Sunday, July 20, 2014

DONE: Join Toastmasters

How many of you are comfortable with public speaking? If not, you may have a touch of glossophobia. Believe me, I once did. I would turn beet red. Actually, one time I broke out in hives. It wasn't pretty. You know what? I'm talking in past tense and I really shouldn't be. I still have a problem with turning red when I talk before a group of people. I don't know how to fix it but I know I want to gain confidence in front of large groups. Since the time I first heard of Toastmasters, a communication and leadership development organization, I knew I wanted to eventually give it a go. The only thing holding me back? My nerves. The idea of intentionally giving speeches did not sound appealing, but I knew the payoff would benefit my future endeavors.

In the beginning of May I took the plunge and attended a meeting. I was nervous as all get out. I had a feeling I would have to speak to some extent the first night, and I think I did fairly well. All I had to do was tell my name, what brought me to the meeting, and share what my thoughts were after the meeting. Guess what? It wasn't so bad.

The next week I attended the meeting with a membership application in hand. I made a promise to myself that if I am going to join Toastmasters, I have to give it my all. So far, I haven't missed a meeting and I've delivered two speeches. I have an awesome mentor and I even won my first ribbon!

If you feel shy in groups, find it hard to communicate, want to take your career to the next level, or just love hearing yourself talk, think about joining a local Toastmasters club. The uplifting and encouraging members help you work through your improvement areas.

Taking the first step and attending a meeting was the hardest for me. Since, I've enjoyed meeting new people and learning how to craft an entertaining speech. I'm sure I'll be sharing more with you as I continue to learn.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July Action Plan

June Recap

Did anyone else have a crazy and busy June? I did, and I knew I would so I only made two goals for the month. Technically, I accomplished them both. Paloma's first birthday party went well. I know she won't remember it, but I have plenty of pictures to remind her.

As for the weight loss bet between The Boof and I - we extended it for another month. Homeboy knew that I would win and asked for an extension. The only way I agreed to do it was if the winner got two days of ordering the other (AKA Loser) around. I'm feeling pretty confident that I'll win. Just a hunch.

It's midyear and a great time to take stock of your progress for all of your annual goals. I made a list of 49 goals. Don't ask me why I didn't make one additional goal so that it was an even 50. Guess how many of the goals I've completed so far. Just 14! No bueno. So I've decided to use this month to play a little catch up.

Main Goal: Organize craft area in the loft

Subgoal: Unpack craft boxes in the garage

There are quire a few boxes we still haven't unpacked. A number of them are my crafting supplies or things I kept in my desk at our old apartment. Our loft area is somewhat small but still a perfect area to set up all of my craft supplies. Perhaps if I unpack them, I'll use them more. And truthfully, I should think about selling or donating some of it. I don't think I'll ever use it.

Main Goal: Domestic Maintenance

We've been in our home for almost two years and I want to do all that I can to make sure it remains feeling new as long as I can. There are quite a few items on my list of annual goals that include house maintenance, so why not try to accomplish them during a somewhat slow month.

Subgoal: Clean grout in master bathroom

Subgoal: Clean grout in girls' bathroom

Subgoal: Clean grout in kitchen

Subgoal: Patch Presley's Mickey Mouse doll

Subgoal: Donate some of the girls' toys/clothes

How are you coming along with your annual goals? Check in with yourself and see what still needs to be done. It's not to late.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wake Up Wednesday! Vol. 2

Time to wake up! It's midweek (Hump Day is so overplayed) and we have a holiday to look forward to this weekend. I hope you all have some fun and relaxing plans. I have absolutely no plans, which means it will either be full of relaxation, or stressful because of the last minute plans. Either way, it'll be time with the family and that's all that matters.

