Just breathe

I’m moving out West for a new job opportunity and as you can imagine, I am excited and nervous. It’s a tremendous opportunity to work with newer tools and live in a part of the country that my husband & I are thrilled to be moving to. 🙂

Very exciting times in our lives and yet, I caught myself today feeling a bit … off. The reason was something many of us do: comparing our current station in life with others and mentally berating ourselves for not being there. Then, I shook myself and realized that while I may not be *there* yet, life has been pretty good to me this year.

This position and the type of company (startup) it is lends very well to being a stepping stone to further dreams of someday living in tech nirvana i.e. California! I said no to working in CA for a bunch of reasons that made sense at the time (high COL which I felt would eat significantly enough into whatever salary to the point of making a lower salary in a different state very comparable).

With this new position, I was able to negotiate a compensation package which left me feeling very empowered.  Pro tip: it’s *always* okay to negotiate. Even when the company says they don’t negotatiate. The key is *how* you approach that topic. I’ll no longer be a remote employee which I will miss but I welcome the new-to-me challenge of working full-time with other developers.  Despite feeling good about this, I still fight the nagging feeling that I likely left “money” on the table but I’m confident that I will prove my worth and be rewarded appropriately. 🙂

I’m healthy, M is healthy, E is healthy. M is picking up a crapton of skills and rapidly becoming the go-to guy for QA and technical documentation at his place of work in addition to him becoming a remote worker. So, all in all, life is pretty good this year.

Not sure what the point to this post was. I just wanted to count my blessings out loud in this post. Life’s good and I look forward to starting a new adventure. 🙂

I have said good byes to some pretty cool people, sending some notes to others, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten to say good bye to some. Here’s to making more memories and becoming a better human in the process.

 

Fitbit mania!

This year, health has been a watch word of sorts for me – financial, mental, physical, etc.

On the physical front, my Fitbit has been a godsend of sorts. My love affair with Fitbit is such that if I go walking and forget my fitbit, I feel an acute sense of loss. Needless to say, it goes almost everywhere I go now. I’ve become part of some Challenges on Fitbit and those have spurred me on to greater heights. The past 7 days, I’ve averaged ~ 15, 000 steps daily with just a little effort.

To cut this story short, here’s the take away: if you’re struggling with motivation to be consistently active, become best buds with your Fitbit and you’ll thank me later when you develop toned legs. 🙂

 

Knock, Knock

It is I, the prodigal daughter of this blog (if it were a parent). 😛

Where to begin? Well, can I just express how WONDERFUL it feels to no longer have classes anymore? My time is actually my own to fritter away as I please! Of course, as a developer, I can’t actually sit on my thumbs all the time if I expect to progress. So many awesome going on in nerd land and it’s a great time to be a developer.

On a lot of fronts, I’m doing well. Since becoming a full-time employee at Humana (oh wait, we’re getting acquired by Aetna), my financial goals have been:

  1. Pay myself first. This means after receiving a paycheck, I shunt some percentage of that check into a variety of sub account (emergency fund, savings fund, travel fund, etc). I’m doing pretty well on this front and consistency of making that deduction with every paycheck has been key to changing my mindset.
  2. Pay my future self. This means contributing a healthy portion of my pre-tax check to my 401k and contributing to my other investment accounts. I’m currently sending 10% of my pre-tax paycheck to my 401k account and taking advantage of my company’s match. I also opened an account with Vanguard just to keep my portfolio diverse.
  3. Reduce credit card usage. At one point this year, we were down to 0 dollars but somehow we’ve crept back up. We’re still way under 30% of the credit for this particular card and that’s the only card we have a balance on. So, it’s not the end of the world but I hate paying “stupid tax” and credit card interest falls into that category

On the health side of things:

  1. Yours truly ran 2 5ks! My first ever 5k was the Color Run in a different state but these past 5ks were back in Athens. The Twilight 5k was a wet mess and I felt like I was dying but I made it in under 30 minutes. My next 5k shaved over 2 minutes off that time.
  2. I’ve actually gained a bit of weight (5ft2inches and 125lbs at the moment) but thanks to my daily walks and regular gym routine, it’s likely muscle and I look athletic & healthy.
  3. Healthy eating is becoming easier to do although this has come at the expense of my Food & Dining costs going up a little bit. I will have to become more creative in how I feed myself.

I know, such a boring update but I finally feel like I am ready to blog again. No promises though. And happy July 4th! 🙂

Last hurrah

This year, despite starting off on a weird note, is turning the corner. I’ve kept this bit of news to my chest but I’m an American citizen. 🙂 my country of birth will always be in my heart but my allegiance is now to the United States of America.

I’m in my final semester of my degree and I’m so excited to be ending this chapter. I feel very fortunate to have a job in a field that I feel excitement for. In fact, my idea of fun is finding ways to make my code better be that via a smarter algorithm or following recommendations from ReSharper or elsewhere.  Yes, I’m an introverted dork and proud. 😀

All in all, good things are afoot.

