Photo Credit: Man & Machine via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Man & Machine via Compfight cc

It’s almost the end of February and I already feel like my year has been packed with so much! All aspects of my life are pretty busy and every single day I’m trying to get as much done as possible. Work has been crazy busy since last year even and it hasn’t slowed down but sped up! My cousin’s wedding is fast approaching and her bridal shower and bachelorette are coming up next month. Then of course I’m also really trying to work out three days a week for my health.

There’s a lot going on and I’m doing my best to balance it all out. Treating my mind and body well is also something I’m doing so that I can handle everything. Usually I workout as a physical way to relieve stress and go for massages to help ease tension. The hardest part is slowing down my brain when it’s in overdrive!

Last week I heard about sensory deprivation. This is where you enter an enclosed tank and cut yourself off from as many of your senses as possible to relax and rejuvenate your mind. I floated in warm salty water in total darkness for an hour and a half. It was a very strange experience, but it kind of worked actually!

What’s the point?
Cutting yourself off from all your senses and freeing myself of distractions is supposed to let me mind and body be free to just relax. With everything going on in daily life and the pressure everyone is under, it was pretty nice to just do nothing and not have to worry about anything. I was floating in very warm water that is supposed to allow you to not even realize you are floating. Some people say it’s like getting a massage, or therapy, or like sleeping a very good night’s sleep. It’s not something I thought I would ever try honestly. It’s supposed to clear your mind of thoughts and allow you to be in a state like meditation. It worked for me somewhat as it cleared my mind and then I was drifting in and out of sleep and relaxation.

How’s it work?
The temperature of the water is set to be the same as your skin temperature so when you relax you aren’t supposed to even notice it. The water is extremely salty so that you float without effort. Sound and light are cut off and then you just float away and let time pass. The session itself is about an hour and a half but it takes more time to really get through the before and after. Before you shower off in a nice area to prepare yourself. After you can shower again to rinse the salt and get ready to go out into the noisy hectic world again.

Costs
The place I went to was $45 for the hour and a half session. It was set up like a spa though where as soon as you walk into the lobby it starts feeling calm already. Toiletries are provided for your shower and the session doesn’t start until you enter the tank. Then there’s plenty of time after the session to shower off again and get ready. No rushing! I’d say I was there for more than 2 hours and all of it was a relaxing experience. That’s technically cheaper than a massage and definitely cheaper than a therapy session for sure!

It was a pretty interesting experience that I liked enough to try again before passing judgement. It was definitely a bit scary since I don’t know how to swim but the water was salty enough that it was extremely easy to float. I didn’t relax completely but hopefully next time I will!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever tried for relaxation?


 Photo Credit: howuch via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: howuch via Compfight cc

Flying during wintertime isn’t always the most ideal time as weather delays are pretty likely to happen. When it comes to visiting family though sometimes there really isn’t a choice since I have family all over the US! Usually I can snag a non-stop flight and not have to worry about making a connection. Just this past December though flights were pretty pricey and I decided to make one way a one-stop flight to save a bit of mula. I wish I hadn’t done that but I also could’ve prepared myself better for a possible overnight stay in a city not of my choice.

Non-stop flights are definitely going to be my choice to save on hassle and time. It’ll cost more for sure, but after a bad experience then sometimes it’s worth it! After a nice holiday vacation spent with family I was flying back to LA with one stop. There was some lovely storm weather that made us miss our connection.

Instead of waiting in the customer service line for an hour we booked a hotel and got out of the airport for a bit. Luckily before our first flight had left we had the foresight to see if customer service could save us a spot on the first flight out in the morning just in case we missed the connection. We froze our butts off outside, got ripped off by a cabbie, 4 hours of sleep, and were back at the airport early the next day! I ended up taking the day off from work since I could barely function.

It was not the best experience ever but we didn’t just let it sit there. We contacted the airline’s customer support to see what they could do. Luckily we got vouchers for $200 each at least! Takes the sting out of losing all the mula when we were trying to save mula! Next time we’ll hopefully play it smarter!

Plan ahead for the worst
I’m really glad we have the savings to cover the amount of money we ended up spending. It was stressful enough to be stranded! One thing is to have enough cash on hand in case its needed for times like this. Another is to make sure we pack all our essentials into the carry on bags. We were lucky enough to have jackets on us, but we still weren’t dressed for the 0 degree weather in Denver!

