I know the care
the caution
the calculation
with which those words are chosen.

I know the barriers
the fences
the walls
that do not exist for a viewer on the outside

I know the tugging
of the old
of the new
and the need to dispel it
in attempts to launch a covert comparison campaign
to assess how things really stand.

I know what stepping on eggshells sounds like
and I know what sad honesty tastes like
I know how a pool
shimmering, filled to the brim
with thoughts and questions of frankness
and blunt nostalgia
tempts and tantalizes
sneaking off with sleep and brain capacity

I also know that the hardest part
is setting the sights just enough degrees to the left
to miss it


I’ve been taking time.

Time between classes, between appointments, between activities… just to stop and think. I’m forgoing the routine of rushing to put those earpods in my ears as I trudge across campus to get where I’m going.

Ever since my new year’s resolutions (schmesolutions!) post, I’ve been trying to be more mindful about how I spend my time. And while I’m SUCH a huge proponent for music and listening to it, I had to try sitting this one out. Situationally, anyways.

Instead of cranking up the volume in my ears and actively moving towards greater chances of hearing loss, I’m turning up the volume on my thoughts.

It wasn’t until about the third day of trying this that I realized just how much I was missing, how much I could fit in my head at one time, how much more relaxed I’d feel after taking even just 5-10 minutes to process everything– the day, the weather, my assignments, my fears, my stressors, my desire for food (or lack thereof)… And now I wonder how long I’ve been going without these moments and HOW I’ve been going so long without these moments.

It started out with a conversation about showers. Specifically, how we use that time. Most commonly, when we’re in the shower, we have one goal to accomplish (most times, anyways [; ): to get clean. We’re not multitasking [unless you’re one of those people who brings your toothbrush in along for the ride] and we’re not actively being distracted by a metal rectangle in front of our faces. Our mind rests. It wanders, falling into its natural tendencies.

The events of the day roll around our skull, memories we’ve put away suddenly peep through the surface, we’re reminded of things we told ourselves we wouldn’t forget… And it’s quite pleasurable. There is a conversation, a boardroom meeting, a party, all happening behind our eyes and for once we’ve chosen the moments in the shower to pay attention to it.

It’s for this reason that I’m questioning my every little phone use, my mindless escapes into my headphones and my music, and my recent habits of being so uber plugged in that my thoughts fall to the wayside, shoved around by external stimuli that is, oftentimes, completely within my control.

I’m trying this still. For the next week, I’m not timing my showers by the number of songs that come on. I’m going to resist putting in those headphones on my way to class, when I’m on the bus, or waiting in line for coffee.

My time is precious. My future is unclear. Any and all time I can utilize to mull these things over I want to seize with all my might.

My mind is speaking– I want to listen.


peace of the pie

Sadness is a curious thing. It sneaks up on you when you least expect it, lingers when you least want it, and comes running all too quickly when you call for it.

I read an interesting blog post today, [check it out] one that glosses over the science of being bored… You may think where is she going with this boredom and sadness and pie what even is happening here….? BUT.

Point is, there’s lots of things our minds can wander to, as shown in the below graphic [borrowed from Chris Bailey’s post]. I’m going to refer to the graphic as a whole as a pie. There are three, if you will, slices [albeit SUPER uneven. My OCD would be HELLA acting up if I had to share this pie with people as is, with the current slice situation as it is.]

But anyways. Bear with me, here.

Our minds, in moments of boredom, have a tendency to wander between slices.

While this graphic shows that our minds tend to only wander to the “past” part of the pie maybe approximately 1/8 of the time, that 1/8 can be a pretty dark piece of the whole pie. [It also doesn’t help that, here, in this graphic, the “past” is depicted as the darkest colour… some subconscious associations…? Coincidence….?] Sadness, confusion, anger… at what was, what we’ve done, what we cannot change, who we’ve known… All of these things can make up and factor into the darkest slice. And sometimes, I find myself lingering on that slice, letting it weigh in and erode my thoughts as I myself eat away at it like it’s going to fill me and fuel me, even when I know it will not.

