me

NCIDQ exam + life updates

Nobody puts baby in the corner.  Unless the baby is your blog.  And you have a massive test to pass that takes over 2.5 months of your life.

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Good news is that it’s all looking up from here! I took my NCIDQ Practicum test a week ago Saturday.  It’s the last section in a series of 3 that I have to conquer to become a Registered Interior Designer.  I’m just so excited to have it behind me, go back to normal life, and get back to some blogging!

The week leading up to it, my mood was consistently somewhere between frazzled hot mess and a snapping turtle.  It can be so difficult to balance work and life alone, then throw 2-3 hour daily study sessions into the mix and it was enough to make me feel insane.  (It makes me really wonder how all those Moms out there do it!?  Major props to them!)  I even was dreaming in test mode.  Not to mention, feeling extremely nervous.  You practice drafting techniques and memorize those codes until you can (literally) recite them in your sleep, but you still don’t know what scenario you will get on test day.

ADA Bathroom

I’ve found in any situation that is scary and unknown, the best thing you can do is just tell yourself “you got this”.  Believe in all of the work you have put in and be confident you are ready to take on anything.  Setting yourself up for success is also helpful!  I Googled “brain foods” and “what to eat before a test” because I feel like I needed every ounce of brainpower working with me on test day.

I woke up that Saturday at 5:45am. I got to the test site about 45 minutes early.  For someone who is habitually late I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to get there and get comfortable.  We tested for 4 hours, had a 1 hour break, and resumed testing for 4 more.  In the last couple hours I had a headache and felt like poo, but as you’re racing against the clock you just have to keep going.  I finished with about 5 minutes to spare, just long enough to review a previous exercise.

Leaving there, I felt a sense of overwhelming relief mixed with exhaustion.  It was done and over.  I felt positive about it and accomplished.  It went about as good as it could have!  YES. Now it’s time to get some Chinese take out and call it a day.

Later that night and the days following was what I like to call the “oh sh*t!” phase.  Oh sh*t did I label that correctly? Oh sh*t did I remember to dimension everything? Oh sh*t did I make that counter the correct height and long enough?  Oh sh*t?!  These thoughts would enter my head randomly – like during the workday or in the middle of the night.  Then I would panic, try to remember back, then either breathe a sigh of relief or ultimately just try to forget it since what’s done is already done.

I think you just want to succeed so much that your subconscious keeps all these thoughts right there in the back of your mind.   It’s like your brain tries to come up with reasons why you passed or failed so you can have clarity on your outcome, instead of feeling like you’re stuck in limbo waiting for your results.  I tend to over-analyze everything, but since I wont find out the results for 2-3 months, I’ve accepted that I need to let it go. So that’s where I’m at… just hoping for the best over here!! 🙂

Guadalupe River - New Braunfels

The last few months have been a blur with how busy things have been.  It being April already is unreal, but I’m excited to see what this month brings.  I feel like it is almost like a new year for me again.  I’ve started to set some more career and personal goals.  The wildflowers are in bloom and we went river tubing for the first time this year!

Tracery Book

In other exciting news, I found out over the weekend that I won Tracery‘s giveaway, so I get a copy of their new book! So super excited to get my hands on this pretty little treasure.   You should all get a copy too! I’m sure it will be fabulous!

xo.

(images link back to their source)

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my journey as told through 2 fabric books

It’s Monday. I usually don’t post on Mondays, but I kind of have a story to tell this time.  So here goes….

Over the weekend, I was cleaning out my office and decided it was time to purge.  As you may know, parting with anything sentimental is not an easy task for me. I came across a couple of artifacts that have made it all the way from FL, back to MI, again to FL, and now to TX.  2 beautiful fabric books that I kept from my first design job ever.

