2010 In Review

My annual year end survey- go back in my journal to find the same survey from 2009, 2008, 2006 and 2005 (but apparently forgot 2007?).

2010, a year in review.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before? I went white-water rafting, I got a Master's degree, I sang in from of a group, I got a full-time job with benefits, I got my own apartment, I bought a couch, I got a passport and traveled internationally, I had my own Christmas tree, and my boyfriend and I decided to move in together.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I kept most of my major resolutions and will list new ones at the end of the year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My good friend Amy from grad school gave birth to baby Noah. I also know of a bunch of girls that had babies this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die? My Nana (my father's mother) passed away last January.

5. What countries did you visit? I took my first international trip to the BAHAMAS! I went to the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, a manmade island right off of New Providence Island (where Nassau is located). Anna Nicole Smith and her son Daniel are buried there. I also traveled to San Diego (twice) and Los Angeles.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in in previous years? Financial security.

7. What dates from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Hmm..I got my Master's Degree on May 15th, and I met my boyfriend on September 30th.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? It's a three way tie between getting my Master's Degree, getting a full-time job (with benefits!), and getting back into great shape.

9. What was your biggest failure? I wish I had gotten on the ball sooner in terms of getting my foot in the door in my industry, but I did the best I could.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No. Getting back into shape and working out regularly really boosted my immune system and so 2010 was actually probably the healthiest year of my life.

11. What was the best thing you got? MY APARTMENT! And it's furnishings :) I also got some really nice clothes.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? C's [as always] my own, my brother (finally applied, got into, and moved away to college!), my boyfriend has just been so supportive and so much fun.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? A work colleague and a formerly close friend who, for lack of a better way to describe it, went into bitch mode.

14. Where did most of your money go? It was pretty evenly split between living expenses, and fun. I also put a pretty significant chunk into savings for the first time in awhile.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Graduating school, getting a job, getting my own place, going to the Bahamas, meeting my boyfriend and starting a relationship with him.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? Down.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier for the THIRD year in a row.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner for the second year in a row :)
c) richer or poorer? Richer! Funny how getting a full-time job helps with that.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Scrapbooking, honestly. For the second year in a row. I'd love to spend more time on the beach, maybe traveling. I wish I had gone out with my friends more when instead I had to work.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Working.

20. How will you be spending Christmas? I spent Christmas morning with my boyfriend in my apartment. I made a nice brunch and we just cuddled and talked and opened gifts for each other. We actually went grocery shopping too, so I could get some items to cook to take to his family's Christmas celebration. Then that night we went to his sister's condo and had dinner with her and his parents. On the Sunday of Christmas weekend we had Christmas dinner with my family and my aunt and uncle. Afterwards we opened gifts and played cards.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010? Yes!

22.How many one-night stands? None.

23.What was your favorite TV program? I love the same shows as last year- What Not to Wear, Hoarders, Say Yes to the Dress, Weeds, and Breaking Bad. Jersey Shore is a new addiction/guilty pleasure.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? I'm happy to say that I don't hate anyone.

25. What was the best book you read? I listened to a bunch of murder mystery books on tape, but none stand out from the rest.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? I saw Mary J. Blige in concert and she really impressed me. I also got into Drake, Nicki Minage, Taio Cruz, Drake, Ke$ha, etc.

27. What did you want and get? My own place, a full-time job as a therapist, a passport, a great boyfriend, greater financial security.

28. What did you want and not get? More scrapbooking time, maybe publication in a scrapbooking magazine, an opportunity to do some psychological research to add to my resume. A raise.

29. What was your favourite film of this year? It wasn't a film but Jersey Shore was a MAJOR influence in a way.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? My birthday was the weekend right after graduation. A girlfriend threw a "girls' night" for me on my actual birthday and I went out to a nightclub in a tiara at her insistence. I threw myself a BBQ birthday/graduation at my uncle's house. We grilled lunch/dinner, had cake and ice cream, hung out, played pool, played badminton and had a fire in the fire pit.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? A higher paying job. Work less and play more.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? I tried to put together some really polished, classy looks with interesting and eye-catching pieces.

33. What kept you sane? I identified some of the things that were really important to me and focused on those things. I felt really accomplished.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Channing Tatum. AGAIN. Forever and always. Fourth year running.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? Still the recession.

36. Who did you miss? Cee, when she's at school. Jay, now that he's moved to New Orleans, and Natalie now that she's moved to Utah, and Bailey and Andrew now that they've moved to San Fran. SAME. Friends and family I wasn't able to see as it felt like I was always working.

37. Who was the best new person you met? My boyfriend Parker. My coworkers at my full-time job. I also hired some really great girls to work for me at my part-time job. I also had another opportunity to meet Clinton Kelly again at a fashion show/book signing and that was really fun.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008: Tell people how you feel instead of emphasizing your anger.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

So baby don’t worry, you are my only,
You won’t be lonely, even if the sky is falling down,
You’ll be my only, no need to worry,
Baby are you down down down down down,
Down, Down,

Questions I'm adding to the survey:

4b. Did anyone close to you get married? My cousin Tamara was married to Steve in June, and I attended that wedding. My cousin Emily also got married in October but I was not able to attend her wedding.

