Monday, March 31, 2014

Stressing



Well guys, my accountant send me my tax info today and I'm not going to lie, I cried a bit. Definitely added to the stress I was already feeling about leaving my job and being income-less. However, after about 30 minutes of total panic, I wiped those tears away and came up with a plan! Things are going to be a bit tight around here but I still really want to make that new computer happen before I leave so it's worth it (I hope). Also super crossing my fingers I can figure out a way to earn at least a bit of money while I'm in England. I thought about using the website Elance but none of the jobs seems like a good fit, any other suggestions???

Pretty much where all of my money is going to go.

My main worry is about paying for health insurance after I leave my job, that stuff is awfully pricey!!!(Obamacare help me out!) If only I could become a UK citizen and get free health care...perhaps one day that will be available in the US, I can only cross my fingers for now though!
Where what's left of my money will go.
However, seeing as I didn't find out the tax info until today I was able to have a nice and relaxing weekend. I spent Saturday morning in bed watching The Voice (still obsessed) and then trekked to the barn for a ride with Gatsby. Amazing BBQ at home for dinner and then a second ride on my baby horse!!!

He is the best baby horse ever.

Sunday I rose a bit earlier and spent the morning/early afternoon cleaning house. Our room has become a bit of a sty as we don't spend much time there and sort of just drop our stuff and go. It still has a ways to go before it is as nice as we want it but it felt good to do some Spring cleaning! Afterwards we took Sirius to the beach and to get a bath, so nice to have him smelling all clean.
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Hope you all had lovely weekends! Just one day closer to the next one now:)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring is Here!

With the arrival of Spring I seem to be finding myself more and more tempted to purchase new clothes, accessories, etc. Really trying to hold off on this as I only have three more paychecks before my trip to England! One thing that has been doing wonders for curbing my impulse to shop has been doing some thorough purging and organizing of what I already own.
My closet is definitely a bit more cluttered than this...
I definitely have a hoarding bone in my body as I always seem to accumulate so much clutter and excess everything. I did one round of closet clean-out the weekend before last and have a WHOLE laundry basket of stuff to get rid of!!! I am planning on taking the first loan of this to the consignment store either tomorrow or Monday to try and score some extra cash. My father offered to buy me the camera I want for a (super) early birthday present so now my goal is to save up for a new laptop since mine is so old it will no longer sync with my phone or store photos.

So, although all those Spring arrivals look awfully tempting I am holding back for the greater good. I can always buy a floral dress next year! I have really been focusing lately on making purchases that will effect me more long-term rather than just buying new clothes which seem more short-term to me. Right now the two things I have on my "To Save For" list are the Lo & Sons OG Bag (been lusting after this for a while and it will definitely get a lot of use with all the travel I have planned!) and either a MacBook Air or MacBook Prol anyone have any suggestions on which one I should go with??

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In lieu of shopping I have been spending more time reading and watching TV, as well as spending time with my hubby and our awesome lab puppy of course. I just started watching The Voice for the first time (thank you Hulu+) and I am LOVING it!!! I am still on the blind auditions but the coaches are all so funny when they are "fighting" for someone! Shakira is surprisingly funny but I think I am leaning towards Team Usher as of now...
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

101 in 1001

I've been seeing this "101 Goals in 1001 Days" list on a few of the blogs I follow and I decided it's about time I joined in! 

I initially wanted to make a "30 before 30" list but I liked the time-frame of 1001 days more and also that, because 101 is such a large number, some of my goals could be quite small and easy to achieve. I expect it will take me a few day, at least, to come up with my list so you can expect to see quite a few posts on the subject! Here are my first 30!


1. Start (and follow) a good skincare routine.
2. Visit 5 new countries.
3. Spectate at a **** Horse Trials.
4. Compete at a horse trials (hopefully with Gatsby).
5. Jump with Baby Kanye!
6. Volunteer at an orphanage.
7. Re-read The Great Gatsby.
8. Get a Harry Potter themed tattoo.
9. Take a photography class.
10. Take a web design class.
11. Redesign this blog on my own.
12. Take the GRE.
13. Get into grad school.
14. Get a job in marketing.
15. Reach 100 followers on this blog.
16. Finish knitting a baby blanket.
18. Knit something new.
19. Do seasonal closet clean-outs.
20. Complete the 30-day Bikram Yoga Challenge.
21. Get a new computer.
22. Learn photoshop.
23. Set up an at-home workspace.
24. Get my first blog sponsor.
25. Own a Louis Vuitton handbag.
26. Finish Harry Potter & the Sorceror's Stone, in Arabic.
27. Make 10 DIY projects.
28. Learn how to use my new camera.
29. Transfer $20 to my savings for every goal accomplished.
30. Take the GMAT.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Work Week Wrap-Up



Another work week wrapping up and another weekend to look forward to! This one promises to be MUCH busier than last with two wedding celebrations, a friend visiting and lots of spring cleaning/organizing that has piled up. 
This week I have been exploring a lot of new blogs and have linked up to We Took The Road Less Traveled's Fresh Face Friday Blog Hop. I love finding new blogs to follow and I hope to add a few to my feed from this blog hop!
We Took the Road Less Traveled



I've also been getting more and more exciting for my upcoming trip to England. Still a ways away but as of Monday, only 6.5 weeks left at my job! I have decided that I want to invest in a nice camera to have for my Africa trip and I want to purchase it before I go to England so I can have the whole summer to learn how to use it. The one I am leaning towards is the Canon SL1 but if anyone has any other suggestions they would be much appreciated! I am looking for something I can learn on but still fairly easy to use and moderately compact.




