17 Things I Learned in 2017

17 Things I Learned in 2017

This year I worked really hard to work on myself and I set goals that I thought would be achievable. Here’s what I’ve learned from setting my 2017 Goals:

  1. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals actually work. S.M.A.R.T is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. I learned this acronym in college and I applied it more to academics, but never to life. When I made my goals for 2017, I applied the concept of S.M.A.R.T. goals to them because I wanted to make sure I could achieve them.
  2. Accountability is key. I don’t think I would have maintained my exercise routine without having it in my calendar, receiving reminders, and being charged if I cancelled a class too late. Also, sharing your goals with people is a good way to be held accountable.
  3. Traveling is a great way to learn more about yourself. Whether you want to learn more about yourself or other cultures, you will learn something new about yourself on each trip you take.
  4. One of my big goals was to learn how to budget more and actually stick to that budget. I found that apps really didn’t help me achieve this goal, so at the beginning of the month I’ve started writing out my expenses for the month, the days I get paid, and the amount I get paid to figure out how to manage my spending for the month.
  5. It is important to keep learning. Taking classes through UCLA Extension has been one of the best things I decided to do this year. I’ve loved what I’m learning and it’s been one of the more enjoyable things I’ve done this year.
  6. Setting goals related to exercise should be focused on seeing what your body can do and not just weight loss. When I initially set my goal of getting better at cardio, the real goal was to lose weight. A few months into the year, I made the mental shift to focus on pushing my body more vs. focusing on weight loss, and I accomplished more than I ever thought I would. I ran a mile faster than I’d ever run before- 12 minutes! Which to some is a bad time, but for me that broke a 13-year record! Due to my mental shift, I was able to accomplish my cardio goal and achieve my secondary goal of losing weight.
  7. Your body can do more than you think. I know this is related to #6, but it’s definitely a lesson I learned. Up until this past year, I had never really lifted weights. I had used little weights in PT or a gym class, but never truly lifted weights. This year I have learned how to lift weights and I’ve increased the amount of weight I can lift throughout the year. It’s been nice to see that I’m able to do this because I’ve had shoulder and neck issues.
  8. Cooking is a lot easier than you think. I usually get overwhelmed by cooking a meal, but recently I’ve started being creative in the kitchen and created my own recipes. I’ve actually found this process to be fun, and I’d never had that experience before. An example of this is my obsession with making a DELICIOUS egg sandwich.The-Cross-Country-Millennial-How-to-Make-an-Egg-Sandwich
  9. Eating out or ordering in usually isn’t as good as you think it’ll be. The more I ate out this year, the less I enjoyed it. I would go to some of my favorite places and I just didn’t like it or I felt sick afterwards; which is obviously not a reaction you want to have. I definitely think there needs to be a balance between eating out/ordering in and cooking at home.
  10. Find things that you love outside of work. This for me has been key- without this blog I wouldn’t have a creative outlet and work would be my life.
  11. Be open to exploring new places. Whether you’re exploring a brand-new country or city or walking around where you live and you stumble upon a new place, you should be open to trying new things. This is how I created my Ktown Hidden Gems series- it simply happened because I started walking around where I live.
  12. Stand up for what you believe in. This applies to politics, issues at work, with your friends- you get the point. This is an important skill to have and it applies to any aspect of life.
  13. Take care of yourself. This is easier said than done, but it’s important to learn. I’ve tried really hard to take care of issues before they become bigger problems, and I think this approach is making me more aware about how my body works and reacts to things.
  14. Go to interesting events. In 2017, I was really lucky to have the opportunity to see a lot of performers and speakers that I never thought I would see. This includes seeing Hamilton the Musical, movie screenings, the Backstreet Boys, and Dan Rather. Attending different types of interesting events makes you think differently about different aspects of life and you appreciate them. Every time an opportunity would arise, I would just ask myself, “when will I be able to do this again?” If the answer was probably never again, then I would decide to go. Taking advantage of opportunities is key.
  15. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I’ve always had the rule that I am willing to try anything once, but sometimes fear can make that hard to follow. This year I tried to actually force myself to try things that scared me or were completely new. The major thing I tried was skiing. I had never skied before, but I had always wanted to try. So, when the opportunity arose, I said yes. Was I great at it? No. Am I willing to try it again? Yes.
  16. Friends and family are everything. Going on all of my adventures in 2017 wouldn’t have been as memorable or enjoyable without everyone who participated in them. From Nashville, to trying new restaurants, to Hawaii, to going to concerts and speakers- these memories wouldn’t be half of what they were without the people who attended them with me. For this, I am eternally grateful.
  17. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable. This is just a key thing to be able to do in life. Things are going to happen in life and you need to be able to be okay with it.

