Where Do We Go From Here?

Hello, it’s me. I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet…

A little Adele to start off the blog post since this is my first post on this site in almost one year. I haven’t been keeping up with this blog because I’ve been doing several things. The biggest thing I’ve been doing has been running a personal finance and personal development site centered around rebelling against the norm of being in debt and fearful of money. I’ve LOVED doing it! It’s been a lot of work managing and expanding it but soooo fun to do.

Next thing? Thailand! I moved to Thailand in March 2016 to teach English. The experience has been a real eye-opener. I never could afford to do the study abroad programs while in university and I didn’t travel much growing up. For the longest time, I resigned myself to believing I wouldn’t be able to travel until my late twenties or early thirties, once I had paid off student loans and was at a higher salary bracket.

Getting the chance to move abroad and teaching in Thailand has been wonderful beyond words. It’s bittersweet to be leaving this month and going on my next adventure (to be announced on my Instagram).

FinCon was another wonderful thing I got to do in 2016. FinCon is the Financial conference for people in the personal finance online media. I didn’t think I would have been able to go but I unexpectedly won a scholarship and next thing I knew, I was in San Diego attending it!

I’ve been thinking a lot about transitions and pivoting. Just over a year ago, I was working at a job I hated. I was depressed and suicidal, and wondering how to get out. I’ve been trying to formulate how exactly I was able to move past this terrible time.

The biggest thing that has helped me was changing my mindset. As cliche as it sounds, it’s helped a lot. But don’t believe those life coaches, motivational speakers and such that you see. Changing your mindset doesn’t happen at the click of a button. It doesn’t happen by reading one self help book or watching a TED talk.

It takes time (and that’s okay).

Getting out of the situation I was in back in America and moving abroad forced a shift to happen in me. For the past several months, I’ve been journaling, using small bits of time for my creativity, and doing morning pages.

Morning pages are where you write 2 or 3 (or whatever) stream of consciousness pages in the morning. It’s been helpful in a way I couldn’t imagine before. I’ve been able to control the negative self-defeating thoughts that swirl through my head. I’ve developed a more positive mindset.

Things have been getting a lot better.

As for this site, I gave it an updated look (!!) and plan on writing here ever so often. No set schedule. It doesn’t matter though. This site is more for my life pondering and updates. I’ll be busy running Rebel With A Plan.

I’ll leave you with this quote. It’s a good one. Talk soon!

Why I Almost Quit Blogging (But Didn’t)


Something happened a month and a half ago. I was in my bed, middle of the night, wide awake. I was desperately trying to get to sleep but my mind was racing with all sorts of thoughts. I didn’t have work the next day so it sleep wasn’t critical but I wanted to wake up early for the next day.

I keep thinking about this blog. All that this blog has been through and the experiences I’ve gone through while writing it. Bittersweet.

In April 2013, the spring semester of my freshman year of college, after several months of delay, I started this blog. It began on the free WordPress.com platform with a template site design that makes me now cringe. This blog started as a creative outlet for me. I posted about college life, movie reviews, things I was reading, and career stuff since I was beginning my upper level public relations classes.

Having a space on the web to call my own, fascinated me. My first foray into websites and blogging happened in 2007 when I was 13. I built a free website on the webs.com platform (then called FreeWebs) and ran with it. Games, polls, reviews, and horrid graphic design covered the website.

My 13-year-old self loved having a website. The feeling stayed when I began this blog. Throughout college, this site was my rock, the one steady thing in a constant stream of change.

When I graduated college and started a full-time job, things changed slightly. My job was demanding and I had less time to devote to this site. Then my passion started to slip. The blogging world changed. Words like monetization, sponsorships, and business blogging became a regular recurring conversation. I looked at my site and felt weird about it.

What was my site’s focus or the ever elusive “niche” as business bloggers recommended? If you look through the archives, despite some being deleted, you will notice this site has gone through different phases: college, movie reviews, entertainment industry analysis, writing, personal finance, social media, and so forth.

