Open Thread: What Makes You…


by Maddie Eisenhart, Managing Editor

Open Thread: What Makes You... | A Practical Wedding

A few months ago, I was perusing the APW archives and I stumbled upon an old open thread (which, I cannot for the life of me find again, because it was probably written a zillion years ago or in Elvish) that grabbed my attention as being kind of revolutionary. The question was simple: what do you like? Being a wedding and marriage website, it makes sense that most our conversations are framed through the experience of being a bride or groom or husband or wife or partner or what have you. But I liked that this thread diverged from the standard and encouraged us to talk about ourselves as individuals.

Because here’s the thing. I’ve been married a few years now. And maybe it’s because I live so far away from home these days and my day-to-day activities are less fresh on my loved ones’ minds, but the longer I stay married, the less it seems people remember that Michael and I are very different people with very different passions and hobbies and interests. There are lots of questions about my relationship, about Michael’s work and travel, and less about my own work and my personal projects. It used to be that people asked me what I was up to all the time. Now, I find myself finding any excuse to interject something I’m excited about into conversation. Did you hear about this project I’m working on? No? Well, let me share!

I’m sure there is a much deeper conversation to be had about this subject. About marriage and feminism and identity. But for today, I just want to open up this thread to share. What are you proud of? What are you working on right now, personally, professionally, or otherwise that you’re amped about? It doesn’t have to be big. Last week I overcame my fear of heights long enough to go up and see San Francisco from Coit Tower. It matters. So what do you like to do? What makes you, personally, happy? Today I want us all to be reminded that we aren’t just wives and mothers and girlfriends and fiancés and daughters. We are fully realized people and what we care about matters.

Maddie

Photo by APW Sponsor Gabriel Harber Photography

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is the Managing Editor of A Practical Wedding. She’s been writing stories about boys and crushes since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) in the art of talking from NYU in 2008. In her spare time, she takes pictures of people in love. Maddie lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband Michael, her Mastiff named Juno, and her roommate named Joe.

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  • Laura

    I’m a few weeks away from testing for my black sash in Kung Fu, and I’m pretty amped about it!

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      Laura, that’s awesome! I keep refreshing the page to read and am excited every time I see yours.

  • Sam A

    Walking across the river at dusk in the city i now call home with St Paul’s glinting in the near distance… And knowing that when I was 5, that was my dream.

  • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

    Wow, I love this post. I can’t wait to see what everyone has to share.

    These past few months I realized that I had been living with a lot of fear; there were goals I kept setting and resetting, but I was holding back, waiting for the “right time” to finally tackle them. And life is just too short for that. I had to start pursuing my passions (writing, feminism, generally affecting change and participating in a broader conversation) in the stolen hours after work and on weekend mornings. And so I’ve committed to writing (over here) and sharing that work, however imperfect, with the world on a regular basis.

    Filling my time up with action in this way has been unbelievably fulfilling and more than a little life-changing.

  • Celesta

    Over the past year, I’ve lost over 30 lbs, and have been running. Yesterday I cut my mile down to 12:08, which for me is amazing, because when I started I was at a 14 min mile… and I used to hate running. :o) I feel so very accomplished and healthy.

    • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

      I have a 16 minute mile, currently. I hate running. You kick ass and inspire me.

      • H

        Oh my! I just started running a couple months ago too, and I’m under a 10 min. mile now! It’s exciting, seriously exciting. Currently, I’m trying to get my 5k down to under 30 min. It’s close, but still not there yet…

      • Denzi

        I had a 15 minute mile for a really long time. (Apparently what got me faster was not running for three months and moving to Europe. I know.) You don’t have to be fast as long as you get to the point where you like it, or at least like the way knowing you can do it makes you feel. I may hate running sometimes still, but I love how powerful I feel knowing I can run for three miles without stopping. It makes me feel good about my body, and good living in my body. So the actually running three miles is worth it for the psychological oomph from knowing I can, and I do.

      • Kate

        Kelly, I’m with you at a 15minute mile when I was actually training for a triathlon. Now it’s more like 18,mostly walking

    • http://www.foreveryoungadult.com erin

      You rock! If I ran, which I don’t, since the zombie apocalypse is not upon us, I think I’d manage a 25 minute mile. I actually run slower than I walk.

      • Julia B.

        Erin, me too, I run slower than I walk… but I’m a pretty good swimmer, I hope that makes up for it.

        The only thing that motivates me to run is that my swimming trainer told me to. That, and the ‘Zombies, run!’ app on my phone, so I can pretend the zombie apocalypse is here :-D

        • http://www.foreveryoungadult.com erin

          I NEED the “zombies, run” app! Is it like a sprinting app? I’m pretty good at sprinting! It’s just sustained running that I suck at.

          • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

            Zombies, Run! I the BEST! It is kind of like a sprinting app, if you turn on the “zombie chase” feature.

    • Jessica

      Yay for 12+ min/mile runners! It’s so good to meet others :) Congrats on your improvement in pace, that’s so exciting!

    • Lauren

      That’s it… inspired to get back in to running!

  • Carly

    THIS. This is why I love this site – completely aside from weddings, I feel like I learn so much and am, in general, a much better person because of the things you gals talk about on here. Shit that matters – seriously.

    Anyhow – I’m currently in training to become a volunteer with the local women’s clinic (kind of like PP, but we don’t have that up here), counselling women who are dealing with unplanned pregnancies. I’m so pumped about this work and it’s making me feel ten times more fulfilled than my pay-the-bills job does – and I haven’t even started taking clients. Awesome.

    • Breck

      Can you offer a little more information on this? It sounds awesome and like something I’d love to look into and devote my time to.

      • Carly

        It’s a volunteer program with the local women’s health clinic, which is similar to Planned Parenthood in the States, and they offer counselling to women who are (or may be) dealing with unplanned pregnancies or who are looking for counselling on birth control options.
        The clinic itself operates from a feminist, pro-choice perspective which is fantastic. It’s rigorous training, but so interesting and wonderful to be surrounded by women who are passionate about the same things you are.

        If you’re interesting in doing something similar, definitely look up your local clinic and see if they have a program like that or another need you could fill!

      • Ali

        I did something similar for PP in Boston before starting graduate school and it was a fantastic experience. PP usually does it as an over-the-phone deal, where people call in for information or support. If a particular clinic is looking for volunteers it will mention on the website, but you can also call them and ask if they will put you on their waitlist to be alerted when spots open up for training.

        Also, I now am the go-to person any time any one of my friends has a lady problem, so there’s that.

    • http://www.mylifeasherbst.wordpress.com AutumnE

      Have you checked out Faith Aloud? A great org that might add to your training. They offer all options spiritual counseling per and post abortion. Multi faith and so feminist. Their videos are great also.
      http://Www.faithaloud.org

  • K

    I founded a software company and have my first customer. The irony is that my husband is the successful software engineer, not me.

    • anon

      as a software developer myself, and the daughter of a software selling entrepreneur CONGRATS!! Thats awesome! Seriously, I know how hard that first customer is…

    • Rebecca

      Hooray! And may you have many more customers (but only as many as you can barely handle at one time…)

  • http://mirandavanzeumeren@hotmail.com MirandaVanZ

    I am a month away from completely paying off my student loans and I’m going on a trip with my sister to Scotland in the fall!

    • Amber

      That’s awesome! Congrats and have a fabulous trip!!

    • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

      Major, major fist bump for paying off student loans! That’s so huge!

    • Samantha

      Woo!! That deserves a congrats!

  • Diane

    About to start a year as one of two chief residents in my program. I’m so psyched to get to be more involved in the education aspect and in working to help my colleagues’ professional development and support them through personal challenges. I’m also excited to start looking for my first “real adult” doctor job. It will have been 9 years of school and residency by the end of next academic year. Though I do have to admit that with my wedding coming up in 11 days, it’s hard to think about much else right now!

    • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

      Holy cow, wedding planning during residency! Congratulations on your chiefdom! Your colleagues sound very lucky to have you!

    • meg

      SUCH a big deal, so super impressive.

  • http://writemeg.com Megan

    I love crocheting “Harry Potter” scarves — even in summer, when it’s approximately 10 million degrees in the D.C. area (with 10,877 percent humidity).

    Other folks may have moved on, but I’m still happily representing Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and, um, I guess Slytherin. Because it’s relaxing. Because it’s a skilled I learned from my mom, and from her grandmother before her. Because it connects me to my past and is helping to finance my future (yay, Etsy!). But mostly? Because it’s fun. I like to watch mindless television and lose myself in stitches after work. It’s just . . . my thing. It calms me. It matters to me.

    • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

      I do a lot of similar stuff in my spare time when I’m just relaxing with the tv and my husband as well. Right now my project is quilting which has been bundles of fun, and whatever the project happens to be its so satisfying to watch something that you’ve created unfold in front of your eyes.

    • Aubry

      Yay crochet! I am just about to really start into my inventory for my very first season of christmas craft fare-ing. I love crochet and I hope someday it can be a moderately lucrative hobby:) currently distracted by making things for my new place we are moving to in May.

      • http://writemeg.com Megan

        So glad to see other crochet lovers! Aubry, good luck with your first craft fair season — I had tons of fun the year I participated in several, though it was so much work. But good work! Fun work! And congrats on your new place! :)

    • http://mydnyht.wordpress.com Aurora

      I don’t know if this is allowed, but can you give me your Etsy seller name? Other folks may have moved on, but Hogwarts is still listed as my grad school and I am totally a Hufflepuff. I also went through the trouble of creating a page for the pretend clinic I run in my own personal version of the Potterverse…

      • http://writemeg.com Megan

        That is awesome! Hufflepuffs rock. If you click my name, it’ll take you to my website — and my Etsy account is linked in the sidebar. :)

  • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

    I am (according to my own, totally biased standards) really good at making music mixes/playlists. I’d forgotten this about myself for a while, but recently I made some mixes to mail to friends and also learned how to use 8tracks, and I’m feeling pretty damn awesome about it.

    I’ve put feelers out about a promotion/job description change at work and my boss has been receptive to my ideas so far.

    After a lifetime of distaste I suddenly adore avocados. Cannot get enough of them.

    • Kate

      You should make a website and become a wedding/party playlist consultant! I plan on using an ipod at my wedding, but I would loooooove to pay someone to create a great playlist for me…it just isn’t my strong suit.

      And congrats on the avocados, they are spectacular.

      • Caroline

        Yes, please do! I would be thrilled to pay someone to arrange my playlist into a good playlist for our wedding. I’ve read about the whole how to transition well, but it scares me.

      • Courtney K

        Oh this is such a good idea! Do it, Kelly! :-)

      • fermi

        I agree, I’d be interested!

    • Katherine

      Yay Kelly! On a kind-of-related note, I’ve got an entire 4 & 1/2-hour playlist already set up for my wedding (small, approx 50 guests, so I don’t feel like it’s worth it to spend tons of money on a DJ), but I’m still kinda hesitant on the whole self-dj via iPod thing. Anyone have any thoughts?

      • One More Sara
        • Katherine

          Thank you, One More Sara!!! I hadn’t seen that one yet, and it does help. I honestly think the APW “how to” posts are so great at helping us slightly-clueless ones figure out what works & what won’t, from makeup & hair stuff to other practical points. I know in my head it will work out fine…I just need to not worry about it so much :-)

          • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

            I used an ipod (well, laptop for the reception, ipod for ceremony music) instead of a dj for my wedding this past September! I used the APW How To post, and my own playlist-making prowess, and it turned out just fine.

            Did things go wrong? Oh, for sure! We rented a professional speaker and microphone, and the microphone worked like a charm throughout the ceremony (thank goodness) but TOTALLY died at the beginning of the reception. The only thing we needed it for was toasts from the wedding party. Our photographer (who is AMAZING) downloaded a microphone app onto her iphone, we plugged that into the speaker, and voila! The best part is people like my sister, who had her toast written in her phone, so she had two iphones in hand while giving her speech! Hilarious pictures!

