Tag Archives: creativity

It’s Baby Season.

No babies for me, but babies for everyone else.

It’s been keeping me busy.


For more baby goodness, check out my other blog.

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2012 Goals: First Quarter Review

Remember this? Well, I promise you I haven’t. Although sometimes it’s not at the forefront of my mind as it should be. But it’s there. Somewhere.

Being that we have just (as in a few weeks ago) passed the end of the first quarter, I figure it’s a good time to see just how I am doing (or not doing, in the case of some of them).

1. Financial

  • Continue using Mint.com to track and assess my finances. I will log-in every weekday that I am at work. – No. As I learned, it’s not worth logging in every day. I do still check my bank accounts daily and track my spending on two different spreadsheets.
  • Save $1000 to go towards purchasing a new laptop. I am using Smarty Pig to put a minimum of $25 from each paycheck towards this goal (hey, I get at least 4 paychecks a month). – HA HA HA. Well, I have kept to my promise of putting a minimum of $25/check into Smarty Pig. But I no longer have four paychecks. Instead, I put in $50 every two weeks. Go me. But the laptop? Already bought (via credit) after my other one crapped on me. Now, I am saving for a better camera.
  • Pay the deductible for my auto claim without using credit by June 30th. ($500) – Funny how things work out. I decided not to fix the hail damage. And then was hit and run in a parking lot. And paid my $500 deductible. Out of pocket. Before June 30th. CROSS IT OFF THE LIST!
  • Participate in and conquer No Spend January with my friends, with focus being on not eating out at all (with one exception of a lunch date with my former boss mid-month. Hey, it was already scheduled). Mint.com will be used to judge how succesful–reduce food and dining expenses by $500. – A learning experience.
  • DO NOT USE CREDIT CARDS. (Exception: iTunes account is linked to a credit card. Can use, but must pay-off balance each month.) I acknowledge emergency situations may pop up, and those will be assessed on an as-needed basis. Not bad. Other than putting a laptop on my card, I’ve done fairy well on this. Small things here and there when my card has been misplaced, but it’s no longer a habit.
  • Pay down credit debt substantially. Pay off Bon Ton and Barclay bills and have Citibank paid off by August 2013 (yes, this goes into the following year. But that is when my 0% interest ends!). Will likely post more about this at later date to bore tha pants off of everyone. Succesful, so far. Bon Ton will be paid off next month. Barclay now a bit behind schedule due to the laptop, but I’ve been sticking to an aggressive pay-off plan.
  • NO LONGER RELY ON INCOME FROM YOUNKERS JOB BY OCTOBER. This one is a bit vague, but if I follow healthier spending habits I will no longer rely on that “extra income” and can leave before the next holiday season. LOL. I quit. Before October. So this is done. Sometimes free time is just worth so much more.

2. Health

  • Lose thirty pounds. Clear and simple. Not too extreme, but will make a definite difference. – Five down, at least. 
  • Give blood regularly. Check.
  • Complete C25k again and NOT overdo it. Complete before May 1st. Let myself ease back into running rather than thinking I’m still 17 and can run 6 minute miles. I need to accept I have a lot of work to do! Have not officially failed yet, but will. I’m more than two weeks behind. And can’t run. So I have been doing it on the elliptical. But I feel it’s not a good enough workout. Strategizing.
  • Do a strength exercise at least twice a week. No.
  • Including C25k, do cardio for at least 20 minutes three times a week. No. 
  • Cook at least once a week. And not something that you unwrap and stick in the oven! No, but definitely have been doing it more.
  • As mentioned above, participate in and conquer No Spend January by NOT eating out! Did pretty well!
  • This one is not a “SMART” goal and I will discuss it more below: Make alcohol less of a priority. Yes.

