2015 Yearly Recap

I had a lot happen in 2015 that I wasn’t expecting, some that I was and some I had been planning for. I wanted to take a minute to share my year with you and to look back on all that I accomplished with some hard work and elbow grease.

My three year long legal battle finally ended. 

Probably the hardest thing to write about all year was the fact that my three year long legal battle finally ended and not in my favor. In 2011, I was in a severe car accident which totaled my car and caused discs in my neck to bulge. I had to seek year long medical treatment and finally underwent a procedure to help with nerve damage I experienced. The accident wasn’t my fault and I sought legal representation about a month and a half after it happened but I wish I had done it sooner and had found someone better to represent in my court.

My experience wasn’t awful until my medical treatment had been finished because it seemed everything that could go wrong did with the law office I had picked to represent me. I had a total of over five lawyers, endless legal secretaries and trips that resulted in nothing. Once my legal representation had realized that they had screwed up my case pretty badly, they dropped me and left me on the hook for my medical treatment. After many sleepless long nights and stress, including stomach problems and panic attacks with chest pains, I decided to settle outside of court with the opposing counsel on my own through the judge.

I’m happy I can finally put some of this behind me, even if I am left on the hook with some additional debt I wasn’t planning for. I did need the treatment my neck and the procedure, I just wish it hadn’t ended like this and left such a bitter taste in my mouth.

I got my first apartment!

apartment

I achieved one of my main goals this year in February and moved into my very own apartment! I had decided back in 2013 that I had wanted to try living by myself. I wanted the freedom to have my boyfriend stay for long periods of time, get a pet and experience life on my own. My roommate was great and I’m glad I lived with her since she’s still a good friend, and I’m grateful to her. But, I’m glad I was able to be in a place in my life where I could do this and I have learned soooo much. This is a snapshot of my kitchen and I plan on doing a more in depth home tour later on in 2016.

I adopted a rescue cat!

harrison 1

I adopted a rescue cat named Harrison around the time I moved into my new apartment. He was pretty much meant to be. I went for a run with my friend Monica in her neighborhood down the street from my new apartment and she showed me an ad with Harrison in it. I met his rescue family and took him home two weeks later. Living alone was scary and I’m so happy and grateful I had him to help me navigate the way. He helps me with social media clients, likes naps and has six toes! Look at those thumbs. Totally adorbs, am I right?

harrison 2 harrison 3 harrison 4 harrison 5

I went to the Grand Canyon, Borrego Springs and New Mexico! 

grand canyon

I was able to travel a bit this year in between school and work when I could snag time away! This year, I went to the Grand Canyon with H and tagged along on his annual family vacation which included going to Borrego Springs this year. I also spent Thanksgiving in New Mexico with one of my best friends who I hadn’t seen in three years and had a great time shopping and eating my way through the state. Too much good food!

new mexico

I got my braces off! 

no braces

After three long years, I finally got my braces taken off. Huzzah! In 2012, I was finally able to get braces put on to help fix my severe overcrowding and overbite. For years prior, I had been getting my teeth filled, fixed and pulled to make room for the corrective procedures that needed to be done, including three different pieces of hardware. My teeth were really bad and my parents were never able to get the fixed and keep up with everything else, bills wise. I had a lot of resentment towards my parents for not fixing my teeth when I was younger but it’s funny. When the braces came off, so did my hard feelings and I got a brand new smile. My braces were well over $6,000 and that’s not including any previous dental work but you know what? I’m glad I was able to do this for myself.

My besties from Vegas came for gay pride in Phoenix and I was able to host them!

gay pride gay pride 2

This was a big deal for me because I always lived with a roommate or a boyfriend and had to ask if it would be okay. Not this time! Sure, let’s squeeze as many people into my apartment! Everyone is welcome! Don’t let the cat out! We had tons of drinks, fun, dancing and did I mention we got to see Wilson Phillips perform live? Best gay pride ever!