Through the years of having my blog, I’ve seen several people around me start blogs then have them fade away a few months later. People would stop doing their blogs out of boredom, discovering blogging wasn’t for them, or entering a new phase in their life (in my age bracket’s case, that meant getting one’s first full-time job).

To be honest, I kind of did quit this blog for a while. From August to December of 2015, this site was kind of on auto-pilot. It would take me several days or a week to write one post and I would schedule posts that had been sitting in my drafts for months.

I struggled with creating content, trying to figure out the site design and the direction of this site.

Let me say something many people know but it’s worth repeating: blogs are hard to maintain. 

I knew this and for a while I left blogging. Yet no matter how much I tried to walk away from it, my mind kept pulling me back to it.

Yes, blogs are hard to maintain. You have to do SEO, resize images, make graphics, get all the proper tags and keywords in place, create clever yet concise headlines, interact with other bloggers, write high-quality content…oh and do it while (usually) holding down a full-time job and a myriad of other responsibilities.

It’s hard work and sometimes I get exhausted from it but I kept coming back to it because even though it can be exhausting, I like it. I LOVE the blogging community (PF and Writing blogging peeps in particular!) and I love writing and sharing things.

Soooo where am I going with all of this?

Well, I’ve been running a new personal finance site for a month and a half now, Rebel with a Plan. It focuses on helping people master their money and rebel against the norm. Ah! I love writing for the site. My goal for the site is to make personal finance topics more approachable and not so intimidating. There is going to be some lifestyle stuff thrown in as well!

This site will still stay here and I will continue writing on this blog, albeit on a monthly basis or so. Having this site has been a joy but it’s just so awesome to stand behind something that really excites me. Something I learned while doing this site is I really like educating others on topics and I don’t like talking about myself too much. It isn’t some timid sort of thing, I just like having the focus be on something else.

Have you gone through a blogging rut in the past or recently? How do you keep the excitement alive while blogging? Let me know! Be sure to check out my new site! Rebel with a Plan. 


Candy Bars and the Taste of Business

Two things fascinated me as a kid: candy and the thrill of building something of my own.

I would spend my days shoveling gummy bears into my mouth while simultaneously planning out my next big project. Building a treehouse, making bicycle storage cart, collecting aluminum cans to cash in, anything was possible.

One blazing hot day in the summer 2006, I found myself staring down at my hand. $7.00 dollars. Laying in my hand, slightly crinkled, was $7.00 dollars. My weekly allowance. Not different from the last week, but for that week, something didn’t sit right with me about it. I wanted more money. 

I loved books and I loved video games. Books and video games costed money and I knew I wouldn’t get a lot with $6.00 dollars a week. It would take weeks to save up for something, then I would spend the money, and then what? Have nothing once again. It didn’t sit well with me. So I set out for something more.

In summer 2006, I opened up my first business, a candy counter store inside of my mom’s assisted care facility. At the tender age of 12 years old, it felt like a huge deal to me. I had spent around $30 (a month’s worth of pay!) on signage, decorations, menus, and so on. Using Microsoft Publisher on the computer at the library, I designed menus, logos, and other materials for the business.

Colin Ashby cafe
On June 23,2006 Colin’s Cafe was born.

I sold a variety of candy bars, chips, and sodas in the little room I called my business. Every few weeks, when the town grocery store would have the candy bars marked down to 3 for a dollar, I would rummage a bunch together and buy them. My pricing at the cafe was 0.75 cents for candy bars, 0.75 cents for 12.oz soda, and 0.60 cents for a bag of chips.

With the business up and running, I started to bring in money (which, as a 12-year-old, I thought was good money). My brothers, sisters, and parents one by one started to ask me what I was going to do with the money I had. My mind would reminisce back to the thought of the copious amount of books, video games, and other gadgets I could buy. Instead, staring down at the cash, something changed and instead I put the money aside. I opened up my first savings account (or as I liked to call it at the time, my business account). Every week, after tallying up the costs and money made, I would take all of the profits and deposit them into my savings account.

