Two weeks with Noom, the “millennial” diet.

I’ll be the first to admit, I really dislike Noom’s advertising as the “millennial” diet. The only reason they’re doing this is because they’re attempting to set themselves apart from programs like Weight Watchers.

Anyway. Chances are, you may have seen advertisements for the new diet program, Noom. They had popped up constantly on Pinterest for me. My weight loss had been kind of stagnate for a while, and wanted to try something else to kind of shake things up and see if it would make a difference.

Noom is an app-based program — everything is done through your phone and there really is no web access other than when you first sign up. Honestly, being app-based is the only thing that makes this remotely “millennial.” Though I haven’t been on Weight Watchers since Oprah bought into it, Noom is apparently pretty similar but with online groups rather than in-person meetings.

Noom offers a 2-week free trial, and during that time you’ve got a Goal Coach who is supposed to help you stay on track for your big goals as well as focus on weekly goals. Honestly? I didn’t really talk to my Goal Coach much.

The app is easy to use, and they definitely highlight how it really only takes a commitment of 10 minutes a day to get through their program. While that’s true for their content, it will take more than just 10 minutes if you actually want to lose weight. So what do those 10 minutes of content consist of? Mostly quizzes and their “psychology” tricks and tips. Noom definitely focuses on examining how you think about food and dieting. A lot of this was just stuff I already knew, and sometimes the tone of their writing seemed… They over use “nerd” for loving facts or anything remotely relating to science. For the most part, I really just skim through these sections.

The real core to Noom is the food tracking, just like any other diet plan. According to Noom, no food is off limits. However, they do code food into Green, Yellow, and Red categories. Everything is focused on caloric density. At this point, this is the main factor in my decision to stay with this plan past my 2-week trial. (That and an 80% off discount I received for my four month plan.)

I’ll admit I kind of hated this tracking for the first four days or so. Especially because so much of what I eat ended up in the red. Tracking every. single. thing. also sometimes feels more like punishment than working towards a healthier me… But I stuck it out and honestly it’s not that bad right now. And honestly, I give myself more grace than the app assumes. If I go over? I’m ok. I don’t think I’ve ruined my progress or anything. Eating under 1200 calories each day doesn’t really seem like a great long-term plan anyway. (Despite the app thinking I’m fragile and will distress over any indulgent foods.)

Now that I’m passed the 2-week trial, I’ve been placed in a group of other “Noomers” where we can post messages and encourage each other. We’ve got a Group Coach, too, but they’re really just a community manager. (At this point, none of the Noom coaches really have more than a few months training program it seems.) My first concern with getting into a group was that if this really is a “millennial” diet, I was going to be surrounded by young twenty somethings whom I really had nothing in common with. The members of my group, however, are across the spectrum of women (so far I haven’t seen anyone identify as male or NB in our group). I don’t know if I’ll really connect with any of these women, and I don’t know how active I’ll be in this group. While I do want to lose weight, my goal is to be more active and to start having a life beyond my couch and desk.

The TL;DR?

Pros:

  • The app is pretty easy to navigate. All of your daily tasks are right there on the home screen.
  • It syncs with whatever pedometer you use. It even will take my weight from my Fitbit app if I log it there first. No fitness band? It’ll use your phone as a pedometer.
  • For those who don’t care about step goals, like me, you can “do more” and log your daily exercise. (Which adds in more calories you can eat if you’d like.)
  • Helps you re-think how you’re eating (and also what and when). You can even set reminders for meal tracking if you’d like. As someone who could use more veggies in their diet and less carbs, this is actually helping.
  • Accountability — I’ve got it set up where if I don’t log my weight for 3 days in a row, it’ll send me a text to check in on me. When I get further into this program, I will probably turn this off.

