mugs + musings // behind the screens

I stayed up way too late last night, but for good reason [I think, anyway]. I had finally gotten around to getting my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription all set up [as I’d need it for the coming semester anyways] and was having so much fun getting to know my way around the programs. It’s been a while since I’ve had something excite me to the point of not being able to sleep, especially something “work” related.

This resulted in a bit of a later wake-up time, but I needed the sleep. But one of the first things I did this morning was check out a notification I had received about one of the channels I subscribed to on YouTube. One of my favourite vloggers of all time, formerly @IAmJustaMakeupLover, was announcing something related to her account. Fearing she was discontinuing the vlog, I had to watch. What I witnessed, however, was something much different than I’d expected. Olena, the lovely soul behind the vlog, was talking about her dissatisfaction with some aspects of social media, explaining that so often we just see the “highlight reels” of people’s lives and the “behind the scenes” portion that we may not be comfortable sharing with the world are not something that makes it out into the light. It was a really powerful message overall, but some things that stuck with me were this:

1. while social media can be a really freeing thing, it has the potential to make us feel stuck, to put a filter on us and our activities, and a filter on how we view ourselves and others.

2. When we’re caught up in a sea of highlight reels, it’s easy to start the comparison game, and looking at other people’s accomplishments as if they’re taking away from our own, when that isn’t the case.

She talked about how her username, “IamJustaMakeupLover” was the persona her shy, starting out self hid behind, one she used to gain confidence with behind the camera, the name of her alternate personality. She went into talking about how while it had helped her overcome so much of her shyness and whatnot, she wanted to kind of emerge as herself, remove that label of an account name she’d made for herself. I thought about myself and my platforms. Early EARLY on in my blogging journey, what started off as “stephanie says” has evolved into something that is unique to me, my experience, and all of the things I’m learning and am passionate about. I realize that I am plunging more and more on a journey of self-growth and that I can eliminate some of the labels I inadvertantly accept, put on myself, or hear from others. I also realized that the creation of my own “life-canvas” (as Olena refers to it) is my project, and my project alone, and that seeing other people finish their masterpieces or have all these other great opportunities and feeling less accomplished because of that is nonsense. I realized that perhaps I need to rejoice more frequently on my current place, my current progress, my current state of mind, if I ever have the hope to make myself better and proceed in a way that is true to me.

The second thing resonated with me because, while I look to so many for inspiration and ideas, it’s also easy for me to subconsciously compare myself. So to hear her talk about this, and remind us that the accomplishments of others don’t detract from our own, was a really nice thing to take note of. I have control over myself, my goals, and my feelings toward all that is related to those. It was a great reminder to try to stay positive and play the game of racing against myself, not racing against others.

I also realized that I myself have my various highlight reels. I attribute most of this to the fact that I don’t quite want to spew a bunch of negativity or saddening things on the internet. Over the years I’ve definitely become more comfortable with being real with those readers of my blog. And of course, there are some darker, stickier topics I’d rather not mention, some parts that are within myself that have made me me, that push me to keep going, to keep me trying to be better than yesterday. And that’s okay. It’s just so SO important to know that no matter whose highlight reel you’re viewing, it’s important to think of the person behind it as a multi-layered, complicated, beautiful human being who also has their own obstacles, struggles, and scars. I want to try harder to implement this, and take it into account when I’m looking for inspiration or guidance or when I semi-idolize the people I follow, talk with, interact with on the web, etc.

I change, I grow, I learn new things. And I want my media to reflect that, too, especially as I settle into my passions, my goals, and most importantly, myself.

xx

whoa there, april //

copy of lifeasoflatelyapril1

I completely missed March. Between the academic truckload that got dumped on me in March, my birthday, and all of Holy Week followed by the big culmination of celebration that was Easter, I was drained. And I was missing. Apologies.

BUT WE BACK NOW. 😛

Shall we?

read/reading // AHHHH tbh I haven’t had the time recently to pick up a book for pleasure! But I do have to read this one for class:

Image result for hiroshima book

writing // this post. Finally. I feel like I’ve been gone for eternity.

learning // to embrace disappointment, to make time for myself and myself alone, to choose my diligence.

doing / working on // 

-final projects

-turning 21 [BOY that is a STORY for another TIME I tell you]

-binge watching “Jane the Virgin” [technically, I finished the available episodes on Netflix today, but that’s only because my roommate got ahead of me and I couldn’t resist when she was watching it alone so I’m just gonna go back and fill myself in on the gaps later LOL]

-working. I get to take off one job for finals week– outside of that, 3 shifts left…. whoooooo

-translating things from languages to languages! [I’m perfecting a translation portfolio for a class and BOI that’s a lot of German….!