3. Creativity

  • FOCUS ON CREATIVITY! This is not a “SMART” goal per se, but it is a change I would like to see and need to make. The goals below will help ensure I accomplish this, though I hate setting quotas on creativity as it defies the purpose. Creativity is spontaneity! Such a big yes.
  • Become active in Art Noir and attend events regularly. Yes! Two events in the last week alone.
  • Regularly attend Drink and DrawYes! Only missed one this year.
  • Attend five arts and culture events in Des Moines. Working on it! I believe I have two in so far.
  • Post at least two photographic blog posts a week. On average? Yes. Definitely yes. But there have been weeks with less and weeks with more.
  • Write something for “fun” at least three times a month. I’m probably coming in just under average. But I’ve got time!
  • Use that sketchbook. Still haven’t made a dent in it.
  • At least once a month, shoot for the sake of shooting. Go on photo adventures. On average, yes.
  • ADVENTURE OVER ALCOHOL. (Again, more detail below.) YES.
  • Take an art class. Preferably not photo-related. Not yet, but I’ve freed my calendar for it!

4. Professional

  • Stay current on my Iowa CLEs. Take 15 credits. None so far.
  • Catch-up/put a dent in Indiana CLEs. Even though inactive, should keep current so I can “jump in” at any time. None so far.
  • Attend three networking events outside of my place of employment. Although I am not looking for new opportunities at this time, will be good to get more practice and stay relevant in the game. Ughh I hate networking. But I’ve attended one.
  • KICK ASS AT MY JOB. Get a performance rating of 4 or higher. Won’t be able to tell until next year, but I did get a 100% on my first quality review.
  • Be involved at my place of employment. Stay involved with the Gen Y ARG and make myself useful. Have at least one thing to say at each meeting. Yes yes yes. Have also taken on other roles.

5. Personal

  • Do at least two of the following four vacations: 1) Vegas in October; 2) Chicago in the spring; 3) Weekend Iowa Roadtrip to a place I’ve never been; 4) Portland at any time; or 5) Roadtrip to the Northeast. NONE . . . yet. :)
  • Introduce myself to two new people. I don’t believe so yet.
  • Commit myself to ADVENTURE. Not measurable, but it’s about a state of mind. Yes yes yes!
  • Try something different every month. Get out of my comfort zone! Hmmm . . . I feel I have been making an effort at this.
  • Place less of a priority on alcohol. This ties in with just about everything. Too many events that I attend or plans that I make are based around alcohol. I’m not saying I need to cut alcohol from my life or that no events should contain alcohol, but rather alcohol should not be what I base my plans around. When given the choice, I should choose adventure over alcohol! I’ve had so many more nights this year so far that have involved either no or minimal alcohol!
  • Explore a new church. Yes. Attended a service at Gateway Church.
  • Speak in front of a large group. Yes. At work at an ARG event.

* * *

To sum it up: My heart’s been in the right place, but there are some areas (ahem fitness) that could really stand some more focus. Oh, and now there is a vision board involved (more on that later).

Until next quarter . . .

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Where Do I Start?

As mulled over (over and over) on this blog, I’ve declared this year a quest for creativity and adventure(!). One thing that I have wanted to do to aid me in that quest is to draw more. Doodle more. Scribble more. And I really haven’t. Sure I attended Drink and Draw in January, but how am I doodling more during the day-to-day?

What really sucks is my sister got me this awesome sketchbook for Christmas:

And guess what?

It’s empty.

I even bought a bunch of colored fine-tip pens hoping I’d draw more in it. Nope.

I know all I need to do is pick up my pen and draw something. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Even if every drawing was crappy, how cool would it be to have a book of 365 drawings? Maybe it’s the fact that this year is a leap year that is throwing me off . . . no, I can’t blame it on that. (Damn. I tried.)

This weekend while watching the super bowl my friend Cat drew nine comics during the game. She didn’t have a plan of what she was going to draw before she started–she just drew what came up as it came up. And I saw some sheets get crumpled–even people who are established artists don’t create 100% masterful work and aren’t always pleased with everything. But the stuff that was created was FUN and it was GOOD and it was MADE!

I asked her if she pictures something perfectly in her head before she draws it. She told me she had tried that method before, but did not find it to work as well. She stated some of her best results were when an idea just popped in her head and she went with it.

Now obviously my goal in life is not to become the GREATEST DRAWER IN THE WORLD! I just want to draw more.

For now, I’ll settle for coloring all over my calendar as I complete a day . . . I don’t know why this is any different from doing a drawing a day but I’m getting there GODDAMIT!

