I’m a Big Kid Now

Last summer when I made my 101 list, I felt silly putting “pay for my own cell phone” on the list. For goodness sake, I was 25 and saying that SOMETIME before I turned 28 I wanted to pay for my cell phone myself? Spoiled. Brat.

It’s just something my mom has always done because we were on the same plan and contract lengths and unemployment and underpaying jobs and blah blah blah. I’ve told her many times I was going to do it, but never got around to it.

Today, I finally made myself an account owner to basically separate our phone bills and got my own login info and…drumroll please…paid my own cell phone bill like a big girl.

It’s silly to be so excited, but it was like when I made my last car payment and was jumping around saying, “somebody hug me!”

Except today is the opposite. A first payment and, seeing as how I could never imagine going without a cell phone,  these will never end. As much as I hate spending money, I love that I’m spending money on this.

I’m also going to redo my budget tonight to include this new monthly expense and allow myself more flex room. It’s pretty much bare bones right now and it’s based off the fact that I spent about $2000 a month when that’s about what I was making, so now even though I’m making more, I should still spend that amount.

Change of plans.

I’ve earned the freedom to spend more. I have a good job and make more money now. I paid off my car and credit card.  I overpay on my student loans while still building my savings. Everything left is MINE.

I don’t want to spend money for the sake of spending it, but I want to be okay with going out for happy hours and buying some cute new date clothes.  Going from super-saver mode to okay-to-spend mode is difficult, but having a budget to tell me it’s okay without letting me go overboard is a good way to start.


Life's Journey with a Smile

My 10 goals are:

  1. Lose 5 pounds in January and maintain (starting is 122.6).
  2. Sign up for a new dating site in February (assuming Mr. Amazing doesn’t waltz in before that).
  3. Climb the seven summits of Phoenix in seven days.
  4. Make a real meal at least once a week.
  5. Adopt a pet.
  6. Get a bike and decrease my gas usage.
  7. Write my guest post for The Chick Lit Bee.
  8. Roll over my 401(k)s.
  9. Do six things with friends (happy hours, game nights, etc.).
  10. Find and participate in a volunteer opportunity.

Now, on to this week’s questions!

1.  What have you done this past week to help you achieve your goals?

I kept up with my “make one real meal a week” with pizza amazingness part two last week, kind of a cop out to do a repeat, but I had the ingredients!  I went out with friends on Thursday and again last night (up to four now).  I wrote my chick lit guest post and sent it to my friend, Nancy, at The Chick Lit Bee and found an event to volunteer for and signed up (since my first attempt was a fail).  I kinda felt like I slumped this past week, but that’s not too shabby! 

My goal for January weight loss is not going as expected.  I was expecting that with kicking my running up, I’d be able to get back down to 117 without much additional effort, but it’s going the other direction and I’m seeing bigger numbers than I’ve ever seen on the scale and freaking out!  So I came up with a plan for eating for the next few weeks because I know it is a conscious thing that needs effort to work together with my exercise, so hopefully I’ll have positive progress to report on that soon.  

2.  Do you find that your motivation/mood changes in the winter? If so, what do you do to help/avoid it?

I definitely tend to get holiday brain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, especially in terms of wellness.  Heading into the new year, though, with my resolutions laid out, I do feel focused and ready to take them on.  In terms of exercise, this is honestly the best time for it in Arizona (sorry, to anyone who got tons of snow just dumped on them last week, but we’re having highs almost hitting the 80s!) and I want to go outside and get my sweat on.  That kind of motivation wanes during the summer for me when I have like a two-hour window (3am-5am) to be outside and not be taken by heat exhaustion.

3.  Do you have any advice for your fellow challengers on staying on task?

I know a lot of the goals I’ve seen from others in the challenge are ongoing, but my advice would be that if there’s a goal that’s a one-time thing to do or achieve, do it.  It will do wonders for your confidence and determination to cross just one thing off the list early on.

4.  What day{s} of the week/month do you find it difficult to stay on task/motivated?

I often have big plans for the weekend (in terms of moving toward goals), but they tend to be forgotten or pushed aside for other things.  I’m much more focused during the week because I’m usually looking at my planner, which has all my to-dos laid out, daily and I am thinking about the tasks I want to accomplish.

