Life As It Is

You may remember the post I wrote about my 4 Simple Goals back in October. I tried to make it easy for you, as it the last thing that I wrote on this darn blog. Yes, um, that was totally intentional.

Apparently for me, 4 Simple Goals are about as simple as putting together Ikea furniture without their picto-directions. I tried really hard, but didn't *quite* accomplish the 4 simple goals as I'd hoped. But isn't that life?? I'll get to that in a minute...

<--Did I follow in my grandmother's footsteps and get back into dance? 

Not exactly and kind of. I called a ballet studio that specializes in adult classes and it was $90 a MONTH for 4 classes. Whaaa? I think I could hire a personal ballerina to come to my living room for that price! So I decided to go to the open ballroom dance first and just do my Bar Method DVDs for ballet until I get stronger...

Ballroom route you say? Thwarted!! The reason relates to Goal #3 in a way so I'll get to that as well. I did, however, figure out that I would like to take lessons again as I did in college as it facilitates not only the skill but the outlet. I'm contacting Arthur Murray dance studio this week to schedule my 'test' dance lesson for placement. So Goal #1: semi-check?

On to Goal #2. Was it weird to include a nebulous goal about boys? At first, I wasn't sure about this one as I didn't make it very specific. However, as I thought about it, the specifics of how to confront this 'problem' came to me. Like I said, I expect guys to traverse the globe to ask for my number and I don't make it very obvious that I even want them to. I mean, there's a reason why I've named them Peacocks. I'm not really sure where this boy-wall stems from, but I have a feeling that it is related to modern, southern Christianity's views on men, women, and dating. I've been to enough "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" workshops to never date again and I routinely confuse God's desires for us with Man's ideas about what that looks like.

Matthew Hussey, the love guru. What a doll. I was watching a few of his YouTube videos after a confusing date. {Don't you love us ladies? Gotta debrief and analyze!} I liked what he had to say about guys and girls and it was contrary to what I'd absorbed and made law in my life. I took one of his online programs and it COMPLETELY changed how I view guys! Who knew that all it would take was a guy with a British accent giving me dating advice? I'm not exaggerating when I say that I've done a 180 & I am excited to continue to implement the things I learned in the program. In fact, I've already started with amazing results! I'll update this area when there is more to tell...

goal #2: Check with a little bit of Flirt thrown in!
Moving along to Goal #3 and how it helped cripple Goal #1. My goal was to complete the Couch to 5K program in 8 weeks and be a running goddess by December. I was even going to take my sweet doglet with me. What went wrong?

Due to the anatomy of my feet in tennis shoes, I get stress fractures in my mid-foot when I do anything too strenuous. I've had about 4 of them in my adult life and if I don't rest when I get one, it causes a neuroma in my foot (basically like an ice pick feeling when I walk due to nerve inflammation). Happy day, huh?

As you can see, this problem lends itself to lots o' laziness in the exercise department. But I was determined. I had started wearing minimalist shoes and it had been loads better! I downloaded the C25K app (awesome app for this, BTW), turned on my Coldplay album and started going to town. Week One was incredible (I didn't die, yay!) and in the middle of Week Two, the pain started. I have rested it for the last 6 weeks, postponed dancing (see goal #1) and am now ready to start again. Only this time, I will need to go EVEN slower than a couch potato apparently. I plan to walk daily for a month before starting the program again. I will also be adapting the program by following my own heart rate while using their basic setup.  Soleil was disappointed (I'm sure of it!) but 'what's another month, sad eyes?' is what I'll likely tell her.

Goal #3: A "'slow is sexy' so we'll stay updated on this goal" check

Last but not least, the final oh-so-simple goal: Take more risks. One thing I've learned about this experiment in bite-size goals is that they need to be just that: bite-sized. Specific. I made a few notes about how I could take risks but I didn't set out with a plan. I've taken some risks for sure (more on that in the coming weeks!) but overall, I'd like a re-do on this goal. I'd make it more clear this time: 
 Dye my hair dark black! 
      Take voice lessons!
           Ask a boy on a date!             
               Submit my writing to a publisher!

These are specific goals about taking risks. I've got another post in mind for these, so stay tuned. But I'd still have to say...

Goal #4: "Vague but accomplished" check!