Maybe I’ll start tomorrow . . .

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Let’s See How I’ve Done . . . JANUARY

This post is a recap looking back at the goals stated here. I will do this at the end of every month to assess my progress. Not every goal is touched upon, but that’s how I do.

* * *

I’m thirty-one days in to 2012. Within those thirty-one days, I have both made progress on my goals and did some backsliding. But I’ll keep trucking on. Let’s look at what I’ve accomplished (and not-so-accomplished) at a high level.

1. Financial

Lesson learned: mint.com sucks if you check it every day. It doesn’t always update in real-time, and you often have to reclassify expenses when they move from pending to cleared. Therefore, this portion of the goal is slightly modified: I will check my bank account and do my manual recording of expenses daily during the work week, and check mint at the beginning and end of the week–at the least. I have, however, started implementing the goal tracking and budgets. Boo yah. Totally helpful to see my “budget” (something I never had before) in close-to-real time.

I’ve saved $150 towards my new laptop.

No Spend January . . . *sigh* Not a failure, but I definitely did not conquer it. I did awesome the first two weeks, and then it got shaky. (Is it just me or was this a very long January?) However, this will not defeat me! I’ve learned I can survive without going to eat several times a week. Now to continue this lesson for the rest of the year . . .

I used some credit cards. Well, only two. One was my store credit card for my part-time job and I paid it that same day, so that kinda doesn’t count. But the other one . . . I used it for two big expenses that I didn’t assess properly: haircut/color and dry cleaning. Ooops. But I did make extra payments on it (though not equal to what I put on it).

I did, however, make a total of $643.00 in payments towards my credit cards. Wow. I’m slightly altering my payment strategy going into this month, but that won’t change the amount of payment.

2. Health

Blah. No weight loss this month and I sucked at working out. As in 5 or 6 cardio workouts total and 1 strength activity (2 if you count helping a friend move). I’ve learned I cannot run anymore–at least for a while. Even taking precautions my stress fracture comes back in a major way very quickly and puts me out of commission. So I am modifying my C25k plan and doing the “runs” via the elliptical. I did it today and it felt great–my legs do not hate me and my heart rate was up more. WIN WIN WIN. Not discouraged.

I gave blood last week.

Cooking . . . well I have cooked at least once a week so far. But this seems to be a double-edged sword. Cost wise, I’m spending less and eating out less. But I then tend to eat MORE of what I cook, or get sick of it. The key here will be learning balance. I will be doing a lunch exchange with friends in February that will hopefully help.

3. Creativity

I’ve been kicking but at these. The past month of entries demonstrates this. I do need to get going on doodling more, but I took over 500 photos this month. AND! I won a $25 gift card at the Art Noir Annual Meeting that will go towards an art class at the art center.

4. Professional

Nothing much to report here–I’ve been kicking but most of the goals are ones that are not yet timely. I have been more involved with the Gen Y ARG and have contributed more to those meetings.

5. Personal

Adventure has been a prevalent theme. Mini-adventures have occurred, and I have been looking for more.

Try something different: I attended a book club (and decided to join).

Making alcohol less of a priority . . . I’ve made strides but can’t really say they’ve been measurable if one whole night’s activities were based around BATTLESHOTS. Need to really focus–to the extent I am considering making February “Sobruary” . . . but with a few birthdays and a housewarming party, that won’t completely happen. Here’s to effort, though!

I did explore a new church and hope to go back soon.

I spoke in front of a large group (200) as well. Okay, so only 75 were in the room with me, 25 on video conference, and 100 on phone conference–and I only spoke for about 1.5 minutes–but it’s something.

* * *

Now it’s time for a new month. Not a clean slate (come on, that’s letting yourself off too easily!) but a new opportunity to make more growth.

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The Process of Making

The past week has involved a lot of making:

Cat at Drink & Draw.

Derek, also at Drink & Draw.

Laura, making on Monday.

I must say: there is fun in making for the sake of making. Going into something with no set purpose and just letting the circumstances and material before you guide you into creating something.

It’s better than nothing.

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