2017 So Far: The Year of Yes

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With almost a quarter of 2017 come and gone already, I wanted to take a moment to reflect back on what I’ve experienced so far. I didn’t really make new years resolutions this year, but the one thing I decided was to make an effort to embrace more situations that scare me and make more decisions that make me happy. I purposely made these goals very broad, to allow myself to explore what it is that scares me and makes me happy.

Graduating from the Bunny Slopes – In January, I went on a semi-spontaneous snowboarding trip. It was my second time snowboarding and I was nervous about falling and shortness of breath from the altitude…not far off from the fears I experienced the first time I went snowboarding. Last time, I may have only gone down the bunny slope a total of three times before knocking out in the warm and cozy lodge while the rest of the crew went up the mountain. This time, with some peer pressure…I mean a lot of encouragement from my friends, I embraced the fear of falling and actually allowed myself the opportunity to learn! It was a lot of fun an I’m glad I did it. I also learned new phrases like “Shredding the gnar today bro?” lol.

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Taking on Public Speaking – I did not get into the public relations field because of increased opportunities to speak in front of crowds. It has always been my least favorite part of the profession because I always imagined myself as the person “behind the scenes.” Which, for the most part, is my role. Most of my job is outreach program development, which does require plenty of interaction with people, but on an individual basis. In the past couple of months, I’ve started leading meetings with other departments and making presentations at board meetings on a regular basis. I still struggle with the nervousness, but with every presentation that I complete, I’ve  become a little more comfortable and confident in the way I present my reports. It also helps that I receive such helpful feedback from my colleagues.

Getting Back to My Creative Side – I’ve upped the activity in my DIY, writing and photography side of my brain. This is something that I neglected in 2016. Last year centered around establishing myself at my job, and with that came less trips to Michaels and JoAnns and more nights of unwinding with Netflix. Not saying I didn’t enjoy that, I just miss using my hands to create things! Now that I feel like I’m at a good place in my career, I’ve taken the past few months getting back into finding the time/place to express these creative urges…including maintaining this blog. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m trying! (I’m currently sitting at Barnes & Nobles on a Tuesday evening to force myself  to get this post written). See below for a few photos I captured on some random exploration days I had recently in Los Angeles.

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Saying Yes to Travel – I travelled to Seattle, Washington for the first time in March! Going into the year, I didn’t have any set travel plans, I just knew I wanted to go somewhere. As opportunities to travel come up, I’m making more of an effort to work it into my schedule. I’m a big fan of taking advantage of 3-day weekends and turning them into mini-vacations. I’m also a working adult now that accrues vacation days…so that’s a thing to consider. Luckily, my boss is also awesome and encourages me to take these mini-vacation opportunities. She’s all about making sure the team doesn’t “burn out” and I appreciate that. Anyways, I’m grateful that I was invited to join my friends’ trip to Seattle because it’s been the highlight of my year so far! I’ve had multiple people tell me that they could imagine me loving Seattle, and they weren’t wrong. The only thing that I didn’t enjoy so much was the biting wind chill D: Such cold. Much freeze. I took so many photos in the city, so here are a few for you to browse through:

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Running Past the Pain – Second 10K down. Much more exercise to go. I signed up for A Better World Running‘s Spring Equinox 10K on March 25th as a source of motivation to get back into running. The training process was….hit and miss. I started training 6 weeks out (when I should’ve started 8 weeks out) and on the week prior to the race, I travelled to Seattle and spent that week prepping for the trip and not running. Surprisingly though, I had the best race experience I’ve had to date! Out of the 3 races I’ve done (10K, half marathon, then this 10K), I ran the furthest without stopping, I experienced my runner’s high at 3.5 miles which lasted to the end, I stopped feeling the pain in my shin and ankles at 4 miles, and it was great! We’ll see if 2017 brings another medal to the collection…I’m debating on signing up for another 10K this year.

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And…that’s been some of the highlights of my year thus far. I’m looking forward to doing more scary and exciting things and documenting them here 🙂 I hope you all are have had a productive first quarter of 2017 ❤ Let me know how your goals have been shaping up this year!

