May Recap/ June Goals

May was not the greatest for me. I had a funeral to attend to that messed me up, I’ve been splitting ( I have BPD) and I found myself struggling with my back again. I was in and out of urgent care, laid on my back and just in pain.

But I also got to spend time with friends, try new things and I am growing my business. So it’s not all bad but it’s not all good.

  1. Find my flow. I have an increased work load for my side business this month and it’s very possible I’ll continue with it going forward. I figured out that I would like to spend at least 15 hours a week on my business ( including this site and clients) so I need to figure out a way to get my additional work done.
  2. Take care of myself. This includes therapy every week, praying, working out twice a week, eating healthy, taking my supplements, sleeping ( it’s hard with back pain) and going to all of my doctor appointments.
  3. Have fun in San Francisco. I’ll be going to visit a friend and her family at the end of the month and I am so freaking excited! My bucket list includes, Castro, Alcatraz, meeting up with friends and eating good food. Any other suggestions?
  4. Read three books. I am still working on IT. And I would like to finish The Cook Up and True Crime Addict since they have been on my nightstand for a month.

Anyone have anything exciting going on?

 

Things My Mother Taught Me

I have a love hate relationship with Mother’s Day posts so it’s ironic that I find myself writing one.

I struggled actually, even thinking about it. See, my mom passed away when I was younger ( 15) and it was very traumatic. It wasn’t her fault, but the circumstances around her death and after her death were rough. Life was just rough. And although I thought I was over it for many years, and was able to function, it took me a long time to process it. I’m still processing it. Grief is funny in a way.

But now that I am actually thriving in my life, despite circumstances that have happened lately, I can think about what my mom taught me. It may not be standard financial lesson such as a 401 K or taxes, but it is still pretty important to me nonetheless.

Life happens. Do your best anyways.

If I have learned anything this past year, it’s that life happens. I get so caught up loving life when it’s great that when something bad happens, it hits me harrrddddd. I get so upset that it’s literally all I can focus on and it takes me hours to calm down, only after I have bawled and cried to anyone who will listen to me.

I do have a condition that I actively seek therapy for ( borderline personality disorder if anyone is wondering) but a lot of my therapy involves changing thought patterns and healthy coping techniques. My coping techniques aren’t always the best but I am doing a lot better about not getting stuck in my head. And I have to remember life happens and I need to do my best anyways.

My mom was a prime example of life happening in so many areas of her life that I never realized it until recently when thinking about her. 

My mom and I at Disneyland! I still have that look.

My mom, who had never wanted children, found out she was pregnant with me after falling off a horse at a party. (Yes, my mom was a good time, something I like to think I inherited.) The doctor told her that she was fine and so was her baby and she sort of yelled WHAT BABY. She was on the pill being an independent woman y’all. Oops.

Life changed drastically for her and she did her best anyways. She moved to Phoenix so she could have more family support with her brother. She started a new job as a veterinary assistant so she could have more stable income. And she decided to be a single mother without telling the birth father, despite being chronically ill.

My mom ended up loving being a mother, something she had not imagined. She had such a great energy about her life despite her circumstances that she ended up dating the firefighter who came to deliver me. She maintained her single mother status until I was four and she married the man who adopted me, the father I’ve known (not the firefighter, she left him for my dad).

This wasn’t the first or last time she had a major life change. She ended up choosing to divorce my father a few years later. Things were tough financially for us then, since she was chronically ill and couldn’t work. But she still did the best she could and I never went without. And when she knew she was terminally ill, she still did the best she could, encouraging me to stay with my education even when I would rather be taking care of her. I ended up being home schooled the last few months of her life but I was okay with it and I’m happy I had the option at the time.

Life changed and she did the best she could. 

I wish I had more time with my mom. There is so much you need your mom for and I feel cheated on a lot of things. But, I am so lucky because I have so many people in my life who love me. And that is what I need to remember when life changes so I don’t become so stagnant in my own thoughts.

What did your mom teach you? 

Spring Cleaning? Follow These Tips!

I remember when I was younger, I loved cleaning the house. Growing up with a chronically ill mom and workaholic dad while being an only child allowed me to sucker in the cash. Before my mom’s medical bills got outrageous and she divorced my dad, I was able to sucker $25-40 a week just by cleaning, stuff most kids do to build character. Except my room. I hated cleaning that.

