the quarantine diaries: day 18 // whipped joy

In between the hiding behind my computer screen lectures and assignments, work and projects… It feels like all the days blend together and it is up to *me* to make them interesting! Which is both an amazing and…interesting concept.

So. I saw this recipe for Dalgona coffee (or whipped coffee) on the Internet and put it in the back of my mind to try out the next time I was making my daily coffee.

It was super easy and super fun to make. I only needed:

– 2 tbsp instant coffee
– 2 tbsp HOT water
– 2 tbsp of white granulated sugar or brown sugar [I liked using 1 tbsp of each]

And then?

1. I whisked vigorously by hand ūüôč‚Äć‚ôÄÔłŹ[i did it with a rubber whisk, you could use a mixer if you had one] until light brown & frothy‚ÄĒ when you dip your whisk/mixing blades in, it should form stiff peaks.]

2. I poured the mixture over an *aesthetic* glass of cold milk [almond milk / coconut milk works too!] and the whipped coffee, if whipped thoroughly, should float delicately on top.

3. I stirred it together and it was lovely, and slightly diluted & not as strong.

o o o h pretty

And I noticed something.

By bringing forth this lil cup of frothy caffeine into existence, something I’d never done before, it was just a little slice of joy for me. A tiny joyful distraction from the pressures and unknowing of this time.

A small reminder that creating joy daily is possible, that it’s more important than ever, and that this time, while complicated and busy in weird ways, is using us. It’s using me. And we’re using it. We *get* to use it.

To move, to breathe, create, to rest, to recharge, to connect.

xx

the quarantine diaries: day 15 // birthday edition

Years from now I’ll be able to tell my kids or the kids of my friends about this…weird time.

The time I wrapped a string of green christmas lights around a one of our living room lamps and cut out palm tree leaves to tape around the lampshade.

The time I baked my own cake to look like a sunset, dressed with “sunflowers” of pineapple and maraschino cherries, adorned with black script proclaiming my aging.

The time my roomies and I sat 6ft apart from eachother in our pitifully tiny “backyard” and “patio”, with the speakers blaring, enjoying tropical drinks within our #doomsdayluau themed festivities.

The time we recreated a picture of ourselves for three semesters in a row because we’re cheesy and dig continuity.

The time we made jello shots in a baking pan, and proceeded to cut them up like brownies and serve in individual bowls to make sure that nothing & and no one was unnecessarily touching each other.

The time we turned the aggressive news cycle off to live, breathe, and laugh in the same space– to temporarily shift the collective sadness at a senior year pulled out from under our feet, to the back of our minds as we smashed each other in continuous games of Quiplash

The time we connected creatively, separate yet together.

hello, march– [in like a lion indeed]

I am consistently amazed by the pace of life
How quickly things change, in what seems like inch increments.
I feel like I start these posts the same way buuuut that’s just how it be sometimes, I think.

I was telling a friend earlier today that I have been broke for the majority of February and definitely the start of march. And yet, I feel as if I’m not missing much at all. my sustenance consists of friends, work, inspiring words, food I purchased at the start of January that has managed to last until now, projects, good news, hard conversations, and, in some cases, a renewed sense of vigor and willingness to not take the easy way out…

//

I have risen from the dead.
I find myself returning to this drafted post, with a restless & mildly cynical resolve to finish a post of this sort [created on the 2nd day of March before the world fell apart—] because I haven’t written in this space in what feels like ages, and I’d like to get the ball rolling again while I’ve got “all this time” on my hands to seize.¬† I went on a mission trip earlier this month and halfway through it, got news that our university has cancelled all classes til further notice in April…

I think I’ll just dedicate a separate post to the Corona virus drama…

In the meantime, here’s March so far, happy St. Patrick’s day! [[[[[:

read/reading/re-reading // Big Magic: Creative Living Without Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert and I just started reading Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow.

writing // This post. Potentially a Media Law paper. My manifesto. A massive to-do list Who knows.

learning // to hold and sit with a variety of inevitable truths in my head at one time. I am cognizant of the fact that there are only 9~some odd ish weeks in this academic journey of mine… all of those 9 weeks are uncertain.

