Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Revisiting my 30 before 30 list...

First of all, what happened to my 20's?! I can't believe in less than 2 months, I'll be officially part of the 30's club. Remember this post? Well, I haven't made it very far.... I'm going to blame moving to different states twice in less than 6 months... and starting two new jobs... and my current job where I work 60+ hours a week. Too bad I didn't have "move to San Francisco" on here. And to be honest, some of these things are probably never going to happen. I've crossed them out because it was ridiculous to put them on here in the first place.

Here we go...

1. Sew myself an item of clothing - need to dust off my sewing machine first
2. Start a new blog - No point to this. I can barely keep up with this one!
3. Swim with dolphins - Not by 30. Have this on the agenda for our Hawaii trip in January!
4. Buy a pair of Louboutins - I own a pair, but I did not buy them. But that still counts in my book. Yay! One check mark for the list!
5. Go on a cruise - Doesn't interest me. Not sure why I put it on my list in the first place.
6. Plan a fundraising event - I still want to do this, I just need to find the right cause and the right idea/plan.
7. Go zip-lining - Maybe in Hawaii....
8. Go sailing - Add this to my 40 before 40....
9. Join a women's networking group - In my spare time I'll do this... 40 before 40.
10. Spend an entire day doing absolutely nothing but watching movies - This should've said "Sleep all day" because we know movies put me to sleep.
11. Face my fear of ladybugs - Not happening.
12. Visit the Grand Canyon - How did we live in Arizona for over 4 years and never see the Grand Canyon?! I'm not going back during the summer to visit so this one sure isn't happening by 30.
13. Go on a hot air balloon ride - Again, what was I thinking? This does not interest me.
14. Be my own boss - Someday.... just not in the next 2 months.
15. Sleep outside under the stars - Too cold here. This isn't happening anytime soon.
16. Meditate regularly - I really need to be more in the moment and do this in the morning.... after my workout and before work. Add it to my "to do" list :)
17. Eliminate red meat in my diet - I've reduced it, but not completely eliminated it.
18. Own a digital SLR camera and learn how to use it - I own one.... but haven't completely learned how to use it yet. Dawn, can you come out here for a weekend photography workshop please?!
19. Go wine tasting at a vineyard - DING DING DING!!!!!!!!! Three times, in fact!
20. Become a Director with Stella & Dot - Won't/can't happen in my new role with Stella & Dot
21. Get into a regular fitness routine (yoga, ballet aerobics, etc.) - I'm training for a half-marathon.... this counts! Yipee! Check #3!
22. Learn how to get my hair to look like this - It's getting close. Let's be honest, my hair will never look like this.
23. Make more crafty things for our house... like this - I made a welcome sign - this counts!
24. Make wine - I wanted to go last weekend, but it wasn't Napa and Stefan is becoming a little bit of a wine snob. Don't tell him I said that.
25. Complete another 30 day Bikram Yoga challenge - After the half-marathon.
26. Host a fancy dinner party - In my spare time I'll get to this one.
27. Make a decision about having children (note how that one is worded) - Notice the trend here? Everything is in purple. This included.
28. Buy a new house with a bigger yard - This will happen eventually.
29. Try a float spa - I think the only reason I put this on here was because at the time I wrote the blog post, I purchased a groupon for a float spa so I knew this would be an easy one to check off my list. Unfortunately it was in Arizona and we moved so I never got to use it. That's what I get for trying to cheat my own list.
30. Learn how to cook like my husband a few decent meals - I just told Stefan what I was doing and asked if he thought I could check this one off and this was his response: "No, you haven't learned anything." Hey, at least he's honest. No need to fight him on it either--- he's right-- I have no business in the kitchen!

Well, that was fun. 

Maybe I'll get a lot of these accomplished in the next couple months.

This was such a great idea.

Here's to my 40 before 40.

Monday, January 9, 2012

BIG news!!!!!

If you haven't heard from me in the past couple of days, you might need to sit down for this one.... or maybe just rest your jaw on your hand so it doesn't drop too much. Two major pieces to this story, so sit tight as I share some pretty crazy/exciting news!!