My apartment is sort of like the adult version of my room in that I don’t want to spend all day cleaning it so I make jedi mind tricks to help. Along with keeping a day job, freelancing, friends and being a cat lady, keeping a clean house helps keep me sane. It can help you too.

Allow time for breaks and time for work. 

I am the biggest proponent in the world of breaks. My mind is busy and I can get easily off task. Throw in some chronic health issues that require rest and anxiety that leads to being overwhelmed, I could use a nap.Which is why I allow time for breaks and time for work.

I am a big proponent for the 20-10 rule made popular by UfYH. You can read more about it but it suggests working for 20 minutes and then breaking for 10. It’s like the pomodoro technique but for those of us who don’t like tomatoes and can’t handle the idea of only breaking for five minutes. A professor in college suggested to my class only working on something for 20 and then doing a chore. This aligns nicely with that.

Don’t be afraid to throw shit out. 

I “think” hoarding may be generational. If you have parents who are hoarders or pack rats, then chances are you never really learned a healthy relationship with your own belongings.

My dad is the biggest pack I personally know and owns over 60 cars that don’t run. I can’t really discuss the idea behind this because it doesn’t make sense to me. But, I’ve had my own trials tribulations with personal belongings I didn’t need. Not only did I have a problem with shopping I will discuss at a later time, but I had a personal problem with letting things go.

After I realized why I had a shopping problem and why I was hanging on to things, I was able to declutter. Decluttering allowed me to move four times in less than two years  when my life was unsettled. I was able to move in two car trips instead of renting a u-Haul. Excess furniture I don’t utilize doesn’t belong in my house. And when my life feels chaotic, I know I can cut shit out.

Do a little bit each day.

Along with taking breaks, I don’t make it a big deal to do everything in one day. I do get stressed out if people are coming over or staying long term, like my boyfriend, but I try not to make a big deal out of it or cram it all on one day when I’m sure to get overwhelmed. Instead, I allow myself to do something everyday.

Maybe Monday nights are dedicated to the bathroom or laundry. Maybe vacuuming is something you do on Sunday mornings. Create a cleaning schedule and do things when you know you can, little by little, everyday. Along with a checklist for my night routine, I know laundry is done on Sundays and my fridge needs to be cleaned out on Thursdays.

Allow yourself some fun cleaning products.

Nothing is wrong with wanting pretty things in your home and that includes cleaning products. Not only do I buy sponges in fun prints from the dollar store, I also allow lavender scented Swifter sheets and bamboo smelling air freshener.

I like to have fun when I clean, so I power up the radio and pop out my hot pink spray bottles. You can get most cleaning supplies at the dollar store like me and splurge on a few items at Target. They are probably cheaper at Walmart but the one by my house is one frequented by Phoenix Police so I try not to shop there too often.

Do you have any spring cleaning tips to share?

May Goals

April showers bring May flowers but if you live in Arizona, it brings a lot of wind instead. Along with out first 100 degree day ( yes, it’s hot!), everyone’s allergies have been crazy but will hopefully die down soon.

April was also crazy expensive which has been my life story since the beginning of this year, with a lot of associated health care costs. I have good days and bad days still but have been feeling a lot better. I’ve been working on my diet and supplements and next month I would like to incorporate working out twice a week. I also spent a lot of time and money on my car Sophia these past few months but she is now ready for the year. On to the May goals.

