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?

 

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?

 

 

Goals For My 31st Year

goals for my

Two weeks ago I got to celebrate my 31st birthday. Anyone who knows me knows I make a big deal out of birthdays, including my own. Luckily, I have friends who appreciate my birthday antics and some of us decided to go see Guns N’ Roses. My boyfriend made fun of me but Axel and Slash still got it! Of course, with birthday celebrations also come birthday reflection. I like to spend time going over what I accomplished and what I should be focusing on in the next chapter of my life.

Last year, a lot of my focus went into finishing my degree. With working and going to school both full-time, I was constantly stressed. I didn’t have time or energy for a lot of things but still did the best I could with everything. I not only graduated on time on the Dean’s List at ASU, I ended up winning two national awards at work and secured a promotion into management. Now that work is wrapping up a project that required me being in two places at once, I can fully do my new role and go on to find resources for youth engaged in the system.

After wondering what I would like to focus on for the next year, I thought about what has been holding me back in other areas of my life and I decided that this year, I’d like to get back to focusing on my finances.

My finances haven’t been terrible but I’ve really lacked energy and focus since going back to school and moving into my own place. Since I was busy with 80 hour work weeks, I didn’t flinch if I needed to eat out for convenience in between work and class or an extra Starbucks to study late. I also didn’t realize how much went into getting your own place and how I had tons of stuff, it was mainly decorative items and things like keepsakes. Since I only owned a bedroom set, I spent close to $2,000 over the course of a year on furniture, kitchen items and random things, like a vacuum. .

All this spending, along with a case of YOLO, has put me behind in some financial goals and random adult things I need to get taken care of but haven’t yet. I hate to admit I had the money but chose to spend it on other things that I wish I hadn’t. So, I plan on tracking all of my spending for the next year and reporting it on the blog. With hopes of tracking my spending, I hope to not spend as much on stupid stuff, eating out or whatever else keeps me from goals. The longest streak I’ve had with actual tracking of my spending is 3 months so keeping it going for the year is going to be real eye-opening to say the least.

Along with tracking my spending in hopes of spending less, I’ll also be focusing on earning more. While I am currently happy with my clients, I’d like to earn more to help with my financial goals. I’d also like to provide links to resources, free tools and information to help you live your best life. This means sharing stories so you know I come from a place of knowledge as well as sharing financial tips.

I’m happy to have my energy go into healthy avenues of financial health instead of mindless social media surfing ( looking at you Facebook) or things like shopping, my old standby of self soothing. I can’t wait to take active steps towards things I’ve been meaning to do and move on.

Do you make birthday goals or areas of focus in your life? What are you focusing on right now?

 

Does My Spending Align With My Values?

preparation is my financial empowerment

Last month when I sat down to read my copy of Jason Vitug’s “You Only Live Once,” I was left with some questions and pondering to do. This is great because I love books that make me think, yet I wondered if some of my pondering was due to recent changes in my own life. Parting with an old friend, my beloved fur child showing me that life is delicate and my accomplishments in my career that leaves me so rewarded at the end of the day emotionally, yet financially I’m just starting to get where I want to be.

I am grateful for everything in my life, above and beyond. I always feel reflective right before my birthday because this is when I tend to reevaluate where I am in my life, personally, professionally and in between. One thing I would like to back to is putting my financial house back in order. While my first year of going back to school was financially okay, I took a huge hit this past year. I’m not proud of it, but I can admit a few months I was living paycheck to paycheck because my emergency fund seemed it just wouldn’t rebuild itself. Once it was rebuilt, it came shattering down in less than three days and I am still paying off a vet bill. Although life financially has been everywhere, it could always be worse and I am thankful I have been kept in favor. It could always be worse and it pays to remember that.

Part of getting my financial house in order has to do with my spending. When kept in check, I’m able to save all the money and pay off my debts with wiggle room in the bank. When left to my old ways, I treat myself way more than necessary and let my laziness kick in. I’m extremely lazy and will happily eat out. I also have no problem drowning my night owl sorrows in the mornings with Starbucks. But, am I really spending on my values, as Jason’s book suggest? What are my values and does my spending reflect that?

