Twiiter: @Cathytrails

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Hope to see you there!!


A Special Someone's Birthday is Today.

Just 8 months ago, this sweet princess entered my life.
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It's been such a grand opportunity getting to know this special little lady. Sometimes I am taken back by how recently she came into my life. Perhaps it is because of the numerous memories we have created as a family in such a short amount of time...our first family roadtrip (Disneyland - I promise the pictures are coming soon!)...making cake pops, eating Pho at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant across the street, and everything in between that make it seem as if we had all met years ago..

Like everytime she tells me, "Cathy! You are a very funny girl!" Or when she tells her father, "I like the way Cathy says 'bbq ribs' - - it's funny!' Or "Do the funny zebra teacher voice" when we read the Llama Misses Mama book, it warms my heart!

Happy birthday, Baby Girl! I hope you enjoy the mint ice cream-with-gummy-bears-and-sprinkles-mixed-in-topped-with-crushed-oreos-and-chocolate-cake ice cream birthday cake!


Don't Forget...

PhotobucketI'm thinking about bringing back Makeover Mondays. Remember those?

The reason why I stopped doing those was because I wasn't getting as much joy when I felt I had to do it every single Monday.

However, I'm starting to miss it a little bit. Maybe I can start doing these once a month and then gradually work up to twice a month. That way, it won't be such a chore and add a positive something-something to start off the week with a bang.

What do you guys think? Should I start bringing it back?

Have you read the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin? Interested in a free copy? Check out my Facebook/Cathytrails page, give it some love and I may pick a random fan sometime soon ;) 


Weekend Linkage (+ fun updates)


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Some of my fave pins from this past week
First off, I FINALLY updated my "about me" section. I hope you like it!

I didn't sleep much this past week but it's all good. The weekend is here and I plan to sleep in at some point. School has been going well. It excites me. I think I've finally figured out the secret to finding your passion.

It's when you feel ridiculously happy and fulfilled from learning something new in a field/industry/interest/hobby you take pride in. I think this is the equation:

{(passion in something + growth + pride) x 7 = that ridiculously happy feeling I was talking about}

I hope you're ready for some fun links that will crack a smile, make you ponder, and learn a little bit that will benefit your life in some way.



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Are you a productivity junkie like me? Always looking for ways to be more efficient? BOOM.

Remember that book the Secret? Well, she believe there's NO secret.

Hustlin' hard but can't seem to catch a break? Maybe these 50 tips can help.

Heard about green smoothies but unsure on how to start blending? Help is here.

I'm not a fan of weight-loss shortcuts so I'm curious to see what you think of this extreme trend.

Not doing so well on your New Year's Resolutions? Perhaps you can make a goal to not have goals?

I need to try this move tonight.

Happy weekend! 


4 Blog Resources That Saved My Life

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Via Pinterest

1. Pugly Pixel: easy to follow Photoshop tutorials and freebies from a blog design enthusiast

How to make your writing look Awesome using a WACOM tablet.

Make your pictures pop out!

Free Photoshop patterns.


2. Silly Grrl: full of fun blogging/design series from a circus performer/freelance web designer


Six weeks to a better blog feature.


10 Quick Ways to clean up your blog.

How to remove image shadows in blogger.


3. wonder forest: web designer/graphic designer that has easy tutorials, tips galore, and inspirational posts


Her Blog Wonderful E-book I’ve been eyeing.


How to make a banner using photoshop.

Making your own Favicon.



4. Picmonkey: If you’re new to editing images and a stranger to Photoshop, this is a great start. Best part? It’s free!

Adding Text to your photos.

An overall tutorial on touching up photos.

A long list of Picmonkey tutorials.


I hope these resources help you as much as they have helped me with my personal blogging journey. I'm still learning everyday and plan to share with you whatever I think can be helpful. If there is anything in particular you want me to blog about, elaborate on, or talk about..please don't be shy!! 

Have a great Thursday, everyone! 




Happy 21St my brother!