5.  Fun Question of the Week:  If you were going on a road trip {longer than a day} who would you take with you? Where would you go?

This is a tough question because often I think that I’d like to go here or I’d like to do this or that with a special person, but I haven’t found that special person yet.  I’m getting better at telling myself that I don’t have to wait for someone else to do things I want to do, but still, of course it would be nice. 

Back to the question, though.  Go to a new state, visit a major U.S. metro and take a road trip are all on my 101 list, so I’ve put plenty of thought into this idea!  I’d want to road trip to Austin (it would be all three for me!) and I’d want my old roomie to come with me because we haven’t seen each other much since I moved to Arizona a year and a half ago and the 14.5 hour trip would give us plenty of time to catch up and it would be fun to explore a new city with her because even though she’s old and married now she’s still one fun chick! 

Picture, this is how I felt about my training this week:



I’m going off the grid (starting yesterday).  During the holidays I took a little time away from technology by default, but this week I’m making a conscious effort to unplug for no reason at all (well, it is on my 101 list).  I imagine I’ll be well-rested, well-read and my shoulders will move away from my ears.  I’m going to be social.  Imagine that.  I might also attempt to figure out my life and create a plot to eliminate senseless crimes against the English language.

I’ve scheduled this post and tomorrow’s WWW update to go up while I’m on detox.  If they bore, feel free to abort the mission, but come back next week when you won’t be reading posts I cranked out in one night!


My last few New Year’s Eves have kind of blown.

2010 – I worked. While attempting to cocktail a tray of champagne-filled flutes, I dumped about half ON A GUEST (in my defense I was the door girl, not a server).  I mumbled an apology but was focused on getting back to the bar to get more because it was like 11:58 and most of the room was empty-handed.   All the champagne got out and I grabbed my own just in time to cheers the new year with my frustrating boss, his mail-order Russian bride and my very recently exed boyfriend.  Then the ex asked me outside and gave me some awkward speech about how it doesn’t have to be awkward and kissed me on the cheek.  Then I went home and cried and ate a burrito.

2009 – I worked earlier in the evening with my roommate/best friend/boss.  We went home and each fell asleep by 10, like the little old ladies that we are.

2008 – This was during the only party girl phase I went through.  I went to an overpriced party at a club with my two roommates and maybe kissed a guy or three.  My horrible roommate documented it and later sent those pictures to the guy who became my boyfriend seven months after the fact (because of a very twisted back story that involves a lovely little love triangle).  And I’m sure I was terribly hungover the next day.

2007 – I was sick, so couldn’t drink but went out with high school friends anyway.  My boyfriend had recently moved away and we were attempting the long distance thing.  I called him at midnight, but he claimed he didn’t get the call and got mad at me and we fought for the next two days. 

I don’t remember the years before that and it’s probably for the best. I always said that, hey the only way to go is up, but I would be totally okay if this NYE didn’t suck.  One of my Day Zero things is have a great NYE kiss.  I have three chances for it, so there’s not a ton of pressure there, but I have definitely been overthinking my plans. 

Plan A – Celebrate NYE and a friend’s 21st birthday in Las Vegas.  I actually got a ticket for this.  Then I thought about it for two seconds.  NYE…Las Vegas…21-year-olds (in her defense she does actually act older, but I imagine the occasion will have her and her 25-year-old girlfriend both acting like true 21-year-olds)…so not my style.  My Facebook invite RSVP slowly retreated from yes to maybe to no.

Plan B – Throw something together locally with other friends who also backed out of the Vegas trip, which is, like, everyone. 

Plan C – Rebel will be working at the party I worked at last year because, yes, he does have the same job as my ex, which is fortunately where the similarities stop (and my ex is no longer there) and has suggested I hang out there so I can at least see him.  This is less of an actual option, more of something I think about when I need a good laugh.  I am so not going back, even to see my adorable, little Rebel.

Plan D – My second invite came from my college roommate hosting a party in her fab apartment in LA.  Cocktails at night to be followed with watching the Rose Bowl Parade go by right outside the next morning.  Low key night with ladies I love and don’t see enough of?  Yes, please.  I switched my ticket to take me to LA for a fun-filled 24 hours.  It’s definitely more my style, except the only confirmed guests are two of the girls and their significant others, making me a fifth wheel.  I informed her I would be hanging off her balcony inviting tall, dark, handsome passersby up and she did not retract my invite so in a few short hours I’m jetting off to LA.

