Isolating Truths

Do you ever feel a certain way and then get angry at yourself for feeling that way because you know other people have it worse than you? Like, you should be grateful for what you have, but you still feel really crappy? That’s been me the past few days.

I know isolation and quarantine has started at different moments for everyone, and a lot of people are still working. Disney announced closure about three weeks ago, and I have been lucky enough to be able to work from home. At first it was fine, but then things in the world got worse. Events I had been looking forward to, including one of my best friends’ wedding, got cancelled. We couldn’t drive to Atlanta to visit family. I couldn’t see my favorite hairdresser that I am willing to drive eight hours for. Seemingly small things when there are those who lost their jobs, their milestones, their lives. So, I am mad at myself for feeling so crappy.

This past week has been the hardest. It is one of our busy times at work, and Thursday Disney announced that furloughs are in the future for some cast members. Oh, and we won’t know for sure who is affected until next week. It was hard enough to concentrate on my duties without the uncertainty. I know it’s a necessary evil for the company as everything is shut down, but I just want to know one way or the other. Accounting is usually safe (to my knowledge. I have no source.), but cruises are cancelled, trips are cancelled, parks are closed. What is there to report on? There certainty is not enough going on for whole teams, maybe partial. Either way, nothing official has come out and I have spent the last few days stressed out and not sleeping.

Though, the not sleeping thing has helped my Camp Nano word count. Nothing like insomnia to spur the internal muse.

Working from home has it’s challenges. The cats are distracting. I miss my standing desk, and I am not moving as much. Heck, I haven’t worked out this whole week. I’ve taken a couple walks around the neighborhood, but I just haven’t had the energy to actually exercise. There is also this weird stigma that’s probably all in my head that I cannot be the first to log off. I end up working through lunch (unless I take one of those walks). During busy time, we were on until 10pm or later to get everything reviewed. When Taylor is not working, he’s a distraction because OMG I GET PEOPLE INTERACTION. There are at least three more weeks of this. I really hope this gets easier.

I’m trying really hard to stay upbeat. I try to practice daily gratitude. I try not to get angry because some coworkers have children at home and can’t always work a full day. I try to stay focused. I am one of the lucky ones who have a job and my health. But I am so tired. I am stressed. Every day is unpredictable. Taylor is still going to work as phone repair is considered essential, and I just have to hope that the store’s precautions will be enough. Even though I know that they have worked with customers that have been tested for the virus. Phones are dirty and disgusting. I am scared.

Stay inside. Wash your hands. Social distance. Do your part so things can go back to normal, or at least a new normal that allows us to go to parks and malls again.

Create Semi-Stable Financials

Personal finances is always tricky, and for a lot of us right now, it’s in trouble. I am not about to tell you how to pay off debt in 30 days. I haven’t done that. I feel like I fit in with a majority of millennials (no, we are not still going on Spring Break. We’re like 25-30 years old right now. Stop confusing us with Gen Z just to make headlines flashier): a lot of student debt, high cost of living. But I am also lucky to be married to a man with a pretty good job and we were able to save up to buy a house. This post is for those wanting a starting point in personal finance as I am just going to talk about the things I do.

The biggest thing is having and tracking a budget. If you can stick to it, then kudos, cause that’s where I struggle (especially in the grocery department). I use an excel document on One Drive online so I can update it on my phone if I need to. I have multiple tabs in this excel: Bank Account (used as a transaction register so I know how much cash I have and need for bills), House Budget (bills, food, income, etc), Personal Budget (any extra spending on things that do not fit into the House Budget categories. This includes books, clothing, hobby things, movies, all the fun stuff), Savings (keep track of the three savings accounts I have), Master Budget updated every 6 months, Vacation planning as needed, Loans to keep track of balances, and Christmas budget to keep track of how much I am spending on who. I try to keep this excel as up to date as possible to see where we need to work on. It’s helpful to see what you are using your money on to highlight patterns that may be problematic.

To help keep track of transactions, I use the Mint app by Intuit. You link your accounts to the app, and it will update and list all transactions. There is a budget aspect built into the app, but I found that it was not too user friendly as a lot of things are auto-categorized incorrectly. But, that may just be me. I mainly use this as a transaction checklist when updating my budget. It’s also nice to see all your balances in one place if you link everything.

