January 27, 2017

ISTJ

At 32 I pride myself on knowing who I am. It's taken some time to fine tune it all but I know what I will/won't tolerate and I know what I do/do not like, although sometimes this is debatable. I'm always changing and learning but for the most part, I'm pretty sure of myself. 



A few weeks ago Steph posted about the type of person she is. Although I'm sure of myself I never pass up an opportunity to take a personality quiz. Unless it's to find out which Real Housewife you are... I will always say no that nonsense. I took the quiz and the results, once I read them, made sense.



Mind

Now, what wasn't surprising to me was that I'm 60% introvert. I've noticed over the last 5-6 years that I have become pretty introverted. Even though part of me {40% I guess} likes to go out and be social if it involves staying on the couch, I'm all for it. If it involves getting dressed up the answer is most assuredly no. I only like hanging out with certain people, even though part of me and I make no apologies for it.  

Energy

It also said that I was more observant than intuitive, and I would agree with that. People watching has been my favorite hobby for longer than I can remember. it extends more than that. When in a group I like to sit back and watch the reactions and hear the responses of others before I add my two cents. The test claims that this is the most important dichotomy as it "determines how you see the world and what kind of information you focus on". 

"In contrast, individuals with the Observant trait focus on the actual world and things happening around them. They enjoy seeing, touching, feeling and experiencing – and leave theories and possibilities to others. They want to keep their feet on the ground and focus on the present, instead of wondering why or when something might happen. Consequently, people with this trait tend to be better at dealing with facts, tools and concrete objects as opposed to brainstorming about possibilities or future events, handling abstract theories, or exploring fantasy scenarios. Observant types are also significantly better at focusing on just one thing at a time instead of bursting with energy and juggling multiple activities."
I can't even tell you how much I agree with this. People have always told me they "don't know how I do it" when I say I don't worry about things. My response is always the same: I see no point in worrying about something/someone that is outside my control. If I can't affect a change, why waste the energy worrying? I much prefer to deal with what's in front of me rather than asking "what if".

Nature

Thinking rather than feeling when it comes to decision making? This is all me. When crises happen I am immediately in action mode. The to-do list is instantaneously formulated and I'm a woman on a mission. I'm the one who thinks about the things most people have forgotten in a crisis. Case in point, when we lost my sister and I started cleaning her room, rather than toss everything that belonged to her boyfriend, I kept it. Someday my niece will have questions and I need to be able to answer her. Plus, I felt they weren't mine to discard. They belong to my niece. 
"People with the Thinking (T) trait seek logic and rational arguments, relying on their head rather than their heart. They do their best to safeguard their emotions, shielding them from the outside world and making sure that they are not clearly visible. People with the Thinking trait are often just as emotional as those with the Feeling trait – but they tend to subdue and override their feelings with their rational logic."

Tactics

When it came to judging vs. prospecting I wasn't overly surprised, but this is where I'm aware of an internal battle. I fall into the judging category with 58%. Basically, this means I like structure and planned events. 
"People with the Judging (J) trait do not like to keep their options open – they would rather come up with five different contingency plans than just go ahead and deal with the challenges as they come."
Though that's true, to a degree, I can very easily see how the other 42% makes a strong case. 

"Prospecting (P) individuals are much more flexible and relaxed when it comes to dealing with both expected and unexpected challenges. People with this trait are perfectly aware that life is full of possibilities, and they are reluctant to commit to something that might well prove to be an inferior option in the future... also likely to focus more on what makes them happy as opposed to what their parents, employers, or teachers expect – if a specific task is not that important or interesting, a Prospecting individual will always be able to come up with something better to do."
 As much as I love structure and routine, it makes me feel like I'm being boxed in, and I absolutely HATE that. I prefer to do things based on whether or not it makes me happy. Do I really want to go to this event when I could stay home and organize and clean? This is a no brainer. I guess I expected this category to be closer to a tie.

Identity

Least surprising of all I'm 76% assertive. Anyone who knows me in real life can attest to this. I remember looking at my 3rd grade report card. I was reading my teacher's comments and I remember her saying that I was assertive. I had no idea what the word meant but I was smart enough to pick up her tone and it didn't seem to be a good thing. Having since learned what it means, you're damn right I'm assertive. 