Also super excited that it is Pi Day today! I've always been a bit of a math nerd and even have some ink of the greek symbol!


Have a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Accomplishments

I struggle with the notion of accomplishments. My life, career and goals have changed so much over the last decade that it's difficult to find a way to measure my achievements. It can also be a bit disheartening to even try, mostly due to the constant changes and the things I had planned to have done by now. I never thought that I would be applying to graduate school at 24/25, I thought I would have graduated by then or at least be about to. I never thought I would change jobs and career paths as much as I have or take as much time to travel.
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It's often a struggle when I see my peers posting on various social media sites about amazing jobs, promotions or likewise because I always thought I would be in that position. For me it's really important to take a deep breath and remember how happy I am from the choices I've made and, equally important, that I am in no rush to get wherever it is that I am going.

I highly doubt that I am the only one of my peers who feels like this. I even believe that it's very possible that many of the people whose posts I feel jealous of may not feel as secure, accomplished or driven as I perceive them to be. I think that this is a difficult time in life because so many of us are still just trying to figure out who we want to be and what we want to do but may feel pressure from family, friends and society to have had that sorted out long ago. It's unrealistic to expect everyone to figure out what they want to do before they graduate college. And I'm just now starting to realize that I am OK with taking more time to figure that out.Throughout college, and afterwards, I jumped at most opportunities that presented themselves to me because I wanted to gain as much experience as possible. Looking back, that wasn't exactly a mistake because I did learn a lot but it also hasn't put me in a position to really expand my career beyond administrative positions. It took me a few years to figure that out but I have spent the past four months or so taking a step back and really trying to figure out what it is I want to do and creating a plan to get there, something I am now very excited about.
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I also think it's important for us 20-somethings to not judge our achievements solely on occupational or educational successes. This is another thing that I have spent a lot of time grappling with. Just because I don't have my dream job or didn't graduate UCLA Law, doesn't mean I have failed.And any time I spend thinking that it does, is just time taken away from find successes.
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Monday, March 10, 2014

Wanderlust



Since committing to my trip to Kenya I have definitely felt a really strong urge to travel and explore more. While I still don't know what's in store for me when I return in October I want to make sure I make a goal of traveling as much as possible and to as many new places as possible. I grew up traveling a lot and over the years I have gone through phases of taking it for granted to phases of wishing I was a kid again and could just pack up and travel with my family whenever I pleased. Lately I've come to a more adult understanding, I know I won't be able to travel as much as I would like but I can still do quite a bit, especially this summer when I will be temping and have a flexible schedule!!
In the meantime, I am pretty much obsessed with my trip to Kenya (even though it is 6 months away) and have already started planning and looking at flights. This is especially excited because it looks like I will be able to spend a day or so in Dubai on my way there! I studied Arabic in college for two years and since then have really wanted to travel to an Arabic speaking country so I am super excited for my first trip! The best flight option to Nairobi had a 15-hour layover in Dubai so I decided to just leave a day earlier an spend a whole day there!
This will be AMAZING!!!!
Looks like 2014 is going to be a more amazing year than I could have imagined!!!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Exciting News!

Well, it's official, this September I will be traveling to Kenya for three weeks to do volunteer work at an orphanage. I am insanely excited for this adventure and also a bit nervous to experience such a different way of life. I have no doubt that it will be an amazing experience and I already have a feeling I will want to go back!

I know September is a long way off but I am so excited that I have already been planning and reading all the info I can get my hands on! I have ordered a book/CD course to learn Swahili as well as a couple recommended books to learn about the culture in Kenya. I've also been researching flights and it looks like I may be able to spend a day in Dubai on my way there and practice my Arabic!!

So far it seems like this is going to be an amazing year!!! Can't wait to find out what else will happen!

xoxo,
Elena

Monday, March 3, 2014

What's a 20-something to do?



As I mentioned a few weeks ago I am going to be leaving my current job in the not-so-distant future (end of April) to be pursuing new opportunities. Ultimately I want to go back to school to obtain a Master's in Marketing and then move forward on that career path. However, this time around I'm also making sure to really take some time for myself to accomplish/experience things that are really important to me. In the past I've jumped quickly from job to job but I really think that this is an important time for me to do some of the things that I love. 
Using this for inspiration lately.

Some things that I have on the table include traveling to England for the month of May to intern with my brothers-in-law at their company, Rapanui Clothing, spectate at Badminton Horse Trials (a lifelong dream), and meet my new niece or nephew. I have also applied to take a Birthright trip to Israel in August and to do volunteer work at an orphanage in Kenya in the Fall. Both of these trips are not definite yet but I am really hoping they work out, if not now than in the next year or two as they are both things I have wanted to do for some time but have put off for one reason or another. 

Your Dreams are Valid
Loved this quote at the Oscars last night. Trying to follow my dreams these days.

Of course I also have my wonderful life at home with my husband, friends, family and pets that I love very much so I don't want to spend too much time away and am trying to figure out how I can find my perfect career close to home.