On Friday, it was with mixed emotions that I resigned from my position at Progressive. I have spent the last 7.5 years with the company, 3 years in claims, 3 years in corporate training, and the last year and a half as an instructional designer. During my time as a trainer, I obtained my Masters in Adult Education/Training, learned a lot about project management, and found a real interest in instructional design. My time as a designer really made me realize that while I do love the entire process of instructional design, I am drawn to the analysis, planning and organizing side of training. It's just the way my brain works. I really couldn't be more thankful for my time at Progressive and for all of the opportunities I've been provided and the incredible people I've met along the way. I've met some amazing friends and colleagues that I know I'll stay in touch with for a very long time.

With that being said, I wouldn't have given my notice without some sort of plan in place. A few weeks ago, I saw a posting on someone's facebook page that Stella & Dot was hiring for corporate positions. Being the curious person I am, I looked on the website just to see what positions were open. When I saw the "Manager - Field Training" position, I thought, "this was written for me." I decided to go for it - I had nothing to lose. The more I kept thinking about it, the more I really wanted it. The position involves doing some analysis with the existing training and determining the most effective ways to develop and deliver the material to the 10,000+ stylists out there, with developing some measurement strategies around what's working and what can be improved. Totally up my alley!!!!!! Besides the position, I just LOVE everything about Stella & Dot - the jewerly is a given, but the business model, the CEO and her innovative ways for changing the direct sales business to make sense for women today, and the fact that this company is still super small, but is growing extremely fast are all so appealing. 

I interviewed over the phone and in person and knew instantly when I met everyone in the home office that it couldn't be a more perfect fit. I was offered the position early last week, and by the end of the week, accepted. I couldn't be more excited about joining Stella & Dot as an employee and not just as a stylist repping their jewelry... now I get to do both!! And while I know I'll be working my tail off in a very fast-paced, always changing environment, I couldn't be more thrilled for this opportunity. So I'm going from wearing my PJ's to work every day (at home) to actually getting ready and going to an office again!

This brings me to the second part of the news....

Remember this post just a week ago?? It was all about how we're finally settled into our new home, loving the neighborhood, our house, and being close to our family. Well, that's still true....

.....but only for a few more weeks.

We're moving to San Francisco!! 

Stefan and I knew this position was based in San Fransciso when I applied and while we are very happy being back home and did have a terrible moving experience to get up here, we also realize that life is all about opportunities. There's never a good time for anything. When opportunities like this come up, you just have to go for it - and that's what I did.

Now.... who's ready to plan a trip to SF to visit?!?!

Monday, January 2, 2012

new digs...

So, we're finally settled in our new place. At least, settled as much as we want to be at this point. Thankfully our new place has a basement with LOTS of storage, and while there are still plenty of boxes down there, at least it's "hiding" from our every day living space. We love our house-- it's in a great north end neighborhood, just a few blocks from Metropolitan Market and the Proctor District. The neighborhood is also very dog-friendly.... Brooklyn and Bentley like to say hi (bark) at every dog (and person) that walks by our house. They LOVE looking out the windows all day long.

My office for working from home is perfect. My white desk is perfect against the gray walls, and one of these days when I get some spare time, I'm going to add a splash of yellow here and there to spruce it up a bit. I'm loving gray, white and yellow these days (thank you, Pinterest). I really want to refinish a bench and put this really gorgeous fabric on it that I bought.... but I've yet to find a bench that will work... just add it to my "to do" list.

The house has become a home and we're loving it!

Here are a few pics:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reason for the Season...

This time of year we all get so busy with the holidays,that certain things happen and it really makes us sit back and reflect, and think about the real meaning of the season. I had one of those moments last weekend when my mother-in-law came over and told us about something she did a few weeks ago.

She was heading to the grocery store and saw a lady on the side of the road near the store with a sign that said "laid off, two kids at home, need help"... We all see those people with their signs, and it's hard because you never know who actually needs help and who's doing it to pay for their drug/alcohol addiction. Something about this woman drew my mother-in-law's attention, and after she parked her car, she walked over to her and just started having a conversation. If you've met my mother-in-law, you know that she's got a very strong personality and with her thick french accent, you may not understand what she's saying some of the time.

