A Love Letter to the Passing Year

Dear 2014,

The first movie I saw this year, your year, was “the Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” I sat in the theatre, memorized by the moving storyline of a man who constantly daydreamed and was too scared to make moves and big changes in his life. I left the cinema feeling particular inspired and decided to use the message of the movie as motivation for the new year. And what a year it was…

It started off with a position at a local paper; a position that I hated and was going nowhere. Out the blue, my current executive director called asking for help and eventually offered me an opportunity that I was happy to accept. A week later, I turned 28 and had the best birthday of my life, surrounded by friends, chocolate ganache cupcakes and tequila. A month before, I ended a fling that should have never happened to begin with and I wished on my birthday candles to meet someone awesome. Four days after my birthday, a cute fellow called me a “grammar Nazi” on OKCupid and asked me out. We met up for drinks and I was convinced that he didn’t like me. But we met again for a second date and I let him duct tape me to a wall in his apartment. I knew by our third date that I wanted to be his girlfriend and a little over a month later, we both told each other that we loved each other. A million and one adventures later with my beloved Steve…

The year progressed with me kicking ass at work, designing and laying out the biggest project that I ever completed. The July Artown festival came and went- it was a lot of work and stressful at times but it was a fun learning experience. My job has provided me with different fortuities- I met so many people who adore my organization and have a sincere desire to bring the arts to northern Nevada. I finally have health insurance (!). I pitched the idea of using new software and am now teaching myself how to use it. Above all else, I work with the most amazing women. They are my family. This was also the year that I was determined to complete my undergraduate degree. I did extremely well in one class and not so well in another but I’m so happy to be only one class away from my degree.

Of course, everything hasn’t been ideal but that’s life. You can only look back to reflect and learn. But to kind of quote Ice Cube, it’s been a good year. There was so much good music- I’ve become obsessed with EDM (like I couldn’t love Diplo anymore). I finally bought a gym membership and I didn’t go to my ten year high school reunion (which I’m glad I didn’t attend). I got my nose repierced and a diamond inked on my finger. I’m on my way to getting my driver’s license. A friend suggested I audition for a play. I did so and landed one of the leading roles. I hosted fun brunches and dinner parties- good times with friends; good times. Oh, and friends- I went to five weddings this year. Keep them coming…

As I write this, the last entry of the 20Something for the 2014, I listen to the “Walter Mitty” soundtrack. The music inspires me as I think about next year and how great it’s going to be. My one wish for 2015 to continue to be brave and live the life that I want to live. It’s time to step outside. Step outside

Thanks for everything, 2014. I have loved you dearly.
Andrea

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My Resolutions for 2015

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What are your resolutions for 2015, dear reader? Mine are:

  • Graduate (!!!)
  • Host more brunches and themed dinner parties
  • Go to Burning Man
  • Fix credit score and save money for traveling
  • Spend less time online and more time reading novels and practicing skating (both skateboarding and roller skating)
  • Stop backing out of plans made with friends (and write more letters to them)
  • Teach myself how to dance!
  • Get driver’s license
  • Stop being afraid of expressing my creativity
  • Write! Write! Write! Your idea notebook is filled with good stuff

Ten different resolutions is a lot, I know. I also know that I won’t accomplish them all- it’s only human. You can’t do everything you want to do. That leads to my number one resolution- being okay with the life I choose to live. I don’t want to live filled with sadness and regret. I want to think long and hard before I make that choice and stop beating myself if I make the poor decisions. I want to embrace the suck– the loneliness and sadness I feel and let that motivate me to be better; minimize that expectations I have about everything and surrender to what my life actually reveals. Instead of waiting to be inspired by someone else and being jealous that they’re living a life I wish I had, I want to start being the person I want to be by living the life I’d be envious of if I saw someone else living it. 

Everyone has the power to change and be something incredible- you can be an amazing friend, actress, employee, mother, surfer, whatever. The key word is try. Trying to make the best choices for yourself (and for you alone). Trying not to let everything get you down. Trying to live the best you can. We just need to put in that effort- and I believe that in the upcoming year, we will all become our best and do our best.

Whether or now you make resolutions, dear reader, I hope that 2015 is your year and that you make it a great one.

Thank you, Captain Picard. I will make it great!

Thank you, Captain Picard. I will make it great!

A Slice of Courage: Kid President

I’d like to introduce you to the coolest kid on the planet: Kid President.

Kid President (a.k.a Robby Novak) started his never-ending term back in 2012, creating his first pep talk video with his older brother, Brad Montague. Despite having osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease), Kid President dances (with Beyonce), runs and plays football. He inspires all to do good and be the best we can be. KP is everything I hope for a president to be: funny, charismatic and wise beyond his ten years (I’ll vote for him each election season!).

If you’re like me and the holiday season is severely stressing you, take a moment to watch one of Kid President’s pep talks and then, dance it out.