After all of this experimenting with 4 Simple Goals, I found that I really liked it. It held me accountable and kept my priorities in check. I am going to continue with goals in the New Year but I do think there is a valuable lesson for me in these last 2 months. As much as we plan and scheme, life happens. While you can't always control what happens, you can control your reaction to it. My motto for 2013 is to 'live life as it is' not how I want it to be. Of course, more on this motto as we ring in 2013. Happy New Year everyone!


4 Simple Goals

After reading this post from a blog I love called A Beautiful Mess, I decided to play along. This blog is great because it covers so many areas of life. I am also partial to it because it is written by two creative sisters and I happen to have an incredible sister myself {if only she and I could work together. man, what an awesome job.} Anyways, how cute are they?

I often get overwhelmed by life and work and making/reaching goals, but I thought the challenge to write '4 Simple Goals' might be right up my alley. Because on any given day, I could sing "I'm too lazy for my goals" (while borrowing the tune from these guys) to describe myself.

So, I'm gonna do it. I will post mine in picture form because that's how I think. I'm pretty visual, so maybe they'll stick better that way? *fingers crossed* Time will tell, folks. Time.will.tell.

Here you go if you want to keep me accountable. I'll post back on
 'the P' to report how I've done before 2013 rolls in. Update here.

I have had several opportunities to dance like I used to (swing, Country Western, ballet, hip hop, ballroom, flamenco) but I have chickened out lately. I'm not really sure why (well, I guess because I'm afraid I've lost all dance ability and will look like a complete fool!) But, I'm going to just try SOMETHING before the year is up. Here's to hoping it's like riding a bike. Only with a sweaty partner. And using every muscle in your body. On your tippy toes. Eeek.

I'm a hopeless romantic. I believe a boy should stop traffic to tell me I'm beautiful or ask for my number. Only that's kinda unrealistic I'm finding out. Oops. Thanks a lot, rom-coms and Twilight (Edward LITERALLY stopped traffic. But he also sparkles in the sun, so....back to my aforementioned goal #2). Since there are no Mr. Darcys, Mr. Knightleys or sparkly vampires inhaling me in science class, I guess I need to be more open to how modern men actually behave.

I have always hated walking and running but I know it is good for you and I want to love it. Or maybe just LIKE it. Plus, I want to participate in a race when friends get together for a Turkey Trot or a Reindeer Romp or a Cupid Shuffle (I think that's a dance, not a race. In either case, I'm still in: see Goal #1).

You ever notice how many people can just join a 5K race on any given weekend? "Hey, I think I'm gonna go do a mud run on Saturday after my spin class." What?! I honestly have to talk myself out of using a motorized cart at the grocery store after a long week of work. But no more. I want to stop disappointing my dog every night (seriously, look at that face! She does that EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. while simultaneously glancing at her leash.) I'm using the 8-week C25K app on my iphone to help me keep track. If only it supplied the energy...

Friends who know me have heard me use the phrase, "I'm saying 'yes' to life!" It's super cheesy, but it is what I have to do. My default answer has been 'hell to the no' when it involves risk-taking or stepping out of my comfort zone. I'm over that. That life is safe but boring. I have a lot of passion and creativity and I'm not afraid to use it. Ok, yes I am. But I'm ready to take some chances before 2013!

That's it! I'll update if & when I start meeting these 4 Simple Goals. Feel free to comment about your own 4 Simple Goals or leave a link to your blog/Facebook/Twitter/other cool social media tool I'm probably not using...I'd love to see who else (besides me!) needs a kick in the pants for the rest of 2012.


Blake Mycoskie: Annoying or Adorable?

I’ve always been a Toms-shoe wearin’, Blake Mycoskie-lovin’, hippie-at-heart prepster. {Well, as long as Toms have been around. The hippie/prepster thing was before that though, I promise.}

My 6th Pair of Toms...the new flats!
A gift from my sister for my bday.

So last year, when Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie wrote a book called Start Something That Matters, I was equally thrilled and annoyed. Does everything this guy touch turn to gold?? I mean he’s adorable and so are his shoes, but really? I think I was not-so-secretly jealous because I want to publish a book and he does everything with such ease. Or so I thought...

I learned about the program called Books for Bloggers that he was doing--they send me his book for FREE, I read it, review it on my blog, and then give another one away for FREE. Goes right in line with Toms’ one-for-one concept, doesn’t it? Clever boy, that Blake (you like how I think we are on a first name basis now?)