I didn’t really have plans the last few years and they sucked, so maybe since I came up with something ahead of time it won’t suck as much.  But, if it does, it can only go up from there, right?

The Friendship that Almost Wasn’t

Reverb 10, Day 16 Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

One of my 101 goals was to make a new, good friend, the idea being that it’s kind of difficult at this young professional  stage of life.  I was surprised by how quickly I crossed that one off and the number of people I’ve grown close to this year.

One of those friendships did not start well.  In 2009, my good friend’s girlfriend, Kanga, came to visit him for a week in the summer.  They had been dating a while, but I’d never met her since she lived in a different state.  I had met his last girlfriend, however, and on that visit I called Kanga by the ex’s name.  To her face.  Nobody likes that.  I thought she would always think of me as “that girl who called me that bitch’s name,” but in January she moved here and over happy hours, board game marathons and shared love of nail polish, we became friends. 


Kanga recently graduated college and is 22 and sometimes she acts like it and I think that’s why I like her.  Spending time with her is like being an outsider looking in at what I imagine I was like at that age.  She just moved away from her family, got her first apartment, landed her first real job, heck, she even bought a new Toyota when she drove her old car into the ground (yep, did that the summer after I graduated too). 

When I look at Kanga, I see the mix of excitement and apprehension that comes with those big changes.  I see the fierce determination of a woman who has declared herself an adult, although she’s unsure of what all that might mean. 

I see the innocence and bright-eyed, bushy-tailedness of a girl who hasn’t hit her quarterlife crisis.  Maybe she won’t, but I certainly did and now that I’m (maybe) on the other side of it, I see how far I’ve come. 

Through her/22-year-old Emjaye’s eyes, I see that people are truly good.  And, honestly, let’s remember that she’s 22, so I see the drama that I’m glad I no longer have in my life (because I’ve replaced it with OTHER drama, obviously).

I imagine Kanga might be better than the little sister I never had.  She doesn’t need anyone telling her what to expect and how to handle it (she’s a capable chick), maybe just a little guidance and a good listener, who every now and then will offer a , “yep, I totally understand, girl.”  As we continue in our friendship, I’ll enjoy watching her grow into herself as a twenty something, looking back down the path that I’m still on myself.

A Feeling of Awakening or Awe

Reverb 10, Day 4 Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

Wow.  Way to call me out, Reverb 10.  As an introvert, as a blogger, as an over-analyzer, I WONDER about a lot.  But, have I done much to “cultivate a sense of wonder”?  I’m not too sure. 

There were a lot of things I THOUGHT about doing that would have cultivated a sense of wonder.  At the top of the list, I started planning a trip to Belize to awe at their rainforest, jaguars, toucans and little spider monkeys; their Maya temples; the color and feel of their ocean; the taste of their seafood, rice and beans and chocolate – yum!  It got pushed aside – because of budget, because of vacation time – moved to a “someday” list.

I’m watching Knight and Day and Tom Cruise (can’t believe I’m watching a Tom Cruise movie, much less quoting him) just said something to the effect of “‘someday’ is a dangerous word because it’s really code for ‘never.'”

This year, to avoid my list of somedays turning into nevers, I made a promise to myself in the form of a Day Zero List.  101 things to do in the next 1001 days.  Some things on the list are silly, some are meaningful to me, some are big, some are small.

I have to admit that I cheated on today’s assignment a bit.  WordPress helped.  With their new “recommended links” feature, they popped up Wikipedia’s explanation of sense of wonder, borrowing from Brave New Words, The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction, it gave me this definition:  a feeling of awakening or awe triggered by an expansion of one’s awareness of what is possible or by confrontation with the vastness of space and time, as brought on by reading science fiction.

Screw science fiction, it’s never really been my thing.  My 101 list, the 25% I’ve completed since June and other challenges I’ve faced and conquered this year have awakened me and allowed me to awe at myself as I become aware of and stretch what’s possible in my life.