Black Friday Shopping

I have decided that I am the perfect target for all forms of Black Friday shopping and Cyber Monday deals. It’s a bit of a problem but it’s a problem I am actually okay with. This Black Friday, I spent the morning scouring the internet for all sorts of deals to see what I could get and surprisingly enough I spent money on practical items. I didn’t think that I would actually get to a point where all my purchases would be all practical items and I feel pretty proud of myself.

That being said, I spent a decent chunk of money because I also realized that I was only a few weeks away from my big trip and I hadn’t purchased any flights or hotels.  So I used Black Friday as an opportunity to find some discounts through Expedia to get cheaper hotels and flights.  But unfortunately, I spent quite a bit of money because I was pairing all of my shopping with the travel bookings.

It’s interesting because what I learned through this entire experience is that I feel more than okay purchasing hotels and flights. In fact, when it is time for me to pull the trigger on a travel experience, it is so very easy for me to decide that it is something I want. When it comes to purchasing anything really tangible, I have a hard time actually making the purchase. Usually I will put a million things in my cart, and then continually shop around until I decide what I want.  This usually ends up with me removing a bunch of items from my cart and then purchasing about one item total.

I remember back when I decided that I wanted to purchase a vacuum for my apartment – I shopped around for days and months and couldn’t pull the trigger to purchase one.  Even though Target had one for about $50 that could do a quick loop around my tiny apartment. I still couldn’t get myself to actually purchase the vacuum until I absolutely needed it because I hadn’t vacuumed my apartment in months.  But on the other hand, I purchase flights without hesitation.  It’s kind of surprising but to be honest, I am totally okay with it. I feel like this allows me to maintain a minimal lifestyle with what I own and I get to experience all the great things.

Anyway, I am so very excited for all my packages to start appearing for the things that I purchased.  I know that there’s a possibility I will return a decent amount of these items but I love opening packages.

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Vessi sneakers – updated November

I’ve officially had my Vessi sneakers for a few months now and have actually had the opportunity to wear them during the rain.  Surprisingly enough, Seattle hasn’t had a crazy amount of rain but it’s been great to test out the shoes on a regular basis.  Here are my thoughts:

  • These shoes are actually really comfortable. They do advertise that these shoes will be great for all four seasons but I don’t think I believe that.  Living in Seattle, I think these will work for me but if I lived somewhere that had snow – these shoes would not be great.  They are comfortable but I would never use them for actual fitness activities like running or hiking.  Even light hiking wouldn’t work well with these shoes in my opinion because you can definitely tell that for the fact that they are lightweight, you have to take the trade off of being able to feel things when you step on them.  If you’re hitting the trails in LA, you’ll be fine. If you’re hitting the trails with rocks in the Pacific Northwest, then you’ll have a problem.
  • Yes, the shoes are waterproof but if it turns out you walk heavy on your heels or walk in a way in which water can be kicked up, you’ll get your shoes wet.
  • If you buy the white shoes – they will not stay white.  You’d think that being waterproof, the shoes would be able to withstand getting dirty but that is not the case.  I have two friends who purchased the white ones and they are now just gray/brown. It’s unfortunate.
  • The shoes are still a little hard to put on but you get used to it after awhile. I found that if I put the shoes on while I’m sitting, it is a little easier.
  • If you walk inside after walking in the rain or puddles – be prepared to be heard by everyone. My shoes squeak so much for a solid few minutes immediately after walking into the building. I try so very hard to wipe off my feet as much as possible on the entrance rug in my office but the entire office can hear me a mile away.
  • The black ones are easier to manage and keep clean. I wear them when I walk the dog and have had zero issues with getting them dirty which seems strange after the white ones.

Overall, I would definitely more of these shoes. They’re pretty great.

Malibu Half Marathon

The day of our Malibu Half Marathon, we woke up at 4AM and then drove out to Zuma Beach to get ready for our half marathon. We arrived at dark which meant that we had the chance to watch the most beautiful sunrise while we were standing along the Malibu coastline. Since we were there about two hours earlier than the race starting, we were ended up standing around taking photos and letting the anticipation build up of having to run 13.1 miles.

We eventually lined up and I decided that I would run in wave 2 which was the 2 to 2:30 group. When it was finally time to start running, we crossed the starting line and I began my 13.1 mile trek.

I first started the right next to the 2:20 pacers and started moving forward. I tried so hard to keep pace and make sure I was keeping steady but kept finding myself moving forward a little faster and eventually I was past the 2:10 pacers and catching up to the 2 hour pacers.  I never quite made it to them but I stayed well ahead of the 2:10 pacers for about 8 miles.

