Wednesday, December 31, 2014


We made it through 2014. We are standing on the precipice of a new year which is exciting, exhilarating and frankly a little nerve-wracking. Most of us are wondering what 2015 will look like for us and maybe even mapping out a plan or identifying a few goals. I know I've been thinking about it, but I feel like I couldn't get much planning done without taking the time to reflect on the past year. How will I know what needs to be addressed in the upcoming year without looking at what was accomplished in the past one? As I started poking around in twenty-fourteen, what I found kinda blew me away.

Many times this year, I felt my wheels spinning but never really felt like I was making headway. You know when you are driving on a freeway with train tracks running parallel to you? And on the train tracks there is a train, but you can't quite tell if it's actually moving or if it's standing still? That's how I felt. I was doing a lot but I wasn't getting anywhere. I couldn't see what was actually changing because there was so much movement. Before I compared my year to the goals I had written, I didn't feel like I had gotten anywhere at all.

Do you ever look at my blog history? It's in the left margin of this page and sorts my post history by year, then month. My research began there. This entry will be my 109th post (for this year). One hundred and nine blog posts. That's an average of 2.09 entries a week for the past year. The topics range from my on-going struggle with weight, motherhood, career goals, beauty reviews, my new business and various events and emotions. A lot of content that I don't really see as a whole. I work on each blog post individually and once it's sent out into the universe it's rare that I go back. This post prompted me to do just that. I can tell you without a doubt if I had continued to research and found that those 108 blog posts were all I had made tangible headway on, I would be proud. That means I dedicated time and effort into my first love, writing. And that ain't no small thing.

If you haven't gathered it on your own, I had low expectations in the progress I had made this year. I'm working on a whole lot of areas in my life and everyone knows, when you do that, you tend to give less than 100%. I felt that is where I was headed. There has been a whole lot of treading water and putting out fires in the last moment, and in my mind, if you're scrambling like a crazy person you are probably not succeeding. Sure, I gave myself credit for the big steps in my professional life and the hours upon hours of homework I've done. I'll be honest, saying "it's been intense." is an extreme understatement. Plus, I'm following a passion by starting Lauriana Cosmetics (LC), which is so out of character for me. Half the time I feel like a fraud and half the time I feel like I'm on top of the world for pursuing something that I love so much. I've made myself vulnerable by daring to dream bigger and accepting any possible failure I may face. Which is huge for a girl that is paralyzed by the thought of rejection.

Imagine my surprise when I looked back at my year and realized that I'm sort of a badass.

In January, I selected a word of the year, Strive, and followed up with specific things I was going to Strive for. I tried to be as honest as I could when I wrote them and at that time, the USC program and LC weren't even on my radar. I reviewed them and gave myself a score on how I did.

Get my house in order.
3.5/5 - Our backyard has been landscaped, bookcases have been built, loads and loads of household items and clothes have been donated/sold/thrown away. We eat at home more. We clean the house more. We do our laundry more frequently. It has relieved a lot of stress. However, we still have processes to work out and routines to finalize. It's not great, but it's better.

Read at least 5 books.
5/5 - I read quite a few books in Hawaii and although I can't name most of them, I know I definitely read more than five. Part of this goal was to read two books that were out of my comfort zone. Done and done. I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and the JonBenet - Inside The Ramsey Murder Investigation written by detective Steve Thomas, a lead detective on the case. Gone Girl just rocked my world and was infuriating and the Jon Benet Ramsey investigation broke my heart and made me cry. Poor sweet girl. Ugh. Since I tend to read romantic novels with happy endings, these books qualify for WAY WAY out of my comfort zone.

Save more money. 
2/5 - If saving money means eating at home more, shopping smart and spending down your savings to pay for a ridiculously expensive program to receive my CBO certificate, I win. If it doesn't, I failed. I decided to give myself a little credit but since our savings is less than it was, well, I can't give myself a great score. This year I spent money to start a new website and business, to invest in it and to set up my school business career. The investment was worth it and next year will be about seeing those investments pay off.

Write, regularly.
5/5 - I already mentioned this, but just to really drive it home: In 2013 I blogged a total of 29 times. I mentioned earlier I blogged 109 times in 2014. That is 3.75 times more than what I did in 2013. Win, win, win!

Learn something new.
5/5 - I wrote "Take a class to learn a new skill or refine an old one." I meant take a sewing class or go to a makeup conference, but I'm pretty sure the USC School Business Management Program counts. Tenfold.

Let go.
5/5 - I let go. Let go of fear. Let go of the safety zone. I wore bright and bold lipsticks. I became a USC Trojan. I started a business. I'm working on a big project for this blog. I did it. And I'm still doing it, but I feel confident enough to call it a win.

Ask for help.
3/5 - I've definitely reached out for help. I haven't always gotten it, but I've reached out. I'm not counting it a full win because it took me most of the year to work up my courage and when out of the few times I asked I got a "No." I took it hard. Personally. I waited until I was at the final hour to ask for help and no one was there and I took it hard. I'm working on making myself ask for help before I'm drowning. I'm trying to make myself understand that hearing 'no' when I'm in need does not equal 'I don't love you.' or 'You're not important enough to help.' There is a lot of heaviness attached to that way of thinking and I've realized I need to change my inner dialogue.

Do it.
4/5 - It's hard to fight extreme laziness but I have really been trying. It creeps up now and again, but I've really been trying to adult it up. It has caused some minor issues with Bryan, because he'll want to play and go do things and I'll say "No. I'm working on the grocery list and getting a meal plan together." or "I can't I have a huge project due in a week and I can't procrastinate." It has also caused issues with me because I'm like "I just want to sit here and watch Jane the Virgin but I really need to do laundry and pick up around the house." I hate it, but taking care of shit makes life easier.

Go to Vegas, See Britney.
0/5 - Wooomp wooomp. I didn't make it to Vegas. I didn't see Britney Spears. Maybe next year?

Total Score: 32.5/45

I read those goals and started connecting memories to them and with each one I was more proud and exhilarated at what I had accomplished. All year I felt that I was spinning my wheels and yet I was actually doing big things. Great things. I saw great achievement in all of my goals! The only one that I outright failed was going to see Britney Spears in Vegas, which in comparison to the others, had an insignificant impact on my quality of life. Taking that "goal" out of the equation, I got 32.5 out 40 total points. 81%.

And, may I just mention again that at the time of writing those I didn't plan on embarking on a 13 month crash course in school business or starting a new company. That was all gravy on top. As I was researching, I could just feel the mental pat on the back. This is so, so encouraging. 2012 and 2013 were hard years on me. Life was chewing me up and spitting me out, over and over.

I was going through my secret tattoo inspiration board on Pinterest and one of them was a really pretty bow and arrow. Not something I'd actually get but it was the description that made me pin it.

"An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great." 

I followed the pin but it was a dead end (I hate when that happens.) and when I Googled it everything came up anonymous. I wish I knew. In the Christian world, it's common to hear that when you are facing struggle, it isn't that God is orchestrating it. Bad and hard things happen. It is the way of life. But God uses those circumstances to shape you. To refine your character, your resilience. He can use those experiences to be a light to others that are walking a similar path.

I suffered in 2012 and 2013. I faced personal struggle like I had never before. In 2014 I told myself to let go and Strive for more and for better. To face fears and dream big. To do the work. I began to climb a mountain made of lies I told myself. I look back now and I see the growth. I see clearly where I was and where I am.

I can't wait to share with you where I see myself going in 2015.


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