Speaking of besties, my sister wife and I went to RuPaul’s Drag Con. 

rupaul

Yup, that’s me with Rupaul guys and you can tell how giddy I was to hug him in his pinstripe suit. If he was in drag, I’m not entirely sure I would have been able to keep it together since drag queens are a few of my favorite things. I loved this event and had so much fun, including seeing so many drag queens work, checking out the Rocky Horror Picture Show and meeting Daniel Franzese. Daniel, if you’re reading, I want my pink shirt back.

daniel

I went to Israel for a study abroad program, studied something super scary and had the greatest experience of my life. 

israel

I’ve never been what one would call a “traditional” college student. I went to community college for years and earned an associates while maintaining full time employment. I then took a four year hiatus before returning for my bachelors still while working. I’ve always had to support myself and could never be someone who just focused on school. This meant I lost out on a lot of “traditional” college experiences, such as living in a dorm or on campus or being away from home for the first time.

In January, I received an email from ASU inviting me to participate in a study abroad program I qualified for based on my GPA. It was studying counter terrorism in Israel for several weeks during the summer which coincided with my time off my full-time teaching position. I was excited but unsure if I really wanted to participate, especially since it was attached to a $10,000 price tag which I found unfathomable in my budget. But, I did it and probably had the best time of my life while there.

I swam in the Dead Sea, blessed my cross necklace on the stone that Jesus laid on and saw the field David and Goliath had their battle on. I learned how to gather intelligence, keep my cool and made new friends and explored new cities where I didn’t speak the language but survived. I learned a lot about myself but mainly learned I’m a strong person who loves traveling and I don’t give myself enough credit. I scrimped and saved and hustled my ass off to make it happen and after next month, it will finally be paid off!

israel 3 israel 2

I went to FinCon again!

fincon 3

I have gone to FinCon every year since 2012 so this is the fourth time I’ve been and this year it was in Charolette! One of my many side hustles is doing the social media and event planning for the Plutus Awards, an annual awards ceremony which allows people to nominate and then vote for the best of the best in the personal finance sphere. I have to say, as much as I love traveling and exploring, I love the people at this conference the most. I met my boyfriend here, met some of my most treasured friends here and it’s a way to gain knowledge. This conference has motivated me to do so much with my life even when I don’t always agree with certain people or ideas. And not only was I able to be a guest on my first podcast explaining my struggles and triumphs, I also got to go to special dinner hosted by Prudential and I got to snag this selfie with the Mama of Personal Finance, Lynette Cox.

fincon fincon 2

I completed another year of my studies and only have a semester left before I graduate!

school

I completed another year of my studies and I am on track to graduate after the Spring. I went nonstop this year to make it happen, which included sessions in the spring, summer and fall but I had a hard time finishing one of the classes I signed up for, which was a higher level microbiology class I was taking for fun! I thought it would be more of a social commentary class and I really struggled with it and my time constraints. I also really struggled because of something else.

I stopped therapy, had a breakdown and had to go back. I had to re-define my happiness. 

happiness

The other hardest thing to write about besides my legal battle was that my mental health didn’t have such a great time towards the end of the year. I stopped therapy in April thinking that I was “better” and could handle my emotions on my own again but my health starting deteriorating when I got back from Israel and started school again. It got insanely bad in September and after fighting with almost everyone close to me, I had a breakdown at the beginning of October. It’s not hard to admit I struggle with mental illness, but it is hard to deal with at times, when I wish I could just be “normal” and not have to worry about not wanting to get out of bed, oh like, everyday. I was re diagnosed, put on meds and started psychotherapy, with an emphasis in mindfulness, meditating and allowing myself to have “bad” days.

And almost two months later, it’s working. I feel better although I’m still tired but I actually look forward to things again. I didn’t get the news I wanted at work and instead of getting upset, I dealt with it the best I could. I only cried once this month about my mother ( holidays are especially hard for me) and I’ve been trying to work on my relationships. I’m learning what unhealthy codependency traits I have and learning new ways to work around them. I am learning and that’s the best I can hope for at the moment.

And speaking of relationships, I reconnected with my father. 

dad

While having my breakdown, I called my father. I can’t explain why since I only talk to him on holidays and birthdays, if we remember, but I heard a voice in my head and listened. And I am so glad I did. I packed my cat and I up for a weekend and went to see him. And, it was actually a good visit. He apologized for so many things that have happened in the past and I feel at this point, we are both in a good point in our lives to work on our relationship and actually have one. I can’t and won’t go into too much of his business, but I will say that my father had events and circumstances happen to him as well that have created different things he’s had to deal with and I am okay seeing that my father is human too. I hope we can continue to put the past behind us and work on having a relationship again.