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It’s like it was just yesterday. I was 22 and interning for Kim Ederer. She actually believed me when I said I would move to Florida for 12 weeks in the summer to intern. She gave me a chance, and I was so excited. I found a studio to rent in Inlet Beach for that summer in 2007. I remember just how excited I was to go to work everyday. I was like a design sponge – soaking up all the beautiful fabrics and furniture, learning as much as I could about the process. I was blown away by just how much more fast paced it was in comparison to my classes.  And just how poised Kim and Rosanne were as they tackled everything from a freight damaged table to a client presentation. I never wanted my internship to end, and I only hoped I could grow up and be successful like them.

That summer they moved offices, so taking on an intern to clean out and reorganize that massive fabric library was a huge selling point.  As I sifted through hundreds of fabric books, I came across 2 duplicate books. They were absolutely gorgeous. Instead of throwing them away, I kept them. I just thought the patterns and colors were so beautiful. So when my internship ended, I took them back up to Michigan with me.  I showed my design friends my treasured books and told them all about my Florida adventures.

That next summer after graduation, I moved to Florida.  The books came with me.  Finding a design job was not easy. It was 2008 and the recession had just hit. I had $1000 and an air mattress to my name, but more importantly, a will to be successful. I worked in an art gallery, as a waitress, and for a lawyer that year.  From time to time I’d crack open those fabric books and keep the dream alive of landing a job in the interior design field. A year later in 2009, I went into Pizitz Home & Cottage with my resume. They weren’t hiring, but they said they’d keep it on file. About a month later I got a phone call saying they could use some extra help for the summer. I was elated. I put in my 2 weeks notice at the immigration law office and I was on my way.

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Working for Pizitz blew me away. I was surrounded by beautiful things, friendly people, and a gorgeous backdrop for over 2 years. I’d eat my lunches overlooking the ocean.  Seaside was just so perfect and amazing.  It was really too good to be true, although looking back I think I was too young to realize it.  In September of 2011, Nate received a job offer in San Antonio he couldn’t refuse.  We were young, newlywed, and ready for the world.  I was the driving force behind it all.  The economy was so good in Texas, and I figured I could get some great design experience. I envisioned what city life would look like, and it was enticing.  We quickly said goodbye to the beach, packed up our townhouse, and headed to the Lone Star State. It was exciting and scary as hell.

The economy was as good as I imagined.  I found a job within 3 weeks at a crazy busy design firm in San Antonio. I didn’t feel completely settled yet, but I was ready to jump in.  The vibes were different from the beach though. I traded in my flip-flops for black pumps, and my jeans for dress pants.  Although I was stressed out 24/7, I tried to keep a laid back attitude.  It was hard for me when that outlook wasn’t accepted or understood. I remember the designer I worked for literally saying to me, “Aren’t you freaking out??”. Umm yes, I was inside. Being miserable was the norm around there, so if you were happy it must mean you weren’t working hard enough.  I felt like I couldn’t be me. I felt like I couldn’t celebrate design or have a life. I felt like a robot, cranking out work with no emotion. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. It wasn’t rocket science.  It was interior design.  After 2 years of that crap, I took my life back, realizing I never would want to climb up that company ladder.

Instantly, a huge weight had been lifted. My job search efforts led me to 2 offers.  I decided to take the more unconventional one, working from home and in Austin.  I couldn’t have made a better decision.  Michelle is the most understanding and fun person. She gave me my creativity back, and in a sense, my life. I’ve learned more about design and really myself than I have in recent times. We work hard and we play hard, which has always been my philosophy. Austin is such a creative and inspiring hub, pushing the limits with design. It’s exactly what I needed.

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Working at home has helped rejuvenate me.  Of course if you’re going to work from home, you most definitely need to be organized, or else it doesn’t work out too well.  As I’m attempting to downsize my collection of books, samples, and other stuff, guess what I stumble upon?  Those 2 books. Flipping through those fabrics took me back 8 years. I went back through the journey and relived what has become my story.  I became emotional, but in that moment I didn’t understand why.  I can finally say I’m inspired in the way I as back then. I really didn’t want to part with the books, I cut out some of my favorite fabrics out of them.

