Happiness Takes Hustle

Author: KateCecilia

How I Became A Runner

A few people have asked me how I became a runner and more importantly how I learned to love running. I guess lacing up your sneakers and running for three hours is not everyone’s idea of a good time? Well, running wasn’t always my favorite hobby, and I definitely never considered long distance running a possibility.

While I ran a bit in high school, I really started up again when my college roommate was running the trails around Ohio State, and I asked her if I could join her one day. I had decided to graduate the spring quarter of our junior year of college, so my course load was heavy that third year. I needed something to help get my mind off of all the what ifs. What if I fail a class; What if I don’t find a job; What if I regret leaving college earlier than all of my friends?

So we ran together. We only went about 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back a few times a week, but it was enough to get me started. In fact, it was the perfect distance, because I knew I could do it, but I still felt challenged. Because I was running with someone else, I never wanted to stop and walk or hold her back in any way. She also kept me accountable. It’s hard to say, “I would rather sit on the couch and eat chips and queso” when someone asks you to go for a nice run outside. Or at least it was hard for me.

In the winter of 2011, I moved to New York and later that Spring, I suffered a small tendon injury in my leg that kept me from running. It was during that time in Physical Therapy that I learned about the importance of strength training and was more determined than ever to get back in the game. I moved back to NJ the summer of 2011, and that was the summer I signed up for my first 5K race and fell in love.

What keeps me running?

Running is cheaper than therapy! I tell people this constantly. There is nothing that makes me feel healthier mind, body, and soul than a nice sweat session out in the woods amongst the trees, creeks and animals. I often call my runs “church 2.0.” I spend a lot of time talking with God about life while running. Whenever I have a rough day, a long run (preferably outside in nature), solves my problems. It definitely is not the answer for everyone (and if you’re feeling depressed, please reach out for help), but it works for me.

So you want to start running?

First off, hooray! Running is such a wonderful sport, and I promise if you stick with it through the “I’m going to die” moments (we all have them!), it will become easier. The main thing to realize is that you’re not going to go out and run ten miles on your first run – you may not run one mile. But I can tell you that you can run one lap around a track, or down the block, or around the corner. Alternate between walking and running. Find a point, whether it be the next mailbox or the house at the end of the block or the tree up the hill, and tell yourself that you will run to that point. Once there, if you feel awesome, keep going. If you feel miserable, walk. And very soon you will see that you can go a little farther each time you try. That’s the other great thing about running – seeing improvements. Just make sure you go slow and short to start – too much too soon leads to injury.

Disclaimer: Please check with your doctor before starting any fitness routine.

My New Morning Routine!

Good morning! It’s 6:35am, and I have already accomplished a few things off of my to-do list. I was a great morning person for years, and then I met my fiancé who had a weird “cop” schedule (all other cop wives know what I’m talking about – holy schedule changes), and all of a sudden I was staying up until 2 and dragging my booty out of bed at 8:55 to make my 9am meetings (I fortunately work from home). From there, it felt like I was playing catch-up all day long. I never had time to sit quietly or plan my day. I would look at my meetings and see where I could squeeze in a workout or shower. It wasn’t until I decided to launch my own freelance writing and realtor career (almost simultaneously) that I knew something had to change if I was going to succeed.

I began reading Hal Elrod’s “The Miracle Morning” on a whim and it was so informative and life changing, or at least morning changing. Before even finishing the book, I woke up at 6:30am the next morning and drank coffee in perfect silence. I spent a few mornings just drinking coffee, finishing the book and exercising before 9am. Hal calls his morning routine, “Life S.A.V.E.R.S” (Silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading and scribing), and while I don’t follow this method perfectly, I try my best! Most mornings, I read, exercise and write. I haven’t perfected the affirmations part or the visualizations, but I’m working on it. I also want to meditate more during my day to center myself and send out as much gratitude to God for all of my many blessings.

So why has this been “life changing?” Can’t I just sleep in and work at night or weekends? Well, sure. But that obviously hasn’t been working for me personally up until this point. In the past month of early wake-ups, I have been very productive. I’ve posted a lot of content on this blog, planned my day, created real estate contracts, responded to emails, read up and researched things I’m interested in to help with my writing, and enjoyed no rush exercise. I also find that I am most creative and innovative in the morning. This is definitely not the case for everyone, but my brain just works that way. I am tired at night and just want to relax on the couch after a long day – this occurs even if I wake up at 9am.

The great thing about Hal’s method is that you can technically do it any time of the day – as long as you’re completing the steps (in no particular order). So if you happen to be a night owl, feel free to try some of his S.A.V.E.R.S and see if it increases your mood and success. I saw such a difference in my energy levels, productivity and overall happiness in such a short time. I hope you see the same results!