Sincerely,

Mez ❤

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15 little things that make me happy

 

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Let’s throw it back to August 2014 when I was anticipating my last semester at SDSU and my wonderful friends from back home drove from the South Bay to SD for our 2nd annual camping trip. To my friends that were on this trip, SURPRISE! I have the lost and forgotten photos from Tristan’s camera! He recently and sneakily gave them to me after asking him if I could use them for a blog post 🙂 He didn’t even know I blogged….rude.

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Time continues to baffle me with how fast it goes by. I’m writing this post on one of those rare rainy days in San Diego and flipping through these photos reminds me of how long ago this trip happened. When ever I come back from a camping trip I always feel as if I just returned  from a retreat. Even though sleeping on a floor in a tent and waking up even earlier than usual for a whole weekend doesn’t necessarily sound like a relaxing vacation, it’s more reinvigorating of an experience for me than staying in a hotel. Unlike most hotel experiences, with camping, I don’t have to go anywhere else to make the experience worthwhile. Having a healthy hiatus from social media during this time also doesn’t hurt.

I sincerely think that the virtual absence of social media is a huge contributing factor to that zen factor that comes with camping. Don’t get me wrong, we all still had our phones and cameras with us, but because there was horrible signal, no one was pulled into the mindless scrolling of social media.

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Looking through these photos also reminded me of how it was a combination of little things that made this camping trip one of my favorite memories with my friends. Moments like working together to set up tents, everyone laughing at how sorry my football throw was, busting a mission to cook bomb food (we had kbbq and pho…just sayin’), playing haky sack until it got too dark to see our own feet, taking an unintended three-hour hike because we got lost (at least we were all together) or realizing on this hike just how quiet it can be…and how unbelievably renewed I felt closing my eyes to enjoy it. These are all minor things, but when weaved together, made the trip as memorable as it was.

I’m all about reminding myself to appreciate life as it is regardless of where I’m at because otherwise, we can always find a reason to be wound up about something. It’s humbling to know that there are people out there that would gladly take on the struggles I consider difficult and kill for the opportunities that I’ve been blessed have. Whether it’s taking a moment to enjoy my surroundings before bee-lining my way to my car to head to work, calling my mom a billion times in one day because I just want to hear a supporting voice, recognizing my little victories of the day, shrugging off awful moments, it’s necessary in order to continue down a path of happiness. Which brings me to this list. I believe that an existence of general happiness consists of, like I mentioned previously, a series of positive moments weaved together. Que devil’s advocate: but Melissa, what happens when all my moments are negative ones? One, that’s a lie. Two, you are being dramatic and three…you can ALWAYS find a positive take-away from a negative situation.

So, with that, I present you with this list of minor things that bring me joy.

15 Little Things that Make me Happy (in no particular order)

  1. Stepping into Barnes & Noble and getting that refreshing whiff of book smell – I should probably support the business more by purchasing more books, but I usually just enjoy browsing and getting work done there.
  2. Camping and everything that comes with it – really getting to star gaze, hiking, crisp air, not wearing make up. These are all happy-inducing actions.
  3. YouTube – To explain this would reveal how weird I really am. So I won’t delve into it. #TeamInternet
  4. Walking through Ikea during an OFF time – you all know what I mean. I want to imagine myself in these idealistic rooms with out strangers all up in it! Plus, the ice cream.
  5. Being in the presence of my family – we don’t even have to be deliberately hanging out with each other. Just hearing the sounds of my family all doing their own thing through out the house, it brings about a comfort that can’t be duplicated.
  6. Exploring – Whether it’s hiking, driving somewhere scenic or going on food adventures, if I’m doing it with people I love, then it’s a great time.
  7. Thrift shopping – I walk in with $20, I walk out with quirky pre-loved clothes and other items that for some reason convinced myself I needed. I some how convince myself these things describe my life and therefore I purchase them in fear it would end up in the wrong hands.
  8. Getting work done at the library or a cute coffee house  – I can be productive, but when I do day dream, I can people watch or enjoy the ambiance of the space.
  9. A charged phone – yeah.
  10. Arts & crafts – I’m not particularly great at art, but I do like doing artsy things. Getting my tinker on is a stress reliever.
  11. A good quality hug from someone I want to be hugged by – I’m not much a “touchy-feely” person, but when I do desire a hug and it’s a good one….yes. Like Winnie the Pooh at Disneyland? Great hugger.
  12. Movies – I ❤ cinematography, quality acting, a great score, enticing writing styles, all of it. I’m the person that buys the Blu-Ray DVD just to watch the 6 hours of behind the scenes extras. Also, I like watching movies multiple times in different periods of my life to see if I catch something different or view it from a different perspective.
  13. Ice cream – I can never decide between pistachio, butter pecan and good ‘ol chocolate chip
  14. Clear sunny days in SoCal with crisp cold air – I remember the moment I decided this was one of my favorite things. I was about 10- years-old and I decided one afternoon that I wanted to lay down on my front porch to look at the sky. I breathed in the crisp air, felt the cold porch beneath me, felt the warm sun on my skin and thought, “this is my sh*t.” Just kidding, I probably just smiled and continued doing whatever 10-year-olds do.
  15. Power Naps –  Naps in general are not appreciated until one ventures into their college years. But mastering power naps are sometimes even more satisfying than the rest gained from the nap. When I successfully take a 45 minute nap, I feel like I perfect life at that moment and that’s a victory in itself isn’t it?