Now, at age 21, I can see why I was so keen on wanting to save my money: because everyone else around me wasn’t.

Looking back on growing up, I remember all the things people around me bought. New cars, pricey home renovations funded by credit cards, wasting money on junk food. It was weird. Me and people my age were told we needed to go to college or else we would be destined to living a life of burger flipping. Buy a new care was rationalized by saving it was being used to build one’s credit. Going to graduate school, no matter what the price tag, was seen as being able to further one’s career. People bought big houses, ones they could barely afford, because bigger was better.

While all of this was going on, I rarely ever heard discussion about retirement planning, budgeting, emergency funds, or investing. As a senior in high school, soon to leave for college, I and everyone around me was told to not worry about student loans because we would just get a job after college and be able to start paying it back.

Colin’s Cafe, my first business endeavor, gave me my first real experience with managing money. Looking back on that experience and the experiences of growing up and going through college, I noticed a lack of basic financial literacy among many people. They didn’t know how to properly save, budget, and deciding between needs and wants.

I’m not a whiz on the aspect of personal finance. So far the only things l really know are about saving, emergency funds, and using side hustles to make more. Investing, IRAs, index funds, and so on, I still have a lot to learn. And that’s the exciting thing, I want to learn more about it, and I want to share it, write about it, and help people become more knowledgable with their money.

Most of all, I want to help people take charge of their money and their life. It’s all about getting started.


photo via Unsplash 

2016 Words, Inspiration, and Thoughts


It’s the first post of the year for this little site! I’m excited about it. Throughout 2015, my posts were sporadic. There was a reason for that and I explain it more in detail in the next few weeks. For now, all I can think about is everything I want to accomplish this year.

I’m not one of those anti-resolutions people but I also don’t like to make lofty goals and not make much of an effort to fully reach them. Seeing as how I have lots of goals (professional, personal, general), I knew I needed a way to organize them all. I picked up this nifty little think called The Passion Planner. I’ve been using it for the few weeks and love it. Little sections for doodles, spots for appointments, goal setting and outlining boxes. All Type A’s and people looking to get their messy life together rejoice.

Things have been getting tweaked here and there on this site (I removed the sidebar! added buttons! haha). In all seriousness, things have been changing a lot. In that feel-good indie movie flick kinda way. I’ve talked previously about how 2015 was a year I got really inspired. I got more into the writing community, creative community, and discovered the personal finance community.

Right now, I’m getting around to reading Mindy Kaling’s second book, Why Not Me?. In addition to being really insightful and humorous, it got me thinking about the different things I want to accomplish this year.


  •  Contribute to Roth IRA ($3,500 by end of year): You ever heard of a Roth IRA? If you had asked me this time last year, I would have scratched my head and gave an I don’t know shrug. After reading up on a 5-part series on Roth IRA’s, I was ready to take action. Last month I set one up. I’ve put $275 in this month and really hope to get it to $3,500 by the end of the year. Retirement planning is important! Being 21 years old, compound interest is on my side!
  • Get students loans to under $7,500: Student loans. Just saying those two words makes me shiver. Currently I have $16,200 in loans. Last year, I read up on a lot of personal finance bloggers who were able to pay off their student loans a lot faster than what they normally would have been able to, by taking on side hustles and extra money making opportunities. Making extra money, in addition to full-time job work is going to be essential to shrinking my student loan debt.


These ones are the ones I really want to accomplish.