She began to talk to the woman, found out she was laid off from Walmart, has two kids, and was so embarrassed to be standing with a sign in front of the grocery store but was doing whatever she could for her children. She said that she was near Safeway earlier and they told her she couldn't be in front of their store, so she went to another store where they didn't seem to mind. My mother-in-law finally asked her, "so what exactly do you need help with?" The lady replied, "I really just need to be able to feed my kids. With my rent and utilities, I have very little money left over to pay for food." My mother-in-law said, "well, I'm not going to give you any money, but let's go inside and get you some groceries." They both went inside, my mother-in-law had a cart, and told the lady to get one for herself and they walked through the store. Some of the conversations went like this:

MIL: "Do your children like fruit?"
Lady: "Yes, but it's too expensive."
MIL: "That's not what I asked, do they like fruit?"
Lady: "Oh, yes. They do."

(MIL puts some fruit in the lady's cart)

MIL: "Do you eat meat?"
Lady: "Sometimes, when we can."
MIL: "Well, what kind of meat do you like?"
Lady: "Chicken, pork, whatever is the least expensive."
MIL: "Is there any kind of meat you would like to have but haven't had in a while?"
Lady: "A turkey would be very nice, because it would last a long time, but they're always so expensive, we can never afford it"

MIL: "Let's get a turkey and we'll have the butcher cut it in half so you can freeze one half of it"

They continued to go through the store, getting all sorts of food. Peanut butter, bread, vegetables, pasta, and even a couple boxes of cake mix for the kids. The lady continued to thank my MIL as she kept putting things in her cart. By the time they got to the cash register, the lady's cart was full. My MIL paid for the food, and the woman was so grateful. As they were walking outside, my MIL asked her, "how are you getting all of this home?" The lady said, "well, I have some extra money so I'm going to take the bus, normally I would walk, but I think it would be easier to take the bus with all of these groceries." My mother-in-law couldn't fathom the idea of this lady carrying all of the groceries on a bus so she asked her, "well where do you live?" The lady ended up living in an apartment that was on my MIL's way home, so she said "I'll just take you home, that will be much easier." Although, I'm sure my MIL would've driven across town to get this lady home.

When they got to her house, the lady continued to thank her for the groceries and for being so nice to her. The lady told her children my MIL bought all of the groceries, and the children gave her a big hug and thanked her. One of the kids said "thank you so much, now I won't go to bed hungry tonight." The woman was so grateful, the kids were grateful, and my mother in law left with a full heart.

When my MIL got home, she couldn't stop crying. She felt so good about being able to do something like this for a family in need, but felt so sad at the same time that there are so many other families out there who won't have food on the table for Christmas, and who have kids that go to bed hungry at night. It's unfortunate that it takes something like this to make you sit back and reflect, but it really put things into perspective for me, and I have a whole new appreciation, not only for my MIL, but for my family in general this time of the year.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

I've never really been a huge fan of Halloween.... not that I'm against it or anything, it's just never really been a holiday that excites me. Maybe it has something to do with one little Halloween in 1987.

I was in Kindergarten at Beartooth Elementary in Billings, Montana. We were a couple months into the school year obviously, and Halloween fell on a week day. When I was little, I wanted to be a clown and a cheerleader when I grew up. So for this Halloween, I was a clown. My mom got me ready for school that day, and I had the wig, the makeup, one of my dad's old button down shirts, suspenders.... and for some reason, I wasn't just any clown, I was a FAT clown (hence the need to wear my dad's shirt). I had a pillow stuffed under my shirt so I would look fat. I'm sure my parents thought I looked so cute going to school that day. I got to school and wouldn't you know.... I was the ONLY kid dressed up in a costume. Apparently my parents were the only ones that didn't get the memo that we weren't supposed to dress up at school. Awesome.

I wish I had a picture of that costume.

Needless to say, although very traumatic for a shy kid like myself, I got over it and still had fun on Halloween dressing up through the years, and I still love answering the door and seeing all the cute kids in their costumes. Maybe I'm exhausted from moving and ran out of time, but we decided to skip the costumes this Halloween. And after seeing my friend Brittany's costume this year, I don't feel like anything could top hers anyway. I'm just so impressed....

