Thursday, December 30, 2010

You Didn't Think I'd Let The Year End Without My Top Ten, Did You?

I like that my last blog of the year will be my 50th entry since I started this project back in July. Whole numbers make me happy. 

You know what else makes me happy? The New Year. 

For many years now, New Year's Day has been my favorite holiday. I get corrected on this often - "You mean New's Year's Eve, right? Because that's where the party happens!!" 

Yes, my lushy friends, I am aware of this. However, it is actually New Year's Day, January 1st, that is my favorite day of the year. 

I'm not really a big fan of Valentine's Day but one thing I do enjoy about the holiday is that it almost forces people… or rather, gives them an excuse, to show their lovers how much they love them. Many can argue that this kind of behavior should be happening every day between lovers anyway, but come on - we all know life gets in the way and some of us (yes, girls, this includes you) need a little reminding push every now and then. Personally, my favorite part about Valentine's Day is that a bunch of dudes got together and created Steak and BJ Day in it's honor. For those of you who don't know, this "holiday" takes place one month later, on March 14th. (To all my male friends: you are welcome) 

New Year's Day is kind of like Valentine's Day to me. Yes, we have the power to make every day a "clean slate" day - but just in case we've fallen into a rut in the last few months (like overeating, overdrinking, undersleeping and underexercising - hello, fat jeans, haven't seen you in a while!) we now have a day designated to throw all of that in the past and start fresh. 

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense." - Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

I love this quote. And while I do my best to live by it each day, January 1st is when I read it as finishing each year instead of each day. It's time to move past what didn't work in 2010 and embrace what did in order to move into 2011 with that high spirit he speaks of. 

New Year's Eve is the day I take to reflect on where I was celebrating just 365 days ago and how different my life is since then. For example, when the clock rolled from 11:59pm to midnight, bringing the year 2010 into my life, I was sitting at a desk in the office of the Chili's on Rainbow and Lake Mead, typing the dinner numbers into the computer. It was my first solo shift as a manager. After only three months of training, I knew I had made a very bad decision in moving into management. My days of climbing the corporate ladder were finished when I left the Hyatt. With the exception of my General Manager at that restaurant, every other manager I worked with acted as a daily reminder of the kind of person I never want to be. Angry, righteous, overweight and simply miserable to be around. 

I was hoping when I moved to my new restaurant a week later, I might feel differently and be able to make this job into something worthwhile. And while I was much happier that the managers I worked with at the new restaurant were nothing like the assholes that "trained" me, being locked in a building for 10-12 hours a day with my days off few and far between and every holiday on the schedule showing a TV assigned to it? Yeah, this got old quickly. As in, three months of this and I was ready to commit a felony. By April, I was right back behind the bar at the South Strip location. 

To all the restaurant managers out there? I have a lot of respect for what you do day in and day out and will never scoff at your positions again. I also think you might be clinically insane. 

I was also dating Cory last New Year's Eve… I think… he and I did the on again, off again thing around that time of year and honestly, I can't remember which way the switch was at the time. Then again, this was kind of the defining statement of our entire relationship. 

So, indeed, things sure are different now! Tomorrow night, I'll be spending the evening with some friends singing karaoke, doing shots of some sort of flavor infused vodka and enjoying each other's company. Jeremy is back home again, as he enjoys his holidays with his family. I'm not upset about Thanksgiving or Christmas but a little bitter than he is not here to spend midnight of my favorite holiday with me. I like that midnight kiss and it's been a few years since I have had one. A real one, at least - I'm sure some poor schmuck will have to endure a "you'll do" kiss when the ball drops tomorrow, but it's always nice to ring in the year with the person that you hope will be making it a special one for you. Selfish, I know… but I'm allowed every now and then. 

Okay, time for the juicy stuff and the reason this is my favorite holiday: Resolutions! 