  1. Work out twice a week. This month I’ve worked hard on adjusting my diet in an effort to feel better and I lost 3lbs. Along with setting up little 5lb weight loss goals I’d like to hit, I’d like to add working out back into the mix. I’m going to Puerto Rico this Christmas and would like to lose 5 lbs a month until then.
  2.  Throw away 10 things a day.  Last month I had to pack up a lot of stuff in my apartment so it could get treated by an exterminator due to no fault of my own. Said stuff is still bagged up and in my closet and dining room. I already gave away 3 bags of belongings and I’m hoping to continue on my decluttering streak. 10 things can be easy like 10 pieces of paper, items out of my cupboard I am not going to touch or bath products collecting dust.
  3. Stick to my blog calendar on MSL. This is going to be my BHAG goal for the month. I always have tons of ideas for MSL, my own little piece of the web but client work always comes first for me. It’s a quicker return financially and I really enjoy the clients I have. But, if I want my corner of the web to grow, provide more income and really be all that it cane be, like a place for Latinas to find the financial knowledge they need, I need to step it waaaaaaay up.
  4. Read 2 books. I’m re-reading IT this month and that’s over 1,000 pages so I’ll only be shooting for 2. This should be doable even with a lengthy book as I aim to read an hour before bed 4-5 nights a week
  5. Send out thank you cards. I’ve been slowly but surely gathering addresses to send out overdue thank you cards to people who donated to my fundraiser. Better late than never? ( Please don’t hate me)
  6. Tally up spending for quarter 1. You know I’m a financial nerd, I need to run my numbers and figure out how to pay even more to this medical debt.

What do you have planned for May?

 

March Goals

It seems silly to make goals for the next two and a half weeks since I’m late but I’m going to do it anyways. First up, a recap of February Goals!

  1. Really think about my week and plan it. Success! I am happy to announce that I have finally started planning for my health better! I joined a gym right before radiation and now that I am off my medical rest, I can start attending. Along with the gym, I’m allowing myself time for rest. 
  2. Eat as healthy as possible. Fail.
  3. Read six books. ( Self explanatory) Fail, I read 3.
  4. Catch up with clients. Success!
  5. Do taxes. ( self explanatory) Success!
  6. Organize my finances. Fail. I keep trying to do an online system and I just don’t like it very much. 

March Goals

  1. Get my car detailed and fixed.
  2. Start working on thank you cards. 
  3. Read 2 books. 
  4. Continue doing yoga 5 times a week. 

What is everyone else working on this month?

I Have Cancer

As long as I can remember, Google told me I had cancer. Headache? Cancer! Sore throat? Cancer! Needless to say, I stopped googling my symptoms as much as my curiosity would allow since it seemed to never be that serious. Meanwhile, I’ve been battling auto immune issues for the past few years and consistently felt tired, among other things. Hoping that the exhaustion would go away after I finished my bachelors, I was disappointed to find out that wasn’t the case. On the weekends, I could, and still do, sleep 12-14 hours to just feel normal again.

Back in November, I flew to the east coast for a week. I felt fine, good even, as I walked around New York City with coworkers and went hiking with my boyfriend on the Appalachian Trail. Sure I slept when I could (boyfriend let me sleep for 15 hours one day) but I felt like my exhaustion had finally gone away.

The next week, I found myself knocked out with what seemed like a random cold. I’ve had problems with my ears my whole life so when I had ear pain, I made sure to make an appointment with my physician. Spending Thanksgiving in Texas with my boyfriend and in laws did not sound like a pleasant time when I had a busted ear drum from flying which has happened before. After being diagnosed with a sinus infection and not seeing anything in my ears, my doctor examined my lymph nodes in my throat and was alarmed when she found two huge masses. Actually, to be honest, she said, “OH MY GOD DO YOU FEEL THOSE?!?!” and I burst into tears.

I can’t explain how I knew, then, I had cancer but I did. I was just unsure what type I had. Perhaps it was her reaction which she later apologized for, my constant googling of symptoms or just feeling exhausted all of the time but I knew. Chalk it up to intuition.

The next four weeks were an insane blur, trying to find out what was wrong with me. An ultrasound led to a CT Scan, which led to an ENT, which led to a biopsy, which led to an official diagnosis ( although three people had already said it was probably cancer) and then I had my consult with a surgeon who referred me to his partner. I cried everyday to my boyfriend who got used to talking to me about dinner one second and then watching me have a breakdown the next. Although I have to give props to everyone in my life, the real MVP is him, moving in for a month and a half and taking care of me when I needed it the most.

Cancer is rough. Not only are you ever prepared for it mentally, you aren’t prepare for the logistics either. My papillary thyroid cancer had spread so significantly, I needed an open neck dissection instead of a thyroidectomy. DO NOT GOOGLE IT. Along with more recovery time, I had a longer surgery and one tumor needed to be chiseled out due to it’s size and location. Basically, I had a golf ball lodged in between my artery and jugular vein. I had an amazing surgeon but he was expensive and wouldn’t operate until he had $2,000 down. No payment plans here.

