Here’s wishing all of my dear readers a very merry Christmas, from my family to yours!
Here’s wishing all of my dear readers a very merry Christmas, from my family to yours!
I’ve only mentioned this once or twice on the blog but last month I was laid off from my grant writing job at the nonprofit where I worked (collectively) for more than 4 years. There was big organization-wide restructure and my position was eliminated. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard; I’ve never experienced a layoff before and it has really taken a toll on my self-confidence. Don’t worry, I’m working through it and getting my resume out there, but it has made me think a lot about the time I spent in college, preparing to join the workforce. I had no idea what to expect but I had (and still have, I suppose) a lot of dreams and plans for myself. I wanted to have some fun with my reflection so I wrote a letter of advice to my younger self. If I could go back in time and have a conversation, here’s what I’d say to me:
First and foremost, congratulations, you made it! You’re the first person in your family to attend a four-year college so everything will be a learning curve, but you’re going to do just fine. I’m really proud of the success you had in college and luckily, you don’t have too many regrets today. Those four years sure flew by fast, didn’t they? Felt like a blink of an eye.
You did good, kid. There were a lot of good times; those times are really important. You got involved in community theatre and women’s groups which helped build your identity. You decided to be specially added to that biology class freshman year where you met your future husband. Youdid a great job of balancing your studies with the partying, which is hard for some college students. Oh, that that time you drove all the way to D.C. just to see a Shakira concert – still one of the best experiences of your life. But most importantly, you adopted Chico and spent the next 10 years knowing a love you never thought was possible. (RIP little Chicoman).
Because college was a big learning curve for you, there are some things I wish you had known then that you know now – little nuggets of advice you’d give to just about any college freshman if they were to ask for your highly-valued opinion – that would help you out with your career in the future. These are the things I wish I had known back then because they’re very valuable to your new job search today.
Choose a few more challenging classes. I’m proud of you for choosing a course of study that interested and inspired you, but you really should have thrown a political science or economy class in there, as well. I know your mission was to make the world a better place (as you’ll be happy to know it still is) but you would have benefited from that foundation of knowledge just as much.
Learn how to network and then do it as often as you can. You never know when you will need to reach out to someone for help or vice versa. In this dog-eat-dog world, everyone is more successful when they help each other out. You’re almost 32 years old and talking to people you don’t know very well about topics such as jobs and what you’re good at still scares the crap out of you. This is a skill you could have picked up and mastered a long time ago.
Get more involved with the community. In a few years, the world is going to make you cynical person. Where you once loved people, you’ll find yourself retreating to recharge on your own for a while. Getting more involved with the community with help you build networks and people you can reach out to if you need it in the future.
Get to know a few professors better. Get a mentor. This is so important because a mentor will help you build your leadership skills and help guide you through the field and into the career you really want to have, as well as offer a foundation for lasting professional and personal networks. It’ll make finding your dream job that much easier!
Study abroad. I know it’s scary and you’ve never even stepped foot in an airport (and you won’t until you’re 26 years old) but this is the biggest regret you have in life right now. You know how much you love other languages and cultures so this is your chance to go out and experience them. You probably won’t get the opportunity again. I know it seems expensive and scary but you can talk to your professors and the cashier’s office about how to get your financial aid to pay for it. Trust me on this one. Also, there are companies like Earnest you can use after graduation to help you get back on your feet by refinancing your student loans. So don’t miss out on this opportunity!
Lastly, look at college as preparation for life, not just a job.
These days, life is pretty good despite your recent unemployment. You have a wonderful husband, a beautiful house, a silly little dog named Mia, great friends, and a baby on the way. You’ve accomplished a lot so this one little bump in the road isn’t breaking you. And that’s because you always have been and always will be pretty awesome. Keep it up.
*This post was originally published on 12/21/2013 but is being reposted below with a few updates*
No matter what our spiritual beliefs, or what part of the world we live, we all share the turning of the sun on the solstices. Today is the 2016 Winter Solstice, or better known as The First Day of Winter.
The Winter Solstice/First Day of Winter is the longest night of the year, marking the beginning of winter and the return of the sun. After this night, the days will begin to get longer and we’ll see that we have the opportunity for a new beginning.
This is a natural time for letting go and saying farewell. Release your resentments and regrets into the darkness, knowing they will be transformed with the return of the light. Renew your visions for the new year and remember that it is important not to judge yourself by “success” or “failure” in this past year but by the true quality of how you lived your life and whether you were a good influence on your world.
In the coming year, try to create enriching experiences for yourself and continue to look forward. You can shape your life more positively, with awareness and intention. Dedicate all of your happy, joyful experiences to every living being that is able to share that good energy, and dedicate all of your painful, difficult experiences to uplifting yourself and others.