I mentioned earlier I have three savings accounts. This is a personal choice, but I do recommend having more than one. We have an account for the following three areas: emergency, house, and vacation. I regularly contribute to the emergency and vacation funds, but when we decide on projects or moving, I will restart monthly contributions to the house account as well. Having separate accounts for each area may not be necessary, but I like having designated things for the money there, especially the vacation fund.

Most recently, my husband and I have started investing in stocks. If you have some extra disposable income, but not enough for most broker companies ($1K seems to be the most popular initial investment), use RobinHood. There is not a minimum investment, the app is user friendly, and you get a free stock when you sign up. And, if you can, right now is great to start as most companies are “discounted”. Even if it’s not much, it’s a start. Just don’t check it every day- things are roller coaster-y right now.

If you have any tips or tricks to create better personal finances, let me know in the comments!

Create Gratitude

So, this was not going to be my next post, but with everything going on, I believe it’s more important than what I was planning.

I am an avid listener to a relatively new podcast called The Upside with Callie and Jeff. They are big on the topic of gratitude and finding the upside in the everyday, and they make a point to be a break from the news that clogs our social media and other outlets. I started listening to Jeff almost 20 years ago when he was a radio DJ in Atlanta, and I cannot recommend them enough.

Anyway, a lot of what I am writing here comes from what I have gotten out of that podcast, hence the quick plug. Gratitude is so important in the world we live in. When everything seems dark and negative, a simple “thank you” can change someone’s day. You can show gratitude in other ways as well- an act of service, being there for someone who was there for you, a smile, whatever. You are not restricted in this area.

Start keeping track of what you are grateful for. My planner has a section at the back of each month that I can write what I am thankful for and why. I have included things like my crock-pot, my husband, my cats, working from home, and milkshakes. It doesn’t have to be something life changing. But keeping up with it will change your view on life.

Right now I am thankful that my position allows me to continue to work remotely during this global crisis. As most of the world is stuck at home, please think about those who still have to show up:

  • Doctors, nurses, other medical professionals
  • Our military
  • Our first responders
  • The customer service reps who are trying to help you reschedule your spring break plans (my heart goes out to my fellow cast members who are dealing with thousands of calls)
  • The grocery store clerks that cannot control what is out of stock
  • The other service workers such as trash collection, mail, deliveries, etc.

If you interact with someone in one of these professions, remember that they are human too. They are not the business that told them to come in. They are working for their paycheck. They are tired. Treat them with kindness.

On the other side of the same coin, check in on the local businesses that may not have the resources to survive the shut down. I know of a few bakeries and restaurants that are still open, but only serving carry out and delivery orders. Show them gratitude, even if you don’t order from them- comment on a post on Facebook or something.

But the best way to show gratitude right now? Do not go out unless you have to. Remember that there are other medical emergencies going on, and the hospitals are not only dealing with this virus. Stay away from beaches and crowds. We are trying to slow the spread for the benefit of our community. By working together, we will be able to go back to Disney World sooner rather than later.

Here is the link to The Upside if anyone is interested: https://www.callieandjeff.com/

Creating Health Goals

So, being an accountant means that I basically sit on my rump 40-50 hours a week (including commute time). Then there is Netflix and other non-active activities to engage in when I’m home. This has led to being at a state of health that I do not like. I have tried combating it with spur of the moment diets, halfhearted home gym work outs, and even a personal trainer. Nothing has really stuck. 2020 is the year I change that.

In October, I started going to OrangeTheory Fitness. I go twice a week as my work schedule allows, and I really enjoy it. OTF is an hour long HIIT group class that utilizes the row machine, treadmill, and weight floor in order to improve muscle and cardio. The coaches are super supportive so far, and I feel like I can modify as needed, depending on what my body tells me. You also earn “splatpoints” which is a great pull on my competitive side and makes me push harder.

On the food side of things, I am working on snacking less and eating more veges and fruits. This is a huge challenge, and it’s where I am the weakest. I am using MyFitnessPal to keep track of calories and macros, but I know I am not doing enough in this area to really get me where I want to be.

