Saturday, September 18, 2010

Many Updates!

A lot has happened since I last posted!  I started this blog totally gung ho about it, and then got busy for once and just stopped.  Hah.  So here are my updates, in order by category:

I got a job, hooray!  I'm a bartender/waitress in the bar of a nice restaurant in town.  It's one of the two "fancy" restaurants we have, although after working there I realize it's really not that fancy.  I can only imagine what goes on in less fancy places.  Eek.

I've never had a food industry/service industry job before, so it's a lot to get used to.  I'm also not very familiar with alcohol, so I pretty much started out at ground zero.  I think I've mastered the art of the basic martini (did you know that the sign of a good martini is that there are tiny ice shavings floating on the top?  They get there if you shake it thoroughly enough.)  A big part of this job (which I didn't realize when I got it) is waitressing.  People are allowed to eat in the bar part of the restaurant, so I'm serving up bread/food/preparing desserts just like the rest of the waitstaff.  Not ideal.  But the bar isn't that busy in this small town, so I guess it makes sense to have me waitress too.

By the way, sometimes I get free soup from work <3.

Still at my parents house.  Now that I'm working, though, I can start paying back my parents the money they lent me, and save up for an apartment.

My boyfriend and I are thinking of living together!  I've always suggested it as something to do eventually, but he surprised me by actually being into it now!  He needs to save up money, too, and we still have to talk about it more, to make sure its the right thing for us, but it looks like it might happen in a month or two!

I've talked with one of the best friends, J, about it, who has lived with her bf for the last 6 months or so.  She said the relationship is completely different than how it was before - not in a good or bad way, per se.  There were difficulties like dish washing schedules, etc, but now I think they're doing well.

My bf and I have been dating for over 4 years now, and we've been the happiest in the last year.  So things would seem as though it'd be a good choice to live together.  But it's scary, because what if it makes us break up?  But what we've decided, I think, is that if living together (ie getting closer) will break us up, then that's what's meant to be and it'll happen whether we live together now or wait another year.  And the only thing, therefore, that would prevent us from living together, is the fear of finding out that we're actually not that compatible.

So let's do it, I say! :)

I have stopped using my food diary.  Lol.  That lasted about a week.  I've also stopped working out.


The reason I have stopped those things is because I am bartending/waitressing now, and so I'm on my feet and moving around getting exercise that way.

But what I've been tending to do, which is really bad, is eat unhealthily when I get home (which is typically around midnight).  I'm talking cereal, pizza bread, and any other bread-product we might have in the fridge.  Sandwiches.  With chips.  And vegetables, too, sure.  But not nearly enough to make all those carbs okay.

Will work on improving this.  I promise.

My friend J, mentioned above, and I went to a yoga class the other day.  It was great!  It was hatha, but had some flow elements to it, too.  When it was over, I was SO TIRED.  Like exhausted.  I've never experienced that from doing yoga before.

The yoga I usually do is from YOGAmazing podcasts (check them out here - I love them!!!)  They're available free on iTunes, and they're all absolutely fabulous.  The teacher, Chaz, is great - really helpful and funny, too.  Most classes are 30 minutes.

But with all of those, it's me by myself in my room.  Last week was the first time I had ever been to a real live class.  Maybe that's why I was so tired?  Maybe I'm just more tired than I normally am?  I don't know.  But something about that class made me want to just stay in Shivasana and never leave.  It'll be interesting to see what happens next time I go.  But before we go to that class again, we might try a spin class, offered at the same studio.  I'll keep you posted either way.

How do you guys feel after a yoga class?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Job Hunting

I haven't had too many jobs in my life.  My dad didn't want me to work when I was still in high school because he thought that I was too young to have to do that - which I think is cool.  Some parents make their kids work and pay for their own times going out and shopping.  I was lucky in that my dad paid for my fun.  Although, as I mentioned in my introductory post, I've always been stingy with money, so I guess it wasn't that much of a burden for him to pay for me.