Let me know how you start your day!

Getting Real With Your Finances

My name is Kate, and I use credit cards. It feels great to get that off my chest. In all seriousness, I didn’t think much about “personal finance” for most of my 20’s. I grew up with the mindset that everyone had debt, and as long as it was “manageable,” there was no harm in spending outside of your means. I was very fortunate to land a decent job right out of college, and I received several promotions over the years that gave me a great salary. But as my salary increased so did my spending habits. I went on the most wonderful trip to Europe, lived in expensive apartments, and my idea of a budget meant not going into the red in my bank account – seriously. The goal was to stay positive even if it meant I had $20 to my name the day before payday. I didn’t think too much about saving – I contributed to my 401K and thought that was enough.

In June of 2016, I bought my first townhouse. I was so proud of my accomplishment but didn’t put much thought into things like down payments or monthly mortgage costs or HOA fees. The minute we moved in, I filled all three levels with furniture using, you guessed it, credit cards. It wasn’t until July of 2017, when my fiancé asked me to marry him, that I knew enough was enough. We are currently planning our dream wedding and paying for that wedding mostly on our own (my parents paid for the majority of my college expenses and basically anything I ever needed for 22+years – they have done enough.). So now we’re faced with the dilemma of paying off debt AND saving for a wedding. Not the most ideal of situations.

We’ve still got a long way to go, but I’ve made little changes to help us manage our expenses better. First off, I created a real budget and debt chart. I also created a list of everything under the sun that we will need to buy for the wedding. The list is a tad overwhelming, but also helps me to manage it all in my head so I know exactly what needs to be purchased before August 10th. I stopped using my credit cards for things like groceries and other miscellaneous items – if we can’t pay for it in cash, we don’t buy it (I miss you, Target. And steak.). Our current goal is to not increase our debt, pay the minimums and put any extra money towards the wedding so that we can pay for things like invitations and the DJ in cash. I’m a part time realtor, so I work every weeknight and weekend attempting to grow my business. I’m also a freelance writer, and I wake up in the early hours of the morning every day to write (this post was started at 5:45am on a Saturday).

Here’s the thing, “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” This quote by John C Maxwell has been repeating over and over in my head daily for about 7 months now. I work just about every day of the week in some capacity, and I know I’m not alone. So many of us are out there putting in our time hoping for the payoff to come our way. And it will. So keep on trekking towards that goal, that dream you have, and I’ll do the same, and let’s give each other some help and encouragement along the way. We’ve got this!



So You Want To Be A Realtor…

I’m only coming up on the one year mark of obtaining my Real Estate license, so I am by no means an expert, however, I do believe I can share some of the lessons I’ve learned this past year and give a little insight to anyone who thinks they might want to live the life of a Realtor. I’ve listed what I feel are the five most important things to know before saying yes to this career. Feel free to comment with anything I might have left off or wish you would have known before becoming a Realtor…

  1. Being a Realtor is HARD WORK. Like, really hard work. So if you believe that this is going to be a walk in the park, think again. Even if you have ten relatives who all want to sell their houses next Summer (I’m a little jealous of you), and they’re going to use you as their Realtor (seems like a no brainer, doesn’t it? ;)), it’s still tough. So be prepared to work. You’re going to have to put in hours on the phone, time writing contracts, staying late at the office putting together files, chasing realtors for information, scheduling inspections and appraisals and so much more.
  2. Finding new clients can be a challenge. I’m a fairly outgoing person, and I am on social media quite a bit, but it was harder than I thought it would be to find clients. Disclaimer: I work Real Estate part time due to a 9-5 work from home job, so maybe if I was in the office every day making 100 phone calls, I would have had an easier time, but the general consensus is that it can be hard to generate business in the beginning unless you’re hustling all day, every day – refer back to point 1.
  3. Say goodbye to free time. Okay, this one I know a whole lot about, because I am team #nodaysoff over here. Most Realtors that I know have not taken a real day off in years! Even when on vacation, they’re checking emails and making phone calls. When you run your own business and one missed day could mean one missed listing (which could in theory turn into more business), it’s so difficult to pull yourself away. And remember, most people want to go look at houses after work and on weekends, and almost all Open Houses are on weekends. Thankfully, I really like Real Estate, and my fiancé works weekends, but if the only time you can spend with your significant other or children is on weekends, you might want to really consider what you’re about to embark on.
  4. There are upfront costs. So this one is a little tricky, because there are definitely upfront costs. I had to pay to go to Real Estate school, my exams, license and MLS fees, lock box fees, marketing, and a lot of other random fees. With that said, it probably cost me around $2,000-$3,000 to start. What other business can you start for so little where the earning potential is so great? Blogging maybe? But any business venture is going to cost money. Just make sure your finances are prepared.
  5. Be prepared to sell yourself. It took me a while to get used to this one. I am not a fan of bothering people, and I definitely am not a fan of cold-calling – it’s probably my least favorite thing. So I try really hard to bring business to me through my social media sites and word of mouth, but you’re going to have to bug people from time to time. The minute someone leaves an open house, they’ve forgotten about you. You need to follow up and remind them why you’re the best of the best. And if you do not like talking to people or reaching out to strangers, this job is probably not for you.