-conducting academic fraternity meetings pls help I have no idea what I’m doing ahhhg

-PETTING GOLDEN RETRIEVER PUPPERS!!! Okay so there was this fundraiser for a fraternity and I took Josh cuz he used to have a Golden Retriever and it was the MOST PRECIOUS THING EVAR because this one girl dog got all cozy with him and it was just so dakfjdakshfdkahfdksajfldjf; I couldn’t even:

-SWIMMING! Yes, miraculous isn’t it? So Josh, Trevor and I have developed a weekly ritual of working out by swimming at the rec center at least twice a week. It’s honestly super refreshing, and I’m starting to notice differences in my physical performance.

eating // mac and cheese, cookies, yogurt, pasta, so much cereal, the occasional Chipotle. My diet has officially descended into madness *deep frown*

drinking // not enough water WATER and dirty chai lattes. Bad combo oooooff

listening // to a lot of the usual —

-Fall Out Boy [basically everything off of Mania]
-Noah Gundersen
-Andy Grammer
-Lorde
-PANIC! AT THE DISCO [Their newest single Saturday Night [Say Amen]”
-John Mayer

laughing // ahhhhhhh not gonna lie I haven’t done that much laughing thus far but I think it’s due to the stress and buckling down for finals….

thinking // about the most random things… like how I want to take yoga classes when I’m an employed adult, how I need to pack a lot more of my stuff up, the course load for next year, what I’m going to do with my summer,

trying // to stay positive. I’ve been feeling under the weather recently, I got “we regret to inform you” emails from Fulbright AND from the internship I applied for. Sigh. Ah, well– just shows that He’s got something bigger planned for me this summer, even if it’s just cruising around my home town, lugging elementary schoolers around and working at my PA job.

hoping // that I can pull everything together before the coming week.

loving // the retreat I went on with my campus ministry this past weekend, the weather that existed for like, two days [it was 78 degrees! And then the saddest part– it snowed this morning/afternoon ): ]

praying // for patience, understanding, focus, the motivation to sit my ass down and actually study for some of these exams, for healing, for presence in these moments.

Once this week ends, hell week starts, and it’ll go up in flames and then poof– the smoke will clear and I’ll be home.

And then I’ll cross that bridge.

xx

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.

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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.

-working!!!

-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?

xx

oh december // merry christmas!

[Read/Reading]  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr [I FINALLLY FINISHED IT LOL the library has probs charged me so much overdue fee *crai*

STARTING: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon [can we just admire the cover please?! *heart eyes*]

[Writing] POSTS and applications for things! Trying to get in a New Year’s Mindset!

[Learning] that taking of from work for like, a solid 3 weeks may not have been the brightest idea. I was hit hard this year and not having a steady income wasn’t… the most ideal thing. LOL.

[Doing/Working on] more artwork, gifts for friends, relocating this blog [more on that soon!!!]

[Eating] the most random stuff, honestly. Indian food, cereal, endless amounts of Sour Patch kids…

[Drinking] milk, tea, coffee, water…!!!

[Listening] to some stuff, old and new.

[Laughing] with one of my favorite friends ever. It’s been almost exactly a year since I saw him last, as he goes to school very far away from me. Always enjoy his presence, though.

[Thinking] about how I should start the various applications for programs I want to get into, and also how I should probably check and see what books I’ll need for this semester.

[Trying] to distance myself from drama, painful circumstance, and old news. Trying to make 2018 filled with positivity and joy, and excessively living in the dark spaces isn’t going to help anything or anyone.

[Hoping] for a joyous New Year filled with family. It’s like, the first year in a while we haven’t been home for New Year’s so I just want to take the time to slow down and re-connect.

[Loving] this re-vamped coffee/gelato place near me! I took Josh there when he visited me so impromptu and it’s WAY better than any basic place I’ve been to in the recent weeks!

[Praying] that everyone survives these polar temperatures, that people have a safe and happy New Year’s, that all who are traveling get where they’re going happily and safely.

💚,

steph

November. *squee!*

My goodness.

It is about high time I made an update. Crazy how much can change in a matter of weeks.

[Read/Reading] Room by Emma Donoghue– about a woman who was kidnapped in her teens, held captive in a single room for seven years and gives birth to a child in that room. The room is all the child knows in his first 5 years of life. No spoilers, I’m trying, but it’s rather riveting so far. Haunting, but would recommend.

Image result for room emma donoghue

Since I drafted this post, I’ve finished Room and have started All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and while I’m just in the very beginnings of this book it’s already a really gripping and vibrant depiction of WWII.