Cons:

  • The cost. The four month program is $240. And while they do offer discounts (and FYI — any of the Noom links you use on this post will give you 20% off), it’s not the cheapest for what it is.
  • Daily weigh-ins. They seem to think that the more you do it, the easier it’ll get… but for some people this can be a terrible experience, setting off their anxiety.
  • Personally, I don’t really find a benefit to any of the coaches. They’re young, not professionally trained (more than just a few months for a certificate), and there more to just check in rather than actually coach or help you with legitimate things. Definitely would not be an appropriate source for anyone with medical issues.
  • Meal tracking isn’t logged into one nice section. If I want to see what I ate the other day or how I did for a whole week, I have to look at each individual day.
  • That accountability feature? If I want to turn it off, I have to go alllllllllll the way back to the second or third day in my program to find the specific part that covers this. It’s not just in the settings.
  • Quizzes. There’s no real grade for this, and yes, they’re using this to reinforce their lessons. I just roll my eyes at a lot of them.
  • This might not bother others, but they really focus all of this as though you have zero nutritional knowledge. So sometimes the lessons and quizzes just kind of feel like a waste of time. However, I do feel like they will be useful for those who don’t have that knowledge.

If I didn’t have the 80% off, would I use Noom? Eehhh. Probably not. I can track my calories through free apps or even with my Fitbit. Am I seeing progress? Slowly. My in-take survey seemed to think I could reach my goal by May. We’ll see.

My bottom line — do I recommend it? If it’s something you think you’d use, and you can get your way to a discount… then sure. If food tracking with a group is your thing, Noom might be a good fit for you.

Rabbit Rabbit: February

One of the things I love about my new planner, as I mentioned previously, is that I have the opportunity to have monthly (and weekly!) goals. Since they are in my planner, I was a little worried that they’d be too academic focused (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but I’ve been using my planner for a lot of life things — thanks stickers! — so the goals are starting to reflect that as well.

January

  • Finish my thesis outline – Yes! I call it my “road map,” because that’s really what it is for me. Each chapter has it’s own page for an outline, with a lot of notes on it. This way, when I’m focusing on just one chapter, I don’t need to think about anything else.
  • Draft One chapter of my thesis – Yes! My introduction has been drafted, I have good notes on it, and should actually be done fairly soon.
  • Update my CV – Nope. Every time I think about it, I don’t have the original InDesign file to edit. I need to move this to Dropbox so I don’t have to worry about that.
  • Go to 2 spin classes, and 2 yoga classes – Nope. The more I thought about it, the more I realized, I’m not at a point where I’m ready for this commitment. Instead, I invested that money elsewhere.
  • Weekly blog posts – Yep! In looking at my year at large, I wanted to focus on my platform. As much as I love Twitch, I’m going to continue my break from streaming for the time being to focus on grad school, and let my outlet be this blog.
  • 31-Day Challenge: Start my thesis – Yes. Develop good writing habits – Barely and mostly nope. Stay on top of my classes – Yes. Not spend as much! – Eek. Nope.

February

  • Start brainstorming my trip to Europe. My dad has received an amazing opportunity to do some contract work in England, and will be moving in March. I can’t say what he’ll be doing, but this is an exciting adventure for our family. My stepmom will be going with him, and after she finishes her schooling for the year, my youngest sister will move out there for the summer. There’s a lot of details we don’t know, but I’m hoping to be able to get out there and visit this summer after I graduate, and then spend some time traveling as well.
  • Actually develop a writing schedule and stick with it. For reals. I need to draft 2-3 more chapters this month. It seems like a lot, and that’s pretty much because it is a lot. I’ve let myself slack too much this last month, but I can’t afford to do that if I’m going to defend my thesis at the end of April.
  • Two 5-mile rides per week. Instead of the fitness classes, I invested that money into a new exercise bike! It folds up and is super quiet. I can do about 5 miles in 20 minutes keeping a pretty easy pace, so I’m hoping to be able to do this twice a week before I leave for campus.
  • Weekly blog posts. Yep, keeping this one until it kind of becomes routine. I think I also want to try to get better at including pictures. I always feel weird just snagging pictures from my instagram feed.
  • Clean the fish tank. Poor Siggy II really needs a deep clean of his tank. He doesn’t really seem bothered by it, but the little bugger makes a mess of his food. He wants to “hunt” the pebbles and worms, so he uses his fins to splash them about, then bits go uneaten and sink to the bottom. He’s cute, but kind of a brat. Just like the cats.
  • 28-Day Challenge: Continue the 20/20 on my precis. Meet my morning Noom goals. Check in on my Q1 Holiday Council goals.

How did you do on your goals last month? Anything exciting you are looking forward to in February?

*I don’t really know how the 31-day or 28-day challenges are different than my actual goals for the month, but it’s a thing my planner does, so I’m including them here as well.

