Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Moving on and up...literally 2 states up!

Well it took 30 years, but I finally moved out of California, and guess what..... this area of Washington state is pretty darn close to being back in the Bay Area, CA.  Hah! So I guess you can take the girl out of California but you can't take the California out of the girl. I'm actually quite blessed to have moved into a house that is not only paid off, but completely and entirely ours. Not many people can say that in their lifetimes, well unless you're part of the 1% (of which I am most certainly not) however, I'm not here to talk politics.

I'm now a resident of Lynnwood, WA and although I think I may turn into a meat popsicle this winter, (pop culture movie reference FTW!) I have no real complaints about moving up here. Well unless you count the crazy family I've inherited, or moving away from all of my friends and family, or moving into a real life version of the Money Pit, and it could be months before I get a job in my chosen profession, but really no complaints.

Granted alot about me has changed since my last blog post, and I'm very much looking forward to keeping all of my current blog subscribers (and new ones... hello out there... where are you? come see MEEEE) updated about well just the meanderings of my widdle bwain, but about my career path and current obsessions. For those not in the know... which lets face it, is most of you, that would be: Neuromuscular Therapist & Makeup. I blame all of you women in group RUM... oh wait.. first rule of RUM is not to talk about RUM.. eeek I think I may get beaten soon. I went from a tomboy loving makeup idiot, to a tomboy loving girly wannabe makeup snob in no shorter than a few months flat. I have all of them to thank. *huggles*  Oh and a few hundred(s) dollars less in our bank account.

I hope that I'm not the only crazed Californian (or whatever state you hailed from) to claim asylum in another state. I mean honestly the cost of living alone is enough to drive the 99%ers out for good.  Ooops there I go again with politics, I'm sorry. I love that it is absolutely BEAUTIFUL here in Washington, I hate that the people in my city drive just as crazy as people in San Francisco, and yet *I* get the snarky looks for driving around with a CA plate. *shrug* I HATE that liquor is state controlled and the sales tax is even higher here than in CA. I love that I'm really only 30 mins with bad traffic away from Seattle, and I love that my life really is starting right now. I hate that I paid $20K for an education that almost means nothing here in WA and the bureaucratic hops I have to jump through are no less than ridiculous. I love that I can finally have my own animal companions and we now have 3 adorable cats: Captain Jack, Monocle and Polly. (Polly is the only girl and is poly-dactyl meaning she has 6 toes on her front paws.. so cute!) I hate that I now have to invest in this phenomena called "snow tires" the hell?  *snort*

I'd love to know the trials and tribulations any of you went through with a big move, or a life changing event.

And really I'm hoping you'll follow my blog, share my blog... hell I'll even do a giveaway of some sort if that's what it takes. LOL I'm not ashamed to pimp my blog. ;)

Cheers from the ever dropping temperatures here in the Pacific Northwest. *inhales fresh air* ahhhhh.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Social Networking: Friend or Foe Towards Self Expression?

It never really occurred to me until today how being an active member of various social media/networking sites could actually damper my ability to express myself without potentially offending someone unintentionally.

Now read that sentence again, and I'm sure most of you are thinking "Well DUH, it's just a chance you take regardless of it being online or in person." But think of it this way, what if you have combined your personal and career spheres into one giant melting pot, say on Facebook, or LinkedIn, or even those of you who still actively use MySpace? I don't include Twitter on this, because I think it's really hard to do too much damage in 140 characters or less. You've either got to strive to piss people off to make that happen or be extremely creative in your wording.

 Is it better to just separate the two to save face or more importantly your sanity? What about where your family comes in? Your family wants to support your business so you add them to your career sphere because networking is really where it's at, what gets you ahead. You add your friends to your career sphere, and your colleagues, instructors and mentors. Every single one of these people has a voice, an opinion, a track in life.

Each one of these people you let into your social media world has access to your thoughts, your photos, your mutterings, your career ideas. EVERYTHING you put out there is up for critique. Until today that did not make one iota of difference to me, at all. Until today I may have shared things that people may not have agreed with or had a different view of and I welcomed that with open arms. I love my friends and their diversity even if we share different viewpoints.

Today that changed because I think that I realized that maybe my life is just a little too out there, and maybe I don't want to have to clarify everything I say to make everyone have a warm and fuzzy feeling. I'm never trying to hurt anyone's feelings, but I don't want to have to make my opinion of my own life fit a mold that never makes waves. I agree that to an extent being politically correct has it's advantages, but in the field of work I'm now in, it feels like if you're not absolutely inclusive to every single thing in your own life your digging yourself a grave.