doing / working on //
deferring my student loans
– meal prep
– mission trip happenings
– painting
– making things out of paper

eating // cumin-herb rice, beans, broccoli, oatmeal, whatever is left on my shelves

drinking // coffee, water, tea, wine, & tears

listening // to a lot of new things. Check it out:
www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDDGjxXjOrU6VIfRV_pBqLkMawhMomJwK

being inspired //¬† by the artists and creators and helpers around me in this time… people who are refusing to let this weird time get to them and instead make the most of every moment!

laughing // at the fact that I keep getting ads that insist that I download TikTok and how I relentlessly refuse to do so

thinking // about the gravity of this situation. About those affected by all of this. About how I may not be having a graduation. About being quarantined for the next few weeks. About my wellbeing and the adaptations I’ll be making.

trying //¬†to engage in activities that “fill my cup”, that keep me engaged, and keep me going.

hoping // that this too shall pass, that we innovate with love and consideration.

loving // the gentle upswing in the weather!

praying //¬†for healing, for hope, and for all those affected, and all that is happening… honestly rather speechless at this whole thing.

xx

steph

n o v e m b e r .

I think the last time I did one of these, I was just getting back from another country, all bright eyed and bushy-tailed for another academic semester to start.

It’s hard to unpack in a single post just how insane the past couple months have been, on all fronts; plus, this is a “november” themed post. Hmm. We’ll see what happens.

read/reading // I recently finished How To Be Here by Rob Bell and am *almost* finished with Four Seconds: All the Time You Need to Stop Counter-Productive Habits and Get the Results You Want by Peter Bregman. And yes, I do heavily recommend both!

writing // essays, resumes, cover letters, exams…

learning // to skip the worries about perfection. To skip the worrying over getting started. To create for me. To create for fun. To explore what fascinates me. To reflect more.

doing / working on //

  • mindfulness! I’m trying this thing where, at the top of my daily to-do list, before I have *ANY* bullet points, I answer the following prompts:
    • “Today, I am thankful for…”
    • “Today, I will focus on…”
    • “Today I will let go of…”
      kind of a nice way to get your mind wrapped around the day, I think.
  • exam finishings
  • wrapping up this semester
  • creative endeavors/new projects
  • apppppplicaaaations
  • FINAL EXAMS ugh

eating // turkey. cranberries. potatoes. all the good stuff ^___^

drinking // teaaaaaaaaa! and occasionally coffee [at strategic times]

listening //¬†to so much wonderful music. The past months have blessed me with *ALL* kinds of lovely introductions to new things, new bops, new talent… you name it. It’s a lovely landscape out there:

being inspired // by the creatives around me!!! HOLY CRAP I know so many talented people, [a few of whom have a spot in the playlist above, so check em out!]

laughing // at the latest Twitter memes! I’m not often on Twitter…but when I am! I do forget how much I appreciate the witty interplay of text with image but also primarily text as it stands alone– being able to convey a feeling or an experience in 140 characters is kind of impressive.

thinking //¬†about how I’m going to need to balance my time in the next couple of days– between extreme productivity, self care, physical activity, rest, and bursts of fun and novelty. I’m also thinking about how I’d like to do another YearCompass before the year is out!¬†Apparently, the version for 2019 to segue into 2020 is out, and I’d recommend it to anyone.¬† A really great way to look back on the year, reflect, vent on paper, and then gradually say “goodbye” to the year.

trying //¬†new things! New music, new workouts, new mindsets, creative techniques, and trying to be bolder and more sure with my words. ‚̧

hoping // for some more downtime in the coming weeks. The semester is almost over, and with that, I anticipate more time for reflection, discernment, and slowing down. I want a successful re-boot before spring starts up.

loving //¬†the people around me, their blessed presence, and the time I get to spend with them!! Never underestimate the value, joy, and blessing of a good TRIBE and FLOCK ‚̧‚̧‚̧

praying //¬†for my friends. For my family. For those who are in transition right now. For those who are going through a tough time. For those who are having trouble seeing past the darkness. For those who feel unworthy, under-appreciated, and unloved. For those who are working towards their goals. For good health, patience, and safety as I embark on these last weeks ahead, for patience. For those watching, for motivation, for a renewed sense of purpose in all I undertake. For tact! For resilience! For peace and a heart full of gratitude for all that’s been given to me.

xx

steph

// forcing habit

It’s been a week!

