Monday, September 23, 2013

First Day!

Today was my first day back at work since last August, and my first day working a real full-time job since May 2011.  Luckily I had some energy to get me through it.
Alright, I didn't actually eat these. But I do love that Joe's brother and sister-in-law gave me $100 grand on my payday.  So clever. In reality, I didn't have to be at work until 9:30 so I was able to hit the gym with my dad and knock out a quick 5K to get my energy up. (I figured it might be the only time that happened, so I better take advantage!)

Today felt so much different than any other first day I have had because I was already at this company last summer.  The typical first-day nerves about how to get to work, where to park, where to go, what to wear, who to talk to, etc... were nonexistent. Since we are training I still have a few days to work up my nerves for the actual work itself. 

My favorite part so far? Reuniting with the other interns from last summer has been wonderful - they are awesome people and make working here so much better. It's like they are family!

After a full day of training and dinner with the new consulting class, I came home to chat with my dad for a few minutes while sharing my leftover dessert from the dinner.  Then I was lucky enough to skype with this guy. 
All around it was a great first day. That being said, I am exhausted and plan to be asleep by 10:45pm. Tomorrow is another jam packed day, and I will take all the rest I can. I definitely feel like I'm in the calm before the storm!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Now What Part II

At the beginning of the summer (on May 22 to be exact) I wrote the following post: Now What? I honestly have no idea how fourth months have passed, but here I am about to start work and begin a new adventure headquartered in Dallas.

In that post, I had a few goals.
1) Take Spanish lessons in Austin.  Well, that didn't happen. I certainly made some attempts, and even registered for Spanish lessons but they were cancelled by the provider. Spanish was not meant to be this summer, and that's okay by me.

2) Learn Excel like a pro.  Unfortunately I am no Excel pro either. I made attempts here and there, bought a book, downloaded exercises, and completed my employee training. But I feel like I need to be using it to learn it, and I really had no reason to use it this summer. Again, that's okay by me. (I may be regretting this soon though!)

3) Spend a ton of time with my dogs + Joe.  Success!!! (As I write this Sam is sleeping at my feet.)

4) Do physical activity at least 5-6/week, but with some requirements.  Success!! Thanks to a few influencers (Katy, Marisa, James, Chris) I made it to either Camp Gladiator, Gold's Gym, the Mueller pool, or Town Lake almost every day.  Running wise, I even got up to a 15 mile long run! I feel strong and healthy.  That was my biggest goal of all, and somehow I got there. Of course there is way more I could do, but I am happy to say that I lost the MBA + Europe baggage and am motivated to keep it up. I do have a half marathon to do in December, so I have accountability.  By the way, I am a giant believer in orthotics. My podiatrist made my summer.

4) Fourth goal: I had all kinds of ideas and actually tried quite a few of them. I would say the biggest thing I achieved was writing two e-books! My Shark Tank book is out, and my Barcelona guide book is on its way. Wahoo! I am so thankful I had the opportunity to work with my friend Tanya as she ramped her publishing business.

5) Scuba certification. Knocked that out at the beginning of the summer! Now I just need to go diving. 

So those where my goals. 3/5 ain't bad.  Aside from "goals" I also was able to travel like crazy.
1) Dallas multiple times
2) Birmingham for Girl's Weekend
3) East Coast road trip with Angie
4) Weekend in NYC with Angie
5) Port Aransas with the Walsh family
6) San Diego with my parents (and Rachel!)
7) Mustang Island camping with Joe, Frank, and Michelle
8) Santa Fe with Joe

Not bad!!

As I look back at my summer, I am just so grateful that I had this time in Austin.  Even though I was here during school, I never really felt "here" because I was living in a student world. Over the past four months, I've been able to reconnect with Joe, my friends, my family, my puppies, and Austin. I've been amazed at how easy it is to pick right back up with people.  I also have been able to rest and recover and regroup before my next adventure. I realize how much of a blessing having so much pressure-less time in one's hometown is, and I feel like I made the most of it.

I am obviously sad to leave Austin. However, I have no doubt that I will be back. (I mean, I have to come back at least once a month because Joe + Puppies are here!) Tomorrow I "move" to Dallas and I am in the best mental and physical place I could be to do it. I would say my summer was a giant success.

So we begin!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Santa Fe Art Roundup

As promised... a roundup of my favorite artists on Canyon Road in Santa Fe. (In no particular order.) Sorry there aren't pictures, but I'm trying to respect copyright. Besides, looking comprehensively at each artist's work is more interesting.

1. Geoffrey Gorman

2. Kelly Moore

3. Rebecca Haines

4. John Maisano

5. Jeffrey Schweitzer

6. Britt Freda

7. Juan Kelly

8. Erin Cone
*One day, one day!!!! (Another One Lost)

Favorite Gallery: Nuart Gallery
*I have a feeling I will drop some $$$ here once I have stable paychecks again!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Do you know the way... to Santa Fe?