Photobucket Today my brother turned 21; no longer a boy and now a man. If it was up to me, he would always be 10 but time won’t permit that. No matter what, I’ll always see him as my little brother - - even when he’s in his 30s, 40s, or 80s. It’s strange because just yesterday we were dancing in front of the tv together to NSYNC and Backstreet boys...doing our best to memorize their cool dance moves. It was only yesterday when you let me put black eye makeup on you and make you look emo/gothic. 

And now, he’s all grown up! Photobucket
21 reasons why I love my sweet little brother, Dennis:

1.    He’s sweet as can be!

2.    Always willing to listen and let me rant his ear off.

3.    Super smart! He has been teaching himself how to use a fancy camera for many, many years.

4.    Does his very best to listen to my sisterly advice without getting annoyed.

5.    Says ‘I love you’ back every time I say ‘I love you, brother’

6.    Super reliable. He’s always been there for me.

7.    Always follows through when we have plans and doesn’t flake out on me.

8.    He always shows me new songs that I end up obsessing over.

9.    Can vent about the same pet peeves (flaky people, offensive stereotypes, and people who are afraid of trying new foods…just to name a few)

10.  We share the love for basset hound dogs and no other breed.
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11. No matter how much time has passed, we can always pick up where we last left off when catching up.

12. Can act like we’re still little children when we hang out (like the time we went to Walmart and Target on Black Friday and ran around the whole store like maniacs)

13. But can also have deep conversations about life like two adults.

14. He doesn’t avoid my uncomfortable questions such as ‘are you dating anyone?’ and provides me honest answers.

15. He has my back and I have his.

16. He’s made me laugh so hard to the point of driving me to tears.

17. He is the friendliest guy and has a huge heart.

18. He will bend over backwards for the people he cares about the most.

19. Despite the age difference (he is 21 and I am 28), we have always gotten along. 

20. We rarely fight and can’t even remember the last time we got into a disagreement.

21. He’s my one and only brother; my best friend. Someone I will always love, protect, and look after!

I hope you had an amazing day!!!


Love,

Your big sister.


Why I'm Going Back to School

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I have a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Master of Science in Psychology.

You might be wondering why someone like me is going back to school - - especially after spending about 7 years in college already. Fortunately, I have a well-thought out, really great answer for you.
Are you one of those people that knew exactly what you wanted to do right after high school?


Yeah, me neither. I knew I wanted a Bachelor’s degree as well as a Master’s - - but the subject matter was always a hit or miss. But then…

On a clear, sunny day, the epiphany came to me. After spending countless amount of hours teaching myself how to customize my blog (while oogling over gorgeous web design layouts and wishing I can create something like that), I realized how passionate I have become about web design. And how much I would regret it if I didn't go for it, all the way, 100%. Sooo....


Here I am. Blogging about my first day in my web design program. Am I nervous? Yes. Scared? A little. Excited? Yes! Wish me luck! 


Let’s Chat: Have you ever felt like you missed the boat for going after your passion? Did you find your passion a lot later in life too? If so, what steps did you take? What factors helped you to determine it was your passion rather than just another new interest?


Weekend Links

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Pinterest
Wahoo! I'm in Disneyland! What's your favorite ride at Disneyland? Mine is, hands-down, the Haunted Mansion.

I hope your weekend is going swimmingly so far. Until then, have fun reading the links I've found from this past week!

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Some very important considerations for this  new year. 

A fun post to read about making things happen

Do you ever find yourself doing things you don't want to do? Then read this

A gorgeous piece about life moving by too fast, but using that to your advantage. 

Getting tired of your blog header but don't know how to customize it? Your solution here

Thanks for reading!!! 




Currently

Watching:

Nothing in particular. Between working full-time (sometimes more), writing, reading, eating, sleeping, working out, quality time, and cleaning - - it’s tough to sit still and watch tv. My “watching” habits are pretty inconsistent and I actually like it that way. I’m proud to say that tv takes up a very small part of my life.