After surgery comes radiation. That is in two weeks and I am busy preparing now by not eating any salt, dairy, red dye 40 and basically anything fun because I already don’t eat gluten due to auto-immune issues. Radiation is confusing in itself because it’s administered in a pill form and then I’m radioactive at home for a few days, isolated with the BF leaving snacks at the door.

Between worrying about my diet, radiation, medical bills and adjusting to a new life without a thyroid, an organ that does SOOOOO much, I’m exhausted. Some days I cry and can’t get out of bed. And then some days, I feel lucky that I have thyroid cancer and not something else. I feel grateful for all the support I’ve received from so many, from a fundraiser a friend did online to people buying me scarfs and bringing me food. I feel blessed I have good doctors, my cat and a partner who has done so much for me.

It’s a long journey with many ups and downs but a journey nonetheless.

February Goals

Hello 2017 and hello friends. I haven’t been around in a hot minute and I’ll tell you why, including a few more posts regarding how I found out, what treatment has been like and my ongoing mental state but in a few words, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer right before Christmas. 

It’s been rough, needless to say, especially since I feel like my body is in a never ending battle with itself due to all of my auto immune issues. In an attempt to feel better and to help my mental state, I thought getting back into a routine and blogging could do me wonders and you know how I am about my goals.

  1. Really think about my week and plan it. I really need to think about my health and my immune system at the moment and this includes planning out my week. I thought I would be okay jumping into my old life but my body is quickly shutting that down. So I need to make time for errands and time for rest. If I plan to go out, I need to stay home the next day. Basically, if I do anything, I need to make sure I can rest after.
  2. Eat as healthy as possible! I need to eat as healthy as I can. I don’t properly plan like I mentioned before and end up spending too much on take out and then feel crummy. So I’ll be cooking and packing my lunch and making sure I have snacks in my purse. I think this will help with my immune system as well. 
  3. Read six books. ( Self explanatory)
  4. Catch up with clients. I’ve taken time off and put a few on hold so I need to catch up and see what my services are looking like moving forward.
  5. Do taxes. ( self explanatory) 
  6. Organize my finances. I started doing this last month but got side tracked. I enjoy doing my budget and finance goals quarterly but I need to update it with new medical bills and expenses.

I think that’s about it! Just enough to keep myself busy and take care of business while resting. What do you have on the agenda?

 

#FinCon16

I know I’m totally late on writing about the awesomeness of FinCon but I usually run late in life. So, this just keeps everything in line, right? 😉

For those who may not know what FinCon is, it is the premier personal finance blogging conference. Since there is so much digital media, blogging has become a new way for writers to reach an even more vast audience. I love blogging because I find it can reach a wider audience than traditional media and many media outlets have taken notice of this. Companies such as Business Insider and USA Today have now established blogs on their sites they outsource to writers who started their writing careers by starting blogs such as this one.

While FinCon technically started on Wednesday ( even earlier if you participated in DigiCoLab or the XY Planning Network), I flew in late Thursday and met my BF and friend at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina located directly on Harbor Island. Along with beautiful views, it was amazing to wake up next to the water everyday and hang out while catching up with friends I only get to routinely see once a year. ( side note: I met BF at this conference years ago so we work along side each other at one of the premier events!)

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BF and I at the closing party!

 

Thursday night was spent catching up at the Trade King Kick Off Party held at the Coasterra restaurant about a mile from our hotel. Friday was a bit busier as I had meetings in the morning but I left the hotel to enjoy a nice gluten free lunch with my blogging bestie Jana from Jana Says. BF tagged along but then we sent him on his way back so we could have a girls day of fun before a podcast dinner. Speaking of podcasts, we may have a secret one in the works and I’ll have to keep you informed as things are planned.

Jana and Athena's Day Of Fun!

Jana and Athena’s Day Of Fun!

Saturday was quite busy, as it was the last day of FinCon, but I crammed in as much as possible. I was on a guest on a podcast again this year, attended a session on traditional vs. self publishing, attended the Plutus Awards run though, hosted the Plutus Awards happy hour and live tweeted the Plutus Awards before the FinCon after party. The Plutus Awards is an exclusive awards ceremony where winners are chosen by their peers, all in personal finance. This is my fourth year helping with the Plutus Awards, which I actually do year round.

