What I Want for Christmas

If my dad’s side of the family has instilled one value in me — apart from an appreciation of fart jokes, a lack of manners at the dinner table, and unconditional love for each other — it has to be the awareness of how fortunate we are.

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We all love each other, we all have a roof over our head…and, perhaps the most taken for granted of all, we all have food on our plates.

During many Christmases throughout the years, my Grandma and Papa have taken a moment amidst all of the frenzied gift opening to tell everyone to PIPE DOWN! and listen to them describe the gifts they were most proud of purchasing that year on behalf of the Hanzlik Family.

A flock of chicks, a heifer, two goats, three sheep…

In our earlier years, we were too preoccupied with our shiny new toys or matching gifts (Grandma used to go to Old Navy and buy the same fleece sweater or beanie for all 15+ of us, in varied colors and sizes…lol) for Grandma and Papa’s speech to really sink in. But somewhere in there, as I grew older (and wiser, and better looking 😉 ), I began to realize the importance in what my grandparents did every year.

Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.

My grandparents love charities. But I’d venture to guess that Heifer International is my Grandma’s favorite. Continue reading

Giving Thanks

This year, more than most years, I feel like I have a lot to be thankful for.

I remember looking back on 2013, feeling pretty lost, and thinking, “I began this year in a relationship and employed, and I am ending it single and without a job.” Of course, this was a little pessimistic of me, being that I had been hired just before Christmas and scheduled to start my new job mid-January.

I’ve mentioned my feelings about this before, but having hard times really makes you appreciate when things start to go your way. That, plus recent family illness, make it pretty easy for me to identify what I am thankful for this year. Continue reading

Life Lately

Hello and welcome to this month’s installment of “Katie is a Horrible Blogger”.

Last we left off, I was fresh off a tough, yet fun, half marathon in San Francisco. After that race, I was sore for a good 3 days before I even attempted to exercise (with the exception of a couple of games of Ultimate Frisbee, which are nothing to sneeze at!). I’m not gonna lie, guys…I used the “but I just ran a half marathon!” excuse to avoid exercise for a while. We’re talkin’ maybe one short run and one gym trip per week for the 2 weeks that followed.

With the start of the new month (which SERIOUSLY came out of nowhere, amirite?) I’ve been trying to get myself back into the swing of things, with regular gym trips, apartment cleaning, and cooking lunches and dinner. I guess while I’m at it, I can probably fit blogging in there too, eh?

Enjoy this collection of photos from the month of October. If I realized one thing while putting together this post, it was that if I’m too busy to blog, it probably means I’m having a great time doing other fun stuff 😉

Continue reading

My 26th Year in Photos

Today, I turned 26. This time last year, I wrote about how I was working through what I called my “quarter life crisis”.

During most of 2013, I was deeply unsatisfied with several aspects of my life. Luckily my ongoing health issues started to clear up…But after I ended a relationship which had been unhappy for far too long, I was left facing the fact that I hated my job.

It affected every aspect of my life. I was an administrative assistant at a small, under-performing lobbying firm, and I felt underutilized, like my brain was stagnating. To make matters worse, I had a supervisor who knew I didn’t want to be there — and didn’t want me there either.

In what should have been an extremely difficult period, I spent approximately 10 weeks unemployed. But unlike my unemployed post-college phase, this was about opportunity and carving my own path. I created endless To-Do lists, interviewed for several positions, worked at Macy’s for 2 days (ha), and began training for my first half marathon.

On January 15th, I began my new job — a full-time, paid, 6-month internship at a well-respected public affairs firm. 9 months later, I have grown, gotten a contract extension, learned, failed, succeeded, and last month I was offered a full-time position with the firm. I could not be happier about where I landed.

I’m very aware of the fact that none of my successes of the last year would mean nearly as much if they didn’t happen after epic failures. Having a job I love means so much more knowing firsthand how miserable it is to dread going to work every day. Being in a healthy, functioning relationship feels so much better knowing how emotionally draining a dysfunctional one can be.

I am 100% certain that I have created my own happiness this year. And it’s all because I’ve lived by the philosophy I described in last year’s birthday post: Do what makes you happy. Don’t do what is safe. Don’t do what is expected of you. Hell, don’t even do what’s responsible. Do what will bring you satisfaction, be it temporary or long-lasting.

My original intent was to post a photo from each month of my 26th year…I narrowed it down to about 15. Enjoy! Continue reading

Pre-Birthday Weekend in Photos

There are no words to describe the gratitude I’m feeling for my loved ones after this weekend. I think it and say it all the time, but it’s true: I’m the luckiest girl!

My 26th birthday is in a couple of days (yep I’m a baby!), and unlike last year when I had a big ol’ neon themed pub crawl to celebrate early, this year I have been a little more low key about my plans. 26 just doesn’t seem as cool as 25, right? 25 was the last milestone age — now that I can rent a car, what else is left?!

