Friday, July 31, 2009

New Territory

In my new job, I am not given much direction. Basically the first day my boss sat down with me and told me some ideas she had and some things she wanted to change and then cut me loose and it has just been pretty much "do your own thing" from there. Seriously, we have not had more than a 5 minute conversation since that day!

The first big project was getting postcard mailings out the some of her target neighborhoods. I used an old template and designed separate messaging for each neighborhood that featured what houses we sold in that subdivision recently, what houses we had on the market in that neighborhood, how many homes she has sold in that particular subdivision, along with some of the high points of why you should pick her as your agent. I let her proof them and made changes. I got the addresses for each neighborhood. I found a program to make the Publisher docs into PDFs and uploaded them all to a printer and placed the order. As of today, all the postcards are in the mail.

When I was at a stopping point I have kind of researched some of the other ideas we have discussed and done some little things like design some customizable pieces for the buyers agents, but I kind of feel lost.

I asked her what she wanted me to work on and she wanted me to come back with some options for her and she would choose what she wanted me to do next. I feel like I am defining my own role here and it is very different from my past positions. Usually I am told what needs to happen or at least a general idea of what they want to happen and I figure out how to get us there and make it happen. But now I am given free reign but with no budget, no general direction, and not a real good idea of the industry or company yet. It's hard.

My brain feels like mush from this past month of thinking of different ideas and trying to find a direction. But this is good for me. I need to take the bull by the horns and show her what I can do. It's like I have so much freedom I don't even know what to do with it.

But for now I am packing for the beach. Hopefully this much needed mini-vacay will help me clear my head and I can hit the ground running when I get back to the office on Monday!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell

You have to go check out my review of this book on my Bookshelf Blog!

Completely shocking, disgusting, and HILARIOUS!

Have you read it??

Monday, July 27, 2009

Defining Character- Self Discipline Part II

A few months ago I wrote about how I was struggling with my self discipline. I had this whole plan of what I was going to give up for 2 weeks starting with a spending diet. Well, I never really followed through on those things. Except the spending diet I went on for 2 weeks and that did not stick around after that.

However, all that started when I gave up fast food restaurants for Lent. And you know what? I don’t eat out at fast food places that much anymore. It isn’t a conscious thing. I just don’t think of that much as an option anymore.

So maybe it takes longer for something to become a habit for me. Two weeks is not enough. Lent is 40 days (not counting Sundays) so maybe my time-frame should be more like a month. So in August I am focusing on my self-discipline.

I went to a seminar recently where the guy told us to envision our perfect day. What would it look like? Not your perfect day if you were independently wealthy and could sleep until noon and then lay on the beach all day, but your everyday life now. What would a perfect workday look like. Here’s mine:

6:45 am- get up and take the dog for a run or go to the gym or go swimming
7:30 am- take a shower and take my time getting ready for work
8:30 am- make a healthy breakfast
8:45 am- leave for work
9:00 am- start work (not going to break all that down!)
1:00 pm- go home for lunch and hang with Cam
2:00 pm- come back to work
6:00 pm- go home for the day
6:30 pm- make dinner (something delicious and healthy)
7:00 pm- finish dinner and catch up on DVR or run errands
8:00 pm- watch TV and clean or do crunches/sit-ups during commercials
10:00 pm- read daily Bible passage
10:15 pm- get in bed and read
11:00 pm- be asleep

So I am going to start this next week and stick to it on weekdays everyday during the month of August. I’m going to try to at least get on that sleep schedule this week so that it shouldn’t be such a shock to my system. But hopefully I will be able to stick to it for the whole month and those habits will carry over.

How’s your self-discipline? What do you do that helps it?

P.S. why do I use the word “so” so much? Give me an alternative! Just go ahead and count the number of times that word appears in this post! I have a problem.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blogiversary & Blog Swap

Today is my Blogiversary! One Year...Wow! I can not believe how much this has grown and how much I have grown from it. And you guys came through...North Dakota has been added to the map! I can't believe I have had visitors from every state in the US and over 90 different countries. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Today also happens to be the 20 something bloggers Blog Swap. I'm over guest posting at Erin's blog, so without further ado, I introduce you to Erin!

