Saturday, December 31, 2011

#31 Forsee

Where do you hope to be on Jan 1, 2013?

Sometimes I do wish that I had a crystal ball to see what will happen but, life is an adventure.  But there are a few things that I can say that will probably be true this time in 2012.  I hope to focus on being happy, to be in a meaningful job, to continues on working towards a happy and positive relationship with my husband.  I would love to travel and see friends and family more than I did this year.  

It is really the simple just focus on the small things that mean so much.  Cheesy yes, but it is the way that I want to look at things.

So as this is the last Weverb11, I want to thank those who were on this adventure with me.  I met some amazing bloggers that I plan to continue to peek in.  Special thanks to the regular readers who also provided support as I did this challenge.

I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

#30 Meditate

Were you happy with who you were in 2011? Who do you want to be in 2012 and beyond?

Yes and no.  This year consisted of a number of pity parties, feeling sad, useless and unwanted mostly due to the unemployment and some outside factors.  I tend to see the proverbial glass as half empty so that feeds into the way that I see myself. 

A few months ago, I just had to get out of that mind set, so I started to think of a few things that make me happy and thankful.  It helped me pull out of a rut and focus on what I do have rather than what I don't have.

In 2012, I want to work on seeing the glass as half full and to be nicer to myself.  It is a work in progress for sure

Thursday, December 29, 2011

#29 Gush

Begin to create a plan for “My friends day out 2012″ – tell us what you envision

When I saw this prompt, I thought of one person my friends who lives in NYC.  While I can say it would be so much fun to heal to NOLA or Miami or even Vegas the reality is simpler.  There is a good possibility that I will have to have some medical procedures in 2012 and my good friend has already told me that she is coming in to hang out during the recovery.  So while we will spend time in Chicago before, afterwards it will just be movies in our sweats.  

If I don't need the procedures then maybe we can think big.  We all just want to hang out and laugh!

#28 Pay it Forward

Describe a random act of kindness that you benefited from in 2011. How will you pay it forward in 2012?

Earlier in the year, a pin fell off of my watch.  So I went to a local jeweler and they put a new pin in, the charge was $5.  I handed him my debit card but their machine broke, so he said just take it and enjoy (even after I offered to go to the ATM).  I now have  a place where I will support when  jewelry needs to be fixed.  

I try to pay it forward it can be the simplest thing from holding open a door.  I also pick up things that have fallen in stores, if you have a few things at the grocery store I will let you in front of me.  I hope to be able to buy someone's coffee behind me at the drive thru though


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

#27 Spend

Where did your money go this year? Where do you want it to go in 2012?

We were cautious with money this year and only plurged on a new bedroom set in the beginning of 2011.  We saved a bit and only bought essentials like food, gas, pet food and necessary items.  The end of the year had us hitting some sales and getting a new living room couch and chair.  

Having  garage sale brought in a bit of cash that was used as vacation fun money.

For 2012, we want to save, save, save.  We also want to invents in our condo and are looking to add a humidifier, a screen door, paint for our bedroom and possibly refinish the floors.  But, they can be done in stages and none of it is essential.  The rest will be added to our saving account to build it up.  We have  goal in mind for 2012 and we hope to meet it!

Monday, December 26, 2011

#26 Revive

Share a favorite photo from the past year. What was happening behind the scenes? What were you thinking or feeling? What could you smell, taste, see, hear at that moment?

I took this shot in Hawaii after dinner with Hubs.  We had some cocktails and just spend the evening together.  Afterwards the two of us just wandered around the beach and took some more photos.   The sunsets in Hawaii are surreal and we were fortunate to stand on that beach at this moment to capture it!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

#25 Celebrate

What did you celebrate in 2011? Are you looking forward to any celebrations in 2012?

This year we had a few celebrations, I had a "big" birthday, we celebrated my husbands "eve  of a big birthday" birthday, our anniversary and my neice's First Communion.  Each milestone was spent celebrating each occasion, my birthday was in Hawaii with my husband and friends, my husband's birthday was celebrated with his favorite dinner and cake with friends.

