Past-Due Update

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planning

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?

Coding… What is it Good For?

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This past week, I stumbled upon an article on TechCrunch entitled, “Please Don’t Learn to Code“. As you might know, I’ve been learning Web Development and Design for almost a year now. Most days I love it, some days I’m frustrated and wonder if I’m crazy. This article caught me on one of those missing confidence days. I read it, hoping that the title was misleading. I thought maybe the takeaway would be something like, “Don’t think learning to code is a process with an end date: it’s something you will continue to learn for as long as you try.” Or something along those lines. I was wrong.

I will be honest: this article didn’t deflate me as much as I would have expected. There were some legitimate and good points. For instance, the tech industry is kind of getting this “idealism bubble” placed around it. Many people seem to think that shows like Silicon Valley and rags-to-riches stories like Steve Wozniak and Mark Zuckerberg (if you can call Harvard “rags”) are the norm in tech. If you learn to code, you will make a billion dollars and maybe get fame and fortune. Coming up with the next big thing isn’t that hard. You might go through some tough times, but it will definitely be worth it in the end. Like anything else though, learning to code isn’t a one way ticket to wealth.

This article also made the point that there are people who learn to code without realizing how difficult it will be. Tech is an ever-changing field, and working as a programmer is a life of never-ending learning and growth. The languages I am currently using to build websites are not going to be the languages people will be using in 10 years. They might not even be the languages we use in 5 years. And, that’s part of what appeals to me. I love the idea of continuously learning and improving while still making a living. I can see where that would be frustrating to some. It almost sounds like it’s frustrating to the author, who spent time learning a coding language that is not only not really used today, but that new coders didn’t have to learn before moving on to the newer languages. I don’t really see that as a negative, however. People who have known how to code for a while, and know languages that new coders don’t know have an advantage in that they knowledge base that others don’t. Those new coders will one day also know what it’s like to see the language they have been using cast aside for something else. It’s just a part of the life of a programmer.

One of the more ridiculous arguments that was made in the article was that learning how to code is like learning how to be a plumber. This really isn’t the case. When you learn to be a plumber, you fix pipes. Of course, there are different kinds of pipes and different kinds of problems, but they are generally all related. When you learn to code, there are tons of different things you can do. There are people who work on the back end with servers and databases. There are people who work on the front end, making things look nice and handling the things that people see. There are people who work in big groups on big websites, there are freelancers who work on their own. Some people learn to code and never use it for anything more than enjoyment. Some people learn it to cause problems for others by finding critical mistakes in code. I think the argument is a little over simplified. I also don’t think it makes much sense because it’s kind of true for all trades and fields. I worked as a barista in coffee shops for a few years. I learned how to make coffee and other drinks. I learned quite a bit about sourcing coffee and what different kinds of beans and roasts meant in terms of flavor. That knowledge, however, isn’t really transferrable to other jobs (besides the fact that I make a mean cup of coffee and I am good at customer service).

The trick is to find skills that are easily transferrable, and I would argue that coding is one of the better fields for that. Not only is tech really broad in terms of the necessary knowledge and how someone’s skills are applied, but the problem solving and knowledge of technological language are things that can be brought to countless other positions. Besides the fact that it takes a while to learn, I personally don’t think there is any harm in learning to code. It doesn’t back you into a corner in terms of how you can use those skills and what kinds of jobs you qualify for. It opens up doors for freelancing, and being useful around an office.

So, after reading that article, it really got me thinking about why I was learning to code. Obviously, a lucrative career is something that appeals to me. And the ability to continue to learn and grow is something I’ve been searching for. Also, the balance of logic and problem solving with creativity is something I have found that I enjoy. It was good to be able to think about these things and remind myself of why I am putting time and effort into this.

The day after reading that article, another article was posted on Facebook that caught my eye: “Please Do Learn to Code“, written by Quincy Larson, the creator and teacher at Free Code Camp, one of the sources I use to learn. Quincy is a great source of encouragement and knowledge about the process of learning these skills. He is the first one to say that basically anyone can learn these skills, as long as they are willing to put in the time and effort. I have friended him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter, because having people who are a source of encouragement has been really helpful for me.

The basic idea of Quincy’s article is that learning to code is beneficial, even if a person doesn’t work in the field. Programming is how humans talk to computers. Since computers are becoming increasingly intertwined in our day-to-day lives, it follows that being able to communicate with them would be useful. I completely agree. We use computers to automate work for us. The example he gives is Google searches. Without Google, it would be really tough to find the information we needed, and it would not happen as fast as it does with Google. Before being able to search the Web, some people would spend hours or days looking for the answer they needed. Some people never found the answers they were looking for. Now, we can type something into Google and have more answers than we need in only a matter of milliseconds. That wouldn’t be possible without people who know how to code, though, because computers need a clear set of instructions to be able to do tasks. Programmers are the people who give computers those instructions.