The Plutus Awards!

The Plutus Awards!

I have to say, this was probably my best FinCon yet and so far, I’ve been to all but one of them, with it being in it’s sixth year. While New Orleans was my favorite location, San Diego is definitely a close runner up. I’ll have more tips this week for attending a conference but I did want to say a few of my takeaways here:

Focus on relationship building. 

You never know who you are going to meet in your life, especially at conferences. I know plenty of people who have attended this conference along with others and now work full time for people they met while there. Along with working for others, some have met their partners ( I’m not the only FinCon couple!). So put down the phones and make some in real life connections while you can.

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BF and I hunting for dolphins!

What can you provide for others? It’s not the other way around.  

A lot of people like to say you are the average of the five people who spend the most time with and like to use this as a way to say you need more established friends. I don’t know if this is true but I do know the more friends I make in my life, the more inspired I am to be a better version of myself. But, asking what other people can provide you, such as a network or earning potential, is not a great way to make a new friend. I suggest working on yourself and being the example of a person who want to actually be around.

Be you. In a big sea, you are the only starfish! 

Sometimes blogging seems hard. We are all competing for the same clients writing about the same thing. *yawn* I totally get it but don’t let this deter you. You and I are both different people with different audiences speaking differently and using different examples with a common goal of educated others. There is only one you and you can shine no matter what if you just put your heart into it!

Don’t be afraid to try new things!

Honestly, I am probably the most scattered blogger on Earth. I come up with great ideas and then promptly forget them. I don’t spend time on what I need to and then feel bad afterwards. But, I realized a lot of it has to do with the fact I get bored and need to shake up my blogging routine, along with mediums I experiment with. Who says I just have to write? Along with starting a podcast, I’m also going to be looking into video and writing a course. Maybe writing isn’t your speed but talking is. Try new mediums and see what you enjoy! The world needs you!

Did you go to FinCon and have a blast like I did?

 

October Goals

My favorite time of year is here, Halloween!

Along with October hosting my favorite holiday, I also enjoy October because that’s when it finally feels like fall in the Southwest. I can wear pants outside and not die, as well as drive my car without oven mitts. That’s what a cheap cost of living will get you, insane weather.

Along with fun plans such as H coming to visit for a week, an adult puppet play and a taco festival, I also need to travel out of town soon to be there for my second family. My best friend experienced a tragic loss over the weekend so I plan on making arrangements to be out of town later this week or next. Life is so short you guys. Make sure you hug everyone and kiss them and tell them you love them .

  1. Decorate for Halloween/ Fall. While I usually have my house ready to go by August 31st, I’ve just been so exhausted this year with my arthritis and other chronic conditions. I’ve caught up on some rest so I plan on decorating this week/ weekend. I love Halloween!
  2. Eat Paleo 80% of the time. After eating strictly Paleo for three weeks then falling off the wagon, I can now say that I can totally tell the difference IN MY BODY. I’m not as achy or sore, hungry or tired. I lost five lbs without even trying and was still able to have things in moderation or by altering them. Now, I will tell you it’s hard to eat Paleo. While my grocery expenses have happily stayed the same, I am cooking a lot more and have to really think out and prep my days. Can I grab something here? Did I pack snacks? Can I leave early to go to the only coffee shop that offers coconut or almond milk? It’s exhausting and frustrating when recipes don’t come out or I’m tempted to just stop by and buy fast food, my weakness. But, I feel better, so much better, that my cheat day will be Friday and that’s hopefully it.
  3. Map out all expenses for the next three months along with savings goals. I have a lot coming up in the next three months. Not only am I traveling to NYC for work, I’m also going to Texas for Thanksgiving and have Christmas coming up. I need to figure out what my expenses will generally be and also how I can still save. And then, student loans are finally coming due. That’s another total budget buster! So, it’s important to budget and plan as much as possible. As Lauren Greutman said in her book, The Recovering Spender ( which I will have a full review of next week,) you need to stay in your fence. The budget is your fence.
  4. Read 6 books. Still desperately holding out hope for my Goodreads challenge this year.
  5. Get ahead at least one week in all client work. Self explanatory.
  6. Find an additional client. Self explanatory.
  7. Start my blog business plan outline. Now that I’m back from FinCon and have found some motivation, it’s time to sit down and actually do it.