4c. Did anyone close to you get engaged? The engagements were constant this year. My good friend Stephanie got engaged and I was really excited for her. Another sorority friend named Stephanie also got engaged and I'm looking forward to attending her wedding, another celebrity sister Michelle got engaged and I'm pretty excited for her too.

40. Did you attend any concerts? I saw Mary J. Blige, Drake, LMFAO, Sheryl Crow, The Temptations and the Four Tops, Blake Shelton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Spike and the Impalers, Billy Idol, Buddy Guy and Robert Cray, and Chicago. I also saw a couple musicals- Wicked, Legally Blonde, and Chicago.

Drumroll please....here are the resolutions for 2011!

1. Figure out how to use my new health insurance to see a dentist, doctor, and fill my perscriptions.
2. Submit to work some type of event for Playboy.
3. Interview to be a Jagerette.
4. Update my resume.
5. Do some type of psych research project to add to my resume
6. Provide a training at work
7. Take a vacation with my boyfriend
8. Submit to a scrapbooking magazine
9. Take more scrapbooking classes
10. Get a great new pair of black heels (learn to walk gracefully in legit stilettos?)
11. Maintain my bikini-ready body
12. Update body and headshots
13. Refinish at least one piece of furniture (patio table to start?)
14. Finish another knitting project
15. Continue to decorate the apartment
15a. Hang my wall art
15b. Decorate my dresser top with his and hers jewelry boxes
15c. Get lamps for the living room
15d. Get a entryway table
15e. Get closets cleaned out an organized
16. Save Money- my goal is to save $10,000. Not sure I can do it but I'm going to try!
17.. Take Chloe to Disneyland. Preferably in October.
18. Go to sports games in some new arenas for teams I haven't seen

In case anyone is curious how I did with my 2010 resolutions, they were:

1. Take Chloe to Disneyland. Preferably in October.
2. Get a professional job that pays a livable wage. CHECK
3. Take new professional head and body shots. CHECK
4. Attend a party at the playboy mansion
5. Submit to a scrapbooking magazine for possible publication.
6. Take more scrapbooking classes. CHECK
7. Get a coat to wear with fancy dresses. CHECK
8. Take a vacation with my boyfriend.
9. Throw a graduation party for myself and Erin. CHECK. Well, Erin threw her own and I attended, and I threw my own.
10. Fix my car door. CHECK
11. Maintain my bikini-ready body. CHECK
12. Attend dance class regularly- preferably ballet.

In addition to my 2010 resolutions I achieved, I also went back and accomplished a few of my resolutions in 2009 that I hadn't gotten around to (or I added to them):


6. Get a passport CHECK
12. Go to sports games in some new arenas for teams I haven't seen CHECK- San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Angels
14. Get a new computer (or fix mine) CHECK
20. Paint my bedroom CHECK

May in July

Soooooooo much has happened since I last wrote!

For one, I finished my thesis. And I got an A on it. And they're going to use it as a model for the department! So I was pretty pleased with that. After I finished my thesis, all that was left to do was graduate.

My friend Mahal and I before my commencement. I haven't uploaded the grad "portraits" I took yet, or the pictures from actual graduation but they will hopefully be appearing on facebook soon. Also, I have a little favor to ask. One of my friends emailed me and told me the school photographer took a really nice picture of me here. They posted it on the school flicker and I can't figure out how to save it on my mac without a mouse! Can someone save it for me and post it on LJ or email it to MHSKristenATaolDOTcom? I would really appreciate it!

After graduation one of my classmates threw a party and myself, my family, and one of my HS friends and two of my college friends went to that, the weather was great and I had a really nice time. Something that surprised me was T ended up flying out from Oakland for my graduation. I did not invite him but he elected to come on his own.

Me and the girls from my department at the party- not all of us are pictured but these are the ones I'm closest to and hang out with outside of class. My parents bought me a beautiful pearl and onyx necklace I had admired in a store back in April and you can see it pretty well in this picture! Funny story, I had a rough time finding a graduation dress and after trying on about 40 I settled on a halter neckline dress, but wasn't in love with it. The morning of graduation my mom calls me and tells me she decided she didn't like the halter dress and not to wear it- kind of funny because my mom never really does stuff like that. The reason she did turned out to be because I wouldn't have been able to wear the necklace, and she knew I would want to! I did find it ironic though that after all that effort searching for a dress, I ended up wearing a dress I bought my freshman or sophomore year of high school (the oldest item of clothing I own!). I almost threw the dress out this spring because it had a broken zipper, but at the last minute I decided to have the zipper replaced and altered the dress (hemmed it shorter). So glad I did!

