Past-Due Update

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Are you more of a planner or a doer? I can tell you that I generally really good at planning things, but not as good at executing them. Most of the time, I get caught up in the details, and if things don’t happen perfectly, then they don’t happen at all. I realize that this is not the best way to do things, because sometimes you have to take the leap and then handle the details as you reach them. This is something I’m working on.

I’ve been laid off since mid-March. Since then, I have gone through a journey of sorts. This journey apparently didn’t involve blogging, but I think I’m ready to start writing again, so here I am! I have done so much reflecting on who I am and what I want out of life. This is something that I’ve always tried to do, but it’s been so much easier with less distractions. Not having a job has been such a good opportunity for me to figure things out. Now that I’m emerging from the tunnel of self-discovery, I figured this would be a great time to update you all on my life and start regularly updating this blog.

As I have written here before, I have decided that I want to work in the tech industry as a web developer. Since being laid off, I have worked really hard to continue learning the skills I need to work in the industry. That work has brought me to be accepted to Prime Digital Academy, a local school that teaches software engineering. It’s a bootcamp-style school, which means that it has an accelerated pace. Starting next Monday, for a little over a month, I will be doing coursework at home for about 20 hours per week. Then, from mid-September until early December, I will be doing coursework for at least 40 hours a week in person. I will be graduating in December with the skills I need to get an entry-level job in the field. I am so excited about this news! They only let in 10% of applicants the first time they apply. So, being accepted has been a huge source of pride for me! I’m excited and anxious to get started!

Coding isn’t the only thing that I’ve been working on. My health has been a huge focus of my time being laid off. The one frustrating thing about having PCOS is that there is so much conflicting advice on how to get symptoms under control. Additionally, it can be hard to find support, so I’ve been doing research and trying to find the support I need to get healthy. After lots of trial and error, I think I’ve finally figured it out!

First, with the trials: Last spring, when I started researching how to get my PCOS symptoms under control, I found that lots of women swear by the Ketogenic diet. The Ketogenic diet is essentially a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet. The theory is that the less carbohydrates that you eat, your body goes from burning carbs for the fuel that it needs to function to burning stored fat. So many people talked about having awesome lasting results. I did research, figured out how to eat on Keto, and dedicated to giving it a try. I lasted two and a half days. I had no energy. By the third day, I was laying on the couch unable to do anything. I felt gross from eating so much fat and not enough vegetables (people said I could eat veggies on Keto, but veggies have carbs, so it’s tough!). So, I made the decision that Keto was not for me. It basically seemed like a crash diet, which I’m not a fan of. I know that it works for some people, but I am apparently not that person.

Then, I read a book called WomanCode by Alisa Vitti. In her book, she claims to have cured her PCOS with a mixture of diet and exercise, and lays out how she does it. She started a business in New York City to help other women, so part of the book is really an advertisement for that, which I found really annoying. The information in the book about how to eat and how our bodies work was really useful. She also lays out a 4 day “reset”, which is essentially a cleanse to reset hormones and cleanse your liver. I made it almost 2 days. When I started to have no energy, I did some math to figure out if I was eating enough calories. Nope. 700 calories. It made me feel like a failure, but I couldn’t continue with that either. I still am going to use the information from that book to understand my body more and change how I eat a little. But I decided to keep looking for a different option.

Which leads me to now: a couple months ago, I got a Facebook friend request from a girl I had never met. I usually ignore these requests, but I decided to check her out. She also has PCOS and has grown a small community of women who are able to support each other. She also quit her job to work full time as a Beachbody coach, so she can coach others with PCOS and people who have trouble losing weight. By following the Beachbody system of meal planning, drinking superfood shakes, and working out every day, she has lost weight, gotten healthy, and recently announced that she is pregnant! I want to have kids, and I am dealing with needing to get healthy or else deal with infertility or going through fertility treatments. Her story and support has been refreshing, and so I joined a 30 day workout group led by her! There are tons of other women who also struggle with PCOS and we all want to get healthy! I’m excited to give it a try and hopefully see results. This time, I made sure it wasn’t a diet with too few calories, or with tons of restrictions. Since it’s not, I think it’s something I could be successful at. I will be writing an update when everything gets going, to let you all know how I’m progressing!

I’m pretty happy with the plans I’ve made for my life, I am hoping that everything works out. I would really like to see some progress and work hard for my health and happiness!

Let’s chat: What goals are you working on right now?

