Tis the season!

Wrapping up one year and looking forward to the next. What an interesting process. I remember many years where I couldn’t wait for the fresh start that a new year would bring. Funny how optimistic I always am at this time of year considering I live in Wisconsin and the new year just means 4 more months of cold weather. 

This year however I am just truly thankful and blessed to have experienced all the days in this year so far. I’ve experienced so much growth in so many areas. 

This year marked 5 years of togetherness with my husband and 2 years of marriage. It has seriously flown by.  I’m so thankful for us and hope we continue to share many more trips around the sun together. 

I attended a life and business coaching group for 9 months out of the year that totally changed my perspective on many areas of my life. It’s helped me declutter, repriorotize, rediscover and challenge my thoughts and beliefs. 

I enjoyed my 2nd full year of consulting on my own. It’s been such a rewarding experience and opportunity to work on different projects with different people. Definitely a different kind of education. I’ve really started to appreciate and acknowledge what I can add to a team and project. Being my own cheerleader has been such a blessing. 

My step-son turned 14 and watching him grow and discover himself is something I’m thankful to be a part of every day. He’s such a blessing and gives me perspective and many learning experiences. 

We spent the year focusing on our finances and now find ourselves debt free (except for our home). This is such a freeing accomplishment and it takes so much pressure of our career choices and really allows us to enjoy our 9-5’s more since we don’t feel trapped by them. 

I was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease in August. An inner ear disorder that causes ear ringing, vertigo and nausea. By cutting out caffeine and sodium I’ve managed to control the symptoms (and my anxiety around the sparadic nature of the episodes). So, yay. 

I traveled to Napa (CA), Orlando (FL), Mexico, Lake Placid (NY), Door County (WI), Rockville (MD) and of course Cleveland and Cincinnati for work. I enjoyed every trip and was lucky enough to spend time with great people and make wonderful memories at each location. Not to mention some good food too. 

We took down a wall (thanks HGTV for the words “open concept”, repainted most of the main level, filled a dumpster of crap to declutter the house, and put in new vinyl wood planks instead of the old carpet. 

I started and cancelled a wine club. I started and cancelled a fitness subscription. I gave up giving up Nutella. 

And so many other wonderful things… with wonderful people. 

With only two weeks left in this year, I have nothing but gratitude and love for 2016 and can only imagine what 2017 will bring… and I look forward to finding out. 

There are Five Love Languages – What’s Yours?

Whether you’re in a relationship, or not… I found this quiz to be really enlightening to who I am as a person and the kind of love that I need.  I have to credit our Pre-Marital Counselor, Pastor Rom, in pointing us to this book.  He stressed the importance of learning eachother’s love languages and it has really been a fun adventure to figure out together.

From the love languages website (where you can take this quiz for FREE online <– Read: There is no reason not to do it):

Love Language Personal Profile

Interpreting Your Profile Score

The highest score indicates your primary love language (the highest score is 12). It’s not uncommon to have two high scores, although one language does have a slight edge for most people. That just means two languages are important to you.

The lower scores indicate those languages you seldom use to communicate love and which probably don’t affect you very much on an emotional level. Learn more about your primary love language and how to put it to use next to the corresponding badge below.

Important to Remember

You may have scored more highly on certain love languages than others, but do not dismiss those other languages as insignificant. Your partner may express love in those ways, and it will be helpful to you to understand this about him/her.

In the same way, it will benefit your partner to know your primary love language in order to best express affection for you in ways that you interpret as love. Every time you or your partner speak each other’s language, you score emotional points with one another. Of course, this isn’t a game with a scorecard! The payoff of speaking each other’s love language is a greater sense of connection. This translates into better communication, increased understanding, and, ultimately, improved romance.

If your partner has not already done so, encourage him/her to take The Love Languages Profile. Discuss your respective love languages, and use this insight to improve your relationship

My score:

9 Acts of Service
9 Quality Time
8 Physical Touch
3 Words of Affirmation
1 Receiving Gifts

Acts of Service

Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.

Quality Time

In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality Time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.
What’s your score?  Your Partners?
Yes, Jason took this as well and it was very fun and interesting to go over the results together.  It has been a nice point of reference.  Jason’s top two were Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation.  This has helped me to remember that when things are tense I should make an extra effort to focus on those two areas that are important to him.  This has definitely not made me a “perfect” spouse (as if there is such a thing) but I do feel like it has given me some insight into how I can do the best that I can on my end of the relationship!

Book-it, Just book-it!