I may not have had anything big on the radar, but I quickly learned on Friday evening that there were other plans in store for my pre-birthday weekend… Continue reading

What My {Teacher} Mom Has Taught Me

Today, and this past week, mark two very important (Hallmark-created) holidays for which I’d like to take a minute to commemorate.

Teacher Appreciation Week and Mother’s Day.

I am fortunate to have been blessed with a wonderful mother, who just so happens to also be a teacher. Continue reading

Healthy Grocery Shopping on a Budget: May Check in!

So……… the big B word is bout to rear its ugly head again.

That’s right – it’s budget time.

I didn’t do an official “budget check-in” for the month of March…..Stuff happens.

I mentioned it in passing in my “If We Were Having Coffee…” post.

Just like in February, I was really close to breaking even during March. However, my monthly budget is actually $300-$400 less than I make each month, so ideally I should be saving that much. I spent a little bit more this month than last…Regardless, I am still $1,000 less than the levels I was spending in November-January.

And so it goes…..

April was actually not too bad. I just about broke even again, which means I’m still spending much less than I was last fall! However, I started to realize that my lifestyle was changing from the very first budget I set for myself in January when I started this whole ordeal…and even from in February, when I modified it to more realistically reflect my spending habits.

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Even though I was within my budget (in the grand scheme of things, if you don’t include my Blend fee and airfare, I spent $100 less than I earned this month, not including a big tax refund. Cha ching!)…I was waaaayyy off in some of my spending categories and I noticed a couple of trends in April.

First of all, I went down to playing dodgeball only 1 night per week and have have been staying in a lot more and not drinking at bars. Hence the extra moolah in the Entertainment category. However, the reason that I’ve been spending less at bars…is because I’m spending more at home.

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The “Misc” category is where I put any non grocery purchases (alcohol, nail polish binges at CVS, etc. etc.)…It’s wayyy cheaper for me to split a bottle of $4-$5 wine between a couple of nights than to go out and spend $5 per drink at the bar over the course of a few nights. Plus I am just l-a-z-y 😉

For reference, here’s the budget I was going off of. That “entertainment” budget of $120 was a combination of dodgeball bar and “activities”:

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Another area that seems to be in flux is my eating out, or “restaurants” budget. For someone who almost never eats out, going $15 over budget was surprising…However, check out my purchases:

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Over half of it is coffee!

On days that I am really busy and am tempted to eat my lunch at my desk, I try to follow my own advice and escape for at least a few minutes to walk around outside for a bit. The easiest way to do that is often to walk over to Starbucks, Ambrosia, or La Bou and grab a coffee or tea.

SO, keeping in mind all of these changes, I once again edited my budget to reflect my spending habits. I am allowing myself more money for Miscellaneous purchases, a little less for bars, and I’m going to try to limit myself to $25/month at Starbucks. The main reason for this number is that I can easily reload my Starbucks app with $25 at the beginning of each month!

 

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One big thing that will affect my budget going forward is my new gym membership at California Family Fitness. I decided to take the plunge and join a gym for a few reasons that I think make it worth the cost:

  1. Convenience. The gym is 3 blocks from my office, meaning I can go in the morning, work out, shower, then get to work! And hey, if I use their shampoo and conditioner I may even save money there 😉
  2. Variety. Since I left my old job (which had a gym on-site), I have been focusing mainly on running 3 times per week and I do “strength training” 1-2 times. However, I never feel like I get a great workout when I use my little hand weights in my living room, and I am extremely limited in what I can do. I would like to start including more variety in my workouts and pushing myself harder in non-running activities. I did my first ever group fitness class yesterday, and I loved it!
  3. Human Interaction. With the exception of one run with Chris and one with my friend Liz, all of my half marathon training runs were done alone. I work out in my living room alone. I like to work out alone because I am pretty good at self motivating, but I am by no means an introvert and I love being around people. Even working out by myself in the middle of a gym full of people would be an improvement over what I’ve been doing!

So, there’s my official justification for forking out $60/month when I have a limited budget. I think I am going to aim for 2 gym workouts, 1 group class, and 2-3 runs per week. It sounds like a lot, but I figure I’d like to be there 3x a week to make the price worth it!

I will do my best to keep y’all updated at the end of this month on how I do with the new budget. Till then, stay tuned and have a great weekend!

How has your budgeting/spending been lately? I’ve reeeeally had to fight the urge to spend all my money on shopping for new spring clothes. I’ve been pretty good about staying away…unless it’s on sale 😉

Do you belong to one or more gyms? Do you think you get your moneys worth?