For those of you who don’t know me I’m Erin ; a newlywed, home renovating, obsessive cooking, pushing 30 year old. A couple of days ago I was so happy to be paired with Suz for the Twentysomething’s Blog Swap because we are in the same boat. I’m trying to accomplish a lot before I turn 30 and kids start showing up in the picture.

(Oh, and Suz will be quest blogging over on my blog so please go check it out!)

So when she asked me to write about something on her 30 before 30 list, number one I thought was the greatest: Get into the best shape of your life! ...and the toughest!

About 10 months ago I was trying to ignore the fact that I was turning 27 and that 30 was quietly approaching. I was also trying to ignore the fact that my metabolism decided to turn on me, I was not losing weight but I was not gaining.

I really tried to lose weight before my wedding but of course with all the stress that comes with planning a wedding, I was not about to give up the comfort food I needed. Mac & Cheese...mmmm! But when the party was over and the thank you cards were sent I realized I had plenty of time to work on my health but didn’t quite want to. I’ll admit I love to eat!

Then something hit me, I was probably going to have kids in the next couple of years and I didn’t want to go into a pregnancy being overweight. Also I really wanted to get back into the bag of clothes I’ve been saving since college because I was determined to get back into them. Well, it’s was now or never.

So it was me versus my metabolism and fat, and in 10 months I lost nearly 30 lbs.

How did I do it?

Well I can say there is no magic pill or diet plan that can help you lose weight, it is all about you. It’s about figuring out what works for you!

Who Knew? Well, I didn’t!

I always thought it required working out 1 hour a day 7 days a week. Avoiding carbs, sugar and whatever else the media says is bad for you.

I was totally wrong!

I started out by ignoring anything I read in books, heard on TV or advice given to me by family and friends. I went to the gym and just started walking for about 30 minutes 3 times a week. Then I slowly increased it every two weeks. Before I knew it was walking 5ks, 3.2 mile, in about 45 minutes. On top of that I gave myself a food makeover! Now I did seek the advice of Weight Watchers for this part. I only went to one class and figured it all out on my own. Weight Watchers teaches you about portion control and what’s good and bad for you, but doesn’t necessarily keep you from enjoying the food you love (Not trying to sound like an advertisement…really!). You learn how to balance. Now that I look at it I think I’m eating more then I was before, just better stuff!

My weekly routine consists of walking 4 miles 2-3 times a week and I do it with the help of friends. We go on long walks and just chat away. Before you know it 4 miles is up and you’ve caught up with an old friend along with burning some calories!

My food routine, however, is a bit more complicated. It consists of, breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack! Fresh fruits and veggies and of course a bag of chips every now and then, the single size ones of course!

Now everyone is different and has their own struggle, this is what just worked for me. My basic point is that everyone can get back into shape and eat healthy; you just have to be willing to take the steps needed to figure out what works for you.

I also realized that this was a tough topic to write about so if you ever want to know more about my journey getting back into shape please feel free to check out my blog and leave me a message.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Honest Scrap

A few days/weeks ago now, I was given the Honest Scrap Award by Shoshonah at From L.A. to LA and Jane at The Diary of Jane. The rules for this award are as follows:

• List ten honest things about yourself that your blogging friends do not know about you.
• Give the award away to seven (or 10?) bloggers.
• Let the seven (or 10?) bloggers know they have received the award.
• Link back to the person who awarded you.

This was hard because I feel like I have already said so much, but here it goes…

1. Even though I am 100% Southern, I hate sweet tea and am horrible about sending “thank you” notes.

2. This is probably TMI…I have not had a pedicure all summer and today my right heel started peeling! Like huge chunks of dead skin. It is horrible and even painful! I should’ve just sucked it up and spent the $40. Any suggestions now?

3. I am not very disciplined. I will start a kick but within a few days it all goes to crap. I guess the first step is admitting you have a problem huh?

4. I hate when girls who were in my sorority in college act more snobbish than girls I never talked to in high school whenever I run in to them now. What is up with that?! And it always seems to be some of the younger ones who have now turned in to Stepford Wives…maybe that is why they used to haze them back in the day…nowadays they just have no respect.