I always make it a point to type out my resolutions for the year. Normally, I don't put a lot of thought into it beforehand. I mean, I have some general ideas going into it, but it's a lot more fun to just let my mind go and see what comes up as far as what I'd like to get accomplished. I'll be honest… I'm not much for action plans and I know that putting one together would ultimately help me succeed in achieving many of my goals. However, the list itself sort of becomes an action plan for me. As you know, I believe in Universal Law which asks, simply, to put what you want out there to the Universe and do so with intention. Then, if your actions are consistent with your requests, the Universe will respond accordingly. 

I was talking to Travis the other day on the phone - he hasn't been staying with me for a while and so I gave him my computer to use as I have the Macbook now. He told me that he had come across my resolutions list for last year and was impressed that I had accomplished many of my goals. Honestly, I can't even remember what most of them were! (One was getting a Macbook, I know that for sure) I can recall typing that list up - I think it was on December 30th as well - and never looking at it again. It's amazing what we can do when we simply believe we can do it. 

And so, without further ado, Tina's 2011 Resolutions (in no particular order). 

Oh, and of course there are 10 of them. Whole numbers = happiness. 

Book it, baby! 
I had no idea was I was onto when I started writing this blog. As I've said before, I needed an outlet for my thoughts and turning 30 had done a weird thing to my head. So, I started writing. Initially, it was the "living in lack" idea with the no sex, drugs, liquor, etc… however it has morphed into something so much bigger than I could have imagined. It has started to take the form of a story that talks about getting everything I've always wanted by choosing to live my life on purpose and without permission (to quote Jeremy). 

In the six short months that I have been writing, I have created a closer relationship with my mom, I have met an incredible man who has given me the opportunity to find out what really makes me happy in life, I have attracted new people into my space that exude positive energy and I have reconnected with old friends and established stronger and more meaningful relationships with them. I have found something that excites me, fulfills me and gives me a sense of purpose. I have helped people put a voice to their own internal monologue and given them something to relate to. I wake up in the morning and genuinely love the person I have become. As I told my friend Justin a while ago - I truly feel like I am the best version of me I've ever been. 

Obviously, I'm going to keep writing. My plan is to keep putting content out consistently and when my birthday rolls around again (July 2nd), I will begin to get very serious about taking all of this and putting it into book form. With the help of my friend Whitney, I am looking to have something very concrete to present to publishers by the end of the year. I am very interested to see how things begin to unfold over the next six months. Right now, it seems as if I am simply journaling the goings on of my life - but I know that I have a message and am confident that it will come together as I continue to write. 

So please continue to read! You are a wonderful audience and your feedback is invaluable. I would also ask as a favor to everyone - recommend my blog to at least one person in your life who you think could find value in my words. This will really help me out as much of my motivation stems from hearing from those who read my words. 

Give them something else to read about 
Sin City Seagull is not your "typical" blog. It's long form and tells more like a story. While I make an effort to give each individual entry it's own life, in reality, they are meant to be read in the order that they are written as each is a continuation of the previous post. Because of this, it doesn't appeal to everyone. I am perfectly fine with this and understand it completely. If you don't like reading, this is not the blog for you! 

However, I love to write and I would like to expand my audience. So, instead of changing this blog to be something different (which I do not feel would make me very happy), I am going to try out a new blogging project based on a good friend's recommendation. I am going to start a review blog about Las Vegas locations. On the strip, off the strip, restaurants, entertainment, etc. Basically, I'd like to give my readers an idea of what it is like to be a local in Las Vegas. I love this city and all of it's sinful implications. I also love that you can live a perfectly normal life, regardless of the craziness that Las Vegas has to offer. 

We have some of the most amazing restaurants in the world. I had a bagel sandwich at a tiny little cafe in the Bellagio called Snacks that was delicious! You know why? Because it has to be! Especially on the strip, all food and beverage needs to be top notch. Not all of them are, but the majority of them make a bigger effort than the fancy places you'll find in other cities across the country. This goes the same for shows, concerts and other forms of entertainment. Again, not all of them knock it out of the park, but almost always, it's worth stepping up to bat. 
Irish Coffee at McMullan's Irish Pub 
Rising Sun burger at Holstein's in the Cosmopolitan

Steak and Lobster presentation at Fix in Bellagio
I have been trying to come up with a name for this blog and still haven't been able to find one I like. I am definitely taking suggestions! As soon as I have one, I'll build the website and get moving. I am looking forward to this new project as the writing will be quite different than the Sin City Seagull blog. Plus, it gives me the opportunity to showcase the city I love. Stay tuned! 