Image result for all the light we cannot see

 

[Writing] essays, papers, a packing list for things to absolutely not forget for Thanksgiving break (-:

[Learning] to be more self-sufficient, better with time management, and overall, more flexible with what is, what I cannot control… and learning to see things through different lenses

[Doing/Working on] THIS POST, getting through a self-prescribed reading list, crafting (my old friend!) hanging with new friends, and trying not to freeze in this rapidly dropping temperatures. OH and watching all of Stranger Things, posting too much, making irresponsible but uncontrollably fulfilling late night decisions…  (-:

[Eating] BETTER! Grapes, milk, yogurt, coffee, tea, eggs,n Subway cookies among other things.

[Drinking] coffee (oops), tea, milk, chai lattes (what am I becoming), water

[Listening] TO THINGS. Check it out:

PS. I know they say music can have profound links to experiences and memories and wow let me just say this music collection that’s been in my ears these past couple weeks have honestly been… such a nice refreshing pool of experiences and moments… falling in love with music to fall in love to? Is that a thing?

[Laughing] in the most genuine way, it feels like, for the first time in a hot minute.

[Thinking] about what to read next, about scheduling classes for next semester, about next year’s living situation, about how it is TOO EARLY TO BE SINGING ABOUT CHRISTMAS. Just wait til the turkey’s off the table, people.

[Trying] to get better about setting daily goals for myself and having a minimal to-do list of meaningful intentions.

[Hoping] to not step on any unnecessary toes this upcoming break. Thanksgiving dinner conversation is always something interesting to behold… I know I should probably prepare my “what I’m now doing with my life,” “how school is going,” “who I’m seeing,” “what my winter break plans are” answers… ha.

[Loving] the sweater weather, getting back into doing things I used to do all of the time, the fact that Thanksgiving is literally so close and my last day of classes before break is on Friday…. I could write a novel (:

[Praying] this prayer has just been echoing in my head this week, as I’m thinking about people in the hospital, family, and friends going through a lot right now:

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. 

💚,
steph

Herzlich wilkommen, Oktober.

I am practically 1/3 done with this first semester and I can’t exactly say I’m not relieved. I feel like all of the past weeks have blurred together into a single mess of sleep [or lack thereof], class, some crumbling of social circles, and not enough food.

[Reading] (and I’m being really lazy right now) the below, for a Humanities class. Interestingly enough, it’s one of the first accounts of the mistreatment of natives by European peoples. I don’t like how graphic re: the torture and mistreatment Las Casas gets, but hey, if you’re into that… be my guest.

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[Writing] an essay for the aforementioned class. It’s the one class I get to do hard-core writing in, so I kind of enjoy it.

[Learning] More so than ever that easy isn’t always right, and what’s right isn’t always easy. Also learning how to take steps on my own.

[Doing/Working on] myself, quite honestly. There’s a lot of things I’m involved in, but one of them these past weeks have been me, and my well-being. One of my fellow blogger friends over at Simply Me talks a ton about this, about how self-love is such a vital part of who we are and all we can be. In fact, her latest post is a super great example of this.

[Eating] the randomest stuff. I had cheesecake for breakfast today, Pixi stix for a snack yesterday, and blue enchiladas for lunch today, if that gives you some idea of how messed up my…schedule is lately.

[Drinking] water, milk, coffee. God, coffee.

[Listening] to some feel-better songs. Take a peek.

[Laughing] mostly with my roommate.

[Thinking] about not thinking how the rest of the semester is going to turn out. I would like to not speculate and over analyse this time around.. and just see what happens.

[Trying] really really hard to practice some self restraint/control.

[Hoping] to be a bit more productive this week than last week.

[Loving] my favorite season. Everything in the world could be falling apart [ha!] but the vibrant colors on the trees that litter the mountains will forever give me grateful pause.

[Praying] for all of those who feel lost, alone… for the victims of the hurricane stampede, the victims of the Las Vegas shootings, for those who have voice in the legislature to help voice concerns about topics often overlooked, for close friends, for healing of hurt that seems bottomless and inescapable.

I woke up at the end of September, let’s see if I can stay awake to finish October.

💚,
steph

Annnnd it’s SEPTEMBER!

I am back and in black! [I just happen to be wearing a black top, lookie there]. Being back to school and somewhat settled in feels so good and I just want to dive into all the things that are happening.

[Reading] The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey. It’s a new school year and I absolutely am taking advantage of this refreshed outlook and renewed energy to put my life on a less shambly, straighter path. Unfortunately, I am only about 10 pages in because that’s all Amazon would let me preview until the book finally arrives in my hands… that is, IF it arrives in my hands… my campus still has not notified me of a package [AKA a super important textbook that I need!!!] that Amazon reported as having arrived 3 DAYS AGO…. Humph.