According to the test this is the category that affects all others. 
"Assertive (-A) individuals are self-assured, even-tempered and resistant to stress. They refuse to worry too much and do not push themselves too hard when it comes to achieving goals. Similarly, they are unlikely to spend much time thinking about their past actions or choices – according to Assertive types, what’s done is done and there is little point in analyzing it. Not surprisingly, people with this trait report more satisfaction with their lives and they also feel more confident in their abilities to handle challenging and unexpected situations."

Strategy

I don't know what they're talking about when they refer to a "strategy" but mine came back as "Confident Individualism" and it is creepily accurate. To quote a few of the points;

Confident Individualists typically trust in themselves, and they often embrace solitude to pursue their own interests rather than seeking out social activity... tend to feel that social displays and bragging are time and energy wasted... proud of who they are, what they know, and what they can do, but they don’t feel the need to prove themselves to others... not easily drawn into emotional drama... Self-reliance is central and they handle difficult situations well because they tend to be emotionally secure, bold, and resistant to stress.


For a free personality assessment I'd have to say this is the most fairly accurate result I've ever received. Usually they swing so far to one way that there's no gray area. These results make sense to me and I can easily see why and where I'd fall more to one side than the other. In case you're curious you can take the quiz and find out for yourself.


January 26, 2017

Downsized

If you didn't know 2017 is The Year of Less for me. Less stress, less clutter, less procrastination, less spending... less everything. Unless it makes me happy and lights me up, then it's full speed ahead. 

I've been loving all the posts I'm seeing lately about you're all doing to add minimalism and efficiency to your lives. How you're planning on taking charge in 2017 and being better to yourselves. It makes my heart smile. 

Here are the things I've done to get myself on the right track.



Destashing

If you're not a planner this may not mean anything to you, then again, it could. In any event, at the beginning of the month I posted in one of my planner groups that I was looking to destash and RAK stuff that I wasn't using. I received lots of responses and mailed out 14 little packages of stickers and planner supplies. I then came up with another small collection to give to a planner friend who has turned her 3rd grade students on to planning. 

30 for 30

After seeing it posted by The Steph's I decided to hop on this decluttering bandwagon. They were making a point to rid themselves of 30 bags within 30 days. I was already off to a great start having donated 5-6 boxes to the Veteran's group. I handed off most of my moving boxes to Alyssa and recycled the rest and also donated another 7 boxes to a different Vet group.  My favorite "bag" went to Stuffed Animals for Emergencies, a non-profit  organization that collects various items to benefit children during emergency situations. I've kept all these stuffed animals because I couldn't bear to throw them away. I'm really glad I was able to find a charity that would put them to good use and find them new homes. 

Consolidation

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Google products. They truly make my life easier. Unfortunately, in trying to stay organized I ended up creating more. I have 5 gmail addresses. Granted, I only use 3 {2 are former blog emails} it's still a lot of back and forth. After Alyssa posted about how she uses Google calendar to plan, I decided to streamline my calendars into one color-coded masterpiece. I go back and forth about iCal so I'm using Google exclusively but have it synced to iCal so I don't miss anything. Alexa also works off Google so if I want her to keep me up to date, I needed to blend.



Shopping my closet
My upcoming Stitch Fix will be the last one I receive for a while. Though I love getting that box in the mail, it's time to stop adding to the clothes I have and start taking a real look about what I do/do not wear. I donated a lot of clothes in my purge process, but there's always more I don't need. I've spent the past few weeks trying on all of my clothes and being honest about the way things fit me and how I feel in them. That shirt I had to have? Not so much.

Do I need it?

This is a question I've been asking lately (kind of) but plan to keep asking throughout the year. I'm a huge victim of the 'it's on sale' trap. Just because it's on sale doesn't mean I need to buy it. If it was already on my radar, that's one thing, but solely because the sign says 40-60% off doesn't justify a thing. Take for instance this shirt. It's funny. I like it.