Now that the setup is complete, I give you my health goals for 2020:

  • Lose an overall 10-15 pounds
  • Move to a jogger from a power walker
  • Complete my first 5K with a time under 50 minutes (which, I actually have signed up for one at the end of April)- I currently have a 16.5ish minute mile.
  • Complete my first 10K with a time around 1 hour 45 minute (the original plan was only to do the 5K, but I managed to snag spots for the Wine and Dine 10K in EPCOT in November!)
  • Cook with more fresh veggies
  • Less SUPER processed foods for meals (I love my Chef Boyarde ravioli in a pinch, but I will not be unrealistic and say all processed foods. I’m still human)

I have dedicated a page in the back of my planner to keeping track of my progress when it comes to OTF. Every month I update/ choose new parameters for myself. Basically, as my fitness gets better, my speed on the treadmill and weights on the floor increase. I know it’s not always going to be a linear thing- it is very import to listen to what your body tells you. One day I be able to jog a few minutes, the next power walking may be a struggle. The progress is in the long game.

To everyone in their own health and fitness journey: may we all suffer together and support each other. This is a team sport, y’all.

The Word of the Year is Create

I am a big fan of having a word of the year. And after having more “serious” words the last few years, I decided to do something more fun. My 2020 word is “create.”

I am not sure if you can read all of the headers, but the pictures above say “In 2020 I will Create…”

  • Stories
  • A Healthy Lifestyle
  • Ears
  • Better Relationships
  • A Loving Home
  • Memories
  • Stable Financials
  • Gratitude

I have four blank columns left, but all of these correspond to some goal I have for myself this year. I want to work on what makes me better as a person, which means I need to create the habits and hobbies that will get me there. I have also noticed that I have stopped spending time doing the things that make me relaxed an happy, which is why you see stories and ears at the front of the list.

And by ears, I mean Mickey. I have started making my own, because even with my cast member discount, those things are expensive. Plus, it’s fun to design and make. It’s putting my sewing machine to good use. I’m not making them to sell, though. I am no where as talented as some of the people I see on Etsy.

I will post about each of these areas- either separately or a couple at a time. There is a lot that will go into each one, but some are hard to describe/ explain correctly. Plus, some just seem to go together so well that it would make sense to talk about them at the same time. I encourage you all to have your own word of the year. I find them to be good motivators.

Goals for 2020

So we are six weeks into 2020, but I am still trying to figure out what my main goals for the year are. I am trying to have at least one for what I believe to be the important parts of my life. As soon as I share them, you guys can help hold me accountable. But, here are the couple I have so far:

My reading goal for the year is 50 books. That’s a little less than a book a week, and I think I can pull it off. Heck, I have 12 done already which will be good if I get into a reading slump later in the year.

Health goals are going to be non-scale based. I think that is part of the reason why I have such a hard time with it- numbers get into my head. I want to complete a 5k by the end of the year and move from power walking to jogging on the treads at my Orange Theory class. I just started jogging on the all outs without inclines, and man, that makes me super winded. Cardio is not my thing, y’all.

I want to finish writing my NaNoWriMo 2019 novel before NaNoWriMo 2020 starts. My plot decided to not follow my outline so I have been stuck with how to get things going again.

Make the most out of my annual passes. I am paying for Universal and SeaWorld, and I don’t want that money to be wasted. I don’t see it happening because I just love theme parks and roller coasters, but my life isn’t 24/7 Disney (it basically is, but we keep getting blocked out thanks to Star Wars).

Career wise I don’t have any specific goals yet. Last year was huge for my job, so I feel like this year will be honing my knowledge on skills I need for industry accounting. The change from public was a welcome one, but a lot of my every day smarts are not used here as they were tax related. It’s a different brain and I am enjoying it very much.

I plan on keeping you updated on these goals and more as they come up. I also plan on bragging about all the fun theme park stuff I get up to, so if you have any questions about Orlando theme parks, let me know and I will do my best to answer!

Happy NaNo!

Go start yours!

National Novel Writing Month is here! 20 days. 50,000 words. Roughly 1,667 words a day. Time to ration the discount Halloween candy to get through the challenge.

My project this year is Golden Soul. I am also using the software Schrivener for the first time. So far I really like it. Go start your project by going to NaNoWriMo.org and announcing your novel! Then add me as a buddy: DestinyDalma.

Well, I have writing to get to. Good luck to all the novelists out there!

Books of 2019 (So Far)

Hello everyone! My Goodreads goal for 2019 is 40 books. I am a little behind schedule- moving states and new jobs can do that I guess- but here are the books I have read so far. They are listed in the order that I read them- not by how much I like them.