Treat Yo Self overload

As I’ve gotten older, the holidays have changed a bit. I was that kid who had the multipage list of all the things I wanted — various toys, whatever that latest “cool” thing was popular at the time, and of course my annual request for a puppy (that is, until I was 14 and we finally did get a dog). With divorce and whatnot, I had a lot of Christmases to go to, yet that didn’t translate into significantly more gifts, much to my youthful dismay.

Now, as an adult, holidays have become more just about spending time together and spoiling the younger ones, and less about getting things myself. Also, apparently being an adult means I’m harder to shop for.

So, inevitably, the time just after the holidays has become a time where I treat myself to whatever it is that I want or need. Typically, it’s just one or two things. This year, though? Um. I may have gone a little overboard…

  • I bought a new planner to help me stay on top of my 2019 goals. And with that planner, about $75+ worth of stickers for said planner. Yep. I spent more of stickers than I did my planner. And I also got some midliners (sort of non-neon highlighters).
  • My mom gifted me a smart plug, and since then I’ve decided to just jump in on the whole “smart home” thing. I’ve gotten 5 more plugs and also a smart power strip. And a second Echo Dot. (Along with the smart stuff, I also got regular outlet splitters to cool off the outlet turf war that has been happening in our kitchen.) So now I’ll be able to control the living room and my bedroom either via the app or by voice control.
  • Clothes. This I actually didn’t go that overboard on. Three pairs of pants for work, a new (nice) coat, two new work tops, and some much needed sweat pants. And new work shoes that I can’t really wear much because we just got 6+ inches of snow.
  • A mini-fridge for the office. I justified this one because my officemate wanted this as well — and she volunteered to pay for half. At the end of the semester she’s likely going to buy it off of me so she will have it next year. It’s a nice one — with a good size separate freezer as well. I’m hoping to find a nice, yet affordable ottoman, since we just moved a couch in — and my officemate is picking up a rug. We’re definitely winning for the coziest grad student office.
  • And lastly: a brand new 43″ 4K Fire TV. I’ve had my 32″ flat screen for about 8 years. It’s been great. But it started feeling small. And overwhelmed by too many peripherals. I looked at TVs back during the pre-holiday sales and missed out on a few. Thankfully, January has some pre-Superbowl sales and just other sales to move last year’s models to make way for the new ones. After talking with my brother, I went with the 4K because it would likely last the longest technology-wise, and also since my smart home is already run by Amazon, why not replace my Fire Stick with a built-in version?

Combining all of that with my new car that I got a few months ago, my all new bedding, the new slipcover for the couch and new pillows, new joycons, a handful of games, the new desk for my streaming area, the new gaming keyboard… and participating in two self-improvement courses… I’ve kind of been treating myself a lot lately.

With all of this treating, though, I was still able to put over $4k in savings. It’s not a lot, but given that I hadn’t have a savings account since high school, it’s a lot for me. I plan on putting a few grand more in before graduation. Give myself a little bit of help if finding a job after graduation takes a little bit — or to help me move if that’s the case.

Part of me wishes I would have paced this spending out a little better… But with school picking up, I think the spending and treating will slow down. (Or maybe shift to things like treating myself to not cooking for dinner, or treating myself to gel pens I prefer for writing — smaller things, but still meaningful in their own ways.)

How have you most recently treated yourself? What are things that you’re saving up to gift yourself? What are your favorite SMALL ways to treat yourself?

2019: Let’s do this.

Oh hi, 2019, I didn’t see you there.

I just finished my first day back at my graduate assistantship — and it hardly felt like I had left for three weeks at all. But in a good way. Yes, this morning was a little slow, going through the “how do I do this again?” feelings — but overall, being back on campus just feels natural. Hopefully as classes pick up, along with my thesis writing, that feeling will continue because, eek!, this is my last semester of grad school. (Well, of this degree at least.)

Can you see the panic in my eyes?

2018 was.. well, it was actually a pretty damn good year.

I gave a good presentation at annual conference. I received maybe some of the most encouraging feedback ever from my mentor. I had some fun mini adventures. I took care of my health, both mentally and physically. I got a fish (well, 2 actually, RIP Siggy the First). I bought a new car. I rearranged my room, and built a new little gaming/streaming corner in the apartment. And I got rid of so much stuff. I left 2018 feeling free.