Don't you love this quote? It's something I have to make an effort to remember. Growing up playing sports, I took on a competitive nature. The voices in my head are still that way, despite how much I try to mature. I'm sure you may have heard another quote, "Comparison is the thief of joy," by Theodore Roosevelt. It's true! The minute I start comparing myself to the Jennifer Lopez' and the Beyonce's of the world, I get depressed. So why do that to myself? I'm not them, nor do I want to be them. The only person I want to be, is a better person than I was yesterday.

How do you turn off those comparative voices in your head?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Paloma's First Bird Day Party

What another great weekend for our family?! We celebrated our youngest daughter's first birthday. Let me just say it all was a blur. The party and the first year. Sorry for the cliché but time certainly flies.

After Presley's Donald Duck themed party, I went the simpler route for Paloma's birthday party. While she is too little to voice her opinion, I am going to wear out the bird theme as much as I can. So as you can guess, it was a Bird Day Party. Nothing too in your face. A splash of bird here and a splash of bird there.

Check out these adorable invitations! Snagged them on Tiny Prints. I love that it is feminine in an understated way. I also managed to find matching gift tags, which I added to all the gift bags. An added touch that reads, "with love, Paloma Luna Chairez." Spoiler Alert: I also got matching thank you cards. Oh man, this kind of stuff makes me happy.

I purposely blurred the address and phone number. 
Since I didn't do a photo booth this time, I really wanted to focus on small added touches and present them all in a way that people would see it first thing. And what better way to do that than a cake/gift table right as you walk in the door.

My mom painted a bird house for her so I included it in the table scape for an added personal touch. The gift bags for all of the kids in attendance were tiny bird houses with crayons. Not wanting to have parents hate me later, I decided to omit the paint and opt for crayons. They were also on sale and I love a deal.

Another cool find that I got from Tiny Prints is the picture easel. I used the same picture from the invitation. Three wonderful things about the easel: one, it's easy to wipe off in case any frosting accidentally gets on it; two, there isn't a need for a frame; and three, I can keep it up year-round.

We also went simple with the food - hot dogs and walking tacos (AKA Frito boats). I wanted to try something different for our food island, instead of the normal mismatched bowls. My mom and I scored some vases on sale at Michaels, along with some ribbon. I'd been itching to use my cricut machine again so I thought what better way to use it than spice up the vases with some birds. In an effort to further tie in the bird theme, I put out gummy worms and trail mix with little cards in front stating "Early bird gets the worm" and "Bird Seed." Cheesy, I know.

One thing that I wanted to make sure to repeat from Presley's party was the punch and grab. Traditionally, I love piñatas but with kids this little wielding a stick around didn't sound safe. The punch and grab still allows them to use force and everyone ends up with equal amounts of candy. Win - win!

My saving grace was certainly Tiny Prints. I was able to add polished touches with minimal effort and being that I got all personalized items, there was a takeaway for everyone. Perhaps, I did myself a disservice by raising the bar too high, but easy and personal just sounds better.
Celebrating my girls birthdays is really important to me. I want them to look back with fondness and look ahead with excitement when they think of their birthdays. While I enjoyed planning it all, momma needs a rest. Good thing Halloween is a couple months away.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wake Up Wednesday!

In an effort to provide a little midweek inspiration, I've decided that I'll start a weekly "Wake Up Wednesday" post.

Who are you letting write your life story? If you aren't in charge, it's time to change it. As someone that is passionate about storytelling, this quote reminded me that every day I am writing a new page in the story of my life. For awhile the story I was telling was about a life that revolved around a story someone else wrote for me. And I recently realized that while those events took place in my life, it wasn't my story. Sure, as a child, you don't have much control over the pen but you do have control over perspective once you reach adulthood.

In my twenties, I had to learn that my parents divorce wasn't my story. Of course, it had an affect on me. I was an angry and confused little girl, but that shouldn't have been the case as a twenty-something adult. I had to let it go. (Anyone else sick of that song, Let It Go?)