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30 Things Every Woman Should Know by her 30th Birthday

With the new year quickly approaching, I can’t help but think about 2015 and all the great things it will bring. I’ll turn 29 and I hope that the last year of my twenties will bring nothing but excitement and joy. I know that some hardships will be on the horizon (each year, my body acts more and more like it wants me dead) but I’m thrilled about my 30s. From what I hear, the 30s are the best time of one’s life- you finally know who you are and life finally sets into place.

I read Glamour magazine often (especially when Lupita Nyong’o is on the cover) and came across this list of thirty things every woman should know by her 30th birthday. I read over the list and thought it through- despite this being a list for a straight woman in her 30s, I think this list could apply to everyone (fellows included, minus the black lacy bra, unless you’re into that kind of thing. No judgement here)…

By 30, you should have:

  1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come (Andrea’s noteoh man, I have several of the later…)
  2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family
  3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour
  4. A purse, a suitcase and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying
  5. A youth you’re content to move beyond
  6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age. (Andrea’s note: I can’t wait to tell my future grandchild all the stories of Granny Andi living it up in New York City)
  7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age—and some money set aside to help fund it. (Andrea’s note: Hello 401K! Seriously, if you haven’t set one up, do it NOW!)
  8. An e-mail address, a voice mailbox and a bank account—all of which nobody has access to but you
  9. A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded (Andrea’s note: Hell yes- because I’m a bad, hard-working bitch)
  10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry
  11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black lace bra (Andrea’s note: I DO! I DO! I do have all of those things!)
  12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it
  13. The belief that you deserve it
  14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30
  15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship and all those other facets of life that do get better

By 30, you should know:

  1. How to fall in love without losing yourself (Andrea’s note: it took a while but I know how to now… finally)
  2. How you feel about having kids
  3. How to quit a job, break up with a man and confront a friend without ruining the friendship
  4. When to try harder and when to walk away
  5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next
  6. The names of: the secretary of state, your great-grandmother and the best tailor in town (Andrea’s note: This is the only one I’m iffy on- sorry, Mom and Dad… I don’t know your grandmas’ names. But I do know of a good tailor in Reno!)
  7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to
  8. How to take control of your own birthday (Andrea’s note: All I need is tequila and chocolate cake)
  9. That you can’t change the length of your calves, the width of your hips or the nature of your parents
  10. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over (Andrea’s note: Thank you, Jesus)
  11. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love
  12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs or not flossing for very long
  13. Who you can trust, who you can’t and why you shouldn’t take it personally
  14. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault
  15. Why they say life begins at 30 (Andrea’s note: I CAN’T WAIT!)

Flip the Switch

It’s been a rough week. I had my final on Monday, found out that an overly jealous ex is spreading nasty rumors and I’m beyond stressed with all the Christmas gifting I still need to complete. After heading back into the office Monday afternoon, I wanted to throw the biggest pity party for myself and invite everyone to join in my misery. Fortunately before I sent out the invitations, my educative director, Beth, called me into her office and asked me what was wrong. I explained to her my troubles and how I really disliked my life at the moment. Beth, with her soft South African accent, sat me down and shared some maternal wisdom, telling me that I needed to flip my switch.

Flipping the switch- what does that mean? It means, turning that frown upside. Turning a negative into a positive. Making the best out of any situation. I will admit that I’m terrible at doing that as I like to bathe in my own misery. But what happens when you make that shift and start looking up? You realize that things are not so bad and that you can fix things. You can make positive change happen. It may take a while to fix but in the meantime, you know that things are good and that life is pretty great!

So, how did I make that switch? I may have not done well on that final but hey! The tough school semester is finally over (!!!) and in next semester- my final semester- I will study harder and get that A+. I blocked and finally deleted my Reddit account where I read those rumors- it was about time I got off that site anyway. There are more important things to do than waste precious time on scandalous websites (and after deleting, my entire body felt lighter!). I may have missed out on decorating the Christmas tree but the presents that I’m giving my loved ones this year are amazing! I’m excited to share them- this is going to be one hell of a Christmas.

When life gets tough, dear reader, how do you flip the switch?

A Slice of Courage: Shonda Rhimes

My friends are obsessed with “Grey’s Anatomy.” My sister raves about “Scandal.” As much as I tried, I cannot get into these shows. But I still love the shows’ creator, Shonda Rhimes. When I was in high school, I dabbled with the idea of going to film school. If I stuck out with that dream, I would hope to have a career like Rhimes’- or at least to work for her. She proves that hard work does pay off; that sometimes, a “no” is the best thing you can hear; and a creative mind is the greatest thing you can own.

As I think about the new year and the things I want to achieve in 2105, I go back to a poignant cartoon with Rhimes’ words of wisdom. Life is about working hard, not dreaming. I will admit- I am a HUGE dreamer, and it’s true that dreams can point us in the right direction but dreams can only do so much. Once you know the way down that path, you have to start walking.