I guess I can write this now!

So. In my earlier post about saying no to things so you can say yes later and whatnot I referenced a few things I was doing to kind of get myself back on track and pave a smooth way for the semester.

And I can honestly say I’ve learned a lot during that process.

So! A recap!

This week, I:

Said “no” to coffee, and “yes” to water and tea.*
I woke up with a cup/glass/or water bottle every morning this week, because I want to embrace the positive effects a hefty dose of water can have on your metabolism in the mornings.

Some observations, though:

  • It kinda threw off my body’s schedule LOL
  • I’ve noticed a small difference in my ability to focus and in the quality of my skin. [I had headshots taken yesterday so this has been a mild blessing!]
  • It has made me aware how little I drink water now. Because I start my day with it, and because it seems to be a memorable part of my mornings now, I think about it more. And I also seem to have a subconscious thought of “oh, welp! That’s your water for the day!” So I’m hoping to override that.
  • I did break my non-coffee regimen 2 times this week though [1.5 if you wanna get technical about chai tea lattes]. I will say though! These “breaks” were backed with purpose–
    • one “coffee” event was spent getting through a difficult, yet rewarding as hell conversation
    • the other was a purposeful consumption of an espresso iced coffee to power through a video editing session. I totally got in my “flow” state and absolutely reached hyperfocus as a result.
    • [EDIT: annnnnnd whoops technically I guess I also had a break today I totally forgot about–I ordered a Matcha latte at work today because I’d never had one before and I wanted to see if I’d like it. Does that count? LOL]
  • I guess the biggest thing for me with regards to the coffee is that I wanted to consume it more mindfully, and more purposefully, rather than just having it be my “given” for the day. And on that front, I think I succeeded. [:

I said “no” to notifications, and “yes” to waking up more mindfully.
I don’t think I really realized how much my mind raced in the morning until the end of last semester. Over winter break there wasn’t quite as many commitments, so I was able to wake up with notifications and skip the mind racing, *but* I was then able to fall into the trap of endlessmindlessscrolling (I didn’t have a class to race off to, so of course I was able to just sit and absorb. At least, I told myself I could). So. By keeping airplane on all night, I knew for a fact that nothing would be able to get through.

Some notes though:

  • I did violate my rule once this week because we were expected to get a ton of snow, and, let’s be real, I didn’t want to miss the university closure texts.
  • This habit MAJORLY helped in that it gave me a clear mind for the morning to breeze through my other tasks, such as drinking water, making myself a smol breakfast, and getting ready for the day [I should time myself on all those things, actually, just to see how long they *actually* take and now how exacerbated they are when interrupted with screen time! :D]
  • It also just gave me a nice…buffer? I guess? A little extra time between being asleep and immediately “on” and awake.
  • I’m able to more accurately process my mornings!! I am here, writing this post because I *remember* my mornings– not just as a rushed blur of mundane, but as a little more *mindful*! That’s exciting!

Said “no” to “checking in” and working right away, yes to observing my breathing and bringing back my wandering thoughts.
I was probably worried the most about this one.¬† Mediation, I knew going into this, was going to be the one I was most averse to for this week. I didn’t do that well in terms of setting aside a solid 5 minutes to watch my breathing. Rather, I made some observations:

  • I traded sitting cross-legged on my floor or on my bed for walks to work without headphones.
  • I declined music in the shower, opting instead for a 5 min timer and just embraced the fact that my mind was going to wander and made an effort to enjoy it.
  • I did a few brain dumps. On paper. For me, this is highly meditative for some reason.¬† I started with a blank sheet of paper and by the end of 10 mins or so, I had built a complete list of thoughts and notes and “to-do”s and by the end my head just felt SO MUCH BETTER. Chris Bailey quotes a lot, “your brain is for¬†having¬†thoughts, not¬†holding¬†thoughts.”¬†That’s what the meditative brain-dumps are for [;

There were a few other things I did pretty consistently this week that I hadn’t intentionally set out to do,¬† though, and they surprised me!