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Three Recent Realizations About Myself

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I’ve basically been living and breathing web development recently. I wish I had been keeping track of the amount of time that I’ve spent learning, building, applying for classes, reading, etc. It’s been a huge time investment for me. The one nice thing about it, though, is that I enjoy it. Spending a ton of time on something doesn’t seem so bad when it’s something you like. I recently finished a three month class from Skillcrush on some web development topics. It didn’t go deep enough to make me qualified for a job, but it did give me some good practice. I feel like I have a solid foundation, and now I just need to flesh out my knowledge a bit, keep building, and work on having an awesome portfolio and web presence!

Being laid off was maybe one of the best things that’s happened to me. I would like to go back to work, of course. It has given me an opportunity, however, to do some soul searching and figure out what I want to do. It has given me a chance to reflect on the jobs I’ve had in the past, the skills that I currently have, and what skills I’m missing. I’m trying to find the balance between finding a job as soon as I can and finding a job that I will actually enjoy.

Through all this reflection and learning, there are a few things about myself that I have realized lately.

  1. I am really lucky. I have the most fabulous support system, which has been really necessary during the last few months. Losing a job is one of the hardest things that people go through. Even though my previous job was not very satisfying, it’s still hard to be without work. I was already learning web development though, so when I was laid off, I already had something to work towards. I have people around me who are proud of me for taking my career into my own hands. I have found something I love to do, and I’m working hard to learn it, so it’s nice to have all that hard work recognized.
  2. That doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days. I took a class last week about finding a job, and one of the things we talked about is the roller coaster of emotions that people go through when they lose their job. There are definitely the good days, when everything seems to be going according to plan. But, there are also the bad days, when things seem gloomy. Those bad days are the days when I internalize everything that’s happened, which is definitely not productive. It’s normal though. So, I just take the lows in stride, and wait for the upswing that will come.
  3. I have learned to be more appreciative. I have been lucky enough this year to watch spring unfold. I have watched the tree outside my living room burst into life after the winter. I have watched the bare branches become full of bright green leaves. I appreciate myself more. I have been able to take time to learn more about myself. It has helped me not be so hard on myself. I have been able to focus on me my family, my pets, my living space, and just breathe. I have grown to appreciate stillness and quiet. I have been able to appreciate my thoughts and the sounds of nature. I have been able to tear myself from the busyness of American life for a little while and experience the world around me. I appreciate that there is a program that allows me to worry less about money during this hard time so I can focus on getting a job that will make me happy. I will forever be grateful for this time and all it’s done for me.

Right now, positive thinking is really important to me. Being able to see the silver lining and all of the good things around me is something that isn’t just for right now, but is something I think will come in handy for the rest of my life. Even though things aren’t always good, and life can be terribly difficult, it’s good to be able to come at problems with a bit of perspective.

Let’s talk! What have you learned about yourself this week?

The Return of All Things Autumn

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*Sigh*

It’s been a while… Like two months??? There has been a million things going on in my tiny corner of the world, and I finally feel ready and able to talk about it all! I feel terrible about abandoning this blog for so long, I have thought about writing here almost daily, but sometimes a break is good. I’m going to talk about a couple of the big things that have been going on, the ones that are worth mentioning.

So the first change is that I was laid off from my job a couple weeks ago. Being laid off is always a bummer, because you lose your source of income. For people who love their jobs or are in tight financial situations, it can be especially heartbreaking. Luckily, I am not really in either position. I did not especially enjoy my job, though most of the people were lovely to work with. I also had a feeling my position would be eliminated, so it wasn’t really a shock when I was pulled into the meeting. My husband and I aren’t rich by any means, but we’re ok. At least ok enough that I can take my time finding a new job. The hardest part was not being able to say good-bye to the people that I worked with, at least not many of them. It’s hard, but it has given me the opportunity to focus on some projects and things that I was not able to focus on before, because of a lack of time. I don’t really have a lack of time anymore, so I’ve been really productive! All in all, it’s been a good experience for me.

Secondly, and somewhat related to the first thing, is that I have been making progress on learning to code! I was able to build my own website, and make it live! I feel accomplished in being able to do it. I’m now learning a new coding language, and it’s much harder than anything I’ve learned so far. I still really love everything that I’ve been learning, and I’m excited to see all of the awesome things that I’ll be able to do as I keep learning!