Me and my HS friend Chris (left), graduate school friend Erin left), myself (middle), and Heidi and Rob, my college friends. It means so much to me that they continue to come out and support me!

Random question but- it is now July and I still haven't made, printed, and sent graduation announcements? I've just been too busy but I would still like to do it. Is it too late, considering I have already had the ceremony and graduation party?

The weekend after graduation my friend Lisa threw a joint birthday party/club night for herself and me. Her present to me was a pretty little tiara!

Luckily Heidi is better than me about uploading pictures to facebook so here is one of Lisa, Heidi and myself at the club. I also have some cute ones from the preparty but they are being held hostage on my camera! Lisa's friend Marisa hosted a getting ready/appetizers party at her gorgeous apartment for the girls to get ready before we went out, she has such a nice view of the city I was really impressed!

I also threw a graduation/birthday party for myself (May 23rd, the day after my actual birthday). There were so many parties leading up to graduation, the week before my birthday, and the week after that I went for a more laid back BBQ style party. The weather was not great and we didn't get to break out the dresses and shorts but it was comfortable outside at least. We had a great time at my aunt and uncle's house, we BBQed, had a lot of sides, and hung out around their firepit and played badminton.

Me and some friends right before I blew out the candles on my cake.

May was a whirlwind of parties including a Rockstar Party that opened up at the new Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Seattle, as well as a pre-party for the premiere of Sex and the City 2 and the opening and closing galas of the Seattle International Film Festival (I will try to get those pictures up soon, I swear!)! I feel kind of bad admitting this, because so many of the events in May were "about" me and thus totally self-serving (I do not have a right to complain at all!) but they really took a lot out of me. I was just constantly running from one thing to the next, and hardly had any downtime at all. I guess I am old now because the month left me just wanting to lay on my couch and watch TV forever.

However, in June I was officially hired as a therapist! I love the people I work with, they are so nice and encouraging and I am really happy to be able to learn from them. I am glad I get to continue working with my same clients, I am also really excited about the progress they and their families are making. I work great hours and get to share an office with my friend Heidi, who got me the internship there in the first place. The only drawback is the pay isn't great and my benefits won't start until September 1st. Still, I am really excited to be the first (and only!) member of my graduating class that is employed in the field! I was the last to start my internship so that is kind of fair when you think about it :)

This entry is kind of long so I guess I'll wait to write about June.

A "Quarterly Report" on my New Year's Resolutions

Since the year is just about a quarter over, I thought it would be fun to check in on my 2010 New Year's Resolutions and see how much progress I've made.

Here they are:

1. Take Chloe to Disneyland. Preferably in October.
2. Get a professional job that pays a livable wage.
3. Take new professional head and body shots.
4. Attend a party at the playboy mansion
5. Submit to a scrapbooking magazine for possible publication.
6. Take more scrapbooking classes.
7. Get a coat to wear with fancy dresses.
8. Take a vacation with my boyfriend.
9. Throw a graduation party for myself and Erin.
10. Fix my car door.
11. Maintain my bikini-ready body.
12. Attend dance class regularly- preferably ballet.

For goal #3, I just had a shoot last weekend. I saw some of the images on the digital camera during the shoot, but I haven't seen them on CD or printed yet. However I'm pretty confident we got at least a few good ones I can use, but if not I will need to shoot again. I am also planning to submit some of them to the playboy events person so hopefully I will be invited to a Mansion party as a guest or a worker sometime this summer, and will achieve goal #4 as well.

I have been attending make-and-take "mini classes" every Saturday at the scrapbook store and learned how to make a variety of paper flowers. Here are some photos lifted from the store's blog of the types of flowers I learned to make. I also took a Making Memories free class where I got to try out a Slice machine to make some elements for a card (I don't make cards so I will probably use them for scrapbooking) and made a really cute necklace from their new jewelry line. I have so been enjoying going to the store each week and making the flowers and getting to know the store employees! Although technically I completed this goal I am hoping to attend the CKC convention in July and take a bunch more classes throughout the summer.

For goal #7, a friend of mine once got a furry looking coat to wear over her formal dresses that I thought was so pretty. I was really tired of ruining the "look" of my fancy dresses by wearing a mismatching coat with them (like a northface or something), or forgoing a coat altogether and freezing my butt off. Then when I was looking at Nicole's Blog I spotted a white Juicy fur coat that I LOVED. However, the price tag was $400 and a little too much for my after-Christmas budget, so I decided to keep an eye out for something similar. So, imagine my joy when I discovered the same exact coat HALF OFF while browsing at the Juicy store a week or two later. I snapped it up without a second thought and love it so much that we actually shot pictures of me in it for my shoot last weekend.

Obviously goal #8 needs to be adjusted because I am single. However, I *AM* going to visit A in San Diego this weekend, so I am going to consider that goal met/change it back to get a passport.

I fixed my car door along with a host of other little problems my car had, no much more to really say about that. Next I would like to fix the front bumper area that I badly scraped up a couple years ago.