Here's what she looks like on a regular day:

And here she is, as Lil Wayne:

Now THIS is awesome.

Happy Halloween, everyone!!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


 (That stands for "Moving Is The Pits!")

What an adventure this has been!!! Holy moly..... I feel like the last couple weeks have been such a whirlwind, I can't even keep track of the days anymore! All I know is the last Monday in September the movers arrived in Arizona... When they showed up 2 hours late, I knew things were only going downhill. When the truck arrived, Stefan texted me and said "um, I don't know if this truck is big enough for all of our stuff." The movers assured him everything would surely fit and they started wrapping all of the big stuff, bringing the boxes outside and getting everything inventoried for the truck. Around 7pm the main guy told Stefan that our original quote was "off" and based on the amount of stuff we had, our estimate was going to be DOUBLE than we were originally told. The guy said he could offer us a flat rate which would be on the "low end" OR we could follow them to a weigh station when they were done and just pay the price per pound that we were quoted, which would most likely be more than the flat rate. Three hours later at 10pm, they realized not all of our stuff would fit on the truck. "I told you so" was an understatement. So now they had most of our stuff on their truck (the rest in our garage that they would pick up in the morning), and they wanted more money. We felt stuck! We took the flat rate because honestly, I didn't want to follow them to a weigh station 40 minutes away after such a long day. I think that's their tactic: show up late, purposely bring too small of a truck to make you think you have more stuff than they originally quoted you, then stay extra late so you're too tired to follow them to the weigh station for an accurate quote. SO frustrating. Either way, they had our stuff, had our money, and they were on their way to Washington.

We left a few days later.... our sleeping arrangements in the meantime consisted of this:

Thursday morning, we got up super early and drove to Vegas with all of the animals! Drugged up the kitties, and we were off!

(The drugs are totally humane.... just make them a little sleepy, and made Oliver a little cross-eyed is all).

We dropped all the animals off at PetSmart for boarding in Las Vegas while we spent the weekend relaxing with family! My parents, brother Bob, sister-in-law Allison, brother Mark, sister-in-law Sandra, sister Debbie and brother-in-law Chett all were there and we had a blast (as usual)! Stefan and I also attended my friend Heather's wedding that weekend and it was SO beautiful! Heather and I were in the same sorority in college and she's been such a great friend over the years! Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera that night but I know other people got some pictures. She was a gorgeous bride and I'm so excited her and her husband are in the process of moving to WA too!!!

After our Vegas weekend, we continued our roadtrip, stopping in Utah to stay with my brother and his family for the night. My nieces Katie and Heather made dinner when we got there (DELICIOUS enchiladas!!!) and we got all the animals ready for their next adventure in the car! We left bright and early (well it wasn't bright, it was still dark out) the next morning, and drove for 15 hours before we finally arrived in Washington! If we did it all over again (which we're not), we would probably split that up into two days... Stefan had to stop at one point because he was too tired and we both slept in the car for a couple hours! We were so excited when we finally got to our new house!

When we arrived, my parents were there and my dad was painting. He went the day before and got a couple rooms done and was just finishing the downstairs when we got there. This was our first time actually seeing the house, and we absolutely love it!! It's in such a perfect neighborhood and the house is super cute. It's a little smaller than our Arizona house, so not all of our stuff fits, but it's got cute old charm and there's plenty of storage in the basement for all of our stuff that won't fit!

The next few days we (well, mostly my dad) spent finishing up the painting before the movers arrived.

Brooklyn even tried to help....

I don't know if I'm ready to vent quite just yet about the movers. I'll just say they were the shadiest moving company I think I have ever dealt with. Never returning calls, promising us a discount, then retracting the discount because I mentioned the words "Better Business Bureau" during a conversation, changing the names of their supervisors, making up random employees names that they say I spoke to (and when I call back they say they've never heard of someone by that name), delaying our delivery time, movers not showing up until 5PM when they were supposed to arrive at 9AM...... and then our broken stuff..... oh, do we have a list of broken stuff. I know they're material things and it shouldn't matter.... and honestly, I am just glad our stuff is here, broken or not, because I was starting to doubt our stuff would ever show up after the conversations we were having with the company. Cuts in our couch, broken glass, broken mirror, several broken bowls, glasses..... the list goes on and on. It's more irritating than anything. Thank goodness I bought extra moving insurance from an outside company.