            I skipped around in the playlist a little bit here and there, but password protecting the laptop was GREAT advice that I was glad I followed. We had the venue til midnight, but amplified music needed to be off at 9:00PM. Five minutes before nine I skipped to the last two songs on the playlist and yelled “Last two songs of the night, everyone on the dance floor NOW!” and you had better believe they listened to me! (For the record, we played “Shout”by the Isley Brothers second tolast to get everyone riled up, and then the last song was an intensely emotional “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds).

      • meg

        Yeah, do it. It’s rad. Just amplify and don’t let ANYONE touch the iPod. And play songs people know. You know. The stuff I said in the post.

    • Katherine

      Oh, that’s so neat, a mic app for the iPhone! You’re right, Kelly, you had an AMAZING photographer!! I would have been so stressed out at that point I never would’ve had the clarity to think of a solution like that. I’ve already copied/pasted that idea into my planning folder for our wedding :-)

      And I know things will go wrong, whether it’s something with the music, or the lighting, or whatever. But like the saying goes, “If at the end of the day you’re married to the person you love most in this world, it was the perfect day.” The other stuff just makes for funny stories down the road :-p

      • Lauren

        Replying to reply to Kelly’s post because “Shout”by the Isley Brothers is THE BEST end-of-wedding song. I cry every time while jumping around and, yes, shouting.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      Last August, I suddenly liked (and craved) coconut, and I am still enjoying it. Congrats on the avocados. :)

    • http://mydnyht.wordpress.com Aurora

      Avocados + barbecue sauce + tortilla chips = magic. Trust me on this one.

  • Amber

    I am more than half way through writing my thesis for my Masters. It’s about how theatre and performance impact scientific learning for family audiences in science museums, zoos, and aquariums. I absolutely love the subject and have made some really great professional connections through my research. Looking forward to graduation, June 22!! Woot woot!!!

    • Sarah S

      Oooh your thesis sounds fascinating and I would love to read the final result! Fist bump from a nonformal science educator (environmental education, specifically) :)

      • Amber

        Sarah, eventually it will be available on the internet through my school’s library (John F. Kennedy University), and I’ll probably submit it to the International Museum Theatre Alliance (IMTAL) to include on their references page, if you’re interested in tracking it down. :-)

        • Sarah S

          I have made a note of it so I remember to seek it out in the future. Good luck with the rest of the school year! Congrats on graduating soon!

    • Anya

      WOOHOO! Good luck with writing your thesis! You can do it!

      And I’d really enjoy reading your thesis after you are done. Science education fascinates me.

    • http://www.snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

      Love the intersection of art and science. There’s such a wealth of knowledge and connection there. You go, girl!

    • Becca

      How cool! This sounds awesome! Woot for scientific learning :)

    • Megan (from Nova Scotia)

      This is fantastic!! And best of luck with your writing!!! Been there-so when it feels super tough, remember how great we all think you are :)

      • Amber

        Thanks for all the support everyone!! :-)

    • Colorado Laurel

      Yes! I work at a field station just getting into more outreach. Can’t wait to see it!

  • http://ladybrettashley.wordpress.com lady brett

    ooh, i just made a list last week called “things that make me happy”. i am trying to account for and deal with (rather than wallow in) the fact that my job, and therefore 1/2 my waking hours, is no longer enjoyable to me.

    the main thing on my list is making things. also walks. the evening i made the list i made soap from scratch for the first time (and it worked!) – now i am finally getting my workshop cleaned/organized and building proper workbenches: finally having a bedframe, here we come!

    • Samantha

      Making soap is on my to do list!

    • http://mydnyht.wordpress.com Aurora

      Yay for walks! I’ve “made soap” – i.e., melted glycerin, added dye/scents, and placed in molds, but I’ve never done it from scratch scratch before. Sounds exciting!

      • http://ladybrettashley.wordpress.com lady brett

        you can do it in a crockpot, making it rather simple. it took about an hour and a half and i was about half-certain that i’d done it all wrong, but lo and behold, the next morning it was *soap*. science is so cool.

  • Moe

    What are you working on right now, personally, professionally, or otherwise that you’re amped about?

    It’s more of a hobby but I am HOOKED on going to estate sales. I have been collectiing goodies to decorate for the wedding but now that the wedding project is just about wrapped up I’ve been collecting paintings and jewelry. Every Saturday morning my husband and I preuse Craigslist for the sales going on closest to us.
    Some of our biggest finds have been furniture for the home (a solid wood desk for $20!) A solid sterling silver dish that we bought for $ and sold for $450.
    I just bought an original art work ($20)with a certificate of autthenticity attached and it’s going to auction next month. Estimated value $500 I’m now an art dealer! ;)

  • Kiera

    I just landed a job in my field and specialty area of interest! And have been stretched and broken into core bits and then refined by the past 4 months of unemployment and despair. It has been a lesson in faithfulness and community to witness how God, my family, and church have upheld me.

  • http://www.lulamaeevents.com Meigh McPants

    I’m learning all sorts of new construction and repair skills as I get our first house ready for us to move in. (OMG we move on Friday!) It’s also been good for learning how to handle frustration and a steep learning curve, so I feel like I’m scoring big points in Adulting.

    Also, we lost my beloved grandmama last week, but the support from friends, family and my awesome clients has been amazing. It’s still really hard, but being able to gather your community around you does make you grateful for the people in your life.

    • http://twitter.com/NoPants_McGee Christina McPants

      This is exactly what I was going to say. Which is probably why I married you.

      • Maddie

        You guys. <3.

        • http://twitter.com/NoPants_McGee Christina McPants

          Sorry, got a little sappy there.

          • Paranoid Libra

            This is a wedding and marriage website it’s supposed to get sappy at times ;)

    • http://www.foreveryoungadult.com erin

      I’m so sorry about your grandma. Losing family sucks but there is something about losing grandparents that seems to suck worse than most things. I’m glad you have your friends and your wife and family!

    • meg

      Oh, love to you two.

  • Hop

    I’m running my first half marathon in 5 days! It’s something I’ve wanted to do
    for years and never made time to do. Now that it’s here I’m torn between really excited
    and nervous. But it’s a good feeling to work towards something and then actually do it!

    • Lindsey

      Nice! I ran my first one last summer and am just starting to train for my 3rd :) It is a great accomplishment!

    • Meagan

      In Boston? Good luck and enjoy the Scream Tunnel at Mile 13!

      - a Wellesley alum who loves the marathon :)

      • http://becomingbrown.wordpress.com Jennifer Lyn

        My mum is from Wellesley! And I’m a runner. I guess I have to put this marathon on my bucket list.

      • Shannon

        Yay, Wellesley! Co-alumna here, and I never missed participating in the Scream Tunnel (well, except the year I was abroad)

    • http://Www.laughterinthelou.com Emma

      I cheered on half and full marathoners last weekend! I do it every year and I always cry. Thousands of people living their dream and hundreds supporting them. It’s amazing! Please know that even bystanders are getting joy out of your dedication and ability! Congrats!

      • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

        I hope you know how much we appreciate the people out cheering. It really does help me keep going, especially when I don’t have any friends or family in the crowd.

    • http://kyratx-afoodiegetsfit.blogspot.com Kyra

      Have a great time! I remember the nervous/excited/sick to my stomach feeling before my first one. The finish is so emotional. You can do it!!

  • Ellen

    I brought my family’s traditional Easter meal (homemade pasta with meat sauce) to my fiance’s family’s Easter and they LOVED IT. And I loved how something like pasta could bring us even closer together.

  • fermi

    After a year of living with my parents I’m in the process of starting to look to purchase a house! This will be my first ever house, and I’m so excited!

    • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

      Congratulations! I’m in the middle of living with my mom as we’re saving for a house and I so can’t wait until we get where you are.

      • fermi

        Thanks, it’s not easy living with parents, but once you see how much is in your savings account and how much you can plop into a down payment, it’s soooo worth it!

  • Kate

    I’ve lost 25 pounds in the past year and just got into graduate school! School makes me happy.

    • Courtney K

      Congratulations on both counts! School makes me happy too.

      • amigacara

        School makes ME happy TOO!!

  • Emmy

    I am currently struggling through a job that I really wanted, and totally love, but that I often find frustrating and challenging. I try to be proud of my small (and large) successes.

    I am super happy about spring and flowers and sunshine and drinking cocktails on our stoop.

    • Rebecca

      I try to remind myself that when I am frustrated and challenged at work, that means I’m learning! Which is good!

      The part of me that would like to do everything perfectly the first time only listens sometimes, of course. But I really do love learning new things at my job.

  • Jess

    I accepted a new job today!! I’m an attorney and I’ve been with my current firm for 3 years – since I finished my clerkship. I’m not growing as much as I would hope, and the opportunities aren’t here even though I’m doing good work. So, I interviewed and got an offer last week! Accepted today! I give notice tomorrow (eek!).

    It’s so hard to jump from something comfortable to something unfamiliar just because you’re not growing, but I have to do it. So here goes nothing!

    • Kira

      Excellent! Good for you–that’s not easy, but it’s important!

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      Eeep! Good luck with the transition. Here comes something awesome!

    • http://Lulamaeevents.com Meigh McPants

      Congratulations! Way to be brave and talented!

  • alyssa

    I just moved into a house with my husband and two roommates! I was inspired my Maddie’s post here: http://apracticalwedding.com/2012/03/living-with-roommates-as-a-married-couple/
    I really couldn’t get it out of my head when I read it. It made so much sense to me. Financially, we were struggling with our much loved but too expensive apartment in Seattle, and we wanted more space around us, a kitchen we could enjoy (read: not a closet with an oven), and maybe even a DOG? We also knew that as a young married couple, spending such a huge percentage of our income on rent rather than savings or loans was not only depressing, but dangerous. My husband lived “in community” for a year in a program, and had a great time living with 2 other guys and 5 girls before the two of us got married. I was nervous to live with roommates after only JUST figuring out how to live just the two of us! But I trusted him, and couldn’t deny the benefits of roommates. I jumped in with both feet.
    It’s only been a short week, but I LOVE the girls we live with. I didn’t even know how much I had missed female companionship.
    It’s an exciting adventure for us, and I really have noticed what Maddie said about being on your “best behavior.” This Chapter Two for us is exactly what I needed, and I couldn’t be happier! Despite some raised eyebrows. :)

    • Maddie

      Yay! (It’s weird when you write something and then realize people are actually listening.) For the record, we are just past the year mark and things are still going really well in our setup. There are definitely challenges that go along with it (like, I kind of forgot about the beauty of quiet when nobody’s home yet), but there are also lots and lots of tradeoffs that are worth it. Good luck!

      • Amanda

        Maddie’s post was a part of our decision to invite in a roomate as well! She’s lived with us for almost a year now and it moving in with her long term boyfriend this week. We are so excited for her though we’ll miss living with her and we’re already considering who could live in our second bedroom… We love having a roomate! (I love having people to cook for, ha!)

  • Hintzy

    I am taking part in a community art project called “fun-a-day” in which you assign yourself a theme, and make a piece of art for every day of April according to that theme. In May all of the participating artists will display their works on the local first friday art loop, it will be my third month in a row having art on display for the loop. I am a proud and happy painter – I’m painting an arabesque a day :)

    • Aubry

      Love this idea! Are you a dancer too?
      Also, congrats!

      • Hintzy

        Thanks! I am a belly dancer too, when I say arabesque I mean the scrolly designs in middle eastern art, not the ballet technique. although I’m tempted to throw in a sketch of a ballet dancer just for pun fun…

        • Aubry

          Oooh, cool! I didnt know the word was used in middle eastern art, as well as ballet (and of course french). Neat!

  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.nl/ Amanda

    I love reading, baking, spending time with animals, playing with children, writing, travel, learning new words. I am really good at finding gifts for people and I love sending parcels on the mail (and getting them of course). I have swallowed my fears and just very recently started a business… which involves baking and painting

    • http://newcomfortfood.wordpress.com JenMcC

      Your cakes are so gorgeous! What a wonderful combination of two of your loves.

    • Kate

      Amanda I saw that picture of you painting a cake in your post on APW and immediately was blown away. And thought it’d be so cool to see your cakes at an APWedding!

      • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.nl/ Amanda

        Oh Thank you! And I would absolutely love that! Anyone in The Netherlands?

    • Becca

      Your cakes are gorgeous! I love the froggy!