  Our anniversary was a weekend lon g celebration of our marriage.  The first communion was celebrated with almost all of my in laws in one place followed by a great celebration.

Of course today, we are celebrating Christmas just the two of us with the fur babies then we are off to celebrate with the in-laws.

Merry Christmas!!

#24 Control

What did you finally let go of in 2011? What will you let go of in 2012?

It is still a work in progress and probably will continue on for the next few years but it is fear of the unknown.  I tend to over think things, over thinking leads to what ifs, the what ifs then turn into worries of what would i/we do if it does happen.

I had to learn to just step back and take each day as it comes.  So that means that sometimes I just have to let go, other times it is ok to stress out, other days things just worked out.

I hope that each of you have a very happy Holiday season!

Friday, December 23, 2011


Describe something that you actively engaged in learning to do this year.

Being unemployed forced me to pay attention to my skills and experience.  Every few months I updated my resume and in looking for a job it caused me to think and to refine it.  I also had to learn how to sell myself to companies, which is hard for me to do.  So I practiced interviews, went to a few networking events and eventually I got the hang of how to sell my self, highlight my skills and "read" an interviewer.

Entering 2011 it was not something I expected to learn but, I learned a lot.  2012 will be a bit of the same as I decide to get certified in my field.  

What did you grasp?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

#22 Accomplish

What is one thing you want to do before you bid adieu to 2011? How will you make it happen?

I try to be a tourist in my city.  Living in a city such as Chicago offers all kinds of museums, theater, sports and art events.  I try to hit a major spot at least once a year.  So one thing to do this year was to hit the Shedd Aquarium.  It is one of my favorite places and they were having a jelly fish exhibit that is going to end in a few weeks.

Well, we were able to cross that off our list today.  My husband and I took the afternoon and heading down to the Shedd.  We had a nice afternoon of just wandering around.  It was nice to spend some time during our crazy holiday schedule to chill our and just enjoy ourselves

What is left on your 2011 bucket list?


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 21-Ripple

The butterfly effect posits that a small change can ripple across whole ecosystems. Who do you credit for the small action that made all the difference in your life this year?

There are a few people who had this effect on me but two in particular are my husband and a close friends.  Both have done or said things to cheer me up and pull me up by my bootstraps.  They both did not allow me to fall down the rabbit hole when things got bad and were always there to talk.  My friend calls, skype or IMs with me daily and when I had to give her some sad news she was on the phone with me in minutes.

My husband has been my rock and was just there when I needed someone.

These two helped me so much.

What about you, who were your butterflies?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

#20 Plug in/Un plug

How has technology affected your life (positively or negatively) in 2011? Do you want this to continue for 2012?

With all the technology that is now accessible on smart phones, I find myself more connected than I want to be at times.  I have email, fb and twitter all at my finger tips.  While it was good when Iw as looking for a job or waiting on an email it is also a great time waster.  It takes a conscious effort not to constantly check my phone.

So I wam trying to unplug and focus on other things that technology.  i turn off my computer and my phone for a few hours each day and sped time doing other things like cooking, playing with the dogs, errands, chores and reading.  It is shocking what a time such being connected can be.

My goal in 2012 is to continue to be plugged in to life around me and not online.

What is your plug in or unplug goal?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 19-Laugh

Tell us about your biggest belly laugh in 2011.

There were a few moments of hysterics this year but I can't remember specifics.  Most of it is laughing with my husband or one of my friends.  My animals make me laugh daily, for example, my cat likes to be tucked in.  So the other day she was in our bed, with her head on a pillow and tucked in.  I am not sure how long she stayed there.

 I hope to have many belly laughs in 2012!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 18-Teach

What lesson or advice were you able to pass on to others this year? Why was it important to share this information? (Or… what lesson would you like to pass on to others that read this?)

