Here we go again….

Well, if you would have told me that my week would have panned out the way it did last week (my birthday week no less), I wouldn’t have believed you!

Last Monday, I shared my first post in three years. It felt great to get back on here, reflect on my journey, and start planning for 2020.  So you can only imagine my surprise when I walked in to work to learn that our company had been acquired by a larger company.  My first corporate merger – oy!

What does this mean for me? Well, realistically this probably means that I will be out of work soon-ish.  This new company is much larger than my current one but my department is not a revenue generating component that would require additional team members when the company grows.  Compliance departments tend to be small teams in most companies – so I need to prepare for the worst case scenario.

What I can say is that how I react to losing my job (if that happens) will be very different this time around.  I’ve spent the last three years really focusing on reducing my debt and increasing my net worth.  I’m not happy at the prospect of being unemployed again but at least I don’t feel sucker punched like I did last time.

I wanted to use this post to share some of my action plans to achieving some of my 2020 goals but I have a little revising to do already – ha!

Am I panicked? Not really.

Am I nervous? Of course.

What will I focus on next?

  1. Updating my resume and LinkedIn profile
  2. Curbing any unnecessary spending
  3. Putting some monthly number goals to the shop as my target to put any profits in to savings

Any other advice out there?  Any job leads for me? Send them my way!  Kidding (but not really – ha!).

I’m READY

Well…isn’t this terribly embarrassing?!  I knew I hadn’t posted in awhile but I didn’t expect it to be over 3 years ago!

So much has happened since my last post so here’s the mini recap – the good and ugly of it all.  I found my next career path in 2017 – a major switch from my 15 year career in the nonprofit sector to the world of health insurance.  It’s been a steep learning curve, but it was the intellectual push I needed.  I’ve learned so much and secured a professional certification last year to help me continue growing in the Corporate Compliance sector. Compliance has helped me marry my love for planning and organizing standardized work flows and procedures.  Yes…I thrive on rule following and training.  Ha!

I am most embarrassed to write that I let me fitness journey stop and basically eliminated all my hard work.  Losing my job unexpectedly and panicking about how long it would take me to find my next role, made me deep dive in sending out resumes and eating the cheapest possible which often translated in to the worst possible options.  Top that with then making a major career shift at a time when you had to catch up quickly and go through a major audit and ALL WORKOUTS were cancelled.  I’m not proud of myself but am allowing myself some grace to learn about how I reacted unconsciously so that I don’t make that mistake again when faced with challenging situations.

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I launched an Etsy shop in 2018 dedicated to my decorative planner interests.  I didn’t really make any income in 2018 from it, but I’m happy to say that 2019 saw enough sales to finally make a small profit.  I’ve been participating in some larger marketing opportunities (like conference sponsorship), and I’m really excited about the confirmed plans for 2020.  I’m nervous about how big some of my plans are for 2020, but it’s time to keep pushing the creative side of me.

Lastly, I launched a YouTube channel.  I had this crazy notion that I could get monetized quickly and post frequently.  The goal was to use any funds received to pay down my student loans quicker (my only current debt). Boy was I wrong!  Not only are YouTube monetization parameters very hard to achieve, editing and filming is also much more work than I expected.  I tried to do everything at once and YouTube eventually fell off the priority list.  I’m hoping to use that platform more consistently this year to increase awareness of the shop and to do something else that I love – teach others how to craft from the comfort of their own home.  So stay tuned for videos!

So let’s just say that 2017-2019 can be better known as my rebranding years and 2020 is my relaunch.

Because you know what?  This year, I’m READY for it all!  It’s time to commit to my health, to my financial wellness and to my creative happiness.  Rather than waiting for things to be perfectly planned out or to be fully cushioned financially, I’m going to take the leap and have faith that I have prepared enough and just have fun with it all.  READY is my 2020 Word of the Year – my motto. Whenever in doubt, I will remind myself that I’m READY.

So what am I READY to do this year?  Sooooooooooooooo much!

  1. At minimum, double my shop’s 2019 profits in 2020
  2. Pay off $15K of my student loans
  3. Read 20 books (one of my smaller 20 for 2020 goals)
  4. Lose 50 pounds

There are so many other little things I want to do, but these are the four biggies I will track and report about.  These four will help me stay creatively happy, create more room for fun (like travel) and get me physically stronger to achieve more and more!

What’s your plan or motto for 2020?

 

My 401K Investment and the Ugly Truth

Well, this isn’t how I wanted to start the new year, but it’s looking like I’ll have to make a withdrawal on my 401K to hold me over until I secure my next position. Thankfully, I’m feeling pretty confident that I’ll have something lined up next month, but that doesn’t change my current financial scenario.  Plus, what if my gut is wrong?!

Sure, I could ask a few friends for a loan, but I hate borrowing money from people – especially when I have it available to me in my investments. I’ll need to take a hit on my taxes, but I think this is going to be a good lesson for me as I prepare to enter what I equate with TRUE adulthood (my forties).

Lesson 1: I need to truly create an emergency fund.