Sometimes I wonder if leaving Florida was the right move.  I still feel like my heart is there.  Like maybe it’s the place I’m still meant to be.  But deep down I know there are no mistakes.  Everything happens for a reason. I’ve gained so much knowledge here in Texas. I’ve learned what I want to be like, and what I don’t want to be like in my career.  Some of our friends living in Florida seem to think we’ll end up there again one day.  Who knows. Maybe we will.  But what I do know is that I’m just so eternally grateful to be part of the career field I’m in.  I’m happy I stuck with it.  I’ve been a good mixture of lucky and blessed in my life, sharing it all with some great people along the way.  I’m proud of how far I’ve come, and look forward to where the future will take me.

there are no mistakes only opportunities.  - tina fey

my personal mantra for 2015

 

Here’s a few goals I would like to put out there in the universe for 2015.  I think sharing them makes you more accountable, so let’s do this:

My mantra for this year is to SIMPLIFY.

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We live in a very complex world.  There is no doubt about it.  I’m an over-thinker and over-analyzer.  A person who always tries to take on more than they should.  A put-others-before-myself kind of girl.  It’s great.  It’s me.  But I need to simplify how I do things and that thought process behind it.

Other items on the list for this year:

  • Get back to my roots
  • Pass my design licensing exam
  • Be open to creativity and inspiration   (read:  Think outside the box!)

That is all for my little public service announcement.   If you could summarize your ultimate goal into just one word for 2015, what would it be?

Looking back on 2014

First things first: Happy New Year, friends!!

I took a couple of weeks off from the blog to enjoy Christmas with my family here in New Braunfels, and then traveled to Hilton Head, SC to ring in the New Year with Nate’s fam.  Now that I’m back in the swing of things, I wanted to take a look back at a post you may remember highlighting my goals for 2014.  Let’s see how I did:

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More “me” time SEMI-PASS

Wowza, I got to visit some really cool places over the past year.  So I consider that a huge success. But in terms of day-to-day activities, this is where I came up short.  I’m a firm believer that the key to personal growth and happiness is in making that time for yourself on a daily/weekly basis.  This is something I definitely need to work on again this year.

me at big bend

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Prioritize my life better FAIL

There’s no way around it – I think I’ve actually gotten worse this year!  I tend to work, work, work, and don’t make time for play… which essentially goes against everything I believe in.  I feel like I’m rushed and behind all the time, which is a huge killer to the creative process.  Life is all about balance. It’s time for me to find that balance again.

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Finish my design licensing examFAIL

..But the good news is I plan on taking the test this Spring!

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Take on a new hobbyPASS

Nate and I started playing tennis for fun. And I dusted off those paint brushes for the first time in close to 10 years! So there is some progress.

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Eat healthierSEMI-PASS

For the beginning months of 2014 I really did improve my diet. I was drinking alkaline water daily for my silent reflux, and working out regularly, but I think after our Michigan trip in June I fell off the wagon. I have adopted the low acid diet again this past week though and hope to build on that.

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Run a 5k PASS

We did the New Braunfels Doggie Dash back in March as planned, and it was awesome. I’m not the runner type by any stretch of the imagination, so pushing myself out the door to run can be daunting.  But I’m proud to say that even after the 5k, I continued putting effort into it.  Is a half-marathon in the works for me?  I’m not so sure… but I’d definitely do another 5k.

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(Photo caption should definitely read as:  “ALL I DO IS WIN, WIN, WIN.  NO MATTER WHAT”)

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Make a difference in someone’s life?

This one is hard to measure. I didn’t volunteer my time on a regular basis as I would have hoped, but striving day-to-day to help others and give to those less fortunate is definitely a step in the right direction.