This is a tough one to answer. I know that there were lessons and advice I gave this year but none of them really stand out. So let me take some time to think about it.

Here is one lesson, if you have onion or garlic smell on our hands rub them with stainless steel, like the inside of sink and wash them, it removes the smell.

There is a lesson for ya!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 17-Discover

What did you discover (big or small) in 2011?

For me it was a small discovery and it was how to paddleboard. While in Hawaii, there were a few things that I wanted to do and paddleboarding was on top of my list. So as my birthday gift, my husband got me a lesson and off I went. It was a lot of fun and it was just so peaceful to just paddle around. Sure I fell off a few times but kept getting up. I can't wait to do it again!

What did you discover?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 16 Persevere

Describe something that disappointed you in 2011 and how you persevered.

Losing my job was not the disappointment, I saw it coming and I was glad to go, things were getting bad within the company. Finding the job was the disappointment, it has taken a number of months to finally land a position. I did not expect it to last that long especially since I got calls the week that I got laid off for meeting and interviews. There was a period of time when things got bad, after a number of interviews were I was a top candidate when it fell through the cracks for various reasons. It has been very tough.

But I picked myself up and moved on and finally found a position that fits my skill set and can lead to other possibilities. I had a great support system with my husband, my family and some of my friends cheering me up and cheering me on. I found strength in them sometimes and had to lean on them in others. But thankfully, I made it through.

What was your 2011 disappointment and how did you persevere?

Day 15-Surprise

What event of 2011 affected you in an unexpected way?

My anniversary was amazing. My husband made our anniversary full of surprises and I was not expecting any of them (well other than dinner). We hit a rough patch last year and came through it and he wanted to honor our anniversary and how we pulled through. He also knew how being jobless was affecting me and planned a fun filled weekend to celebrate us. We started off the weekend at Ovo. It was amazing what these performers can do and just how fun it was. The next day we had a romantic dinner at one of our favorite place where we ate, drank and talked about our wedding (and some chaos that happened before the wedding). Sunday, he surprised me with a couples massage, where we found our zen. And Monday (our actual anniversary) he surprised me with a pair of earrings and then a necklace before he left for a business trip.

He put such thought and effort in each activity that it made everything so surprising and special. We reconnected that weekend and it made me feel so fortunate to have him as my husband.

Day 14-Breathe

How did you make space + peace for yourself in 2011

I have started this ritual a few weeks ago and it has given me some "me" time. It is such a simple solution, take a bath. There is something about it being a ritual. From turning on the water, to figuring out what bath bomb, salt or even bubbles to use and just sitting there and being forced to relax. I find that it calms me down and makes me ready to face the days ahead. It puts me in a better frame of mind, and I try to focus on the positives and how to deal with the negatives.

It is something that I want to continue in 2012.

How did you find peace?

Day 13-Read

What article or book changed your outlook on an issue or life?

One book that really got me thinking was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It was a stellar book that had me thinking about how your cells cease to be your property once they are removed and how one set of cells went on to help develop some of our modern medicines. Yet, as historical as the impact of these cells became famous among the medical community, the story of the woman and her life were insignificant and how her family fought to get her recognized.

It kept making me think that behind every new discovery or invention there is a person who has ups and downs and who thorough direct or indirect have altered our lives. And it made me want to learn their stories.

What did you read that was though provoking?

Day 12 Thrive

What was your healthiest habit of 2011? What would you like to change or do differently in 2012?

One benefit of not working is that it allowed me to focus on hitting the gym. I love taking classes but my work schedule left me with little time to take the classes that I wanted. So I got to take a number of classes and find my favorite, Zumba. I also liked a stability ball class and a few strength training classes. I also changed my eating habits and a combo of working out and eating better caused me to tone up and lose weight. However, I fell of the gym wagon once it got colder and I need to get motivated (and stay motivated)

For 2012, I want to continue to work out and focus on tone. I also want to stop ordering out once a week. It can reek havoc on my body sometimes. I want to continue to be healthy.