I was excited because I really wanted to read it, as I had some ideas that had been stirring about a non-profit and giving back, etc. As soon as I signed up for it and was selected, doubt set in. ‘Maybe I shouldn’t read it because of this jealousy...would I give it a fair shake?’ But they assured the bloggers that a bad review of the book was just fine. Well then, sign me up.

So here we are. One year later. I suck at the Books for Bloggers program. I NEVER follow the timeline that others have for my life--in fact, I downright resist it at every turn. But hang with me...at least I’m honest.

The two FREE books sat by my bed for months (yes, months) as I struggled with my desire, curiosity, and apathy to read what he had to say. I honestly wasn’t ever in the mood to read about the golden boy and his life-altering story, especially when my own life was in the doldrums. Even if I HAD a million-dollar idea, I am living with my mom to pay off tons of debt. There would be no way to pursue it...so I’d probably get frustrated...so I just won’t read it. Mature line of thought, isn’t it?

Then one day, the guilt of getting 2 FREE books set in. I overcame my frustration with myself (which was ultimately the problem, not sweet little Blake) and started in on the book. I read pretty fast, so I was halfway through in no time. His style of writing and anecdotal emphasis made it read that much faster. What I thought was going to be a detailed recounting of his glorious story turned out to be nothing like it. Yes, he shares bits of how Toms gets started...but it is nothing like I expected. It was very inspiring, moving and informational at the same time. What I didn’t realize was that the book is less about him starting Toms Shoes & more about YOU starting something that matters. {Which it says on the back of the darn book, duh.}

Halfway through the book, he asks you to stop and put the book down so that you can let it resonate in your own life. ‘What matters to you?’ he prods as he walks you through the process of figuring that out. I genuinely took his advice, put the book down, and let it simmer. And simmer. It took a month or two for my personal inspiration to arrive. Once I wrote it all down and prayed through it, I picked the book back up and finished it in a day. He takes you from inkling to inspiration, all the way to implementation of your idea.

I have to say, you don’t need to wear Toms shoes, or give back to orphans or desire to solve world hunger to enjoy this book. But if you are entrepreneurial by nature {which I am!} or you long to work in line with your passion, then this book is a must-read. Take that advice from someone who let it collect dust out of ridiculousness and fear. I sincerely wish I had read this last year when I received it, but I honor the process that my mind took to be ready to receive the information. I am not re-counting all that the book entails because I think it is about taking a personal journey. Each person gets out of it what they put in, and I hope his book continues to inspire people to live out their passions. I know it has for me. I will let you in on my specific inspiration at a later date but know that it is in the works...

So, on that note, I am giving away the FREE book! (Finally, right? Sorry Blakie.) I would give away my copy as well, but he lists lots of resources that are helpful. Therefore, it is a book that you might want to reference from time to time in the future.

Who wants a FREE copy of Start Something That Matters? If you feel like it, you can also post a review on Amazon when you are finished with it (though that is not required in order to win the giveaway.)

Leave a comment by finishing this statement about your passions/life:

                     If money were no object, I would ______.

I will randomly pick someone at the end of September {yay for Fall!} and send you the FREE book. Feel free to share this post on your blog or Facebook page...or just send the link to a friend who might like this book for FREE. Did I tell you it was FREE?! Ok, thought so.


Princess & the Primal Plan: Confessions of a Curly Girl

Today I read a post on one of my favorite blogs: Paleo for Women. Stefani Ruper is all about encouraging women to stop the self-hate/disordered eating and to personalize their plan for health. Though I would never {identify} myself as a disordered eater, I believe we all have lies we've ingested and allowed to take root. I know I have. I was just talking about this with my family; though he was a lovely man, I remembered the mixed messages that my grandfather sent: *pinching my pre-teen fat roll on my stomach* "You need to lose a little weight honey"/ *same visit, an hour later* "Ice cream is on the pushlist!" (which means we need to eat it pretty soon). Um, whaaaa?