  • Publish 1st novel: I’ve talked (albiet briefly) about my first novel I was writing. It’s taking a nap right now and I’m working on my 2nd novel. Currently on the 1st draft and I am already loving where this story is heading. Publishing my first novel is on the top of the list for a goal I really want to meet this year.
  • Start sending out an email newsletter: I’m thinking about doing a monthly newsletter. I like the idea of email newsletter and vicariously read a few of them. Weekly and even bi-weekly newsletters are too much for me (who has that much to share?!). No pop-up and/or drop down opt-in forms are going to be making any appearances on this site. It will just be on the sidebar in the blog page. The goal is to let me someone sign up if they want to, but not be too pushy about it.
  • Do a podcast: This is another thing that has been on my mind for awhile. Listening to Jen Carrington’s Make It Happen podcast and Kayla Hollatz’s Power of We series furthered my interest in doing one even more. I have a rough idea of what I want the podcast to be about. The goal is for it to be a one-time thing with 8-10 episodes. Can’t reveal too much more as of now, but stay tuned!
  • Guest post: I need to do more guest posting on other sites. My writing has been on The College Tourist and Kory Woodard’s blog. This year I will do more of it. Not sure of how to measure this, maybe one guest post per month? Still deciding.


These are all of the goals I can remember off the top of my head. My planner has a section for monthly reflections, so I’m going to be using it to stay more accountable and measure each goal. What are your goals for this year? Anything big? Let me know!





What Comes Next? Planning for 2016


Don’t worry. This isn’t going to be one of those “new year, new me” type posts (yes…people still do them). This is more about the shifts I’ve noticed in my priorities and goals over the course of this past year. There’s been a lot.

This was the year that…

  • I started off being unemployed after graduating from college
  • I got a full-time job (#hallelujah)
  • I appeared on a national talk show
  • 3 vacations were taken (Mexico, Los Angeles/San Francisco, and The Bahamas/Florida)
  • I turned 21 (not really something I had to work to do, but still fun to mention!)
  • I connected with great people in the writing, entrepreneurship, and blogging industries

With all the things that happened this year, I still think about how much things have changed as I go into 2016. This year something weird happened. I got really into writing and personal finance. Personal finance, you know, the thing most people think is boring. Yeah, that.

It started when I was researching tips on moving to New York City. I stumbled across the article “How I moved to NYC with only $300” located on L. Bee and the Money Tree, a personal finance blog. After that, I was hooked. I found other personal finance sites and started reading them. Everything about them was so inspiring. Many of the bloggers had lots of debt and were able to pay it off quickly, lots of them talked about how their blogs helped them in other parts of their life. Self-employment became a reality for many of them. Some of the posts I loved the most are below:

Like many great things, I go back and reread these articles time after time. These people came from having low-paying jobs, being unemployed, having huge amounts of debt, and a host of other dire circumstances to having blogs that boosted them towards their goals.

I love the personal finance community. I love the writing community. Both of these have been areas of great growth this year.

So….what does this all mean?

I want to focus more on these areas going into the new year. I’m not exactly sure what I mean by that. I know I want this blog to have a more precise focus on a group of topics rather than being scatterbrained. I know I want to make more in the new year (more books, more opportunities, more money).

There’s a lot of planning going about what I want for this website. The color picking, blog post brainstorming, and design scheme type planning. Look out for it in January!

Have you noticed anything that changed about yourself this past year? What plans do you have for the year ahead?


Battle Operation: NaNoWriMo


I haven’t been blogging in forever. Nothing much to say other than it’s been a combination of figuring out how to balance all adulthood entails and not having much to say. I’ve been thinking a lot this month.

Stacks upon stacks of digital paper on my current manuscript have been going through edits. The story is being restructured slightly, tweaks here and there, and some more writing going on. Things have been busy with late nights stuck at the computer with sleepy editing eyes. To picture the book finally in readers hands? That’s the dream. And guess what?

I’m walking away from it.

*mic drop*

Okay it’s not so serious. Walking away is a strong way to put it. I’m taking a “leave of absence” from it. Not for anything bad, just taking a break from it to be part of a movement for the next 30 days: NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

For anyone not familiar with National Novel Writing Month, it’s a program/community writers join and commit to writing 50,000 words in one month, during the 30 days of November. It equals out to about 1,667 words per day.

To many (especially not writers), 1,667 words a day doesn’t sound like much. The whole NaNoWriMo thing doesn’t sound as nerve-wracking as everyone describes. Well…it’s not. NaNoWriMo is no easy task. It’s definitely doable but not something easy. It takes hard work, persistence, ignoring one’s inner critic, and lots of coffee.

