I like a finished product, but I really struggle with figuring out how to get there. My goal is to suck it up and somehow get there this year. We’re busy, and I’m very frugal with my money, but I want our house to feel like our home. I want to walk in our bedroom and to feel relaxed and not have those big empty walls looming before me.

Andrew may not care as much, but I want to have a house that looks nice for him and that he can relax in as well. I have so many framed pictures just sitting against walls in various rooms because I’ve been too lazy to hang them.

So this year I’m rolling up my sleeves, scrolling through Pinterest for some inspiration, and getting to work. My house doesn’t need to be perfect, but with some homey touches, it will feel like ours.

(I’ve started a bit on this already, actually! Yesterday I did a little DIY project so my mirror wouldn’t just be sitting against the wall. I really liked the outcome and it only took an hour or two!)

Welcoming 2017

I have so much to be grateful and thankful for, and I’m so excited for what this year will bring. Goals and all that I side, I know that I have everything that I will need in my family, friends, and husband. :heart:

Wishing all the best for you and yours in 2017. xx

Cheers, 2016!

What a year 2016 has been!

I think in the future I will remember this year as the year that I really transitioned into the next phase of my life. My life now is pretty different from how it was at the beginning of the year, so it’s been an exciting year!

We started off the spring by vacationing for a week in Colorado. We visited Rocky Mountain National Park, as well as Denver, and Colorado Springs. We had a blast and it’s definitely one of my favorite places that I’ve been to. The mountains were absolutely breathtaking and I’d love to go back again sometime in the future!

I finished my up my internship in downtown Kansas City. This was such a great learning experience for me and it was a lot of fun being able to work downtown. It was the first time that I worked for a large company, so it was great to be able to experience how a larger organization runs. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone with this job and felt that I did myself proud. It was a great opportunity for me and I really made the most of it. It was a bit bittersweet to leave, but bigger and better things awaited me in the year.

I graduated college with my Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. I graduated summa cum laude with a 3.9 GPA, which I am extremely proud of. It might just be an extra medal that I get to wear and an extra thing they announced with my name, but I’m immensely proud of how hard I worked in school.

I got to watch Andrew graduate with two degrees: his Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and his Bachelor of Nursing. He later passed his nursing boards and is now a certified Registered Nurse (RN). I was so proud to watch him walk to the stage – not once, but twice! – and to see all of his hard work come to fruition. Super proud wife right here!

We moved from Kansas City to St. Louis . This was a really bittersweet time for us. It truly signified us closing the chapter on our college days and coming on home. Sometimes I wonder if we made the right decision in moving back to St. Louis. There are a lot of things I miss about Kansas City and I shared my sentiments on what home really means. Kansas City will always hold a dear place in my heart and we visit friends often!

We spent a lot of time making the house in St. Louis our home . We were given a wonderful opportunity from Andrew’s mother to live in their childhood home for very little rent. We are using this time to pay off our loans and to save up some money for a future home.

This summer was a tough one for me. While I planned to take a couple months off before looking for a job, I really suffered with depression. I was trying to find my identity and worth in other things, such as my employment, when really my identity is rooted in Christ. I learned a lot and I grew a lot, but it wasn’t easy. You may have noticed I wasn’t very active on the blog during this time.

In late July, I had to put my nine-year-old dog to sleep. I’d had Tabor since he was a little pup at ten weeks old. He was my Christmas present in the 8th grade and my best friend. He had just moved into the house with us when we moved back to St. Louis. While I still miss him dearly, I have a lot of great memories with him and he was the best dog!

After losing Tabor, Andrew and I adopted a female puppy from Stray Rescue and named her Chloe. She is a black lab terrier mix that we love to pieces. She is very energetic, and though she’s not so small anymore, she is very smart and loves to cuddle.

Look at that face!

I ran my first 5K in September for a girl named Kali. It was a hard run but I ran through the pain and took every step for victims that have suffered from sex trafficking. The race was organized by The Covering House, an organization that provides physical and emotional relief from sexual abuse and exploitation. I couldn’t have been happier to spend my first 5K running for such a great cause.

Also in September, I was offered a contract position through a staffing agency and I jumped at the opportunity. I ended up really liking the people that I work with and the position, so when they offered me the full-time position at the end of November, I accepted .

Things seem to have settled down near the end of the year as I put my head down and got to work at my new job. I’ve really enjoyed making friends with my new coworkers and learning new things. And it’s good to see how God has answered my prayers throughout the year. I had a lot of anxiety and fears – about moving home, about finding a job, about all of these big life changes and God provided throughout all of them.

I’m just incredibly thankful to see how far I’ve come in just one year and to see how far He has brought me, and it makes me even more excited for all that 2017 will hold!

Cheers, 2016! You were a great one!

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