And so, that’s my year in a nutshell. Crazy to look back and see all things I accomplished and did. There are so many other things I didn’t touch on, like my 30th birthday party extravaganza or seeing the Foo Fighters or other fun things I did. But I hope you enjoyed all that I did share and I hope you’re excited about the new year with me!

2015 Goals Recap

2015 Goals

I would say that I can’t believe the last time I posted here was three months ago but in all honest, I totally can. Although I try to stay as involved as possible in the blogging community, through my work as a social media manager for the Plutus Awards or through the FinCon group, my own site suffers because I often put it last on my mile long list of things to do or accomplish.

2015 was a good year for me. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t shit that didn’t hit the fan, or I didn’t have some serious revelations, because that’s not true at all. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows guys but that’s life. Really good stuff happens then bad stuff then good stuff again. And as I sit here on my boyfriend’s couch while he cooks me dinner, I can say that bad stuff has to happen sometimes so you can appreciate the good things again. But God, that’s not a challenge, okay? I’m just acknowledging it so please bless me this year. 🙂

I will also be honest and say I completely forgot about my 2015 goals halfway through the year like the rest of America. But, I have looked over them and realized that I still wasn’t an utter failure. I also had found a handwritten list of things I wanted to accomplish and I actually did a lot of those too, which makes me happy. Sometimes, just writing out the intention may be enough to remind yourself to accomplish something. But, next year I am going to take a slightly different approach to goal accomplishing. I’m still contemplating what I want to accomplish in the next year ( besides my major goals, graduating from ASU and trying to grow my online business so I can travel more long term), but other than that, my mind is still up in the air with the possibilities.

So…how did 2015 go?

1. Regularly make $1,000 in side income. Sort of pass. My side income still averages around $500 per month. At $6,000 per year, that’s nothing to sneeze at for sure. I don’t put a lot of time into my side hustles either, which is nice since I am still currently going to school and working, both full time until May 2016. I haven’t scaled my online pursuits mainly because I wanted to keep my sanity but my mind shift towards the end of this year has changed slightly. I still want to keep my sanity but I do want to increase my income next year.

2. Save a $3,000 emergency fund. Pass! However, it’s no longer intact. Moving was expensive and living on my own was more expensive then I had imagined. And then I needed car repairs, dental work and you know, the usual adulting things. This will be a goal again in 2016.

3. Save + spend $2,000 in dental work. Pass! I actually put around around $1,000 into my dental work but will be finishing it up next year. I couldn’t have the final touches done to my pearly chompers because my teeth need to stabilize. I didn’t realize how loose your teeth were even after you had a retainer for months after.

4. Visit H four times. Fail. I didn’t get to see H nearly as much as I had wanted to for a variety of reasons. His apartment pipes burst which had him stuck on the east coast along with his prior commitments and I was given the opportunity to study abroad for several weeks which drained my finances for half the year while I was in aggressive savings mode ( The trip costed $10,000). I also had somethings to figure out towards the end of the year but I was able to come out for Christmas break.

5. Lose 30lbs. Fail. I actually gained 10 more lbs but I haven’t gained anything since March. My health definitely took a back seat while I was working and going to school full time and I have suffered for it. I have absolutely no energy ever and sleep all the time with my cat.

6. Pass all classes at ASU. Pass! I’ll give myself a pass here and I’ll actually be graduating in the spring!

7. Read 52 books. Fail. I’m currently at 43 books read on December 27th, 2015 and will probably end up with 44 by the 1st. 43 books is nothing to snuff at which makes me happy but still bummed. I had a lot of reading this year for classes, no doubt.

8. Move into my new apartment! Pass! Along with passing all my classes this year and getting ready to graduate, this is the goal I am most proud of. I have lived on my own by myself for almost a year now with my cat. I still don’t have everything I want on the walls but the place is mine, 100%. Between my trip to Israel and moving into my own place, this is where the majority of my cash flow went this year. I am okay with it.

Well, those are my 2014 goals. Stay tuned and I’ll be sharing a 2015 recap later this week!