There have been two movies I have watched recently that deserves attention, one in theatres and one on DVD. Les Miserables - powerful, moving, emotional, action-packed and full of mind-gripping/heart-wrenching sorrow...in other words, watch it.

Killer Joe. If I had to use one word to describe it, it would have to be twisted. A good twisted, though. If you’re in the mood to watch something unexpected, a little dark (oh wait, I mean a lot of dark), and curious to see Matthew Mcconaughey play a different role altogether - this one’s for you!
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Pinterest
Listening to:

Songs on repeat on the radio. Who’s also not a fan of the radio but also can’t help listening to it while driving? Since getting a new car that has a working CD player - - I think it’s finally time to start building up a new music collection. I’m taking any suggestions!

A few songs that I can’t stop listening to: “Scream and Shout” by Will I Am and Britney, “Clique” by Kanye West, and I still cannot believe I’m not sick of this yet.


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Pinterest
Planning:

A good number of things. Did you catch my post before this one? That should give you a very clear idea of what I’m planning to accomplish this year. I’m anxious to start my first class in Web Design in a few weeks so I can finally start expanding my mind with more tools and technical skills. I’m planning on being more focused on my career and financial planning more than ever so if you know of any financial gurus (or website design mentors), don’t be shy and let me know. I’m always looking to pick other people’s brains for more ideas on how to plan, plan, plan.
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Thinking about:

What I’d actually be like to have a freelance career. I’d imagine it would require a whole ton of self-discipline, amazing time management skills, and the ability to disregard all distractions. I’d like to think that I would be pretty good at it but because I’ve never had a freelance career - I wouldn’t really know.

I’ve also been thinking about the ongoing discussions of gun control in the US, the pomodoro technique, how anyone can settle for less than what they deserve, and the habit of making excuses. Personally, I don’t feel taking guns away from people will take away violence. In the movie Killer Joe - a guy smashes another guy’s face in with a pumpkin puree can. Does that mean we should take away canned goods? The pomodoro technique has been helping me stay focused while dutifully checking things off my list (look it up, it’s pretty helpful!). People who settle for less...it’s a story that I’ve heard in varying degrees, the girl who stays with her abusive man because she feels that’s the best she can do; the guy who is too scared of leaving his drug addicted girlfriend because he is afraid of being alone...and would rather be with someone bad than be on his own...Oh, and when people tell me they can’t do this because (insert common excuse here), I just want to cringe.


Working on:

Finding the right eating plan. So far, I’m on week 2 for not eating bad carbohydrates for 5 days (monday - friday) and then whatever I want on the weekends. During those 5 days, I’ve been doing my best to have as many green smoothies as possible (spinach, kale, dark chocolate, blueberries, apples - -whatever it is that will make it taste not so greeny) so that I can reap the benefits of these super foods. I’m working on finding the right balance in my day to be as productive as possible (I have the tendency to go, go, go and when four hours pass by - the exhaustion hits hard...I need to work on taking more breaks).

Making me happy:


This.
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My brother holding the new puppy Nikki Minaj

Just the thought of buying a new book. DISNEYLAND!!!! Paid holidays from work. Having my boyfriend warm up my freezing hands. Wrapping my cold hands around a hot cup of tea. Eating pizza on the weekends and not feeling an ounce of guilt. Spending time with immediate family as well as my own. Dark chocolate covered almonds.

I want to thank you Danielle and Megan for the inspiration for this type of post.


My New Year's Goals (Official)


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One word.

Growth.


That was the only word that kept coming back to me when I asked myself to pick a “one-word theme” for the New Year. After reading Gretchen Rubin’s books on happiness and feeling oh-so inspired from all of her ambitious revelations, I decided to start the tradition of giving each year a theme.


Why growth? After reviewing all of my goals (from revamping my wardrobe to working overtime to starting web design school) they all seemed to relate to growth or progression. Without further ado, I’m going to share with you how I came up with my goals and what they consist of, broken down in life areas/categories.


The Process:


The first thing I did was reflect back on 2012 and took pride in what I actually accomplished. You can read about my accomplishments from 2012 here.