Five Word Friday: Life Lately

I’ve been MIA. Here’s why: IMG_5158 You already know my Sundays. IMG_5539 My weekdays are fun too! IMG_5206 Wednesday morning weights. The usual. IMG_5362 COURTSIDE seats: Kings versus OKC newdesk Moved up front at work. IMG_5555 Food Should Taste Good RULES! IMG_5478 West Sacramento Caturday Bike Gang IMG_5415 Spring weather + spring clothes = Love. IMG_5628 Easter church selfies with Mom IMG_5662 Feed fish, check. Next: abs.

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My job has its perks 😀

(for non-Californians, that’s Gov. Jerry Brown)

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Describe your life lately in 5 words!

If We Were Having Coffee…

Hello, my little long-lost blog… it’s been a while!

After being blown away by all of your support about my half marathon, then getting my act together and posting my first recipe in months…..I went radio silent.

I’m not one to post religiously regardless of whether I actually have anything interesting to say; I like to go for quality over quantity, you know?

Sometimes, a girl is just busy. Said busy-ness can take shape in the form of working late, or running around to different meetings every other night…And sometimes after a long day at work, being ‘too busy to blog’ just means I need to veg out while watching How I Met Your Mother and Parks & Rec for 4 hours.

Let’s catch up, shall we? Let’s go on a virtual coffee date.

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If We Were Having Coffee…

…I would tell you about the afterglow of my half marathon.

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Even weeks later, I’m still trying to hold on to the feeling of accomplishment and elation that I had after the race. This is the best solo picture I got from the race photographers- can you tell I was approaching mile 13 and desperate to finish? Ha! I was super impressed that there’s even video of me finishing – I come in on the right side of the screen around :20 then cross the finish line and pretty much bounce right back off screen.

…I would tell you how excited I am for spring & summer.

Although I got really lucky that I trained for my race from December-March in mild conditions with barely any rain, I am more than ready for some spring weather! During race weekend and the weekend after, we had beautiful 75 degree days, but it’s been rainy and cold ever since.

I’ve been pretty lucky with my seasonal allergies this year (knock on wood)…Sacramento is NOTORIOUS for being terrible in the allergy department. Hopefully my luck holds up, because I’m making the switch from indoor Dodgeball to outdoor Ultimate Frisbee next month and I can’t wait to run around outside!

…I would admit to you that I totally went over budget last month.

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Just like in February, I was really close to breaking even during March. However, my monthly budget is actually $300-$400 less than I make each month, so ideally I should be saving that much. I spent a little bit more this month than last…Regardless, I am still $1,000 less than the levels I was spending in November-January.

Hosting Tyler during race weekend definitely meant dining out more often than usual. Plus, I have been really busy at work, which means that some days I don’t have time to go home for lunch. ALSOOO, the rainy weather has made taking Lyft a much more desirable option than walking or biking in the rain lately. Good thing it’s affordable! (especially if you sign up using my code 😉 )

I’m hoping that cutting out one night of dodgeball from my weekly routine, as well as drinking less and avoiding more than one Chai Latte splurge per week will keep me on the straight and narrow budget-wise!

…I would ask you which race I should run next!
rainy 9 miler / sunny 8.5 miler!

rainy 9 miler / sunny 8.5 miler!

I have been keeping up with the same running routine as usual- I run 3-4 miles on Tues/Thurs, and I don’t know if I will ever give up my Saturday morning long runs! I ran 8.5 miles last weekend, and 9 rainy miles this past weekend.

I want to run another half marathon in the fall, and the top contenders at the moment are all in October: the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in SF, and two possible Rock n’ Roll Half Marathons – in San Jose and Los Angeles. HMMM!

The only downside of doing a race in October is the fact that I’ll be training in the Sacramento heat in August and September. Typically, we get a good dozen or so 100+ degree days during the summers here…training in that heat would definitely present a challenge!

…I would probably talk your ear off about boys.

I’m not gonna lie – I talk about boys a lot. (Just ask Carly and Becky!) But for the sake of my own privacy, and that of any guys I date, the most personal details you’ll get on this little bloggy blog are about my black toenails from running or how much I pay for rent each month. 😉

Anyway, I had a realization last week: I have been single for 9 MONTHS now. For the first year+ that I had this blog, I was in a serious relationship. My ex was a big factor in why I started blogging, and a lot of my early posts involved meals I made for us.

I’m proud to say that I’ve achieved a lot of personal growth in the last 9 months. However, like any single girl in her mid 20’s, I often have frustrations about guys and dating…

Why do they ALL send mixed signals? Why is every guy on Tinder revolting? That text was totally flirtatious, right?! I mean, he used a winky face and everything. Is there a real Ted Mosby out there, and if so, why haven’t I found him yet?

IMPORTANT QUESTIONS, people.

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So that’s a little of what’s been running through my mind lately.

If we were having coffee, what would be on your mind?