This personalization of health information comes from the fact that only you are the expert on yourself. You can gather all the info and research that you want {and I do...did I mention how nerdy I am? I read medical literature for fun}, but ultimately it will need to be adapted to suit your needs. I have often struggled with finding the 'right' way to do things in life...when later I realized the 'right' thing was whatever fit me best. I have been blogstalking reading about a Primal lifestyle for a while and have just recently started consistently applying it to my own life. I have also noticed real progress in my attitude, desire, and thinking. Getting healthy is not just about your body, but about your mind. That's kinda where this Stefani chick fits in. Her words have been challenging me to make shifts in how I see my 'ideal' life, body, etc. So to friends and family, I have been referencing the changes in my life as a Primal PLAN, because it IS just that...a plan. You can chart your course, but life happens. And I want to be the kind of person with the grace and flexibility to weather challenges without getting derailed. Or without beating myself up for 'failing'. So, as I work through all the details, I realize that I still have a loooong way to go in figuring out MY personal plan.

One thing I realized in all this Primal/health talk was that I agree with Stefani about how much the mirror is tied to our eating and weight. But I also agree with the overlooked problem of other 'flaws' being targeted. I noticed that I was doing this with my curly hair.

For most of my childhood, my mom brushed out my curls because she didn't know how to take care of them. {Dare you to try and find a cute picture of my hair before 1991. Dare you.} She loved the 'volume' and I hated it. All I saw was frizzo Rizzo. She always said, "Women pay to have hair like yours!" and I just thought, "Well, then, they are stupid." And to be honest, all I saw on 'makeovers' in magazines and shows was how they straightened her 'crazy' curls into beautiful silky sleekness.

Fast forward a few years and I learned how to take care of my curls {thanks, Alissa Shiyou!} and work with their wacky little personalities. Trust me, they have a mind of their own! As a way to 'connect' with how I was naturally made, I decided that once a week (or when I was feeling down on myself), I have to hunt for my favorite strand of curls. When I find it, I hold up that one strand and drink in how unique it is. Like me. No two curls are the same...and the same strand of curls will make a different pattern tomorrow.

This one is saying, 'It's late and I've slept all day because I had horrible dental work this morning. YOU try and make a perfect S-curve, mkay?'

Basically, my hair is a direct parallel to me. The more I focus on the unique, one-of-a-kind-ness of my personality, the more I can stand back and marvel at how beautifully I was made.

I guess it's time to tear up my "I want a body like Jessica Biel" thinspiration picture, huh?


Princess & the Pile: Holy Hoarding!

I've been a teacher going on 13 years this fall. I have accrued a TON of stuff...some by my own pocketbook, some from retired teachers, plenty o' stuff from trash bins or giveaway piles, etc. Well, I realized that I am in desperate need of reducing the clutter in my life--not just at home, but at my school as well. I honestly can't find some of the things I need because of it and that frustration has finally hit enough nerves for me to do something about it.

Just a glimpse into my team workroom--mostly my stuff crammed in there!! {minus the recycling bins}

Sometimes hoarding is emotional (as in most of the reason I keep things), but a lot of pack rat mentality is simply due to accumulating stuff faster than the rate of donating. Or in my case, the non-existent rate of donating. I always say 'I'll go through it later' but 'later' is a time period that exists in the world of fairies for me. This past month, however, I helped my sister reach her 'later' in her guest room and the transformation was AMAZING. And surprisingly, she did all of it in like 4 hours {with me as her cheerleader...look, I helped, okay?!} We laughed at how long she put it off and how quickly we saw results.

I went home from this event with excitement and anticipation. Yes! I was going to tackle all the clutter in my house {piles from moving, teaching, crafting, etc.} and it was going to be awesome...until I got home. The wall of crap won and I skeetered away with my tail between my legs.

That is, until my principal said she was opening the building yesterday. I decided once and for all that I would clean up SOME kind of clutter in my life and the school stuff seemed less daunting. Mind you, I've been wanting to do this for YEARS. Years, people. And sadly, this was just my team workroom. I have so much more than this to go through, but it seemed like a bite-sized challenge. Thankfully, two of my teamies helped me and 4 hours later...here are the results (I love a good before and after side-by-side, don't you?):

So, if THIS monstrosity of crap is less daunting, can you imagine how much clutter is in the rest of my life?? I will keep you updated on those projects when I muster up enough energy to tackle them. Although this accumulation is embarrassing, I wanted to post it because I feel that there a lot of people out there like me. It's not that I WANT to have a bunch of stuff, it's just that I'm too tired to keep up with the swarm of materialism in life. I mean, look at all the stuff we had to unpack from the workroom:

(this is just for ONE year, one grade level. And we wonder where all the money goes in education...textbooks & workbooks are the devil!)