So, in local news… our flights to Italy are booked!  Four months from now we will be into our international flight to wonderful Italy!  We have a quick layover in Ireland… just long enough for us to stretch, do some jumping jacks, drink a guiness and board the next plane to Rome!  It’s make it very real, and very cool!

In health news, just when I thought life was getting better because my throat wasn’t hurting… I’m now coughing, sneezing and blowing out of my nose more snot than a person knows what to do with.  The sneezes are the worst. One minute you’re all talking on the phone, the next WHAM… ACHOOOOOO! 

The nightlife scene is hot, hot, hot!  Friday evening so far has consisted of a hot batch of fresh cookies, a hot loaf of cinnamon bread and one hot mess hanging on the couch all day.  I did take a hot shower this morning (my fiance was very grateful).  And I’m spending this evening taking in the hotties on COPS.  Ever need a better perspective on your life?  Cuddle up to this show.

Wedding news has really slowed down lately.  Our next hurdle is starting to collect the bottles of adult beverages needed for the reception.  We need to find a reasonably priced store willing to part with bottles of booze that will be used by our guests to make amazing decisions in regards to crowd-pleasing dance moves.

Wedding news part 2: I had my dress fitting on wednesday, that made it real…ly real.  Pretty cool to stand in front of a mirror and get all pinned up!  So, that means I get to maintain all my dimensions for the next 4 months… seems hard at the moment when I feel weighed down by pounds of snot.

Crafting has taken a sad, sad back seat lately.  I moved the craft area to the basement thinking it would be great because there was so much room, but I really don’t like spending all that time locked away in the basement.  Maybe one day I’ll be begging for a room of my own, perhaps padded.  But for now, I really enjoy being able to do my hobbies near the same space where everyone else is hanging out.

Jason and I started pre-marital counseling.  So far, so good.  It’s all good stuff to talk about.  Expectations and what not.  It sparks conversations that normally you wouldn’t have unless something was wrong or you were fighting.  So, it’s really nice to talk about that stuff on even ground when we are both in a positive frame of mind!  I didn’t get to the chapter yet where he worships me, brings me grapes (in a glass, after stomping and fermenting them) and fanning me with palm trees… I’m sure that’s coming though.  How could it not?

A year and a half engagement…

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Is just enough time to do things like add to your color palate 13 months into said engagement. Mostly I’ve been leaning and purchasing some brighter colors like blue (see above hobby lobby purchase) and brighter coral and maybe some lilac/lavender (possible bridesmaid dresses).

At first I felt guilty, like I couldn’t change my colors because I already made a decision. Then I realized I was only going to get married once and if I wanted to change my mind, at the last minute it was my right as a soon to be bridezilla to do so. And I’m not changing any of my colors, just adding like bonus round colors.

Going with the flow is much less stressful. I’m also very excited that I’m starting to round up dessert minions. We’ve got a couple cake makers and a couple cup cake makers. I also think I found my wedding shoes. And maybe my wedding earrings (neither of which I can show you because Jason wants to be surprised from head to toe with my ensemble).

Phew. Getting stuff done :)

What’s your dream…

Job/Location/Spice of Life?

A coworker asked a group of us recently what our dream job would be.  I found that since I spend so much time concentrating on how to get ahead at my current job and how to make money, etc… that I forget what it’s like to dream about a career.  I went from someone who had time to dream, to someone who dreamed about having time.  Without taking the time to dream, you can’t stretch your dreaming wings.  You forget what it’s like to think and think and think about something until you’ve lost time and space to an idea that will likely never come to fruition. Thinking about something so wonderful and close to your heart that the thought of it never coming true is actually more scary than the thought of never trying it at all.

Sure, sometimes I feel breathless from what I’m working on.  Sometimes I feel exhillerated.  Mostly I think it’s lack of oxygen from hyperventilating, overworking, underdreaming and mostly just because I am anxious.  I’d like to feel breathless because I didn’t know what was coming next, because my dreams were so big and so awesome and because small steps towards that dream were coming true. 

The crux of it all is that in order for any of those dreams or breathless things to happen, you need to start dreaming and plotting again.  So, I dream of living on a beach somewhere that classifies winter as soemthing slightly uncomfortable, not horrendously uncomfortable and below freezing.  I dream of crafting, writing, sea shell collecting, evenings with my (future) husband, fine cheeses, fine chocolates, sand blasted siding on a house, fireplaces, big (i mean huge) wall paintings, that big round thing in kitchens that you hang your pots and pans from int he kitchen, a old bath tub (you know with the claw feet), lots of white (walls, ceiling, natural light), giant bookshelves (GIANT), wood floors, puppies, and nieces, family, step family and other company galore!

