For a long time this was my personal blog. But you know what I love writing about more than my personal life (except everything)? Business.

So this blog is now a place where I will put down the lessons and struggles of building a creative business from the ground up. Please chime in along the way.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Someone throw me a party.

Sometimes things change so fast that I don't even have a chance to write about it before it changes again. Now that I know where life is going I can finally sit down and digest it all.

The first week of July I quit my job at Starbucks. I'm not going to get into details here, but just know that nothing bad happened that forced me to quit or anything like that. Still love Starbucks, loved my family there and I miss them terribly. My plan was to move home to Shelton, continue going to South Puget Sound Community College this fall and apply to Central, Seattle U, and WSU Vancouver for winter quarter. After I quit my job, however, I decided to apply to Central on a whim. I figured I didn't have anything to lose, and if by some miracle I could get in a quarter early, that would be swell. The main reason being is that I have to pay my tuition at SPSCC, along with my bills and expenses to travel to and from Olympia everyday.

So I moved home, which has been... a ride. It's always a ride. Anyways, got to really focus my time on our business and accomplished a TON of things which feels so good. In less than two weeks I organized our expenses and incomes, re-did our pricing for 2013, designed and printed brochures for both portrait and wedding information, designed and ordered a sample album, planned a workshop for next Sunday, joined the PPA, designed custom DVD's and packaging for delivering photo's to our clients, booked two senior rep sessions, designed and ordered new business cards, re-designed our blog, booked two weddings (one in Maui), and got our editing and blog all caught up. THIS is what I want to do for the rest of my life :-D

On top of that I drove over to Ellensburg to take the ACT, something they needed for my admission process. A few nights later I was on their student website to see if my scores would be on there, and to my surprise my application status had changed from "In Progress" to "Admitted". I pretty much had a heart attack, mental freak out, and emotional breakdown (bawling on the floor) within about twenty minutes.

I really wasn't expecting to get in. I'm still shocked about it. I'm incredibly excited and nervous. Charlie is also moving to Seattle to start attending The Art Institute of Seattle this fall, so we are both going through transition right now.

Did I mentioned we booked a wedding in Maui? I didn't mean to minimize that part.

So, the last few weeks have been crazy. And awesome. And just generally, exciting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Learn to love yourself.

When you are divorced there can be a lot of shame. Depending on the situation, there can be anger, resentment, guilt, pain, or sadness. I can't emphasize these feelings enough. It's not like "Oh I'm so sorry to hear that you guys split up..." It's the fact that... you failed.

You failed everyone. You failed yourself because you said till death do us part. You failed your best friend because you told them for better or worse. You failed everyone that showed up that day and witnessed you make those promises. Not only are your parents and family disappointed, but your in-laws who made you their new child. Depending on your religious affiliation you may receive a lot of grief from your church.

But eventually you forgive the other person for everything that happened in the relationship, you forgive all the mistakes and harsh words, you even begin to forgive yourself. Although I think that's the hardest. And you start to let yourself move on. As big of a part it is of who you are, eventually you let yourself not be marked by it any longer. You make new friends, and it's your choice if you want to let them in on that part of your past. Your wounds heal, your family and friends heal, and everyone moves on at some point.

So after you forgive yourself and you realize that you do have to start loving yourself again, where do you start?

Personally, it started with my health. And that's what this blog post is about. The moral of this is not: "Post-Divorce makeover makes you more confident!" But in my journey of healing (which I am still on), when I started loving myself and the shame started to fall off, so did some weight.

When I was growing up and in high school my weight was very average. I didn't really exercise (I lifted some very light weights occasionally, but never broke a sweat), but I was an on-the-go teenager and didn't eat a ton. My weight always hovered around 120, I could have cared less.

When Matt and I got married and moved to Canada I started cooking and getting more interested in nutrition. My lifestyle changed significantly however and instead of working 8 hour days at Starbucks and running around town, I was in the house, without a job, without anywhere to go, without anything to do.... but cook... you see where this is going. I'm sure the pounds crept on slowly but I wasn't really paying attention. My jeans from high school stopped fitting, but I didn't really feel any different, I just bought new pants! And I never weighed myself. Matt and I worked out occasionally, but without an active lifestyle along with it, it wasn't enough.

So over the years my weight was steadily increasing. We both liked to drink alcohol and during the last six months we were together that increased VERY steadily. In June 2010 we spent a week on vacation in Mexico at an all inclusive resort. When I think back to the amount of horrible food and mixed drinks we were taking in everyday... it was probably up in the 5,000 calorie range. (AH!). While we were there Matt took this picture of me. You always hear peoples weight loss stories and they start out with "I saw a photo of myself on vacation and I knew..." I don't know what it is about the photo that you can't see in the mirror, but it was eye opening.