That’s it! There a11047001_911306135567188_853034195_nre definitely more things in life that result in my happiness, but in an effort to not bore you, I limited myself to 15. It’s so easy to fall into a habit of negativity, so exercises like these can potentially help you pan out to see the bigger picture. I encourage you to take some time to think about 15 minor things, actions and places that make YOU happy. Trust me, it can be therapeutic. Then, next time you are feeling down, read your list and do those 15 things. YOUR WELCOME. Share with me what little things make YOU happy 🙂

Sincerely,

❤ Mez

Let me explain…

Note to readers: I just wanted to say thank you for your patience. I’ve been experiencing a mixture of writers block and lack of inspiration after finishing my undergraduate studies at  San Diego State University this past December. But I’m back! I am finally getting into somewhat of a groove of  my post-graduation schedule and plan to post on a more consistent basis. Apologies in advance for the somewhat randomness of this post, it’s been a while! I’m a little rusty 😛 Now, onto the post!

Much needed laptop hiatus

I told myself that 2015 will be the year that I do more of what I love now that I don’t have any school work to worry about…and blogging more often is one of them. I discovered that one of the main reasons I developed a lack of inspiration was because writing became more of a chore than a leisurely past-time. The combination of my class work and work assignments had me constantly staring at a computer screen, so by the end of the day, I just wanted to separate myself from that portal of stress: my laptop.

After all of that stress, I fortunately had the opportunity to spend a full three weeks back in my hometown for the holidays before returning back to San Diego to start settling into the post-undergraduate lifestyle. My initial thought was that because I would have more time on my hands, I would be blogging more often. That apparently did not happen. I found myself fully immersed in wanting to spend quality time with my family and reconnect with my friends that I hadn’t had time to catch up with until then. Other than hopping on my  laptop to do some work remotely, I was, for the the most part, separated from it.

I figured that the purpose of my blog is to essentially document my life. But how can I document my life in any shape-or-form if I don’t take the time to experience it! So, that’s what I did. It was nice to take that time to rejuvenate. It reminded me of how fortunate I am to have such a supportive home base filled with people that I always look forward to seeing when I visit. The following photos capture just some of the memories I made with my family this past holiday season (unfortunately I neglected to bring my camera to friend-related events, so my pictures of those experiences are non-existent):

However, once I got back to San Diego, I jumped right back into my work schedule and because I am currently working on a pretty big project, again, I began separating myself from my computer at the end of the day. I noticed that I would hop on my phone and get stuck in the black hole of mindless and endless scrolling. I fell once more into the blogging-hiatus hole.

Penciling-in leisure time

With all of that said, I’m going to try my best to give myself time to blog. I just need to remind myself that it’s something I enjoy doing. If that means literally having to pencil in designated blog time, SO BE IT! It’s important to take some time out of the day to do something enjoyable, even if it needs to be scheduled in. I’ve always had a knack for organization and when paired with motivation, I am known to get a lot of things done. If I continue to ride this current wave of motivation I should be able to maintain at least a semi-consistent blog schedule.

