All about Nicole Ann, The Balanced Planner

Welcome to The Balanced Planner you guys :) if you are reading this chances are you already know a bit about me and my background. I was born and raised in Vancouver, Washington and truly believed I would never leave home, but life has a funny way of surprising you. I was an only child until the age of 10 when my little brother was born. Being an only child for so long I formed a very unique bond with my parents and to this day I have a closer relationship then most kids do with their parents. When Brandon, my brother, was born he became my entire world. Of course I became his baby sitter and my goodness, I brought that kid everywhere with me. If we were friends in high school, you remember! I never did any high school sports or activities because I loved playing mom to my little brother. Even to this day I'm sometimes like a second mom to him rather then a sister, but he loves it. The four of us were so beyond close and my parents raised us pretty sheltered and unaware of the bad in the world, we had an amazing childhood. But that bubble popped pretty abruptly when my parents filed for divorce my senior year of high school after almost 20 years of marriage. That was by far one of the hardest things to go through especially at the crucial age of 18 when you are meant to be preparing for your own future but everything you've ever known is falling apart around you. I have more to say on that but we'll save that for another post ;) the one amazing thing that happened during that time was I found out I have a sister that I never knew about growing up. & before any of you assume - my parents divorce had absolutely nothing to do with my sister, the timing was purely coincidental. Kenzie, my sister, was literally an angel sent to me during that extremely rough time. We are only two months apart, almost to the day. She was born March 2, 1993 and I was born May 5, 1993. But I will save our story for it's own post <3

During my parents divorce I latched onto any sort of stability I could find which led to my first serious boyfriend who I spent 6 years with and had a short 10 month marriage with, but again we'll save my thoughts on that and how to survive divorce at such a young age for another post. But leaving that marriage was by far the best decision I made for myself and for him. I feel like after I left that situation I finally became awake and aware of who I truly am and what my own beliefs are. I was so wrapped up in my parents divorce at the age most kids start to discover themselves that I never really slowed down to take that time for me. I immediately jumped into my banking career and an extremely serious relationship at 18 convincing myself okay, you are set for life and you finally have control. Little secret, none of us have control except for how we choose to react to what life hands us. But I craved structure and stability after all the chaos and I never stepped outside my comfort zone because I was so dang afraid of everything and of failing at anything. Looking back now that is when I started to let my anxiety control me. But up until this last year I refused to admit to myself that I do have severe anxiety in many different forms; driving anxiety, social anxiety and other ways that I plan on dedicating a different post to with more detail. My divorce happened at age 25 and I can honestly say that is when I first started getting to know, love and embrace my true self - anxiety and all.

Completely un-planned and un-wanted, I met my current boyfriend during that year I planned on dedicating to just me after my divorce. I swear life always happens like that, God has a great sense of humor. After going through what I did with my ex husband I had a very clear picture of what I did and didn't want in a spouse but I was definitely not ready to date. But God threw AJ at me and as hard as I tried to not let it happen, I fell hard and I am so glad I did. Eventually I will share the details of AJ & I's love story, it's my favorite. So AJ & I start dating, I'm back in school full time working on my accounting degree while still working at the bank and life seems to settle into a normal routine. Then AJ gets the offer of a lifetime for a career down in California. We agreed to try long distance but I'm going to be totally honest, I didn't believe we'd actually make it, let alone I'd be moving to be with him! But here we are and again I am so happy God's plans are always better than mine. & honestly long distance was perfect for where I was at in still healing from my divorce. I'll eventually be doing a post on all my tips for couples in long distance and how to blow off the negativity from family/friends because we are living proof it CAN work when you have two dedicated, faithful partners. We did long distance for 6 months with only one visit during that time, for a week. I was still in full time school/work & he was taking on his new career and it was hard, my co workers at the time witnessed some of those hard moments first hand haha. But you guys, it was so beyond worth it and has led to everything we have built together now. So here I am, the girl who swore she would never leave home, packing up her entire life and leaving everything she ever knew, all for love. & I haven't had one single regret. I may have moved for AJ but after having this experience I think everyone should go through moving away from home at some point in their life, even if its only for a few months, because you grow in ways you don't when you stay home around everything you've always known. But again, I'm saving the details of that for a whole other post, haha.

Leaving home, learning how to embrace the woman I truly am has led to The Balanced Planner. I am The Balanced Planner, yes, but that is also the name of the planners I am designing and I am so excited to share this process with all of you on here. I have absolutely no idea what I am doing and I am learning as I go but this is the first time in my life I truly feel passionate and driven about something so I am ready to fail, learn, grow and succeed all while being real and honest with you guys. I want this to be a place to share the process so I can get your input on what you want in them too. I also want to turn this blog into a way to share my life experiences to those struggling in similar ways. I want to provide encouragement, motivation, LOVE and help people free themselves from anger, resentment and bitterness. I want to remind anyone struggling just how strong you are. That you can decide to overcome anything thrown at you because YOU decide if your struggles are going to break you or if they are going to make you that much stronger, it's all a choice. & most importantly I want to be a safe place for anyone that just needs someone. Never hesitate to email me whether it be to vent without unsolicited advice or maybe you want advice? Or you have something you want my opinion on or something you want to see me write about on the blog. I always respond. I also want to dedicate one post a month to small business owners so definitely email me if you are interested in being featured. I have a whole lot of love to give guys and I am finally finding a way to do what God has put on my heart. Which again, I plan on doing a whole different post on that too and my beliefs on relationship over religion. This is just the beginning and I am so excited to see what comes of this blog, the planners, my education and being able to share it all with you guys.

As you can already tell, I have so many different topics and personal life experiences with my personal take on them that I want to share and I haven't even dove into half of my ideas yet! I will be talking about serious topics like AJ & I living under one roof balancing my anxiety & his bipolar along with the things I am just starting to learn on how to be a supportive spouse to someone with bipolar. Bipolar is HARD for the person living with it, no one including myself can ever comprehend just how hard it is. But what often gets missed is how hard it can also be for their loved ones. It is so important to have support for BOTH partners and I hope this can also be a place for that as well. Out of our own privacy, anything I share in regards to that will be from AJ & I both but as I've mentioned, never hesitate to start a private conversation with any questions or help you may need. I am no expert but I can share what I've learned from our experience. So from the more serious topics all the way to the not so serious topics I'll also be sharing things as simple as my fitness routine & how I lost 40 lbs from home and also things like book reviews (so many of you asked about The Disease to Please so keep an eye out for my review on that) along with things like my hair routine. Us ladies love all that kind of crap, am I right?

If you've made it this far and actually care about what I write, I freaking love you. This new adventure has shown me how many people love and support me and I am overwhelmed by it all. I will never be able to express just how much it means to me. So, on that note I think I will wrap up this little summary of my life and my intentions with all of this. If you haven't noticed already, I ramble, I'm all over the place, I'm not a professional writer. But this is the real me, no holding back.

If you want updates on the planners and to be alerted for future posts, make sure you subscribe. I haven't decided yet which topic I'll start with next week but feel free to email me if there is something you want me to talk about more. & again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the love and support as I embark on this new scary, exciting journey.

Nothing but love, always.

-The Balanced Planner :)

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