I need to be better prepared for things like losing a job, getting ill, suffering an injury, needing a major car repair, etc. I’ve never been good at this, and this past year has been a major eye opener.  Sure there was a severance package and there’s unemployment benefits, but if I had ALSO had an emergency fund, I would not need to consider a 401K withdrawal and could probably have been fine until I accepted a new position.

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Lesson 2: I need to get serious about retirement.

In the past, I’ve used my 401K to pay off my credit cards and car loans. I need to get to a point where it really doesn’t get touched. If I end up not having a life partner to share expenses with in my future, then I need to really take some time to fully understand how to maximize the returns on my investments and how to get myself to a point where I don’t freely borrow from it.

Lesson 3: Evaluate my spending.

I’ve gotten much better at not spending foolishly, but there is always room for improvement. My health journey has helped me spend less on food – much less eating out – so that was a huge step for me these past 6 months financially (health benefits were a bonus). However, I still have a second bedroom full of craft supplies that are collecting dust because I keep buying more!  It’s time to go on some crafty no-spend months and start to donate and/or use some of my stash.

Lesson 4: Create a passive income stream.

When it comes to crafty ideas, my head is full of them! I need to find a way to put those ideas to use and preferably to create a passive income stream with them so that I’m not working myself to death in my free time. I also need to actually set up a shop with a some pre-designed items. I love the act of crafting, but then I’ll just let my creations sit in my house or give them away. I’ve had way too many people ask me to set up a “shop” so they can make purchases, so I just need to move forward and see if their interest translates in to actual sales. This papercutting nerd needs to get to work!

Lesson 5: Being a grown up is a hard.

I don’t think I would have ever imagined myself talking about investments and passive income streams…which is just a sign that I’m more of a grown-up than I care to admit (ha!). I may be young at heart and spirit, but it’s time to listen to the logical side of my brain and start planning. And yes, this plan will include a plan to reinvest the money borrowed!

Happy New Year!

Fit Latina in the Making – New Blog

For those of you that first came upon my blog to get crafting ideas…I want to apologize. My health goals clearly took over my life (and they needed to) which means that they took over this blog.

I’m nowhere near finished on that journey, so I have decided to separate that content in to a new blog so that I can expand what I write about.  I would love to have you join me there too!  And let me know if there are things you would like me to post about…I’m happily taking suggestions!

Fit Latina In The Making Blog

Fit Latina in the Making: So I Took a Break

I know this post is long overdue. I imagined coming back and celebrating the achievement of my election goal while talking about the progress since I last wrote. Well, unfortunately there has been no progress to celebrate, and I got a much needed scolding by Ray last night.

You see, my break turned in to a month long “vacation” of doing nothing.

Thankfully, I have not put on the weight I lost during this break but it’s not for lack of trying. Because when I say break, I mean a total break. I haven’t really watched what I’ve been eating, and I’ve definitely only been on my elliptical a handful of times since November 2nd. Sure, maybe I’ve already trained my body to make better choices overall which is why I haven’t gained weight, but I definitely indulged far more than I should this past month.

But why did I take this break? We all deserve a moment to relax and enjoy success, right? After reaching my goal weight and winning my election bet, I treated myself to a piece of delicious pie at my favorite local bakery. I had earned the right to indulge a bit so I did.

But then I just stopped completely.

Was I injured, no?

Was I busy?  Unfortunately not as I had been laid off a month before.

Was I frantically interviewing?  Not really…as the holidays impacted interview time availability.

The only explanation I have for the total stop is that I probably was a little more bummed than I care to admit over being laid off. You see, I don’t have the type of personality that stresses about things for too long. I’m very rational, and I take all moments in life as learning opportunities and/or fate. Being laid off sucks (especially when you loved what you were doing), but I told myself that it must be a sign that I got too comfortable and needed to push myself more.  I thought I really believed that, but I think my subconscious needed more time to wallow than I allowed….so I think I just stopped lots of things. My house became a disaster zone, and I stopped participating in the one thing that I was so very proud of for finally achieving.

The funny thing is that I’m actually having a really great week personally (and potentially professionally), so I had already started to feel energized and was in the process of getting my shit in order (at home) when Ray checked in. The minute I saw it was him, I cringed because I knew I was going to have to tell him that I had done nothing and it would disappoint him. I made a promise to him and myself that I would never lie, so my stomach sank.

And then it happened…I had to tell him the truth.

Tears rolling down my face as I responded. I know how much he has invested in me, and I know this is a shared experience. I had earned his trust to work out on my own ages ago, and now that I was feeling like myself again, I was afraid I had lost it. We had a tough but good conversation. He hasn’t given up on me nor has he lost trust in me….we just needed a plan.

I know that I need to hold myself more accountable and that posting about my journey really helps. I’m still down 40 pounds but I still have a long way to go. It’s time to remind myself that there is always a day one. The key is to not stop fighting for that day one to help you begin again so let’s get back to this journey!

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Fit Latina in the Making: Will He Vote?!

It’s November 1st ya’ll and that means my time is up.