Around mile 5, I started seeing my friends on their way back from turnaround which meant that they were well over half way. I saw a steady stream of my friends running past me which encouraged me because it meant that I was closer to the turnaround which would mean that I was almost half way through.

When I hit mile 6, I had to start walking.  Running up the rolling hills really were getting to me and I had a hard time keeping pace up the hills and that’s when I started breaking down. The heat started getting to me, the hills were kicking my butt and I was starting to feel demotivated.  The 30 minutes I had planned between each of my energy chews felt longer and longer and I kept checking my watch which didn’t help with my motivation. By the time I hit mile 8, the 2:10 pacers had paced me and I knew that I was slowing down drastically.

At mile 9, I hit my wall. And by hitting my wall, I mean I ran face first into a wall of sadness and depression. I’ve heard about this wall but I have never experienced it before. This wall led me to walking and to the point of crying. All I wanted to do was cry and stop. I felt my eyes tearing up, my legs giving away and the blister on my feet starting to form. I felt demotivated, and my mind started to wander away from me into a very dark place. I wanted to call an Uber or a Lyft to come and pick me up, I almost wanted to stop by one of the volunteers and ask for help to get me a ride back to the finish line. I couldn’t stop thinking about how disappointed I would be when I didn’t finish, I kept telling myself that I regretted everything and that I wanted to end this. I was going to be an embarrassment to all of my friends and I couldn’t believe I had let people convince me to do this. That’s right, my wall led me to stop taking responsibility for my own actions and that’s when I realized what I was doing.  I realized that I was in a bad place and I had to move my butt and finish.

Around mile 10, I started running again, slowly but I started running again. The 2:20 pacers passed me, my legs started throbbing more than they have ever throbbed, my knees and hips started screaming but I needed to continue moving so I did. I tried to speed up and pass the 2:20 pacers, so I passed them around mile 11 but at mile 12, I was done.

I saw the line of spectators for mile 12 and so I started running again but I couldn’t catch up to the 2:20 pacers at this point but I knew I had to finish strong. I passed the last line of spectators and there was a brief moment where the we had to turn back around and there were no spectators so I started walking again.  As soon as I was within view of the fences, I started running again and eventually made my way across the finish line.

I ended with an end time of 2 hours and 23 minutes.

It was terrible but so good at the same time. It was terrible because everything hurt and all I wanted to do was sit down. But it was so good because I had just run 13.1 miles and I had finally finished something I never thought I could ever do.

I ran a half marathon

That’s all I have to report.

Actually no, I have so much more to report. I ran a half marathon and I feel crazy.

I decided in August that I was going to run a half marathon because my friends were doing it. I remember the day we decided to do this, we were sitting around the dining table in LA and we decided as a group to run the Malibu Half Marathon in November. So a group of us in Seattle bought tickets to LA for that weekend and signed up for the half marathon.

Leading up to that run, I only half prepared myself to run thirteen miles. But as we got closer to November, I started upping my mileage and not really following a training plan as much as just trying to run more miles. I got to 7 miles then I eventually got to 9 miles and then two weeks before my race, I needed to prove to myself that I could get to double digits in preparation for the race itself. I got to 11.6 miles and I knew that I could do it. I would be able to run the full 13.1 miles or at least run 11.6, then walk the last mile and a half. So after that, I only did one run and really enjoyed the tapering weeks.

On Friday, we flew in Burbank, sat down for our carbo load dinner of homemade delicious pasta and then prepared ourselves for the weekend. The entire weekend was spent with people that I adore and we tried to be off of our feet as much as possible. Even though a bunch of fun activities, I knew that running 13.1 miles was running through the back of my mind the entire time and I was getting more and more nervous.

On Saturday we spent our time eating regular food, going to the beach and eating decently healthy food that night.  We didn’t do anything too strenuous because we needed to make sure we conserved our energy for our run.

I would say that even though I had run 11.6 miles leading up to this run, I felt entirely unprepared.  I regretted not working out more or running more leading up to this run and the fear was really setting in prior to the run.

The things that were running through my head:

  • Would I even finish?
  • What time would I finish in?
  • Would I get blisters?
  • What if I don’t finish?

I knew that leading up to this race, I had actually done really well with time and had finished my long run with an average pace of 10:04 per mile so I thought that I could actually average that for my overall 13.1 mile run. I personally told everyone that my goal was to get done before the car had to pick me up so I would need to average a 17:45 mile. But deep down, I wanted to do well. I wanted my adrenaline to kick in and that I would actually maintain the 10 minute mile or even be better than a 10 minute mile. I wanted so badly to actually get done in less than 2 hours and 10 minutes. It was a goal I didn’t share with anyone but it was what I wanted to do.