In looking at my goals for this year… Pretty much all of it revolves around finishing my thesis, defending it, graduating, and then getting a job. That is the concrete, must-get-done goal of the year. However, I do have a few things that aren’t really resolutions, but also aren’t the “everything depends on this” goals…

Be more active

I’ll admit, this one is already intimidating me a little bit because I talked so much about doing this spin class this evening, and now anxiety sort of has me wanting to chicken out. This is free week at the gym, though. So I really want to check out the class now so I can see if this is really something I want to commit to for the rest of the semester.

Go on an adventure

I’m actually going to find out in the next week or so whether this will be domestic or international. I potentially have the opportunity to head to Europe this year, and I’m already making a bucket list of places I want to go.

Decide on my outlet

Originally, my plan was to commit to Twitch. Figure out a schedule and start streaming more. However, I also want to commit to blogging. So I need to figure out which I really want. I know I can do both, but I will have to find some sort of balance. Priority One is still grad school, so anything else has to support that goal as well (or rather, support my ability to complete that goal).

Spend less

This is a big one. With graduation looming, I’m going to need to make sure I have enough money saved up to move wherever my potential new job is as well as possibly support myself without a job for a short time. Ideally, most of my loan money will go into savings and I won’t touch that — I can use my assistantship stipend to live on. But oh man, my list of “treat yo self” items… I need to be careful!

Release more

I want to continue reducing the amount of things that I have. I’m finding that as I release the material tethers, it’s getting easier to release the emotional ones. Life is good, and I’ve got so much ahead of me — I just don’t want anything holding me back.

What’s on your list for 2019? Big or small?

Self-care Check-in — Real thoughts about Goddess Provision’s Sacred Self Care course, and finishing Week 1 of Stratejoy’s Holiday Council

That was a mouthful of a title! If you’ll remember, I signed up for an 8-week self-care course offered through Goddess Provisions. I was looking for something structured, guided, to help get into a better self-care routine.

We’re finishing off Week 5 of the course, and… I’ve been a bit disappointed, honestly.

We were promised 8-weeks of guided activities, journaling, and meditations, all to connect us to our higher selves. And it’s felt like all we have received are weekly PDFs with two to three pages of actual worksheets, an oracle deck, and access to a Facebook group. There are some women in the group who didn’t even really know who the leaders are. Our weekly activities culminate in requests for us to post a picture which almost feels like an aesthetic contest some times.

Much of this course just feels very surface level. Self-care should be more than just taking walks, bubble baths, and dancing. It’s definitely good to treat yourself to these, but it’s only just the start. I will say, though, I do appreciate that they are covering the importance of boundaries. That might be the most beneficial topic they’ve done thus far. But on top of this feeling like just surface level self-care, it definitely doesn’t feel guided. Outside of the weekly email with the PDFs, we don’t hear from the leaders. If they’re active in the Facebook group, it’s not as leaders, but more just other members.

The shortcomings in the Sacred Self-Care course were made all the more glaring after this first week of Stratejoy’s Holiday Council. HoCo18 is 21 days of delving deep to reflect on the past year and prepare ourselves for the year ahead. It includes 3 live calls (each an hour long), recorded interviews with inspirational women, a 36-page worksheet, a very well put together online portal, and access to a private Facebook group. The big difference, Molly, Stratejoy’s founder, is very involved. She’s been guiding women for 9 years now, and it shows that this is her passion.

In completing my first week workbook, I’ve been hitting those “oh holy crap” moments. It’s like this is exactly what I need in my life right now. I’ve been able to look at and face the hardships from this past year with new eyes, seeing them as opportunities to grow, and events that do not define me. I’ve been called to celebrate the good of this year, however minor. Prior to doing this course, the notion of “pride” wasn’t on my radar. But fuck if I don’t feel proud for the growth I’ve made and how the joy I feel in my life right now.

I’ve met some amazing women in both groups — and was very happy to see friends and familiar faces in the HoCo18 group. While the Sacred Self-Care has been disappointing, I am going to see it through. I think the next two are about creating morning and evening routines, and the final week we’ll reflect back on it all. I am unbelievably excited to continue with HoCo18, even though I know it’s going to go by way too fast!

I was skeptical about Stratejoy at first, but I feel like this might potentially be something I do annually. It’s nice having the guidance as well as just the overwhelming community and support.