I made my bed every morning.
Anyone who has seen my room knows I’m pretty scattered. But I’m actually super proud of the way I’ve been able to keep it tidy over the past week. Among my morning hustle, I try to make my bed look made just so I have a good thing to come home to. But also because it’s hard to lay out clothes and spread out what I need for the day on a mangled up tangled ball of blankets :B

I made myself breakfast every morning. 
The routine as of late? Oatmeal + egg and cheese. I whip up the oatmeal [it’s instant, we’re getting there LOL], and then make an egg with shredded cheddar to get that protein in. I cannot TELL you how many times I went last semester [especially towards the end there!] without eating a single thing in the morning. [Well, I did have a single thing– and it was coffee. #yikes] If I was running late, I opted for something more portable [I think that only happened once this week] like a granola bar of piece of fruit. Otherwise, I carved out time for breakfast. And, on super late nights like last night, I did the prep work in the evening so I could be prepared and get the extra sleep in the morning. [I know it all probably works out to be even– the time I spent prepping was taking away from my sleep time, but in my head this makes sense and it *feels* like I get to sleep more, LOL].

I did all of the above with the help of a “Gmorning” checklist!¬†
I love lists. I don’t know where I would be without them. What started as a way for me not to lose track of all I had to do in the morning turned into a daily event. I would take a piece of paper, write out my tasks for the morning, and write something encouraging on the top of it. The cherry on top? Leaving Lin Manuel Miranda’s book, “Gmorning, Gnight!” right on top of the list so I could flip it open to a random page to be inspired. I think positive self-talk, especially early in the morning, is super underrated. I’m not quite to the point of confessing love for myself in the mirror yet LOL, but I am finding that reading just a blurb of something positive each morning has a really nice effect on the day.

The crazy thing? There were points this week where I felt myself pushing back on all of this. Where I wondered,¬†what’s the point?¬†¬†Heck, today I saw someone reference today as “Ditch All Your New Year’s Resolutions Day,” as if we’re supposed to just up and lose motivation on the 15th of the first month of the year.

But the funny thing about routines and habits– you come to expect them. You come to think about them during the rest of the day, and even look forward to them. So much so that when you feel like you’re starting to veer off the tracks, you seek solace in them again. And it’s like come on we just spent so much time getting this together. Why stop now?

…And when you see that they’re starting to work, starting to pull you up and help you rise, you’re inclined to give them another chance every time the sun rises. [:

What about you guys? What 2019 energies are you keeping up with?

xx

 

brilliance.

They say

“there’s no light without darkness”

But sometimes

it takes a while 

for the two to coexist.

Sometimes it takes a while

to get up from the table

the bed

the floor

And make your way over

to your light switch

and flip it

subsequently flipping your life upside down 

in the most pleasurable,

surprising way imaginable

they don’t tell you

about the moment

they don’t tell you

about the vast,

overwhelming brilliance

the super power that enables you to see for miles

over hills of bullshit

through valleys of ego

under waters of clarity

beyond shadows of doubt

all to find

you know you’re still you

you were you when you danced

you were you when you sat in the dark

you were you when you emerged

among fraudulent, hollow stagnation

glowing and triumphant.

xx

—-

I read something the other day [what else is new LOL].

Something along the lines of “it’s easy to be over it when it’s distant. When you don’t have to look at it. It’s a whole ‘nother story when it’s closer. When you stare right at it.”

If 2018 was the whirlwind of a year of escapism, 2019 is the year of walking right up to it. The difficult. The challenging. Taking it out for a drink, and staring it down.

I suppose it’s clichee but it’s *INCREDIBLE* to be able to look around, and think, and feel, and comb through your heart, and scrutinize your routine, and investigate habit, and delight in breadcrumbs that you, so strategically and caring, scattered for yourself and yourself alone…and finally arrive at a loaded, liberating, completely uninhibited exhale that says: “LOL look how far this has¬†come!

we can be good at math

Between being sick, and trying to figure stuff out for how to re-align my life for this semester, I managed to wake up late this morning…..BUT! I made it 1 minute before my first class started at 8am!! #yay

This class…is a math class.