Here’s to all you walkers- all you doers- working hard to make great things happen.

Unplugged

I did it. I deactivated my Facebook page for three days. Yes, it is a small feat but I’m still incredibly proud of myself.  I am a child of social media. Sad to say, it’s one of my best friends. I visit Facebook more than my friends. I’m more involved in the conversations found on Reddit than I am with the ones people around me are having. It was about time that I quit, if even just for a moment. After a particular rough Monday, I unplugged from Facebook, deleted my Tumblr account, put a block on Reddit and fell asleep, not reading status updates but a book. My week consisted of lots of reading, especially when it came to homework. I worked on my Christmas cards, went running out in the rain and took proper care of my (still, unfortunately) infected eye. At work, I seemed more focused, getting more tasks done. In all seriousness, I can get use to not having social media in my life.

But at the same time, social media is great and I won’t lie- I missed Facebook a little bit. I wasn’t able to connect with different groups and people who I don’t have phone numbers for. I get more readers to this blog by posting on social media. I love Facebook for the event invites and the trending topics (it was from Facebook where I learned about all the Ferguson protesting). I know that my mom loves seeing photos of me on FB. It’s beneficial to have, yet I felt such joy being away from it for a bit.

I know that parting with social media won’t end all the problems in the world nor all the ones in my life. I have to admit that not looking at Facebook made me a bit happier-I didn’t feel the need to one up on everything nor compare myself to any other person (yes, I am that person who suffers from social media jealous despite knowing that most people post their highlight reel and hide their severe drama). Plus, I so was productive! Now, my dilemma: to keep Facebook or delete it for good?

I think the thing to do is limit yourself. It’s like ice cream- you maybe want the entire carton but you only dish yourself out a small serving- it’s healthier for you that way. I can be on Facebook/Reddit/whatever site during my breaks at work but once I get home and on the weekends, it’s all about my world and what I’m experiencing in the present. I don’t like to ruin key, beautiful moments by stopping to take a picture- I need to treat my social media the same way. I don’t need to disturb me time (especially since I get so little of it) by checking a status update.

So, dear reader, what are your thought on social media (Facebook, to be exact)? How do you balance your use of social media?

This and That

Who had a good Thanksgiving? After all the eating, playing nurse for my ailing boyfriend and watching the latest release in “The Hunger Games” series (go see it!), I am ready for Christmas. But first comes finals, the dreaded eye infection due to stress (it’s already formed), dinners and drinks with friends, holiday shopping, volunteering, card writing, watching film favorites to prepare for next year’s Oscars (and “Peter Pan!“), cookie baking, working out to battle all the cookie eating… As I brace myself for my new round of hectic/crazy schedule, I have some things floating around in head that I need to write down and reflect on before they escape…

There are so many causes and charities in the world to focus on- there is so much in daily life to focus on. But each year, I try to pick a different charity or four to donate to. Each year, I donate to ONE which focuses on ending extreme poverty and fighting the AIDS pandemic all over the global, especially in Africa. I’ve been supporting the cause since my teenage years, buying ONE clothes at my local Gap store (today is also World AIDS Day- hop on the ONE site to give $1. That buck will help a little girl in sub-Saharan Africa get much needed drugs to help ease the effects of HIV). If you’re looking to support a US based charity, I suggest the American Red Cross. I like the Red Cross because they’re there in the community after a major disaster like a hurricane or a tornado and there after a personal disaster like a house fire. I also like the Red Cross because it’s easy to make a donation to program in someone’s name. When I’m fresh out of ideas on what to give a friend, I make a donation in their name- its a win-win for everyone. On the local level, the Nevada Humane Society is always looking for monetary donations and volunteers. Spend sometime with cute kittens and puppies!

Earlier last week (before I got outraged by the Ferguson verdict), I made two videos about the things I was thankful for. Of course, there are more things that I’m thankful for other than my dancing, music, my body and my job. I don’t write about my family much but I’m thankful for them. I’m especially thankful for my friends- there are some days I can’t live without their silliness. I’m obsessed with my boyfriend (in the best way possible). When all is lost in my world, I can count on him to find me. Yes, he grinds my gears every once in a while (and I’m sure that I grind his) but I’m still head over heels in love with him. He is my best friend and I can’t wait to spend the rest of the holiday season with him.

Who is going to be more daring with fashion next year- ME!

Who is going to be more daring with fashion next year- ME!

I’m already thinking about 2015 resolutions. I don’t like making them (I’ll write more about that later) but my mind still wanders to all the things I want to accomplish next year: finish school; go to Burning Man with Steve; spend less time online and more time skating; wear more full, poufy skirts… I’m excited about the many possibilites that willl could present themselves and my last year as a twenty-something.

What’s on your mind this week, dear reader? Happy December!