My values change from time to time, but I can narrow it down to a primary few: education, health, people and security. My BF laughed and said everyone values these things but do they really? If you value feeling secure, do you have tons of savings for a rainy day? What about health? If you say you value health, do you really if you are eating cheeseburgers through the drive through?

Education is something I grew up with and is instilled in me to be important but even when I took time off on my own to discover what really mattered, education was always on the front burner. My mother and father both valued education although they only had some community college classes under their belt and not any formal degrees. My mom took a lot of law classes in her hopes to become a paralegal before she became chronically ill but had an insane passion for reading as did my father. His classes were more of a sales and business background but he always stayed busy reading the newspaper and watching CBS Nightly News with Dan Rather. Seriously, I was the only teenager who probably thought Dateline was cool. I think my father consistently consuming the news helped develop my love of true crime which I later turned into a criminology and criminal justice degree.

Health is something that has only become important to me as of the last few years so I have to backtrack to fix mistakes, although with time it’s getting better. I’ve always had chronic asthma and fought anxiety but my late twenties came with a slew of health concerns. I discovered I had severe scoliosis which answered my lifetime questioning about why my posture was so bad and  why my back actually hurt when I tried to stand up properly. I also have battled ongoing mental health issues which I know were always there but I can no longer hide like I used to. Paying for chiropractic care and a therapist is something that is always on going in my budget and neither is cheap.

I love people and animals, even though that wasn’t always the case when I was younger. The people part, not the animal part. I’ve always been a cat lady.  One of the reasons my career in the non-profit sector has been so successful is because I sincerely love helping people better themselves and their lives. I love finding resources people need and connecting the dots, especially youth. I love my friends because I don’t have a huge family and while I have reconnected with my dad, it’s hard sometimes because he is still trying to break bad habits and thought patterns. He’s only human after all. I love people so it’s hard for me to really give up on someone. I also love meeting new people and learning about their culture which is why I love traveling so much. I like seeing how other people live and what they have experienced because I know my way is not always the right one. And my cat brings me so much joy, on a daily basis, I can only continue to provide for him the best I can.

And, although this is the value I probably spend the least time thinking about, it’s the one I should spend the most on, security. Security is probably all the not so fun stuff goes under, such as car insurance and rent but it’s what puts a roof over my head and provides with the opportunity to provide an income to pursue my other values. I honestly sleep better at night knowing there is money in my checking account and I am able to provide for myself through multiple income streams that I have set up. But, security is the one that stresses me out the most. I need to save more for retirement, save a bigger emergency fund and just save more in general for other things that I put off but need to do.

Looking this over, I can say my spending is align to my values, just not all of the time. I wonder what it would take to get to where my spending was in line with my values 100% of the time or if that is even possible. While I’m not sure it’s possible, I would love to try to find out in the upcoming year.

What do you value and how does your spending align with it?

July Goals

Only being a month into summer this year and it’s already been a doozy on two different fronts. Between my cat getting dangerously ill to learning the hard way and having to adult, it’s been insanely expensive. This summer I was really hoping to save money but it’s been, eh, a little rough so far. However, it’s not all stormy clouds! I’m traveling for half of the month,  I picked up a new social media gig I am insanely excited about and the biggest news of the year besides graduating, I GOT A PROMOTION! Yup, just call me Mr. Manager cause that’s what I am.

Since I’m away from home for exactly half the month, I want to keep my goals short and sweet.

  • Enjoy time with H. (With our crazy schedules, we gotta sneak time in when we can.)
  • Enjoy and meet five new people at my work conference.  ( New management position + newly created program means new opportunities for me, my team and my organization.)
  • Help the transition with my old position to the new person. ( Want to set them up for success!)
  • Get one more freelance client. ( With my new position, I am nolonger able to do one of my side hustles so I am working on additional income streams and growing my business.)
  • Clean out and reorganize my kitchen. ( Want to do a full declutter on my tiny apartment and I am starting here.)

Short and sweet, just like I like it. Positive vibes and thoughts.

Athena

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