You spin me right round, baby right round 
I heart spin. I can't believe it's taken me this long to get into it. What I love so much about taking the spin classes at Las Vegas Athletic Club is that there are so many different times and teachers that it always fits into my schedule. And unlike Yoga, where I am very attached to a specific instructor and only take his class, I love that every spin teacher has a different style. One morning, I dragged myself out of bed at 6:00am to take a spin class and the teacher's music was all Las Vegas based. Everything from Elvis's Viva Las Vegas to Katy Perry's Waking Up In Vegas. She even had songs by Cher and Elton John because they perform here and the Killers because they are from here. She really put a lot of thought into her music selections and it made for one of the best classes I've taken so far. 

In fact, it was because of this particular session that I started thinking about becoming an instructor myself. I would love to put together a variety of musical compilations to get people excited and moving. I love all the hooting and hollering that goes on during a high energy spin class, not to mention the massive amount of calories that are burned. With at least three days of spin, two days of Yoga and a day of weight resistance, I should be able to maintain a body weight that I am happy with while still enjoying the occasional night out with dinner and wine. 

They have instructor classes through LVAC so I will look into this and see what it entails. I have often thought about becoming a personal trainer but spin is something that would fit into my lifestyle better and I would still be able to make a difference for those that are trying to improve their health, be a good example for their children or spouse or simply just look better naked! Whatever the reason, it would be nice to be a part of it. 

Super awesome new spin shoes

Please don't stop the music 
As I mentioned in my Thanksgiving blog, I am so grateful for my satellite radio because of all the new music I have been introduced to. This will be the third year in a row that I have included Music Overhaul on my list of resolutions. 

Luckily, this coincides with my spin goal as I would need to download all kinds of new music and organize my existing music into specific playlists. So, hopefully, this will be a better incentive to get moving on this goal. I think I had also said last year that I wanted to wait until I had my Macbook before revamping my itunes. Well, I got it! 

My other incentive is that I really, really, really want the new ipod touch. So now, I am not going to let myself get one until all of my own personal music is downloaded and I have at least 100 new songs ready to go. I stopped by Best Buy the other day just to touch one… so sexy…. 

Hold your horses 
With 50 blogs now under my belt, I can't remember if I expressed how much I love horses in any of them. Well, I do. When I was little, I was that girl that wanted a pony… and never stopped asking until one day, my parents got me my very first horse. She was a 20 year old retired race horse named Rima's Marc. My brother and uncle used to send me into tears when they would talk about how close she was to the glue factory. However, my dad's shoulder injury from being thrown from her sings a different tune. This horse knew two speeds: fast and faster. She kept me on my toes and I enjoyed every second I had her. 

However, I became pretty involved in 4-H and wanted to participate in more shows and needed a younger horse for this. So, we gave Rima away and I got an eight year old Arabian named Lightning. He was fun. We barrel raced, went on trail rides and I even took a ribbon once in a Fitting and Showing event at the fair. I boarded him near my house and after a few years, I started to become more interested in boys than horses (something I still regret to this day). So, I gave lessons to the little girls who lived at the stable where I boarded Lightning and then sold him to them. 

It's been so long since I've been around horses that I couldn't even find a picture to post that has me interacting with either of the horses I had. A few years ago, I leased a horse up at Mt. Charleston for six months. Three months into it, he threw me to the ground in the riding arena and crushed my right tricep with his hoof. I spent the afternoon in the emergency room. I decided that leasing someone else's horse without knowing anything about it was probably not a good idea. 