Continue reading “17 Things I Learned in 2017”

2017 Goals: Fall Update

2017 Goals: Fall Update

Okay, I’ve been bad at keeping you guys updated on how my goals for 2017 are going, so here’s the latest update.

*Goal 1: Exercise more and get better at Cardio

I’ve definitely been achieving this goal. I still exercise 3-5 times a week, and I’ve transitioned more into jogging vs. powerwalking. I’ve been proud of my accomplishments and the changes I’ve seen in my body. Trying to get things back to my pre-boot self has been difficult, and I still get pain in my foot sometimes; however, I will show up to class and I try my hardest.

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One of my accomplishments was that I got my highest amount of splat points ever- 15!!! I usually am in the 0-4 range- low resting heart rate problems :/ I am constantly inspired to do better in class by the other members and the coaches. This inspiration manifested itself into me setting another goal of running 2 miles in the 30-minute Cardio portion of class. Now I know 2 miles in 30 minutes doesn’t sound like a big accomplishment, but trust me, as someone who couldn’t do the 20-minute mile in gym class during middle school- this is a HUGE goal! The thing that was funny about setting and accomplishing this goal was that I did it within a 3-week time period. Seriously, one day I decided it was happening and then I just constantly pushed myself for the next 3 weeks until I accomplished it. This showed me that with focus and determination, you can rise to the occasion and achieve your goals.

Despite this inspiration, I still find that it can be really hard to get myself in the mood to attend class- sometimes I am truly fried from the day, but I always leave class feeling better. I think that having a consistent workout routine has saved me numerous times mentally from the frustration I’ve been experiencing in different aspects of my life.

*Goal 2: Go to all 50 states before I turn 30

This goal has been put on pause a bit, because I did a lot of traveling within a short period of time- I think it made me not want to get on another plane. I can say that I have 11 or 12 states left, and I definitely think my goal is feasible. I’m starting to think about planning trips for 2018 with some friends that I don’t get to see. I am however working on writing posts about some of my past trips, so for 2018 I can start posting in as close to real time as possible.

*Goal 3: Budget and Save Money

I’ve definitely had my ups and downs with this goal. I’ve noticed that when things get really hectic in my life, that I just forget completely about having a budget or paying attention to my finances. This is a really bad habit, and I’ve been working hard to break it. I’ve been utilizing the Mint app more, and I think it’s really helping. I am still using Ebates, Ibotta, and ThreadUp to earn money in more practical ways.

If you’re interested in Ebates, make sure to subscribe through the link and you’ll get $10 for just signing up! If you’re interested in Ibotta, use the referral code onjumjl for $10. This post is not sponsored by either company, but I genuinely think they’re great tools for earning money on purchases you were already going to make. If you’re interested in trying ThreadUp, here’s a link to get $10: http://www.thredup.com/r/C0GZL0

*Goal 4: Be more politically active

This goal is still one I’ve been working on trying to figure out how to achieve. I’ve tried to read different sites to understand what is going on in the country, and supporting candidates that I agree with. I would like to volunteer for a political campaign because that was something I really enjoyed in high school, but I haven’t been around any elections. I think right now the best I can do is be knowledgeable about the issues I care about and having discussions with friends about how to get more engaged. I saw that there is another Women’s March planned for January, and I think I will participate in that.

*Goal 5: Schedule Time for Self-Care

I would honestly say that this is the goal that I’ve been the worst at accomplishing this year. I keep doing too much, and then I get overwhelmed, and then I practice a lot of self-care to feel better, and then the cycle keeps going. I started getting regular massages because my body started having pain in places that I know act up when I am stressed out. Listening to my body forced me to take time for myself, but it still doesn’t address the overall issue of me not taking enough time for myself. I honestly think that I need to start putting self-care into my calendar more, and not just taking an exercise class a few times a week, but really taking some time to decompress a few days a week. I know that I am really good at following my calendars, so this is a better way to hold myself accountable.

Anyways, this is how things have been going for me and I hope you learned something that can help you! I’m starting to think about new goals for the next year and how to carry these goals over- if you have any ideas, please comment below!

What Happens When Age is Thrown Out the Window?

What Happens When Age is Thrown Out the Window?