Last August, I was bamboozled in to making a bet I refused to lose.  If I reached a weight-loss goal of 42 pounds, my trainer extraordinaire, Ray Peleckas, would cast his first official vote of ANY election. Civic responsibility is not something I take lightly, and I vowed to work my ass off to win.

When I first started this journey, the win was my pure motivation. I don’t think I’m a super competitive person, but this prize was far too important to me. It fueled me, and I think Ray knew exactly what he was doing when he came up with this plan.  However, I don’t know if he truly knew just how much it truly motivated me beyond the actual fitness progress I was experiencing.

Because let me be honest….I have spent most of my life as the overweight girl. I had learned to accept my body in whatever shape or size it was most of the time, and I never imagined being able to do what I have now done. Just look at the visual transformation from last November to right now?!  My clothes don’t fit anymore, and I can now see why!

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What a difference a year makes!

I’ve learned to eat in a way that doesn’t starve or deprive me of anything. Sure, I might be eating less of some things in general, but I haven’t permanently eliminated a single thing. I’ve managed to fully comprehend what affects my weight-loss targets and trained my body to gain satisfaction from healthier sweet options when I’m craving a special treat.

And I’ve become a bit fearless about working out.

Some workouts are still brutal and some exercises are still super hard, but I give things a shot and modify when necessary. I’ve seen that consistent movement and a gradual push of my limits has lead to progress. I mean, come on…I can do an actual burpee now!  I still hate working out in general, but it’s now just a part of my daily routine.

So am I proud?  Fuck yes!

Am I done?  I wish!

I’m down 42 pounds (which was more than I wanted to reach for my 40th), but why stop there?

My new target will be to try and lose 60 pounds by January 9th.

There is no crazy bet this time (yet) and I won’t be heartbroken if I don’t quite reach it, but I’m going to try my hardest to get there! This Chicago foodie will need to enjoy Thanksgiving and Navidad with her family which equals Tamales and Pozole will be eaten. So I’ll have to be careful up to and around the holidays and treat my family time as cheat days.

Because if you’ve eaten my mom’s food, then you know they NEED TO BE CHEAT DAYS!

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The annual holiday tamalada awaits me!

So there you have it…Ray will have to vote this election. I honestly think he would have voted regardless of me reaching my targets because he knows I’ve worked really hard, but it has to feel good to know that this crazy bet worked.

I didn’t have a similar bet with all of you reading this blog, but I do hope you’ll exercise your right as Americans to cast a vote next Tuesday. This is the very foundation on which this country was founded and many groups have fought so that people like me….a woman..a Latina…a daughter of Mexican immigrants…could have the right to vote.

I have voted in every single election (except one because I woke up with the flu) since I was 18. I don’t just preach civic responsibility…I am fully engaged.  Please join me and vote!

 

Fit Latina in the Making: Make Good Choices

Now that I find myself with plenty of free time (albeit forced upon me), I realized I had no more excuses when it came to reaching my fitness goals. I took a little time off from training directly with Ray but that was because I ended up taking some time away from Chicago to regroup and refocus (which increased our time difference).

I’ll go in to more detail of my crazy fitness/family-time adventure to Los Angeles in a later post because there is a lot to share! I have several funny stories and pictures from my week in the City of Angels, and it’s all Josephine’s fault! It was a wonderful escape, and I’m so very lucky to have an incredible friend that knew what I needed before I even had time to wallow in any sort of self-pity. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I want to focus on what has been a recurring theme lately. Many friends have recently commented on my eating when we go out together. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m not any sort of scripted diet, but I guess I have learned to make better choices overall. As a foodie, eating out is a part of my friend experiences and I can either let it crush my fitness my goals or make some alterations.

What does that actually look like?

  • Focus on proteins and vegetables.
  • Eat a small salad when possible as an appetizer – something with little to no dressing (or ask for it on the side).
  • Fresh fruit is a yummy treat.
  • Have a deliciously rich creamy (whole milk) cappuccino when everyone else is having dessert because it’s more filling and rich.

I’ve also learned that I shouldn’t deny myself a taste of the fatty/sugary goodness that is ordered in a group setting!

When I know there is a dish I looooove (and one of my friends get it), I’ll ask for a bite. That one bite gives my brain as much satisfaction as eating the whole serving used to in the past. It also allows me to be in the moment with my friends and not have them worry about whether they should be ordering something that might be too tempting for me.

Avoiding temptation isn’t what’s making me reach my goals – it’s understanding why a different choice will help me achieve my goals faster.

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even realize I’m making these choices anymore. They are just a part of the way I eat now.  I realized this the other day when I sat down with a friend at a cafe in DC recently and she said, “I need to eat more like you.” I paused and looked at what she meant. I had purchased a fruit cup to enjoy as an afternoon snack and she had indulged in a cookie.

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Now please hear this – neither choice was better or worse.

My choice was just the better one for my current goals and it made my friend evaluate her goals (and how my choice might have been a better one for her too that day). Because trust me…there will be many days in the future where I will have the cookie too!

Fitness tip of the day: Know what your goals are and make good choices!