My first real job was at Express (the clothing store in the mall).  I loved it!  I love clothes and I loved the well-lit, clean environment with the music going and people my age near by.  I've always heard that retail is like the worst possible job, but I don't know - I really enjoyed it!  I left that job because I moved.  But I've always wanted to go back to retail!

Over summer I had a job that was so silly I'm not even going to get into it.  But lately I've been looking around for something else.  In a small town, there aren't too many options available (that I could actually see myself doing, anyway.)  There's jobs where I'd need a commercial license and jobs where I'd need prior electrical experience... but nothing that fits.  The other thing is that it's all either in the papers or by word of mouth - no one puts ads online!  One thing that I would love about living in a big city is to be able to not only job hunt, but apartment hunt online!  We're so behind the times here...

Anyway - a month or two ago I dropped off my resume at a children's clothing and toy store in town.  They weren't hiring at the time, but a few weeks ago they called me saying they would be hiring soon!  It sounds perfect for me - a nice environment as described above, and friendly moms and kids coming in.  Plus the store is clean and well-lit!  Yay!  The only downside is that it's only part time.

I'm currently living with my parents.  Which is a whole other story in itself.  Half my stuff from my apartment is in our basement and the other half is in my bedroom, all still in boxes.  I literally jump over things to get around in here.  Not ideal.  The plan was to move home, save up a bunch of money over summer, and then move out and not have to live month-to-month (which I found out the hard way is quite stressful.)

Stuff.  Costs.  Money.  A lot of money.  And I don't even go out that much or buy "frivolous luxuries" like coffee or cigarettes or cocktails or even gum.  I can't even imagine what my bank account would look like if I had daily expenses like that.  Having to pay for things myself has definitely been a wake up call from the real world.

So I need a full time job so that I can afford an apartment.  I've never had a full time job before, because I've always been in school (and had student loans to help pay rent.)  So it will definitely be a different experience.

I applied at a restaurant's bar, but they found someone else, who had experience.  I've never bar tended before, and I don't know much about alcohol, quite frankly.  Not so much my thing.  But I've always thought it'd be cool (and a great party skill!) to know how to make drinks.  It would been nice to work there part time and at the kids' store part time, though, because I'd make as much as with one full time job.

A week ago, I put in my resume with an accounting firm, as they're hiring an office admin.  I'd enjoy that job because not only do I actually have some qualifications for that position, but its again in a nice, clean, will-lit environment.  But I haven't heard back yet.  This morning I went in to check up on it, and was told that my resume is "still in review" and that I'll hear something in a week or two.

Businesses are so slow.  Maybe it's just small town businesses.  But I've applied to places before and was told I'd get a call and never did.  Not good business practices, if you ask me.

It's frustrating to wait.

Oh well.

Has anyone else experienced businesses being slow with getting back to you?  Or not calling you at all?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Balancing Act

This "diet" is really hard.  I guess I've never been on one before.  I've always been thin, and I still am.  But I'm slowly getting un-thin.  Which is un-acceptable.  (For me, anyway.)

So I decided to start paying more attention to what I'm eating, with the help of my handy-dandy food diary, MyFitnessPal, which I raved about in this post.  (It's a free iPhone app - go check it out!!)

The first day using the diary was great - I ate even fewer calories than I was allowed to.  The second day I did really well... until night time.  I went and saw Inception with my boyfriend and one of his friends, and afterwards we made a frozen pizza.  (Palermo's Thin-Crust Grilled Chicken Caesar is FABULOUS, btw.)  There were a few slices left... and I've never been one to waste food, so... 

It put me 43 calories over my daily allowance. :(

But, I figured that was okay, since 43 isn't that much, and I don't really need to lose weight anyway.


Anyway, today was Day 3.  Had a BLT for lunch (turkey bacon) which, including a few other things I ate, set me back over 1,000 cals.  Hah!  Had a massive mixed greens salad with raw brocolli for dinner (how disciplined am I, right?)  But it left me totally craving something... tastier.  So I had some cake.

As I type this, I realize how silly that sounds.  I almost can't believe how little self-control I have.   Good thing I'm catching this weight gain in the early stages and not waiting a few years... Dunno if I could swing it back after that long.