There are also a collection of goals that while I haven't achieved, I have progressed towards. Mainly goals #2, #9, #11, and #12. I was hired as a paid employee by my internship, but it's not the position I'm going for/exactly a "liveable" wage. One of the other people in our grad program offered to throw a BBQ at his house, so we are planning to do that as a graduation party for our class. I am still thinking of doing something else on the side/maybe afterwards with all of my friends, but can't exactly settle on what that will be yet. I have attended 5 ballet classes this year, which is already 5 more than I attended last year. Work lately has been making it really difficult for me to go to class more regularly than that. As far as maintaining my bikini-ready body, I think I've done a good job but that is really a goal that I won't count as completed until the very end of the year since it is on-going.

Here is a photo of me from a UFC fight April 12th with my friends Heidi and Brandy:

I actually feel like I've made a lot of progress in a short time. Back to the thesis!

April Updates

I am so grateful for:

1. WORK: I was so worried about whether I was going to run out of money this spring and lately I have been getting more work offers than I can handle via nannying, my internship/now paid position, and promos. A girl I used to work with asked me if I could come work a promo the day before Easter for her boss's new cell phone company, here is a picture from that:

Kaylyn, Brandy, Kristie, Julianne, and Elisha

All in all I've been working 70 hours a week and finally had to turn down a couple shifts, which almost never happens!

2. FITNESS: Getting back into shape has been a major source of joy and pride for me. I finally bit the bullet and went out jean and bathing suit shopping, my least favorite activity in the entire world. I have officially went from muffin-topping out of size 27 jeans to wearing size 24s, and from overflowing a 32DD cup to a 30D cup. I love the fact that I can do things I couldn't do before- like run a mile, hike, and use certain muscles in ballet class. I have a photo shoot scheduled for this weekend and am in "bikini ready" shape for it, one of my new year's resolutions from two years ago! Life is too short to wait for change and to be unhappy, and this physical change has really helped me move on from heartbreak and some of the sad regrets I had in my life.

3. <33333: A calls me every day. The other day we were texting and he mentioned he was going to bed early. I asked him how early and he said "not until after I talk to you." I texted him back and said (teasingly) "if you're lucky!" and he responded with a sad face. I texted back and said "are you not a lucky guy?" and he texted back and said "I feel lucky every time I get to talk to you." Totally warmed my heart.

Basically, I am really happy in the changes I finally made in my life. They were hard to make, and some continue to be hard to maintain, but are worth the effort, embarrassment, and sacrifice it's taken me to get to this point. Of course, not EVERYTHING is coming up roses...

1. THESIS: I have not done a darn thing besides pick up my research materials. I would much rather craft, shop, see friends, or hang out with my mom. And work and earn money. But this is something I really need to get done, and is something I will regret if I do not do it WELL. And it is not going to be my best effort if I wait until the last minute and throw something together half-assed. I might be able to get away with doing that, but I am going to be cheating myself out of a major learning experience and possible career mile-stone (aka publishing).

2. HOARDING: I brought up some of my school and scrapbooking stuff from storage, and my room looks almost as bad as it used to before I did the overhaul/winter cleaning with my mom. I really need to attend to these problems so that I can enjoy the room I worked so hard to clean, and so that my mom doesn't throw me out after I graduate. But it's going to take more time than I have at the moment, so....there it sits.

3. TRAVEL: A invited me to come down to San Diego on the 17th for the Submarine Ball. I would very much like to go. It is formal and I finally fit into the gorgeous formals I have that I have only been able to wear once. It would be a very fun evening and a much needed mini-vacation. Plus I would get to see A, and go to the beach, and visit a city I have never been to. But the timing is GOD AWFUL. I have tickets to a concert on the 16th, work on the 17th, and a rough draft due of my thesis on the 21st. And the plane ticket is a little pricey. Still, I am toying with the idea of just GOING if I can make substantial progress on the thesis this weekend...

4. Computer: I got it back from my friend with the extra RAM added and it's much faster. Only now, it won't connect to my wireless network because I need to put in the WPA password...which I have forgotten. And the battery I ordered? Is the wrong size and I need to send it back and order the correct one. I don't even know if I mis-ordered or they sent me the wrong thing. Just one more thing I don't have time for that I need to do. Bugger! Also, I need to manually delete a bunch of files so I can put the NEWER pictures from my camera on the computer and get them online....

Little Miss Fix It

Man I haven't posted in awhile and have so many updates as a result...time just flies!

I was officially hired by the company I intern with as a part-time, on-call, residential therapist. That is not the position I want or am interning as (which is called an individual and family therapist) but it is a start! Right now I am making $10.91 an hour and really enjoying slightly different job requirements (as a residential therapist I spend all my time out on the milieu rather than seeing clients individually) and the opportunity to add paid work to my resume. So, although it is not exactly what I want, it is a step in the right direction that I'm really excited about!