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Looking back on 2014, what are you happy to say you accomplished?

welcoming in a new decade

Leading up to my 30th birthday, many thoughts crossed my mind.  I’m not getting any younger.  My epic 20’s are over.  I’m OLD now.  Ugh.  Obsessing about this end of an era so to speak, was inducing a pre-30 panic attack.  Why was this age so hard for me to accept?  Is it because I’m young at heart?  Or just afraid of truly growing up?  Really, where have the last 10 years went?

Instead of freaking out over my impending doom, I took a moment to look back at the last decade.  It is truly remarkable how many amazing things I have done:

I graduated college.

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Moved down to Florida with $1000 and an air mattress to my name.  What could be possibly more exciting (or stupid) than that?

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Married my soul mate.

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Began a career that I’m truly blessed to be a part of.  My design mentor, Kim, gave me my first chance as an intern at the age of 22!

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I’ve faced all kinds of fears (and geez I didn’t realize it before, but I think I’m afraid of everything).

I went on a trip by myself to Louisiana to do volunteer hurricane relief work with United Way.  I made friends there and grew stronger.

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More recently, I climbed a ladder for the very first time.

I became Lady Gaga.

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We moved across the country again, this time to Texas.  Finally a taste of the big city life.

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Ran my first race.

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Bought a house.

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Life has been so incredibly good to us.  It’s amazing what a little perspective can do.  Eating that piece of humble pie and counting my blessings really helped me see it all in a whole new light.

I’m realizing I couldn’t have done these things without the help of others.  Sure it comes from within, but you need others to achieve goals.   It seems like I’ve become this person who is always trying to do it all myself.  I hate asking for help or feeling like I’m burdening someone else.  More than anything, I think I don’t like feeling like I’m not strong enough to do something on my own.  But as time goes on, I’m realizing just how much you need others in life, and how much they need you too.quote about asking for helpIndependence is key also.  My husband has been on a ton of work trips lately, and although I hate when he leaves, I’ve embraced the alone time.  We all need it sometimes to find ourselves.

Speaking of finding myself,  I realized I dreaded 30 for so long because I thought I’d “have it together” by the time I hit this age.  I pictured myself with kids.  Head honcho in my career.  Older.  Wiser.  Perhaps (slightly?) more mature.  I imagined a me that would be able to keep a plant alive for longer than 2 weeks.  One that isn’t so forgetful. Or scatterbrained.  At times, I really think I had more ambition and drive fresh out of college.  You have these big dreams when you’re in your early 20’s.  You’re ready to take on the world.   Then as time goes on – wa wa wa – real life happens.  You get caught up in the day-to-day.  You get comfortable.  And in my case, I let it get the best of me so many times.   I let others get in my head.  But I’m realizing this WAS my downfall, not my future.   If I want extraordinary, I cannot settle for less.  I must open my heart and mind to new experiences, possibility of failure, and criticism.

Measuring success quote

Through it all, I’m realizing success is measured in different ways – not these concrete milestones you set for yourself at a young age.  The older I get, the bigger my goals get.  And the bigger the goals, the harder they are to achieve.  It can be intimidating, tiring, and frustrating.  I’m relearning patience and understanding.  The hardest thing for a proactive person to embrace is that sometimes the timing just isn’t right.  As much as you may want something, you can not force it.   If it hasn’t happened yet, there’s a reason.  I used to think “well what am I doing wrong?”, but I’ve changed it to “What can I be doing differently?  What can I be doing everyday to get to the end result?”  We can’t control what happens to us in this life, we can only control how we respond.

I woke up on November 17th just as I did any other day.  Nothing earth-shattering happened at 12 midnight.  I did not turn into a pumpkin.  Or get like 50 gray hairs overnight.  I did not feel instantly older. But I did have a realization.  With each passing day I am getting older.  I cannot stop time.  That’s why it’s so important to live in the present, be thankful for all the blessings, and look forward to what the future holds.  I’m finally ready to shut the chapter on my 20’s because there are so many memories left to make! C’mon life, bring it!