  1. Red Queen by Victoria Avegard
  2. Empire of Storms by SarahJ Maas
  3. Legendary by Stephanie Garber
  4. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas
  5. Catwoman by Sarah J Maas
  6. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
  8. The Fork, The Witch, and The Worm by Christopher Paolini
  9. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas
  10. Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  11. Phasma by Delilah S Dawson
  12. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas
  13. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
  14. Rebel Born by Amy A Bartol
  15. Before the Broken Star by Emily R King
  16. Eldest by Christopher Paolini
  17. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
  18. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
  19. The Wrath of Darth Maul by Ryder Windham
  20. Into the Hourglass by Emily R King
  21. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  22. Fledgling by Nicole Conway
  23. Avian by Nicole Conway
  24. Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Song of Achilles is by far my favorite book of the ones listed. The story was amazing, and it was a great retelling of the Trojan War. Granted, I am obsessed with all things mythology and ancient Greek, but I believe that anyone not obsessed would still enjoy the story.

Christopher Paolini’s newest book made me wish he would release more about the aftermath of the Inheritance saga. I definitely want more of Angela’s antics, and a little more into her history would be much appreciated as well. I also want to see more of how Murtagh is dealing with his new freedoms and the consequences of his role in the war. I just want more. Mr. Paolini, please.

My other top recommendations would be Spin the Dawn and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. They are two completely different books- one being a “help” book- but they will probably make my top 5 come the end of the year.

Spin the Dawn is a young adult novel, but it does not follow all of the typical tropes you may think of. There is no dystopia, no “chosen one,” but a girl trying to help her family. The book was described online as a Mulan-esque tale, and that is completely true. Elizabeth Lim does a fantastic job at telling a story, and I cannot wait to read the sequel!

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is all about choosing what you actually care about. There are things that are worth using your energy on- you just have to take the time to reflect to decide what they are. Mark Manson utilizes the perfect amount of humor and metaphors to get the message across. It is definitely worth the read, especially for my fellow millennials.

I have about 5 books that I am currently reading/ have in my to be read pile and another few books on hold on Libby. I’m excited to see what stories I get to experience next!

Everything is Finally Settling Down

Hey everyone!

I know it has been way too long, but I should be able to get back on a once a week (at minimum) posting schedule soon. The house is good. The furniture is delivered and set up. Random decor is being put in places. I’m more comfortable at my job. All is good.

The only threat now to being consistent is NaNoWriMo. It starts in like 5 weeks. I’m working on story ideas and rough planning now, but we’ll see if I stick with whatever I choose come November. For those who don’t know- NaNo is a challenge to write 50k words in 30 days. This will be my 9th or 10th year attempting it, and I only succeeded in 2013.

Want to join me? Sign up at NaNoWriMo.org! It’s free. You can add me as a buddy: DestinyDalma is my author name (look I set up my account in 2009 as a sophomore in high school. Everything was DestinyDalma then- see my fanfiction.net account for reference).

I’m keeping this short and sweet as I had no plan for this post and I don’t want to start rambling. Next time will be more structured- I have a lot to catch y’all up on like my Alaskan cruise, health goals, and 2019 reading list!

Dreams Come True

Okay, so I know that it was been WAY too long since I have written anything, so let’s do a quick life update:

  • I survived one of the worst tax seasons ever (thank you new tax laws that no one really understands yet).
  • We went to Disney! It was a blast. I even got to experience Hollywood Studio’s 30th birthday celebration.
  • We stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter while we were there. 10/10 would definitely stay there again and recommend to everyone. Everything was amazing, especially the food.
  • I got a new job, so goodbye public accounting.
  • We are in the process of moving for that new job. In fact, I’m writing this from a hotel room as part of the relocation process.

So, what is my new job you ask?

I am super excited to say that I am a financial analyst working at Team Disney for DCL!! Guys, I work right across the street from Disney Springs. Six years after the end of my Disney College Program, I am back working for the best boss ever. It still feels surreal. This past week was my first on the job, and yes, I totally almost cried at Traditions. I may not be in a role with a lot of guest interaction, but I still get to help make the magic come to life.

Earlier this year I chose the word renaissance to define my goals and path. And, just like Disney in the 90s, I feel like this is my renaissance. I got my CPA and I am back with the company I have dreamed of all of my life. Things are only just beginning. Next steps are becoming a homeowner and getting my health goals back on track (walking around Disney World should help with that one).

Things are happening. Let’s see how far they’ll go.