  • Kelly

    After 5 1/2 years at a job that I had loved but that had slowly lost all meaning and made me hate it, I finally quit and started a new job last week. I worked really hard to find a new position I would love, accepted a 25% pay cut to make it happen, and since I have left my old professional self behind and started here, I am amazed at how happy and relaxed I am. Like I was a crumpled up piece of paper that is slowly being smoothed back out (as my amazing new boss put it). I can’t remember being this happy in years, and it feels amazing!

    • Jess

      So so glad to hear this. As posted above, I just accepted a new job today and will give notice tomorrow, for many of the same reasons. I so love the idea of being a crumpled up piece of paper ready to be smoothed back out.

      Best of luck!!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/whitehindu Carolyn Moir

      I’m having that experience with a job now.

      I was so grateful to get it four years ago. So now I struggle with feelings of guilt that I dislike it so much. It’s better than any job I’ve had before, I’m lucky to have it, but I’m getting to that point of feeling flattened by a steamroller every single day. I dread getting out of bed, everything life feels dull.

      Not how I wanted to be feeling in the months leading up to my wedding.

      I started my own publishing company over the summer and I am really hoping that it will start getting successful enough that I can get out of my current situation.

      Fiance is jobless right now so I feel extra trapped and oh so jealous of a situation that he doesn’t want to be in.

  • Granola

    I’m about to start a new job and move to a new state and I’m having to drag myself there kicking and screaming. It’s a great opportunity and my husband is totally supportive, but so far I just want to sob thinking about the job I have now that I really like but am a little bored at and the friends I’m terrified to lose. I really hope that we’ll be happy and that I haven’t ruined our lives.

    But I keep telling myself that this is a good decision, that it’s ok to mourn and that things can’t stay the same forever. Some part of me knows that it’s a certain kind of brave to make yourself do something important even when you’re terrified. I’m trying really hard to hold onto that thought.

    • http://newcomfortfood.wordpress.com JenMcC

      I left a job where I was a little bored but had great friends and a lot of comfort almost two years ago. And I can say that I still have all the friends who were true friends, and the change, while not always perfect, was definitely an improvement and worth the effort. Also… it is okay to mourn; things won’t stay the same forever even if you try to make them (so might as well go with the flow of change instead); and it is SO BRAVE to do something you feel is important even when you’re terrified. And being brave matters. Best wishes on your new adventure!

      • Granola

        Thanks for the encouragement and for the dispatch from the other end of the tunnel!

  • Sarah S

    I am finally starting the nonprofit organization I have been working toward for two years. My business partner quit and I was scared to do it on my own, but I think I’m ready to try.

  • Margi

    I don’t have anything to share…but I love reading what everyone else is up to. It is inspiring! And I hope one day, I’ll have something to share.

  • anon

    I quit my job a month ago because I was miserable! I’m looking for one in my dream field!

    I’ve been filling my time with DIY for my brother’s wedding – and his fiance’s bridal suite won’t know what hit it! Seriously. I rock at cheap/easy/pretty making.

  • charmcityvixen

    I just bought a house and moved in last week (!!!) and I’ve been LOVING our home improvement projects. I hosted a brunch for some family members on Sunday (re: they invited themselves over and I cooked for them), and I’m absolutely obsessed with my cooking for people in my new house.

    Also, the farmers’ market opened on Sunday, so yay spring produce!!!

    And I’ve come to a place of letting go with my job situation, so that has given me some peace of mind.

    • http://www.dmarried.com Blair

      Farmers Market. A million times exactly this.

      • http://andshelovesyou.com youlovelucy

        Ours opens next week and I CAN’T WAIT.

        • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

          Ours is still a sparse winter market, but will open for real at the end of the month! I am so excited!

        • http://becomingbrown.wordpress.com Jennifer Lyn

          oh brilliant. (I’m from the ATL area too.) exciting!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00388929873803169413 Kristen

    I’ve been enjoying my new after work routine. My husband suggested we try having a cocktail after work to unwind. Normally I only drink when I go out to the bar, never at home. Lo and behold, this new habit has done wonders for me and our relationship.

    Now we spend the hour after we get home, relaxing, talking about our days, talking about what we want from life and our marriage and planning our future. It’s the perfect process for two skittish and afraid of intimacy folks like us to open up, relax and appreciate each other. I feel less depressed in the evenings because I get to decompress, vent and feel heard and cared for by my husband. My husband appreciates my renewed interest in listening to his work stories (a little gin makes teacher stories way more interesting, btw) and this new intimacy has enhanced intimacy in other avenues of our lives as well.

    *This message was brought to you by Bombay Sapphire

    • Meghan

      Ohh!! Thisthisthisthis!!! My fiance and I used to do this last year when we first moved in together, but it’s fallen by the wayside during the insanity that is wedding planning. I was inspired to start it by this post:

      http://www.thekitchn.com/the-violet-hour-weekend-meditation-171139

      Cheers to you and your violet hour!

    • Naomi

      I love this idea, think I’m going to add at least one cocktail night a week to our routine! Finding a walk after work one day a week now it’s light in the evening is helping us to relax at the mo- picnic on the common planned for Friday night, now followed by cocktail hour! Thank you.

    • Caroline

      Love it! I don’t know that an alcoholic drink every night would be wise for us, so maybe juice or kombucha most nights, but making it a routine/ritual sounds awesome… Totally making me think we should do something like this.

      • Eenie

        If you make your own kombucha it can sometimes turn out alcoholic! That was one mistake I won’t make again.

        • Caroline

          Oh I know it can, but the way we make it is very very mildly alcoholic. Maybe 1% at most, which is fine for us, obviously not for everyone.

    • Catherine

      We do cocktail night every night…kinda always been a tradition.

  • http://andshelovesyou.com youlovelucy

    Last week I started a blog! I’m proud of it, but also a bit terrified. So there’s that. I’m beyond proud of being able to intern for APW, even if people give me strange looks when I say I’m doing an internship. The word intern just puts people on edge sometimes.

    I love that the time I spend writing, designing, and making things is mine alone. Within the act of making things is where I feel most myself, because outside of that I am excessively eager to please and typically bend to what others want. I create to fulfill outside needs (designing for clients, etc) but also to work through whatever is bouncing around in my head.

    Also, I really love Doctor Who. Within my nerdy circle of friends, I have become the token Whovian.

    • Samantha

      Doctor Who!! My fiance and I always watch! :)

    • http://authenticwhitt.wordpress.com Jen W

      Whovians unite! (10′s my personal favorite)

      Hooray for starting a blog–your posts for APW have been fantastic.

    • http://www.mylifeasherbst.wordpress.com AutumnE

      I just started watching doctor who, and love it. I used to claim I wasn’t a nerd but I think this statement makes that entirely untrue. But it is ok, the doctor is worth it. Also your blog looks great!

  • http://cloverandlace.com Helen

    These things make me happy:

    Fresh french bread. Waking up next to my wife in the morning. Our brand-spanking-new business cards for the photography company we built together. Penpals in multiple parts of the country. Paying off 75% of our massive credit card bill that came from medical costs and being laid off. Listening to music with the windows rolled down in the car.

    Also, I’m going to Kathleen Shannon’s creative entrepeneur’s workshop (of Braid Creative!) and I am super proud of myself for taking this step!

    (ps. This is fantastic. <3)

    • http://www.snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

      No fucking way, you’re going to the workshop!? I adore Kathleen’s work and her writing, she has been a huge inspiration for me. Between her and Meg, I definitely have some fantastic internet-entrepreneurial-women role models.

      Have a blast in OKC!

    • meg

      Aw, Kathleen is the best, right?

  • http://www.dmarried.com Blair

    Yes, Maddie! This.
    Happened this past weekend. We spent 2 days discussing my fiance’s job with his parents before they remembered that I work too.

    You guys are all amazing. Losing weight, getting new jobs, moving around the country, buying first houses. You should all be very very proud of who you are and who you are becoming.
    I am currently ‘forcing’ my closest friend to let me help her re-design her apartment to make it her home post-divorce. Also taking up a decent internet education on nutrition and wellness via the Whole9/Whole30 program.

    Avocado for all!! :)

    • http://becomingbrown.wordpress.com Jennifer Lyn

      I totally started the Whole30 in February, it was so amazing I decided to make it a lifestyle.

      • http://www.dmarried.com Blair

        Awesome Jennifer!
        I did mine in January too and now I can’t get enough information about nutrition and diet. It’s pretty life-changing.

        I also really highly recommend the book by Michael Moss called “Salt, Sugar, Fat.” It will solidify your new lifestyle choices for sure.
        Completing the Whole30 is really something to be proud of.

        Go you!

        • Shiri

          Yes! I’m reading it right now too, and it’s astounding. I mean, I never knew my cynicism reflected reality!

  • http://jaredandbecca.com Becca

    The big thing on my mind is baby growing, but there are other things!
    I’m teaching a class at a university on community-based research.
    I’m trying to walk and read more on my lunch breaks instead of sitting in my office online.
    In the middle of rewatching Full House start to finish.
    Enjoying yoga.
    Editing a novel I wrote last year.

    Thanks for the reminder that these are all important (even Full House! Have mercy!) :)

    • http://www.snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

      Community development professional fist-bump!

      • http://jaredandbecca.com Becca

        Woohoo! Fist bump!

    • Heather

      Full House start to finish FTW.

  • KATIES

    This is so fun reading about all the other APW readers! I’m sure we’ve all read each others comments at some point. It’s nice to meet you all.

    I’m an engineer and really enjoy my job. I have a fiance I love (wedding countdown: 6 months, eek!), a house, a cat, and a dog. April’s theme of ‘the good’ feels like a good representation of how I feel about life right now.

  • Shelly

    After talking about it and saving up for it for 2 years, we just started a big home renovation. I have been picking out all of the finishes myself (and have no idea what I’m doing!) but it’s so exciting that it’s finally happening!

  • Breck

    My boyfriend and I have a small food business (we make condiments–unique flavors of ketchup and jam), and we had our first sale from our Etsy shop last week! Just as exciting, the next day we became the FIRST business to receive a Cottage Food License (more info: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/pages/fdbcottagefood.aspx) in the entire City of Berkeley! Next stop: farmers’ markets!!

    • Leslie

      That sounds so awesome! I am so impressed by all the people who are selling their own stuff/have their own businesses.

    • Caroline

      Ohh what’s your shop name? Looking forward to seeing you at the farmer’s market. Was it hard to get the cottage food license?

      • Breck

        C&B Condiment Company (facebook.com/CBCondimentCo)! APW’s own Liz and her husband Josh designed our logo and labels, and they did an amazing job! The requirements for the cottage food license aren’t too difficult to meet, but it was a rather convoluted process because it’s a brand new law, and the good people who work for the city didn’t exactly know how to handle it. Starting a food business in general was A LOT more complicated than I thought it would be, so if you need any tips, feel free to email me at breck@cbcondimentco.com, and I’ll try my best to help!

        Also, I love this thread! It makes me feel like Maya Rudolph’s character in Bridesmaids after her engagement party when she says she feels so awesome she thinks she could go out and catch herself another man; all you ladies make me feel like I can conquer the world!

        • meg

          I will look for you at the farmers markets!

  • Copper

    After trying to break into a niche in my field for the past almost 4 years, I finally got the dream job, and immediately have big projects for huge important clients. Somewhere in the last year or so of working jobs I hated that were unfulfilling, I mentally checked out, so now that I’m somewhere challenging and rewarding I’m having to make a real effort to rediscover the hustle I used to bring to my job and not just phone it in, now that I have this chance.

  • http://turningtoward.blogspot.com Kara H.

    I just (as of an hour ago) put the finishing touches on my thesis, I’m graduating in three weeks, and I’m about to become a homeowner. I’m also hoping to land a job in GIS analysis (a field that I adore). All the change is making me crazy, but it’s really exciting at the same time.

    • http://mydnyht.wordpress.com Aurora

      All great things! Many congratulations!

  • one more sara

    I’ve started proofreading academic papers (written in English, in a non-English speaking country, so often times they are required to have it read through by a native speaker, me!). It has been fun to stretch my brain again, and it makes me feel good to contribute to family finances as a stay at home parent.