#notyay #butYESYAYbecause #override #anythingispossible! #readmoretoseewhy

I am in my 3rd year here at university and have avoided it for this long [LOL how]. But like 2019 is turning out to show and teach me every day– there’s just no hiding anymore! ((-:

The last math classes I took was in high school. It was AP AB Calculus in my junior year, and AP Stats senior year. With regards to the Calc, I was in that class because it was the only thing left I could take without stepping down the ladder in terms of math difficulty, and because I was pressured into it by myself (“why not take another AP to impress colleges hmm??” ) and friends (“why not take another AP to impress colleges but also lowkey upholdyour intellectual status at this school and unrealistically inflate your GPA like the rest of us¬†¬†hmm??”)… and parents (“why not take another AP to impress colleges hmm??”).

Needless to say, I did not want to be there.

This negative outlook stemmed, I think, from a lot of different things, and I really only started to understand it last semester.

This particular bout of introspection came when we were discussing epistemological beliefs within my practicum as I was training to become a digital learning center tutor.

It’s a big complicated phrase [and I may or may not still have trouble getting it out of my mouth without tripping on it somehow LOL] that basically talks about how we as humans conceptualize our own knowledge, and how we think about learning and its processes.

Do we think that learning is about facts and knowing? Do we believe that learning is a continuum that constantly evolves with time and experience? Do we believe that we can learn differently? Are we stagnant in our learning? Are we certain that things can only be a certain way, and that we can’t learn any differently?

In my case, I always told myself I was bad at math. Not gonna lie, I did this because I wanted to assimilate myself with my mother growing up, who had always said she was bad at math.

I have absolutely no issue [in fact, it’s *so* encouraged!] to make mental notes and observations about what you’re good and not so good at.

But I was telling myself I was bad at math like it was some genetic issue, not because I had legitimately tried time after time and fallen on my face repeatedly during my math courses. I mean, there’s no doubt I fell on my face in a variety of math classes, but I also had to step back and look at this in itself: “falling on my face” meant getting slightly lower grades than my peers.

At no point was I ever legitimately “failing” math. I think the worst grade I ever took home was in the high D/ C range. But no matter what grade I received, there was always a tiny voice that seemed to just ramble on without any real precedence, “I’m just not good at math”.

In the practicum it hit me. My learning, especially as of late, thank the Lord above, has been anything but stagnant. It’s been anything but “you’re just not good at X”. Hell, these past few years? I’ve been telling myself “how do we make X happen?” and then I just…do it. [A lot of this refers to procrastination issues but LOL that’s a tale for another time.]

Putting limits on the way you learn is such a sad thing to even think into existence. There’s almost *always* more than one way to do something, and I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised when I walked into my 8am math class today.

Not only was the professor so nice, so spritely, and passionate about the subject matter… she made it very clear to us that she loves teaching, that she’s an adjunct, that she gets a personal thrill every morning at 8am to be here in her ripe age of 65. Add in the fact that she’s very blunt and candid and brash with a southern twang?!?

LOL.

I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed math more. She reminds me of my mother and my father’s mother all rolled into one and LOL it’s a fantastic combination.

But as I was sitting there, I was reviewing concepts that had fallen by the wayside, that had gotten rusty, that were a bit fuzzy on the edges. But I did the stepping back and was honest with myself. It’s been what, 3 years? LOL. Time to read up!

And it wasn’t bad at all! Stepping back to look at everything objectively, with confidence in myself [and a bit of hyperfocus**], I was able to think about how this was totally doable, and totally in my reach.

Malcom Gladwell has made the statement that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be good at something. Who says that something can’t be totally new? Or totally foreign? Or something you thought you were terrible at, but now have the courage to revisit?

**I refer to [surprisesurprise] Chris Bailey here. Another reason I think I did so “poorly” in math in middle and high school was because I was *not* in control of my attention at all. Phones and other tech at that age had… a bigger impact on my ability to focus and do well than I ever thought at the time, and so being able to see how to reign in my focus for things that are important to me, for things I want to succeed in, has been *such* a help.

What are *your* epistemological beliefs?

Better yet…How can you flip them upside down?

Onwards!
xx

here we go…!

These past 48 hours have found me feeling so sick and so dead– there is something wrong with my tonsils or lymph nodes I’m sure of it, and it’s creeping up into my ear making it hard to swallow.