But I'm going to go easy on myself and chalk this up to standard difficulties experienced in the beginning of any new thing.  I'll probably allow myself a few more days of messing up before I get strict and keep to my 1530 cal limit.  I don't want to go crazy with this dieting thing - just keep a good balance between eating right and eating fun.

One thing I'm definitely grateful for is the fact that I'm becoming so much more aware of what I'm eating.  Who knew eggs had so much cholesterol?  Who knew it takes so long to walk off calories?  Now I do.  And I'm on my way to making some important-yet-subtle life changes in the area of eating.  :)

What about you guys - how do you keep your self-control when watching what you eat?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fabulous iPhone App

I started a food diary today.  I don't want to lose weight, per se, but I definitely want to tone up a bit.  I'm starting to get flabby.  No good.  I always hear about how great food diaries are because it makes you really think about what you're about to eat BEFORE you make mistakes.  And I've always been one to finish all the pasta on my plate.  ...And then get seconds.  So I think I could use this.

I'm using an app on my iPhone called MyFitnessPal.  It was free!  All you do is put in your current weight and height, and then your goal weight, and it calculates how many calories you should be eating each day.  Then you enter in all the food you eat - including water - and it tells you how many calories you're eating.  It's great because not only does it tell you the calories, but it tells you the fat, sodium, sugars, cholesterol, etc that are in each food.

The choices they have are unbelievably specific, too.  I searched "everything bagel and cream cheese" and it brought up a list of choices, including Thomas Everything Bagels, which was the kind I was eating.  (Btw, at 270 calories that wasn't the best choice of my day.)  It also had PastaRoni Shells & White Cheddar and the other things I ate.  You can also specify how many servings or cups of each item you ate.  Fabulous!

Also, you can put in your fitness activities, too.  Same deal: you search for the activity, and then enter in how many minutes you did it, and it calculates the calories you burned.  And again, there are maaaany choices.  I'm quite impressed with how thorough this app is.

Of course this app can't be completely exact (I'd assume), because each person has a different body fat content etc, but it'll at least be a good indicator of how well you're doing.  Plus, keeping a food diary at all is great, because it makes you aware of what you're putting into your body.

So often I just mindlessly eat, and before I know it, the bag of chips is empty, and I don't even remember how full it was to begin with.  Or I'll eat "just a few brownies" without watching how many calories I'm racking up.  But with this food diary, I'm already paying more attention to what I'm eating :).  It's sort of like a game: I don't want to go over my calorie limit or I'll "lose".  I don't know, I think it's fun :).

Do you keep a food journal?  What kind?  Has it worked for you?  Share your story in the comments!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting Unstuck

Let's see how many people can relate to the following: I'm currently working at a job that I hate.  I don't really see the value in what I'm doing, although other people seem to think it's a decent way to make a living.  For me, though, it's just temporary.  Just something to make money while I figure out what I really want to do.

...But what do I really want to do?

(Sound familiar?)

This hasn't always been an area of confusion in my life - I used to be very sure of what I wanted.  Since junior year of high school, I was sure I wanted to be a composer.  Specifically, I wanted to score movies (a.k.a. write the original soundtrack).  That's why I went to Los Angeles to study music theory, and that's why that year was one of the best of my life.  I was honestly doing something I loved and found absolutely fascinating.  (Not to mention that I was doing it in a fabulously glamorous and beautiful place.)

You might be wondering, "What changed?"

The most probable answer: I let fear get in the way.  I was afraid to be out in LA on my own; I was afraid to really go after what I wanted, because I might mess up or figure out that I wasn't as talented as I thought; and I was afraid of failing.  As a result, I failed.  Ironic?  Kinda.  Way too common a phenomenon in our society?  Definitely.

I've been checking out a lot of personal development stuff in the past few months.  Reading blogs (such as Steve Pavlina's), watching videos of Tony Robins' and Seth Godin's talks, and much, much more.  They often address the same topics: how to achieve goals, how to stop fear from getting in the way, and how to figure out what you really want to do.  (I obviously need to keep reading about the last one, as I'm still unclear on my personal desires for career, etc.)

