Sunday, July 25, 2010

post-bar aspirations

Despite the Bar being next week, the MPRE in 2 weeks, and even a busy August full of plans to enjoy the remaining bits of summer, I'm already thinking about things I want to do and accomplish once September hits.  So much has been sucked out of me this summer that I'm really looking forward to getting my life back on track.

Here are some aspirations for the remainder of this year:

~ I need to hit the gym.  I have a 3-year gym membership that's collecting dust and this Bar stuff hasn't helped with the weight I needed to lose before I started the summer.  Ideally, I'd like to lose 30 pounds.  Realistically, I'd like to lose 10-15.  I miss my cardio machine and rocking out to my iPod.  Really.

~ Earlier this year, I bought a sewing machine.  And with it's god-awful instructions and our inexperience, neither me nor my sister could figure out how the hell to use it.  It, too, is now collecting dust and that is surely a shame for two crafty people like us!  Somehow, I must learn how to use it so that we can make amazing clothes, pillowcases, plushies, bags, many awesome things!  (By the way, if you have a favorite sewing book that helps beginners with such things, please feel free to share!)

~ I really failed myself this summer with studying.  I didn't do enough, got distracted too often and couldn't stay focused.  It's something about just feels like summer break.  I'm not sure how next week will go (and I'm going to try my best despite the circumstances), but I don't want to go through this feeling again (that is, kicking myself).  That's why, starting in September, I'm going to begin studying on my own again, one subject every week.  I won't know my results until November (just in time to ruin Thanksgiving and Christmas), but I figure even if I don't pass, I'll already have 2 1/2 months of review and practice under my belt, and re-taking the exam in February 2011 won't be as daunting or painful (considering that .  Even if I did pass (which, truthfully, would be something of a miracle), studying a bit each day wouldn't have been a waste since it's information that's relatively helpful anyway.  The Bar is never fun or easy, but as comfortable as I can make it by re-taking it, the happier I'll be.  I've really felt like I didn't have enough time to absorb, memorize and understand all of the rules I needed to, and the extra time commitment, balanced with doing things I love, might make the whole process easier. At least I'll be able to retain something!

~ Of course, I must start my Etsy shop!  Which actually involves so much.  First, I need to work on my designs and create a small inventory so I have items to list and items to list over time.  The first types of items I want to create are, of course, silver wire and gemstone jewelry, and plushies.  Other items will come as I develop ideas.  I still need to write my formal shop policies and work on my packaging materials.  I also need to photograph everything I make - I'm a bit of an amateur when it comes to such things so it should be interesting.  After that, I'll have to select some photos to feature on my mini Moo cards (essentially, my business cards) and have those made as well.  I'll use these cards in my packaging and to have on hand in case I get any inquiries in person.  Once all that's in place and items are listed, I'll need to market my shop!  This might be the hardest part - I'll need to do enough things to get enough exposure for the shop and I'll need to be creative about it, too.  I've never had aspirations to own my own business before but I'm sorta excited about this prospect.  I'm worried that I won't be able to get it off the ground or have any sales, but I hope with enough hard work, it'll all pay off.  Wish me luck!

~ I must make a work schedule and stick with it.  That means, I'll have to treat every day as if I had a full-time job.  Part of my day will be spent working on Etsy (new designs, new creations, marketing, and hopefully sales to pack and ship) and part of the day will be spent on studying.  No more laziness or lying around!  Time flies by so quickly every day, every week, and I really want to maximize it the best I can.

~ Along the lines of photography, I'd love to work on my photography skills (of which I have none).  I probably don't have the fanciest camera but I think I could still do a lot on my lil Canon.  Do you ever look at people's photos on Facebook, etc., and wish you could take awesome and unique pics, too?  Yeah, my sister and I do.  So, I want to learn and figure it out.  Why not?  So Cal is full of such beautiful places, I really don't take advantage of that as much as I could or should.

~ I must learn how to use Photoshop.  Not just the basics, but it would be nice to learn some cool skills, too.  I bought a drawing tablet earlier this year that's really begging to be used.  This is all unfamiliar technology to me, much like the aforementioned sewing machine, but I plan on conquering it!

~ I'd also like to work on new crafts - that is, learn new skills.  I've always wanted to learn how to draw and sketch better; to paint; to work on paper crafts (and cards); to make ribbon and paper flowers; to learn to knit and work on my crochet skills.  So many little time.  I think the Internet and may craft books will be my friend.  My apartment is full of fabric, buttons, feathers, ribbon, beads, yarn, cardstock, and they're all begging to be made into something awesome!

~ I must find chocolate covered gummy bears.  Rumor has it they're sold in bulk at Bristol Farms.  I intend to find out.

~ I must save money to pay off some of my debts.  I can't really afford to spend any money especially if I'm not making any while I do all of these things.  If I'm lucky, I'll be successful enough being crafty that it'll help to pay some of it off.

~ I need to stop dressing like a bum and wear make-up more often.  I'm in my late 20's and own so many awesome clothes (some still with tags on them), shoes, make-up, handbags and I make my own jewelry - you'd think I'd put that all to good use!