The fun part? All of this is hitting at a time when I’m supposed to be getting “in it” again, re-energizing for school, re-aligning my goals, and getting back on track towards plans I can live with, plans that are ultimately my desire paths and will lead me in the directions I want to go.

I don’t like being sick partially because it means I have to kind of force myself to do nothing [if my body hasn’t already forced me to stop doing things, anyways], which is aggravating to me.

It also puts into perspective just how much I take my body for granted sometimes– this whole winter break I was around children and germs and wow my body has done nothing but fight that stuff off.

The highlight of my day yesterday was taking a shower– there’s something so great about taking a hot shower to temporarily relieve the pain. And it was in that moment where I stopped and I thought about the year ahead of me– the semester ahead of me– how beautifully full it was going to be and I just couldn’t return to moping around in bed after that.

It was meds and gargling and doing all I could to get my Google calendar in order. Sure, being sick you should rest and I *did* rest– plenty– but there’s a point where it’s like¬†really? I sleep at night too. I don’t want to spend today a zombie– I already kind of did that a lot in 2018. Without being sick, though. Ha. Fun.¬†

So.

Tomorrow, all things considered, is a pretty easy day. I’m probably gonna be able to squeeze in a trip to the health center to figure out what’s actually wrong with me. (-:

It’s just funny because I think I put 2019 on a bit of a pedestal, something I’d reach for, something that was all shiny and new, and this sickness is bringing me a really interesting perspective on some things:

  1. our bodies are fragile, fricking BEAUTiful temples. We should love them for all they do for us.
  2. Just because 2019 has started out with sickness is humbling. It’s not how we end up with the sickness, it’s how we react to it. Me? I just scheduled a health appointment, I’m gargling on some saltwater, and chugging warm tea with *loads* of honey, and then– my school day starts!!

So onward and upward– and Happy Monday!

xx

the courageous task of saying “no”.

Ahahah so it’s crazy. This post [rather the thought of writing on it] has been taking up a lot of headspace recently. So here we go.

I am an ENFP [“the campaigner”], my Enneagram puts me as a¬†“Helper” as my paramount personality trait. [If you’ve never heard of this or tried it for yourself, I highly encourage it! It’s very cool to see the results.]

I love challenges, I love helping people, I love being busy.

I don’t like inconveniencing others, I don’t like living up to expectations, and I definitely don’t like confrontation, and things like¬†saying no.¬†

Oof.

If there’s anything that 2018 taught me, it was that it was¬†busy.¬† It was packed. Why?

Because I consistently didn’t say “no” to things.¬†

I like feeling like I can do and give for everyone but WOW that’s so mentally taxing, and emotionally exhausting. I think I only realized this in the past 3 months. Taking time for myself was still a foreign concept, and I couldn’t fathom “letting people down”.

What I’m learning, however, is that part of the time it’s like being on an airplane. When shit’s going south and things are nosediving, you do have to put the mask on yourself first in order to help others.

I don’t like thinking about this, partially because it feels like I’m neglecting others by doing so. But it’s true. Sometimes, you just have to barge forth and make that call to take the time for yourself that you need.

Chris Bailey [YES I KnOw I reference him so much he’s my idol sue me] suggests this pretty golden rule for determining whether something is worthy of your “yes”. You can think about how every “no” you throw out is actually a “yes” for something later on, or you can think about how every “yes” you commit yourself to is a “no” to something else later on.

It is this train of thoughts that makes me think about all I’ve said yes and no to. Some things are an obvious yes– visiting with family I haven’t seen in 5 months or more over the holidays when I could be working? For me, this is an obvious “yes.”

Following up on flaky plans when the other person has no real interest in making time for aforementioned plans?¬†Tough.¬†As badly as I’ve tried to make this work in the past, it just doesn’t. It also has led me to start thinking about the fact that I actually may be someone’s “back-up plan”.¬†Yikes. That’s gonna be a “no” from me, dawg.

[I’m still in the works of trying to release some big things in the next weeks related to this specific topic of money and stufffff buuuut….!] Spending money on impulse for the instant gratification and to feel “one of the group”? So¬†so tough.¬†But it’s gotta be a no, because I have to think about the “yes”s I want later. Like paying tuition. And my rent. And being able to afford food and gas.

