NCIDQ

looking back before i look forward

Around this time every year, before I start planning and goaling up 2016, I find it really helpful to reflect on the last year.  I look at the accomplishments.  The people, places, and projects that made the year anything but ordinary. I try to learn from the mistakes and struggles so I can be stronger and better the next time around the sun.

Looking back on 2015, the best moments were ones where I felt in Awe.  Like being in the presence of beautiful architecture.  A pop of dramatic color.  Being inspired by plants, animals, and nature.  Going above and beyond what I thought was possible of myself.  All of these moments are what pushes me to my full potential.

2015bestnine - nataliyaborener instagram

Last year, my mantra for the year was to simplify.  Did I succeed? In some ways, I can definitely say I did.  But I have a long way to go.  I’m a complex person, so simplifying doesn’t come as an easy task. I’ve realized this goal is a lifelong one – cherishing what you have, refining what you want, and focusing on what you need.

My biggest career accomplishment was completing my NCIDQ certification.  After a conquering one final 4 month study binge and 8 hours of testing, I now can be a registered or licensed Interior Designer.  It was something I put on my career bucket list nearly 10 years ago, and it feels so good to cross it off.

Despite all of the awesomeness, 2015 wasn’t my favorite year.  I’m extremely blessed in so many aspects of this life, so it’s no big deal, just there were a lot of personal trials I’ve had to face. Relearning who you are and what you want is not easy.  Especially when you are so sure of yourself practically your whole child and adult life.  It’s like you wake up one day and everything is no longer black or white.  There’s a whole lot of grey.  Way over 50 shades.  More like 500.  (Any designer will agree!) And it’s hard to navigate your way. But the best advice I can give anybody is to stay true to yourself.  The rest will work itself out.

How was your 2015?  Great or just meh?  What was your self-discovery or favorite moment of the year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

dream office

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)

feeling like i’m back in design school

Lately my life has been taken over by this little thing called the NCIDQ interior design exam.  AKA my licensing exam.  AKA what I have labeled as my career defining test.  For the latest couple of months, I’ve been studying in the evenings after work, and I tell ya what, these drawing exercises have definitely been putting a cramp on my weekends.

Maybe you remember in the blog’s earlier days me mentioning that I passed the first two sections of this test.  Yes, it was awesome – but, moving on – I still have the other 8 hours to pass. This time it’s the hand drafting portion of the test. And honestly, this FREAKS ME THE F OUT.

floorplan sketch

Let’s be serious here: it’s the first time since college I’ve picked up a drafting board, templates, and triangles.  So… 7 years?! (Wow, I feel like a dinosaur.)  My house currently looks like a studio bomb went off.  Tracing paper on the floors.  Study guides on the chair.  Books haphazardly thrown about.  Drafting dots on the dining table.  Laptop with about 27 tabs open, with crucial info that I CANNOT FORGET or else I will never forgive myself.

I’ve always been a pretty good test taker, but by that I mean I am a pro at cramming info in my head and regurgitating it correctly on exam day.  This test is different – it’s a series of 7 drawing exercises.  There’s no way to cram –  it’s all about understanding, being a quick problem solver, and having legit skills.  When I started this whole process I was so rusty at hand drafting it’s not even funny.  Despite all of these uneasy feelings, I officially registered myself for the test last month on the day before the deadline. (Commitment issues?  Maybe.  But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t wait to the wee hours.)

Anyways, I take the test 9 days from today, next Saturday.  Excuse my absence from the blog as I get through home stretch.  If anybody has any strategies, thoughts, or good luck charms they want to pass on I will love you forever. xo. Okay, rant over.  Hope you are having a great week!

hello october.

Well, I’m glad to say that the test that has consumed my life for the last couple months (aka the interior design licensing exam, NCIDQ) is now officially OVER!!

This past Friday, I took the first half of what could potentially be the most important knowledge based test of my life!  A couple of tidbits: #1) That sucker was hard as F.  #2)  I went to bed at 8pm on Friday if that gives you any idea how exhausted/brain-dead/studied out I was.

That being said, I’m glad its over.

( In 12 weeks I’ll find out if I passed or not…and then it may be another studyfest for me.  Plus, I still have the other half to take. )

For those of you that may take the test in the future, here’s a quick summary:  (Please feel free to message me if you have any questions about it!!)  They only offer it twice a year, and you become eligible to take it after receiving your Bachelors from an accredited school + 3,520 hours working under a licensed professional (UNLESS you began any of your design experience prior to 2008, then you can count your hours under any design professional).  The exam is broken into 3 sections that span 2 full days.  The first day is 2 multiple choice exams.  The 2nd day is what they call the practicum, which is putting all your knowledge and experience together into a full 8 hour hand drafted project.  Since I’m beyond rusty at hand drafting, I figured I would just knock out the first 2 sections and go from there.  Wellllll….. they pretty much knocked me out! haha.  Think 300 questions about building construction/structure, fire codes, architectural drafting, etc etc etc.  (So to anyone that thinks all an interior designer does is play with paint swatches – please, do your homework.)

On the drive home, I thought about all the things I could have done differently.  I even started frantically looking through my notes trying to see if I could figure out what ones I got right and wrong. (I can’t begin to imagine what kind of road hazard I was)  As soon as I began to get frustrated, I brought myself back down to reality: this is only a test.  Life will go on.  If I fail, it doesn’t mean I suck – I can retake it!

Then I came home to this beautiful orchid and a nice card – which totally made my night/weekend/life! (thanks Hunny!)

The rest of this weekend was very relaxing.  We celebrated Nate’s birthday- as best as we could since he has a stomach bug.  We sat around and watched football and I made him homemade Mac & Cheese and Asparagus Cheddar soup.  🙂  Overall, life is good.  I’m excited to start blogging again more.  Not sure where September went, but I’m ready for October – and to start enjoying this lovely fall weather!

thursday thoughts: hope

Ever feel like you are about 3 steps behind in life?  That you rush around and still can’t get caught up with everything there is to do?  Well that is my life in a nutshell right about now.

Since returning home from the trip, it’s been hard to find the motivation to tackle my never ending to-do list.  Literally getting out of bed takes 2-3 tries (damn you snooze button!).  And Olympics, you have not been helping either.  This girl has been molded to the sofa every night.

I can look at all the things I haven’t done lately (running, studying for NCIDQ, cleaning, – okay I’ll stop now). OR I can be hopeful.

I think you know which one I will choose.

Hope is a funny thing.  It’s all or nothing.  You either have it or you don’t.  So when I read Sarah’s blog this morning, I realized that my inner drive was just what I’ve been missing.  She posted about a blog relay called Hope 2012, where she tagged all of her readers to share what they are hopeful for.  Thanks Sarah for helping me find the inspiration that has been missing from daily life!  Here’s my list…. what are you hopeful for?  (Tag your it – it’s your turn!)

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Image via Pinterest

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I’m hopeful…:

-that life will fall into place.

-I will start posting more blog entries

-I will pass the first 1/2 of the NCIDQ test next month!

-to have a freakin blast this weekend in Dallas 🙂

-that many people around the world are making a difference each day, and that I can be one of them.