I would never put down the work someone else does nonchalantly or without reason. Hell I didn't even put down anyone's work today, I was just ruminating on the fact that over the last 2 years I've learned alot about myself and that the choices I would have made prior to this education are vastly different than the choices I would make now.  That doesn't mean that anyone who makes the choices I would have made but no longer choose to, are somehow less than me, or less educated or just stupid. Nope not at all. It means that I wish for my own sanity that partly I didn't know everything I do now because I know there are things I can't settle for.
That does not mean that EVERYONE settles. It just means *I* would be. *Sigh* And yet here I am blogging about how I feel I have to justify my own opinion of my own body and my own life.

Lets take my ever struggling problem with eating meat now. 2 years ago, I ate steak with a relish and abandon I can no longer afford myself. I look at chicken and pork and turkey and steak and wonder if this is really something I can feel good about eating, because I know WAY MORE than I ever did before about how it fits inside the body it came from. Does that make me a vegetarian or vegan? Not at all it just means I struggle with enjoying the taste, and knowing that maybe I don't need to eat it as often as I did.

Maybe now this is where I should start considering if I need to stop blending all aspects of my life just for the sake of convenience. Maybe I should have 2 Facebook pages, 2 Twitter accounts and 2 LinkedIns. Yeah, if I'm realistic with myself that will never happen.

So where does that leave me? Do I need to censor everything I put out there for the potentiality of someone taking it the wrong way? Should I just make every comment I do one big long note so that I can really explain what I mean without having to deal with 420 characters of censorship already imposed on me?

Has anyone else wrestled with this issue? I mean it is 2011 and you think for the 16+ years I've lived my life out loud and online, this isn't the first time I would seriously have to contemplate this issue.

I'm sure with my posting this blog to every social media venue I'm on, I'm only furthering the debate with which I speak because I'm allowing more people to interject their thoughts and comments. Oh well, I guess I'll never get away from it, but I'm ok with that. I just wonder how far I need to separate the spheres of my life, or if I should just take everything with a grain of salt, and potentially a shot of alcohol. LOL

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Research Studies, Product Sampling and it's Rich Rewards

Sometimes, being tech savvy is a wonderful, wonderful thing. You find your way onto all sorts of interesting websites where you can give your opinion on the world, trending issues in business, fashion, tech gadgets, and so much more. Some of these websites reward your candor with coupons, or incentives like Amazon gift cards, or cold hard cash. The really GREAT sites, do all of the above as well as provide social change by sparing some of the change you earn (or matching it) to give to a charity of your choosing. In addition, the more you interact with their customers (ie: retail conglomerates, telecommunications magnates, even credit card companies) and give your HONEST feedback, the more "points" you earn and the more activities you are presented with on said website.Ladies and gentlemen, if you haven't read one of my many many many posts about Crowdtap- Where Consumers & Brands Collaborate on Facebook, or Twitter, or just my mad ramblings in person then I highly recommend you click that little link, or google them and take a tour.

 I've done SurveyMonkey, and SurveySavvy, and Valued Opinions and I get called for research studies where I taste test food, or try out one of the market's leading computer giants newest products to tell them where they are failing to connect to the consumer. This is not my first dance with consumer marketing, but yet it is my most favorite. Sure I'm also a member of HouseParty where you can host parties in your home (get it... house party) and you get to sample products for free, and you get goodies to share with the guests you invite to your home. To date I've had 2 of these house parties; one for EA Sports where I was a very lucky recipient of an EA Sports Active 2 for the Wii, and the other was a VERY fun evening for myself and about 10 girlfriends thanks to Durex, and a very special lady: Chrystal Bougon of BlissConnection.

Needless to say I have experience giving my opinions on products, food, technology and everything in between. I enjoy it thoroughly and not just for the monetary rewards, as those are usually minimal, in comparison to the fun I have doing it. It's nice to know you have a direct impact on brands, you impact the way they think, how they market and who they market to, as well as the impact they have on the environment in doing so.

My latest score (because I think of these free products as a definite score to be had) was with Old Navy, and being a part of their Denim Devotee Sampling through CrowdTap. At first I was worried that I wouldn't get to participate as it seemed they had picked many many many many women to take part, and things like this are usually quite limited. Old Navy isn't going to make money by giving away a few thousand pairs of jeans, or even tens of thousands...... but what they DO make money off of is the referrals of all these women who get the jeans for free, and share the extra coupons with their friends.You see, Old Navy is betting on the old adage that women tend to buy more than one of something they fall in love with when it comes to clothing. They would be correct. I've been known to buy every color of a top I absolutely adored, or multiple pairs of jeans that not only made me look thinner but made my ass look good. Both events have happened at Old Navy more than once.  So to say I was ecstatic to receive my coupons in the mail today, would be a vast understatement. I was elated!