    We also recently purchased plane tickets for me to go back to the homeland for our wedding, so that’s a huge weight off our shoulders!

    • one more sara

      I’m replying to myself bc my cell phone gets confused when my comment it’s so long. Annoying.

      I’ve started making new friends here in the new country (via APW! HI GUYS!) which is huge for me. Back “home” and in college, I always had really close friends, and it has been really hard to do that again from scratch.

    • Hypothetical Sarah

      Ah, good for you! I’m a huge fan of proofreading academic papers, though I’ve only done it for friends.

      I think we need another APW book club meeting so I can find out if there are other APW’ers in my area. In a city of 23 million people, there’s bound to be some… right?

  • http://www.foreveryoungadult.com erin

    I like to write about books! And I like Bikhram yoga and dancing! And I like listening to my daughter talk about her life and I like cuddling on the couch and not having to talk with my dude. And this post reminds me that I haven’t taken time for a lot of that, and because of my stress levels with work, even the stuff I have taken time for almost seems like a chore. So now I’m inspired to do a little self-love (not that way! Well, who knows, maybe that way.) and stop making excuses to do things I love.

  • http://www.wrightremedy.blogspot.com Addie

    So a few months ago I officiated my first wedding and it was the bestest thing ever. I haven’t had that much fun in ages and I think I’m pretty good at it ((cuz I love talking and weddings and ya know, people). I tooled around with the idea of starting my own (tiny) officiating business of sorts but I work weekends. Well, just found out that I’m getting laid off the weekend job next week. So maybe, just maybe this is the nudge from the universe I’ve been waiting for.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      Go for it!

  • Naomi

    I’m happy in my work, most days, managing a great team of staff to provide waste and recycling services and waste minimisation activities for residents in our area. Saving the planet one plastic bottle at a time!

    I set myself a challenge for 2013 to do a good deed every day, and so far I’ve managed. Not big good deeds bit small ones mostly- I’ve picked up a lot of litter to keep my local area clean, I’ve signed a lot of petitions, upped my charitable donations, given to charity shops, did a collection for Marie Curie cancer care ( in the snow!), became the secretary of the national trust group I volunteer with, carried on volunteering with the group on conservation projects, joined my local lions club to help serve my local community, written to my MP so many times that I think he’s getting fed up ( I am a left wing feminist living in the UK and am so angry with our government right now so he will be hearing a lot more from me), and I’m looking for other small things to do every day. That makes me feel good, more grounded in the area we’ve chosen to make our home and I’m happy.

    I’m also exploring my creative side more- trying new recipes, baking new cakes, drawing, doing small craft projects etc. And now the weather’s improving I’m getting out more, walking and exploring nature. Life is good!

    • kate

      a good deed, every day, that’s amazing!!!

  • Leslie

    Wow this is a great exercise! Right now I feel a bit stuck – I am ready to make the next step in my career, but I can’t do so until my husband gets a job and we can afford for me to take the year to get certified. If that does happen soon then I will be very excited and proud to take that step.

    This may not sound like anything, but I realized that this November I will be 9 years clean and sober. I haven’t really celebrated any anniversary since the third one and it just occurred to me the other day that it will be 9 years this year (and 10 next year!). This makes me feel proud and also old.

    • http://www.foreveryoungadult.com erin

      Um, that may not sound like anything? WOMAN. That is AMAZING.

      • Christa

        Yup. Every year is a victory.

      • Leslie

        Thanks! It is so wonderful to get that support and affirmation! And yup, 9 years is pretty amazing.

    • one more sara

      Go you! Fist bumps all around!

    • Lu

      My brother hit 10 yrs a couple of yrs ago and it was a huge deal, not just for him but our whole family. That is a huge amazing accomplishment!!!! Such a gift you have given your loved ones, you have no idea.

    • meg

      That sounds pretty huge to me!

  • http://kbegnaud.tumblr.com Kathryn

    As a complete long shot, I applied for my ultimate dream job back in December. After a year of working harder than I imagined I could and the longest interview process ever, I have been offered a lead teaching position at an incredible school in Philadelphia. I totally get that things don’t always work out the way we want them to (and that’s okay), but it is kinda fun when something does!

  • Lindsay

    happiness is…

    …closing on your first-ever house in 27 days…and getting to share the excitement with your best friend and partner in all the craziness.
    …driving to work with the windows down because it’s spring and BEAUTIFUL.
    …realizing that despite the small reasons you’re sick of your job, in real life it’s pretty easy and gets you the money you need to do all the fun stuff in the non-work hours.
    …listening to sweet playlists that remind you of the glorious 90s and the no-care freedom of ages 12 to 17.
    …sparkling lime-flavored water.
    …clearing out all the extra crap from your closet and storage room and feeling just a little bit more lightweight.
    …excited about the possibility of raising a dog instead of growing a baby…and feeling a-ok with that decision.

    • steph

      i totally have the charlie brown song stuck in my head now. i admit i tried pretty hard to fit your statements into the melody of the song fairly unsuccessfully. even if the feeling is pretty similar.

      perhaps you had john lennon in mind more than clark gesner, but that’s where my head went!

  • Jennie

    First of all, I love this open thread and the APW community! It’s great reading about the diversity of interests and backgrounds here.

    I’m getting ready to take a vacation with my family to American Samoa this fall! I was born there (I’m half Samoan) and moved away when I was seven. I’m trying to learn enough of the language to converse with people. I’m super excited to learn more about my culture and see my family. I’m also dancing hula once a week and learning about Hawaiian culture :)

    • http://mydnyht.wordpress.com Aurora

      That’s so amazing! Good luck on your travels and reconnecting with your heritage!

  • Valeria

    I have just come back from two days training for my companie’s new and very exiviting people system.I work for a big retailer as a section manager.in my next weekend off I am planning to start a coat with a lovely lovely lovely Harris tweed I bought while in london last weekend.
    Its great to read all those amazing thongs you have been up and like.you are bunch of magnificent ladies!!

  • Valeria

    I have just come back from two days training for my companie’s new and very exiciting people system.I work for a big retailer as a section manager.in my next weekend off I am planning to start a coat with a lovely lovely lovely Harris tweed I bought while in london last weekend.
    Its great to read all those amazing thongs you have been up and like.you are bunch of magnificent ladies!!

  • Aubry

    This is a great thread! I am super bummed yesterday and today (mostly money stuff, finding out I owe a bunch of money I thought I didn’t, plus chronic pain, new exciting pain, and fight with my mom/boss yesterday) but I remember going for a drink with an old friend on Sunday and knowing my life is pretty great!

    I have lost around 60 lbs in the last year or so, and I am super proud of that. I was getting frustrated with the most recent plateau and decided on a new course of (more appropriate to my physical being) body image happiness – strength! So I started lifting weights and have so far been going strong for almost 4 months! I LOVE lifting weight, I feel so badass ;)

    Also, I love crocheting, dancing (ballet etc), and playing with/training my amazing dog. Making some strides in my debt repayment and getting closer to feeling really independent and in control of my money.

  • http://www.hungrybruno.com Adrienne

    I started another job! I’ve got a full time gig that I like, but was approached to be a food tour guide in my beloved city, and I’m in the middle of training now. It is so awesome to be able to meet other food enthusiasts, walk around and talk to them about all the cool things we have, and get to eat really good clam chowder on the regular. My M-F job is a quiet, desk-y job, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy leading groups and speaking in front of people.

  • Audrey

    I love this thread!

    I’m hopefully going to start volunteering with a local humane society this summer, helping with their wildlife efforts.

    I’m also on the downhill side of one of the biggest work projects I’ve ever owned organizing reporting data for a new website. It was big and scary and I avoided it for too long and could have organized better, but it’s been such a great learning opportunity and I feel so proud of it so far.

  • http://dayzeroproject.com/user/mlisunderstanding/list/40045 Remy

    I am six weeks out from graduating with my Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. I’ve done it in 2 years while holding down a full-time job. My e-portfolio (thesis type of project) is due in less than a week. I am not done yet — terrifying! — but I am learning how much I already know and feeling more confident about being ready to change careers. I’m also REALLY ready to take a “break” from school AND work and just work full-time and do housework.

    I feel great about saving a lot of my income over the past few years: enough to pay back all of my grad student loans by the end of the year, pay for our wedding up front, *and* fund 6 months’ worth of emergency savings to tide us over while I am job-hunting. Also, I’m working on the goals on the list linked under my name. Next up: watching women’s roller derby!

    • kira.bennett@gmail.com

      Oh no, I meant to congratulate you on all your awesome accomplishments (seriously, you finished a degree program in two years while working full-time AND saving crazy amounts?). But instead I reported your comment. Undo! And congratulations!

      • http://dayzeroproject.com/user/mlisunderstanding/list/40045 Remy

        Thank you! It’s been pure-d hell at times, but made possible thanks to support from my wonderful sweetie, who became my wife just before midterms last fall. ;)

    • Leslie

      Congrats! This is a huge and awesome accomplishment!

    • Lauren

      I just had the very big and scary realization that I want to do library school come next spring. I am so happy for you!

  • amigacara

    I just started playing in a women’s ultimate frisbee league which is super fun, I have been playing coed for a few years but this felt so affirming and awesome and different and I can’t wait till the next game!

    I also love to paint (oils), rock climb, and hang out with people from different cultures and backgrounds as much as possible.

    Annnd I’m in grad school studying urban planning/environmental justice and I have a LOT of opinions about that!

  • Shiri

    (not going to feel guilty about self aggrandizing…not going to…)

    The Holocaust museum I co-run is doing a Kickstarter and we’ve been open for less than 36 hours and are at almost 20%! I’m really excited and super, super proud. And I’m going to post it here, because I can’t resist :)

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/295016835/cafe-oshpitzin-remember-the-past-feed-the-future

  • TH

    I finally stopped all the excuses I’ve been making and started seeing a personal trainer to get back into shape.

  • http://simply--a.blogspot.com/ Alison

    I love this thread!

    I just finished all of my applications to post-bac programs so I can go BACK to med school (which I started in 2008 but had to stop because I got sick). It took me awhile to recognize that I *could* go back, and that I still wanted it more than anything. I’m going to be a doctor, guys!

    I also lost 35 pounds this past year, which was awesome, and I got a new job that is pretty great.

    I also am a fabulous bread and pie baker. :)

    • amigacara

      I also love baking. :)

  • EKSHIRLEY

    I’m really excited about the prospect of teaching kids about how cool science and nature is for a local museum!

    Aside: when I started this comment, I was going to write the same thing above but then follow with , even though…negative reasons it is not the perfect situation, but i am leaving them off because I love that this thread it about celebrating the good and positive, and owning the good and positive!

    • Sarah S

      So cool so see other APWers into science/nature education!

  • http://becomingbrown.wordpress.com Jennifer Lyn

    My husband and I have been in Atlanta for a year and a half and I’ve only made one good friend — but that was via APW! So thanks for that ya’ll.

    I started swimming with two teams again this year to develop both sides of my swimmer personality — precision and speed. I went back to school online to become a personal trainer. I’m positive I want to combine that with the water and swimming so I am looking at aqua fitness next.

    I have two adorable schnauzers with my husband and I never thought I would be a dog parent, but they’re really the light of both of our days.

    And I am super thankful for the reminder to enjoy the blessings in my life.

    • Lauren

      I am moving to Atlanta in August! We should be friends too!

      • http://becomingbrown.wordpress.com Jennifer Lyn

        yes please! look for the APW Atlanta community on Facebook. I’m on there and I created the page. We do meet ups periodically.

  • YetAnotherMeg

    At the end of March I worked up the nerve to quit the job that was so wrong for me it made me physically ill and gave me panic attacks. Now, in between applying for new jobs, I’m remembering how much I love to cook. I’m also taking this time to enjoy life and refocus my energy.

  • Caroline

    This is great. So often when people ask how I am, what I am up to, I respond with how we are.

    I am almost done with my 2nd year of my bachelors in math, with a 4.0 and academic honors. I’m so proud of myself, especially since I barely graduated high school and I didn’t really believe I could succeed at school when I decided to I back go school two years ago.
    I’ve rediscovered that I absolutely love math. I am so excited by everything I’m learning and I feel like my brain is stretching and growing and on a weekly basis I feel absolutely high off what I’m learning.