Something I found interesting about Quincy’s article is that he called coding “the new literacy”. I suppose this makes sense. Programming languages are similar to spoken languages. The words and symbols have meaning, and there are people who understand it, and people who don’t. Technology definitely isn’t going anywhere, so being able to communicate with it isn’t going to harm anything. There are people who ignore the changing trends in technology, or fail to realize that they are being left behind, and they will not be able to flourish the way that people who keep up with the changes will.

I am going to continue to learn this skill, and encourage others to do the same. Even learning a little bit and having an understanding of how technology works is a skill that is beneficial. I will not let articles dissuade me and break my confidence. I think it’s important to think about why you’re doing the things you’re doing. It’s good to challenge yourself and your reasons for doing things. It’s also important to find people who support you and help you remain confident. It’s important to find mentors and friends who are proud of you and will help you when you’re having those missing confidence days. It’s also important to be realistic and know that nothing comes easy, and those things that are truly worth it may require a lot of work.

This couldn’t have happened at a better time for me: I have an entrance interview this week for a coding school. I am scared and not sure that I have what it takes. I am not sure that I’m qualified. But, it’s something I’m passionate about, and so I have to at least try! If I get in and am able to go to the school, it will definitely help me reach my goals and I will learn so much from the experience. Humans are made to learn new things, so why stop learning?

What do you do when you need a boost in confidence? Let me know in the comments!

The Return of All Things Autumn

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helloagain

*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!

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!

 

Working on Goals at the End of My Twenties

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Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss. – F. Scott Fitzgerald

I am a little over a month away from turning 30. The closer I get to this milestone, the more hopeful I get. I have been getting the sense lately that I’m on the verge of some life-changing opportunities, which has been really exciting! It has also meant some hard work for me. Let me explain:

As I know most of you know, I have been blogging here for about 8 months. At the end of last year, when people start thinking about their new years resolutions, I was thinking about life goals. Two big ones came to mind: I wanted to start working on a cookbook and I wanted to start a blog that I would maintain. As 2015 rolled around, I decided that this would be the year that I would stop making excuses, and start working on things that would be fulfilling. The cookbook is a slow-going process, but something I am still thinking about and working on. I am happy to say that I think my blog is doing really well, and I am still loving it. This year, I have discovered other things to work on, which is wonderful and frustrating at the same time.

As I’ve mentioned recently, I am teaching myself to build websites. This is a long process, and since I am not in school for it, I work on it in my free time. I love learning it, I find it interesting and challenging. I would love to get a job in web development in the future, so I need to learn how to do it. I wish that I could go to school full time to learn it, mostly because there would be a timeline, and I would be done within months. I am not in the position to be a full-time student anymore, though, so luckily I can still take classes online in my free time.

My husband and I recently re-opened our conversation on buying a house. We have a lease on our apartment for another 13 months, so we have plenty of time, but we keep going back and forth on whether we want to buy a house or not. For a while, we were looking, and then I decided I didn’t feel ready to make such a big commitment. Now, I think we are in a much better place to be making this decision. The thought of buying a house is both exciting and scary. It would be nice to have our own space with only a few neighbors (and no weird lady across the hall who watches us when we leave our apartment), but there is more pressure to find a good location and a good house, because you’re kind of stuck. There is also the responsibility of fixing things when they break and paying for amenities we currently get for free (hello workout room and pool!). It would be nice to have more room to entertain, a yard, and the ability to decorate. This will be another positive change!

We have been in our current apartment for almost a year, so I am now getting that itch to rearrange and redecorate. Part of it is because even though we have an office, I don’t always like working in there. Most of the time I work wherever I am when I decide to write. I have been looking at Pinterest lately for ideas on how to make a home office that not only looks awesome, but is also a great workspace! Pinterest is dangerous because everything looks SO nice, and a lot of it is expensive. But, it is a great place for ideas. I love doing DIY projects, so I can use Pinterest as inspiration for projects. I have recently started a board with ideas on my dream home office.

Hopefully I will be able to work on my office soon, and make it something that I would love to work in!

I would love to hear from you! Tell me where you work on blog or other projects.

Deep Thoughts Thursday and Blogging 101: My Ideal Reader

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Today’s assignment in Blogging 101 is about the audience. Thinking about who my ideal reader is, and writing to them.