Witchy Stuff: my favorite books, decks, and crystals

I don’t really consider myself a witchy person. But for the last year, I’ve found myself in a lot of witchy communities. Drawn to various aspects of those practices. Maybe because a lot of them are inclusive — people are the margins banning together to care for each other. Including some of these practices in my own life has led to personal growth and introspection I had not anticipated.

With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the items I’ve incorporated into my life and why I love them. (And yes, these are affiliate links where possible.)

Decks

I use tarot infrequently — whenever it sort of feels like I need a little extra reflection. I don’t see tarot as a tool for divination, for predicting the future. However, I believe it can be a very interesting, fun, and sometimes powerful tool for introspection. Think of it like journal prompts.

I don’t use the ‘past/present/future’ three card spread, but mostly a ‘context/focus/outcome’ one. I have a few others I use from time to time, but this is my main one. Also, if you’re not sure about buying a deck, there are many cheap and free decks available on mobile! I also highly recommend the Labyrinthos Academy for anyone wanting to learn tarot.

Linestrider Tarot: This was my very first tarot deck. There is this old belief that your decks should be gifted to you, however, it’s not really a followed thing. Honestly, the best advice is to find a deck that “speaks” to you. For me, it was the artwork. Siolo Thompson’s watercolors are beautiful. She has an oracle deck, and another tarot deck on the way next year.

Ostara Tarot: It took me a little longer to really decide I wanted this deck. I had seen various readings with this deck posted on Tumblr, and found some of the cards absolutely stunning. However, I really wasn’t impressed with some others. This deck has four artists. After purchasing it, though… I’ve really come to love this deck.

Inner Star Clarity Oracle: Another one I went back and forth on for a while. However, it was sold out, so I didn’t think too much of it. Then I saw on instagram they were running a small batch of reprints! So I went and pre-ordered as soon as I could afford to. Oracle decks are different. I really only use one card at a time, sometimes more. But these really are useful for self-reflection.

Sacred Self-Care Oracle: I thought this deck was really clever. It’s full of all sorts of activities that most of us are familiar with, however might not be great at making time for. Listening to music, getting a massage, creating art, cooking, connection with friends or family… There’s only one card I removed from the deck and won’t use: “connecting to your womb.” This is definitely a very Western feminine deck… and “sacred womb” ideals just don’t speak to me at all. I got this deck as part of my Sacred Self-Care course with Goddess Provisions.

Crystals/Stones 

I remember growing up, my mom had a rule about not buying crystals. Not getting involved with crystals. I never thought of her as superstitious, but for some reason that rule always stuck in my head. But then last year I started buying crystals. Which really, I just call them stones. Because that’s what they are.

The idea of using specific crystals to heal certain areas or to cause various things to happen… I mean, it’s a stone. They’re minerals. But if having a specific stone helps remind you of things? Yes. I don’t believe at all that wearing a Smoky Quartz necklace will get rid of my depression. But if it helps me remember that I’m stronger than my depression? Hell yes. I find power in that.

Amethyst: Useful for protection during sleep, bringing on restful sleep, and guarding from nightmares. I have a lot of Amethyst. On my nightstand is a large piece that was my grandmother’s. I don’t know what she thought about it, or if she even knew of it’s correspondence… But I like having this watch over me as I sleep.

Carnelian: Typically related to speaking well and productivity. I keep these stones at my desks. Now, I had one of these on my nightstand, and for a while wasn’t sleeping well. Read more about the stone and then moved it out of my room completely. Slept fine since. Any actual woowoo with that? No idea. But yeah.

Smoky Quartz: Known for dispelling and protecting from negativity. As I mentioned, this one has a lot of meaning for me as it reminds me to not let my depression

Rose Quartz: This is the stone of love and self-love. Honestly, it’s also just a pretty pink stone. My first stones I bought was a rose quartz bracelet that I purchased to remind myself to take care of myself and not let my anxiety overwhelm me. And if you were wondering how that went?Well, I purchase this before my breakdown, so… yeah, take the stones with a grain of salt.

Tips on buying… Ok, so part of me doesn’t want to share this because I like keeping it to myself. But, what’s the point in that? Yes, you can (and should!) support your local metaphysical shops. But if you’re on a budget, check your geological institutions! Museums, caves, mines.. A lot of them will have amazing specimen at a lot lower of a cost. Some even 50¢ per stone, where you’d be paying $3-7 for the same thing at a witchy store. Also, if you have a crystal and gem show in your area, you can get pretty good deals there. That’s where I get a lot of my stones for my jewelry.