As a paid employee I was also able to attend some trainings and am now CPR and First AID certified. I also went to a two and a half day training on manual restraints, evasion techniques, and crisis communication and was certified there as well. All great things to add to my resume and very interesting material to learn!

However, I have been so busy orienting at the new job, working (we had a staffing shortage so I was allowed to work even though I haven't completed training), and going to trainings I have made zero progress on my thesis. I really need to get cracking on that. Another thing that held me up was I was allowed to petition my university to conduct an independent study (on counseling PTSD) for a .5 elective credit instead of taking a school counseling course. I basically had to research which textbooks to use and write my own syllabus and course design so that was a lot of work as well. The Academic Standards Committee met today to vote on my proposal and I was supposed to receive a telephone call after the meeting to let me know the results but so far, no call so I doubt I will hear until tomorrow, which is frustrating.

My brother randomly went to Florida for a two week vacation so I decided to use the opportunity to borrow his car and sent mine in for some much needed repairs. My passenger side door wouldn't lock, my gearshift light was burned out, I was low on power steering fluid and had a cracked power steering belt that needed replacing, my dipstick was broken and I needed an oil change, and my driver's seat seatbelt recently broke and started randomly popping out of the lock and needed to be fixed. My dad dropped my car off on Monday and it was due to be fixed by this evening, so hopefully I will have it back tomorrow! All these repairs ended up costing me $600ish dollars but it will be really nice to have them done and since I was able to borrow my brother's car, I did not have to cancel work or add the cost of a car rental. Still, being $600 dollars poorer kind of unexpectedly really hurts!

My best friend from college also came home from grad school for spring break kind of unexpectedly, so I decided to have him repair my computer as well. My computer is a five year old Mac powerbook g4 and was having major battery issues (the battery cycled over 800 times and wouldn't hold a charge), didn't have enough RAM, and had 16,000 photos and a ton of itunes and documents I was having trouble backing up. He backed up all my files for me on the portable hard-drive I bought, and then he is going to wipe the hard-drive, do a fresh install, and install more RAM for me. I also bought a new hard-drive. It's been hard going without my computer all week and I can't wait to get it back all fixed up! I was wanting to buy a new computer but without knowing if I have a job after graduation and not really "needing" a computer for work (and considering my car repairs) I decided that right now isn't a good time to drop $1,000+ on a new computer if I can limp by with my old one for another 6 months to a year. All I really do on my computer is check email, listen to music, and do facebook, livejournal and visit a couple of websites. Hopefully mine will be fixed up enough to where I can easily write my thesis and do these fun little tasks.

Besides that, I went on a couple dates with a new guy, A. I have known his dad for awhile through my promotions job and met A in November when John and I were broken up. We added each other on facebook and talked about going out in December, but then John and I got back together. He lives in San Diego but comes out here frequently for work, so when he came this last time we went on a couple dates and I had a really good time. We have been texting a lot too and he may be planning a trip down here to see me and his new nephew in a couple weeks. I doubt this will turn into a relationship because he lives so far away but for the mean time it's been fun getting to know him.

Onto the next, onto the next.

On Monday (it is technically Wednesday now I guess, eek!) my professor at school finally came for a site visit at my internship. She attended the group I have been leading since late October and had a meeting with my professor and I. I am so relieved to have it out of the way!

During group time the kids were rowdier and normal and I guess that is to be expected considering there was a
"new" person in the group (and a pretty new client as well). My newest client was having a really hard time. She apparently has Aspberger's but at times it seems like Autism. She was making a lot of odd physical gestures and at one point stuck her hands into her pants as if she were playing with herself. It was awkward for me because that really needs to be corrected, but I didn't want to call the rest of the kids' attention to it because somehow they seemed not to notice. Also during the group, my "biter" client accused me of not being trustworthy, pretty much purposely to embarrass me in front of my professor. On the inside I did feel embarrassed but just tried to be calm. If I am doing my job correctly as a therapist, it means that at times I make my clients uncomfortable, and as a result they don't like me. When this particular client doesn't get her way in therapy (she wanted to make me take her on an outing to the mall, I am refusing to take her on any more outings until we process the last one and she completes the last therapy assignment I gave her) she likes to get "revenge" on me by trying to hurt my feelings or make me uncomfortable. Oy!

I got a lot of nice compliments during the meeting with my supervisor and my professor. My professor asked my supervisor about the possibility of other students interning there in the future, and my supervisor basically said no because "the internship is so difficult" and it takes a really smart, hard-working, independent person with basically a lot of balls to work there. So that was flattering to me! Then my supervisor added "but if I have my way, maybe Kristie will be helping me supervise an intern here a year from now!" So that was really exciting too because I am hoping I will get to work there after I graduate.