And it’s crazy! I kind of stretched out writing this post across two days– the second day I’ve spent on this post has actually found me feverish, throat sore, and chilled to the bone even with masses of sweaters, coats and blankets [greetings from my blanket cave, as I do my best to balance under all this weight on my chair and just¬†get thoughts out].

After the trials of today, I get a text. One of my friends asked to hang out.

My brain immediately said yes. Yes! I leave to go back to school in less than 48 hours of *course*! But my body put the brakes on that. It was all I could do to get up this morning, sit like a potato at the DMV, and then drive to my nanny gig. When I got home I was *robbed* of energy.

I revisited my brain’s talk.¬†Come on, it’ll just be for a bit, you need to see her before you leave, you can sleep and finish work later!¬†Enticing, right?

But alas. I’ve been *super* super harsh on my body in the past month [one of my 2019 #DoThings I’m working on yike] and it was screaming at me to stop. And also not to get my friend sick *sob*

So I listened. And promptly made some mac n cheese and green tea and headed for the blanket cave to embrace the minimal arm movements I use for work and for writing here.

And this handy-dandy “no” thing doesn’t just apply to seeing friends! My goodness– these “no”s apply to *EVERYTHING!*

It’s 2019, I’m trying to start new, and make micro improvements to my lifestyle.

I picked 3 to concentrate on this morning [bold, I know!] and they were, essentially, 3 little “no’s”:

No to coffee, yes to water.¬†The first of those micro-improvements was waking up and immediately downing a glass of water. Sometimes my desire path is quite literally down the stairs and to the coffee, without the notion that maybe, just maybe, that’s not what I actually *need* right now.

No to notifications, yes to waking up more mindfully.¬†The second of those micro-improvements happened the night before, actually, and I honestly *need* to keep doing this– I set my phone to airplane mode **NOTE:¬†NOT¬†“DO-NOT-DISTURB”, I repeat, not that little moon setting that’s so handy when you want to ignore people lol]¬†¬†The reason why is because I use my phone as my alarm… [I’m actually thinking of going back to my old-school alarm clock with actual buttons and dust on the unnecessary sound ridges atop the faux wood casing] …and I wake up and I shut it off and I am immediately aware and flooded with notifications.

Like¬†ugh it’s like rush-hour just seized my brain and I can’t enjoy those blissful moments of removing myself from sleep. I¬†also have this really bad habit of scrolling, mindlessly and like the wind through Instagram [*addict right here, raises hand*], and lingering for *far* too long, and then proceeding to do that Social Media bounce between apps to catch up on what pretty much is non-existent because most of my pals were sleeping.

No to “checking in” and working right away, yes to observing my breathing and bringing back my wandering thoughts.¬†The third micro-improvement I tried today included a brief bout of mediation. Last night, I woke up randomly at 3am because I had crested over into being feverish and then decided to take medicine and then I think the medicine was doing weird things…..so I decided to read. [Can you guess my book of choice? LOLOL] In said book *coughTheProductivityProject*¬†, Chris writes about how focusing on your breathing for a certain period of time can do *wonders* for strengthening your “attention-muscle”.

So I woke up [to no new notifications! #orgasm], drank a whole thing of water, stretched, and sat on my bed to breathe for 5 mins. [I think I may revise this to doing it in the middle of my working hours, cuz I realized at the end it seemed kind of silly to go from a really relaxed state [sleep] to another. Noted for tomorrow, I guess. [; ]

Being disconnected, away from the urges to check and reply […and check and reply again] and wakening my metabolism with the water was such a radical thing in my morning routine, that I remembered it.¬†Lol maybe my memory is just bad but this is yuuuge for me guyyyss okay

But seriously. How often can you not remember your morning before you start your commute and the routine of the day?

For me, it’s definitely something I just hurry through, and then scramble late away from, and forget for the rest of the day.

So this? This feels nice.

Until after airplane mode,

xx

 

 

pitching perfection

2018-06-27

I like to live in a Depression mindset.