Lastly, to celebrate my return to blogging, I have changed the look of my site! I hope you all like it! It’s nice to add a splash of color to the blog. Perfect for spring!

I promise I won’t wait another month to update this. I hope you all have been doing well!

Lazy Sunday Binge Watch: Property Brothers

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Well, winter has finally hit in full force here in Minnesota. Through Christmas and the New Year the weather was pretty mild. We didn’t get a ton of snow at that point. Now, however, we’ve finally gotten a coating of snow, and it’s cold. I always seem to get sick around this time of year. My job brings me in contact with lots of people on a daily basis, and no matter how often I wash my hands and use hand sanitizer, I manage to get sick. A few days ago, a couple people were complaining about having a cold, and sure enough, now I have a cold! It’s slowly getting better, which is awesome, but I’m pretty bummed out to be sick just in time for the weekend…

One thing about this cold is that I have had the hardest time concentrating! Writing blog posts has been taking me twice as long because I just don’t want to focus on them. Reading is out of the question. So, it’s the perfect opportunity for me to catch up on episodes of today’s binge watch pick: Property Brothers. It doesn’t require much thought, but it’s still entertaining and even educational!

Property Brothers is an HGTV show that you can currently watch on Netflix! It’s a reality home improvement show about two twin brothers, one who is a realtor, and the other who is a contractor. Each episode, they have a client looking to buy a new home. They always have pretty specific wish lists. The brothers bring them to a house that is move-in ready and has all of their “must have” items. After the people see the house and love it, they drop the bomb: the house is totally out of their budget! Sometimes, the house costs double what their budget is! It’s a tough love thing to do, but the point they are trying to make is that the client will need to get a fixer upper house, and renovate it. That way, they will be able to get the house they want, but they will also be able to say within their budget. It’s interesting how the couple reacts with the icky houses they go see. Then, when they decide between two houses and the design that goes along with them, you get to watch the renovation, along with all of the problems and unforeseen complications! But, in the end, you get to see beautiful finished products that seem like they were worth the extra time.

I love home improvement shows, even though I live in an apartment and can’t really use them. There are some really fun decorating tips though. This one is nice because it does kind of go into what to look for when buying a house. There is also some good information on how to get high end looking houses while being able to work inside a budget.

I recommend this show for people who like DIY or home improvement shows. I also think this show would be good for people who are thinking about moving or renovating. Netflix has a couple seasons of episodes, so I hope you check it out!

Let’s chat! Do you watch home improvement shows? What do you like about them? Any recommendations of things I should watch?

Week in Podcasts: Anonymous, and email, and Serial, Oh My!

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This week, I am going to debut a new feature here on All Things Autumn! I have been trying to listen to more podcasts recently, and I figured, why not share what I listen to with you all? So, every Friday, I will give you a run-down of what I’ve been listening to during the last week! I hope you all enjoy!

I like listening to podcasts when work is quiet. I like to learn new things and there are so many interesting podcasts out there! This week, I decided to listen to a couple of tried and true podcasts that I love along with a couple new ones that I have found! So, this is my week in podcasts:

I listened to a Stuff You Should Know podcast from November about hacktivist group Anonymous. It was really interesting learning how Anonymous got started, and some of the projects the group has worked on. I didn’t realize that one of the first big things that Anonymous did was attack Scientology. I think the Anonymous is really interesting, and I do appreciate that they are taking a stand for causes they believe in, and trying to fight injustices they see in the world. A point they make in the podcast is how impressive it is that there are a group of people who don’t have meetings or much of a hierarchy, and yet they work together for a common cause. I have listened to this podcast before, and they cover some really interesting topics! I would highly suggest it, if you like to learn about how things work, or to get an overview on a topic. They don’t go terribly in-depth, but it holds my attention, and can be really funny and entertaining.

I decided to try the first episode of the #Girlboss podcast, which I didn’t know much about until today. I have seen the book, but I didn’t know much about it. In this podcast, Sophia Amoruso, Founder and CEO of Nasty Gal (a fashion retailer), sits down to talk to awesome women who are the boss of their lives. In the first episode, she talks to Charlize Theron! I have lots of respect for Charlize, and it was so interesting hearing about her life and career. She also is a mom, so she talked about what it’s like to be a mom. I am a little unsure if I like the podcast, even though, as a woman and feminist, I think I should. So, I will have to listen to more episodes! There are upcoming episodes where Sophia talks to Grace Helbig and Courtney Love. So, I will definitely give those a try, and let you know what I think!