    I’ve also recently gotten back in touch with my love for P!nk (the artist not the color, hate the color.). We album was one of the first 3 CDs I ever bought, and I love her as much as I do when I was 9. I regularly dance around the living room screaming “you’re fucking perfect to me” and other p!nk songs. (Sorry upstairs neighbors, I try to do it at decent hours).

    I’ve absolutely blossomed in my religious community. I’ve learned to read the Hebrew aleph-bet, and to lead some of the religious services. I’m serving on two committees, and it’s pretty exciting. On the ritual committee, my arguments and discussion of my experiences as a person in an interfaith relationship led to the vote to call the blessing of a couple before they get married the same thing if they are interfaith or not( an aufruf. I can’t wait for ours now that we can have one and call it that.)

    • A-L

      I just wanted to say congratulations on the 4.0 (in math!), and rock on with P!nk and your religious community.

      • Caroline

        Thank you.

    • http://www.snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

      Way to go! My partner also had a poor academic record in high school and spent a few years in the working world before deciding to pursue a degree. He now has his Associates and Bachelor’s degree, will graduate with his Masters next month, and start his PhD in the fall. The straight from high school to college script can be a tough one to break out of, so kudos to you for kicking ass at it!

    • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

      I am applying to grad school and am so hoping it will be an experience of feeling my brain stretching and growing and being high off learning. That’s what I haven’t been able to articulate about what I’m looking for in a program. I’m so glad that’s been your experience!

  • Teresa

    You guys, reading all these comments was so uplifting and inspiring. I just love it.

    I am a hs librarian in NYC and I have been in my current position for four years, so the students who were freshmen when I started in the building are now approaching graduation. The thing that I am most proud of right now is having all of my kids come in and tell me about their college acceptances and amazing scholarships–I feel like I watched these kids grow up and succeed right before my eyes. That I had just a teeny, tiny part in their success just reminds me of why I do what I do and how lucky I am to be doing it.

    Also, my husband and cat are the cutest! Yay!

  • http://www.ashhilton.com Laurel Williams

    Um? Awesome idea for a post! Especially as I’m a partner in a business named after my man and everyone we assumes that my role consists of “doing the books” for the business. Anywho, I’m very proud that this business (a jewelry business), just had our biggest year of sales ever despite the fact that we took off 3 months of the year. Most importantly, over 65% of those sales were made by me, while I was, you know, “doing the books.”

  • NTB

    Just got my first professional job as a children’s librarian. Could not be happier!

    • http://dayzeroproject.com/user/mlisunderstanding/list/40045 Remy

      Yay! You give me hope!!

      • NTB

        You can do it! It took me a long time and I thought of giving up on my dreams. But I stuck with it and I’m glad I did. This job was worth the wait. Best of luck!!

  • Leslie

    First and foremost, I’m celebrating 3 months at my dream job. After many months of unemployment, I am so so so happy to be doing something that is relevant to my degree, allows me to keep learning, and doesn’t feel like work.

    FH and I bought our first new car last weekend, and I’m proud of us being able to take such a big step together.

    Finally, I was researching wedding night hotels yesterday and was disappointed that everything was so expensive and I couldn’t find a deal with the hotel I wanted. And then, today, said hotel releases a Groupon offer for said hotel. I. Am. Pumped.

    • http://newcomfortfood.wordpress.com JenMcC

      My fiance and I got our honeymoon hotel through a deal on Jetsetter – such a victorious feeling!

      And congrats on the dream job!

  • Laura

    You guys, I love my cat. She’s super awesome and no one can tell me otherwise. And I totally unilaterally picked her out 2.5 years ago, so I’m super awesome at cat-picking.

    Also? Science.

    • Maddie

      Best comment ever? Best comment ever.

    • http://andshelovesyou.com youlovelucy

      Our cats are awesome! Fist bump for being great at cat picking.

      Also awesome: making up songs about our cats and singing to them. If you don’t do this you don’t know what you’re missing.

      • Laura

        I *do* do this!

      • Teresa

        also awesome, making up social lives for your cat. Like, our cat has a blog “Cat Butt on…” where he takes pictures of himself sitting on our stuff and posting it online for his cat friends to laugh at….

        • Laura

          lol lol lol wait wait. i just googled “cat butt on blog” and got no hits!!! can you *please* turn this into a real blog instead of a made-up one???

  • http://newcomfortfood.wordpress.com JenMcC

    I’ve been writing a blog chronicling my experience losing close to 60 pounds, becoming healthier and changing my relationship to my body (and food) here:
    https://newcomfortfood.wordpress.com/

    And I’ve been making a concerted effort to stay focused on my health and well-being – by doing things like exercising and reading books for fun – despite wedding-planning insanity.

  • http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/10/wedding-graduates-sharon-jason/ Sharon

    In almost exactly one month, I’ll be taking my qualifying exams for my PhD. I’m terrified and still have an enormous stack of reading to finish between now and then. But I’m also elated and kind of looking forward to it (and being past it!) and so, so proud of myself for sticking out this program so far.

    ETA: And oh yeah, through this process, I’ve totally discovered that reading is my superpower. :)

    • H

      Sharon, I’m doing mine next week, you know, 10 days before I get married. I feel your pain. That is all.

      • Heather L

        Hah, I took my quals last year (ours is an grant and an oral presentation) while planning the wedding. I defended my oral the day before I got on a plane to go back to where we grew up and get married.

        • http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/10/wedding-graduates-sharon-jason/ Sharon

          OH MY GOD, you guys. I can’t even imagine the amount of stress. *high fives everyone*

  • Anon

    My husband and I decided to make an International move ( back to the US). In the throes of trying to find a job to justify that move. Trying to handle it well – not doing that great!!??

    • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com sera

      good luck! you’ll do fantastic!

  • http://brokensaucer.blogspot.com sera

    This post/thread is so amazing and absolutely part of why I am still reading this site over three years after getting married.

    I recently quit my job and I am trying to dedicate my time to uncover a fulfilling job for me. I still haven’t found what I’m looking for, but I have NO regrets for making the leap and trying to move forward. I’ve given myself three months to figure out how to pay for the mortgage. Wish me luck!!

  • Vj

    On Friday, I will travel back to the U.S. after three-ish months living abroad. I am so excited to see my partner at the airport, but also so deeply grateful to have had this experience, to have had a chance to reconnect with the work I AM passionate about but had forgotten about…and honestly, to know that I can – and in fact, I love – being forced to make new friends, speaking another language all day, and even eating meals in restaurants by myself. Who knew one’s own company could be so enjoyable?!

  • Karyn

    My husband and I bought a second vehicle about a month or so ago. The first vehicle was his, because I don’t know how to drive a car with a manual transmission, but this second car is an automatic and is OURS.

    Since I take the bus to work to save on parking and gas costs, and he drives his manual transmission car to and from work, this car is available whenever I need it otherwise. I can now run errands and pick up groceries without having to wait for him to come home from work! The newfound independence and freedom is AWESOME!

  • Anya

    First off, I’m amazed at everything you all have posted! What an amazing community!

    I don’t know if “happy” is what I’m going for right now. But I guess in retrospect, I am. I am half way through writing my PhD thesis in microbiology on Toxoplasmosis. I just negotiated a job offer for August, a week after I get married. And all of those are good things. I just wish the thesis writing did itself.

    What keeps my sanity (other than my partner) right now is the fact that I teach fitness 5 days a week. And I LOVE it. I’ve studied microbes, came out with a vaccine candidate (500 years down the line), but honestly, I feel like I have the most impact I’ve had on the world is in my fitness classes. I teach at YMCA (where my students range from 25 to 89 regularly), and at a University. And I have to say, I love them all. My students motivate me, give me purpose and hope and support. I’ve had a whole class come to me with suggestions from where to get my hair done to where I can get a job. And in return, I try to make sure that they love the body they HAVE and that they train for function, and not for vanity.

    • http://www.snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

      Your approach to fitness is so well-grounded. My mom has been a fitness professional for all of my life, and this is what she teaches, too- function!

  • KC

    Life is seriously kicking me around right now, but all shall be well.

    In fluffier/more concrete items, I recently knitted a top hat and helped teach someone part of a coding language that was new to them. Building is fun, whether it’s knowledge or tangible “stuff”.

    • Louise

      Building things IS fun! It’s hard to look for positives sometimes, but making things always helps, it seems. I hope life starts behaving better soon.

  • blissing

    My house is sold, and my fiance will be retiring soon. As soon as his divorce is final we’ll be getting married (they’d broken up long before we met). We may buy an RV and hit the road after I finish up my Chinese Astrology course. Scary and fun!

    • Louise

      What a fun adventure!

  • Louise

    Awesome thread! And so appropriate for the theme this month!

    I am moving to India on July 2nd to teach first and second grade at a new, progressive international school in Mumbai. The school’s philosophy is based on that of my current school, and its very new and full of new teachers, so three years into this teaching thing (which I love so much) I will be one of the more senior teaches and get to try out some new leadership and mentoring skills. I am so very sad to leave my current school and coworkers, but i am beyond excited about the professional opportunities as well as the cultural and personal growth opportunities.

    I also just started practicing yoga anout two months ago, and I am very hopeful that it will help me with the chronic back pain I’ve had for 13 years. I figured I should do what I can to be healthy for my upcoming adventure, and yoga is something I can sustain independently if I learn enough. Already I have been able to go canoeing with no additional pain thanks to my new core strength, and it no longer hurts to put socks on! (Small victories are king in the world of chronic pain!)

    On the weekends and on break (this week!) am digging playing with photography again, learning about new technology and dreaming about how to incorporate in my classroom, knitting, experimenting in the kitchen, (tomorrow I think I will make homemade vegetarian marshmallows!) making pancakes every weekend for myself and my husband and enjoying my wonderful city with a kind of appreciation that only comes from the anticipation of leaving. And during the week, I get to go to work and watch 18 kids take tiny steps toward independence. It’s magical.

    • http://weehermione.blogspot.com Hayley

      That sounds so great! Wishing you the best as you start your new adventure. :)

      • Louise

        Thanks!

  • Katherine

    Yay for this thread! It’s awesome hearing about everyone’s different lives :-)

    Just in the last two weeks, I figured out that I will be “debt-free” by July, and also found out my future in-laws are kicking in $ towards the wedding. So happy to see all my hard work & frugality/budgeting finally pay off, and feeling very blessed that the in-laws were able to contribute towards our big day, even though we told them just them being there (they live in FL and the wedding’s in MA) would be enough for us.

    That being said, I’m kind of missing being in school, although I have two shiny new diplomas now hanging in our office! And honestly, I wasn’t (and still am not) convinced that I could go to school, work full-time, and plan a wedding all at the same time, LOL…..my sanity will probably thank me for it in the long run. And I have more time to read now :-)

    And going to the gym is something I need to get better at. I go every weekday on my lunch-hour, but my schedule’s been kind of hectic lately, which has meant missed gym time. I need to get back to that!

  • Panda

    This is neat! I’ve only been married 6 months but in that time I’ve started a new job that fulfills me in ways I never thought possible and every day I am proud of my work. I stopped worrying what everyone thought of me and have fully embraced my love of heavy metal/inability to apply makeup and be dressed up every day. Because I no longer freak out about work, I am focused on creating art and expanding my record collection. Flying my freak flag has made me realize just how wonderful life and individuality are. I am grateful that my marriage has afforded me the ability to be relatively anonymous (“the wife/married one”) when I need to be, and a total freak the rest of the time! Yay apw!

  • http://weehermione.blogspot.com Hayley

    I’m 5 months into my new technology librarian job (which I moved away from my favorite city to get). I’m starting a new life in southwest VA w/ my husband. I’m gardening a ton and have plans to open up a treehouse camping B&B mini-farm as soon as I sell the old house back in my old city. You have to dream big, right? I figure any dream that involves treehouses and goats can’t be totally terrible…

    Since I suddenly have more free time without my regular staple of friends around, I’ve started writing again (in addition to my MLS I have an undergrad degree in English/writing) and have discovered that I actually write some stuff (stuff of the sexy variety, cough) that sells on Kindle pretty well, so suddenly I’m all, woo! writing! when it’d been a really long time since I’d found any enjoyment in it. I’m kind of proud of myself for jumping in and doing what I’d joked about doing for a long time…and it’s actually paying off.