I was in JCP looking for gym leggings and I saw this. It was on sale for $9.99. My first thought was 'awesome, it's on sale. $10 isn't bad' then I checked myself and reminded myself I didn't need it. I paid for my pants (on sale, $10 JCP reward, and a store credit) and was leaving when I realized I still had money left in credit. I decided to get the shirt and pay the difference. It ended up being $0.52. For literal change, I'm not going to harp on buying this but it's the process I draw attention to. I didn't need the shirt. As of typing this I haven't even worn the shirt, or the pants for that matter (EDIT: I wore both last night at the gym). The point is I need to stop and think before I jump at buying... or ordering out... or ubering....


Overall, January has been incredibly successful as far as purging and being honest with myself about what I truly need, I've made so much physical space that my actual life feels more open too. I know there are still many months to go but I feel really good about this year's word and plan and am excited to see how they work for me.


January 16, 2017

Snapped

Some days I come to this space and I have the best idea. Other days I spend all my free time staring at Oreo while he sleeps. It's a fine balance I keep...

I am constantly downloading and deleting apps. Actually, I shouldn't say that. I hate clutter and that extends to the apps on my phone. Instead, I should simply say I am always deleting apps from my phone. Since deleting the Facebook app things have been a lot nicer and I'm no longer a slave to a red numbered icon {make it go away!}. However, there are some apps I can't bring myself to part with.

If there's one thing I know about myself it's that pictures speak to me. This is probably one of the main reasons Instagram appeals to me so much. I get a small glimpse into your lifestyle, whether staged or candid.

Snapchat is probably my third most used social media app. Instagram will always be my main squeeze, and I suppose Twitter is second, though I think I'm snapping more than I'm tweeting. Case in point... here are some things I've snapped lately.



I'm not all about the 20 degree weather but I like to think I do it well.


Decision making is hard. Saturday night wine or Saturday night spiked hot chocolate? The wine won. 


Happy mail days are THE best days! 


I think this is proof of a new level of lazy, even for me. 


I can't even express to you how pissed off I was about these "enchiladas". First of all, just no. They were barely wrap pieces of chicken and the salsa on top is only there because I put it there. Total let down. 


I know it's a cat thing but must they be next to me at all times??  I wanted to lay down....


I wanted this shirt so bad but I walked away. Then I realized it was on sale and I had a gift card and then I only paid $0.53 for it so I win!

 

I'm just going to call a spade a spade.... I've become a beer snob. The guy and I went to Defiant Friday night. I'll be making a return trip soon. 


One of my favorite Sunday routines. Although my teacher is moving to NYC so I'm pretty bummed about that. 









January 10, 2017

December Reads

December was... hectic. Not to mention that I was still feeling burnt out from reading. As such, I read very little.

I did however manage to read a few books, even if some were well below my reading level.



The City Baker's Guide to Country Living | Louise Miller
I really enjoyed listening to this. It's a story about a baker who's having an affair with her boss when it all goes terribly wrong. In an effort to run away from her problems she escapes to Vermont where she rediscovers herself and what's most important.

Framed | Gordon Korman
This was an audiobook I selected simply for its brevity and because I wanted to meet the challenge, Sad, I know. The story pulled me in about halfway through though and I needed to know what was going on with Griffin and his friend's and what happened to the missing ring.

The Crayons' Book of Colors | Drew Daywalt
My niece received this for Christmas and I love these books. I don't think this one is as good as the first two, but it's a cute addition to the series.

How to Babysit a Grandpa | Jean Reagan
My niece also got this book for Christmas and with my challenge deadline looming I read it Christmas night. A book is a book. It's a cute story about how a kid "babysits" grandpa while his parents are away. Complete with bullet points and easy to follow "instructions" grandpa's all over will be in the best care.

The Field Guide and The Seeing Stone (Spiderwick Chronicles #1-2)
Lucinda's Secret and The Ironwood Tree (Spiderwick Chronicles #3-4) 
The Wrath of Mulgarath (Spiderwick Chronicles #5)| Holly Black
I was surprised to find I really liked this series. I thought they were going to be boring, annoying, or both but it was actually pretty entertaining.