Always ask if there’s anything the airline can do
Many airlines don’t do anything for customers if weather causes problems. In our case the weather was the primary issue, but also because our first flight was delayed because it had been held for other passengers. We also technically were able to make the flight, if all the roller bags on our flight hadn’t been gate-checked because the plane was too small. I did make it to the gate, but they closed the door in front of me and wouldn’t hold the plane for my husband who was waiting for our bag. Always ask to see if there’s anything that can be done because if you don’t ask then you definitely don’t get anything.

Spring for non-stop
I was trying to save money but after everything I lost money! It’s hard to predict when flights will be delayed but I’m going to budget in the extra money for a non-stop flight to save me from getting white hairs.

 

Did you ever try to save money on something and ended up paying more?

 


I count myself as one of the lucky ones who was able to find a career that I love being in! I picked the right major that helped me get to where I am. I honestly can’t even figure out exactly why I majored in Digital Design because I barely had any skill with computers. I had an art background, but there was so much I had to learn to even catch up to my peers. Fortunately, I did catch up and I’m still in the career that made the most sense for my major. I’ve been through different jobs and taken risks, but it’s all paid off and I’m pretty darn happy!

It amazes me when I hear about someone who changes careers entirely and risks everything! A friend of mine that I met at my very first job is doing exactly that right now. She’s always loved photography and she’s been doing it through the years. She decided to finally strike out on her own to try to make it her career. It’s only been a few months since it’s happened and it’s slow going for now. Hopefully it will start taking off soon! Los Angeles is a hard place to make it in when you’re starting out in any career. A big city can have more opportunities, but there is also more competition too.

Definitely check out her photography!
Howl and Rose

Jacky’s pretty darn amazing I would say, and she definitely has that special touch that brings out the best in her subjects. I count her as my favorite photographer actually. She took our engagement photos and as soon as I start a family, I’m booking her for sessions!

Taking risks
The biggest risk I’ve ever taken is to try freelancing with a small (but reputable) company. There was the possibility of full-time, but it never came to fruition, and I ended up with a few months of not having any work. It did pay off in the end though since it was a very good experience. For my friend though, she is starting over from the beginning. That means not a lot of money coming in and she has to work her butt off even more. I don’t love the times when I was starting out and money was tight and it took creative methods to make sure bills were paid. In the end though, she’ll be doing something she loves and getting paid for it! The perfect career right?

Starting a career
Knowledge and experience are the two biggest things to be able to start a career. Many people I know who have started over have gone back to school or taken special crash courses. For Jacky, she’s been working on her photography for years and has a small portfolio put together. In her desired choice of career that’s pretty darn essential. My four years in college taught me a lot about design and the internships I had gave me experience even before I graduated.

Making it happen
Not everyone can make it in their career unfortunately. Some people aren’t cut out for it and others aren’t right for it. The mindset now is to do something you love and get paid for it. Not so according to the older generation. Having a stable job was the most important, and loving your job was a very small priority. For me, I want to work in a career I love and get paid for it! It’s taken awhile to find a company and job that fits me well that I look forward to going to work. I’ve worked long hours and nights to get to where I am, and I still work really hard to keep at the top of my game. No matter what, it always takes hard work and patience! I still have a far way to go, but I hope that I’ll make it.

 

What’s the riskiest thing you’ve ever done when it comes to your career?

 


Photo Credit: _christine via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: _christine via Compfight cc

It’s halfway through January and a good portion of the my year has already been booked in terms of large events! Mostly that’s in terms of vacations and weddings. All the big stuff that I need to really plan for in a year to make sure I’m covered in terms of travel, gifts, lodging, and of course any little side parties that come along with those big events! It’s pretty crazy how weddings and travel can really determine what your year will look like in terms of where you should be putting money towards.

I’ve got a lot to consider and plan for and I have to make sure I have enough mula set aside for all of these. So far I’ve got a possible mini vacation and three weddings for this year. All three weddings are with family or good friends so I’m definitely going to all of them. The first one I happen to be the matron of honor in and will be planning a bridal shower and bacholorette also. Luckily it’s at least in town but my house will be taken over by family for sure. The other two are out of town so I’ll need to account for travel, lodging, and any possible extra travel for the bacholorettes. The mini vacation isn’t as big as it’s within driving distance.

Time for me to set aside a budget for this and see what I can afford (or what I would like to afford!). It’ll be good times to look forward to and being able to know about this ahead of time will lessen the impact.