Random Observations #1

  1. Going back to school has altered my sleep patterns. I’ve become a night owl and an early bird at the same time. It’s my curse. 🙂
  2. I’ve been passive by choice on most of my social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc). A lot is going on and when my brain gets this busy, I tend to become  even more hermit-like. ‘Tis what it is.
  3. I got recognized for some work I did and it was a wonderful feeling to be honored for the hard work I had done. I get a bit obsessive about my work as my project team mates can attest to and in this instance, it paid off. It was completely unexpected and I can only hope that I continue to fire on all cylinders. 😀

Happy Sunday!

 

goal update!

I’m not happy with how Mint calculates whether or not I’m in the red for a particular month.

Despite not technically being in the red, because my last paycheck came in on the very last day of January, Mint thinks I haven’t earned anything and I’m “in the red”. Argh. It’s annoying because I know I’m not spending above my means. M & I take our finances seriously so I know that Mint is lying through her teeth. 😛 It’s not that serious. Things will even out a bit once I get paid (biweekly schedule) and when M starts getting paid, things won’t look so red all the damn time. 🙂

M got a new job (as an intern) in his field and the location is practically in our backyard !! I don’t think you’ll understand how CRAZY it is that he got this job. In Athens, GA. But it worked out and I’m so happy that it did.

I’m still hitting the gym. I’m starting to realize that going to the gym (working out, saving, etc) is not necessarily about getting ‘swole’ anymore. It’s a symbol to myself that I can do things that I set my mind to. It’s about cultivating a new habit that just happens to be a great thing for my body. I don’t know who this new gal is but I love her! 🙂

I’m actually at the heaviest weight I’ve been in a while (~ 122 on a 5ft 2in frame) but I’m quite muscular and lean-looking so it’s not a bad look for me. I am working on reducing my body fat (mainly around the midsection) and it’s a bit early to judge but I feel ‘tighter’ already.  Now, all i need to do is learn to swim and I’ll be ready for swimsuit season. 🙂

I’m a chronic nail biter. It’s  a nervous habit but I’m putting this here to publicly state that I will once again attempt to stop biting my nails. Back in 2009, I quit and  my nails grew quite long. I’d like to have them back so wish me luck. 🙂

More on goals

I’m a goal oriented gal. This year, I don’t have resolutions as much as I have things I’d like to do. The goals I’ll talk about in this post are health, professional and financial goals.

So, I’ve been a bit of a couch potato for the last few months. Fall tends to do that to me. So, I’ve jumpstarted my fitness regimen with the goal of getting my body fat to a level I”m happy with. I’m not overweight but I like being a little leaner than I am.  For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been going to the gym pretty regularly (at least 4X weekly). The snow caused me to miss 2 days of exercise but I returned today to get my workout in. It wasn’t too long (less than an hour) and I got in the major muscle groups that I wanted. I think if I keep up my workout regimen, I will be back to my summer 2013 fitness level i.e. lower body fat percentage, able to run longer distances, etc. I don’t intend on bulking up but my goals are more along the lines of getting lean and trim. Wish me luck! 🙂

At work, I’ve been tasked with a pretty big project and I’m terrified but humbled at the trust my boss and co-workers have in me. I don’t want to let them down and the fear of failure is driving me to work a lot on this project. It’s a greenfield software engineering project which means I’m responsible for the database & system design and implementation. So, it’s basically my Software Engineering class all over again but this time, with real world consequences. I can’t wait to tell my CSCI 4050 professor (Dr. Kochut) about this. lol. Good thing I paid attention (for the most part) in that class. 🙂

The  bad part of my increased responsibility at work is that I had to tender my resignation for a project I signed up to assist with which saddened me.  I told the project lead that I would be busy but I didn’t anticipate  getting extra work from my day job on my plate (which I don’t mind) but obviously my day job comes first.

Financially,  a few unexpected expenses happened so I’m back to square one. It’s unbelievably frustrating to feel like I’m spinning my wheels at times, but objectively I know that I’m in a better place. In 2013, I made contributions to my Roth IRA accounts. With better planning, I would have been able to max out my contributions but this year, my goal is to max out my Roth IRA contributions.

With my 401k account, I’m experimenting with my asset allocation since the account isn’t big enough to make me worry about losing it all. The biggest challenge is not freaking out whenever the stock market freaks out. I need to remember I’m in this for the long haul! 😛

If you don’t have 3 – 6 months worth of living expenses saved up (as an emergency fund), you’re one disaster away from living on the government teat or financial ruin. So, this year, another of my goals is to building back the emergency fund.

As you may or may not know, I funded my second BS with student loans. What I owe now is well above the average of $28,000 but that is also because I routinely received refunds that were used for school supplies. Once I transition to full time status later this year, I plan on making more than the minimum payments required and continue to pay off interest accrued through the year.

That’s all I have for now. I just got back from the gym and I’m ready to get started on homework. Yay! #not