First Star I See Tonight | Susan Elizabeth Phillips
This audiobook was a little painful. Between the irritating main characters and the dragging plot it took some determination to get through. Overall, not horrible fluff, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it.

Close to You | Kristen Proby
I found this to be an enjoyable fluff read. It passed the time, got my mind into story land, and was a decent story, even if the characters weren't very deep.



January 09, 2017

5 Misconceptions about Life

Last year was a major eye-opener for me. I've really changed my mindset about things. Mainly, about life and how to live it. Everyday we are complaining about this or that in our lives or repeating false phrases out of angst. Today I'm going to set you straight!


Life is Hard
Life is not hard. Situations may test you. They may be difficult and require effort, focus, determination, and inner-strength to get through but life is not hard

I'm not that lucky
Don't get me wrong, there are times I slip up and hear myself still saying this. Some habits are hard to break. The point is, you are that lucky {whatever luck means to you} it's just that you need to believe it and know you deserve to have whatever it is that you want. I'm a huge believer {and practitioner} in manifesting what I want.

Life isn't fair
Oh but it is. I firmly believe that you reap what you sow. It may not be exact as an eye for an eye but everything comes full circle in some way. You were nice and paid it forward to someone just because, maybe later that day or in the week someone does the same for you.

Be the reason someone smiles today


Nice people finish last
How does this one even make sense? Sure sometimes things don't work out the way you wanted them to but that doesn't make it a bad thing. I've retrained myself to look at things in terms of this... or better. I can only see and do so much but the path before me, the bird's eye view, is so much larger. Maybe I missed out on a seemingly awesome job because there's something better on the horizon.

You reap what you sow or You get what you give {see above!}
This is 1000% true! If you're going to be negative and put that out into the universe, guess what? You're getting negativity back in spades. Ever wonder why when you stub your toe first thing in the morning, then you spill your coffee, then you miss the train/bus, etc. and your day just seems to get progressively worse - this is why. Flip your attitude from the first occurrence and those mishaps will roll right off your shoulders.
A negative mind will never give you a positive life
I'm not always the most positive person but I truly believe that if you're unhappy or don't like something then you need to change it. No one is going to give you the live of your dreams - except you!


January 06, 2017

The Anti Post

I was playing blog catch up the other day when I read Stephanie's post about her Anti-Bucket List and I immediately thought hell yes!

Every year we talk about the things we're going to do and the plans we're putting in place. No one ever talks about the things they won't do. So, to take a page from Steph's blog....



Say yes when I mean No
I'm usually really good about this. If I don't want to do something you're going to be hard-pressed to get me to sway. Still, there are times when my resilience flounders and I find myself committing to something I either don't care about or have no interest in doing. That flag isn't going to fly this year. In fact, I've burned it.

Spending Freezes
Although I love these in theory, they never work for me. Either I completely forget to account for things or I blow the freeze in the first week. They feel ultra restrictive to me and as a true Sagittarian, if I feel restricted, I'm going to lash out. So although I will monitor my spend/save habits and try to be conservative and thoughtful about my purchases, there will be no bans or freezes.

Diets
Not. Happening. Yes, I intend to eat better and be mindful of my food choices. Yes, I will be seeing a nutritionist in a week but what won't be happening... Weight Watchers or any other diet program that requires me to spend money and go to meetings or track my food in special apps (except MFP, I love that app and its 100% by choice) in an effort to retrain my brain. Not. Happening. Diets are all bullshit and if I just stick with my plan - being mindful of what I'm eating - then I will succeed.

Blog Pressure
Can I get an amen!? I put so much bullshit blog pressure on myself and I'm not having it this year. Does it really matter whether I religiously post MWF? Does it matter if I'm current with link ups or if I post a week late? Does it matter if I'm picked for campaigns? N O P E! This is my space and it only matters what I want for it. If it stops being fun then I stop blogging. Here's to keeping it fun.

Give 3rd chances
I tend to be somewhat lenient when allowing people to redeem themselves. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem cutting someone off and never speaking to them again if necessary, but sometimes I give extra opportunities for redemption when it's not warranted. Case in point, the "friend" I ask a favor of and they say yes, no problem and then bail on me... twice.