What was your heathy habit?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Day 11 Try

What 12 new things do you want to do/accomplish in 2012?

1. Get my PMP certification
2. Master pie crusts
3. Sneak into NYC to hang out in the city with Hubs
4. Head to San Diego with friends
5. Paint our bedroom and living room
6. Clear out the second bed room and turn it into a bedroom or den
7. Paint
8.learn to sew
9. Improve my photography skills
10.Take more baths
11. Snowshoe
12.Finally hit the Adler Planetarium

Your turn, what is on your list?

Day 10 Create

Share a creative project you undertook this year (art, writing, DIY, cooking home decoration, crafts, photography … whatever comes to mind). How do you use your creativity to express yourself?

There have been a few projects that I undertook this year. I have made a few beaded jewelry pieces, made a Christmas wreath and cooked some new and yummy dishes.

I tend to experiment more in the kitchen than any other room. I made some amazing short ribs pasta this past winter, learned how to make chili, made tapas and made these amazing baked s'mores that have become my signature dish among my neighbors and any party that they have. I love to cook and create things that I can watch people enjoy. Not to mention we have about 20 cookbooks we have a number of experiments in our future)

How did you channel your creativity?

Day 9- Appreciate

In which moment did you find yourself flooded with gratitude? How will you rally around gratitude in 2012?

During the spring, there was a lot of upheaval, I lost my job and I had some no so positive medical news that shifted the way I treated myself. It was not a pleasant time for me but, in the midst of all this my husband stepped up to the plate. He has been my support and my rock for the past few months and there have been a few really tough days.

Each day I am so thankful for him. He reminds me of why I married him each day, he reminds me of the good things that we have like a condo, dogs and a cat, friends and family. Over the past few months, I have learned to appreciate the little things and the meaningful moments.

My heart is full of thanks and I am a lucky person!

What (or who) are you thankful for?

Day 8-Choose

What was the biggest choice you made in 2011? What caused you to choose what you chose?

It is ironic that this was today's question because yesterday I made a significant decision, I accepted a job offer. It is still surreal and I am in shock, partly because I was so used to the "Thanks but no thanks" that to get a yes was unexpected (even though I should have more confidence in myself). There have been a number of interviews over the past two weeks after weeks of little responses. There may be other offers upcoming but for now I said yes.

Another choice that was made this year was to get a cat. Last Christmas, we lost our beloved cat. He was such a special and wonderful cat and we miss him. We decided in May that we were ready and so we added a cat to our family. She is totally different and took some time to learn about her and her quirks. Like pouncing on your feet at 4 am, she is more vocal and likes to announce herself when she walks into a room and her lack of using the scratching post. But, she has added another spirit in the house and the dogs have become her friends.

What was a big decision that you made this year?

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Day 7-Travel

Where did you travel this year? What was your favorite part? If you didn’t get to travel, where do you want to go next year?

this past September we went to Honolulu for a week's vacation. After visiting Maui last year and feel in love with Hawaii, the Hubs and I caught the Hawaii fever. In the beginning of 2011, we put it on our if only list but then the airfare prices plummeted, and our friend had a condo time share and they wanted to go too. So plans were made and off we went.

We spent the week sitting on the beach, exploring Pearl Harbor, wandering around the city. Swam in the pool with fancy drinks. I learned to paddle board and for a week we were just so relaxed. We got to share the experience with our friends so that there was always someone to hang out with.

Next year we have a few places we want to hit but, it will depend on circumstances. So for now, I will remember the island.

What whas your favorite travel event in 2011? And what is on your travel wish list for 2012?

Photo by me

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Day 6-Favorite

What was your favorite month of 2011? Why did it beat out all 11 other months?

September, simply cuss it was my birthday and I got to spend it with friends and My husband in Hawaii. That week, we spent time doing nothing but sit by the pool or the beach. We woke up to warm weather, rainbows and sunshine. My birthday was spent learning how to paddle board, floating in the Pacific and having an amazing night out.