When Joe and I booked our trip to Santa Fe back in June, it felt like such a long way away. Of course, before I knew it, it was here. This trip was the signal that my last weekend before heading to Dallas and starting the new career had arrived. Gulp. 

Anyway, on to the trip recap! Our first stop was Albuquerque, because that's where Southwest flies. We flew out late on Friday so that we would be ready to go on Saturday morning. Before we headed to Santa Fe, we detoured to see a famous television landmark. Think Joe was excited?

No Walt sightings! (But plenty of drive-by tourists!)

Our first stop in Santa Fe was the infamous Canyon Road, which is a half mile stretch of hundreds of galleries/shops/restaurants/awesomeness. Guess who was in happy town?
Who's so happy on Canyon Road? This girl! This guy! And some red metal creature!

I had to take a picture with a horse, of course.
I don't mean to brag, but I well, I will. Knowing that the Texas A&M / Alabama game was on while we were on Canyon Road, I encourage Joe to watch the game at a restaurant bar while I kept exploring. This worked out perfectly, and I managed to see all the galleries I wanted to. If I have time I will post a "Favorites of Canyon Road" recap.  After we checked in to our hotel, we took naps and then explored the town square before grabbing dinner at The Shed.

Our Sunday started with a drive to the San Marcos Feed Store and Cafe, recommended by the "36 Hours in Santa Fe" article in the New York Times. (Love those articles!) It was a great find, and the food was incredible.  I can't remember the last time I had a cinnamon role, but I'm pretty sure this was way better. 

This totally counts as fuel for hiking. Totally.

After stuffing ourselves, we walked around the restaurant/store to see chickens, turkeys and peacocks before taking a drive down the Turquoise Trail in search of hiking options.  Not finding any, we returned to Santa Fe and spent the next three hours on the Atalaya Mountain Trail. What we thought was going to be a nice two mile jaunt turned out to be a little strenuous! But it was totally worth it as the views were incredible. (And I had a giant cinnamon role to work off!)
They really should rename this "Easier" route.

We made it to the top! And we balanced our camera on a rock! Success!

That evening we went to dinner at the restaurant inside La Fonda. Once again, we ate way too much but the food was incredible. Tableside quacamole + squash blossoms + a cashew cake + chile rellenos + chocolate malt mousse. Yeah, all that happened.

On Monday, we went to breakfast at the town favorite Pasquale's. You would think we would have gone easy on food, but no... the New Mexican cooking was too powerful for our feeble resistance! After breakfast we walked to the O'Keefe Museum, then around the square a bit more, and then decided we had properly seen Santa Fe. 

On our way back to the ABQ airport, we went for another Breaking Bad landmark siting (Jesse's house) and grabbed lunch at Mary & Tito's. Chicken sopapilla for my last New Mexican feast? Yes please!
And with that, Joe and I have checked off another vacation. It was truly a wonderful way to spend my last free funemployed weekend, and I definitely hope to come back.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Reframe! Or even better, Reroof!

A funny thing happened Sunday morning. A giant pecan tree at my rental house broke in half and decided to visit the roof and attic of the master bedroom.  Maybe after looking over the roof for so long, the tree decided it was time to make a move?  Hehe.

Why is this funny? First, it is funny because the day prior Joe and I had visited the house to determine whether it was in need of tree-trimming. It wasn't.  Second, I *just* switched insurance companies which also increased the deductible by about $1,000. (Funny, I thought I was being smart by raising the property value and paying $20 more per month for insurance. Turns out that cost me for more than $20/month!)  Third, we had found damage on the front of the house the prior day... and if the tree in the front had fallen, I could have killed two issues with one fallen tree!

Alas, when it comes down to it - this is just one of those things that comes with home ownership. I've been very lucky with this house, and frankly a mild disaster was probably due.  So I think I reframe is in order!

1. As I said, I have been super lucky not to have bigger issues at the house.
2. I am not yet working so I have time to deal with this!
3. Speaking of dealing with it, Joe stepped up and is putting his PMP certification to work. By that, I mean that he is the one in charge, he's doing all the work, and I am so very thankful for that!
4. I have insurance!
5. My tenant is awesome and making this easy to deal with.
6. No one got hurt!
7. The contractor brought us farm eggs from his chickens. So that was tasty.
8. I'm getting a paycheck soon, and I know exactly what I will be doing with it!
9. Mmmmm, smoked pecan anyone?
10. It's a project. And we all know I'm a project person.  Plus it distracts me from doing excel training. 

So there we go. I'm letting the inklings of frustration go and doing my best to reframe.