I’ve had an interesting relationship with NaNoWriMo. November 2013 was the first year I decided to do it. For the first week, it went well. Then? Things hit a brick wall. I was taking 18 hours in college, had two huge tests and a family issue. The writing stopped.

2014 wasn’t much different. I was only weeks from graduating college and was trying to devote my time to job searching and preparing for after graduation.

This year is different. There is still obstacles (I’m mainly looking at you full-time job!) but I really believe I can do NaNo this year. The Pre-Write Project ebook from She’s Novel has been a hugely helpful resource in planning and outlining my upcoming project for NaNo.

In addition to my daily word counts, I also want to make it a priority to reach out and interact a lot with other writers participating in NaNoWriMo. October has been a month where I’ve discovered the book blogger and writer community on Instagram in addition to other social media platforms.

I can’t wait to (figuratively) dive deep into my computer and start writing this new project.

I’m excited. I’m ready, let’s do this!

Feel free to add me as a writing buddy on my NaNoWriMo profile!

Thank you and let’s get writing!


Life is a Balancing Act: Experience of a Recent College Graduate


The real world? It’s complicated.

A few weeks back, two friends of a friend asked me how I was liking the real world. Both of them were still in college and wouldn’t be graduating till next May.

What was it like to come home in the evenings and not have an essay to write or exam to study for? What was it like having to pay for everything yourself now? What was it like having to (gasp) make your own doctor/dentist appointments?

Having graduated less than 10 months ago, I still have adjusting when it comes to the elusive “real world”. The biggest thing I’ve realized so far is you usually don’t have more free time in the real world than in college.

This may seem like common sense, but many soon to be graduates don’t realize it. They think since they don’t have things to formally study for anymore, they will have more free time. Well, not exactly.

There are so many things I have to plan and schedule now that I’m working a full-time job that I didn’t have to do when I was a full-time college student and working part-time. An obvious one is this blog. I used to write stuff on the fly and post it. Things aren’t like that anymore. My job extends well beyond the 9-5 boundaries. With dinner, laundry, and other errands consuming time, if I don’t make time for writing, it usually doesn’t happen.

I’m still trying to find the whole “work/life balance” thing. Sometimes after a long day at work, all I want to do is sit and do nothing. It takes effort to do extra things you want to do outside of work. Exercising, writing, various hobbies, they all take effort to carve out a time to do them outside of work.

I’m still learning. How about you?

*image credit*

Airport Interactions

airport interactions

Airports have become something enduring to me. People zipping along in all different directions. Suitcases of all different colors, wheeling along. Everyone’s wish is to get through airport security as quickly and smoothly as possible (even though it never usually is quick and smooth).

Airports. I love them.

All the different signs around, gate calls, tagging bags. Where is each person going? Who are they visiting? What adventure are they about to embark on? It’s interesting to think about and something that keeps you from having to think about the way overpriced airport food. (anyone got $500 bucks they have to spare so I can buy a burger?)

During my last semester in college and for a few months after graduating, I was in and out of airports a lot. Going to different places and taking it all in. There’s something people often don’t talk about when they travel: airports and flying. Why?! Probably because it isn’t all that exciting most of the time. You gotta sit in those super tiny seats. And all they serve on the flight is one drink so you get super hungry.

Well, over my several flights covering a few months, I got to see a lot and meet a lot of people.


2nd time visiting Chicago in the span of a month. This 2nd time was shorter but way more exciting because I got to be a featured guest on a national talk show! (a post on that is coming soon!). Excited from the trip, I boarded my flight back to Austin. It was nighttime, the plane had been boarding for the last several minutes and no one was in my row yet. I got comfortable and thought it was nice to have an entire row to myself.

Before getting comfortable to lay down on my impromptu bed, a woman appeared before me and and pointed to the window seat over from me. We each got settled into the seats and the plane took off.