But alas, there’s hope, my optimistic side wants to shout. That little dark piece isn’t the whole pie.  Heck, there’s plenty of grey and lighter grey pie to go around, to keep us busy when we don’t have the time or energy [or, sometimes, the strength] to delve into the darker pieces! But throwing yourself at the rest of the pie slices and losing yourself in them isn’t quite a cure-all either.

Should we just go along, gallivanting eating the rest of the pie 100% of the time and ignore the past/the sad parts of the pie or pretend it never existed?

Of course not.

That being said, we shouldn’t–heck– shouldn’t spend too much time just nibbling away at the dark parts either. Just because they’re there, easily accessible to me as a midnight snack–or last-resort fodder in a moment of boredom–doesn’t mean I have to eat it [I’m so sorry this analogy just keeps spewing out and now I’m hungry for pie–cherry, to be precise].

In fact, I’ve come to notice that this small fraction of the pie is unusually powerful. It has this way of making me want to keep returning to it, regardless of whether or not it is healthy for me.  It tests my self control. But it also makes me realize that I have the power to do with these slices as I wish.

I could binge on the dark pieces and completely ignore the rest of the pie.

I could gobble up the light pieces and cut out the dark pieces, just to throw them away [or compost them,  because come on it’s 2018 and it was literally 60 degrees in January a week or so ago].


I can put the dark pieces in microwave-safe tupperware to save for later, for those times I want a taste. A bite here and there when I’m feeling nostalgic, or if I feel particularly overloaded by the saccharine of the other slices.

A little indulgence every now and again is not a bad thing. Zooming out to make sense of the whole pie and how the slices interlock is quite necessary. So is eating a balanced diet.

Yes, I must make peace with the pieces.



hi january //

Copy of lifeasoflatelyjan18

It’s halfway through January and this post is just now going up. I’ll take that as an accurate depiction of life’s chaos right now. It’s fine. We’re fine. [-:

read/reading // Finished This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther, Lori, & Wayne Earl and an introduction by John Green! Really inspirational book, a giant compilations of the thoughts and creative geniuses of a beautiful girl who just happened to have cancer. 10/10 would recommend. She reminds me quite a bit of myself.

Related image

READING CURRENTLY: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey [re-igniting my self-help genre obsession! WOO!] No but honestly there’s some great truths in this book and I just finished reading a part about paradigm shifts and NO TRUER WORDS WERE SPOKEN I need to finish this so I can recommend to everyone I know.

Image result for 7 habits of highly effective people

writing // letters, TY notes, entries, major program applications [well, technically I haven’t started that yet] and SONG LYRICS [;

learning // to let the guard down, live a little, have more courage to speak my opinion.

doing / working on // 

-a scholarship songwriting opportunity! The Fish [lovingly, Josh] and I are tackling a jingle challenge for our university and I’m half done writing lyrics and his musical composition genius will finish it off for us, then we’ll record it. Crossing fingers!

-WATCHING “DARK” on Netflix. Holy crap it is blowing my whole mind.


-social activities!

-trying to have my phone silenced and out of reach more frequently, and take the time to do reflection every day.

eating // doughnuts, pancakes, PASTA and ice cream. Someone stop me.

drinking // water WATER tea and sub-par coffee.

listening // to THINGS. [:

laughing // at the fact that WalMart has a chant for its employees.

thinking // about the world and how it fits together, and also about my academic future… specifically if I want to pursue one path over another… HONESTLY so much of my deep thought comes when I’m walking to and from classes or when I’m in the shower it’s crazy. But I like it.

trying // to be more open and not afraid to approach people first.

hoping // that my textbooks get here soon because I was not prepared AT ALL and I have a lot of reading to catch up on now.

loving // my friends, my roomies, my place here and now. I’ve had a lot of moments in the past week that have given me pause, albeit good pause… but it just makes me aware of how incredibly lucky and thankful I am to be where I am right now, surrounded by the best people with so much laughter, love and talent.

praying // for patience, understanding, and the motivation to work out at least ONCE this week. Ha.

How’s your January been thus far?


resolutions, schmesolutions.