Still, I have a pull all the time to be around horses again. So, I started emailing some local stables to see if I can volunteer once or twice a week. As weird as it sounds, I don't even mind cleaning stalls and grooming horses for free - I just want to be around them again. I have gotten a few responses with people who are interested but haven't actually locked anyone in to having me start coming by. I would like to make this a bigger priority in 2011 as this is most definitely a part of my past I would like to reconnect with. 

"Your multiplicity of talents continues to amaze me" 
This was posted on my Facebook wall by a friend of mine after I plugged my side business called "Picasso's Pets" as possible Christmas gift ideas. 

I started drawing before I could write my name. For years, it was only horses. As an adult, I have not done much drawing until just a few years ago when I decided to pick up my colored pencils and give it a go. As it turns out, drawing for me was like riding a bike. Only I remember not being able to pop a wheely and now, I was doing BMX Big Air tricks. My talent for art had grown significantly and I realized that I really had something to work with. So, I started my pet portrait business on the side and actually did pretty well. I did take some criticism which slowed my progress, but I kept at it and got better and better. This last year, admittedly, I became a little burned out and didn't do much drawing at all. 

However, I set up my drawing table to get some projects out for the holidays and remembered just how incredible it felt when someone first looked at a picture I did of their beloved animal and tears came to their eyes. It's neat to have a talent like that. 

My dad has started a business called Affordable Custom Cages. He builds the most incredible bird and small animal cages that I have seen. He is working on a website to increase interest and distribution but in the meantime, he is using Ebay to create an online store where people can shop and bid on his products. 

Between this blog and my new review blog, building a website is not really on my list of things I want to do. So, I am going to take advantage of this Ebay store idea for my portraits and see what kind of interest I can get. I am also going to finish this portrait of Elvis that I started over two years ago - in my opinion, it's the best thing I've ever drawn - and get the licensing permission to distribute it. In my mind's eye, I see it for sale at the gift shop outside of the Elvis show at the Aria. Ooh… that would be awesome… 

Bowling Jesus died for your pins 
Another silly thing a friend posted on Facebook the other day. Got a chuckle out of me. 

My parents met in a bowling alley. My dad worked as a lane mechanic and my mom worked at the concession stand. It was love at first strike (I couldn't resist). Ever since then, we have been a bowling family. I bowl every Wednesday with my dad at the Santa Fe Station and have been bowling as a substitute at Red Rock Lanes on Monday as my mom broke her wrist and can't pick up her bowling ball for another month. 

I'm not bad. I bowl anywhere between a 175-180 average, which is fairly respectable and means I get lots of spares. However, given the fact that I've been bowling since I was eight years old, I would like to see my name at the top of a lot more weekly recap sheets than I do now. 

I live right next to the Santa Fe. As in, walking distance. The bowling alley opens early and by myself, I can bust out three games in less than an hour. In 2011, I'd like to up my game a bit. Besides any recreational open bowling I do with my friends, I am going to take one morning a week to bowl at least three games on my own to iron out technique, more quickly recognize changing lane conditions and therefore better my adjustments. I have a solid strike ball and a pretty decent spare ball and there is no reason that I shouldn't be bowling more consistently than I do now. 

I would like to finish 2011 averaging between 190-200 in my winter bowling league. This would mean I get a lot more strike runs in addition to my spares. It's a little aggressive, but I know I can do it! 

Prepare for the kamikaze! And no, not the girly bar shot… 
When I was dating Eric, we ended up at a gay bar in Long Beach one night where they were doing karaoke. By the way, not uncommon or weird to end up at a gay bar when you live in Long Beach so you can keep the jokes to a minimum. 

We sort of dared each other to sing. Being the closet attention whore that I am (how's that for an oxymoron?), it didn't take much twisting of my arm. I signed up for Tom Petty's American Girl and proceeded to butcher the hell out of it in front of a bar full of people. It was that day that my love for karaoke was formed. 