To celebrate, after work on Monday, I got Panda Express and went to see Shutter Island with my friend Chris. I love Panda but I am really nervous about eating any fast food. I quit eating fast food in November 2009 when I started trying to lose weight and I think it helped a lot. So, part of trying to maintain my weight loss includes not eating fast food. However, Chris and I kind of have a tradition of going to Panda that I want to continue. When we went this time I noticed a "healthy options" menu where all the items are 200 calories or less. I was pleased to see that my FAVORITE item at Panda, the Veggie spring rolls, were on this menu. Usually I get orange chicken, chow mein, and veggie spring rolls and eat most if not the whole thing. This time I got chow mein, veggie spring rolls, and mushroom chicken, another item from the healthy options menu. It wasn't as good as the orange chicken but I liked it okay and felt good about it being healthier. I tried to eat only 1/2-2/3 of the meal and gave the rest of my brother so hopefully it won't sabotage my weight loss.

Shutter Island was good, but as it is set in a mental institution it kind of had the effect of making me feel like I was still at work. Which wasn't necessarily what I wanted to feel like after my professor's site visit and meeting, group therapy, and three individual client appointments (one of which was really stressful). The movie was visually very cool but had some really gross/sad parts. I don't want to say too much more about it because I don't want to ruin it for those of you planning to go out and see it, but I will say it really reminded me of a story my mom told me about when she worked at a mental institution as a stenographer. The story was about this schizophrenic client who was really hard to handle because he had a lot of paranoid delusions. The institution ended up handling it by typing up a letter on CIA letterhead and sending it to the client, asking him to please behave himself and work in the laundry room "gathering intelligence" basically so that they could manage his behavior. Scary but funny at the same time.

On Sunday I did end up starting my newest knitting project. It is a shorter, thinner scarf with a built in loop so I can thread the scarf through itself (when I eventually post a picture that description will make more sense). I'm using a dark fuzzy black yarn with some gold metallic thread in it, so far it looks really pretty. I think it'll be a quick project before I'm onto the next one (a green scarf with a heart pattern for Chloe). Then I'll probably try to make a baby sweater. I also did some scrapbooking Tuesday night (graduation 2008- finally. It came out really cute!). I really wish that I had more time to craft than I do (although obviously I spend a fair amount of time crafting). I have a bizarre theory too that the more I craft the more organized I'll be because I have really overbought on the scrapbooking supplies, and the more I can use up and file away in my album, the cleaner things will be. Does that make sense to anybody else? :)

Another silly thing, but I was excited about it, is that I used up a thing of lotion and two little things of shower gel that I had. I'm also really close to finishing this stupid eyebrow growth serum I bought after overplucking (doesn't work, don't waste your money!). Like most girls, I over buy on cosmetics and toiletries. A lot of times I can't even help it because they're given to me as gifts, I get samples in the mail and in magazines, or when I buy certain things I get "bonuses" like the Clinique bonus, and end up with a lot of make-up and supplies I didn't buy. I have a bin under my bed chock full of that kind of stuff that I am trying to "use up." So, I was excited to make progress in that area even though it doesn't really matter. I want that stuff out of my room, but I don't want to just throw it away or waste it! Silly.

I was planning to write a little bit on my feelings about John (haven't heard from him since February 12th) and the loss of that relationship, but I kind of worked myself into a better mood writing about other things. It's crazy that I lost such a big thing in my life but am still so busy.

Busy as a Bee

Now I've gone swimming two more times and improved my "laps tally" every time- I swam 8 laps the first time, 12 laps the second time, and between 17-18 the third time (I lost count, oops!). I was really excited because I was hoping to get to 16 laps, doubling my laps from the first time and I easily exceeded that. My childhood goggles broke and so I was bummed to buy a new pair but it was honestly well worth it (and only $9.99, so not like it broke the bank). Unfortunately I was also craving candy the past couple weeks and when I weighed in discovered I gained back 2.4lbs of the 10.3lbs I originally lost. So, back to the gym and no more candy- replaced by healthier snacks. I went to a girlfriend's house for a sex and the city night and she made super healthy snacks that were really good- cucumber with seasoning, baby carrots and cherry tomatos, and almonds and that has inspired me. For some reason I gain so much weight when I eat fast food and "junk" food, so it's just not worth it.

I also officially picked a thesis topic- Effective Treatments for Sexually Aggressive Youth, and began my research. Let me just say, not my first choice of a topic to research. Obviously, not a popular topic at all, since a lot of people believe sexual predators are not treatable. Generally, I agree (the statistics are not good) and so it wasn't something I ever thought I'd want to research. However, I have two clients at my work that are sexually aggressive youth (which means they committed sexual offenses against other children while they were still children). I have sympathy for these kids somewhat because they were both abused themselves, but I struggle (as does the rest of the clinical care team) as far as finding a way to treat them because at some point they need to be reintegrated into the community and it would not be successful to do so with that stigma, but I don't want to put other kids at risk. So, I figured researching this topic would help me a). at work with my clients, and b). fulfill the obligation I have to write a thesis so I can graduate. Our professor also advised us to write on a topic that would interest potential employers, and this would obviously impress the place I am working at now, which I am hoping will give me a job. I was also interested in researching the connection between OCD and Hoarding, and Effective treatments of PTSD, but I think I am going to write up a proposal to study PTSD as an independent study instead of taking a (boring) school counseling elective later in the semester. I am kind of dreaming of having my thesis published as well, and the sexually aggressive youth topic would be good there because there is enough material available currently to do the research, but not so much material available that psych journals wouldn't be interested in publishing more. So, wish me luck! I have a lot more research to do but I have 4 sources that I've already tracked down and I put in requests for about 5 more so I am off and running!

