things that are making me happy

Source: beagleandbear.tumblr.com via Kelly on Pinterest

 

What is making you happy as of late?

 

my life: keep moving forward

 

I graduated from college with a degree in 7-12 social studies education in May 2011. I spent all last summer applying for jobs and not getting one (since my degree is in an oversaturated licensure area for my home state of Ohio). I accepted a job outside of my licensure area at a charter school based on promises and pure panic of the unknown. The job turned out to be a bad fit for my career aspirations and my strengths and passions. Add in family issues, and I quit two months later. I’ve been coaching and subbing the past school year, and I truly loved it. It was really hard, but I felt like it was what I needed my first year out of college.

However, I’m back into the job search again now that it’s summer and schools are again searching for new hires. I’ve been rejected from the only three full-time positions I have received interviews for and have been crying my eyes out, doubting myself. I keep thinking: “Why did I choose this degree? It’s my passion and I’m good at it, but there aren’t any jobs in Ohio. When I was 18 and had never lived outside of my childhood home, I thought I’d be okay moving states away for a job. Five years later, everything is different and I know that’s not right for me at this point. But I have student loan debt! And I’m planning a wedding and living with my parents! What am I going to do? Should I completely change my career? My resume and references are so solid, why does no one want me?” And everyone – friends, coworkers, people I’ve just met – has some opinion on my life: “Why would you major in such a populated field?” “You know, there’s plenty of jobs in Texas.” “Why do you want to be in public education with the changes going on?” “You’d make a great lawyer. Have you thought about law school?” “You’re too young to be married.” “You have plenty of time before you need to settle down.” etc., etc.

 

 

I know, despite the stresses I’ve mentioned, that I am extremely blessed. My life is spared from incredible hardships that so many others have to navigate, oftentimes with less than ideal resources. But it’s hard, it’s so hard, to not get bogged down in a pity party. To look at what others my age have achieved and the life they’ve settled into and not feel like I must be doing something wrong if I can’t get there, too.

So I let myself have a pity party. I normally try to limit my moping to one day per bad news item/setback. Back-to-back bad news yesterday and Monday lead to two depressed days in a row – but that’s enough. Time to keep moving forward.

I’m going to practice gratitude and look on the bright side. I’m going to keep applying for teaching positions but (try) not to obsess over the whole process. I’m going to have faith that things will work out in a favorable way as long as I continue to work hard and pursue challenging opportunities that bring out my strengths, feed my passion, and bring me joy.

It will be okay. I am blessed. Life is good.

 

 

 

P.S. Special thanks to Daniel and my best friends for their kind words, as well as to favorite blogger Jess for this post. I needed a bit of a nudge to buck up and keep going : )

get fit get strong: the color run

This past Saturday I completed an event called The Color Run. Basically, it’s a 5K held in various locations across the country in order to raise funds for each city’s charity of choice. However, the event is not timed and no prizes are given out. Instead, about every kilometer there is a different “color zone” and the race’s staff throws colored powder at you. By the end of the race, you’re four different colors. At the finish line, there is a countdown and everyone throws colored powder in the air to create a gigantic color cloud…and you get even more colorful, like I was in the picture above! In order to participate in the event, you had to register in a team of four or more. It’s not a relay or anything like that, but it makes the event more of a fun and friendly atmosphere – especially because you get to pick your team name, which is fun!

I registered as a member of Gryffindor with my friend Sarah (pictured above) and some of her sorority sisters. My team mainly walked the event, though we did run (and jump and dance and roll) through the color zones (I’d say something like 1/3-1/4 of the participants walked the event…there were over 8,000 people, so it’s hard to tell for sure!). Afterwards, we took lots of photos, got dusted off (somewhat) by leafblowers via the event staff, and ate lunch. Once I got home, the powder came off pretty easily in the shower. There was some blue on my skin for a couple days…but only because it was the only color that I rolled around in on the ground! A tiny bit of green was in my hair still, too, in its brightest blondest spot (my hair is medium blonde, so very light blonde hair probably would retain the powder longer). It all was gone within a couple of days and showers, though. I did have a moderate migraine for most of the day afterward. I wasn’t sure if I was dehydrated, having caffeine withdrawal, really tired, etc. I tried my usual migraine remedies and the headache wouldn’t quit. I think it might have been from inhaling lots of the powder, as I am sensitive to things like that and was spitting colored salvia after every color zone. Nonetheless, I truly had a blast and I’m glad I did it! Here are photos of Gryffindor before and after the event:

 

 

For more details on The Color Run, read its official “About” page, check out its Pinterest and Facebook, and watch its videos.