    Also: I have never felt more confident in my kinda weird appearance. I’ve always felt unpretty but somehow in the past year or so, I’ve embraced my looks for what they are and I feel SO. DAMN. GOOD. (It miiiight have helped that one day I looked at a picture of Terry Gross and was like oh my god it’s me in a few years! And suddenly, like magic, I was like, I LOOK LIKE TERRY GROSS I AM AWESOME.) I’m not sure if suddenly gaining some self confidence about something like one’s appearance is worthy of pride, but dammit, it feels like it to me.

    • http://www.snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

      I check on your blog on the regular- love reading your perspective on life :-) And when you start the treehouse B&B, I’ll totally book a weekend!

  • Eenie

    I ran for a regional position in the Society of Women Engineers and got it! (People actually voted for me!) I signed my second internship offer for the summer after the first one fell through spectacularly. I will be moving out of a four bedroom apartment and into a house(rented) with a vegetable garden in two weeks.

    I love this thread.

    • http://weehermione.blogspot.com Hayley

      Being voted for is awesome! :D Yay! Also, I imagine being a female engineer comes with a lot of hard territory (women in tech = hard, etc) so major kudos. :)

      • Eenie

        Accomplishing things I can do. Convincing others I can accomplish things makes me feel like I’m on a whole other level!

  • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

    I am loving both reading these and seeing all of the internet high fives and fist bumps. THIS is how we should be treating each other online! And in real life, come to think of it.

    I am currently proud of myself for having conquered my fear of driving on the left, driving in the rain on Okinawa (everyone makes a big deal of how much slipperier the roads are here, which freaked me out) and driving off base. This week, I found my way to two places out in town. And I made my first friend here! I’m pretty shy, so it’s a big deal for me. I also took my first Japanese language class, which got me excited to learn more. And I’m going to spray paint the secondhand patio furniture I just bought. As soon as it stops raining.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      Good for you!

  • http://www.theplannery.com Katie

    I’m proud that I launched my own business and that it continues to grow. I’m proud that I’m giving myself time to let it grow. I’m proud that I launched my own business in the midst of moving to an entirely new city and buying our first home. I think I’ve handled this year really well and I’m so happy that I’m happy. Change is never easy, but I’ve let myself take the time and let go of some of the worry and let be. Let be. That’s my mantra and I’m loving it.

    I also love my husband’s cooking, the fact that my windows are open right now and spring is here, dancing, reading, listening to girly music when my husband isn’t home, dark chocolate and talking to my sisters on the phone.

    This is a super rad exercise and I love this, too.

    • http://www.snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

      Your website is awesome- congrats on the new business!

  • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

    I just recently completed my first quilt. I have other half finished projects but this one is done and was a huge deal for me as I’d wanted to make a blanket my entire life and now I have and it’s awesome. It feels silly but it’s something that feels huge to scratch off my life list and I found a new hobby I love on the way.

    I’m also super excited because the motorcycle racing league I follow just started their 2013 season. It looks like it’s going to be a really big shake up from the last few years and I have so much fun watching.

    • rys

      Quilting is awesome! It’s what keeps me sane while writing a dissertation, and it’s provided me with a fantastic non-academic community in a college town to boot. Winner all around. Enjoy!

    • Becca

      I felt so good finishing my first quilt!! My first was very simple, my second a little more complicated, but the best part was both were gifts (the second a gift to my fiancé, so I get to keep that one around :)

    • Granola

      I have a pair of mittens still to be knitted. Not quite as involved as quilting, but man will I be so satisfied when I can wear them next winter!

    • http://www.twitter.com/babyinabar Shotgun Shirley

      I love quilting, and it’s a hobby I’m really missing lately (and, well, sewing in general). The little one is rather a time-suck and I’ve been too intimated to start any new quilts. BUT I have a friend expecting and I’ll be making her a baby quilt for sure!

  • Kelly

    I gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby girl Friday morning. My goal was to have no medications or interventions (though of course with the understanding that anything can happen and baby and moms safety and health were of utmost importance). Well, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life physically and mentally, but I did it and I am so proud of myself. I’m also very lucky to have my partner, who supported me through it. I could not have done it without him. And now I have a gorgeous little baby and my world has changed in wonderful ways.

  • Daisy6465

    I’ve been hustling for months applying for jobs and making contacts. I’ve also been talking about that to anyone who will listen (except my co-workers). I’m proud because I have been offered lots of interviews. I’m also excited to be training for my first triathlon, this from someone who was a non-runner 2 years ago. These two subjects are my primary topics of conversation so I am going to pull a 180 on this thread.

    You know what I haven’t talked about/am afraid to talk about? My boyfriend and I just signed a lease on our first apartment together (we move in this summer). And we went ring shopping. I feel funny talking about this to anyone until its “official” but I’m freakin’ excited!!

    • Aubry

      Oh god the “not talking about it until it’s official” – do I ever feel you! Being pre-engaged has a certain kind of torture, as seen in many previous posts I suggest looking up if you haven’t already. But, from all of this lovely community, can I get a jump up and down screaming with excitement! Yay big awesome life stuff!

  • Cas

    I’ve been in a funk lately because I just can’t seem to settle on what I want my career/future life to look like. What to do? Go back to school? Take an internship? Start a business? Stay home and have babies (not sarcasm)? These are all things I’m equally considering.

    BUT! I have to keep remembering that I’m quite successful at my current job, and was recently offered a promotion that would have made me second-in-command in my office. I’m turning it down because DH and I plan to move to a new city in a couple months… but the fact it was even offered is awesome and affirming. Unfortunately the field I work in now is pretty localized to our area, so the move will mean a career change as well. Oh well, further up and in!

    • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

      Me too. To your whole first paragraph.

  • Laura K.

    Thanks so much for this thread! It’s awesome to see the diversity of people we have here.

    I am just about to sign a lease to live off campus next year with a roommate (woo!) during my final year of my biomedical engineering degree. So that’s stressful, but awesome.

    This past Sunday, I ran a Tough Mudder. I am SO proud of myself and it taught me that I’m capable of so much more than I thought I was. Me and the two friends who did it with me are recruiting tons of people to do it with us next year. :)

    In my “free” time lately (free in quotations because there’s no such thing as free time in college), I’ve been doing some sock knitting, always cooking, and reading lots of books from the library (lately, a lot of Beverley Nichols).

  • Amanda

    I’ve gotten back to reading on a regular basis and didn’t realize how much I missed curling up with a good book.

    I moved to Virginia in the fall and its finally starting to feel like home.

    Also my fiance and I are going to look at wedding venues for the first time this weekend and I’m excited!

    • http://weehermione.blogspot.com Hayley

      I moved to Virginia in my teens and it wasn’t until my twenties that I truly fell in love with it. It’s a really lovely state (something I try to remind myself as I settle into a new VA city).

  • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

    I’ve committed myself to learn/practice Spanish using Duolingo. I’ve been working for about two months now and am sometimes able to understand snippets of what’s happening when I listen to the Spanish radio station.

  • Kestrel

    When I first saw this post, my heart dropped a little. Lately I haven’t been feeling proud of anything at all. I often feel like I haven’t accomplished anything in the past 7 years.

    But I am proud of the fact that I realized I’ve been spiraling downward and needed help. I’m seeing a councilor now and I’m trying really hard to no longer lie to my SO and family (I lie out of embarrassment – I try to hide the fact that I’m actually really, really depressed and anxious)

    I’m still at nearly rock bottom, but I think I’m beginning to slowly climb out of the pit.

    • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

      Seeing a councilor is a HUGE thing to be proud of. That is so so hard to do, and YOU did it. Rock on! Being honest with your loved ones is really hard, too. Give yourself time, but remember that being vulnerable opens doors more than it closes. (and listen to Brene Brown!)

      You have made a major step, and even if it only lifts you a a foot off that rock bottom, it’s foot that you didn’t have before. Hang in there!!

  • Alexandra

    I wrote a guestpost about how to plan a canoe trip for Offbeat Home and Life and today they put it up and you know, I’m prouder than I feel like I should be about that. I haven’t written anything before with an audience of more than like, 20. But man, I wrote that and people read it and liked it!

    • http://Www.laughterinthelou.com Emma

      I read and liked it! What a catchy title, I couldn’t resist. And great article, the perfect amount of high level overview but with specifics.

      • Alexandra

        Yay, I’m glad you liked it! There was just someone back when they changed it to Home and Life who commented that they wanted to see an article about how to plan a canoe trip because they didn’t want to bug their expert friends but wanted to get into it. And well, I remember just going out and doing it, and how fun it was, mistakes and all, and about the level of knowledge we had. Plus some of the most obvious mistakes we made.

  • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

    This community is such a source of inspiration and happiness. Thanks to Meg and the whole staff for creating and maintaining this space!

    I am in (what I hope is) the tail end of a few years of transition. Almost two years ago, I moved with my partner from central PA to eastern NE for his graduate studies. For the past nine months, I’ve finally been at a job where I am putting my degree to use, doing communications for a grant program promoting sustainable and efficient energy use in the city.

    Thanks to my commitment to showing up and hustling myself, I’m also working a side gig managing a start-up coworking space. We just had a huge grand opening last Friday with the Chamber of Commerce, and the event was very successful. I’m really jazzed about this gig, because I see it really becoming a position I grow into and grow with for the next few years while my partner finishes school.

    At the same time, I am a constant searcher. Even now, I’m still looking for what’s next career-wise. I am finally feeling more like myself after two years of under-employment, and I’m constantly recommitting myself to finding balance mentally and physically in my life. It’s really frustrating because I know what the right stuff is when I feel it, but the good part it knowing that I’m on the right track and knowing that I’m looking and looking and not settling for less

  • http://Www.laughterinthelou.com Emma

    I have been looking forward to reading this thread all day! I am beyond proud to be leading laughter yoga both as a free meetup group and at a local charter school in their after school program. I also have finally found a good balance of volunteer activities where I can contribute my expertise without sucking up my time. It’s wonderful!

    If anyone ever gets or feels stuck, may I recommend an app called Unstuck? It is so helpful in getting you to identify and pinpoint why you are procrastinating or dreading something, and making a plan to move forward. Plus it’s pretty.

    APW for the win for the warm and fuzzies before bedtime!

  • Georgina

    This is a lovely thread and I’ve enjoyed hearing about all the amazing things other readers have been up to recently.
    Is it possible to nest when you don’t actually have a ‘nest’? As a 30-something newlywed who has been living with her parents since my husband and I moved back to Australia last June I am OBSESSED with houses, house prices, interior design, lifestyle magazines, homewares and reupholstering vintage furniture. I spend my free time fantasising about the day my husband and I will have a home of our own.

    • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

      I like to think it’s possible. I spend a lot of my day watching HGTV and dreaming about what I’d do with our house and furniture if it wasn’t base housing and government-owned furniture. Someday I’ll get to use all of these ideas!

  • Kate

    My weekend job as a dishwasher has quickly morphed into a weekend job as a cook. I am making and baking things I never thought I could, and gaining new skills and expertise every week. I’ve definitely stepped up from my first time frantically Googling “how to make bacon” on my iPhone in the back of the kitchen, and it’s a great feeling! Doesn’t hurt that the kitchen/grocery/nursery I work at is run and staffed by so many inspiring, capable women.

  • Jade

    What am I excited about lately?

    - Getting into a top 5 graduate program for my field (biochemistry)
    - Baking for lab/home (cakes and pies mostly)
    - I get to tutor my younger sister in chemistry!!! (Okay, ridiculously excited about this)
    - Wedding food planning!

    Thankfully my fiancé and I don’t get lumped together too often, we still have our own identities to family and friends.

  • Julia B.

    I started seriously finswimming around this time last year. My first competition was last June, and I had another one this past February. I am 2 seconds faster in 100m heats than I was last summer. I am far from winning any medals yet, but that’s ok. I am beating my own records, which means I’m getting fitter and I have better technique.