But the closer we go tot he race, the more I wasn’t sure this was actually going to happen. The nerves were really setting in but what I wanted to believe was that my adrenaline would kick in and I would do so well.

Along with that, I was running this with four other friends and we had a cheer squad so I wanted to make sure I ended at a decent time so that people wouldn’t be waiting for me for too long. I had this fear of embarrassment of making everyone wait for me for longer than necessary. I definitely had a fear of embarrassment and I wanted to prove to everyone and myself that I could do this. But I kept wavering between believing I could do this and being terrified of failing epically…

Brief hiatus

Wow, without realizing it, I got a bit overwhelmed with life and took a brief hiatus from writing. In fact, I actually took a brief hiatus from a lot of things in my life in a good way. Things got very busy with work, traveling and my personal life that I lost track of time and what I usually do when I am trying to stay on track.

In between my last post and now, I’ve spent about half of my time in California between Los Angeles and San Francisco thus making it hard for me to focus on my life here in Seattle. That being said, no part of me is complaining about being in LA and SF because I made the decision to stay the weekends there to see my friends and so that means that I had a chance to actually catch up with people I haven’t seen in months.

So, now, I am back.

That being said, with the travel and the activities that I’ve been up to – my life feels a bit more chaotic and I’ve broken most of my good habits. Everything I was doing so well at have gone to the wayside and I haven’t been keeping a focus on things that keep me back on track.

I will admit that everything I had worked so hard on over the last few months since the new year have stopped because I’ve let my hectic schedule get in the way of all of my routines. It’s time to get back into the routine of being productive.

Respecting women

Recently, I have started online dating.  I started this because I decided that I wanted to put myself out there, especially given that I’m not new to Seattle and I’ve come back to a community of people I love.  I mean, when you’re surrounded by all these people you’ve known for over 10 years; it’s a lot harder to meet new people (romantically or not) unless of course it’s through work. So I decided to try this out and see how it goes.

Interestingly enough, this also happened to be around the same time that a lot of information has been coming out around people at work regarding women not being respected or treated like they should be.  This includes inappropriate things being said, inappropriate behavior and just overall not respecting women and their roles.

I recently sat on a panel at work for a bunch of middle school and high school females talking about what it’s like to be a woman in a predominantly male industry.  Given that I come from manufacturing and tech, it was an interesting panel to sit and share my experiences with a bunch of girls who are going to be the future. That same week, I had one last meeting with one of my mentees talking about how my perspective on how I got to where I am today and being taken seriously, especially as a non-technical employee and a female.

What I’ve realized is that over the last year, I have become more sure of myself and more confident in fighting the misogyny. I had an experience in 2016 where my manager… MY MANAGER told me that I was going to be removed from a supplier relationship because I couldn’t talk football or relate to the leadership team since I didn’t drink.  It was the hardest thing to hear that because I am not well versed in a sport and because I have mild health issues with alcohol, that was justification for not working with a supplier. My other teammate who was male was never told this and he doesn’t care about football or drinking either.

So now, I am more confident to stand up for myself at work and in relationships.  I recently realized just how much more confident I was after sitting on those panels and then going on a date with someone who questioned my reasoning for not wanting to do something. I understand that it may be difficult for some people to wrap their head around certain things but to question me on whether I want to do something that triggers me, means that the guy put his needs/wants over mine. It wasn’t a matter of trying to understand why I didn’t want to do it or why I have made the decision to not partake but rather the question was “well have you tried it?” and “I mean, do you think you’ll want to later?”

I’ve officially decided that what I want in my life is to feel confident enough to stand up for myself in all situations.  I want to help out as many people as I can learn from my experiences so that they don’t go through the same thing. I hate the idea that sometimes when I travel or walk home at night, I have to take precautions that other people don’t have to take.  It breaks my heart that there are girls growing up today that are automatically learning behaviors to protect themselves from things they shouldn’t have to worry about.  We shouldn’t have to worry about being stared at while walking down the street, we shouldn’t have to worry about being grabbed at or harassed.  And we need to all ban together to support each other.  We need to stop judging each other but rather looking out for each other and being there for each other. With that, today is the start of a new era for me. I will never let fear prevent me from standing up for myself or others.

Adulthood – I’m sad

We live in a society today where everything you post on social media is your way of showing the world just how okay you are and just how awesome your life is.  And we judge those that express anything other than pure joy on their status updates.  I will admit that I am guilty of judging people who overshare on social media. I will also admit that I only show the cool things that happen in my life on my social media.  But today, I’m trying something a bit more honest and real.

I am sad.