So after we got back I stepped on the scale for the first time. I thought I had probably put on 5-7 pounds, but when I saw 135 come up on the screen I gasped. Now let me tell you I know that this is not a lot of weight. But it is the most I have weighed, and I put it on in a pretty short time period. Also, I am 5'4, so 15 pounds was noticeable.

I immediately started on a plan to lose the weight. I went on a strict 1,200 calorie diet, I did a 30 minute circuit training workout everyday (kind of like Curves), and I was trying to walk 30-45 minutes everyday. I was starving all of the time and I felt hopeless that I was never going to lose weight, and I didn't. You can't starve your body and expect it to drop extra fat. It just won't work. At the end of the summer I hadn't lost any weight, I was drinking heavily everyday, and Matt and I were debating the end of our marriage. We separated in September 2010, and I moved home to Washington to live with my parents.

A lot of people lose weight when they get divorced. For me, I was only eating once a day because, well... it's hard to get out of bed and make yourself a nice big sandwich when you just want to kill yourself. There's something about eating that is such a self-care mechanism. I notice it in my habits even today, if I am unhappy with myself or my life, I won't take the time to make myself healthy meals and love myself in return.

Most of the extra weight came off in the first few months of being back. I wasn't drinking, I was back to my active lifestyle and job, and I wasn't stuck inside cooking and eating all day. I started to fit back into the jeans I wore in high school, it felt good, but I still wasn't totally content with myself, I knew that I still just wasn't trying. So about a year later, in August 2011 I joined 24 Hour Fitness and started working out. It was a really busy season for me, so my workouts were sporadic (on top of that I didn't really know what I was doing). Charlie was a great encouragement the whole time though. He knew that I felt better when I took the time to take care of myself. It really helped having someone else confirm that it wasn't selfish to take an hour to go the to the gym and work on myself.

I always wanted to workout with a trainer, but I just never got around to it until this May. I bought three one-hour sessions with a trainer named Ryan at my gym, and they were the best workouts I've ever had! But one of my prouder moments happened before we even started our workouts; when I got on the scale at our first meeting, I found out I weighed 113 lbs! Working out aggressively and consistently has been the key to loosing the last 7 or 8 pounds that I just kind of "held onto" since high school. Now that I am actually trying, I am happy with how my body looks, I'm proud of what it can do, and I take care of it by listening to what it needs (usually more carbs).

I hope that in a few months I can have even more results to show for my hard work. My goals now are aimed towards performance, having the strength to lift weight I never imagined I could. Because that's what my life is about right now. Pulling myself up by the bootstraps and becoming a stronger person than I ever thought I could be. Because after all the shame is gone, after all the weight, and guilt, and self hatred and pain, there is a new me forming...

And this is me today:

Friday, June 1, 2012

A million little questions

Is there really enough time to work 35 hours a week, go to school full time, and still get A's? Do people do this? Do colleges care about stuff like that? Like... "Well I don't have any extracurricular activities to report because I was too busy trying to accomplish all of this 'good grades' crap." Are University classes like, way harder than community college classes? If they are I feel like I don't stand a chance. Do people ever pay off their student loans? Is it stupid to get married while you're in school? Is it not stupid? Do married people have fun in college too? Is it hard moving to the city? How did all these kids I went to high school with get into amazing universities like UW and SPU? What did I miss? What do you do if you don't get into any colleges? How do you not put all your eggs in one basket? Is it smarter to not try to work and go to school at the same time?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I'm moving out.

Today I have been packing up my stuff to get ready to move to Lacey this weekend. I've been excited for the last month or so about moving, but the last few days I have been realizing a few reasons why this move has become so sentimental to me.

The first reason is that I have never lived on my own before. I lived with my parents throughout high school (obviously), when I got married I did not really support myself, and since I've moved back home I haven't had to pay rent, just bills for my car, phone, food, etc. I'm proud of myself for getting to a place where I know I can be out on my own and be independent. A year ago I was newly divorced, working 8 hours a week at a job I hated, driving around an uninsured car that wasn't mine, and not even thinking about a photography business. Now I am a supervisor at a job I (usually) love, mine and Charlie's business is flourishing, I have my own car and soon my own place.

The second reason is that I never really unpacked when I moved home. When I left Port Alice I literally just crammed all of my stuff into the car, and when I got to my parents I was just so... broken, I didn't really do anything with all of my stuff. Some of my stuff is still packed from when I moved TO Port Alice. Going through everything with my best friend today, I kept asking "Why do I even have this?". A lot of things I just didn't go through because moving down here was so hard on it's own, I just put it in a box.

But everything I'm taking to my new place has a purpose. It's my stuff, not just a box full of my past. In a way this move is shedding yet another layer of myself and leaving it behind. This house has been my halfway house, my safe place during this painful transition in my life, and by moving out I will be putting even more distance between someone I use to be and the person I am becoming.