No, no no. Not the drop-everything-and-dial-a-hotline depression you’re probably thinking of. [Though I won’t lie– those bouts of elongated sadness do rear their heads occasionally. *weak laughter*]

Nah, I’m talking about the historical Depression, the one that booted so many out of jobs, out of homes, out of their comfort zone. The mindset that what you have today may be totally gone tomorrow. The mindset that you need to use everything around you to your advantage. The mindset that commands your attention to details, and the constant use of creativity. My grandmother grew up through this time, and for her, living the inventive, penny-pinching, ingenious life was how you survived.

Luckily, my grandmother passed down her frugality to my mother, which has so obviously rubbed off on me. While I know I’m not as good at these frugal habits as my mother [I’m very impulsive, I’ve got lots to learn, and I have an expensive taste >.<], I do understand the power of using “every part of the buffalo”, having minimal waste, and being forced to think outside box and draw outside the lines.

I thought of my grandmother today amidst my planning for the next month– life has been insane with getting my Etsy shop started, figuring out this hidden treasure trove of skills I want to learn, working two jobs, and packing for a vacation in the meantime. My planning, albeit a bit scattered, is part of what gets the shit done for me. I recently stumbled across a certain strategy in the book The Organized Mind, by Daniel J. Levitin [which I know I’ve mentioned here so many times before, it’s such a good book you need to read it okay end rant].

What you do is take a big board (I use a whiteboard, this could easily be done with cork and made way cuter, come to think of it!) and divide it into 4 sections, labeled
“TODAY”
“THIS WEEK”
“THIS MONTH”
and my 4th category is “MISC”.

In these sections, you’re supposed to put sticky notes with tasks on them, according to when you’d like them completed, giving you a really helpful, visual representation of your otherwise formulaic, overwhelming to-do list (though if to-do lists are your thing, that’s great too!).

I didn’t have sticky notes, though, [and this is the part that made me think of my grandmother] so I ended up cutting up strips of paper I’d written on, fastening the strips to my organized board with the remnant outlines of sticker paper, the sticker paper excess that had come from my recent craft order.

After putting everything together, I admired my handiwork. It was messy, it was disgruntled, it was less than perfect. I thought about re-arranging the notes of paper on the board to look more aesthetically pleasing. I thought about re-writing all of the tasks in fancy calligraphy to make it more “instagrammable” [I hadn’t posted anything yet for my art Instagram so I was looking for something to post!].

But then I stopped.

What was I doing?

Over the past week or so, I’ve been submersing myself into the work of others, the feeds of others, the blogs of others, the copy of others. Unfortunately, my mind would fall into mini-comparisons. Oooh why can’t I have these gorgeous mock-ups? They have so many likes?? How? This Instagram feed is so UNIFORM omg why can’t mine be like that? If only I had that many followers…UGH if only I had this [software/fuzzy white rug/piece of machinery/shiny camera] to better boost my work!] and other relevant chips away at my self esteem, yada yada¬†etc.

…And those naggy bit of thoughts would just race around the inside edges of my head, until I had a sit-down with myself. I recalled a snippet I’d heard from a friend not long ago:

Goddammit, Steph. Comparison is the thief of joy.

I needed to step back and take some inventory. Everything I have right now [artistically, personally, and financially speaking…] at this moment of time…. I made that.

Whether it was with my own two hands, whether it was something I thought up, something I designed, something I just decided to get up off my ass and finally complete?

Yeah, I did that. 

So often I think we get caught up in what’s missing, what’s wrong, what we need to change, how we’ve failed. We don’t take a minute to appreciate what’s left behind us in our wake, the awesome creative havoc¬†through any mess that has happened that has led right up to this moment.

Now, the goal of this post isn’t to just rant about success or the path towards it, but rather to remind you [and myself!] to take a minute from time to time to give yourself that pat on the back, that moment of pride. That moment when you look around with a dumbfounded budding grin, like “oh¬†shit,¬†did¬†I¬†do¬†that?¬†Something a year, a month, a week or two ago I never thought possible? YEAH I did.”

And I did do it. All teh things.

Like this planning board. It may not look super sleek or super shiny. It may not be killer Pinterest content or Insta-ready. It may not be awed and adored by every person who trips over it, or be perfect in any capacity– but that’s who I am. I’m not completely together [I don’t think I ever will be, LOL!]. I’m not super neat [just ask my roommate *sob* sorry son, I love you]. And I’m sure as hell not perfect.

So why should my content be?

xx