I am sad because I live in a city without family. I am sad because my life is so dependent on the interactions with others and sometimes, I feel loneliest when I am surrounded by my friends.  Sometimes, I feel lonelier when I am sitting alone in my apartment with absolutely no plans with another human. I know that I shouldn’t feel like this because I am constantly reminded of just how wonderful my friends are and that I’m not alone.  But regardless, I still feel alone.  I feel sad because I am the token single friend of all of my friends.  I am sad because I am constantly wondering why I don’t have a significant other.  I am sad because I constantly make up excuses to other people and myself that this is by choice, but sometimes I do wonder if it is really a choice. I’m sad because I don’t know what I want to do with my life. Because no matter how much I focus on self care, there’s still more to do to help with my mental health.  I’m sad because there are things in my life that I cannot help.  I am heartbroken because I know that there are people in my life who are suffering and I don’t know how to help them.  And there’s no one I can share this with.  I am sad because I’ve seen my mother cry more times than I’d like to admit and I don’t know how to stop her sadness. I’m broken because I’ve mentally decided that the more I pull away from people, the less things will hurt and maybe that’s okay. I’m sad because I’m mentally preparing myself to be alone forever. And sometimes, this is my way of defending myself from the sadness that I am alone and that other people don’t want to hang out with me and I’m not a priority for them.

But.

I am happy.  I am happy because I am independent. I have a job at a company that can pay me a paycheck on a regular basis.  I have stability in my life where I am not worried about being able to pay my bills.  I am happy because I am challenged every day by my job, myself, my friends, my physical ability and my need to learn. I am so thankful because I am sad.  I am thankful that I have emotions that drive me to figure out what will make me happy.  I am thankful that I can hurt because it forces me to focus on self-care. I am happy because I have my health. I have the ability to travel, I have the urge to learn, I have the desire to see what the world has to offer.  I am over-the-moon proud of myself for going to 13 countries on my own. I am so happy because I have proven to myself that I actually don’t need anyone else. I moved from Seattle to LA and back to Seattle on my own. I am happy because I can eat foods that I enjoy, I can find the positive in the little things and I can appreciate everything I’ve done.  I’m so happy because sometimes, the happiest moments in my life are standing by myself in my apartment dancing to music, the perfect dance party.  I am thrilled because one of my favorite things is to stand outside, just stare and listen to music.  I am so happy because it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy. I am so happy because I have met amazing people in my life. I am blessed because there are people who have entered my life, stayed and taught me more than I ever thought possible.  I am lucky because I have met people who have left me permanently but they shared a portion of their life with me and I would never trade that for anything in the world.  I am happy because my parents raised me to be who I am today and they don’t worry about me. I am happy because, no matter how sad I actually am, I exist and I have the chance to make a difference. I have the ability to make someone smile, I have the chance to make someone’s day just a bit better, I am capable of controlling my next move and I get to try whatever I want.

I am sad.  And I am happy.

Update on goals

A little over a month ago, I created new goals for myself that I wanted to stick with.  This was in addition to the goals I have for 2018 and was supposed to be more of a short term challenge to help improve my own personal health and mental health.  Here’s an update on how those short term goals have gone.

  • Hitting my step goal: So far, I have officially gone 30 days and hit my step goal every single day.  11,000 steps is difficult to do and it has been both a physical and mental challenge.  I’ve taken to walking 4 miles home from work five days a week when I can because it gives me about 8-9K steps per day.  In addition to that, I may bring my lunch to work but I’ll still go with my teammates out to lunch just so I can get the steps in.  I’ve noticed myself taking the long way to the kitchen at work or the bathroom and I’ve definitely become less efficient with my routes so that I can get those extra 10 to 15 steps per trip. It’s an interesting trade off but I’m in a mindset right now that every single step counts and I am determined to hit that step goal every day. Along with that, I’ve taken to traveling with my running shoes and sacrificing sleep so that I can guarantee myself some extra steps.  I can officially say that I’ve run in LA, Santa Barbara and Victoria.  Next up, San Francisco. The official verdict, this is hard. When I am in Seattle working my usual day and following my usual routine while the city has great weather, it’s been easier.  But as soon as anything changes in my routine such as having dinner plans, rain or travel – it gets so much harder to achieve my step goal.  I’ve taken to pacing airports and hotel rooms just to make sure I can get to my 11,000 steps.  Once I hit my 60 day goal, I’ll need to find a way to hit 12,000 steps every day.
  • Healthy eating: I’ve been cooking!  As you’ve seen through other posts, I’ve taken to cooking and packing my own lunch.  I’m working on saving money so when I go with my coworkers to lunch, I make sure I don’t bring any money so that I don’t get tempted to not eat the food I’ve brought.  I want to make sure that I am maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially as my travel schedule picks up, I want to make sure my life at home is healthy. Next up, figuring out how to stay decently healthy while on the road.  If anyone has any tips for this, please let me know because it is definitely a struggle for me.