I find Real Estate so unbelievably rewarding. I love the relationships I’ve made with my clients; I love finding people their dream homes; I love exploring my State and discovering all of the neat neighborhoods and houses that exist. But this is definitely not easy work and not for everyone. Best of luck on your endeavors, and feel free to reach out at any time with questions!

Wedding Planning: Part 1

July 25th, 2017 was one of the happiest days of my life! My boyfriend got down on one knee while we were hiking along Mt. Rainier in Washington State and asked me to be his wife. “Yes!” “OhMyGod!” “Are you serious?!” These were just a few of the phrases I uttered. It wasn’t the biggest shock of my life – we had been talking about marriage for a while, and this was a pretty big trip for us – but you still can’t plan for that moment when he’s lowering down to one knee and your brain is screaming, “THIS IS IT!”

We had a wonderful rest of our trip and then made our way back home.  Being the type A, slightly neurotic person I am (I’m actually really neurotic, but refuse to accept it), I already had a list of venues to go tour by the time we landed in Newark. In hindsight, I wish I would have slowed down and enjoyed those first few weeks a little more. But my brain could not enjoy the moment without knowing what was to come. I needed a date, and I told my fiancé that – just give me a date with a venue, and I’ll be as happy as a clam.

Well, we chose our date – August 10th, 2018!, and then I learned that DJs, and photographers, and videographers, and wedding dresses all need to be figured out rather quickly too. After all, now that I had the date, I needed to make sure all of the other important things were figured out as well. Fast forward one month, and we had all of our vendors chosen besides flowers. I finally slowed down after that – I needed a break, and my fiancé was so happy that we could enjoy our Fall relatively wedding planning free.

I don’t regret any of our decisions – I think our wedding will be stunning, and I’m so happy I received my first choices for all of my vendors, but I do think I put a lot of unnecessary stress on my relationship for a month or so during what should have been the happiest time of our lives. I also didn’t stick to a budget as much as I should have (more on this in a later post). I think my poor fiancé was a little shocked to say the least. He asked a simple question and the next thing he knew, he was hearing things like $220 per head and walking outside to his car before the presentation was over (We did not choose that venue).

So my advice to any couple out there planning your dream wedding – take. your. time. Especially when you have the time to take! We booked our venue one year and one week out from our wedding day. That is a ton of time to relax and think things through. Also, this hasn’t happened to me (yet!), but when you’re making rash decisions, you might not like your choices as you get closer to the wedding day and are thinking more clearly. So be patient. You will have your choice of photographer and DJ and florist. With that said, if you’ve been dreaming of using one photographer your entire life and plan to get married on a popular Saturday in September and live somewhere like New York City, you might want to book that sooner rather than later.

But for everyone else, be patient and enjoy the moments. I told my fiancé the other day that I was very happy to have one year to celebrate our engagement, because I felt the first six months were full of planning and questioning and some arguments and frustrations and my hope is that the second six months are calmer (at least until we get closer to the day ;)), more relaxed and above all joyful.

Happy planning!

I’m Back!

Hello! I’m so excited to be back to blogging! I spent quite a bit of time blogging my daily activities for a couple of years, and while going forward, this blog is going to be much different, I’m super excited to be engaging with the internet world in a creative way again. And if you haven’t followed me in the past, WELCOME!

Over the past two and a half years, a lot has happened! I actually moved away from blogging because I had met my then boyfriend, now fiancé, and I wanted to keep our daily happenings more private. Since you’ve last heard from me, I’ve gotten engaged (wedding date is 8/10/18!), adopted a dog and then a second cat (still not sure what we were thinking with that one), bought a house, changed jobs, and obtained my Realtor license! I need a nap just thinking about it all, but it’s also been such a fulfilling time!

So what’s next? Besides wedding planning (holy moly what fun that is ;)), my real estate work, and my full time job, I’m now freelance writing, and I couldn’t be happier about it! I wanted to have one one channel where all of my writing could be displayed, so I plan to write about everything on this blog. I’ll also be bringing over (and updating) some of my posts from my previous blog because I think there were some good reads in all that talk about marathon training.

Feel free to reach out to me anytime! I love meeting new people and seeing how connected we all truly are!


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