A friendly “What brought you to Chicago?” turned into an awesome conversation of the next hour. The woman and owned and operated her own writing and editing company with a small team. While on the flight, we talked about career changes, transitions, finding purpose and so much more. She talked about all the different jobs and roles she had held throughout the years and what she learned when finally taking the leap into entrepreneurship.

Shaking our empty cups of ice, we continued to talk. Being a Owner/CEO of a company, playwright on the side, and past drummer (!!), she really was such an incredible resource of experience and knowledge.

Learning more about her entrepreneurship journey, she mentioned h0w she didn’t have a full set of clients or big amount of savings when quitting her 9-5 to pursue her business full-time. Something she said about the experience was instantly quotable.

“Sometimes you aren’t ready and you just have to have this ‘fuck it’ attitude and just start doing it”

I left the flight, not only with a great trip behind me but also a great conversation full of learning.

New York City

4th trip to The Big Apple. I’m obsessed with the place. A weather storm was going on outside, flights were delayed and cancelled, and long lines and pissed off people were abundant. After waiting in line for an hour and a half to get a boarding pass for my updated flight, I sunk down into the hard faux leather chair of the flight waiting area. It was crowded and a young woman from Mexico sat down next to me.

Before long, we started talking about where we were headed. Me to New York City and her to Mexico. She worked 12-hour days at a Nisson car factory. The work was stressful. Everything was all about being quick. Get as many cars made as possible. There was no slowing down.

She mentioned how the work was hard but she lived in a town where she was one of the lucky ones because she had a decent-paying job to help support her family. So many families around her struggled to make ends meet. Her job was hard and stressful but she said she focused instead on the smile on her kids faces when she got home after a long day. The money her and her husband made from their jobs got them a house and they were able to provide for their kids.

Stop and think. Think about what you’re doing and how it is helping and hurting you. Think about ways to make your life more enjoyable. Things aren’t rosy and great all the time but even when going through a stressful time, their is always a light guiding you. Find it.


After being in NYC for the 4th time, I booked my return flight. This flight was one going from Dallas to Austin. 50 minutes. So short. Even in the short amount of time, I got to meet with Denny, an older woman who along with her husband, were going back to their Austin home after visiting their son who was in the Air Force and stationed in North Carolina.

Upon first glance, she thought I was a college kid coming back from a spring break trip. She went on to talk about other things. Crossword puzzles. This lady loved crossword puzzles. LOVED them.

Their was a challenge.

50 minute flight and a full newspaper crossword puzzle to finish. The outcome? She did it! She finished the crossword puzzle in less than 50 minutes. This woman was a wizard! I’ve never done more than three words on those things, let alone finish one in such a short time.


On the Road to NYC

This one took place on a Megabus in route to NYC, rather than at an airport or on a plane. I still thought it would be fun to include. Back last summer, I had decided I wanted to go to NYC again (I hadn’t been in five years). With not a lot of money to spare, taking a bus rather than a plane.

Anyone who has ever taken a Greyhound, Megabus or something similar knows the struggle that comes with riding on them. They suck. Close quarters, not enough space, smelly people, smelly things, and types of people way different than airplane flying people.  All of those things and more happened while on the bus from Chicago to New York City.

On route, I sat next to a a 63-year-old woman. Closing in a stop to Cleveland, Ohio. She displayed her phone to me, urging me to look at a picture of a dress. She wanted to look pretty, she said. Her 45-year high school reunion was coming up. She was excited about it and meeting people again, especially an old arch nemesis she had had while in high school.

She wanted to look good for the reunion and went through all who she wanted to meet while there and how much planning had gone into actually attending the event.

Honk. Honk. Bus stop.

We were in Cleveland, Ohio. Her destination.

She waived goodbye to me, telling me how great it was to have someone to talk to about the reunion and other life things.

I really hope she had a good time at the reunion.

Traveling. It’s a fun thing. Airports? There usually not looked at as something enjoyable. Long lines, security, and delayed flights. They’re not always like that though. Something lost in a lot of travel posts is the interactions a person can have along the way. It’s easy to just post pretty pictures of destinations. Interaction is important. Don’t forget that!

