2020: Fourth Quarter Goals

At the beginning of 2020 I was super motivated to make some lifestyle changes. I wanted to use this year to prepare myself for the next chapter of my life which might include motherhood. COVID forced me to slow down and spend some much needed time working on my mental health and my relationship with my husband. This year might not have gone according to plan but it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

To finish the year strong, here are my 4th quarter goals:

  1. Be intentional about spending time with family. We’ve had to be creative in order to spend time with family and friends this year due to social distancing. I’ve still been able to spend quality time with the people that I love and I don’t want that to change because of the colder weather.
  2. Create a new holiday tradition with Brett. We love the Christmas season but this year many of our normal traditions most likely won’t be happening so we will have to create a new tradition together.
  3. Schedule my remaining annual and semi-annual health appointments. Dentist, PCP, and Neurologist. It’s going to be a busy 3 months with all these appointments but I will be glad to have them checked off my list for awhile.
  4. Save 50% of my holiday bonus for 2021 house projects. My company is super generous and always has a year-end bonus for employees. If we have one this year I want to save at least 50% of it for future house projects!
  5. Stick to my current health/wellness routine. This includes past quarterly goals of spending time outside, meal planning/prepping, and monitoring my water intake.

We are almost done with this crazy, unpredicatable year. Who knows what 2021 will be like but let’s finish this year strong!

Do you have any goals you want to complete before the end of the year?

Photo by Maddy Baker on Unsplash

Five on Friday #23

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We made it to Friday! I am so excited that this week is almost over. How was your week?

As always, here are five random things for Friday:

  1. Taylor Swift’s new album Folklore came out last Friday and it’s SO good! She is incredibly talented and I’m in awe of her once again. She created this surprise album during quarantine and it’s amazing! I highly recommend listening to is ASAP. Do you like Taylor Swift? How do you feel about Folklore?
  2. Today is the last day of my class! It’s been a long week and I will be super happy when this is behind me. This is a three year program so I still have two more years of class ahead of me. If you didn’t know, I’m working towards a finance certification.
  3. Now that my class is over I am really looking forward to August! On August 19th Brett and I will celebrate our third wedding anniversary and our ninth anniversary together. We are hoping to do a mini Michigan roadtrip to celebrate! We were actually planning a Europe trip this year but obviously that won’t be happening.
  4. I’ve wanted Air Pods for awhile but I’ve never been able to justify the price so they have just been sitting on my wishlist. The class that I’m taking sent a care package to all of the students since it had to be moved to virtual instead of in-person. The care package had a set of wireless earbuds in it and I’m obsessed with them! Do you have Air Pods? Should I invest in a pair?
  5. The Fall 2020 FabFitFun box spoilers have been released and I’m not that impressed. I have to decide if I want to re-new my membership after this box and I really do think that it’s a great value. Even though I’m not super impressed with the contents of the Fall box I’m pretty sure I will be renewing my membership as an early birthday gift to myself. I love having something to open every quarter! Do you subscribe to  FabFitFun?

Tomorrow I am taking the exam for my class. The exam shouldn’t be terrible since I’m only in my first year so I’m only being tested on the material from this class. Year three is when I’ll sit for the certification exam which will test on all three years worth of material. Wish me luck!

Do you have any plans for this weekend?

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My Best Career Advice

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This week is a huge step in my career. I am finally sitting for the first year of my certification class. I’ve been looking forward to and dreading this week for the past year. I don’t think I’ll ever feel ready for the exam at the end of this but I’m trying my hardest!

That might make it seem like I’ve got it all figured out career-wise. I can promise you that I don’t though. I’m still figuring everything out too.

I’ve recently accepted the intern mentoring position for my department so I’ve been thinking a lot about what I wish I had known as a college student preparing to enter the “real world” so I can pass this information to the interns that I will be mentoring.

The one thing I wish I had known when I graduated was that you don’t have to have everything figured out yet. 