What are everyone else’s October goals?

 

 

Surprise! I Have Osteoarthritis

I swear, I am legitimately 31 but my body feels like it’s going on 81, hence why I have arthritis. Shall I go on?

I’ve never been the healthiest person in my whole entire life. I’m not sure the cause either. Maybe I could blame it on the fact I was born six weeks early in the mid eighties but that doesn’t sound right, especially since I was never a NICU baby. Anyways, health problems wrecked my childhood, specifically being a chronic asthmatic. I remember getting strep throat twice a year, pneumonia and bronchitis once a year, all like clock work. I remember having digestive issues which later turned out to be a gluten/wheat allergy. And I also remember having the crappiest immune system in the world. If something was going around, it was only a matter of time until I got it. My health problems lessened a bit as I got older and I finally stopped having yearly asthma related visits to the ER when I was 25.

The issues with my spine started when I was 27. After being in a severe car accident, I had an MRI done to evaluate issues I was having with my neck. The MRI picked up bulging discs which I needed cortisone shots for but it also picked up something I didn’t know. The fact that I had a minor case of scoliosis which was never picked up in grade school. I was reminded to keep an eye on it but after my cortisone shots, I didn’t think twice.

When I was 28, I threw my back out. I was lifting a case of water and something crunched, which terrified me. I made an appointment with a chiropractor who adjusted me and I started seeing him regularly for a year and a half. He was unprofessional so I decided to go some place where I felt more comfortable and that some place never really came. I didn’t think about it because my back seemed fine and I carried on my merry way until last fall. Last fall, I threw my back out again but this time felt different. Something felt off and no matter what, I was now in pain.

For six months, I tried everything I could think of instead of going to the chiropractor. I did stretches, tried yoga, took medicine and popped muscle relaxers. Nothing made me feel better and if it did, it never truly lasted. My pain went from a 4 to a 9 daily and I often laid in bed crying. I went to my primary doctor in tears and she recommended finding a new chiropractor.

I loved my new chiropractor and although I stopped being in consistent pain fog which helped me finish my studies with ease, my pain kept coming back which stopped me from moving on with my treatment. I would be okay for awhile and then have severe pain for what seemed like no reason. Really? I threw my back out handing the cat’s litter box? And then, my ribs popped out. Have you ever had a popped out rib? Google it. It hurts. My ribs were popping out and my chiropractor holds were not staying. I felt so much pain and I can say for the three weeks, I’ve been a mess. I was embarrassed at the state of my house when my BF came to visit as well as my cat sitter. I got behind in my freelance work and I’m still behind. Life hasn’t been great but I’ve been managing and trying to stay positive.

Last week, my chiropractor sent me in for tests and we finally figured out the culprit as to why nothing is working. I was diagnosed at age 31 with osteoarthritis in my spine. Part of my spine is so terribly inflamed which is the reason my adjustments aren’t holding and my rib keeps bouncing out. Because my arthritis is in the beginning to moderate stage, my chiropractor has placed me on a natural treatment plan for the time being. Along with starting an anti-inflammatory diet ( which is extremely hard), I also need to start working out at the gym. Studies have shown when you work out your muscles and build up the area around the inflamed joints, your pain lessens because your stress lessens. I also was very kindly told to lose weight to help pressure on my overwhelmed spine. I knew I needed to drop some of this junior and senior weight but damn.

Despite my nervous breakdown in Whole Foods, and trying to figure out what I can eat on a anti-inflammatory diet ( it’s pretty much Whole 30/ Paleo), I’m actually happy and grateful. I’m optimistic that I can fix my spinal condition and lessen my pain without surgery at the moment. I don’t know if I can wait out surgery or shots forever, but if I can for now, I’m grateful.

Chronic pain is not easy. Along with deciding to really track my finances along with my grow my business, my health is going to be up there. Do not take good health for granted people. I’m going to need all of my extra funds to help ensure I can pay for not only my treatments, but for the foods and supplements I need to make sure my body can last another 50 years in tip top shape!

Do you have any health conditions?