I am a bit old fashioned when it comes to keeping myself organized. You might ask: Why don’t you utilize Google Calendar and phone reminders? Well, I do and they are very helpful and quite frankly, more eco-friendly, but in order for things to stick in my brain, I need to write things out. I love making lists, color-coding them and actually checking things off. There’s something about taking a pen to paper and crossing things off a list that is very satisfying.

So what do I use to stay organized?

  • Highlighters: Color-coding things helps me differentiate between items in my planner.
  • Brain Storm Notebook: I’ve had this notebook for a while. I believe it was a gift from my friend Annie. I’ve been using this notebook every day at work to write quick notes, make short to-do lists and ultimately, brainstorm. Having a notebook handy helps me visualize what can be done, what needs to be done and what will be done during my shift.
  • Lilly Pulitzer Large Agenda: I am in LOVE with this agenda. The colors, themes and extra pages make it enjoyable to use. But most importantly, the dual layout of a monthly and weekly view of the year allows me to plan things for the long-term and have room to add details in the short-term.
  • GOALS book: The GOALS book was most recently given to me as a graduation gift. It’s the perfect addition to my organization kit because it serves as a constant reminder of the reason I work hard. Inside are prompts and forms that make it easy to visualize, outline and create a realistic plan to achieve both short-term and long-term goals. It’s pretty much amazing. Thanks Annie ❤
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Organization is key!

Let it be twenty-fifteen

On the note of organization and this year’s goals, I’m anxious and excited to see what this new year will bring now that I have officially finished my undergraduate studies. I have overall goals for myself and my career, but one thing I’ve learned from 2014 is that regardless of the plans I make and strive for, what’s more important is how I deal with and overcome the unexpected situations that will inevitably come my way.

The stress that often engulfed me during my undergraduate career was due to the constant struggle that is the journey to stability. But how can I someday enjoy stability with out having learned from the struggle and appreciated it? I needed to realize that it’s about enjoying every part of the journey whether it is a great moment or a low one; I need to let it be. By accepting every experience for what it is gives me the opportunity to look at the bigger picture. It reminds me to be grateful for even being able to feel.

Stress, although a very essential part of growth in life, has overwhelmed me way too many times in 2014. I want 2015 to be the year I allow myself to say yes to more new experiences and to remind myself to enjoy the present while still striving for betterment in the future. It’s all about balance.

If life is a collection of experiences, I want a diverse collection. This year I definitely plan on taking advantage of Groupon and trying different things, whether it’s a new yoga class, a painting class or seeing a show, I want to do it all! (Plus, I’m sure I’ll get them for pretty good prices 😛 )

What new things have you tried so far? I recently went snowboarding for the first time this past weekend. The chair lifts and inclines were scary, it hurt to fall, but overall it was so much fun. I definitely want to go back and get better at it!

What resolutions?

It’s still early enough in the new year for resolutions to be a hot topic. At the turn of 2015, it worried me that I wasn’t motivated to make a list this year, but then I realized that instead of making a list of things I will most likely forget in about a month, why not live this year based on the following statements and questions:

  • Work hard and stay focused. 
  • Does this make you happy? If yes, good job. If not, why are you doing it? 
  • Say yes to new things more often.
  • This moment is a good one. Take it in. 
  • Will this decision put me closer to achieving [x] goal? 
  • Remember to breath and take some time for yourself. Then go back to working hard. 
  • You are worth more than you think. 

I think by constantly reminding myself of the above, I will constantly be working towards self-improvement and that’s what I ultimately want out of not only this year, but my life in general. I never want to stop learning and growing as an individual and neither should you!

…and with that, I’ve reached the end of this hodge podge of a blog post. I just wanted to say again that I’m grateful for your patience. Even though it’s almost February, I wish you and yours a goal-oriented, hard-working and memory-filled year! Remember to try something new this year. I know I will be and most likely sharing it here 🙂

Sincerely,

Mez ❤

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