My First Job



First jobs are usually never easy. You don’t have any work experience and need something to help move yourself up. Most of the time, first jobs aren’t glamourous. They involve lots hard work and leave a person with some idea as to what they do and do not want. The great team at The Ladders asked me to share my experiences of working that first job people often reminisce about.

Late summer night.

My clothes were soaked. I leaned down into my bed and didn’t have any immediate plans of getting back up. Work was tough.

Back in the spring of my junior year of high school, I started looking for a part-time job for the summer. Like most teenagers, I wanted a job so I could have some extra cash to spend on various things I wanted. The job search was tough. I had spent several weeks applying to different places only to be told I didn’t have enough experience for the cashier/server positions. Discouragement set in quick. The saving grace was a “Now Hiring” sign at the famous town barbecue restaurant.

I went in and applied. Short on cash and summer fast approaching, I was determined to get the job. The manager I talked with gave me a handshake and said he would be in touch by the end of the week. When that phone call never came, I became determined to follow up until I got a definitive yes or no. So every Monday afternoon for several weeks, I came in and asked about the position. Every week I got to meet the different managers and supervisors. After several weeks of diligently following up, I got a response:

I was hired.

The job position? Dishwasher. It wasn’t the most glamorous job compared to my lifeguarding peers but I didn’t care, I finally had a paying job! The restaurant didn’t have a dishwasher during the daytime so when I came in at 5:00pm every evening, I was greeted with a mountain of dirty dishes that took anywhere from 1.5-2 hours to finish.  Grease, dirty water and who knows what got splashed onto me during every shift. At first, I hated the job. I hated how after every shift, my clothes would be wet from dirty water. All of my clothes started to smell like sausage and brisket. I wanted to quit but knew I needed to make some money. It was my first experience in hard work. I decided to push on and keep going.

Over the next few months, I got to know many of my co-workers more. People from all walks of life. In the cashier section, there was a woman in her thirties who was juggling the job, kids, and going back to school. Many of the meat market people had been at the restaurant for several years. A few of my peers from my high school starting working at the restaurant. Break times morphed from bland 30 minute periods playing on my phone to having lively conversation with the other people I worked with.

Wanting to build up my savings as much as possible, I volunteered for shift pickups whenever the managers asked. I started working the several different catering events the restaurant did. A joke I made about being a landscape manager morphed into me getting to trim and clean the front outside area in preparation for a 4th of July celebration. I began working more with the general manager and got more responsibilities.

The actual work was still less than ideal but the people I got to interact with were great. A stark contrast to the menial work and equally menial environment other teens endured in their first jobs. The people I worked with made my first job at the barbecue restaurant not so bad. I actually liked going into work because I knew I would get to interact with great people.

I worked that first job of mine from the summer before senior year of high school all the way through my first year of college. A lot of things were picked up from working that first job of mine.

Taking initiative: If I had never continued following up, I wouldn’t have gotten the job. I wouldn’t have gotten more responsibilities and I wouldn’t have been able to work with the general manager and seen what his workday was like. Never underestimate the power of following up and more importantly, speaking up.

Good things are around the corner if you keep your head up: I hated getting splashed with grease and dirty water every shift I worked. Like many teens, I could have quit my job at the end of the summer but I didn’t. I knew the extra money would prove valuable so I kept working. This lead to me getting more responsibilities and leaving a job with good references for my first time internships during college.

Company culture is so important: Who knew I would learn the importance of working with good people when I got a dishwashing job? Company culture is important. You can’t create good work if you don’t fit in well with the people who work at a place.

Though the additional responsibilities I picked up from the job, I felt okay putting it on my resume when applying to my first office internships during college.  Leaving the double doors for the last time, still smelling like barbecue, was bittersweet. It had been my first experience into actually working. My first experience of sticking with something for the greater good. The lessons learned from my first job are still something I carry with me to this day.


Changing Perspective & Other Adulting Things

Flying over California in route to San Francisco | Working on adventuring more!
Flying over California in route to San Francisco | Working on adventuring more!