    And I just completed a 50 page storytelling handbook for the charity I work with. We’re doing the first training on this next week and it.is.awesome. Seeing it all come together and having the ‘experts’ wanting to use my materials in THEIR work? I am proud.

    And I’m getting married in less than 3 months! Woohoo!

    Thank you for starting this thread – I often forget that I have things to be proud of. :-D

    • http://becomingbrown.wordpress.com Jennifer Lyn

      I have to ask … what is finswimming?

  • Anne

    I loved reading this thread. This year has been big for me. I’ve been living overseas in France (with my French fiance) on and off since 2005. I’ve worked during that time but had a ridiculous amount of holiday (six months paid a year) so I travelled extensively. This year might be our last here in France so I’ve decided to actually enjoy day to day life here .. and I’ve accomplished my goal so successfully that I almost resent the idea of travelling now! I would NEVER have believed that were possible this time last year.

    Through my job I have access to a range of free sports and classes. I’ve taken up Spanish lessons, step aerobics, zumba, salsa, lindy hop and painting classes. I’ve also returned to ballroom dancing after abandoning it ten years ago. My partner and I love to hike together and now that the weather is nicer we’ve started taking long bike rides. I love to bake but I’ve also pushed myself to cook new savoury (as in, not sweet) recipes this year which is a first! I love my life here so much that I’m almost a little sad to be going away to London for four days tomorrow (missing two dance classes, a ball and a Spanish cooking lesson!) but we are going to plan our wedding which is taking place in just three months so that is pretty exciting too!

    Thanks to all the physical activity this is also the smallest I’ve been since I moved to France. Moving here I gained two sizes very quickly from all the croissants and cakes and cheese. But I am back to a size 8 (American size 4?) and I don’t think I’ve ever been this fit in my life. It feels wonderful.

  • http://www.mylifeasherbst.wordpress.com AutumnE

    Wow this post is perfect! Reading the good has been hard for me since April started off with many losses for me, but this thread has reminded me of all the good that is happening.

    On Easter, I launched a website/blog about global spiritual journeys, which is run by myself and my other feminist friend Jenni, in order to talk about travel, God and feminist with people who don’t agree with us. The website is http://www.sophiaspockets.wordpress.com. And we would love you to send us your stuff or links to some of the awesome sites in this thread.

    I also just signed up for my teaching English as a forgien language certification, applied for a joint European Union maters degree program in literature, and wrote my first poetry review which should be published on the Rumpus.net in early May.

    I am still way underemployed but I get paid a little, to write! Just about seven months ago, right before my partner left me, I made business car for myself so I could work as a freelancer. Now I am doing it!

  • http://www.thedaviesdealings.blogspot.com Kara

    I like that my cooking and baking skills are dramatically improving. I get a lot of satisfaction when my loaves of bread rise perfectly and bake up golden brown, and toasting some up for hubby to nibble on. I get immense satisfaction when my kilo of dried beans cooks up just right in my crockpot while I’m at work. I get a high knowing that I can bake bread and cakes and muffins and cook things like spaghetti sauce and fried rice and honey soy chicken (or beef) from scratch.

  • Brenda

    I love this! Reading through the comments made my morning a bit brighter.

    In the last year and a half, I moved to London from the US, started and finished a masters degree (Library Science – love how many librarians popped up on this thread!), got a job I love, got engaged and married and am planning a wedding, and got my spouse visa approved. It’s been a crazy year, and sometimes I tend to focus only on how relieved I am that everything didn’t go wrong, rather than celebrating that things went right. Thanks for reminding me that these are huge accomplishments.

    Also I have discovered a new love of birds. My favourite thing is to go for walks in the park and identify the new types of bird I see. I know, nerdy. But I love it. Birds!

    • One More Sara

      my maternal grandmother always loved birdwatching. One of my favorite things to do with her was to refill her birdfeeders (each had a specific mix to attract different birds!). Then we would sit at the kitchen table, looking out at her yard, just watching the birds. So peaceful. She kept a notebook of all the different birds she saw, and she earned a certificate from her local nature society. As a funny aside, a neighbor’s cat quickly learned where all the birds hang, and would try to hunt them down. My grandma kept a loaded water gun by the door to shoo the cat away. When the neighbor didn’t believe that her cat was trying to eat my grandma’s birds, my grandma filled the water gun with colored water. Then the neighbor had a tie-dye cat.

  • Audrey

    I am working on getting a new job in a new city. While I’ve always been career focused and eager to be a breadwinner, I am ridiculously excited about a part time job in this new place. It’s at a great non-profit, and I would be SO excited to see the impact that this work makes.

    And, since we are hoping to buy(!) in this new city, I keep picturing a light filled studio so I can work on my new passion- Stained glass! (I just completed my first lamp) If the part time job pans out and I can beef up my skills a bit, I see an Etsy store in my future!

    • Audrey

      I also HAVE to mention that I love this post so much because of my Grandma.

      She was married to a Max with a very strong personality, and all of her children, but espcially my dad, Max, also have very strong personalities. So when people met her, they used to say, “Oh! You’re Max’s wife!” “Oh, you’re Max’s mom!” There were a few times when I heard her say “I may be Max’s wife, and I may be Max’s mom, but I am Annie”

      It is so important that we remember ourselves. And from what I’ve read, we are all amazing, smart and tallented.

  • Becca

    Goodness this post is full of amazingness and awesomesauce!

    Right now I am happy about:
    - starting my clinical year of vet school in 3 short weeks!
    - picking up my Kindle again, and getting back to reading for fun
    - deciding to keep my wonderful, friendly, loving but incontinent Manx cat (thinking about getting rid of her was killing me)
    - knowing in just over a year I will be a practicing veterinarian and married to my best friend
    - progressing with training my horse (just finished level 1 of Parelli, any horse people out there? (: )

    - and this amazing blog!

  • SHANON

    Reading. Driving in the car with all the windows rolled down and the sunroof open and some Stevie Ray Vaughn on the tunes. Teaching the fiance about music: Otis Redding, the Eagles, Sam Cooke… I’m currently supporting the household with just my income (while my love finishes his Electrical Engineering degree) from a job that’s not my final resting place…but it’s okay…because as soon as he’s finished it’s so totally my turn. Going back to school double majoring in Art History and Creative Writing.

  • http://www.ruthvincent.com Ruth

    After dreaming of writing a novel ‘someday,’ I finally realized that ‘someday’ was now. And I wrote one. It took me two years, but now I have a rough manuscript to polish and refine. I have more than that – I have the knowledge and confidence that I’m the kind of person that can finish what they start. That gives me a buyount optimism as I start the rewrites. And it gives faith that yes, I will get published. Because I never give up.

    Thank you so much for this thread – I am so proud of all of you, and your amazing accomplishments – gives me hope for the world.

    • Laurel

      I hope to be in your exact spot in two years! Congrats on finishing your manuscript!

  • http://thedilettantista.com/ The Dilettantista

    What is currently making me happy is being super busy at work because I’m directing a big community art event this weekend! I’ll be relieved when it is over but I love seeing the community out and about, buying local art!

    What makes me unhappy is being too busy to read this thread or to comment on it until waaaay too late! Will bookmark it for Monday when the art event is over and when I am taking a day off of work to recover from the long weekend.

    • KC

      Hooray for community and art, and double hooray for putting them together! :-)

  • http://www.sarahhoppes.wordpress.com SarahHoppes

    First off, I LOVE this thread! It’s great to hear about the awesomeness that other people are making!

    My recent BIG successes are all tied in with projects my partner and I have done together, although I’m sure we will both have plenty of personal triumphs to celebrate in our future.

    Three big things:

    1. An international publisher just said they wanted to publish a comic book we created together, that he wrote and I lettered (did the graphic design)!!

    2. A comic convention booked us to teach a panel about writing stories and making comic books, even if you have limited funds and no industry connections, as we did.

    3. We came up with a crazy idea to use our comic skills in our photography business to make nerdy goodness for wedding couples.

    Two personal triumps:

    1. I figured out how to get library books on my kindle, so I’m reading like a FIEND all the time! Last week, I finished three books!

    2. A mysterious joint problem is dissipating because I’ve been carving out portions of my day to excercise and cook healthy meals, and to generally take care of myself.

    • Kate

      Hooray for nerdy goodness! My guy is a comic book collector and one of his fantasies is writing his own. This comic convention wouldn’t happen to be in CA would it?

      • http://www.sarahhoppes.com SarahHoppes

        We’re going a LOT of places this year, but not CA just yet. It’s a goal, though!

        We’re in NYC, and this convention is in Arkansas. If he’s interested in any tips or feedback, or just wants encouragement that it’s totally possible to write his own comic, send him our email: info@darkinkpictures.com. We’d love to talk!

        • http://thedilettantista.com/ The Dilettantista

          Wait you can get library books on your kindle? How did I not know this?

          Congrats on the comic too yaaaay comics.

          • http://www.sarahhoppes.com SarahHoppes

            YES! I was AMAZED by this!

            At least with the Brooklyn Public Library and New York Public Library, there is an ebooks section.

            My mom, in a very small town in Ohio, told me that our local library now has an ebooks section, and you can download for the kindle, and can download mp3s of audio books.

            They make it REALLY easy! You log in with your library card info, pick the books you want to reserve (with similar rules as hard copies of books – 2 week limit, might have to place popular titles on hold, and a limit to how many can be checked out at once.) Once you click “borrow,” it gives you options for the kind of book, and you hit “kindle,” which takes you to the amazon website, where you log in and tell it which kindle you want to put it on. And then it’s just right there on your kindle, waiting for you. It takes like 1 minute more than buying the book, but saves so much money, especially if you just want to read a lot, but they aren’t necessarily books you want to own. (Or if you’d rather own REAL books).

            I am blown away by this technology!!!!!!!!

          • http://thedilettantista.com/ The Dilettantista

            This is the best, I’ll have to see if my library does that. I LOVE to read but I now only read on my kindle because I am trying to cut back on the “stuff” in my house (and I still have three full book cases ungh). Also because I read a lot of epic fantasy and those books are like 1,000 pages and I don’t want to lug that around. However, money! So this would be amazzzzzing. Thanks for the tip!

  • Rachel

    I completely paid off all my student loans 2 days ago

    And I started playing on a women’s hockey league this month. I was really nervous about trying a new sport, and meeting new people in such a vulnerable position (they are all very experienced and I am not). But it has been awesome. The team goes out of their way to mentor me, I am meeting new friends, and my muscles are super sore in the best way. Its a great reminder that pushing yourself into an area you are uncomfortable with can have huge rewards.

  • Holly

    I have a lot of things that make me happy and that I love but I really wanted to share this: I recently started swinging kettlebells (you know, doing more than swinging them around haphazardly). I love it because it makes me feel strong in a superhero kind of way. I feel like a superhero in other parts of my life (strong, capable, smart, and able to outwit my foes – even if the foes for the day are only bills or traffic). I already knew I wasn’t weak. I don’t normally feel like a superhero physically. This weekend I got my first callus. I’m so proud of it!

  • Heather

    Thank you for this post Maddie and for asking us to share.

    I can’t say this enough but the APW community is awesome. I love reading about all of the amazing things you all are doing with your lives. Rock on!
    As for me, let’s see:
    I love poetry-writing it, performing at open mics, reading it, hearing others recite their poetry. I love the sense of community I get from participating in the experience.

    I am learning sign language

    Even though I am pretty tired most of the time, I still love getting up on my own to watch the day break. i love the stillness of that time of day and the fact that no one is talking to me.

    Professionally I am really proud to say that I am working full time while pursuing my PhD in Anthropology. Working full time allows me to pay for school without having to take out loans. I had a really stable job with the government about five years ago, but I felt unfulfilled so I took a pay cut to take another job and go back to school. It is one of the hardest things I have ever done, because it is physically draining to work full time and go to school but I had to do it. it was a now or never moment for me and I am glad I choose to follow my dreams.