These five things may not be major but I know they'll add to my Year of Less

January 05, 2017

The 411: December

If there was ever a whirlwind month, it was December. The month came and went before I even knew what had happened. 

A lot happened in December. Ok, not "a lot" but some big things.

At the beginning of the month I went to visit friends in VA. We hit a couple breweries and I greatly expanded my beer palate. This girl is officially a dark beer drinker!



That was followed up with my company's holiday party at 30 Rock. Ice skating and an open bar made for a great night. Having never ice skated before I passed on that. I wasn't about to bust my ass in front of new coworkers.

Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center

I started moving into my new apartment.

And then *POOF* Christmas week was upon us.

I went home, of course, and was entertained by both cats and kids alike.



Mom came through for Christmas {as always} and I f i n a l l y got my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. She's a beauty. I haven't used it yet but I'm thinking homemade pizza dough is the first order of business. I also got a $150 credit to my tattoo parlor.

Personally, I was super excited to finally get my birthday/Christmas present from myself: my new TV. 55" of crystal clear smart goodness. I had it mounted on Monday and I'm super in love with it.

New Years was spent doing exactly as I planned: unpacking, relaxing, and not watching the ball drop.

And just like that, December left as quickly as it came. I have to say, the last 3 months of 2016 were a complete and utter whirlwind of amazingness. So much happened in such a short time and I'm very excited to see what 2017 has in store.


January 02, 2017

The First One

I don't know about you but I love fresh starts. New days, new weeks... months...  years, it's all energizing. I feel as though anything is possible. What happened yesterday is over with and now I need to focus on this day. {fun fact: my niece doesn't really understand the concept of "today". Instead she wants to do everything "this day", which, really, makes sense when you think about it.}

Now I'm not really a resolutions type of person because for the most part I think it's crap. Most people drop their resolutions within 30 days. {did that sound factual? Let's just go with it shall we?} For me, I like to make plans and goals, bench-marked by smaller, trackable plans and goals. Case in point, here are my broad plans for 2017.



Read What I Own
Last year Dani and Erin challenged us to read our own books. While I did read a few that I had been hoarding, I didn't read much. I own at least 20 books that have been sitting on my shelves for over a year and have never been read. This year I plan to read only from my shelf. I'll allow myself to pepper in some audio books because we all know I get reader's fatigue {this sounds official too, no?} I've set my 2017 Goodreads challenge to 25 account for most of them. 

Spend Smarter
Finances are not my strong forte. In my 20s I ruined my credit because I didn't really understand the way credit and interest works. I'm still not able to explain the way APRs and APYs work but I have a much better grasp on my finances and this year I want to really solidify them. I have a job I enjoy making a salary that I feel good about. I want to knock out two, but at least one large credit card and start building an emergency fund. You know, the one I don't dip into. 

Eat to Live
I am a huuuuuge fan of food. I mean, who isn't? I wouldn't say I'm an emotional eater because I don't need a feeling to want pizza, but I would say that I'm an excessive eater. As in I eat all day, snacks mostly, and when I do eat meals, I tend to have seconds on the brain before I've even finished my firsts. It's a vicious cycle that isn't doing me any favors and I intend to be a lot more conscious about what and how much I'm eating. I also need to start working out again. I know this is incredibly cliche but it's true. I'm not getting any younger and one of my friends/coworkers is truly inspiring. She's in her early 40s but you'd never know it by looking at her because she looks 10 years younger.

Dress Up
I am the laziest dresser I know. If it's not jeans/shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops/boots then I don't really want to wear it. That also means that I put very minimal effort into my work outfits. To the point where when I do actually get dressed I look like I'm going above and beyond. I want to start taking the time in the mornings to do my hair and makeup, take some time to pick outfits that compliment me and make me feel confident. It's not about other people because I know the way I feel on the inside is directly reflected on the outside. And when I feel confident and happy, that's what others will perceive as well.

S.M.A.R.T.  I'm not trying to overdo it in 2017. Overall, 2016 was good to me. I got a new car, a new job, a new apartment, and I started dating. For 2017 I want to be present and do more with less. That's my word for 2017... less. And with it, I have one true goal in mind: