A year in my life: Fortune favors the bold

MovingToMinnesota-NonChronA year ago today, I was at the airport in Sacramento picking up Paul.  We were about to embark on the adventure of our lives because both of our lives were about to change drastically, but for the better. I was moving to Minnesota for love.

Yes, I was taking a huge risk, which some people probably thought was stupid or foolish. I had quit my stable job with bosses who appreciated me and my work and likely would have kept me around for as long as I wanted or needed.  I enjoyed working with them too.  They were very supportive, funny, and all around good people. But, something even better was in store for my life.  I knew I had to take a chance. It felt right deep in my soul.

The move to Minnesota

We had set aside three nights to move my stuff and ourselves to Minnesota from Sacramento. It took us almost five. You can read the moving to Minnesota saga here:

Slowly, we settled into life with each other.  There were small things we had to get used to, like sharing a bed with someone else. When you’ve spent your entire life sleeping alone, it can take some time to get used to sharing a bed. Now, it’s weird to go to bed without someone lying next to me. I noticed that the other day.

Life in Minnesota

Our comfort with each other isn’t a neglectful one that popular culture likes to portray about couples. It’s a settling into a happy life. Maybe it helps that both of us are in our 30s. OK, I’m almost 40, but my point is that we’re both fairly well adjusted adults who try to keep our egos in check. Something that makes for a boring romantic comedy.

Since moving to Minnesota, I’ve learned much about my newly adopted home.  It’s full of interesting things to do and see, lots of fairs, festivals, and markets, as well as the second most popular state fair in the U.S. I’ve also survived one of the most brutal winters in the past 50 years. Overall, I’ve realized that you have to enjoy each moment you can. Life is short, so don’t waste it.

The past and the future

Two years ago, or even five years ago, I had no idea that my life would change so dramatically. I was utterly single and weary of dating. Dating is not for the faint of heart. You have to be able to take rejection much like a salesperson.  Except, it’s not some product or service people are rejecting, it’s you.  But, as painful as it was, it was for the best. It took a long time but I found the best guy for me.

Over the past year, we’ve shared many laughs and a few tears. We’ve grown closer with each passing day and I have never been so happy.  Yes, that’s cliche, but it’s the truth.

I can’t wait to see what adventures we’ll have.

Non-traditional wedding, bridal stuff

budget, Las Vegas, engagementIf you haven’t heard by now, I am engaged to be married.  Yes, I am a fiancee, a bride to be. The thing is, I hate weddings. I like the idea of being married, but the hub-bub necessary to get to that point freaks me out.

Before I even met, Paul, I had decided that if I ever do get married, we’re having a small wedding in Las Vegas.  I don’t even know 100 people I’d invite to a party, much less have the means to pay for such a huge shindig.  Personally, I’d rather spend that money on a trip or a down payment on a house, or both.

Aside from the monetary issue, there is the stress issue. I don’t need unnecessary stress in my life and I don’t want to get stressed out about becoming Paul’s wife and Paul becoming my husband.

Brace yourself, I will probably be writing about this adventure even though I’m trying to make it as easy and go with the flow as possible.

First off, don’t ask about the engagement ring.  Personally, I got turned off by them when I found out in college that  they were pretty much created by a diamond company to artificially inflate the diamond market. There’s an example of marketing well done.

However, if Paul has his heart set on giving me one, I will accept it. I’m not a fool and it would make him happy.  We’ve already booked the ceremony and our flights for our trip to Vegas and subsequent honeymoon, so a ring is just a formality.  We are engaged to be married because we have been discussing it for months and came to a meeting of the minds on it.

Technically, we didn’t get engaged on Christmas. We just announced it on Facebook that day.

The first time Paul brought up marriage was when he surprised me for Valentine’s Day and unexpectedly showed up at my door in California.  The next day we went to the Golden Bear for lunch and while I was eating a grilled cheese sandwich, he asked me what I thought about getting married.  He wasn’t proposing, but more like feeling out the situation.  I told him that I was on board with whatever he suggested…or something like that.

Basically, the marriage question was out there and both of us were on the same page. We’ve been planning the wedding since I moved to the Twin Cities.

After living with him for 8 months, my mind has not changed. I am more in love with him today than I was the day he came to Sacramento to pick me up and take me to Minnesota.

New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

NewYearsResolutionsWhat I really need are goals for 2014, but I’m going to phrase them as resolutions because that’s more marketing friendly, right?

Whatever.

2014 is the year I turn 40.  Yep. I cannot believe it.  I still feel about 30.  I loved my 30s, but my 40s will begin with the love of my life at my side, so I’m ready to set some goals to enrich and possibly en-wealth (I know that’s not a word), myself.

1) Create a business plan for my blog. It’s time to stop pussy footing around and approach my writing in a more business-like manner.  I’m determined to increase all kinds of stats and actually get some income from my efforts.  The day I spent at Bloggy Boot Camp inspired me to change my mind and get things done in the blog world. Creating a plan will be the first step.

2) Stop going out to lunch.  This goal will help me in two ways.  First, I’ll lose some weight because I won’t be overindulging in burgers and french fries on a regular basis and second, more importantly, I will save a ton of money. If I can get my daily lunch cost under $5 per meal and still feel satisfied, I totally win.

3) Watch one new movie each month.  I love watching movies and seem to keep watching the same crap all the time.  OK, it’s not crap because I like the movies, but I want to expand my horizons.  I want to see some classics I have yet to enjoy.  I want to see new releases BEFORE they hit the DVD rack.

4) Read one new book every two months.  It’s really tough for me to find new books to read.  I love fiction.  I want to read more non-fiction, but it’s kind of boring.  Books on my Nook can be really cheap, so there’s no excuse for me to avoid this from a monetary standpoint.  I welcome any and all suggestions.

5) Make one new dish each month.  I’ll try to make it fairly healthy, but Paul is kind of particular about what he eats.  He is however, willing to try just about anything.  My real cooking fear is not the process, but the time management.  When should I start what? How long will it take me to prepare the meal in toto?

I’m trying to make these goals or resolutions as specific as possible.  When they get general (I want to lose weight! I want to be rich!) they feel impossible to reach.

Christmas Tradition: Dinner with the gals

ChristmasTraditionsOne of the things my sister, mom, and I have done since I moved to Sacramento is go out to dinner, just the three of us, some time just before Christmas.  We usually go somewhere nice like Ruth’s Chris or in last night’s case Bandera.  It’s a great bonding time.  We have fancy drinks and splurge on a good meal.

We take a break from the rush of the holidays and daily life in general, even if it’s only for a couple of hours. I always try to have Baileys on the rocks at the end of the dinner, but I keep overindulging in good wine.  Speaking of…

Last night, I accidentally ordered a $50 bottle of wine.  I was looking at the glass price.  Yes, I’d already had a glass of wine…and not enough to eat.  Oops. It was delightful, however.

Usually, we also give each other little gifts.  It’s a pretty ornament or something fancy, but small, we might not normally buy for ourselves.  This year, I totally forgot.  In my defense, I did have to fly halfway across the country for Christmas and have had quite a bit on my mind lately, but no worries. It’s all good.

 

Still frustrated after all these years…a new name, same old blog.

 

It took a month, but I finally moved my blog to a new domain.  Yes, tears of frustration were shed. I almost lost all my posts…twice. Paul was wonderful and helped me out immensely.  In the end, my old blog is now free of posts. Not because I planned it that way, but because I give up trying Yes, I’m aware that all of the SEO I built up over the past 10 years is gone, but honestly, I doubt it was that good anyway.

Why did I move?  It was time for a rebrand. I’ve outgrown the frustration.  OK, not completely, but I think my writing has grown beyond just ranting and raving at the stupidity in the world.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s plenty of stupidity in the world and I will still be confused and frustrated by it.  But, I like the freedom to write about whatever the hell I feel like…

Plus, I’d really like to focus on having my writing make money for me, so I’m going to get serious about the advice I learned from attending the Bloggy Boot Camp in October.

Regardless, thank you to the five people who have read my blog over the past few years and the past few days.  I honestly forget about you when I write, but I do appreciate it when you read.  I’ll keep writing in the same manner to which you’ve grown accustomed…for now.

Milestone: Hosting my first Thanksgiving

holidays, pie, apples, wineThat’s right, in a few weeks, I will be in charge of a holiday. My parents are flying in from California and Paul’s parents are coming down from North Dakota to celebrate with a big ol’ turkey.

As Thanksgivings go, it will be fairly small for me, only 6 adults in attendance.

However, it’s not the actual holiday that is freaking me out (I know everyone in attendance & Paul will lend a hand)…it’s the preparation leading up to it. I just don’t want to be making something only to realize I’m missing an ingredient. Then of course there are these obsessive thoughts:

  • What if the turkey doesn’t thaw in time?
  • What if we don’t have enough potatoes?
  • What appetizers should we serve?

One thing for certain, I will NOT be making ridiculous turkey gourd decorations.  I don’t have the time nor the talent.  I bought some stuff at various stores to hang/place here and there to make our apartment festive, but I’m not going to try and create something I see on Pinterest and create a whole new (and unnecessary) ball of stress.

Speaking of Pinterest, I am using it to stay organized. When I see an article or recipe that might be useful, I pin it to my Thanksgiving board.  Also, I’ve been keeping lists. Thanksgiving To Do & Thanksgiving to Buy are updated regularly….when I think of something I definitely want to have or should do before the parents see our apartment for the first time.

When it comes right down to it, I love holidays. The decorations, the gathering with family and friends, the good cheer, the food, it all makes me happy and I choose not to let it stress me out…too much.

Kick hunger this holiday season

Kickhunger logo and url email graphicI’m a fortunate person. I know that just a simple twist of fate could make life difficult.  So, when I was asked to help out with a fundraising effort for Taste of the NFL and their Kick Hunger Challenge, I jumped at the opportunity.

What is this? Taste of the NFL helps to raise funds for food banks all across the country.  Through their Kick Hunger Challenge 100% of the proceeds go to food banks.  You find a team and the money donated will go to a local food bank…And a little goes a long way.

For every dollar donated, the food bank is able to provide 8 meals.

My office is raising funds for the Second Harvest Heartland food bank.  Our goal is to raise $5,000.  That’s 40,000 meals.

Not only are the holidays upon us, but the cold is too.  Many families are still struggling.  In fact, I was reading an article in the Star Tribune that said,

More than 554,000 Minnesotans get federal food assistance — one out of every 10 people in the state. A third are children. Another quarter are elderly or disabled adults. Contrary to popular stereotypes, a majority live in families where at least one adult earns a paycheck.

These aren’t lazy people who just won’t get a job.  Many are children, some are elderly or disabled, and others are just down on their luck.

latteSo, if you could even just give up that morning latte just once, you could provide about 28 meals.

If you do find it in your heart to help out, please designate me, Amy Ruiz, as your Jones Lang LaSalle contact.

Thank you for your support!