*Photos courtesy of my friend Sarah! : )

new year’s all year challenge: may reflections and june goals

In January I introduced the 2012 New Year’s All Year Challenge, in which I made broad “endpoint” goals for the year and explained that each month I will make specific small goals that are stepping stones to my endpoint aims. Each month I will also reflect on the previous month’s goals and efforts. I know I’m a bit a lot late with publishing this month’s post, but I did make my June goals already and have been working on them. Anyway, here they are:

 

 

May goals:

  • Health: learn more about healthy eating and train for 5K
  • Finances: keep saving money and spend smarter
  • Relationships: be less selfish in my thoughts and actions
  • Wedding: work on save-the-dates, research wedding day photographers, and research DJs
  • Career: do well advising swimming intramurals and begin applying for full-time positions as they get posted
  • Self-enrichment: cook and bake more

 

Reflections on May goals:

I was hit-and-miss with my May goals. I visited a nutritionist and started altering my diet accordingly. I ran a few times but nowhere near as much or as consistently as I had planned. I was rather low on money due to big car repairs and a (gulp) speeding ticket. I didn’t work on any of the wedding to-do list, but we did get engagement photos taken! Career-wise, I did well advising swimming and applying for full-time jobs (I’ve had some interviews already! Here’s hoping something comes about, knock on wood!). I also finished off the school year for a teacher who needed surgery and did well with that experience. I didn’t cook or bake any new recipes, though.

 

 

June goals:

  • Health: be more consistent with new eating habits and work out more
  • Finances: become more financially literate
  • Relationships: don’t judge others
  • Wedding: research wedding day photographers and make a “short list”
  • Career: apply for full-time positions as they get posted and continue reading nonfiction books and articles
  • Self-enrichment: practice gratitude

 

my life: today’s my 23rd birthday

 

 

After my sophomore year of and graduation from college (both major milestones in my life), I didn’t think I’d have another “milestone year” until my first year as a full-time teacher. Or the year I got married. Or the year I lived totally on my own. Something like that. However, while nothing like that happened to me this year, but I still consider my 22nd year – one in which I got rejected from jobs, accepted my first full-time job and moved, quit my first full-time job and moved again, got rejected from some more jobs, got engaged, became a high school head coach, and worked part-time as a substitute teacher (despite my need and best efforts to gain more hours), only to start the whole full-time job search over again just like last summer – to have been one of the most important years in my life. 

I learned SO MUCH. I learned how truly stressful all of life can be when money is tight and you are living a paycheck-to-paycheck existence. I learned how to let go of the money worries, do my best, and trust it will be okay. I learned how very lucky and blessed I am to have supportive parents and future in-laws who are willing to help me out while the education job market is tight. And at swim meets. And planning my wedding. And pretty much anything I go to them for. I learned that $2.75 beers of the month and $1.29 Redboxes add just as much fun and memories to a night as $5.50 craft brews and $10.00 movie tickets. I learned I can handle almost every age group or subject in grades 7-12 and if a lane line breaks in the middle of a swim meet I won’t have a breakdown. I learned to always ask a question if you don’t know what you’re doing and never to apologize for it. I learned I missed the city of Bowling Green and Northwest Ohio even more than I anticipated I would. I learned how to be in a long-distance relationship with someone I used to be with for hours every day. I learned to say “no” sometimes and not feel (too) bad. I learned how to stop making excuses and just do what I need to do. I learned I’m going to screw up and mistakes are stressful but you just have to keep moving forward. I learned that just because life isn’t going the exact way you wish it was, doesn’t mean it’s not truly beautiful.

Yes, I’m working on getting my career where I want it to be, planning a wedding, and getting healthy, all while spending as much time with loved ones as I can. It can be overwhelming at times, but my life is so full of joy. I can’t wait to see what lessons and memories 23 brings me.

 

use it: nail polish

Polishes I’m loving lately:

China Glaze Captiol Colours (Hunger Games) in Riveting: As both a big nail polish and Hunger Games fan, I of course felt compelled to add some of China Glaze’s Capitol Colours collection to my personal polish stock. I was immediately drawn to Riveting since I have no orange polishes yet and because to me it just screamed “the girl on fire.” It applied quite easily. I can’t attest to its staying power because I had to remove it earlier than planned (due to attending an event for which bright orange nail polish was inappropriate), though it did not chip for the few days I was wearing it.

 

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Cherry, Cherry, Bang, Bang: I’ve shared my reasons for admiring Salon Hansen Complete Salon Manicure before, so I won’t go into details about the quality of the formula again. However, I can’t stress enough how much I just LOVE this color. It’s beautiful and bright without being neon. Every time I looked at my nails I just felt happy!

 

China Glaze Capitol Colours (Hunger Games) in Smoke and Ashes + Essie in Peach Daiquiri: I originally intended to wear just Smoke and Ashes, since I had recently purchased it and hadn’t worn it yet. However, tomorrow is the last day of school (which teachers enjoy just as much as students!) and my birthday is in a couple of days, so while black nail polish is certainly sophisticated, it wasn’t quite as fun as this week requires. I attempted to use Peach Daiquiri to create a black-and-pink French mani, but ended up creating way too thick of a pink line at the top of my nails. I adapted and decided aimed for ombre nails instead. I horizontally painted 1/3 to a 1/4 of the top of each nail pink. After each horizontal line dried, I then (with a trace amount of polish on the brush) painted pink vertically over the already-dried black. Results – solid pink tops of nails, dark purple/pink fades in the middle, with very light pink and purple (or even black) bottoms. It’s not the best ombre job since (a) wasn’t even planning on it when I started and (b) I didn’t use a sponge to shade like most tutorials recommend, but I still like it for my first attempt. In any case, it definitely fulfills this week’s fun factor!

 

Do you enjoy special collections of polishes? Have you tried ombre nails or any other unique nail trend lately?