No, I don't always sing
karaoke in costume. This
was actually Halloween
I've done karaoke more times than I can count. I've done it in every city I've lived in as well as Boston, Chicago, Orlando, Kingman (boy was that scary), Laughlin and San Diego. I've sang karaoke with a live band performing behind me and in a small room with a bunch of friends, Japanese style. I've sang in front of a roomful of seniors as well as an entire bar full of cowboys (who, by the way, do NOT like Alanis Morrissette). I have a list in my phone of all the songs I have sang, would like to sing and will never sing again. 

Yeah, I'm that into it. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm no good. I mean, I'm not awful (sure, I've been awful, but I can usually hold my own). It's just that karaoke is liberating to me for some reason. In one of his early correspondences to me, Jeremy told me about the first time his friends talked him into doing karaoke and how much he loved it. He found that he actually had a good singing voice and enjoyed being in the spotlight. I don't know what it is, but there is something rather freeing about belting out one of your favorite songs in front of a roomful of strangers. I admit, this kind of public display of humiliation is not for everyone. But I love it. 

There is this fun version of karaoke here in the valley called Karate Karaoke. I am a white belt. I have to sing a certain number of songs before I qualify to go for my next belt color. In order to actually graduate and receive this new belt, I must sing a specific number of "kamikaze" songs. These are songs that are chosen randomly for me while I am standing at the microphone trying not to lose my lunch - or whatever shot special I just consumed. The song could be something I know, something I have never heard of and could quite possibly not even be in English. 

This takes karaoke to a whole new level for me. And it causes me to get even further outside my comfort zone so, I'm all for it. My goal for 2011 is to receive my black belt in karate karaoke. For those of you who read this and have the pleasure of seeing me destroy my kamikaze songs… thanks in advance for your support! 

I don't need a Kindle, just some time and motivation 
I do enjoy reading, I just don't make that much time for it. I read quite a bit online but there is still something special to me about cozying up in the corner of my room with a hot tea and a fleece blanket and wrapping my head around a good story. So, instead of saying I'm going to just "read more", I've gotten specific. My reading list for this year includes the following: 

These Ayn Rand novels (in this order) 

* Anthem 
* The Fountainhead 
* Atlas Shrugged 
(honestly, I'm amazed I haven't read these already… time to get moving) 

The next three novels in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum collection 

* High Five 
* Hot Six 
* Seven Up 
(I'm a late bloomer with Ms. Plum's adventures) 

Three other novels that come my way, preferably non-fiction. I'm thinking but not attached to… 

* On Writing by Stephen King 
* Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin 
* Almost Grown, The Rise of Rock and Roll by James Miller 

Like attracts like… how can I expect people to read my stories if I don't read theirs? 

Mirror, mirror, on the wall…. 
Even though I have listed this one last, it is probably the most important resolution to me of all. 

I have what some people might refer to as an issue with self image. I can always be thinner and more attractive. Well, most of the time being thinner to me means being more attractive. And the thinner, the better. 

I am the person that looks in the mirror and immediately sees what's wrong with my face and body. I am obsessed with what the scale reads when I get on it. If it's a few pounds heavier than last time, I go into a period of loathing and self hatred that usually pushes my loved ones away from me, allowing me to be right about people only liking me when I'm thin. 

I also get a little crazy about my workouts. I count each calorie that comes off and relate it to something I have eaten earlier that day. I stress out so much that I burn myself out and then take a week off of going to the gym, in which time I put on even more weight and the cycle starts all over again. 

I wake up in the morning and eat a light breakfast, healthy lunch, intelligent snacks and then go out with friends and eat an amazing dinner filled with all the fat, sodium and sugar I was trying to avoid all day. A few drinks later, and I needed to have spent three hours at the gym that morning to feel like I was worthy of my fun night out. 

I know there isn't anything I can do about making my face prettier except figure out how to afford braces and improve my complexion. I get frustrated that everyone around me has perfect teeth and flawless skin. I'm a "cute" girl who would give anything to be considered "gorgeous". 

These are not fun thoughts to have. 