5. I have a love/hate relationship with gossip. It’s hard to explain.

6. I get mad when I think about all the weddings I have gone to and spent tons of money on and now those girls have fallen off the face of the earth and will probably never pay back the favor. Bitter? Me? No Way!

7. Witty guy and I did not work out. We were just too different and could never get on the same page so we decided to call it quits again, but try to remain friends. Breaking up when no one really did anything wrong is just hard.

8. My body is a hot mess right now. I am bigger than I have ever been and I hate it. I avoid pictures like the plague. I do deep knee lunges to stretch out my jeans. I wear the same work pants every week because I only have about 4 that fit right now. It is terrible.

9. I won Ping-Pong Champion one year at summer camp when I was a teenager but that didn’t seem to translate to Beer Pong skills in college.

10. I love making/admiring/eating cupcakes of all kinds! There is just something about them that is so cute and scrumptious!

I pass this award on to:

Angela at My Quiet Testimony

Erica at Planting Daisies

Ashley at Ashley as Aurora

Carolyn at Hang on Little Tomato

Heidi at Life in Pink

Morgan at Mo’s Blog

Heather at ColorMeHazel

Friday, July 17, 2009

North Dakota Bloggers- Where are you?

I know where North Dakota is, but I am starting to wonder if they have adequate internet service up there. I do not know anyone in North Dakota, so I am hoping someone from North Dakota or someone who knows someone in North Dakota can help me out with this. Here's why...

So next week will be my blogiversary. One year...Wow! I can not believe how much this has become a huge part of ME and MY LIFE! I can't believe how much I enjoy writing. I can't believe people actually like reading my writing. I can't believe how many other great writers and friends and ideas I have found through this blogging world. I believe how much more web-savy this blog has made me. And I can't believe how much this list drives me. (and how much more I have to mark off it!)

I use Google Analytics on here and I think it is so cool because you can see where you're traffic is coming from, what keywords brought people to your site through Google, and other things- most of which I still do not completely understand. But one of my favorite things to look at is the map of where my visitors come from! So far I have had visits from over 90 different countries! But one thing that breaks my heart is when I look at the United States map little North Dakota is still gray. I have not had one visit from North Dakota. Every other state is a pretty shade of green, but poor North Dakota is the only state left out and that makes me so sad.

So here's the mission- let's get little North Dakota on board! If you know someone from North Dakota, send them a link to my blog! My one year mark is on Wednesday July 22, so I want to see little North Dakota lit up by then. Come on- help a sista out!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


- A few weeks ago some of my friends pointed out a new trend in Raleigh. High school/College age girls in full make-up and hair running errands/shopping/whatever in Nike running shorts. I had not seen the phenomenon until this weekend when I was eating lunch at a little cafe and three girls came in and they were ALL wearing Nike running shorts. Is this the new trend? Has anyone else noticed this? What is so great about Nike running shorts? It figures I didn't know about this. I'm not a big trend follower. I just gave in and bought my first pair of Rainbows last summer.

- Girls: Beware if your new boyfriend has a crazy ex-girlfriend. Not because you should be afraid of her, but because you should be afraid of HIM. I am convinced that a large percentage of girls have been driven crazy by cheating, lying, no good boyfriends. I was in this type of relationship all through college and it really does make you crazy. First, your women's intuition kicks in and you start to become suspicious. Then, you start checking up on him and making sure all those somewhat shady things he says/does check out. Next, you start to catch him in little lies here and there. Then, you start to confront him more and more, but he always has a reason or excuse and somehow turns it around on you saying you are crazy. This then gives you your ticket straight to crazy town. It will become your mission to catch him red-handed. You will want to make him see you were right all along. It will drive you insane. Maybe you will catch him or maybe you won't. Either way it is best to just get out before it gets to that level. Those type of guys will never change and will leave a trail of crazy girls in their wake.

- I am glad all the Micheal Jackson stuff has died down somewhat. I was about to boycott the TODAY show because Matt and Meredith just could not shut up about it and I was getting sick of it.

- Little kids should not be allowed to carry pencils in hallways. I volunteered with my church to clean up a school in downtown Durham this weekend and the hallway we cleaned had no less than 10 wavy pencil lines all the way down the length of the hallway and that crap was hard to get off! I can't imagine what elementary school teachers put up with on a daily basis!