Overall verdict, I am going to continue trying to hit my step goal every single day.  I have to admit that I am super happy no one lives below me because otherwise they’d have to hear my pacing most days that I am barely about to hit my step goal.  I will walk laps around my apartment just to get those extra steps.  I honestly don’t know if I can continue hitting my step goal every single day, but I will continue to try.  There are some days it will be difficult like cross country flight days or if I am sick but I will continue to try.  I also need more recipes so that I can continue to make food for my lunches at work. It’s hard, but I feel mentally healthier and happier.  I wonder if I am getting a little addicted to the feeling but I’m loving it. So here’s to more and more healthy habits!

Adulthood – what makes you happy

I officially have been at my new company for over a year. Let’s see if I can make it past 14 months and that’ll mean that I’m finally on my way to being just slightly more settled than I was previously.  I’ve already broken my tradition of interviewing every 12 months so now let’s see how long I can stick around for now.

That being said, I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about what I do and whether it’s the right decision. I think some part of this is coming from the fact that I’ve entered a new decade in my life and now I am on a true journey of self improvement and making sure I’m doing what makes me happy.  So, does my current job make me happy?

I don’t know.

I read a lot of LinkedIn articles every day because there’s this part of me that wonders if there is a magic formula on how to be happy or successful. I keep checking out those articles that say things along the lines of “here are the traits of a truly successful person” or “these odd traits make you happy.” Yes. Cliche, and weird sounding articles, but I still check them out all the time. It’s weird.

I wish that, as an adult, I could proudly look at someone and tell them that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.  I know exactly what I am doing and I know exactly where I am going. But honestly, I cannot say any of those statements of true.

Maybe for the moment one is. I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now because I don’t know where else I would be.  And maybe, the fact that I can’t say any of these things as a true fact – that’s what makes me successful.

The fact that I am constantly questioning, constantly on a journey of self-improvement, never really satisfied and always trying to learn and understand – that’s what makes me successful.  I say this because maybe since I am not okay with just being content but I always want to be better, it means that I am successful.  I am successful because I am always striving for something new and better. I could also just be saying this to make myself feel better.

But, at this point, I can proudly say that with the new age in a new decade, I am still just as lost as I was a few years ago. Let’s just say, faux adulthood at it’s finest.

Morning Routines

Have I shared my morning routine before? I probably have but I have to admit that I’ve made some minor adjustments and it’s been great.  Recently I’ve seen an influx of articles posted about how to better de-stress your morning and start off on the right foot. So I thought that I’d share mine because mine seems to work for me.

I wake up at 5:45AM every week day to make sure I can get a solid hour before I make my way off to work.  My morning includes drinking a glass of water, drinking a cup of coffee to get things moving, yoga and reading.  I know it sounds like a lot to do before getting to work but it really actually calms me.  I start off my day with the obvious hygiene items but it is always followed by somewhere between 5-15 minutes of yoga stretching. It helps wake up my muscles and get my blood flowing which is great.  I make sure to drink a cup of water to help combat the fact that I didn’t consume any water for 8 hours while I was asleep.  Then I make sure to do all my skincare activities and pick out my outfit.

After getting dressed and making sure I go through my entire skincare routine, I make a cup of coffee and sit down next to the window with it open to get some fresh air and read.  It’s weird that I open my window so I can read with the fresh air but it’s nice because I keep my windows closed at night so it’s nice to get some true fresh air. Plus the mornings are brisk so it helps wake me up and prevents me from getting too comfortable.

I also make sure I read every morning before I go to work. It’s nice to read something I’m super interested in that is purely for my enjoyment instead of work related.

About 10 minutes before leaving for work, I make sure to wash my dishes so that I can have a clean sink when I get home and then I pack my bag and leave for work.

I always make sure I don’t look at emails, social media or text messages until I get to work. Sometimes, I will check to see who texted me in the morning but it’s more out of curiosity and I’ll make sure I don’t respond until I get to the office.  I do this because it makes it so that the first hour and a half to two hours of my are essentially internet free (minus Spotify).  It means that the time before work is mine and no one else’s and no one gets to distract me from getting focused and ready for work. Plus, it means that I can get to work knowing I did some self-improvement and self-focus before focusing on my job.  It’s nice to know that I have time dedicated to myself regardless of how busy work is.

Do you have any standard routines that you do?