Every year it feels like there’s this overarching, looming pressure to take on something new, a “new year, new me!” mentality, to embark on these giant resolutions that are 1) often a repeat of the year prior and 2) perhaps a bite bigger than we can chew.  …And then we feel guilty around the middle/end of the year when it feels like we’ve made little to no progress on said resolutions [though don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people who have their life together and make sustainable goals and reach them– boy, do I applaud those people!].

But I stumbled on this article the other day– a collection of TED talks that had themes to them that suggested a different way of embarking upon the New Year.

So instead of hitting the gym for the first 14 [or 2, in my case– LOL] days of January, or completely cutting carbs out of your diet, try one of these things [I gathered some of my faves here]:

  • Take someone out to lunch with whom you completely disagree. This is SUCH a great idea because the foundations of understanding other people is listening to them first. This could be grimace worthy, or you could treat it as a chance for personal growth and an expansion of yourself and self-concepts! [:
  • Schedule time every week to be bored. UGH I LOVE THIS ONE. I’ve already talked about how important going out and taking time away from the screen/pressures/work is, so I’d be super excited to continue this in the new year. This might also be the hardest one, especially when it feels like we all have a million things to do on our to-do list and we don’t know how we’re gonna fit it all in. But MAN the benefits and peace of mind are worth it. Especially when the weather starts getting better, I definitely want to get outside more often, go places without having a real destination, and just allow my mind to wander aimlessly.
  • Talk to a stranger every week. In the Starbucks line, the library, the cashier checking out your items… In the latest book I just read [The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon], there’s a very robust acknowledgement of the idea of people feeling invisible in day-to-day interaction. We all have more in common than we think, and the gesture, when done repetitively just might boost our aptitude for small acts of courage and build self-esteem AS WELL as brighten the recipient’s day. Plus, hiding in the self-involved bubble of ourselves is boring.
  • Do one thing that scares you–something that you know will result in rejection. Sounds counter-intuitive. But HEY if there’s a way to numb the feelings of rejection and have more confidence in my actions, requests, daily dealings, appearance, etc.– I have to fall on my face a couple times to make sure I know how to get back up. This is another one of the hardest ones, I think, but in all honesty, possibly one of the most rewarding.

So there’s that. I feel like I could write up this list of things wrong with my character, spending habits, weight, whatnot… but quite honestly, some of those things on my list can feel too big, too hard to wrestle with. Taking on small challenges such as the ones above might seem a bit more plausible.

I also read somewhere that, in theory, you shouldn’t have more than 5 things on your to-do list at one time, as anything more than that can be overwhelming, and a huge part of what makes us feel productive is the feeling of whether or not we completed the things that we set out to do/wrote down on our to-do list. The cool thing is that a New Year’s resolution can literally be anything– from making your bed in the morning, to stepping outside for 5-10 mins every day. Don’t let them swallow you, don’t let them consume you– have fun with them, and enjoy all of the learning they have to offer [:

Also, just gonna leave this here: https://alifeofproductivity.com/conduct-an-end-of-year-productivity-review/ [;



new year, new space

Hi everyone! Shout out to you if you made it to my new link successfully!

I’ve been sitting on a blog transfer [blogger –> wordpress] for quite some time now and I thought what a better way to start 2018 than FRESH with a new blog? [There’s so much more I’d like to do in terms of design and formatting, but for right now, this will have to do! Trying to settle into a theme is THE WORST because I’m so indecisive and mildly very attached to my old one *single tear*.

Either way, we’ll figure it out. Just wanted to update y’all on the progress though. (:

Wishing you all a happy start to 2018!

xx a look backward



This year was… honestly such a blur but I couldn’t really imagine it any other way. So full. So rich. And I’m about to unpack it best I can through some of the questions I had last year [crazy how the answers evolve!]

Shall we?

If you had to describe your 2017 in 3 words, what would they be?
Independent, courageous, surprising.

What new things did you discover about yourself?
I’ve got a bit of an addictive personality, I spend way too much time thinking sometimes, I really do enjoy singing, I’m far too hard on myself sometimes, and I do have the capacity to live in the moment!

What single achievement are you most proud of?
Probably making that stop motion animation vid that won me $2000 towards my tuition. God bless.

What was your favourite place that you visited in 2016?
California [Santa Rosa, San Fransisco, Bodega Bay, Lake Tahoe!] Hands down.



Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?
The ability to remain positive in spite of circumstances. Sure, there were times when I had to take time to sulk, mourn, and grieve, but for the most part there was always a conscious effort to bounce back.

Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
My roommate. ♥

Which new skills did you learn?
How to work at Subway, some more calligraphy, how to do a mouth trumpet, in-game controls, better listening skills.

What, or who, are you most thankful for?
My family, my roommates, my friends, my school, Josh, the relationships I’ve been able to cultivate over the past year.

If someone wrote a book about your life in 2017 what kind of genre would it be?
A romantic dram-com. With some explosions and a dash of sci-fi.

What was the most important lesson you learned in 2017?
Gonna make a list of 3 key lessons here:

-Sleep is always the better option
-GPA is just a number
-communication is key. ESPECIALLY those hard conversations.

Which mental block(s) did you overcome?
– The idea that I have to mold myself based on people’s wants/needs/expectations and that my self worth/value can be found in another person. Quite the contrary— I am my rescue and in full control of what I want, how I present myself, how I spend my time.

– There’s no use in trying to change myself for someone when all it brings is pain, and at a point, at the end of the day, some hard cuts have to be made in order to get on track to find happiness.

– When in doubt, talk about it. Too much of the time I find myself tossing around what I want to say, what I wish to say around the inside of my skull, creating a biased, assumed reality that may never ever come to fruition. If you’re worried about something, bring it up. If you want to make sure you’re on the same page, don’t be afraid to mention something. If you have questions, ask them. Sometimes the worst thing is sitting under the weight and then decay of thoughts that could be debunked but we don’t know because we don’t dare to investigate them further.

What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?
TFW you gotta expand this list [but at the same time you realize that at this point in life, all you really need is a handful [or two!] of really solid people:

What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?
Having to train another person in a line of work. Nerve-wracking, unpredictable, exhilarating and totally a confidence booster, esp. after it was all over. Definitely gained some valuable experience, though.

How did your relationship to your family evolve?
I’d say it’s pretty stagnant. There’s the whole “corrected partnership” ideal I mentioned last year but I would be remiss if I overlooked the fact that it’s not always that cut and pretty. There’s plenty to learn, plenty of hiccups, plenty of salt, plenty of passive aggression. The cool part is when you get to find moments that unite and reinforce the positive elements in the ever-evolving relationship.

What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?
The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey. That book is so chock full of tips and tricks and good habits that I’ve tried to integrate into my school life. 12/10 would *definitely* recommend.

What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?
The walks to class, sunrise, sunset, rejuvenating showers, getting to sleep in, roomie quips, good morning/goodnight texts.
What cool things did you create this year?
A scholarship video
A 100 cards in 100 days project in which I created SO many cards.
A digital portfolio for aforementioned cards
-A kick-ass German final project [writing raps in German in hard]

What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)? 
Torn between curious, on the go, and stressed…

Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?
Yes. It was a HELLA great year for “firsts”:
touched the Pacific Ocean [and the West Coast in general!]
-visited the lady doctor [LOL]
-signed a lease [!!!]
-canoed in a lake
-paddle boarded
made a vlog
-road-tripped to the beach with my best friend
-rid myself of my Metro virginity
-got inducted into an academic fraternity
-got bangs consciously [I had them when I was younger but I had no say in that! HA!]
-climbed an actual mountain on the West Coast

What was your favourite moment spent with your friends?
I can’t choose just one—
-playing endless rounds of pool/billiards in the Tahoe house
-grocery store trips
-Rocky Horror round 2!!
-halloweekend with friends
-beach trip
-roomie lunch at BRG
-street festival gatherings
-game nights

What major goal did you lay the foundations for? 
– declaring my major(s)
– potentially studying abroad this summer
– getting a car [!! Still working on this!!]

Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?
-People hating/judging me for discontinuing a relationship
-various fearful feelings towards shots [I do NOT do needles well but it’s always not ever as bad as I think it’s gonna be]
-not packing enough for college
-worrying about how I was gonna stretch my meal plan

What experience would you love to do all over again?
Um, Cali.

What was the best gift you received?
Crazy, cuz this was rather recent. But oh well: a blanket.