    My fiance is really supportive and does so much to make sure I have time to focus on school when I come home. We got engaged this past Christmas-It is funny and kind of annoying but whenever people see me, they first ask how wedding planning is going before they ask about my PhD. And before we got engaged, they would ask when we were getting engaged rather than about how I was progressing in the program. I feel like screaming b/c although I am thrilled to be engaged to a great partner- It is not the only thing going on in my life and frankly I would like to talk about my other accomplishments.
    For example, I presented at my first conference last year and I also one the prize for the best professional presentation at my university’s student research conference….

    • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

      Sign language is wonderful. I studied it throughout college and was immersed in the Deaf community there, but have gotten really rusty in the years since moving away. You’ve reminded me that I want to take a refresher course soon!

  • http://myneuroticgirlfriend@wordpress.com Sarah

    I am captaining a 12-person relay team running non-stop from Huntington Beach (near Los Angeles) to San Diego. It will likely take our team 36+ hours to finish the 200+ mile course.
    Actually, we had 2 runners drop so we’re down to 10 people – gonna be a tough race that way! I’m sharing this info just to share, not to solicit, but we DO need more runners…hint hint…April 19 and 20…

  • Laura

    Thus far this year, I have ran in an 8k, a 10 mile race, and I will run in a 10K on Saturday. I can scarcely believe that I am able to do all of this! I was an asthmatic kid, and was not a regular athlete. But I am discovering that I get so much joy out of learning how to push myself farther, and I’m really motivated by doing this to ensure a healthy future for myself.

  • Heather L

    Professionally, I am in the process of writing my PhD candidacy proposal and finally got my thesis committee organized. I have a poster session this Friday and will be attending a professional meeting (in Hawaii) in the beginning of May.

    I’ve also taken up homebrewing with my partner, mostly mead. In the past week, we’ve been getting material together to launch a blog on homebrewing and cocktailing targeted toward geek audiences. We hope to eventually turn our homebrew hobby into a meadery business.

  • Winter

    First off, APW community: you all are made of awesome sauce, seriously. I’m inspired just reading the comments! Ok here are mine: I’m learning to crochet and enjoy this beginning bit where it all looks wonky but the technique is starting to make sense. I realized this year that my vocation is massage therapy and that I’ll be getting paid (starting next week huzzah new job!) to help people relax and take time to care for themselves. I’ve been growing out my natural, super curly hair for the past 6 years. I know now after a lot of trial and error no matter what the humidity index is today, or whether it’s curly, pressed out or anything in between, my hair will be beautiful (or at least in a cute afro puff on my head. I also really dig watching a good documentary by myself with some buttery popcorn while sitting on my cat-scratched leather recliner that’s perfectly broken in to my happy body. Also, walking with a pedometer on all day and seeing the total steps at the end of the day makes me smile. Thanks for this thread Maddie, it brightened an already good day!

  • Laurel

    I’m getting married in 45 days, but what really keeps me up at night is planning MY future — I’m working towards pursuing my two dream jobs — author or photographer, or both! — sitting behind a desk all day without any natural light is going to slowly drive me insane if I don’t have an exit plan (I wish I realized that before I went to law school, but oh well, can’t figure it all out at once).

  • Amanda

    On Monday I was wearing only garments and jewelry that I had made myself (And I looked kickass). When I realized it it made me really happy :)

  • Lauren

    Oh my gosh. I just spent a long time reading all of these replies! I want to share too :) I am an oversharer so here goes.

    - I am getting married in 80 days! EEK. For the next 12 weekends I have something to do that is wedding-related every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. CRAZY.

    - My fiance and I officially decided to move to Atlanta this August. He got in to his dream Ph.D program and I came to terms with moving away from our hometown, so it was really 99% his decision. And after a lot of talks and tears and squeezing hands, we’re doing it! It means leaving a job I love and the only home I’ve ever known, but it will be a spectacular adventure. There was a post on APW some time back about blooming where you are planted, and that definitely helped me feel better about the whole thing.

    - I was whacked over the head with the realization that I want to go to library school and be a librarian. I am still struggling to pin down what kind of librarian I want to be (legislative librarian is the current thought!) but I am so certain it’s stunning. The epiphany came completely out of the blue, too. I had always said I knew I was going to get my master’s in something, but I didn’t know what and then, suddenly, I knew. It was huge and scary but my family and fiance are being so supportive.

    - I just got an offer to sublet for the time we will be married but won’t have moved away yet. :D

    - I love my job and am so sad I have to leave it in August, but it has been super fulfilling during the short time I’ve been here – and people really seem to value my input!

    - My anxiety is getting under control and I just for the first time told my BFF about it and she was so understanding and helpful. :)

    - Reading these comments have made my day, week and month!

    • http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/10/wedding-graduates-sharon-jason/ Sharon

      I’m an Atlanta native transplanted to the Bay Area and I still miss Atlanta every day. Hope you quickly find your people there, put down roots, and thrive!

    • http://becomingbrown.wordpress.com Jennifer Lyn

      I already replied up way in the thread, but there is an APW Atlanta page on Facebook. Join up there. I’ve been here a year and a half and I miss home everyday, but Atlanta is a good place. The people are nice. I’ll get another meet up going when you’re here and we’ll hopefully start your community.

  • Elaine

    Having so much fun reading these! Late to the game, but I’ll share anyway. After feeling like I spent pretty much every evening on the couch for the first two years of my marriage watching stuff on Netflix with my wonderful husband, I’ve recently recommitted myself to making new female friends, as well as putting more effort into socializing with my existing friends. I’m an introvert, so socializing can seem taxing and a bit daunting, but I can’t believe how much happier I am now!

  • Carisa

    Every day I get to engage college students (mostly women) on issues of gender, race, class, and general privilege. I LOVE that I get to do that, I was born for it. I also love that in May I can extend my benefits to my long term partner. Yay Colorado Civil Unions :)

  • Laura S

    My thesis is published in a academic magazine in my industry! It’s been 1 1/2 years in the making and I’m really excited about it.

    Unfortunately, my wedding is kinda eclipsing it.
    I’ve been so busy that whenever random guests ask “what’s new with you?” events or gatherings, I wind up chatting about something inconsequential or couple-y.

    :sigh:

  • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

    I just want to say that I really, really, really love all the open threads lately. This one in particular is GREAT, but I have enjoyed them all. I hope they continue to be a regular thing around here.

    Thanks for all the work you do, APW staff. You ladies rock. <3

  • Aimee

    Hi! I love my job, I work as a speech pathologist with adults and will be getting certified in a new therapeutic technique this June and I’m really excited! I also love making playlists for anything, in fact the music has been the best part of wedding planning for me! I’m walking down the stairs (my aisle) to More Than This by 10,000 maniacs! I also love love love to run and going to the first ultimate frisbee game of the season this week :) weather permitting. And hot yoga! super sweaty but you feel amazing! I’m also obsessed with our dog, and have been lost and heartbroken since my kindle broke.

    OH! And i’m getting married in 30 DAYSSSSSS!!!!!!!

  • Melissa

    I found out today that the job I applied for–the one that will actually challenge me and push my limits and make me grow even more–is mine! I’m going to be a program manager for the Girl Scouts. I get to write and run programs and use my writing to make a difference for girls and the women around them.

    Oh, and I deep cleaned my carpets and finally got our living room and kitchen decorated in a way I’m happy with, a year and a half after moving in. Now it’s just the bedroom to go!

    AND we got three new fish yesterday: Tony, Cap, and Logan. Most hardcore super-goldfish ever.

  • Marissa

    WOW, these are fun to read!!
    I am collaborating with my director to determine the curriculum for all of our dance studio’s salsa classes. This is wildly fun but also slightly surreal for me. I thought I was going to be a librarian, and instead I am a dance teacher!

  • http://mydnyht.wordpress.com Aurora

    Since I’m on disability for my bipolar disorder, the things that I do are little, but they mean a lot to me. I’ve recently started an exercise routine of sorts – I take a 45 min walk every day and I do 30 min of yoga three times a week. I’ve actually *gained* weight since starting my routine, but I’m surprisingly ok with that. Being that I’m 5’9″, I can easily carry 160. I keep a mean house, am able to get up at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time every day (hey, it’s the little things, and for me, this is a big deal!), I love cooking and making all sorts of delicious vegan meals, and I’m doing a lot of great work in therapy. I also help out with the teen’s choir at the local Catholic church. Oh, and I almost forgot – I blog about my experiences with a mental illness for, y’know, solidarity purposes. The link is in my name. I like the idea of having a deadline set up, so I try to get something out every Thursday. I love the creative process that is writing!

    • http://thehumanehuman.blogspot.com Pippa

      Major fist-bump to you for your super awesome clean-living lifestyle! I know how meaningful and important that can be for someone with a mental illness. Now, off to read your blog!

    • Becca

      Remember: muscle weighs more than fat! You are more fit because of your routine, the weight will come off later :)

  • North Star

    I paid off my student loans this spring & am training to run my first 5K this summer. I’m still reading “A practical wedding” now almost 3 years after my own wedding.

  • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

    This thread is inspiring, thanks APW!

    I have been making some small progress in pursuing my arts career in my husband’s country (in my non-native language). In January after receiving some (more) discouraging grant rejections, I decided to use this year to work even harder and invest even more time in trying to make my dreams a reality. So I took a break from some paid (non-arts-career-related) part-time work to be able to invest more time and energy towards making my ideal arts career happen here, and, funnily enough, I have had 3 gigs in my field that paid enough to be close to what I would have made in the other part-time work. And I submitted another grant application and have other routes and ideas to pursue as well.

  • Jessica

    I don’t know if I ever stopped to think about how many great things I have going on in my life. I get to do so many things that I love!

    -I’m 19 weeks pregnant and FINALLY starting to feel OK again. My husband has basically taken over doing everything for us, without a single complaint, and I’m excited to start pulling my weight around the house again

    -We just bought an apartment and we’re figuring out what we want to do to renovate it before we move in

    -I’m volunteering as a sex-ed teacher for eighth graders

    -I will graduate in August as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, and in the meantime I’m doing family planning and prenatal clinicals

    -I’m directing a production of Julius Caesar with a theater company I really respect, and choreographing the stage fights for the production

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      Yay! Another theatre director! Congrats on the production you are working on.

  • Hypothetical Sarah

    I remember that first post! This is just as good the second time around.

    Three months ago, we moved to a country where the Boy has friends, connections, a job, and speaks the language; I had none of those. But! Every day, I get more functional on my own. After two months of Mandarin classes, I can understand many transactional conversations and I’m picking up more and more when the locals talk. The feedback loop in incredibly quick and gratifying.

    This comment will probably be buried on page 3 but, just in case… are there any other APW’ers in Shanghai?

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      I’m not in Shanghai, but I wanted to say I think it’s great you are having this opportunity and learning Mandarin. Super impressive.

  • http://qian.dreamwidth.org Zen

    I got nominated for a well-respected award in my field! I try to focus on the work and to avoid having the need for validation take up too much brainspace, but it is gratifying to have my work recognised by my peers — and to have something to refer back to when my Jerkbrain goes, “You’re not REALLY a writer because you haven’t made enough pro sales/published a novel/had anything published in x months.”

    And I am working on revisions to a novel and a couple of short stories and the revising is fun and educational (though terrifying) and the stories themselves are not quite as terrible as I feared they would be. \o/

  • Catherine B

    I was thinking I had nothing to add to thing, as my brain is currently consumed with wedding sillys. But! Then I looked at my half marathon training spreadsheet (engineer, what can I say, I don’t make lists I make spreadsheets) and I realized that when I started running 14 weeks ago I was going 2 miles and it was a struggle. Tonight I’m running 8! And in less than 4 weeks, hopefully 13. So cool what the body can do.

  • Ali

    I just had my first first-authored scientific paper published in Physiology & Behavior on Monday, which I am totally amped about, and I am defending my dissertation next week! Cannot believe I’m getting close to being totally done with grad school after 5 years.

  • Laura

    I teach high school science classes for a couple of different of homeschool groups. We only have four weeks left in our spring semester (yay!). I’m excited to be wrapping up my fifth year of teaching. I can’t believe it’s been that long. While April is a crazy month with wrapping things up and making plan for the next school year, I’m excited to finish well. I’m also excited about a slightly slower pace for the summer and the prospect of working on lesson plans for next year.