I've learned from this lady that the numero uno rule in de-cluttering your life is REFUSE. This is hard for other people to accept. 'No thank you, sweet friend, I don't want your jankety angel figurine and your re-gifted, chemically scented Christmas candle. Thanks though.'

So, as I navigate through this mess of stuff, don't be mad at me if I refuse stuff with a polite, 'No, thanks." I promise I won't call your stuff jankety. Sadly, after all this cleaning at work, I'm not completely done yet. I hauled a lot of this criz-nap to my classroom to officially go through it before school starts. Here's a pic of just one load. Yikes!

My teamie Jessica--worked for 4 hours with a broken toe. Dedication!

Updates on my classroom to follow. Pray for me. Just kidding. But really.


The Price of Perfection

I've been suffering from an illness called 'Analysis Paralysis'. From Wikipedia:

The term "analysis paralysis" or "paralysis of analysis" refers to over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation, so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome...A person might be seeking the optimal or "perfect" solution upfront, and fear making any decision which could lead to erroneous results, when on the way to a better solution.

In all seriousness, though this is not an illness per se, it is indeed crippling. As a writer, I do this constantly. I live in perpetual fear of creating the 'greatest book never written' and I go for long periods of silence on my blog because of this very affliction. {I am constantly writing, just not publicly.}

Recently I realized why this type of thinking is so dangerous when I saw this sign in the bathroom of a local Starbucks {yes, I took out my iPhone in a pub-toilet and yes, I'm okay with that fact...sometimes I even check Facebook in there. Too much?}

Seeing this, I have to ask: Is that true Starbucks? Can anything be truly perfect? Because, no offense, but I drink so many Grande no-water Chais there that I can confidently say I'd bring back every darn one of them. Too much foam, not enough foam, too spicy, kinda watery, lukewarm, hella hot...you get the picture. Honestly, I don't even know what the 'perfect' drink should taste like. When did I have this exemplar of perfection...in San Francisco? Last year? Will it be tomorrow's drink? How is anyone supposed to pin that blue ribbon on anything in life?

I ask these questions to show you my thought process on EVERYTHING. I am indeed a perfectionist. But, perfection is a myth. There is only One who was and is perfect...all the rest is just striving toward it on a spectrum. This realization, my friends, is uber-freeing. Is it not?

Regarding writing, blogging {check out this gal's tagline on her blog...love it}, decorating, finding my life's purpose: the idea that I can never be perfect allows me to open up to whatever is trying to be expressed in the moment. My ideas will be constantly changing...that's ok, just write the book based on NOW. My tastes are always evolving...that's ok, just decorate it how you want it NOW. My body will never look like Charlize Theron's...that's ok, just work on getting as fit as YOU possibly can. People say hurtful comments or criticism...that's ok, we don't express ideas to please others. We express to live out our God-given calling or talents. My blog doesn't need thousands of followers or have enough ad revenue to be a thriving business--it merely needs to be a vehicle for my unique voice in the world. Isn't that enough for any of us?


Paying off the Bully

As you may recall, I've been Debt Snowballin' for about 6 years now and was able to pay off a major debt of mine a few months ago. Woohoo!

But, I have to say that this month's payoff of MajD 2/3 is much, much sweeter. You see, when I was a wide-eyed, excited 18 yr old, I was ready to take on the world. With my freshly inked foot tattoo and all my belongings in a poopy-brown jalopy, I was off to attend Texas A&M. The only problem was: I didn't have a cent to my name. So it was either forfeit college or sign up for student loans. 'Here I come, Aggieland!'

Now I realize it was more like this:

As I entered college, I didn't realize half of what I was getting into. I chose the cheapest college in Texas (at the time), received scholarships every year, obtained several grants, did work study, worked each summer, worked 35 hours a week while taking full time classes my final 2 years, and lived at home during student teaching. Needless to say, I tried to only take the minimal amount of loans to cover the bills. Minimal schminimal.

Since graduating and working for 12 long years to pay off my loans, I'm honestly not sure college is worth it! {Stay in school kids. Or not...}

I am proud to say that I paid off the big bully that I have been fighting with for over a decade. Her name is Sallie Mae and she's a wench. A rich, greedy wench. But unlike regular school bullies, I owed her money and I'm always one to responsibly settle a debt if I am able-bodied. So, there you go Sallie. You can't take any more of my lunch money. That's Wells Fargo's job now.