How did your overall outlook on life evolve?
I like to think it improved. The world is so much bigger, there are people who will and do cherish you, your time is what you make of it, and I have faith that I’ll end up where I want/need to be.

What was the biggest problem you solved?
Cutting a lot of negativity/toxicity out of my life. Sometimes it takes time to step back and realize “LOL I actually don’t know why this even had a place right now.” And then you make adjustments, reflect on them, remember them, and, as always, try your hardest to move ever forward.

What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?
All throughout the year, my roomie Traci and I have made short little videos of the most random things— one of my favorites [hers too!] is one where she asks me if I’d like to hear a bedtime story. I tell her no, which is followed promptly by her tossing a book at my head as I’m on my bed. [it was low key choreographed. Lol. No books or Stephanies were hurt in the making of that vid.] Those moments, plus just all of our pre-bedtime goofing off is something that will never fail to make me laugh, and is something I can’t help but cherish.

What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?
Wireless mouse. My old one was so bad and I quite honestly needed it to do all of my work…but if we’re not talking about a necessity purchase, probably the variety of coloured paper/envelopes I got for crafting.

What’s one thing would you do differently and why?
I would listen to my instincts. They exist for a reason and sometimes there’s no use overriding them.

What do you deserve a pat on the back for?
Writing a frigging rap with German lyrics as a final exam / completing this semester with minimal casualties.

What activities made you lose track of time?
Getting lost in conversation with friends, driving, blogging, reading, swimming, running, hiking, listening to music, sleeping.

What did you think about more than anything else?
Probably how to improve myself and my trajectory forward, combined with how I can better manage my time. Oh, and school. Though it’s always school, tbh….

What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
German history, come to think of it. Probably wasn’t the case when I started out the year but I grew to like it. I liked learning about German philosophers/philosophy also. Oh, and coding when I had the time.

What new habits did you cultivate?
GOOD: going to bed somewhat at consistent times [!] hygiene improvements, writing more regularly, eating more regularly, prayer regularly
BAD: eating habits, running [ugh I blamed it on the weather/didn’t have my shoes at school, etc], staying out late on weeknights [a recently developed bad habit]

What advice would you give your early-2017 self if you could?

Dear early-2017 self,

Be prepared for change. It will be scary, but the worst thing you can do is go hide, isolate yourself and pretend it’s not happening. You have so much ahead of you, so much time for joy and laughter that you will come to know. Please try to put your nose to the grindstone a little better, especially around finals time. Drink more tea, get more rest, and for the love of Christ please take time to slow down, unplug, and cherish the ones you live and love with. Mistakes are inevitable but they aren’t all bad. Do drink more water. Revel in the activities that make you happy, embrace the scary things and ask for help when you need it. Also read more books. You have a whole list now, go dig in. Say a prayer in the morning, count the blessings before bed and try to learn to forgive yourself. There’s plenty of pain but take time to feel it so you can move on more clear-headed, more thoroughly. Remember your worth, always take the time and put in the effort, even if it seems stupid. You can also afford to get off your high horse and listen to the dissonance around you. Lastly, put in the time to love yourself, free yourself of the wicked comparison game, and please—“habe Mut dich dein eigenes Verständnis zu bedienen.”
Your future self

Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?
Yes. My relationships. It’s hard to think after investing so much time into one outlet, one avenue, one person that anything can stay the same. But some things have, and most of those things are the inner wishes and thoughts and goals and dreams that shouldn’t ever be allowed to fade out or burn away. I’d also have to say something for my more general relationships– they’ve grown deeper, more confident, less fake, more in-tune with both parties involved. It’s a good time.

What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?
The friends who have long since stood by, who have loved me every step of the way… the road is almost never completely smooth but it would be a shame to say that one hits a dead end, a hard stop in learning and growing and loving as such things progress. It’s friends like these from 2017 that have taught me more than I could ever realize about myself, that have brought me endless joy and reason to wake up in the morning.

Riddled with extremes, imperfections and memories, there’s always beauty to be found in the dynamics of getting to know these people we’ve come to love most.

 Here’s to reflection on the old and embracing the new– have a blessed New Year’s, everyone ♥