Like most people who listen to podcasts, I listened to the most recent episode of Serial. Serial is a podcast that covers a story over an entire season. This is the second season, and (in case you don’t know anything about it) it covers the story of Bowe Bergdahl, a US soldier, who was captured and held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan. He was released 5 years later. Since, he has been in trouble because there has been some questions about his deserting his post which put him in the position to be captured. There are also some questions on whether he was brainwashed by the Taliban or is a sympathizer. I am not sure if we will have answers to these questions by the end of the season, but it is really interesting learning about what he went through, and how the US tried to get him back. I am having a hard time with this season, however, because it’s not as interesting to me as the first season. The first season was about a man named Adnan Syed, who was accused on killing his ex-girlfriend in high school, was found guilty, and is currently serving his sentence in prison. There are quite a few questions about whether or not he’s actually guilty. He has always maintained that he had nothing to do with her death. By the end of the season, we’re nowhere near having answers, but enough evidence was uncovered that he is going back on trial for it this year. I hope that this season of Serial ends up being as interesting as last season, so I will keep listening!

A new podcast I found this week is called Code Breaker, and it’s all about tech. This is something that I find really interesting, so I was happy to find a podcast on the topic. The nice thing about this podcast, though, is that it’s something that people will little tech experience would still enjoy. It’s not especially technical, and since we all are surrounded by technology, it is something we can all relate to. This podcast is currently going through a series where it asks if aspects of tech are evil. The first episode, which I listened to this week, talked about whether email is evil! It did this by telling little stories, some which made email seem pretty evil, and some that argued the opposite. I am really excited to listen to more of this podcast, because it’s a really fascinating topic to me. It kept my attention, and there were parts of it that I thought were really funny! It got me thinking, and I learned new things.

Finally, I listened to This American Life. I have been listening to this podcast for a long time, and I love it! This American Life is also a radio program (it mostly airs on National Public Radio here in the US), but it’s also a podcast, and they have a website, where you can find archives of past episodes. The reason I love this show is that every episode has a theme, and the podcast tells about three stories that relate to that theme. The stories look at the theme from different angles, and are usually really thought-provoking. The most recent episode is called, “If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS”, and it’s essentially about internet comment sections and trolls. There is a really heartbreaking story about a female comedian who get harassed online all the time, so she’s used to it, until one of her harassers makes a fake Twitter account for her recently deceased father. This event leads to the troll who made the account to realize the damage he was causing, and the two sit down and talk for This American Life. It is really interesting to hear the story from the two perspectives. She gets to tell one of her harassers how his words made her feel, and he was able to try to explain why he targeted her. There are two other acts to the episode, one being about a comment section on a live video feed of a birds nest at a wildlife reserve (it doesn’t sound interesting, but trust me, it is!), and the other being about people writing to This American Life about the young women who report for the show and vocal fry (which is the low, growly, vibration sound that some people make when they talk, especially at the end of sentences). It apparently grates on some people’s nerves. They talked about the comments that people make, and how, for some reason, listeners have always had negative things to say about the young women reporters on the show, even before vocal fry. It was interesting to bring in the gender aspect. This episode was definitely worth listening to!

I hope that you all enjoy my new weekly feature, let me know in the comments! Also, I love hearing about other awesome podcasts, so if you have any suggestions for things I should listen to, let me know!

 

It’s my (blogging) birthday!!

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Today is an exciting day in my little corner of the world! A year ago today, I started the blog that would become All Things Autumn! I actually have had this blog for longer than that, but a year ago, I dusted it off, cleaned it up, and started fresh! It had been a dream of mine for a long time to have a blog that I could maintain and people would want to read. I decided to take a leap and take the Blogging 101 class from WordPress’s Blogging U, and I haven’t looked back since!

My experience working on All Things Autumn has been eye-opening and fulfilling. I love that I have encountered so many supportive, creative and wonderful people all over the world! I love that I can read other blogs and learn new things. I love that blogging makes me feel like I am part of a community.

In this past year, I think All Things Autumn has been pretty successful. Here are the numbers:

  • All Things Autumn has been viewed 1786 times
  • There have been about 881 visitors
  • I have written 106 posts (not as many as I would like, but pretty good!)
  • My humble blog has about 145 followers

I can honestly say that this blog wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the support and love I get from my readers. You all are what make this worth it for me. It’s not about how many followers I can get, it’s about sharing my life with awesome people! Thank you all for sharing my life and thoughts with me!