I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated. I thought I wanted to go into marketing but here I am 4 years later still working in finance. You don’t have to have it all figured out. Apply for all of the jobs, do the interviews, and figure it out as you go. There’s no right answer and there’s no easy path. You just have to do what feels right.

You might end up not liking your first job out of college and that’s okay. It’s okay to take some time to figure out what you want to do. There are lessons to learn at every single job even if it’s not your “dream job”.

I never pictured myself working in finance but I took the leap and applied for the job. I didn’t expect to like it and I didn’t think I’d make it even one year. Four years later and I have learned so much. I am a subject matter expert, a leader, and a contributing member to a team of talented people.

We are all figuring it out as we go so don’t feel like you have to have a set plan. You’ve got this!

What’s the best career advice you’ve received?

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Photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash

Re-Evaluating My Priorities

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Confession: I’m a workaholic. If I’m not working I’m thinking about work and if I’m thinking about work I’m feeling anxious.

My company is really big on work-life balance but it’s SO hard. They want us to feel like we can take vacation time, have flexible schedules, and come and go as needed and I really appreciate that.

At the same time, my department is always changing and growing which makes it hard to have coverage when I need it. My work has to get done on time so it can’t just wait until I get back.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m only 26 but have been working a paid job consistently for almost 10 years. That 10 years has been split between 2 companies, 6 years at one and nearly 4 years at the other. I am a hard worker and I like to stay at a job for as long as I can given that there are opportunities to advance.

My dedication to work has caused a big issue in my life though. Work quickly became my #1 priority and I’m having a hard time shaking that mentality.

My current dilemma is that I am senior in my department and potentially up for a promotion or two. As amazing as that is, I honestly don’t know what I want to do with my life and the thought of a promotion makes me question everything. Can I handle this new set of responsibilities?

All I know right now is that it’s time for me to re-evaluate my priorities. I don’t want to look back in 10 more years and only be able to say that I worked really hard. I want to remember times with Brett and our future family. I’d really like to find a balance before having kids.

How do you manage work-life balance?

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Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

2020: Third Quarter Goals

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Every time when I go to write a new set of quarterly goals I am blown away by how fast time goes by. It’s already the third quarter of 2020 and I feel like the year just started. This year has not gone at all the way I pictured. 2020 started with a huge transition at work, then a global pandemic, and now another transition at work. All in all, not my favorite year.

One thing hasn’t changed though. I still love writing my quarterly goals. So without further ado, here are my goals for the third quarter of 2020.

  1. Monthly date night. As things start to open back up and return to “normal” I want to continue to prioritize time with Brett. Having a weekly date night has been great but I’m not sure if that’s as feasible with our normal schedules. Making the time at least once a month to have a date night will make our relationship so much stronger.
  2. Spend at least 30 minutes outside per day. I know this was a goal last quarter but I loved it! With the weather still being nice I want to make sure that I continue spending time outside. This has been really good for my mental health.
  3. Start meal planning again. Staying at home all the time has it’s perks but I have basically stopped meal planning. I’m able to grab what I want whenever I want since I don’t have to worry about packing a lunch for work. I want to start being more intentional with what I’m eating.
  4. Find a new outlet for my anxiety. I’ve had anxiety for a long time and I’m always looking for new ways to channel my anxiety. I’ve been feeling really anxious for the past couple of weeks and I know I need to find an outlet for this anxiety.
  5. Write down some professional goals. I feel like I talk about work a lot which is probably because I spend so much time working these days. My career is at a weird point where I’m pretty senior in my department and I have some new opportunities. I want to spend some time thinking about what my short-term and long-term career goals are and what I need to do to accomplish them.

Here’s to hoping that Q3 of 2020 is the best one yet!

Do you have any quarterly goals?

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Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

 

July Blog Schedule

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July is a super busy month for me and I think blogging will have to take more of a backseat in my life for awhile. I’ll still be reading but I don’t know how much time I’ll have to create content.

Brett and I flew into Maine on Monday to see my sister in New Hampshire. On Tuesday we drove from New Hampshire to Michigan. On Wednesday we got her settled in Michigan and today I returned to work after 6 days off. I am exhausted.