Book travel early
Such a must when it comes to flying. I’ve always booked at least 2.5 months early to make sure I get the best possible rates. Of course it’s always a gamble and prices could drop (and they have) after I buy a ticket, but it’ll always be lower than getting it right before a trip. You’ll always pay the price if you wait too long to buy plane tickets.

Budgeting for gifts, spending money, and surprises
It’s going to be a pricey year in terms of gifts, bridal showers, and bacholorette parties! After getting married I know how much weddings cost and I certainly spent a good amount on mine. With weddings of family and good friends I’ll need to account for a higher budget too. I might as well have a good time too so throw in some spending money to pad the budget a bit and there I go.

Know when to say no
It’s important for me to be there when people important to me are getting married but I don’t have to say yes if it’s not possible. I’ve definitely declined many times before when I didn’t think I could financially make it even for family or other good friends. Just being I get an invite doesn’t mean I have to say yes. If I’m able I’ll send a small gift but otherwise travel and lodging can cost too much.

Making it a mini-vacation
Anytime there’s an opportunity for travel then it’s also possible to create a mini-vacation. Work trips are great because you can stay a few extra days after or before possibly. Weddings are a great opportunity to stay longer in one place. If it’s a destination wedding then it’s already a vacation! Have to pay for the travel anyway so why not stay longer?

 

It’s going to be a great 2015 and I’m really looking forward to everything. There will surely be a lot more events added to my calendar (I would hope) but this is a pretty good start.

What big events are you planning ahead for in 2015?


Photo Credit: KLeopatra ~ via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: KLeopatra ~ via Compfight cc

Happy 2015!!!!! It’s pretty crazy to think of how fast the last year went and now it’s the first day of 2015!!!! I was able to accomplish a good amount last year and I’m looking forward to seeing how much I can do this year. Today is of course a great time to look at past accomplishments, pat myself on the back, and then see what else I want to add to my list. Aka new year’s resolutions.

A 2014 Recap of Goals

Started investing with Betterment
This was a goal I tried to get to in 2013 but wasn’t able to with a wedding and buying a house in that year. I bit the bullet early on last year to start this up. The market hasn’t been very fun with highs and lows and I haven’t earned much unfortunately. I’ve been steadily investing every single month though and this is a long term goal for mula before my retirement age. Hopefully by continuing to contribute each month the stock market will do it’s thing and this will start growing on its own.

Almost maxed out my 401k
I was able to start my 401k halfway through last year and I full intended to max it out. By November I recalculated my contribution rate to make sure I hit that. Unfortunately my 401k company never processed that through! I don’t know why it didn’t work but for a month my rate hasn’t changed. Hopefully in 2015 I can reach this goal!

Budget friendly Honeymoon
I had a delayed honeymoon because we wanted to be practical and buy the house first and then go on a honeymoon. Weddings cost way too much money and having a honeymoon soon after just isn’t realistic. Spacing it out months later gave us more time to find a good deal and to plan appropriately (without all the wedding stress which I’m sure would’ve made us make hasty and pricey decisions).

Started a mini garden
I’m no green thumb but growing my own food is definitely something I’ve always wanted to do! Luckily for me my house came with a lot of fruit trees and edible plants. I’ve been taking advantage of that and making sure that I take care of the plants as well as I can. I’ve had very little success with growing my own herbs but I’m going to keep trying! I have green onions growing pretty well (very very very easy) but I’ve only had one parsley seed sprout.

2015 Goals

Actually have things growing in my edible garden
This is a work in progress for sure. If I can at least have a few more seeds sprout that would be wonderful! If that doesn’t work then I’m going to have to just buy fully grown plants and see if I can keep them alive!

Simplify my beauty routine
For a woman I don’t think I have that much in terms of beauty supplies, but over time new products come out that I add to my morning/night routine and then it takes forever to get ready. I’m all for simplifying to find products that save me money (no more $60 eye cream!) and do double duty.

Max out my 401k
Yep going for it for sure this year!

Get life insurance
Haven’t done this yet and I really need to just go ahead and do it! I’ve done a lot of research and it’s getting clearer but it’s hard to estimate how much to get.

Further cut down my footprint
I recycle basically everything I can but my trash pile can still be cut down. Composting is the next step but it’s not something I would really like to do. Either I have a compost pile in the corner of my not so large yard, a big plastic bin, or I have to figure something else out. My gardener grandfather says he just buries vegetable scraps in his yard to add nutrients. I’ll try that for now! He has tons of fruit trees and vegetables so if it works for him I’m sure it can work for me.

 

What were your accomplishments last year? What are your goals for 2015?