~ I need to hem my designer jeans.  I have gorgeous pairs of jeans and they are ridiculously long, but I just haven't had the time to hem them.  Therefore, they sit in my jean pile, begging to be worn.  And I've refused to wear them because despite the fact that I usually feel like wearing heels in order to wear them, they tend to still be too long with heels!  I recently found an easy way to hem them (thank you, Google), but I need to put needle and thread in hand (or sewing machine to use) and take care of them!

~ I must go to many sporting events.  I've missed out on a whole summer (almost) of minor league baseball with the bf, and I need to catch up.  We'll catch some games in August, including some in Seattle and Portland on our week-long trip.  We also may catch a pro game or two in Sept.  And I can't wait for basketball season to begin in Nov.  I *MUST* catch a Bulls game in person somehow, somewhere.  I <3 me some Bulls and had a blast last year going to a game at the United Center.  (I'm not a homer - they're my hometown team!)  The best part about sporting games?  The mascots.  Oh yes.

~ I want to spend more time at the beach and looking through tide pools.  I want to go to Disneyland a LOT.  I want to visit my animal friends at the SD Zoo often.

~ I will go with the bf to many restaurants, including all of the ones he's been wanting to go to for FOREVER.  For months, I've been telling him 'no' every time he's asked, but I should really be more open to his ideas and accept his invitations to enjoy date nights.

~ I want to be less stubborn and more even tempered.  Sometimes I let my emotions get the better of me, and I'd like to work on not losing my cool over stuff that doesn't even matter all that much.

~ I want to enjoy all of the little things in life that I take for granted.

And throughout all of this, I plan to share my adventures, successes and failures.  You'll get to peek into my life of crafting and all of my crazy adventures.  I've really enjoyed blogging in the short time I've done it, but I'd like to refine my posts and make them more interesting. I've always enjoyed writing and I miss doing it (in a non-legal fashion), but I'd like to add more of a spark and humor.  I'll blame it right now on being stuck in law school and this Bar crap, but it'll be over soon and then I'll be able to live my life!  (Well, even if I have to re-take the Bar, I refuse to let it take over my life and will be less procrastinator and more organized and studious studier and all will be well.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

dreaming about august

I like drawing.  I don't really do it enough.  And when thinking about my Etsy shop, I was so tired of looking at my junky Etsy banner that I was inspired to create this new one.  I'm not sure if it's officially finished, but I wanted a change to represent me and the cute things I'm planning on selling in my shop.  Who could resist clicking on my shop to check it out after seeing a cute drawing of my hammie girls?

In case you're wondering, that's Zippy on the left and Bella on the right.  I'm planning on making a variety of things for my Etsy shop, most notably silver jewelry featuring hand-formed and hammered wire shapes, semi-precious and precious gemstones (you should see my stash waiting to be turned into something great), and sea glass; hand-sewn plushies featuring the hammie girls first and then more inspirations to come; and paper crafts such as cards, etc. (I have 9 pounds of colored scrapbook paper, various colored cardstock, and all sorts of fun stuff like buttons, ribbon, sequins, feathers...all waiting to be played with).

Along with these creations, I'll need to make some business cards featuring images of my work, work on promoting the shop, gather packaging supplies, blogging more and taking/editing photos.  Lots of busy but fun work ahead!  I'm not sure how things will go on the job front, but I'll keep my eyes open while I dive fully into working on this stuff.  Hopefully the bf and I can figure something out.  I've been feeling really overwhelmed lately about my finances, but I think I'll feel better once the Bar and MPRE are over and I can focus on actually DOING something rather than just worrying about it.  It'd be nice to make some sales to earn some extra money to help pay the bills as my loan money is almost running out.  Money always has a way of going out easily but sure has a hard time coming back in.  Fingers crossed the bf's job situation is stable for a while.  He says not to worry so I guess I'll try not to at the moment.

For now, the Bar exam awaits in a week and I am far from being ready.  But I know I'll get there, as long as I apply myself.  The bf says I shouldn't worry too much about counting down the days and stressing but rather, I should focus on making the most out of each day and just working hard on that.  He's so wise, haha.  The Bar exam is about minimum competency, but it's just a lot of information to store and dump onto the exam pages in a limited amount of time and a whole lot of pressure.  CA has one of the hardest exams, too.  But, at this point, I just have to try to learn as much as I can and know what I know well rather than trying to memorize everything under the sun, which is completely impossible.  The CA Bar is a 3-day exam consisting of 6 hours each day and will encompass 6 one-hour essays on any of 13 subjects (testing both Federal and CA law, where applicable), 200 MBEs (multi-state multiple choice that everyone in the country will take on Wednesday at the same time, covering 6 subjects solely on Federal and common law), and 2 three-hour performance tests.  The Exam will run over next Tuesday through Thursday.  Yeah, fun stuff, right?