Work has been rough this year. When I originally started writing this post I wrote that things were finally starting to look up. I spoke too soon. I don’t want to go into details because I know I am extremely lucky to have a job right now. I’m feeling really burnt out and I can’t imagine doing this for the rest of my life but I have no idea what else I’d want to do. I’m just feeling very unsure about work at the moment.

Speaking of work, I am taking a class for work the last week of July. I started a 3 year designation course which is usually held at Notre Dame. This year it will be online and I have been studying hard but still feel really unprepared. I will be spending most of the rest of this month studying and preparing for the class and the exam.

My anxiety is really high right now as I figure out how to deal with all of the things that are going on in my life. I’m nervous for all of the changes that are taking place at work and I’m extremely anxious about my class/exam.

Hopefully I will be back in action in August but July will most likely be pretty quiet.

Do you have any plans in July?

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Five on Friday #21

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It’s finally Friday, friends!

It’s been a sad week but I’m going to continue to work on educating myself to be a better ally. I’ve ordered books, listened to podcasts, and have tried to be as educated as possible. History is happening right before our eyes and it’s easy to stay quiet and let it happen but it’s important to stay involved. Right now I am trying to listen and learn as much as possible.

Here are five random things for this Friday:

  1. Our stay at home order was lifted early this week. It was supposed to last until mid June so I was really surprised when it was lifted. We did have a 7 pm curfew for a few days because of the riots and looting. The protests in my city were mostly peaceful though. Were you able to attend any protests this week?
  2. I have a certification class and exam in July that I’ve been studying for. I’m really excited for the class even though it’s been moved to a virtual class format. Like I’ve said before, my background is not in finance so I feel like I still have a lot of catching up to do in terms of my knowledge of the financial industry. This is a huge step for me but I really need to focus!
  3. We actually have plans this weekend! We are going to hang out with some of Brett’s friends (while social distancing) in our backyard. The weather is supposed to be really nice and it’ll be good for my extrovert husband to spend some time with his friends. I think it’s been hard for him to not see his friends as much as he was used to.
  4. When I was planning our wedding I got really into hand-lettering as a hobby and stress relief. I still have so many pens and brush markers but haven’t really touched them in a couple of years. I started hand-lettering again last week and have been loving it! I keep extra paper in my desk drawer and whenever work is feeling too stressful I sketch something and it makes me feel much better. I used Creative Lettering and Beyond with these Sakura brush pens when I was learning.
  5. The mosquitoes are so bad this year! We are thinking about getting our backyard sprayed just so we are able to sit out. Have you ever had your yard sprayed for mosquitoes? Did you think it was worth it?

How was your week? What are your plans for this weekend?

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Photo by Niklas Veenhuis on Unsplash

3 Year Work Anniversary

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3 years ago today I was a nervous wreck as I drove downtown for the first day of my current job. I sat in the parking garage for at least 20 minutes because I was so nervous and didn’t want to be late for my first day. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Prior to this job I had worked for 6 years at a restaurant. It was my very first job that I started when I was only 17 and I loved it! Saying goodbye to my co-workers was difficult and I was scared to leave my comfort zone. I thought about staying at this restaurant forever but I had worked so hard for my college degree and I wanted to do something more impactful.

I had dreamed of working in a big city doing social media marketing for a super cool company. I’d dress perfectly and have everything figured out. At 22 I had no idea what I was doing. I took a bad social media marketing class and threw the idea of marketing out the window for a job in finance. I knew nothing about the financial industry and was honestly in way over my head.

For the first few months I begged myself to make it a year in my job. I loved the company but I didn’t feel like I fit in at all. I was super depressed because it was such a cool place to work but I hated it.

So I made a change. I talked to my boss and switched roles within my department. I loved my co-workers and quickly made friends and an impact on the team. I worked my way up, covered a difficult maternity leave, and got promoted! I haven’t thought about quitting in a long time.

3 years ago I started this job that I thought would get me some good work experience. Here I am absolutely loving my job everyday and imagining staying forever. It’s funny how much things change in only 3 years!