September always seems like a new start, I suppose that is because when I was younger, it meant the beginning of a new school year. So I guess that feeling still lingers when the calendar turns to September. It was full of hope, interviews (that eventually did not pan out), and relaxation.

I am trying to keep that month and the hope I feel at the start of a new year.

What about you, what month stands out in 2011?

Day 5-Befriend

Did you meet any new friends this year? How did they impact your 2011?

I met a few new friends this year, one of them is my husband's co-wroker who is fun to hang out with.
We really became close with a few sets of neighbors. One duo in particular have become one of our dearest friends. They adore our dogs and insist that they come with us when we visit. They have a basket full of dog toys that Rosie jumps in and sits there playing with her favorites. We all have shared a number of bottles of wine, have been snarky and silly. We introduced them to some new places to eat they took us to MarketDaze. We hang out almost every weekend for impromptu movie night, game night, or dinner.

We have had dinner and nights out with other sets of neighbors. One who is a wine distributor and always has some new wines to try. We shared a number of summer nights talking until the stars came out and then talked for hours more. Last week we went out with our upstairs neighbors for tapas and movies. And made plans for the coming weeks

It has given us piece of mind to literally be surrounded by some amazing people!

This year re-connected with a friend from elementary school. Although plans did not work out to meet last year, we still message each other and she has a great spirit.

Of course there have been a few others who I rely on for a laugh, support and a dose of reality. I don't know what I would have done without them

What about you, what did 2011 teach you about friendship?

Day 4-Haiku Sunday

Sum up your year, via haiku:

Surrounded by change
Tested my resolve and strength
I am still standing

Day 3-School of life

What lesson did you learn in 2011 from “The School of Life” rather than a classroom?

Ahhh school of life....there were a number of lessons:
  • It is ok to be sad but not dwell in it otherwise you will be too comfortable and won't get out of it as quickly as you got in
  • Friendships take work and sometimes people who don't reciprocate may not have been your friend to begin with
  • Cats can really damage your sofa if left unattended or if you just go to the grocery store
  • Unemployment sucks
  • Being creative can unleash positive energy
  • Reoja is a red that I can drink without getting a headache
  • You meet some cool people walking your dogs every day
  • No matter how old you are being forgotten about by people you care about sucks
  • I like hosting parties, I need to have more

What did the school of life teach you in 2011?

Day 2-Listen

What song did you listen to in 2011 to completely change your mood?

This is tough since there was some great music that came out in 2011. However, the one artist that really had me gobsmacked was Adele. Her voice, her songs and her aura really got to me. It enveloped me. Of course there was Lady Gaga too, her pop music helped me get my groove on. I like her message and an in awe of her talent...perhaps a wee bit envious

This year has been the year for dance songs, thanks to Zumba class. I got introduced to new songs and just helped my mood. Dancing for an hour can really lift your spirits.

After seeing Paul McCartney in concert, it reignited my love for the Beatles. No matter when or where, they are timeless.

WeVerb-2011 in one word

I decided to join WeVerb this year. Basically for each day in December there will be one verb prompt and I will blog about that verb.

Day 1 is Choose one word that encapsulates your year.

Simple....Roller-coaster. It has been filled with ups and downs. The last few months of not working have played havoc on me. I have been scared, worried, depressed, upset, optimistic, pessimistic and lonly. A whole jumble of emotions, thoughts and feelings.

Yet among the lows are the simple highs. My husband, my fur-babies, my family, my friends. There have been some amazing nights out with friends, a birthday in Hawaii, a fun visit from my parents, we adopted a cat, BBQs and nights in the summer our on our back deck laughing with neighbors, walks to the lake at dusk.

My goal is to try a find more happy to counteract the sad. 2011 has been a hard year, but I am making it, day by day sometimes hour by hour but I am still standing

If you are interested in participating check out #WeVerb