Then came the daunting realization, one that is enforced into our (women's) brains every day through magazines, tv shows, models, fashion week etc, you need to be at least 5'6" to pull of ankle length jeans, or conversely if you're under that height your weight to height ratio better fall perfectly on the BMI scale, less you risk looking like a bloated puffin waiting for a flood. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking these jeans, or Old Navy for cow-towing to the masses, and the fashion world for following a trend that everyone else is marketing to. It's just not ever woman can pull off every trend. Personally, even though I did find a pair of ON Ankle Jeans that fit me (though I think I look very silly in them, unless I roll the cuffs even higher and swear I'm only going to wear them with flip flops) and I took them home; I found it would be a vast disservice to Old Navy if all I did was praise them. They need to hear the truth, even if it means that *I* may not like the particular style of pants much, I'm still going to share my coupons with friends who will look good in them, and I'm still going to rave about Old Navy for even giving us this opportunity! How many other brands out there are plying their willing clientele with free clothing just for good reviews, word of mouth referral and praying for it to rack up on the back end with a healthy "in the black" quarter or year end? None.

I am a 30 year old woman, who is 5'1" when I'm being completely honest, and who fluctuates from a size 16-18. Most definitely a plus sized petite gal who has ALWAYS had a difficulty finding her style in a world of size 2-10. Though today's equivalent is 00-8. I truly appreciate Old Navy for carrying in all their stores, clothing up to a size 20, and then more plus size options online. This is a brand who has taken a risk to try and please as many customers as they can, while still providing quality goods. Most stores are very selective in their target market and they make no excuses or apologies for it. Lane Bryant: size 14-32, and while I can find pants/jeans here that fit and are usually in style, my top half is much smaller and I can never wear their dresses/or tops without feeling like I'm drowning. I used to be able to shop at New York & Company, as they carried up to a size 18 regularly in their stores. At some point they changed their formula for sizing and their version of an 18, is much more akin to a size 14 elsewhere. No big deal, they still have my allegiance when it comes to tops/sweaters and accessories, and when I lose enough weight to fit into their pants again, I'll be happy. The great thing about Old Navy, that I will never complain about: is that I don't have to segment my shopping with them. I can buy all sorts of separates there and find a size that will fit. I may not always like the size listed on the tag (as they too over the years have either changed where clothing is made, distributors, or sizing charts) but I will always find something that fits.

So to you Old Navy, I say keep up the great work. I am an individual who will not always like every piece of clothing that sits on your shelves, but I will support you to my fullest for being able to provide women like me (short and curvy) with a place for one stop shopping. Regardless of whether or not I look good in your latest trend sensation, I will always, and gladly suggest you to my friends. The 3 women I'm sharing my other Free Pair of Ankle Jean coupons with are ecstatic, and cannot wait to get their hands on them. Hopefully I'll get some statements out of them in the near future, and see what they think about the item of clothing. We're all quite different in our styles, ages, and height/weight, so you should have a very close version of a random sampling as you can get.

If you want to know how you can get free samples, do house party demos, be a product evaluator, taste tester or research study participant than please check out the following websites. There are many many more than what I have listed here, but these are the ones I've proudly, and productively been a part of.

Cheers and Happy Participating!


Monday, February 21, 2011

When quitting is really about freedom from an obsession instead of failure.

I learned an important lesson this evening. That lesson is this: sometimes, it really is ok to quit.

Granted, it's socially acceptable if the thing in question that you are quitting is smoking, or alcoholism or some other life threatening addiction: these are encouraged and applauded. However, when it's quitting a project that is a hobby, it can been seen as lazy, and you have a lack of patience.

In my case the latter may be true.......... ok ok, it is true in 99% of all instances. I have little patience for stupidity, little patience when it comes to something I want and have to wait. I'm definitely a child of the instant gratification age. I had patience once as a kid, when I was sick a dozen times a year and all I could do was be in bed and suffer. Patience then is not a virtue but a gift given to you that you either accept or wallow in. Then, as if by magic, I grew out of my sickliness stage and my patience flew out the window on to another child who may have needed it more than I did.