Anyways, I read about this guy’s crazy experiments with productivity on his blog and I really want to see what I can use from this book in my life. So far I’m at the “teaser” pages which are just telling me to read onward to “unlock” all the stuff he has to say. Needless to say I am sitting in anxious excitement for this copy to be mine.

Photo creds to Google and the guy’s website!

[Writing] Ideas down for a column I’d really love to add to my university’s mainstream publication. According to this guy who came into one of my major classes, he said that working for the school’s paper/website is practically a springboard into a career later, which, I guess would be nice to have.

[Learning] That it is possible not to be a hot mess all the time! Hopefully the above book will help me out, plus the fact that I decided to take a more “minimalist” approach to packing stuff for college this year will make things a lot less hectic.

[Doing/Working on] moar things!

  • 100 cards 100 days  [this damn project was supposed to be done by August 11th. Since then I’ve moved back to school, completed a whole card order for a local business near me, and now I have to get back ON TRACK to finish this. Another thing I want to get good at– finishing what I started.]
  • campus ministry involvement!
  • running to class [but not running late to class — how revolutionary!]
  • attempting to run
  • waiting for MY PASSPORT :D.
  • applying to study abroad next semester…?????

[Eating] 
– milk
– mac n cheese
– corn muffins
– OREOS. Birthday cake flavor [!!!] and otherwise
– cereal/oatmeal
– SPINACH AND PINEAPPLE [finally…?!!!]

[Drinking] Water. And coffee. Too much coffee.

[Listening] to songs that get me pumped:

[Laughing] at how many things I left at home and how my mother so graciously, on the way down to a college visit for my brother, brought said things I forgot to my new place (,:

[Thinking] about the to-do list, how full this week is, how I wish I didn’t have to move my hair appointment to next week because it is getting LONGER and I would like it to not be long.

[Trying] to start the conversations. To take charge, to get what I need and not be afraid to go after what I want, because I am my rescue and the only thing standing in my way [essentially] is myself.

[Hoping] to get outside more this week and reach a goal of running 3 times a week 😛

[Loving] my roomies and our new living situation. I honestly couldn’t have asked for better time.

 

[Praying] for the victims of Hurricane Harvey and trying to think of ways to send help, other than the obvious donation that you should totally make here. ❤

Let’s do this, September.

💚,
steph

…it’s still June!

[Reading] Another adult knowledge-y book: STRETCH by Scott Sonenshein— it’s about “Unlocking the Power of Less, and Achiev[ing] More Than You Ever Imagined” (according to the front cover. Picked up this book before I left for the beach [moar on that later!] and I’m almost through with it! It’s got some good stuff, but my favorite thing is probably how Sonenshein incorporates the stories of the lives of all these people he’s met who do their best every day to stretch their knowledge, their paychecks, their talents in order to use less and achieve more. Pretty inspiring and it’s making me regret a lot of things already! (-:  [this means it’s working…??]

Image result for stretch scott sonenshein

[Writing] a letter to me Irish pen pal. (:

[Learning] that keeping up is futile. I’m taking it at my own pace, bitchezzzzz [ha.]

[Doing/Working on] too much…

  • 100 cards 100 days  [Hey! I made it to DAY 50! WOOOOOOO]
  • Interning at my church on sundays (and maybe saturdays?)
  • Working at me job
  • Babysitting! 2 adorable kidlins.
  • Saving up for a trip to CALIFORNIA [moar on that later (;]
  • Writing my Irish penpal
  • Watching the sunrise

[Eating] 

  • sugar (cherry tarts, coffee laced with it, Gushers, ice cream, etc.)
  • seafood
  • moar seafood
  • tacos
  • boardwalk fries
  • italian food

[Drinking] not enough water, taaaaaaaangy lemonade, milk, my feelings

[Listening] to NEW MUSIC FINALLY. Oh, and music that accompanied me and my BFF on our 4 hour drive here. Take a peek:

[Laughing] at the fact that I was ambitious enough to attempt to make a VLOG for my entire 4 day vacation. God help me with the editing! Oh and because I thought switching between phone and camera footage was a good idea (-:

[Thinking] about what needs to change, how I need to “stretch”, and where I stand

[Hoping] to keep up my waking up early streak! it’s so nice to have a day feel so full.

[Loving] THIS MAGICAL PLACE CALLED TEH BEACH.

 

 

[Praying] I make it through today and tomorrow [guess who left her entire vacation savings at home!!? (-: ]

Oh look, it’s almost July.

💚,
Steph