Wednesday, October 12, 2016
I am big on aspirational goal setting. Whether I truly feel like I'll accomplish the goal or not, setting the intention always helps me feel like I'm moving forward. That is why I always set goals for myself when a new year rolls around and why, since we only have a couple of months left in 2016, I've been 'saving' my goals for the new year.
There have been so many ideas floating around in my head of things I want to accomplish: taking an archery course, becoming more fluent in french, travelling, and learning how to box are just a few. I've been saving them for the new year, feeling my excitement grow as I think about how awesome 2017 will be as I strive towards them. And then, in a moment of striking clarity, I realized how silly that was! These are things that I want to do, that I am excited about doing. Why should I wait for some abstract time or day to begin doing stuff that makes me happy?
I think this is a rut we all fall into occasionally. Even though we may tell ourselves to live each day as though it is our last, we put things off and make excuses. We tell ourselves that we don't have the time, we don't have the money, we don't have the support... And, sometimes, that is true. But if we don't have the time, money or support now, will it magically appear in our lives on January 1st? Doubtful.
The thing about setting goals and striving to accomplish them is that it doesn't have to be done all at once. Start small. For me, that means browsing the web for local archery and boxing classes and practicing French every day. It means setting aside some money for those purposes when and where I can. And it means being flexible. You may eventually decide that the goal you set no longer serves you or that it is becoming stressful. If you find yourself in that position, reassess what you want and need and rework your goals accordingly. There is no shame in not accomplishing your goals––sometimes you learn more that way.
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
I can't believe it is already autumn. By the time summer is over, I'm ready for the crisp, cool air of fall––until it hits. Then I'm begging for a few more days of summer. It has been pretty nice wearing my baggy sweaters and motorcycle boots, though, and my coffee habit has definitely tripled since it cooled down. This year has absolutely flown by––we're basically in the home stretch now and, so far, this year hasn't been too bad. Now, to set some goals that will keep the trend continuing.
What are Soul Goals?
I sit down at the beginning of each month–– or, at least, I try to–– and write out three goals that I have for the month ahead that I think will enrich my life and make me a better, happier person. Interested in coming up with your own Soul Goals? They can be simple or crazy ambitious goals. The important part is assessing what needs to change in your own life and figuring out what direction you want to go in. We're just taking it month by month, day by day, minute by minute here.
My Previous Soul Goals Recap
My first goal was to drink 120 oz. of water every day, which I did for a good part of the month. As the weather got cooler, though, my nightly waters turned into nightly coffees and I wasn't hitting my goal. I did hit my next goal of reading three books: Women Who Run With the Wolves; Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.; and Bad Feminist. If I keep this up, I have a shot of reaching my annual reading goal of 26 books. My final goal was to sell some stuff, which I didn't do a lot of. I did sell my television, though, which was kind of a big deal for me. It made me a decent amount of money, but the bigger victory was ridding myself of something I didn't need. My room feels so much calmer now that the television is gone. Sometimes the smallest things make the biggest difference.
My Soul Goals for October
1. Get rid of old items that no longer serve me. This one kind of goes hand-in-hand with last month's goal of selling stuff. I want to continue on that journey by selling what can be sold, donating what can't, and getting rid of the rest. I'm twenty-seven... How have I accumulated so much stuff? It's time to start taking a more mindful approach to what I bring into my life.
2. Experience more locally. I'll admit, I can be kind of a hermit. It's not that I don't enjoy local events, I just don't enjoy big crowds and (usually) rude people. It's overwhelming, so I tend to avoid those kinds of things. My dad just retired, though, and he's trying to reacclimate to society. Part of that is enjoying what my city has to offer and I'm going to try to help him out. In fact, I think I'm going to a car show this weekend. That should be interesting.
3. Master a regular sleep schedule. I've tried before, and I've failed, but now that iOS 10 has added a Bedtime feature I'm hoping I can start falling asleep and waking up at a decent time. Working from home, my sleep schedule can be a little erratic. When I wake up later than I feel I should, it makes me feel like I've wasted the day and I feel less productive. I may add in a short meditation, too, in order to really start my day on the right foot.
If I actually accomplish my second goal, I will be sure to feature some of my outings on the blog.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Spotify is my best friend.
I used to (totally legally) download every single song I wanted to listen to––and I had dial-up for most of my internet years, so you can imagine what a pain in the ass that was. I have high-speed internet now (thank god) and a Spotify subscription. Both of those things have widened my musical tastes substantially. That is why I like sharing some of my music finds with you on here: because I think broadening our musical horizons is important.
Fall is starting which means it's time for a new Music I've Been Loving playlist. That will be crafted as the next few months roll on but, obviously, I'm not leaving you high and dry. That would make this post incredibly frustrating, wouldn't it? Nope, it's time that I share my summer playlist with you. Even though I'm starting to phase it out, I still listen to these songs on the regular.
Open up your Spotify app and enjoy.
What songs were you loving this summer? Are you already working on your autumn playlist? If so, let me in on that and tell me what songs you've already got stashed away.
Monday, September 26, 2016
I am all about that side hustle.
If that side hustle is something you enjoy. My side hustle is hand lettering, which is something I got into a little over a year ago. When I would go shopping for home decor, I found that I was always drawn to pieces that displayed a nice quote in a pretty font. I bought a couple of pieces for my walls, but when I got home I realized that maybe I could do it myself and not pay the sometimes outrageous prices.
I started out by following some very talented hand letterers on Instagram. This is my first tip: when you start, consume as much as you create (but not forever!). You will find different fonts to practice, new techniques, interesting designs and learn about what pens and tools create the effects you desire. Spend some time on Pinterest, too, which is filled with tutorials that will help you practice. But don't spend all of your time consuming! Practice is just as important and it becomes more important as you go.
You don't need any fancy tools to start practicing; that's my second tip. I started out with a pencil and a 99-cent notebook from the clearance section of Wal-Mart. I wrote the alphabet on page after page, trying out different writing styles and practicing flourishes and doodles. When you're ready to upgrade, you still don't have to pay a ton of money. Here are some of the pens and markers I use:
Pigma Micron pens are great for beginners. You can pick them up at your local arts and crafts store and they come is a variety of tip sizes, ranging from 005 (tiny) to 08 (thicker) and beyond. They are great for simple styles and learning faux-lligraphy, which is where you write a word normally and then go back and thicken the downstrokes after. Pentel Sign pens are also a great investment. Their slightly flexible tip makes it easy to thicken the downstrokes as you write––remember, pressure and angle are important! I use those for cursive, serif and sans-serif fonts alike, and they come in a variety of colors. You can get them off of JetPens.
Sometimes, though, you may already have the pens you need. I use Sharpies pretty often, particularly the fine and ultra fine points, and have a deep-seated love affair with PaperMate Flair pens. These pens and markets come in a super wide variety of colors and are usually pretty cheap to buy in bulk. Crayola SuperTips are also a great investment. Many professional hand letterers on Instagram brag about these markers (and with good reason). Lately, I've even been using a pack of 99-cent Cra-Z-Art markers.
You still want to keep that pencil and eraser handy. They will help you map out your design before you put any ink to paper, helping you perfect your work. And you don't have to run out and buy thick, expensive paper. Practice in a notebook or on regular printer paper, or buy yourself sketchbook so that you can keep track of your progress. Part of the fun is going back a year later and seeing how much you've improved.
And remember that imperfection is alright, even expected when it comes to hand lettering. That is part of its appeal. It doesn't have to turn into a side hustle; it can be a relaxing hobby or something to use when it's time to send out Christmas cards. But my biggest tip is to practice and, eventually, tip the scales so that you create more than you consume.