Hope Mommies

Just wanted to celebrate with my friend, Erin, who just welcomed her beautiful son Malacai into the world this weekend. We celebrate him incredibly, as we also continue to celebrate the short but powerful life of his older sister, Gwendolyn.

Erin, Blair, and baby Malacai

Blair & Erin are an incredible couple who love the Lord and love people.  And talk about two people who took the hardest thing in life and allowed the Lord to fashion a pearl for the world...a pearl that was never in the original plan, from the beginning of time until now. I am writing about them because I believe their story can help others. You can read about Gwendolyn's full story here, as well as perusing the rest of her blog that details the journey to sweet little Malacai.

Death is hard enough to stomach, but losing an infant has got to be the most indescribable grief one could experience. I know nothing about it personally, but I know firsthand that losing a parent caused many a 'pull-the-car-over-and-cry-until-snot-comes-out' episodes; these episodes often triggered by the number of songs, places, or memories we create with those we love.

But to lose the life-that-hasn't-been-lived-yet is altogether a different story in my opinion. I've always said grief is like a roller coaster that you never really exit...just endure until your body kind of regains a weird equilibrium in order to deal with wanting to die because of the gaping hole in your heart.

I have had several friends who have lost children...some early in the pregnancy, some right before birth, some during delivery. No matter when or how it happened, it always strikes a chord in my heart of questioning God. "How could you let this happen?" is usually my first thought.

We don't have answers for any tragedy (in fact, the more answers I seek, the more the questions pop up). That's just it. Like blessings, tragedy has no formula; no secret code to learn to ensure you can avoid it. It's what we do with tragedy that determines how we live. And I am adamant that no one can dictate that for you. No one. No one has the right to tell you when, how, or how long to grieve. I don't care how many 'steps' there are in the grief cycle...it's YOUR grief cycle. You decide.

I just wanted to share in my dear friends' joy this weekend...and also to honor Gwendolyn's life. The heart of a person can never be snuffed out, even when their body leaves the earth.

Erin is a writer and uses her words as an outlet to grieve and heal. While doing so, she began to see how her grief & hope in Christ could help other moms who had lost children. She started Hope Mommies as a way to 'bring the Hope of Christ to bereaved mothers and families experiencing infant loss.' What a beautiful testimony of God taking her tragedy and creating beauty from ashes.

I love you, Erin. And to my other friends who have experienced infant loss, I love you dearly and I wish I had more than my prayers to help you heal.


Princess and the Peacock: Conversational Narcissism

Hello...I'm Katie, and I'm an Active Conversational Narcissist. 

"Hi, Katie."

Ok, before all the "Man, she finally just figured this out?" thoughts start rolling around, shut it down. I've been aware of the 'problem' for a while--let me explain a little about where this post is coming from.

I am supposed to meet this Peacock (Huh? Read here...I'll wait.) It is a semi-blind date (I've seen a pic) and I was okay until I realized that I LOATHE talking to strangers. Silence is like death to me, and I find myself babbling and telling stories just to fill the awkward space between the two of us. 

So, I'll say that I don't INTEND to dominate conversation. I promise. Maybe it stems from growing up with a huge family of humorous, loud, storytelling men...maybe it is because I'm a selfish, blog-writing American. I dunno. But, I truly struggle to chit chat with strangers and find myself exhausted after an event with people I don't know and love already. And like me, most people struggle to ask thoughtful, engaging, conversation-flowing questions. I know my extended family and I absolutely failed this life quiz. 

My cousin once did a little experiment without telling us. At a family gathering, she decided to wait to speak until she was asked a question...she was silent for 2 days. In fact, she broke the silence out of frustration--not because we had finally asked her a question! To be fair, my family has an understanding...a way of interacting & flowing. But I've realized that the rest of the world does not flow in this way AT ALL. 

Because of this blind date Peacock situation, I ran across a blog post from a blog I love--but probably shouldn't--because I'm not a dude. But I do love it. The Art of Manliness is a blog dedicated to all things bro, with a desire to revive the lost art of manliness. As a single gal, I dig it. Bigtime. {And not just for the cute little moo-stache on the header, but also for the 'how to do more than one stinking pull up' post. I feel kinda manly admitting that I have a pull up bar.}

The post I'm referring to discusses how to spot a Conversational Narcissist and how to master the art of conversation, summarized from this book. I think this post is a must read for Peacocks & Princesses alike. We could all stand to learn from this and I hope it will take away my 'hella-nervous-about-to-break-out-into-word-vomit-slash-Irish-storytelling' tendency.