A couple of months ago, I started the process of learning how to love myself. All of myself - not just the things I pick out that I like. I have an oval mirror in my room that I use specifically to tell myself how beautiful I am every day and how deserving I am to have what life has given me. I have had a lot of fun over the holidays and now none of my jeans fit. Instead of hating myself and being ashamed of putting on weight, I simply bought bigger jeans to wear until I take the weight off again. Which I will - because in general, I lead a very active and healthy lifestyle. I can't be so hard on myself when I've had a few weeks of enjoying the libations and goodies that come with being with friends and family. 

I look in the mirror with my hands on my belly and am thankful that I have so much food to eat. I am thankful for the extra weight in my chest and booty that make my dresses a little more fun to wear. I like to eat. I like to drink. I like good food and delicious beer. I like handcrafted cocktails and specialty wines. I like cheese. I like salads with rich dressings and steaks seasoned to perfection. And I absolutely love chocolate molten and red velvet cake. If I gave up all of these foods, I would always fit into my size 2 Lucky jeans. But life wouldn't be quite as much fun. 

So, I'm better off being happy with who I am then going on and on about who I could be. 

I bought new workout clothes to get excited about going to the gym again and stocked up the kitchen with all the healthy food I love to eat. I threw away all of my skin products that are based on harsh chemicals and replaced them with natural washes, lotions and oils that may not make my skin flawless, but will certainly make me feel good every time I use them. And my teeth? Perhaps one day… in the meantime, they don't define who I am and I'm not going to let them anymore. 

I don't expect to cure 30 years of being unhappy with my physical appearance to go away in one year. But I do want to accept myself fully for who I am and let my confidence take over from there. This will need to include affirmations every single day and positive reinforcements whenever I'm feeling blue. I'm up for the challenge - I have too much to offer to live in my head and not like who I am. 

So get ready world, "Gorgeous Tina" is on her way! 

There they are. The statements that will spearhead a new year of excitement, abundance, love and endless gifts. It is a full plate and one thing I definitely get to learn is how to establish a work week for myself so that I can get as much accomplished each day as possible. I need to give myself ample time for work, play, meditations and creative outlets. Through at least one of these sources, I get to find a way to create an income for myself as what I have in savings will not take me to the end of the year. I am confident that I will be able to create this. Because I am talented, smart and beautiful and I write my story. 

I wrote a daily affirmation on my white board a few days ago that I decided to keep and repeat until the first of the year as it captures the momentum I have carrying me into 2011: 

Surrender to what life is! My life is exactly what I've made it. 2011 is the year to LOVE. 



  1. Indeed...

    That was quite a morning in Mimi's Cafe, huh???

    You have an absolutely AMAZING year ahead of you!!! Why? Because, as you so aptly state, you have put yourself in a *POSITION TO SUCCEED.*

    I was in a similar position earlier this year when I caught my "break." (you know what I'm referring to.) When it came, all the years of study and preparation paid off, as I knew exactly how to handle it and to maximize the chance that I had been given.

    You, through a lot of heavy lifting physically, mentally, and emotionally, have put yourself in the exact same position. All you need now is a door to crack open, and when it does you will run through it on your way to fulfillment beyond your wildest imagination.

    What an honor it is to be a part of this journey of yours. You are an amazing woman.


  2. :) I like the karaoke picture in a costume .... definately awesome!

  3. Yay for the Irish Coffee picture! That's cool that they take the time to put the clover in it!

    I've told myself that when I reach my weight loss goal, that I'm going to treat myself to braces. I understand your plight on that one. Woo hoo...I just used the word "plight"!

  4. If you believe it will happen, then you will make it happen. Good job picking through the things in your life that you want to accomplish. You have inspired me to make a concrete list of goals for 2011!

  5. First: my sister is horse trainer, so if you wanted some time around horses, this is probably an area I could help you with.

    Second: I've read "On Writing." I think you might be well beyond the information it offers, which is not only common sense but is also written more for people who may not read much. There are, of course, parts that are interesting, but if you're reading it to improve your writing, I think it's sub par.


    Neat little place to find books your friends are reading and figure out what you might want to read.

    You have an ambitious list. I suspect you'll do well.