A*North*Star

searching for a guide through life

vacation’s over. back to the normally scheduled program. haha

as depressed as i was pre-holidays, i ended up having the most fantasic holiday season i’ve had in ages. it was so simple, but it was the best. i’m definitely sad it’s come to an end already.. though i am hopeful about what this new year brings.

this vacation meant so much to me because: justin came home; we were able to go to atlanta and spend time with my fam for christmas; i had 4 days off from work; i got to meet justin’s oldest sister(second mom), her husband and son and spend time with them when they came to hattiesburg; spent great quality time with my baby; and rang in the new year’s on the beach lighting firecrackers (my first time doing so!). what a great end to a whirlwind of a year.

reflecting back on 2010… i think last year was definitely a growing up year for me. my second full year out of school, i did not plan on taking that step backwards by moving back home but it was really a blessed move. staying in va i felt like i was stuck at my waitressing job, stuck with some toxic associates and stuck in a financial rut. going back to nj was not in the plans, but i got to help out my family in a crucial time while focusing on getting a professional job in my field of study. the move to mississippi was basically the biggest whirlwind move. it all happened so fast and sounds unbelievable when i think of how all the pieces came into place, but here i am. and for the most part, i LOVE it here. justin came down a few months later and although he hasn’t gotten a steady job locally, we’re making it work. these past few months, he’s found out-of-state work, which is good because i know he needs it, but sucks that i don’t get to see him every day. then of course, there’s the whole future plans we’re focusing on — which makes me excited, giddy, focused and overwhelmed all at the same time.

i see great things for 2011. i didn’t really make any set resolutions but of course there are several things i want to see to fruition. i need to get my financial house in order. to me that means paying off consumer debt, building up savings and money in an emergency account, working towards paying off the student loan, knowing my credit score, having a better handle on the state of my spending, learning about and working towards paying down my husband-to-be’s debts, and increasing the income to our household. justin and i have been really talking about buying our first home. our lease is up in april, so i’m not sure where that puts us. i’m sick of moving, personally. i know he is too. but i’m not sure if we have our finances in check enough to buy a house just yet. we could renew the lease for another 6 month and then try. i could take the leap now and buy the house in my name in a couple months. or we could wait a little more, see where we are with our jobs, career plans and family, and buy one when we’d have more money probably saved up and hopefully more debts paid off.

speaking of jobs, career and family… i think this year will be a year of expansion for all three. expanding our income is not really an option, but more of a necessity if we really want more of our dreams to come true. even though i’m not wholeheartedly into this journalism thing, my job is a blessing and i want to hold on to it for a while. i think the company gives yearly salary increases, that would be nice. i reduced my medical insurance costs by a little, which will give me a slight increase in take home pay. also signed up for direct deposit and i need to adjust by w-4 so they stop taking so much money in taxes each month. when justin comes home, i’m hoping he can get himself a job or start taking classes which would help him in having better employment opportunities. i also can’t hold back with these entrepreneurial ventures of mine. it’s time to just take the world by storm. stop worrying about all the possible rejections and just take a chance. i need to do more with my days so i’m working towards better money-making opportunities and not just watching tv or going on the internet or sleeping in my downtime. i need to get out there socially and make more connections and make some friends. i need friends out here. i need positive connections to my community outside of work. i need to know about ways i could climb up the ladder in my career goals. im really thinking of trying to join a church. i think that would be good for me. i’d also like to start doing some community service and get involved in professional associations.

as far as family goes… by the end of this year, i will most likely be changing my name from ms. dow to mrs. banks. that still kinda geeks me out. even though i already feel like his wife, the thought of actually being married is amazing to me. i can’t even put it into words. and not only will i becoming a wife but a stepmother as well (and a mother if we don’t calm down and use precautions clueless). so.. a lot of good changes there. in addition to planning a small wedding for us, my parents are going to have a vow renewal ceremony at the end of this year. yay!! i’m so happy for them. one: because recently i’ve been so concerned about the state of their marriage and whether they’d divorce and the fact that they want to renew their vows is glorious. and two: because my mom got married at the courthouse and i’d love to see her have a great ceremony with family and friends and wear a gown and walk down the isle and the whole nine. i am just as excited about that as i am for my own. oh, and i STILL haven’t told my family about my “engagement.” LOL! i will let them know sooner or later. just waiting for everything to really sink in for me. my sister knows and she’s putting on the pressure for me to tell them. i think i might wait til justin comes home. i told him there’s a ring i saw at the store that i would like him to get for me. not that i need a ring, but it’d be nice. haha. i still don’t know how i will tell all of them and what they’ll say. then there’s the matter of him telling his family. i kinda wished i knew them better. i definitely wanted to meet his daughter before all of this. i really hope she is ok with the idea of getting a stepmom and accepting me. we really need to plan that florida trip SOON.

right now though, i need to plan to catch some zzzzs. fresh week ahead of me. gotta make the most of it!

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