- If you know anyone who wants to buy or sell a house in the Raleigh/Durham area let me know because I can get you the hook up. My new boss is awesome! She's the #2 ReMax agent in the Carolinas! The new job is working out quite well!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Working for many or working for one?

Today at my new job I got to go to a Lunch and Learn session with Steve Kantor author of Billion Dollar Agent. Steve is not in the real estate business but is an entrepreneur. His new business is Best Agent Business which is a business that will provide a variety of part-time virtual assistants to replace hiring one full-time in-house assistant.

He had some good ideas from the book. Two of the main ones were finding your "unique talent" and utilizing your time doing that and also making goals and reviewing them constantly to stay focused. He said your unique talent would be whatever you love doing, what you enjoy the most, what comes most naturally, what you do best. Most people only spend about 20% of their time doing that, but you should try to make that 80-100% of what you do. I agree with that. And of course I agree with the goal setting stuff. My 30 Before 30 List is proof of that!

But the part about having multiple virtual assistants doing the job of one full-time in-house person bothered me a bit. Not just because I was just hired as one of a top producing agent's staff, but because there is so much intangible and immeasurable value from having full-time in-house staff. Your staff is going to know you, your business, and your brand better than any part-time virtual assistant would. They know how you think. They see the day-to-day operations of the business and have a sense of what other staff members are working on at the moment. Those pieces of the puzzle can have a huge impact on what you do in your role.

There is also a vested interest in someone who is working full-time for you that you would not get from a part-time virtual assistant. Your staff is much more invested in the success or failure of the business because it has a much bigger impact on them personally. They will be ambassadors of your brand and your business that will provide much more of a marketing impact on their spheres of influence, who would mostly be your potential customers, especially in the real estate industry because they live in your area.

One other thing I thought about was if the majority of the people in your market and industry were using the same assistants then you might loose some of your competitive advantage. If everyone were using the same marketing and same selling tactics then that would lessen your differentiation.

Also, what would be the impact on people who are currently working as full-time staff? Would everyone have to be scavengers and pick up short part-time jobs from multiple places and turn that in to a full time career. I think that would take much more time and effort on their part, and thus they should be compensated accordingly for that.

I agree that most tasks in today's world can be done virtually. With the Internet and the communications tools we have today there is less reason to be in the office 40 hours or more a week. But I still believe there is value in having full-time employees for businesses. I think having one person you know and trust doing the job has much more value than having 50 different "contractors" doing random activities that amounts to the work that one employee could do. Regardless if that one employee isn't spending all of their time utilizing their "unique talent", they still will provide much more value to your business in the long run.

What do you think? Have you ever been a virtual worker?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Water Dog!

I've been taking Cam to walk at Lake Lynn forever. But just recently I let him get in the water some. On Wednesday Witty Guy and I took Cam to the lake and brought along the ball and he loved it! Here's a clip:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Can I just tell you how much I hate being the newbie at work? It feels like I just went through this. Actually I did just a little over a year ago. I remember that one well because on day four I cried. Not in front of anybody or anything, but on my way home that day I bawled my eyes out thinking “what have I done?!” It was so quiet at that place and I felt so alone. My boss was already displaying jerkish behavior and I just missed my friends and reputation of being the go-to-girl at my last job.

My first friend at my old job was the guy who had just left my position for a promotion to another department. We went to lunch and he gave me some more details about what to expect, the back story on things, and a few pointers. It was the very “light” version though. But I was so thankful to start connecting to someone there and not feel like I was floating all out there on my own. We became great friends and he is actually very hilarious and the gossip insider at the office so it was a good friend to have! Months later I asked him why didn’t he give it to me straight those first couple days and he said he didn’t want to scare me off. I think it took me a good 6 months to feel comfortable (as I could) there. I had went to some tradeshows (which is always a bonding experience) and initiated pulling together my fellow Product Marketing Managers as a team so we could be a unified front. It never quite felt as strong as the bonds from my past jobs, but it was something. And I for sure found some friends I will keep in touch with from there.