Then I learned (for the umpteenth time in my life mind you) how to knit, and my creative passion was inspired and a glimmer of the patience I used to have came back to me. That was, until I met this pattern: The Barbara Scarf. It was one of over a hundred patterns I've downloaded over the last few months. Storing away for the right time to knit something fabulous. Granted, it's a testament to my lack of patience that after 2 days, and 3 attempts at knitting this horrid pattern (really, it's just the frustration talking... as I'm sure it's a lovely pattern, give me a few days) I quit. Yet, after guidance and assistance from my beloved grandmother, and all 3 attempts (which took 5+ hours each time) yielding a different looking scarf, I knew it was time to throw in the proverbial towel.

The very definition of insanity is: Doing something the same way time and time again, and expecting a different outcome. Well this time I was doing something different time and time again, and expecting the proper outcome, and for some reason I couldn't figure out which part of the pattern I was entirely screwing up. Was it the seed stitch? Was it the cables: which normally I am AWESOME at if I do say so myself, or was it a combination of all of it?

I knew that if I was going to get this right it would mean getting more experience under my belt, and walking away now before I was so frustrated I would just give it all up entirely. Alright, not entirely, I haven't freecycled my way into nearly 50 skeins of yarn sitting on our couch just to give up knitting entirely. After all the knitting accoutrement's G'ma has gifted me in the last month I would expect her to disown me for quitting the craft entirely.

It boils down to this, quit the damn pattern before I go insane- and try it again later. It will still be there, and later, after I get more projects under my belt, after I regain a little more patience, after I have a pow-wow with my grandmother in person I'll try again. And this is OK. I'm not a loser, I'm not lazy and overall I'm not a quitter in life. I just have enough to stress about that I don't need to turn what I love, and what frees me from the stresses of every day life into something else that irritates me during the day.

So to all of you out there who are creators of things, I say this: allow yourself to quit once in awhile because it truly is the most freeing and forgivable act you can do for yourself. We all put pressure on ourselves to be perfect, but when we realize that we were born perfect in as such that our imperfections make us who we are, we don't need to be so hard on ourselves to squeeze a square peg into a round hole.

On that note, I'm going to make my grandmother something else, something beautiful, and something I'm 99% sure I won't quit on in the next few days. When that project is complete, I'll know this was just a phase and a challenge I was not yet ready to master. Obsessing over the mistakes you make only discourages you from seeing the things you are (or can) do right and do well.

Move on, be free, and smile! <3


Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Initiation Into Blogging

Welcome everyone! Welcome grandiose cosmos of the web and all the purveyors of random blogs. I welcome you to the mad ramblings of a woman who wants to put her mark on the world. Granted, we all want to put our mark on the world, right? Why else do we go out and get a job, look for a relationship, maybe have kids, maybe not, get a pet- just to make an indelible mark on the world around us. To know we matter, and have made a difference somewhere, a ripple in the pond of life. If we're lucky maybe that ripple extends out towards the nearest waterway and somehow makes it to the ocean. Wouldn't that be great if my little blog here somehow made an impact, got enough followers and made a mark on the ocean of people out there who want to read something funny, inspiring, thought-provoking and maybe something that makes a difference in the health and well being of their lives? 

How do I plan on doing that? Well, for one I am a woman on a mission. Not just any mission, and no not those spiritual missions most people make blogs about. Though hey, if I can get a little spiritual enlightenment from you, my readers, I'm all for it. My mission is to get everything in my head out of it, and out into the world so that I can make more room for learning. Learning what you ask? Anything! As a very dear mentor in my life says:"I'm a permanent student, always learning, because when you stop learning you die."

Things you might read about here are truly all over the map. I know that "The Dichotomy of Me" really lends to a thought of only 2 sides of me and my personality, but if there was such a word as Trichotomy or Multi-chotomy I would have used that instead. Who knows, people coin new phrases and words all the time, maybe I'll make Multi-chotomy mine. As my little "about me" states, I'm a married woman, a Certified Neuromuscular Therapist, a reader, a knitter, a lover of all things nature and animals. I'm a woman who was a part of the import tuner scene for many years, and while I may not be heavily into that now, I will always have a modified car. ;) I'm a risk-taker. I like to defy the odds and I like to feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins. I'm also what some people would call a granola eating, tree hugging, save the whales naturist. I want people to recycle, reduce and reuse. I would love it if people made more things than bought them from a big box store, and more than anything I just want to connect with people. If you can relate to anything I write here, then I've done my job. 

I hope you laugh, smile, and come away knowing something you didn't know after visiting this page. I plan to post things about my knitted masterpieces (hey a girl can dream), the work I do as a neuromuscular therapist and how that can help and benefit your life, the little things that irritate me, the ponderous things that make me wonder on the vastness and yet relatively small universe we live in. 

Cheers, and welcome to my life, my thoughts and hopefully my new friends: YOU!