So think about your dreams, in detail, write them out.  It’s very satisfying in a day-dreaming sort of way.

A few days shy of a new year!

And oh what a year it has been!

On Love ~

On January 9th of this year, Jason and I got engaged.  He asked if I would be his (forever) and I happily agreed!  Two weeks later I found my wedding dress.  Shortly there-after we set a date and snagged our wedding venue.  My Aunt graciously agreed to take our wedding photos.  We found a great local DJ and a local Caterer.

I was talking to my sister the other night and we were talking about how hard it is to find love.  Not that love hides in murky corners in the Bronx, it is the searching for it that can feel like an epic odyssey at times.  It boiled down to “it (looking for love) sucks until it doesn’t (when you find love)”.  It took me a long time (30 years as a point in fact) to find the man for me.  Okay, so I wasn’t actually looking when I was in diapers, but you get what I mean.

I remember phone conversations with my Mom where I asked if I had an ugly wart on the back of my head because I just could not find someone (anyone) to be with.  The saying goes something like, “love will come when you aren’t looking for it”.  I tried like I wasn’t looking, really… really… really hard.  Which, of course meant I was in fact looking.

Finding Jason was awesome, just thinking of all the stars that had to align in order for us to meet makes me happy.  It hasn’t always been easy, it hasn’t always been pretty, but it has always been worth it.  Never a single regret.  Never a doubt about a future.  And that is a pretty awesome :)

On Career ~

I got a promotion.  I became a salaried employee for the first time in my life.  I worked upwards of 80 hours some weeks.  As a company, we upgraded to a new software and implemented it faster than any other customer had.  I found myself in a new department, new boss and new cubicle.  I feel like I’m at a pivotal point in my career.  I’ve found a niche, I can honestly call myself an expert at what I do.  I’ve never felt so competent and valuable.  It’s a great feeling.  I’m excited to see where these skills take me in my career.

My challenge is to learn how to keep perspective on what is important.  How to communicate professionally (instead of personally) and how to be taken seriously as a professional/expert in my area.  As my Dad likes to remind me (and other coworkers), I like to talk people to death.  I feel like if I just assault them with words, they will eventually bend to my will and agree with me. Apparently I can be a bit of a word bully when it comes to email.  I want to be someone that people want to work with, want to strategize with and trust.  In order to do those things, I have to mature a bit in my communications styles at work.  Which is admittedly hard… but I’ll get there!

On Family ~

We lost an Aunt.  The first of my Dad’s siblings to leave this physical world.  It was a tough time for everyone.  It is never (never ever) easy to see your Dad cry.  I believe it really gave everyone a sharp reminder of how valuable and short, precious and beautiful life is.  My nieces are as beautiful as ever. My sister is raising them to be quite the little (chocolate-loving) ladies!  I love them.

I’m thankful for the family in my life.  We are all such beautiful souls.  I don’t question being loved, whole-heartedly and without judgment.  Becoming and Aunt myself really opened my eyes to the love my Aunts have for me.  It gave me a brief glimpse into motherhood and the knowledge that even though I love my aunts, the love OF an Aunt (much like that of a mother) is so permanent, real and sweet.

Our little family is growing, learning and loving every day.  Jason’s son is 11 years old now.  He is damn smart, funny and full of energy.  Reminds me of the notes my parents used to get: “Ingrid (Vincent) is very nice and smart, if only she/he would sit in their seat and be quiet” :) Jason will turn the big 4-0 in March!  I’ll turn 33 in April and have found my 30’s to be some of the great years of my life so far (and I’ve got more to go!).

On happiness ~

As the days, moments and memories pass, I find it more and more apparent that happiness doesn’t just happen in peoples lives.  It is a result of someone who makes conscious efforts in their lives to set themselves up for random showers of happiness.  If you practice positivity, kindness, faith, sincerity and do so proactively… happiness will be easier to find, quantify and hold on to.  I think striving to be a better person is a good thing, and something I pride myself on… however I am also finding that somewhere in there I need to stop and be okay with who I am in that moment.  Otherwise I feel like I’m constantly getting there… and not enjoying being there.

On 2014 ~

I’m excited for a new year.  I’m not as excited about the next few months of winter, layers and layers of clothes and snow.  I’m excited for the planning of the wedding to ramp up.  I’m excited to reach a moment of calm at work (maybe March?).  I’m excited for a honeymoon/trip of a lifetime.  I’m excited for a couple of good friend’s weddings this year also.  I’m hoping to eat slightly less chocolate.  I’m excited for spring, flowers, birthdays, laughter, life… just everything.

So, cheers to everything and finding our happiness!