When I realized that I now had control over my actions and the way I reacted to events in my life, I got excited. It was at that moment that I truly felt like an adult. I'll admit there were times immediately following this realization that I abused the adult card. Eat chips for breakfast? Why, of course! I'm an adult. Okay, okay, I still do this. OCCASIONALLY.

So I ask you today, what story are you telling?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June Action Plan

May Recap

Before I jump into my June action plan, here's a little May recap. While we continued to stick to our financial "survival mode," I made a couple of additions to our house. Rather cheaply, I might add.

I turned an estate sale find into something we will actually use. All for the cost of $5, which was the cost of the umbrella holder and spray paint.

I also started the gallery wall on my staircase. It isn't finished, but I've enjoyed browsing the dollar store for frames.

This all basically took place in one weekend, so I really don't know what I did with the rest of May.

Main Goal: Throw Paloma's 1st Bird Day Party

June is a busy month for our family. This June especially. Miss Paloma will be celebrating her first birthday. I'm so excited for her to have a little spotlight and can't believe that we are already here. To say time flies sounds a little cliche, but with this little one, it sure has. I'm not sure if that's what happens with the second child but it seems to be going much faster than when Presley was a baby. Sigh.

Subgoal: Send out invitations

I found these adorable invitations on Tiny Prints. They are perfect for the bird theme. I figure by the time she is 10, she'll be sick of birds so I better use the play on words all up while she can't say anything.

Main Goal: Win the Weight Loss Bet between The Boof and I

During the month of May, The Boof and I had a little wager going. Whoever worked out the most during the month won 24 hours of making the loser do whatever we wanted. This type of wager motivates me like no other. I love having The Boof do whatever I want and that's exactly what I got because I WON! So yesterday was an amazing day. The Boof made me breakfast in bed, massaged my feet, cleaned the bathroom, made dinner, paid some bills, and made sure my wine glass was never empty. Wondrous, right?

So we decided to renew the bet with a few tweaks. This month we are going by most percentage of weight lost. I'm a tad nervous about this since it will mean that I have to work much harder, but I'm so motivated by another day of bossing The Boof around, that I'm sure I'll win.

That's it. Just two goals for me this month. There is so much going on this month (Father's Day, Bird's birthday, and a Quince) that I don't want to over promise anything.

What are your goals for June?

Monday, May 26, 2014

What Message Are You Sending Yourself?

Integrity. Such a powerful word. Lately I've been struggling with it. It has been small scale things that are testing it, but I've learned a major lesson along the way.

When you break trust or a promise because no one is looking or you know no one will find out, the person you are doing the most damage to is yourself. How you conduct yourself in front of the most important audience, yourself, says a lot about your character. Sure, no one may ever find out, but that guilty feeling sits with you.

As I shared with you all in a previous post, The Boof and I are on a mission to take back control of our finances. We are still in the first step of our financial plan and still in survival mode. Mainly meaning, "Nikki, no more Starbucks." Listen, it's hard. They (Starbucks) send me these emails about special promotions, or someone offers me a free coffee, and I'm right back to craving one every morning. The Boof finally told me that he was upset that he's had to give up comic books while I kept on enjoying a daily frappuccino. The fact that he said something means it was REALLY bugging him. He's a laid back dude that doesn't verbalize his feelings very often, so I knew I had to start taking this "survival mode" seriously. But here's the thing, it's not easy. I've done a great job this week. And I have to take it week by week, day by day. It sounds funny and I don't want to offend anyone but it's almost like an addiction. So how has my integrity been tested? I gave The Boof my word. He isn't with me all day, I could easily stop for a frap on my way to work or at lunch. I have to stop and realize that while he isn't there to see me or stop me, I know the weight of my word.

Yes, I know this doesn't sound like anything big. But it is! I am starting to realize that my word isn't just important to the people I make promises to, it is also important to me. It's taken me awhile to realize that I am just as important as the people I'm making promises to. I deserve to receive the same treatment from myself, even if the only one looking is me.