Aside from the movers, we're in our house, it's all painted, and it's starting to feel like a home. We LOVE walking up the street to Metropolitan Market with the dogs, and being back in North Tacoma and so close to our families. We've still got some unpacking and organizing to do, but since Stefan and I are both very OCD about making sure our house is neat and clean, give us a week or two and we'll be ready for visitors!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Trading the desert for the soggy PNW

Well, after four wonderful years in Arizona, we've decided to make our way back up to the northwest! We've had so much fun the past four years, learning so much about ourselves, our relationship, and what we want in life, that we decided it's time to move back "home."

I'm so fortunate to work for a company that allows me to work from home, and with that, allows me the flexibility to really work from anywhere. Stefan has been wanting to get back into juvenile probation and with his contacts up in Washington, he has a much better chance of doing something he loves up there. Since we've been down here, the juvenile court/Maricopa County has been on a hiring freeze with no real timeframe for when they'll start hiring again. With Stefan not working right now, we figured there was no better time to head back up to Washington.

The decision seemed sort of quick, but we've been talking about it for a while now. We knew that Arizona was somewhat temporary, and ultimately we wanted to be back in Washington. After our trip home a couple weeks ago for Stefan's dad's retirement party, we realized that nothing was really keeping us in Arizona and Washington was our home.

As soon as we got back to Arizona, I talked to my boss, looked at some houses online, my parents went and looked at them for us, taking lots of pictures, and we made it official once I got the final okay from my work. Our moving truck gets here on September 26th and we'll be in Washington the first part of October!

While we're really excited to be closer to our families, we're still sad to leave our friends and life in Arizona. We've met some amazing people over the last four years, and it's going to be really tough to say goodbye to everyone. I'm not thinking of it as a "goodbye" anyway, because I know we'll be back to visit, I'll be back for work, and I'm pretty sure we're going to want to escape the rain at some point. After several weeks of 100+ temperatures, I'm really liking the idea of rain right now though!

A few things we're going to miss about Arizona:
  • Our friends in AZ - We never thought we'd be able to find "new" friends like the ones we had back home, but I can honestly say we've truly met some amazing people down here that we'll miss dearly (and that better come visit us)!
  • Our house - No need for a pool in Washington, but we really did love the home we made for ourselves here
  • My work - I love the people I work with in Arizona and am so thankful I got to work with each and every one of them!
  • Hikes - I used to think the desert was ugly because it's so brown and lacks greenery and water, but we've gone on several hikes in Arizona and the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. Different from evergreens, but beautiful in its own way.
  • Grimaldis & Oreganos - The two best pizza places........ ever.
  • Eating outside 9 months out of the year
  • Spring Training
  • Monsoons
  • Doggie Daycare - We were so lucky to have such wonderful people take care of our pups the last few years, they treated Brooklyn & Bentley like their own dogs and we'll miss all of them so much!
  • Flower - Our cleaning lady
  • Sedona
  • My Arizona Stella & Dot girls
  • Our favorite bartenders at The Keg, Drew & Megan
  • Lizards! I love seeing them run all over the back wall in our backyard
  • New Years Eve with Alli & Bronson at Ruth's Chris
  • Being able to drive to Vegas for the weekend
  • The sunrises and sunsets

A couple things I won't miss:
  • The bugs - I'd gladly trade in the large "crunchy" bugs in AZ for slimey slugs of the PNW any day!
  • The summer
  • Houses that all look the same
  • The Arizona Cardinals
  • The newscasters
  • Sheriff Joe 
  • Gross hard tap water!!
It's been such a wonderful experience and we're so grateful for the time we were able to live here. We're going to miss our friends so much, but know we'll be back to visit very soon!