I’ve always had two philosophies in life 1) age is just a number and 2) you can learn something from everyone you meet. I chose to participate in the Bridging the Gap campaign with this mentality, but I was hesitant that I wouldn’t be able to relate to my partner. What would I truly have in common with someone double my age, and who’s lived in countries I’ve never been to? However, once I started talking with Renata, founder of Fashionably Fab Fashion Tips, I realized that we had so much more in common than I initially imagined.

Renata was born and raised in Australia, but she followed her dreams and at age 50 she moved to France. She has a son, and she is getting married to an Italian man in November. Now, age 52, she has traveled to over 40 cities in Europe – something I aspire to do some day. Some of her favorite places are: Antwerp, Paris, the countryside in England, Austria, and Switzerland.

Renata started her blog because she thinks “it’s important to just see people for who and what they are regardless of age, height or shape. People have a hard time nowadays to see people without labels or status.” You feel this intention when reading her blog; the wisdom woven into posts from her personal life and fashion communicates everything at a humanistic level and it feels refreshing. Everything she writes is authentic, and it’s noticeable. This tone makes sense because Renata is an artist with words – she’s written a book (again another life goal of mine).

I learned from our conversations that we both share passions for traveling, food, helping others and the relationships we have with family and friends. Renata is an expert in European cities; she can tell you where to eat, sites to see and the value of traveling to each country. I think she would write an awesome travel book about European cities. I hope to have this much knowledge about places within the United States. Renata and I both believe that traveling is awesome and that it forces you to truly live life. She says it best, “experience is life,” and I completely agree. Paired with traveling, is her passion for good food. Whether it’s a home cooked meal by her future spouse or dishes she’s discovered while traveling around Europe – she loves it all.

After talking with Renata, I realized that our values, passions and desires are the same; no matter your age. Two lessons I took away from our conversations are that you need to live in the now and make sure to become your best friend. I also hope that one day I have the wisdom and willingness to live my dreams despite my fears. Remember that beauty is ageless, and age is just a number. Renata and I bridged the gap, and I hope that we can meet in person – maybe I’ll travel to Europe!

To check out the other posts, click here!

Chef Time #4: How to Make an Egg Sandwich

Chef Time #4: How to Make an Egg Sandwich

As I mentioned in my post about my experience at Egg Slut, I am on a mission to figure out how to make the best egg sandwich at home. After I went to Egg Slut, I figured out the missing ingredient- avocado!

Cook and Prep time: 10 minutes

What You’ll Need:

1 or 2 eggs

1 Tbsp. of garlic olive oil (I use the Trader Joe’s version)

1 or ½ an avocado

2 slices of Gouda cheese

1 English muffin or roll (I like the Euro Classic Hamburger rolls)

Single Egg Pan

I like to start by prepping the bread, so that way once the egg is cooked I can just put it on the sandwich and it’s ready to eat. Here are the steps:

  • Lay out both halves of the bread
  • Slice up the avocado and put it on both sides of the bread, so the sandwich is balanced.

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  • Put the two slices of Gouda on top of the avocado- this way they melt once you put the freshly cooked egg between them!

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Now that the rest of the sandwich is ready, then I start with the tasks related to cooking the egg(s). Here’s what I do:

  • Put a little bit (about 1 Tbsp.) of the garlic olive oil in the single egg pan- I like to put enough that I know the egg won’t stick to the pan, but not too much where it will spit back out at me while hot.

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  • Crack the egg into the pan- I like to cook it sunny side up

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  • Once the egg whites look cooked, then I like to flip it

When you think, the egg is done, take it off the stove and quickly get it onto the prepared sandwich. Once you put both halves together, it will melt the cheese.

I hope that you enjoy my super easy and healthy egg sandwich recipe! Comment below with any recipes that you’ve created and feel like sharing 🙂

 

 

Chef Time #3: 3 Rounds with Instafood

Chef Time #3: 3 Rounds with Instafood

Honestly, I thought, “how hard is it to bake an egg in an avocado?!” One day, I fell into the deep abyss of Instagram looking at food I would want to cook. I stumbled upon a picture of an egg baked in an avocado. Immediately, I knew that this was the next dish I wanted to master. I found a recipe on All Recipes for egg baked in avocado. In the Instagram pictures, I stumbled upon, and the picture on All Recipes, it looked so effortless to make; however, this was not my experience.

The first time I tried to make it, I didn’t scoop out enough avocado and the egg part over flowed. Also, this happened because I didn’t balance the avocado, so I ended up folding up tin foil and wedging it under the avocado to keep it balanced.

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The avocado over flowing problem also happened the second time I baked the egg in an avocado. This time it happened inside the oven, so I’m thinking the heat affected the baking pan and made it bend or something.