It's all definitely a test of endurance - mental, physical, and emotional.  I'm at the point where I'm not sure what's going to happen but I think it's important that I work hard and try my best (as that's all I can ask of myself) and see what happens when results come out in November.  I think I'll know afterwards if I thought it went well or not.  I've felt that I didn't have enough time to prepare and take in all this material in just 2 months and I haven't been that pleased with my Bar prep course, so after I take a break in August, I'm planning on studying on my own again starting in September in case I have to re-take the exam in February 2011.  It's really impossible to spend only a day or two learning each of these subjects, so I really want to take the time and learn them one at a time each week.  That way, I'll know each subject thoroughly and I can layer it on, rather than feeling like I'm just cramming.  It'll all work better for a well-rounded schedule, too.  I can study and also balance errands around the house, going to the gym, and working on my Etsy shop!

I'll know the results right before Thanksgiving (cruel, I know), and I don't want to wait until the last minute (especially with holidays falling in the middle of the prep time) if I have to re-take it.  Ideally, of course, I want to pass on the first try but the odds do greatly increase that you'll pass by the second time at least.  I've known people who passed the first time, and people who've passed the second so I'm confident that it'll happen eventually one way or another.  If I don't pass, then I'll already have a few months under my belt of preparation, and I'll be ready and comfortable for February!  If nothing else, this has provided me with a great learning experience and motivation to forge ahead and succeed.  Law school was a struggle from the start, and although bruised and badly beaten at times, I still survived.  So I will survive again!  I'll try my best, of course, but this may prove to be a bit like a practice run and if I pass, it'll be a pleasant surprise.  If not, then the real deal is February 2011!  It's a relief to feel this way now so there's less pressure and no expectations.  I can only try my best and work hard, and everything will fall into place and be ok.

August is already shaping up to be a busy month.  My sister will return home to LA within the first week, and I'll be re-taking the MPRE a week after the Bar.  Crazy, I know, but I figured I might as well afford myself another chance to pass it before it's administered again in November.  That weekend, the bf and I will help her move into her brand new apartment - which, hopefully, will go smoothly as the management has been nothing but a pain in the you-know-what to her all summer as far as apartment and roommate assignments have gone.  The following week will be spent working on Etsy, looking for jobs...and getting ready for a vacation!  I've been told by a great law school prof that it's a good idea to just get away and clear your head after the Bar.  The bf has decided that he wants to take a trip up the coast to both Portland and Seattle for a week or so.  It might turn out to be a road trip since airfare is expensive and there isn't a direct flight from here, but we'll see.  It'll be good to have the freedom to do things again - I feel like I've missed out on a lot of things this summer.  The trip will include lots of baseball (minor league teams, of course, since those are the bf's favs), zoos, bead shops, food...just fun stuff.  And at the end of the month, one of our couple friends may be coming down to spend a weekend hanging out and going to baseball games (similar to what we did last summer).  At that point, it'll be almost Labor Day weekend, jeez!  And even then, the bf has a family reunion to go to up north...that should be interesting.

I just want everything to work out ok, from the Bar to the MPRE to my finances.  One step at a time, I guess.  For now, it's time to hit the Bar studying grind on this home stretch...Wish me luck!  And see you on the other side :)  xoxo

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I (heart) the SD Zoo

I love animals and going to the zoo is one of my favorite things.  The bf and I are members of the SD Zoo and we try to go as often as we can (for me to see my precious pandas and for him to see the mischievous monkeys).  We're so spoiled that such an amazing zoo is not that far away for us, it makes for fun weekend getaway trips!  Here are some highlights of animals we love at the Zoo:

Zhen Zhen (3 yrs old and looking just as 'precious' as her name)

Su Lin (4 yrs old, ZZ's older sister and definitely 'a little bit of something cute')

Supermom Bai Yun ('white cloud') and Baby Yun Zi (officially 'son of cloud' but I like to call him King Fluffy Butt)

Baby giraffe

Meerkats - oh so cute!

Sleeping pile of meerkats - just like my hammie girls

Gabby, a red-cheeked Gibbon, just relaxing.  Her parents are Mel Gibbon (yes, seriously) and Tina, who reside at the SD Wild Animal Park

Chuy (pronounced 'Chewy'), Gabby's brother, just hanging around

This Bonobo (unfortunately, I couldn't figure out which one she was from the pictures on the wall) was really loving the crowd gathered around to watch her and when a guy offered his ice cream cone, she kept gesturing and beckoning him to give it/toss it to her!  It was so cool and funny.

A beautiful blue Macaw

A trio of koalas - and the newest baby girl!

There are many peacocks that roam the Zoo freely (you'll often hear them making a lot of noise while you walk around the Zoo).  This lil guy ended up in the rhino pen and got really agitated and foofed up his tailfan for no reason.  Ridiculous.

Pygmy Marmoset - the bf's fav.  Look at how little he is!  It's hard to tell from the picture but he's like a miniature monkey that could fit in the palm of your hand!

A beautiful assortment of flamingos - and flamingo babies (little gray puffs) and eggs in nests!  It must be that time of year!!