I thought about the wisdom I have gained from the previous year and made sure I was taking that into account while creating new goals. 


I then came up with a way to choose the right goals to help me prioritize all of my goals and eliminate ones that wasn’t going help me grow the way I want to grow this year. Finally, I categorized specific goals under a category to keep it well-balanced.

2013 Goals:


Family/Home:
-Try new activities together like Disneyland (coming up in just a few weeks; will write more about that later)
-Get familiarized with my Shutterfly account to create family photo albums at least twice this year
-Be a positive + strong female role model for Baby Girl
Career:
-Start Web Design school on 01/21/13 (already got the ball rolling!)
-Learn something new (outside of school material…such as Photoshop layering…creating a drop shadow…or html) - - as long it is web design related.
-Foster continued creativity through sites like Pinterest, inspiration boards, and bookmarking anything that speaks to me.


Blog:
-Create a new blog header
-Customize layout
-Get better at responding to comments
-Schedule blog posts in advance (preferably one month – that’s what I’ll aim for) instead of scrambling to post something on the very same day
-Create a monthly schedule (blog posts, commenting, relationship-building, etc)


Personal:
-Establish rules for my wardrobe ; if I haven’t worn it in 6 months, it’s going out (this rule won’t apply to formal wear)…more black and white clothes + splashes of color from my shoes and accessories…take better care of my clothes (+ that means actually making a trip to the dry cleaners instead of washing it normally and crossing my fingers it doesn’t shrink)
-Read at least one book each month (outside of school)
-Start writing for a book
-Update makeup collection (and tossing that too-bright turquoise eyeliner that makes me look like an alien) and continue to update every six months
-Create new folders in my email account. I’m tired of having everything being marked as important or not - - needs to be more specific.
-Update resume (this needs to be done at least twice a year!)

Health/Fitness:
-Take vitamins daily
-Complete a detox program such as this (insert link from Skinny Confidential)
-Figure out how to use the Gym Boss timer my brother got me for Christmas
-Run a mile in 10 minutes or less
-Try Crossfit once this year. And if I like it, I may increase that to two!


Relationships:
-Have a lunch/dinner with my brother at least once a month to catch up on life, be a mentor for him, and maintain our sibling friendship. We call those lunches or dinners “brother-sister” time.
-Go out and meet with old or new friends at least once a month (As of late, I’d rather curl up with my blanket and read a book accompanied with some tea - - but I realize that doesn’t help my social life…at all)
-Take my parents out to the movie theaters more often


Financial:
-By the end of year, have a specific dollar amount of money in my savings account by having monthly goals
-Find opportunities to save money like bringing lunch to work…reviewing my bank’s account history to double check unnecessary fees…overtime, overtime, overtime.


I truly believe by holding myself accountable to these goals will help me grow in a way that will make me proud, happy, and joyous. However, even if I struggle, don't accomplish everything on this list - - I promise not to beat myself up over it.

No matter the struggle, always get back up.


Weekend Links

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Pinterest via Chic
No bad carbohydrates (white rice, white pasta, processed foods, sugar) for five days straight (monday - friday for me) and then eat whatever I want on saturday and sunday. It's officially the first weekend on this new eating plan and let's just say my taste buds are loving it today. And when I say 'eat whatever I want...' - - I certainly don't encourage 'carb-binging' or anything crazy like that.

Be sensible. But reward yourself.

Has anyone ever tried an eating plan like this before?

In less than an hour, I'm selling a car I have literally owned for almost 10 years. It's a relief. Is this what growing up feels like? Whatever it is, it's a really good feeling.

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Dig the font I used for the photo above? I got it for free

Missed the pro blogger event again? Yeah, I did too. But this girl went and heard 9 Incredible things

Did you read 50 Shades of Grey? I didn't but alway wondered why it's such a big hit for women.

Didn't enjoy my weekend links post this time? Here's an even better one with much more cooler links, promise!