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The third time was the charm. I got my avocados balanced and nothing over flowed. YAY!!!

The lesson I learned from this cooking endeavor was that seeing things on Instagram and thinking that they’ll be perfect the first time you cook them isn’t true. You need to try something a few times, and learn all the hacks associated with cooking the meal.

Here’s the recipe from All Recipes for Baked Eggs in Avocado:

Ingredients

  • 2 small eggs
  • 1 avocado, halved and pitted
  • Any seasoning you want to use

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Crack the eggs into a bowl, being careful to keep the yolks intact.
  3. Arrange avocado halves in a baking dish, resting them along the edge so avocado won’t tip over. Gently spoon 1 egg yolk into the avocado hole. Continue spooning egg white into the hole until full. Repeat with remaining egg yolk, egg white, and avocado. Season as you please.
  4. Gently place baking dish in the preheated oven and bake until eggs are cooked, about 15 minutes.

This is a super easy meal to cook (once you know the hacks for it), and it’s really healthy! Let me know some of your cooking tips below!

Happy Cooking 🙂

2017 Goals: February Update

2017 Goals: February Update

So I realize this is a bit late- more like half a month (whoops!), but here are my 2017 Goals update for the month of February:

*Goal 1: Exercise more and get better at Cardio

In the month of February, I exercised 12 times! This is by far the most I have ever exercised in one month, so yay me! Along with exercising more I definitely noticed that I’m getting better at cardio and weight training, and I’m really happy about this. I am working really hard to be present mentally and physically during the entire 60-minute class, which has been difficult after a long work day. This is probably going to be my biggest test for 2017 in terms of perseverance and working hard to achieve a goal.

*Goal 2: Go to all 50 states before I turn 30

I booked my trip for state 39- HAWAII for May! I am so excited to go on this trip. I won this trip back in December 2015 and it has taken over a year to book it. I have never been to Hawaii before, and I am so excited to explore and experience it. If you have any tips or recommendations for O’ahu, please comment below with them! After May, I’ll only need 11 more states to accomplish my goal, which is crazy! I’ve really enjoyed exploring the United States and seeing all the different parts and cultures within it.

*Goal 3: Budget and Save Money

Well I did pretty well saving money, but the whole budgeting thing failed. I am going to have to put together a new plan of attack for how to deal with this and be successful. Seriously, this is a major goal for this year and I am really working on achieving it. Two things I did learn about in February were Ebates and Ibotta. Ebates is a website and web browser plug-in that gives you cash back when you shop online at certain stores- so you’re basically getting free money while shopping! Ibotta is an app that allows you to earn money on grocery store purchases (certain items), some restaurants, and stores. If you’re interested in Ebates, make sure to subscribe through the link or button on the right and you’ll get $10 for just signing up! If you’re interested in Ibotta, use the referral code onjumjl for $10. This post is not sponsored by either company, but I think they’re really great tools for earning money on purchases you were already going to make.

*Goal 4: Be more politically active

This is a goal I need to figure out how to achieve or work on. I’ve considered volunteering for an organization or working on a political campaign, but I haven’t figured out what the most effective technique is here.

Stay tuned to see how achieving my goals is going for the rest of the year!

P.S. I promise to post March’s update on time 🙂

The Year of Me

The Year of Me

Not only have I decided that I need to work on myself personally, financially, and health wise, but I also need to work on myself professionally. Over the past two years I have spent a lot of time applying to over 200 jobs that I could definitely excel at if given the opportunity. I decided that in 2017 I would stop moping around, but I would actually take action. I have signed up for three classes through Udemy: 1) The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0; 2) Microsoft Excel- Excel from Beginner to Advanced; 3) SPSS Statistics Foundation Course: From Scratch to Advanced. I picked these three courses out because I wanted to learn something new, but important or I wanted to strengthen skills I already have. Now I know some of you are wondering, why is a Macro Social Worker learning technical skills? The answer is, well a lot of macro social work jobs I applied to or read wanted some technical skill I didn’t possess, so I’ve decided to change that and I’m going to learn new things.

I also decided to attend a program through Social Brand School to learn more about Instagram, and how to monetize it. My main goals for this are to figure out how to use Instagram to draw readers to my blog, and how I can use Instagram with a non-profit I do some work for.

Some other online resources I’ve looked at to learn new skills are Skillcrush, General Assembly, and Google Analytics. I decided not to do these courses, because I don’t have enough time to dedicate to them; however, I’m still interested in completing them in the future. Once I finish my four classes, I promise to tell you about my experiences with online learning platforms and what I think of them. Happy learning everyone!