I’m looking forward to another year of All Things Autumn!

Deep Thoughts Thursday: A List Post for the New Year

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Happy end of 2015, everyone!

I thought I would do a quick year in review, so I can give some of my impressions of how this year went, and what I hope for in 2016. So, here’s my post of lists!

In many ways, 2015 was one of the best years of my adult life, and one of the hardest. I suppose variety is the spice of life, right? How was this one of the best years?

  • This was probably the best year of marriage so far, for my husband and I. We moved into an apartment we love at the end of 2014, we have two adorable cats, and we are working on being healthier, happier and more successful adults. He started a new job that he likes, and I am working on blogging and learning to code. So, I would consider this year a success for our little family! 🙂
  • Like I mentioned above, I am blogging and coding. This year has been huge for me when it comes to doing things I want to do. Things I have always wanted to do. Almost a year ago, I started this blog, and I think it’s been pretty successful! I have some wonderful readers, and I am really enjoying myself! Coding is frustrating and so much fun all at the same time. Sometimes I feel crazy for trying to teach myself, instead of forking out money to have someone teach me. But, this allows me to learn at my own pace, and if I need to stop working on it for a little while, I am not out any money, just valuable practice time!
  • This year, I have started trying to get healthier. It’s a slow process and something I want to work on more next year. It’s good to work on it though, and I really feel like it’s better for the process to be slow rather than too fast and unsafe. This is a priority for me when it comes to both my physical and mental health. 2016 will have this be a priority again.
  • I turned 30 this year, and that is a pretty exciting milestone! I am pretty happy to be out of my 20s. I am still confident that my 30s will be a really awesome!

And how was it one of the hardest years?

  • I think that as I get older, it becomes more and more clear how complicated and difficult the world is. There are many beautiful things about the world, but there are also things that are really hard to hear about. It’s hard to know what to do to fix the ills of the world. I know it’s part of growing up, and it’s not like I was blissfully unaware of what was going on in the world before now, but this year these issues have become clearer and more at the forefront of my mind.
  • As I have talked about here before, I was diagnosed with PCOS this year. This is still new to me, still something that I am trying to navigate. In many ways, I know that this is going to be an uphill battle for me in the future. I am lucky to have very supportive friends and family, which I am so thankful for. But, the thought of maybe not being able to have kids is terrifying to me. I have been spending some time trying to prepare myself for that. It’s not that I am focusing on the negative things, I am simply trying to be realistic. There is a chance that kids won’t be in the cards for me. At least not biological ones. Which is heartbreaking. But I am confident that 2016 will bring some answers to this and will bring some progress to getting the symptoms under control.
  • My grandmother died a few months ago, and I know it’s something my family is still working through. Today would have been her birthday. I know that it’s a blessing that she is not hurting or struggling anymore, but it’s still sad. There is still a void in my family. I have been lucky that I have not lost many people in my life so far. It is still sad, of course.

I think it’s a good sign that there are more things that come to mind about why this year has been awesome instead of reasons why this year has been tough. I really hope that 2016 is even better!

Here are a few things I am planning on working on in 2016:

  • My health: I think that this is my number one goal for the coming year. There are things for me to work on both mentally and physically, and I am really excited to make some progress!
  • Blogging: I have a great foundation with All Things Autumn, even though I have fallen off a little bit in the last month or so. I am so excited to jump back on the bandwagon in 2016, and bring you all more exciting and awesome content! I am also excited to take some classes from WordPress’s Blogging U.
  • Coding: I am hoping to be able to use the skills I’m learning by summer. That will take lots of hard work on my end, but I have motivation, so why not run with it?
  • Cookbook material: I started 2015 wanting to publish a cookbook. I have been working on content for it, but I need to keep working on it! This year, I will start working on some more original recipes to include in it! I will hopefully learn a lot of new cooking techniques! And hopefully find some good, healthy things to eat along the way!

In general, 2015 was not a year of big accomplishments for me. It was not a year where there were tons of big events to put in a scrapbook. Most of the successes for me have been internal, quiet and small. It may be the introvert in me, but I am satisfied with it.

Tonight, my husband and I will be quietly celebrating the start of a new year at home. We found ideas of foods that other cultures think are lucky, and we’re having them for dinner: pork, greens, and beans. I am glad to be spending tonight this way!

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year!