Anyone that has been reading this blog for any amount of time knows that I go about blogging a little differently than others. I mean, I blog just the same as other people blog (fingers to the keyboard, etc), but I think about blogging differently. I didn’t really start this blog with a certain person or kind of person in mind. I didn’t start this blog with a theme. When people ask what kind of blog I write, I basically say it’s a lifestyle blog with a little nerdiness thrown in. Dang, that would make a great potential tagline for this blog! I write about whatever I find inspiring or important on a given day. Needless to say, it’s a little bit of everything!

So, when it comes to my audience, or the kind of readers I aim for… I am mostly just happy that anyone reads this. When I write, I don’t think about a particular person. Basically, I try to write like I am talking to one of my best friends… My group of friends is very diverse. I try to write like I am having an impossible one-sided conversation with one of my best friends, and just go from there! When I started writing here, one of my main focuses was authenticity. I wanted to be my authentic self, writing genuine, honest posts.

Have I maybe phoned some posts in? Probably.

It’s part of why I don’t post daily, or sometimes even weekly. I aim for quality over quantity. I am a quiet person, and sometimes I just don’t have anything to say. Or, I am working on something I want to say, but I want to formulate it in my head before I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, I guess).

So, essentially, who is my ideal reader? Anyone that takes the time to read my blog and enjoys what I have to say.

Cheesy, right?

Milestones

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Happy Saturday, readers!

There is a ton going on in my little corner of the worth right now, so much I want to talk about. Some of these things are going to need longer posts, but I wanted to touch on a few of them before I get into what I was planning on talking about today.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court here in the US made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states! This has been a long and hard-fought battle for many. Finally having equal rights and equal dignity under the law is so huge for them, and I have been overjoyed for my friends since I heard the news yesterday! What makes it more awesome is that this weekend is Ptide weekend in Minneapolis, and there’s something really awesome to celebrate! I will write more on this later.

Yesterday was the first meeting of one of the book clubs I am in! It is the one where we read The Martian, and for being a group of people that aren’t all exactly alike, and didn’t all know each other, we all seemed to get along so well! A lot of the people knew each other, but I am so shy and introverted, but I felt so at ease. The whole time, I kept getting the sense that I was finding amazing friends. It’s hard making and keeping friends as adults, so being able to find people I instantly felt a connection to was really wonderful! I can’t wait for next month!

So, my topic for today is sort of another “State of All Things Autumn” post. There has been a lot going on in the background of this blog (and not a ton of content, unfortunately), so I wanted to let you all in on what’s happening. Next week, I will have reached 6 months of blogging! For a blog that started basically as an experiment, I feel really accomplished! At the end of 2014, I decided this would be the year where I would stop just talking about things I want to do, and actually take action! We’re over halfway through the year, and I think I am doing a pretty good job. I actually am going to write a post dedicated just to my personal growth and accomplishments this year. I have a lot to say about it!

In January, I took a Blogging 101 clasd through WordPress’s Blogging U. It was really an excellent way for me to get my blog off the ground and learn more about my goals and visions. Since then, my blog has slowly, but steadily, grown. I now have over 80 followers! Every time I get a new follower, like, or comment, it makes me so happy. I am so glad that the things I think are important and fun are things other people want to read about! So, I want to take a moment to thank everyone reading this. It has been so amazing to have the support of people around the world and close to home. Not only friends and family, but complete strangers who take the time to read my thoughts. This is pretty cliché, but without all of you, I wouldn’t be doing this. And, this blog has been an ongoing source of inspiration for me.

Where is All Things Autumn headed? This is something I have been thinking about for a while. I feel like I am finally finding more of a focus (even if that focus is “Things That Inspire Me”). I think this blog has the potential to have a long and successful future! I have aspirations to turn it into a business venture. Being a Blogger for a career is something that I would really love to do. I have a lot of work ahead of me if that’s where I’m headed, but it’s a goal.

In more short term goals, I am taking Blogging 101 again in July. Having 6 months under my belt and a clearer idea of what I’m doing will help with some of the assignments. I am excited to light a fire under me again and make writing more of a priority. Taking this class will help, I think!

Originally, I had given myself a 6 month deadline to decide if I would get a paid WordPress account, or consider self-hosting. I didn’t want to start blogging having already made a financial investment, just in case it didn’t work out. Now, I am going to see how I feel at the end of Blogging 101 Part 2. Self-hosting is something I am going to think about for a little while longer. It would be more of a time investment, and I am not sure I’m ready to make it! WordPress has really great features. So, I might just stick with what works!

So, once again, thanks to everyone for reading, and here’s to another 6 months (and more!) of All Things Autumn!