So, how about you? Are you able to interact with strangers well? How do you best keep conversational ebb and flow? (See? This is me trying to offer a support-response. Crap. I just shifted it back to me.) 

Oh well, wish me luck with the unknown Peacock. As you can see, I definitely need it.


Debt Snowball: That's how I roll...

What's this, you ask? Don't get too attached...I sure didn't. I took it straight from one bank and plunked it down at another one. Dave Ramsey style. This week, MajD 1/3 was paid in full and I can already feel the shackles loosening a bit. It is a huge deal for me and I just wanted to share it with the people who care enough about me to read my ramblings. :) 

And don't worry, I didn't do anything shady for this chunk o' change {well, unless you are one of those people who thinks teaching, spray tans, or MLM is shady; in that case, you can judge me all you want. I'll be too busy paying bills to even notice your disdain.} I just worked the Debt Snowball that Dave Ramsey talks about in Total Money Makeover

At first, it seems illogical to pay off the smallest debt first (sadly, my 'smallest' wasn't too small), but he is spot on when it comes to psychology. Because, although this debt's interest rate is higher than my student loans, walking in and paying it off gave me the taste of freedom. And my snowball starts to grow and pick up speed. So, one MajD down, 2 more to go. On to the next!

I have found the best way for me to radically stick to becoming debt-free is automatic withdrawal from my paycheck to a bank payment, before I even touch/smell/plot & plan for the green. Any other creative ways you've found to pay off your debt?


Princess and the Paycheck: Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?!

*Holds imaginary microphone* Is this thing on??

Wow, 5 months to the day of my last post. Do I still have any readers out there?? I will start by saying, 'hello there. nice to see you again.' Your response may {hopefully} be, 'wow. 5 months...where have you been, Katie?'

Well, I'll start by telling you what I have NOT been doing while staying eerily silent this past Fall:
-vacationing in Fiji
-resting on my laurels
-in a whirlwind romance
-cleaning my house
-organizing my life
-relaxing of any kind

This Fall has been an amazing and very tiring one...and I've got lots to say about it! So, until more posts come with details, here is the gist of what I've been up to. I knew it was time to blog again when my busy sister said she wondered where I had been on the blogosphere (she rarely has time to read my posts when I post them, and then she catches up by reading them all in one sitting). So when my Princissy is all caught up on blogs, I'm def behind! Here's what I've been up to:

-Helping with my sister's wedding plans & DIY projects; she was an incredible planner & I just helped her make some of it happen {more to come on some of those projects--hopefully not in 5 more months. Ha!}

-Helping with my best friend's wedding in Orlando over the break; she, too, did incredible things and I helped her a bit in the final stages to pull some stuff together {more details later, of course!}

-I got bangs! Ok, that didn't take any work, but there it is.

-Teaching first graders how to read--for some reason, I've had a harder time with my attitude this year, so it has taken more energy than normal

-Arbonne Consultant--I have advanced to the second level of the company and trying to work hard at this second job to pay off my debts. The job is simple, but it ain't easy. VERY rewarding work, however. 

-Bronzage--Last year, I started a mobile airbrush tanning business to help with debt, but never REALLY started. This summer, I registered it with the state as a business, and have officially 'launched'.

All this to say: 'She works hard for the money!'      {I've always associated that song with strippers, but as it turns out, it is about a bathroom attendant. Ooops. Why I went there, I don't know.}

I am working tirelessly to pay off a lot of debt {student loans, dental & medical debt, and a few other dumb purchases when dumb credit card companies gave a broke teenager plastic money}. I have been paying it off for 15 years and I'm tired of it. I got all gazelle-intense about it (as Dave Ramsey would say) and I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. This month, thanks to 3 jobs, I will pay off Major Debt #1 out of 3.  I have been paying MajD 1/3 for at least 8 years, but transferred it to a bank loan and have been paying them since 2008. I can't wait to march into DATCU with that final payment in a week! Like I said: light.at.end.of.tunnel. Here I come!