Another exciting announcement I have is that I was invited to join my university's honor society. The top 10% of the class is invited to join, and I am really excited to be a part of that group (and also really wondering who else from the Masters' Department was invited to join). I also got my first test back of the semester, and it was a solid A. I didn't feel like I did a great job on it so I was thrilled.

My room, I am sorry to say, is trashed again. Mostly with scrapbooking supplies from a bin I had yet to finish organizing (which is out of storage and in the center of my room now) and from my craft cabinet, which was a mess. I also got some things out of storage I needed to put back, and bought new bras. So I spent about 6 hours yesterday really trying hard to organize my scrapbooking supplies so that order could be restored to my room. I got about half-way done and so am looking forward to more of that tomorrow afternoon.

It's going to be a busy weekend. I'm planning on attending ballet class again tomorrow (4th week in a row!), going to a make-and-take at a local scrapbook store (making super cute flowers out of tissue paper, something I've always wanted to learn), more cleaning/organizing, and then swimming again with my brother before he goes out of town overnight. Also at some point over the weekend I need to type and send my work invoices for February, send in information and a check for the honor society, read the 4 sources I've collected for my thesis, email the research librarian to find out her office hours/get some help, figure out a paypal issue I have with an event I'm planning on evite for my sorority, and I need to work at my internship. I would also like to start my next knitting project but that may or may not be realistic. Phew. Just thinking about all that makes me tired!

Sunday update: So far I have attended ballet class, done the flower make-and-take, went swimming once with my brother, worked at my internship, typed and sent my work invoices, emailed the research librarian, and sent my sorority event evite.

So I still need to read my 4 sources, and clean/organize. Also, if I can find the pattern while I'm cleaning, I will start my knitting project!

Not quite the English Channel, but.....progress nonetheless!

I'm on my way to bed but I really want to commemorate today because I went and swam laps for the first time in about 10 years! My brother really wanted to go and I have a gym membership and can bring guests, so we went together and had a great time. I was really nervous about going because I'm not a strong swimmer and I A). Didn't want to get water in my nose, B) Didn't want to look like a huge fool, and C) Didn't want to drown but I am so glad I went. I think if I try to swim a couple times a week I'll be able to be a much more solid swimmer, which will make for a funner time this summer going out on friend's boats. I was also pleased to discover that all the cardio I've been doing must be working because I was able to swim much more than I anticipated! Today we did eight laps- curious if I will be sore tomorrow or not. It was also really fun to do something with my brother- double bonus that our activity was also healthy and free. I also walked around the lap (3miles) with my mom because it was a beautiful day and went to ballet class in the morning so it was a pretty active day for me!

Lately I have been toying with the idea of renovating my website (smile-style.com). I haven't updated anything besides the journal in three or four years, and the look is not my favorite, way outdated, and in obvious need of an overhaul! A lot of the websites I'm really digging these days are updated using blogspot and I am kind of unsure. I don't want to use blogger because I've always installed and run my own blogging scripts in the past, and I feel like blogger is kind of a downgrade... On the other hand, I like the way my favorite websites function using blogspot, and I think I would be more likely to update and maintain a blogspot website. Plus I am not really sure how to code and FTP using my Mac (which was what caused me to stop updating my website in the first place). And as I'm not looking to have the kind of site I had before, it kind of makes sense that I would do it differently than I did before? I'm really on the fence here so if anyone has an opinion, help me out!

I also finally finished my knitting (I may have already mentioned that in a previous entry?) and am about to start work on a second project- another scarf. This scarf is going to be thinner and shorter, and have a little hole in it that I can use to loop the scarf through itself (hopefully you all are familiar with scarves and that made sense...). To make it I'll be following a written pattern (new skill for me, the previous scarf I made up the pattern), and I'll need to learn to decrease and slip stitches. So, it will be a little more challenging but also a quick short project because the scarf is so much smaller.

I also started scrapbooking again after not doing so much in the past month (I've been busy knitting!). I already scrapbooked a page about the train trip to Portland I took last March with a bunch of girlfriends, am in the middle of a page for my friend Erin's birthday party back in June, and will scrapbook a page on last year's Saint Patrick's Day in Portland after that. The train page came out really neat and I am using a new (to me) technique using embroidery floss for Erin's page and just want to stop everything else and work on that. Lately I am really drawn to using a variety of mediums in my scrapbooking, whereas I used to stick to paper and stickers pretty much exclusively. Now I'm trying to work in staples, embroidery floss, foam pieces, tags, chipboard, ribbon, and even fabric! Very excited to post pictures of those projects soon.