Death and rebirth, the passing of the old, and the slow emergence of the new. Helping one another through the dark. Sharing with the less fortunate. Being thankful for our past blessings and for prosperity in the future. The natural cycles of our world. All of this is the spirit of the season I celebrate.
This year for the winter solstice, I plan on lighting some candles and reflecting on all of the things I’m grateful for from the past year and letting go of all the resentments I might hold. For anyone that has lived through 2016, you can probably agree that this could be a really helpful step for preventing so much negativity in the coming year. I want 2017 to be better, not just for me, but for the world. This is what I will reflect on tonight with my candles. If you’re interested in doing the same, it’s really easy. Here’s what I’m going to do:
Celebrating the solstice/winter is very easy, even if you’ve never done it before or are just starting out. Here are a few other ideas:
Creating a meaningful celebration of winter solstice can help us cultivate a deeper connection to nature and family and all the things that matter most to us.
Happy Winter Solstice, everyone!
Here lately I don’t really have anywhere to go so getting dressed means throwing on something comfortable to wear around the house. My bump is finally getting big enough that full-panel maternity pants are more comfortable than my belly band, so I finally threw in the towel and purchased a few new pairs, this pair being one of them. I now have 4 pairs of maternity pants that should last through the next 3 months. Also, it’s been cold and/or rainy for the last few days so apologies for the not-so-great photos from my phone, but it was honestly the only way I was going to get to document this outfit.
I love the mustard and black combination. I think it’s my favorite way to wear the dark yellow color. And I chose this pattern in these pants because it’s somewhat different and because they were on sale for 40% off! I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable they are so they’re going to get plenty of wear.
The baby bump isn’t looking as big as it feels these days but my doctor says I’m right where I’m supposed to be, growth-wise, so I’m not too worried about it.
Sweater: ModCloth | Pants: Old Navy (these are available in maternity & regular) | Shoes: Old Navy
If you’re like me, you love seeing how other people decorate their homes. Just like with my outfits, I often get a lot of home-decor inspiration from the internet and from visiting friends for the first (or millionth) time. Nick and I have done a lot to our house in the 5+ years we’ve lived here, and it almost always consists of some kind of compromise. He really likes the mid-century modern look whereas I’m a mix of modern and traditional. I think we’ve done a really good job of meshing our styles in a way that doesn’t completely clash, even if it means Nick getting his way most of the time 😉
Because I know I like it so much, I figured I would start a little series where I gradually share little pieces of my home with you. I’m starting with my bedside table even though there really isn’t anything special about it; I just like the way it turned out. The table is the Terrance Side Table in Antique Brass from West Elm. It’s perfect for the bedroom, but could really be used anywhere like the living room or even an office.
Of course it’s really clean in these photos. It usually stays pretty clean with the exception of a small collection of ponytail holders, bobby pins, and jewelry that often get taken off right before bed. I keep the standard items handy: lamp, tissues, pepper spray and flash light (for safety, as you can see on the second shelf) and tons of journals and books that I’m either currently reading.
I made the storage box on the second shelf using an old shoe box, fabric, and glue. It comes in handy for catching all the random things that I’m not sure what to do with, and it’s a really pretty addition to the table. I keep tissues, old journals, and random nicknacks in this one. The two notebooks on top are journals. (More on that below.) They’re mostly full so it’s probably time to replace them with new ones. Also, I keep this little sleep mask for when I get sensitive to the streetlamp outside our house. Side note: there are only two lamps on our entire street, one in our yard and the other at the very opposite end. The middle can get really dark at night so we often have to walk Mia with a flashlight.
I’m really into journaling and tend to have the best reflections in the evening before bed, so I keep them here for easy access. I like the prompts from the Q&A a Day and This Time Next Year journals (both available on Amazon) when I’m not particularly in the journaling mood. I love the Q&A journal because I’ve been doing it for three years now (out of five) and it’s really interesting to see where my head space was the following year when being asked to answer the same question. For example, the question for October 9 is “You want a new ____” and my answers were: 2014: Career; 2016: Opportunity; and 2016: Car. I mean, who doesn’t want a new car?! Also, I need to hurry and finish the bottom one or it’ll end up being “this time two years from now!”
Confession: these are actually a bunch of books I’ve started to read but haven’t finished for one reason or another. It’s a really bad habit of mine. I keep them here so that I can grab them whenever I’m ready to pick up where I left off. Right now I’m reading Bossy Pants, but it’s slow going.
So, that’s it. My glamorous bedside table. I hope you enjoyed this little peak into my house. What does your bedside table look like?
Hi, I’m Nikki. This is where I blog about my life and personal style. I’m a wife and mom, sushi lover, wine drinker, and coffee enthusiast. Welcome to my little corner of the world where I try to lead by example!