5 simple ways to enjoy your everyday


Photobucket 1. Get in touch with old pals for happy hour. 
Photobucket 2. Take note of strange + beautiful surroundings. Photobucket
3. Have a decadent lunch with loved ones on Sunday. Photobucket 4. Not worry about getting overdressed on a Monday. Photobucket 5. Most importantly, take time out of a hectic day to do what you love.

Revamping my Facebook page and Twitter profile is always a mood-booster too - - and worth the many many hours spent on it.

What are some ways that help you enjoy your daily life? 


9 Best Reads for Weekend Links

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Pinterest via Caitlin
Sometimes I wish I can experience living in a different decade; the 20s for its swing, cropped bobs, and fringe-y outfits and the beginning of Chanel...the 40s for the Hollywood Classics, Disney, knee-length skirts and satin gloves.

But I can't deny how much I love accessing the Internet in our time. So much to read, so much to learn, not enough time!!!

As I'm typing this up, while watching the Fresh Beat Band with baby girl, waiting for the laundry to finish, and debating if I should experiment with the Pomodoro Technique this week, here are my favorite reads from this past week!

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The strange resemblance between the two is super uncanny. Do you think she'll look like him when she's 50-60? 

A genius idea about treating yourself right all year!

I don't think I could ever be as regimented as him. It's admirable how militant he is about the 12 Rules

Don't think you'll succeed at changing your career? Read this first before you give up. 

Still not sure of what to accomplish for 2013? Check out 1, 2, 3, and 4 for some ideas. 

A quote with 100% truth. 




Choosing the Right Goals for the New Year

I don’t know if you already know this about me but I love making lists for everything. Groceries, gift ideas, blog posts, work, hopes, dreams - you name it, and I can 99.9% guarantee you that I’ve already drafted a list for it. Ask me what kind of New Year’s resolutions I plan on accomplishing this year and I can name off at least twenty in under 5 minutes. I tend to do this most every year and have recognized something terribly awful with this strategy.

Coming up with a million and one goals, although admirable, is not only unrealistic but almost counter-productive. Anyone can make a list of goals but what about goals that actually hold value?

Originally, I had planned to post my 20+ goals for 2013 today but that was when I realized how important it is to 1) Prioritize your goals, and 2) Evaluate the value behind accomplishing that goal. As a result, I have come up with a list (go figure) of tips on how to choose the right goals that will make you happy and proud.

1. Ask yourself, ‘What have I always wanted to do but never thought was possible?’

2. Fill in the blank for the sentence below:

When I picture my life twenty years later and do not accomplish (insert goal here), then I will have major regrets. (hint: whatever goals you came up here, it’s probably really important to you and does not need to get pushed aside any longer)

3. Work backwards. Ask yourself, ‘What must I accomplish by December 31, 2013?’ and then determine the next best step (tiny goal that leads to the big goal).

Example:

Accomplishment: Publish a book for the first time ever.

Next step: If you have a friend that is a published author, set up a coffee date to pick his/her brain.

4. What area in your life needs some work and how important is that life area to you? Maybe you’re tired of the same old crowd, want more positive friends, and feel a new social network will boost your confidence. Whatever life area it may be (family, personal, health, career), if it  already has a large impact (positive or negative) on your happiness, create some goals that will improve it overall. Example: Having a strong relationship with my family members is very important to me. Some goals could be to spend at least 30 minutes on the phone with each family member, each week or creating a family photo album for each season.


5. What have you learned this past year and how can you apply it to 2013? Personally, the year 2012 taught me to not let the 'what ifs' hinder my dreams and aspirations. I plan to use this philosophy while working on my goals; essentially reminding myself that fear of failure is not a valid enough reason to not try.


I hope these tips help you create goals that make sense for you, lead you to more happiness, and most importantly, give you something to be proud of! 



Interview with Savvy and a happy new year!

Photobucket Pink champagne + macaroons + truffles = true love.

Check out my interview with Savvy here!

Pretty much bared my soul and I think my answers to her thought-provoking questions will give you a better idea of who I am.

I hope you had a lovely New Year's Eve and ring in the new year with lots of optimism! 


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