Now I find myself starting all over again. The office is quiet. I don’t know anyone really well yet. I feel like an outsider and so alone. I know everyone who starts a new job feels this the first couple days or weeks (unless you are lucky enough to come in with other newbies), but it still sucks. And the one thing you should know about me is I am painfully shy when I first meet people. It takes me a while to open up, and I will rarely be the first one to reach out and try to make friends with someone new. This makes the newbie process even more difficult.

Here have been my coping tactics so far:

- Smile! I always try to smile at everyone I see in the office. Sometimes it can spark a conversation
- Ask personal questions. Not too personal! But you know, stuff like how they got started in this business or other little things from their personal life can be great topics to help you connect with them. I am not good at this at all because like I said it is hard for me to initiate conversations. So, I have only managed 2-3 questions like that, but they always spark a conversation. I need to try harder though I think.
- I also think next week I am going to bring in some personal items to place on my desk and maybe that will spark some conversation and allow me to connect to my co-workers.

AAAAnnnnddd….that’s all I’ve got. Pathetic huh?

Any other tips? Any newbie horror stories?

Monday, July 6, 2009

First Day

I've had lots of first days. Tons of first days at school. Dozens of first days at camp. First day of rush/recruitment. First days volunteering at the ASPCA. And today was the 7th time I have been faced with my "first day on the job".

It has to be the loneliest position you can be in. All of my other examples of first days, I had fellow first dayers going through the same thing with me. But all but one of my first days on the job, I have been the only "new kid on the block".

It is so nerve-wrecking! What to wear? What do I bring? What will I be doing? What are the people like? Am I going to fit in? Am I going to like it? What will my workspace be like? What are they expecting out of me?

Miraculously I woke up on my own at 6:30, but decided to snooze a few extra minutes and ended up getting in the shower at 7:15. With all my old jobs, I timed my getting ready routine to the commercial breaks in the Today show. It is like I am permanently programmed to know that when they go to their commercial/local news break just before 8 am I should be heading out the door. So this left me plenty of time to eat breakfast at home instead of in the car and take my time letting Cam out since I didn't have to be there until 9. I LOVE the 9 am start time! It is just perfect!

I got to the office about 8:45 because I didn't want to be late my first day. But when I pulled up in the parking lot I seriously thought they were closed. There were no lights on and no cars in the parking lot. So I sat in my car a few minutes and at 8:55 I decided to venture in.

The door was unlocked, but there appeared to be no one there. Finally a girl came up front and gave me a kind of confused look. I told her who I was there for and that today was my first day. She asked if I had come in the front door and I said yes. She asked if the alarm was going off when I came in and I told her no. She explained that somehow the alarm had been set off by the front door and the police might be on there way so she had to go let them know everything was ok and told me she would send someone out for me.

When a girl from the team I was working on came out, she introduced herself and she said they were confused because they thought I was staring on Tuesday. I told her I had confirmed with S that she wanted me to start at 9 am on July 6th. She said she had to run to the bank really quick and told me she would send J out to get me.

So needless to say it was kind of a rocky start.

J finally came out and gave me a quick tour and showed me my workspace and I started to feel more at ease. He told me that the office manager was on vacation today so S was probably going to bring me along on her home inspection when she got in.

So the rest of the morning I spent going to the home inspection appointment with S. I learned a lot just riding with her and listening to her phone calls (her phone rings a lot!) and also just observing the home inspection and the clients (home buyers can be very particular). She told me stories of some of her clients absurd requests and what neighborhoods she dominated and other general information about her business.

After lunch we sat down and discussed a lot of marketing ideas. What they've done in the past and things they want to try etc. I read over all the marketing materials, looked online at some of the competition, and started to put together a mail plan and a list of marketing pieces that need to be created/updated.

So far everyone is super nice. The office seems a little disorganized and chaotic, but exciting. I feel a little overwhelmed because it wasn't your typical meet with HR (there is no HR) and go over policies and procedures (not sure if there are any) and fill out tons of forms (not one form in sight). So it kind of feels surreal. Am I really working here? What is expected of me?

But tomorrow I will meet the office manager so that should answer some of those questions I have in the back of my head. So far so good. Could this possibly be the one? Will I actually get to mark off #3 on my list and truly love this job?? I guess only time will tell!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Random Happenings

I haven't been blogging too much about my life on here lately have I? It's been these broad abstract thoughtful posts of lists and such. But nothing really real you know? I think it because I can't formulate a whole post about what has been going on in real life lately. So here are some random bullet points!