Driving down the road, an hour and a half commute ahead of me, and air conditioning in my car had gone out a few weeks back. Ugh. Coming to a complete stop on the freeway, after consistently going 10-15 mph,  I stopped and thought about all the things I needed to spend money on. A/C in the car was broken, cell phone acting wonky, needed to change my address on my driver’s license, needed new work boots, and a host of other things.

Being an adult with responsibilities and bills is so bleh

I’ve been working so much that my website and blog have taken a backseat. I hate it. I’m trying to figure out this whole “balancing” thing. I’ve come to terms and realized some things over the past few weeks.

Job searching is an exhausting thing.

I’m glad I’m done with it (for the time being). I have a full-time job…it’s okay. But it isn’t directly related to my major. When I first started the job, I used to get frustrated by this. I wanted something where I got to do something I enjoyed (community management, outreach, web content, design).

It didn’t take long for me to come around and look on the bright side. Although I currently work a job I don’t fully feel satisfied with, it does provide some great advantages. I have health insurance, a 401k with matching, and have the obvious benefit of holding a job that helps me support myself and pay bills.

According to Mindy Kaling’s autobiography, her fresh college grad self loved having health benefits just as much as me. (side note: Mindy Kaling is freaking awesome, that is all).

I love having side projects to work on

Apparently “side hustles” are this new “it” thing to have. They are covered in numerous articles and I hear it all the time within the design, consulting, writing, and blogging fields. For the past few weeks, despite work being physically exhausting, I’ve been making headway on some personal projects of mine. The first and most important one being my debut novel. With the exception of my feature on Blots & Plots back in June, I haven’t talked about it in much detail. That will change soon! I don’t want to talk about it much until I get this next draft of it finished. I can’t wait to share more about it!

I’ve also been working on learning more about design in the little free time I have after spending it on writing my novel. Currently I’m focusing on getting better at hand-lettering and Photoshop. I completed six Skillshare classes on Photoshop and different techniques. Can’t wait to learn more!

What I've been spending my time (happily) hunched over a computer for
What I’ve been spending my time (happily) hunched over a computer for

People my age are so…bleh sometimes

Saving for retirement? Having an emergency fund? Making goals and actually working towards them? Nope. Lots of people my age don’t do that. I’m 21 years old. I graduated college with my bachelor’s degree in 2.5 years because I wanted to get a head start in the real world.

Since graduating college back in December, I’ve meet and talked with other recent college graduates. So many of them don’t live within their means and don’t think about the long term. They buy nice new cars, get nice apartments. eat out a lot more, treat themselves more often. Then they wonder why they don’t have more money and can’t make more headway on their bills and debt.

Live below your means

You don’t need to spend money (going to the movies, a nice restaurant, shopping, etc) to have fun. All it takes is a good group of people and some great conversation. In the past few months, I’ve moved away from friendships that didn’t lift me up in any way. I don’t go on mindless dates that I know won’t end up anywhere. I surround myself with uplifting, ambitious people who have goals and go after them.

Changing perspective and knocking down perfectionism

I’m not a perfectionist.

At least I didn’t think I was. I’m still not entirely sure I could be classified as one. Although many of my friends and people have commented about how I am. Still not convinced I am. I’m just a Type A person. I like plans, outlines, organization. I want the very best of the things I work on. Sometimes I just go overboard.

When I was 17 years old, I went up to my boss at the BBQ restaurant I worked at, and somewhat jokingly asked him if I could start a managerial position with a 401k plan that had matching. Four weeks into starting college, I attended a job and internship fair. I happily gleamed looking down at the glossy magazine I had made for my media design class and excitedly printed out at FedEx.

Sometimes I get a little too ambitious. Life has thrown me in a loop and at first I was freaked out by it. Now I’m learning to come to terms with it and find different ways to make things happen.

Nowadays I’m doing less overthinking and more doing.

I’m ready. (& definitely set to get back on this website and share more about what I’m doing). Let’s do this *cue the rip away pants*