Here is a picture of the train layout, in all of it's unfinished glory. I will try to take another picture because I added a tag with journaling in the little envelope in the upper lefthand corner, and used some special stamp-stickers to write PORTLAND across the bottom. I'm trying to purchase another train paper too so I can try out another technique I may add to the page:

Also, some pictures of the Chinese New Year party I mentioned in my last entry:

Banging the Gong

Posing with on the Dragon's Heads (there is a dancer under it)

Happy Chinese New Year

This year I did not really celebrate Valentine's Day. I like the day in spirit but it never works out for me. I always seem to have break-ups right before and on some years even ON Valentine's Day. The last time I had a Valentine/boyfriend on Valentine's day I was 17. He gave me a big tub of candy hearts and I ended up breaking up with him a few days later.

This year I was not expecting John to do anything for me, since he has been so volatile lately (also, he is on a trip and already sent apology flowers this week, what is he going to do, send even more flowers while the others are still blooming on my table?). The past month and a half have been rough but I feel like I have mourned the end of our relationship and am getting to a better place. I don't wake up anymore feeling like my heart is weighed down in my stomach. I still miss him though. And the idea of him. I really thought we might get married and have kids together and letting go of those dreams has been the hardest part because, although I know we're over, I have no idea what (if anything) is coming my way. During the past week he sent me texts professing his love every day and then finally was able to call Friday while I was at my sorority happy hour. Our first conversation was a good one, but things didn't exactly click the way they used to. It felt like he wasn't familiar with me- like he was telling me stuff about himself like I didn't already KNOW. It was weird. We ended the call after about 15 minutes because I was out and he asked me to call him back when I left. I did call back and the call did not go well. He lasted 10 minutes 7 seconds before he blew out and swore at me and hung up. I feel bad for him. He really does care about me, I know he does. But his temper owns him. And it makes it impossible for us to even talk on the phone let alone have a relationship. So that's that.

But for someone who doesn't celebrate Valentine's Day, I made out pretty well. A few weeks ago I commented to my boss that Nordstrom discontinued my favorite perfume, LAMB perfume, and I was bummed because I had a gift card (that I used to buy Michael Kors' Hollywood perfume, which is also very nice), and somehow she found me a LAMB gift-set that had a big bottle of the perfume, shower gel, and lotion. The box it came in is also very pretty and can be used to store other things. I was really surprised and really pleased- I've been wanting the perfume for a couple of years and it was really sweet of her! My mom also got me a Brighton charm for my charm bracelet- the love bites charm (a heart with a bite taken out of it) hahaha. And Cee sent my mom and I a very sweet card that she decorated herself.

I did end up getting Cee a card, and then gave my mom a card and some chocolates. And then I decided that instead of celebrating Valentine's Day, I would celebrate the Chinese New Year instead. I took my friend Kelly to work with me and we worked a really fun private party for the Chinese New Year, hopefully I can get those pictures up soon. I manned the VIP desk and checked in the high rollers for the party, and she did wristbands for general admission. We got dressed up but had a really easy, lucrative, low-key night (the best kind). The highlights being, of course, the LAMB perfume, watching the Chinese dragon dancers, and totally forgetting that it was Valentine's Day. Here's hoping the Year of the Tiger is a lucky one!

Going Going Going

John has apparently changed his tune. He asked me again Monday morning to hang out that night, and I said no. Later that day a beautiful bouquet arrived on my doorstep with a very sweet apology note. We were able to talk a little bit on the phone despite both of us having very busy days and I was finally able to tell him, after waiting for two weeks, that I think successful couples make their decisions together, whereas we make decisions based on what we want/need individually and then attempt to force it on the other person, and that is something that has to change if we hope to have any type of relationship in the future. Now he is on a work trip out of town for two weeks where it is hard to talk so I will have a lot of time to work things over in my mind and/or attend to other personal business.

Not sure where things are going to go with that but I appreciate the gesture and note a lot.

I've had a really busy past two days at my internship. I am getting some great experience and having a lot of success with my clients and am very pleased about that. However, today one of the kids (Not one of my clients) made a very serious suicide attempt that both shocked me and made me sad. Things seem better for him already than they were at the time of his attempt, but the thought that he could have been successful with his attempt and not learned that things get better really saddens and worries me. Anyways for his privacy I don't want to say anymore about it but it has definitely been on my mind. One of the hardest things about my work is that it is so private that sometimes I can't even discuss my day. Obviously confidentiality is way more important than telling people details about my day but it can still be difficult. It makes me feel like The Giver in some ways, if any of you are familiar with that book.

I was also able to fit in a tiny bit of knitting (like, 6 rows) and a work-out today, so that pleased me. Even though it was a really busy day I even got in a short nap around 7pm which was really nice. Hard to believe but it's the first nap I've taken in a couple months!