I’m proud of how far I have come in 3 years and I know I will continue to grow within my role. My team is amazing and I have two leaders who want me to succeed. I never thought I’d enjoy a job in finance but it’s interesting, challenging, and exciting.

Here’s to many more happy years!

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Photo by Rick Tap on Unsplash

How We Can Afford to Travel

How We Can Afford to Travel

Why does traveling have to be so expensive? And why do I love it so much?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s just something about traveling that brings out the best in me! I feel alive, happy, and ready to take on the world! That’s why Brett and I make a point to save up for our next adventures.

How can we afford to travel as often as we do?

  1. We have a travel fund. I work in finance and I’m a big advocate for having a budget and saving for items you want to purchase or trips you want to take. For that reason, Brett and I always have a travel fund and are saving for our next trip. We put a percentage of our paychecks into this account and save it up until we are ready to go on our next adventure. Even if we aren’t currently planning a trip we are still putting money away for travel.
  2. We make travel a priority. It’s super easy to get caught up in all of the other things life throws your way. Brett and I make traveling a priority. In 2019 we weren’t able to plan a big Europe trip like we had hoped but we still set aside time to travel to places in the United States instead. This way we saved money but were still able to visit some new places and make memories together.
  3. We travel on a budget. When we go on a trip we aren’t staying in the fanciest hotels or splurging on new clothes and accessories for our travels. During our planning process we are mapping out all possibilities of places to stay, eat, visit, etc. We set a budget and stick to it. I do like to splurge for once in a lifetime opportunities but we always plan for those ahead of time and make room in the budget.
  4. We compromise. Planning a trip with another person can be difficult. Brett and I take turns picking the places we want to go. I planned our Europe trip in 2018 so he’s planning our 2020 trip. We can’t go everywhere at once so we compromise and take turns. Luckily, we both want to go to many of the same places so this has been pretty easy!
  5. Brett’s Job. We have been incredibly blessed by Brett’s current job for an airline. This allows us to travel at a very discounted rate but we haven’t always had this perk and have traveled many times without it. Brett’s job has allowed us to go on a few trips that we wouldn’t have normally been able to go on without spending more time saving our money. We are super grateful and don’t take this blessing lightly. We know that we won’t have these opportunities for long so we always try to make the most of it! I do want to stress that it is possible to travel without breaking the bank even without these flight benefits!

It’s not always easy, but we are determined to travel as much as possible before we have children. Traveling is one of our top priorities right now and I can only imagine how much that will change in the next few years. For now, I’m constantly on Pinterest planning our next adventure.

Do you have any budgeting tips for traveling?

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Photo by Frank Vex on Unsplash

 

Annual Day of Caring

Photo by Robert Baker on Unsplash

Monday was my company’s fourth annual Day of Caring. Every year on President’s Day all 125 of our employees have the opportunity to volunteer at a place of their choice instead of working. President’s Day is a bank holiday which means that the stock market is closed. I work in finance so bank holidays are a great day for my company to give back to our community without missing out on the chance to serve our clients.

My department chose to volunteer at a local food bank that helps provide meals to families in need and weekend packs for school children who only get food at school during the week.

This is my third year volunteering at this food bank and I can honestly say that I really enjoy it! My team loves to make everything a competition. We usually break into two teams and race to see which team can create the most weekend pouches or who can package the most cereal containers.

I love that my company encourages us to go out into the community and make an impact. We have various other events throughout the year that focus on individual non-profits in each of our markets.

Our Day of Caring really means a lot to me because there were many times in my life where I was unable to donate money and resources. As a college student especially, the only thing I was able to donate was my time. No matter how big or small, you can still make an impact.

This year my team packaged over 1300 weekend pouches! This beats the record of 987 that we set two years ago. We hustled and worked together to create an efficient packing system in order to pack as many weekend pouches as possible in our time at the food pantry. It was also great team building!

Do you enjoy volunteering in your community?

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Photo by Robert Baker on Unsplash