Friday, December 19, 2014

At the beginning of 2014, I declared my word of the year to be Preparation. I thought 2014 was going to prepare me for the changes coming in 2015. What I didn't know was those changes would happen a little earlier than planned. C started grad school in summer 2014 instead of fall 2015. We moved to Austin in winter 2014 instead of summer 2015. Everything was moved up 6-9 months, which is taking some getting used to.

While setting my word of the year to be Preparation, I decided to focus on five areas of my life: Web Development, Friendships, Finances & Fitness, Marriage and Fueled by Cocktails.

Each of those categories evolved in ways I never anticipated. I did not expect my first freelance gig during December 2013 to blow up into the success I had with web development this year. My friendships reached a high I hadn't experienced in years, but quickly fell away as many of my friends (myself included!) moved away to new towns. I didn't hit any of my financial or fitness goals, my biggest regrets of the year. Thanks to hard work, determination and outside council, our marriage has hit an all-time high and we're more determined than ever to keep that up.

Fueled by Cocktails did not go anywhere. I had some great moments & still love the idea of it, but in hindsight I can say it launched prematurely and is going to take a long time to grow to what I want it to be. But unlike my other missed goals of the year, I do not regret its lack of success. Fueled by Cocktails opened up so many opportunities for me. It gave me purpose and opportunities for creativity when I hit slumps. It helped create relationships.

 On a practical, bullet-list note, here's the few goals I actually wrote out to accomplish this year:

  • Build 10 websites for money  - GOAL MET
  • Break even on Fueled by Cocktails - GOAL MISSED
  • Pay off one piece of debtGOAL MET. We said goodbye to our credit card. Woo!
  • Buy a laptopGOAL MET. And exceeded. 
  • Get to my goal weight (was soooooo close last year!)  - GOAL MISSED
  • Get a tattoo when I reach my goal weight ♥ - GOAL MISSED
  • Complete Code Academy  - GOAL MISSED
  • Build a resume website that I can't even dream of now using skills I currently don't possess  - GOAL MET

It's good to look back at my goals and intentions from a year ago to understand what started off the year. Now to start thinking of my new word for 2015.

Full review of 2014 coming soon... Happy holidays everybody!

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Today I was accepted into grad school! It's been a long dream of mine to continue my education - I just never quite knew what I wanted to do or when I would want to do it. So after receiving my undergraduate degree, the grad school dream sat on the back burner as I started working my way up through various jobs until I happened upon my last one in web communications. It didn't take me very long to know that web communications - strategy, design, development, etc. - was the field I wanted to pursue a career in. So I started to think of what grad programs may apply.

Unfortunately, in the world of web comm, most people are completely self taught & I knew I didn't need a Master's to make a living at it. So I set my sights on just learning as much as I possibly could on my own. While at a conference in Portland in May 2013, I was introduced to the concept of User Experience (UX). I attended as many sessions on the UX track as I could, and by the time I headed home, I had found a new direction to set my sights on.

Almost immediately, I found an online Masters of Science program at Kent State in UX. I bookmarked it & kept going to back to it over the next year. I wasn't ready to commit to it. I wanted to make sure I really, really wanted to pursue UX in a formal setting. The longer I made myself wait, the more heartsick I became. I desperately wanted to enroll. I made a list of pros and cons, benefits and opportunities the degree would grant me, and I presented it to C. Once he saw I was serious, he didn't hesitate and got on board. So I applied for the spring semester, to begin January 2015.

Less than a month after submitting my application, I accepted a job in Austin & we moved to a new city. During the move, C started gently telling me maybe starting grad school a month after a new job wasn't the best idea. I fought him on it for days... all the way up to the official cut off day, which also happened to be the day we completely packed up our entire house into boxes. With only a few hours to spare I made the decision to move my start date back to the Summer. (A decision I'm so happy I made. I'm so happy to have a husband willing to challenge my decisions.)

Which brings me to today. The day I was officially accepted! I'll be starting May 18. Not a day too soon, or a day too late. I'm completely thrilled by the prospect.

When I told my dad the news, he texted this to me:

Somewhere Grandpa O is smiling. His kids went to college and their kids go to grad school.

I'd never looked at my educational pursuits as the result of my ancestor's hard work. But as the granddaughter of a Chicago steel worker and Texas electrician, I know that I wouldn't have these opportunities without their life's work, sacrifice and love. 

I can't wait to make them proud.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The last few months have been a season of big transitions for me. It started with C starting grad school and then quitting his general manager job to allow himself the time to focus on school. That was a really tough decision, leaving us with only one stable income and changing our responsibilities at home. Almost immediately C was a different person & I can say without a doubt making that decision opened us up to the events that followed: our move to Austin.

The move to Austin is, of course, the biggest transition for me. (For us.) It was literally us picking up our lives and moving away from the home we'd made for the past eight, almost nine, years. Saying my goodbye's were bittersweet -- ranging from fun dinners with girlfriends to my boss & co-worker Heather walking me out of the building on my last day while I fought back tears (and then proceeded to cry the two hour drive to Austin). It was emotional for sure.

I'm finding it difficult to truly grasp all that I'm feeling right now, but I wanted to just say something here. I'm not sure what my move to Austin is going to do to this blog. Part of me wants to stop writing in it altogether. Another part of me wants to throw myself into blogging blogging. I'm craving the intimacy of sharing my life online, however paradoxical that may sound. So for now, that's where I'm at.... trying to wade through the transitions and come out a better person on the other side.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Well, we did it!! We moved to Austin. (In the rain... so much rain.)

We had some wonderful friends help us out along the way & wouldn't have been able to do this without them. My family came up to visit Sunday afternoon & everyone's really excited about our new location.

Here's a little sneak peak of our house & neighborhood park... more to come eventually...

PS: Our first apartment together. (And it's officially too late to do a house tour of our second place together. Oops.)

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Our last brunch in town at Blackwater Draw. It was kind of a big deal to me.

Even though I've already submitted my resignation, filled out my I-9 for the new job, signed a lease & announced our upcoming move to Austin, it didn't feel really real until we packed up our entire house this weekend.

Both of our moms came up to help pack the house, and the four of us knocked out about 90% of the house in a day. The 10% left are things we use on a daily basis like clothes & toothpaste. So we're basically living on take out and bare necessities for the next five days. On Friday we get our new keys, and on Saturday we'll pick up the truck, load it up and head off to our new adventure!

My two men wandering Austin between searching for a house... I think we'll fit in quite nicely.

Before the packing weekend began, C & I sat down and made a pact of peace. Moving and changing jobs is stressful; we knew it'd take a toll on us. So we decided to not let it get the best of us. We pinky swore to keep the peace, keep calm and love each other through the stress. And I'm so happy to say that when everybody left on Sunday afternoon, we high fived at how good we did. Everything went so smooth. Everything we wanted - and more - got done. And we were still excited and happy about everything at the end.

We took our moms out to brunch on Sunday to thank them for their help. My mom had her first chicken & waffle experience (find my recipe here) & we toasted with mimosas to the upcoming changes! It was my last brunch in Bryan/College Station, so we went to the best place in town: Blackwater Draw. If you're ever here, they have the best brunch in town. And you can bring your dog with you, so that's a win-win in our book.

Step One: Packing complete.

How Max feels about moving...

Now on to Step Two: Move Our Shit. Challenge accepted.

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