All of these guys have really fascinating things to say.  Some of their ideas and techniques are so simple, it's amazing that more people don't realize it and practice them.  But it's hard.  Letting fear control your actions and shove your goals to the sidelines is way too comfortable to consider trying to break out of that cycle.  It's something we all just ride with, every day, all the time.   "My job isn't that bad."  "Maybe I'll try that someday."  "I'm fine just settling for my current situation right now."


That's what I've been doing for the last 4 years of college and look where it's gotten me.  Still in this small town (did I mention that I'm a city girl?)  About to get a degree that will serve no practical purpose other than "any degree is better than no degree."  Great, so with this degree I'll be able to make $1 more per hour doing data entry than my non-degree-possessing co-workers.  Fabulous.

The more I read/watch this personal development stuff, the more I see just how poorly I've been living.  Sure, I'd consider myself to be an overall happy person: I have my family and friends, and a few hobbies I like to do.  Work isn't that bad, and my parents help support me anyway.

Anyone else in a similar boat?

But imagine if you could be doing anything you wanted right now.  Yes, that includes making passive income while lounging on a beach in the Bahamas.  Or being the next expert of your desired field.  Or jet-setting across the world, being welcomed by thousands of adoring fans.  Or taking the year to volunteer to help support a struggling third-world country, while not having to worry about how you'll support yourself when you get home.

If you could do anything you wanted, anything at all, do you think you would still say, "Yeah, I guess I'm happy overall"?  Or would you shout it from the rooftops that you've never been more fulfilled in your self and your surroundings, that you've never enjoyed getting up to "to go work" as much as you do now, and that there's no way in hell you'd ever go back to your previous life?

That's what I want.  I want to take a risk and just see how good things can get.  How happy can I be, how much money can I make, how much self-confidence can I have, how many people can I reach out to and help in the process.

More on my journey to finding the path to get me there in the posts to come...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Where to begin...

Let's start with a few introductory basics:
My name is Hannah.  I'm 22 years old.  I live in a small Midwestern town.  I've been with my boyfriend on and off for over 4 years.  I'm just a few credits short of getting my bachelors degree.  I don't know what to do with my life.

Now, for more detail:
I was born in California and didn't have to worry about money, although I was raised to know the value of a dollar and as such I'm quite stingy.  When I was 16 my parents and I moved to the Midwest.  I was excited about it because I've always loved change and thought it would be quaint to live amongst farmers, etc.  The town we moved to happened to be unlike any other Midwestern town, though, in that everyone is very spiritual and health conscious.  Kinda cool; kinda weird.

I tried out a few colleges in the area and didn't care for them.  I moved to Los Angeles for a year to study music theory and I absolutely loved it.  But, I missed my family and friends and the cheap cost of living that only the Midwest offers, so I moved back.  It's been about 2 years since then.  For the most part I've been alright back here, because its a friendly small town and its easy.


Wait a minute.  Who wants that?  Who wants to live their life by doing the same, non-challenging things over and over, every day?  (Well, it seems like most Americans do, because that's how they live, but that's beside the point.)

I'm sick of it.

I crave challenge.  I crave adventure.  I crave... change.  As I said before, I've always been a big fan of change.  I guess I get bored easily.

So now I'm at a crossroads, it would seem.  I'm nearing completion of a degree that my parents want for me that I could care less about.  In fact, I care so little about it, that I am considering purposely not taking the 2 remaining classes I have this fall, just because I would actually prefer to not have this degree.  Is that crazy?


But this is also a great time in my life, because I can really do anything I want.  I have nothing holding me down to this location nor routine (if anything, all signals point to escaping my current location and routine.)  I can literally move anywhere I want and start any life I can imagine.

I've thought about leaving the country.  There is a wide assortment of things I dislike about the way the US government is run.  But that's another story.  And unfortunately it's a relatively insignificant story, because I'm going to stay in the US anyway.  (Work visas, etc. are too much of a hassle to think about right now.)

So:  Here I am.  A newly appointed member of the "adult" club.  Not "adult" as in porn; I mean that I'm finally an adult.  And it's about time I started acting like it.