- I am finally going to get some unemployment money. I went down to the unemployment office on Wednesday and waited in line only to find out I need an appointment and the next one wasn't available until next Wednesday. So I just decided to wait it out. Not an hour later a guy from the unemployment office called and went over what my former employer had told him they had paid me and did I agree? I wasn't quite sure, but I said yes just so they would get the ball rolling on some checks. So yay! My check for the past three weeks is on it's way!

- I have been trying to get in as much pool time as possible while everyone is at work because my neighborhood pool gets ridiculously crowded on the weekends. Well everyday I have been there this same group of college students shows up and everytime they don't have a key! I don't think they live here. I pay over $70 a month in HOA dues for that pool and it makes me mad that they just come in with their beer and loud music. I have taken to getting up from my chair and hopping in the pool as soon as they pull in the parking lot and crossing my fingers that they won't find someone to let them in, but they always do. Dang pool crashers!

- I start my new job on Monday! I am really nervous because this is unlike any job I have ever had. It is not in a corporate office for one thing. And #2 the lady that hired me has been kind of laid back about this whole process so I have no idea what to expect on Monday. Plus I think I will be an "independent contractor" not an "employee" so I don't know what that's all about either. But I'm still excited and I have a feeling I might love it.

- Umm so remember how witty guy and I broke up. Well, we got back together, then decided to just be friends and then got back together. I'm not going to write much more about that because he doesn't like reading about himself on here, but it takes up a pretty big part of my life so I thought I should let ya'll know that is still going on.

- My insomnia is back. This time it is really bad and even Ambien doesn't help. I fall asleep just before or right when the sun is coming up and don't get up before 10. I am so nevous about how I am going to correct this before I start my job on Monday! Luckily I don't have to be there until 9, so it is a little bit forgiving.

- I hate suppressing my spending bug during this economic downturn. I want/need the following things so bad it hurts: an iphone 3GS, a pedicure, a piggy bank (for my new points/diet system thingy), a trip to the beach, a trip to Carowinds or Kings Dominion, hardwood floors, a new sink, granite counter tops, a new purse, to take Cam to an agility class, a trip overseas...a lot of these things have to do with my list which I am getting nervous about completing since I'll turn 29 next month! Ugh that sounds so old.

So yeah I think that sums it up. Ta ta for now!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Watch Out...that's a Tiger!

Earlier this week Carolyn at My Thirty Before 30 Journey posted a link to this:

Our Need for Others to Show Us the Way of Escape: Because Mufasas Become Maneaters

If you have an hour to spare you should really listen to it, but if not here is my little synopsis of what I got from the message:

Everyone struggles with temptation. But sometimes we rationalize and marginalize little things we know we probably shouldn't be doing because well they aren't hurting us and it's ok to have a little fun every once in a while. But the pastor giving this sermon warns us to watch out because those cute little things can be dangerous and ultimately destroy you. He makes the comparison of wild animals. Sure a baby tiger is super cute and seems harmless, but it is a wild animal. You might think yeah I want to take home that cute little baby tiger but in a few short months you will have a huge wild animal on your hands. He makes the comparison that it is the same way with sin. That innocent friendship you have with your secretary can turn in to so much more if you don't watch out. That one cigarette you smoke can easily turn in to a pack a day habit. That one little lie you told can turn into a whole series of lies that you just can't get out of. That one little cookie can turn into the whole box if you don't watch out.

I fall prey to this all the time. I'll splurge on a diet and say I'll start over on Monday, but then I splurge again and before you know it I am eating more bad things than good things. I'll sit on the couch and say I'll just watch an hour or so of TV and before I know it the whole day has gone by and I'm still in my PJs. And those are just tiny examples. There are so many other areas of my life where I just let one little thing slide and then before I know it things are starting to unravel and I wonder how I got to this point.

I need to be stronger in my stances. If I decide I am going to do something or not do something I need to stand by that and not give in to little temptations that cause the whole thing to unravel.

"But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” – 1 Timothy 6:11

Temptation is all around us. Don't try to face it head on. Flee from it. Protect yourself from falling off course.