Also: Be sure to do your research on your stones. Some should not be placed in water, others can’t be in direct sunlight. Rose Quartz, for instance will fade with too much sunlight. Others can be toxic to you if you put it in water that you consume. Whenever you are buying anything: do your research, especially if you plan on using something topically or internally. This is especially true with essential oils — never put them on your sick neat (or without diluting in another oil, water won’t work).

Books

I’ve purchased a number of books, some are definitely more useful in my opinion or other. Reviews aren’t always helpful when purchasing, so I’ve been checking tumblr and also trying to read previews where available.

Hearth Witch’s Compendium: This is just an amazing, big book of recipes! There is everything from food to cleaners to soaps to lip balms… I love it. They even have booze recipes! Make your own wines! I haven’t really tried many of these, but I have a lot of pages flagged.

Light Magic for Dark Times: Speaking of flagged pages… I have so many of these pages bookmarked. Now, this book is a spell book. But for those who want to add some rituals or activities filled with intention geared towards self-care but isn’t all sunshine and rainbow, this is a very good book. I purchased it after a very strong recommendation on the Fat Feminist Podcast. I really appreciate how this book embraces what some consider as negative emotions, like anger.

Jailbreaking the Goddess: If you want any sort of book to challenge you, then you need this book. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not really big into “goddess” stuff. However, this book is equally about intersectional feminism. It uses a fivefold goddess model, rather than the threefold maiden-mother-crone. The fivefold one isn’t focused on Eurocentric biological ideals of who is a woman or what makes a woman. It doesn’t commodify our bodies and turn us, essentially into public property. I’m two chapters in, and really enjoying it. It’s also a really thick workbook with journal prompts and activities after every section.

Boundaries & Protection: I wasn’t sure about this one, but decided to get the eBook. This book is going to push me. In setting boundaries, I’m hoping to not only protect my self mentally and emotionally, but also allow myself to be more open, but, well, in a healthier way.

Other…

Fat Feminist Witch podcast: I love this podcast. Paige covers a lot of issues and all of it feels very true and authentic to her journey. She researches her topics very well and has really interesting interviews. And of course, a lot of book reviews as well! Episodes are about 45 minutes long, but I break them into a few sittings, which I appreciate that there are good pauses for me to do so.

Witchy Instagram: I don’t have *one* link for this. But with a little searching, you can find a lot. I’ve been finding a lot more through my self-care course, and really excited to get involved with this community. There’s some interesting discussion and debate on witchy instagram — and yes, a lot of it is gatekeeping. But you’ll find a lot in and around the aesthetics, and honestly, you can follow just for the pretty pictures or for the communities.

These fragrances from Twisted Twigs you can buy online! I love this Air Elemental room spray so much. And the Oracle perfume oil is amazing. I’m excited about getting some bath scrubs from them soon!

What sort of “witchy”, magical, or other spiritual items have you used or would recommend?

Beginning my Sacred Self-Care journey

Recently I wrote about taking a self-care week, since then I had been looking for something more. Something structured. Then low and behold on my instagram feed there it was…

I’ll admit, the goddess thing isn’t my style. Especially the combination of “sacred” and “goddess” together… I’ll refer you to an episode from The Fat Feminist Witch why I find some of this problematic, as she has some interesting points.

Anyway. It seemed like perfect timing. It’s an 8-week course, at a decent price, and includes an self-care oracle deck that I had been considering previously. So a day before the deadline, I signed up.

In these first few days, we’re introducing ourselves to the group — which is rather large, but not intimidating at all because it means we’re all likely to find at least one person to connect with.

I’m hoping that this course helps instill a routine of self-care into my life. Something that turns it into a habit. What I’m not looking for is surface level positivity, all rainbows and sunshine. That’s not real. Nor is it healthy, either.

I’m looking forward to cutting the ties that have been holding me back. Tending to scars. And just reaffirming that even though flawed, I’m still strong and still amazing. I won’t let anything or anyone ever convince me otherwise.

The past several months have almost been strange. I feel good — healthy, strong, confident… happy. Maybe strange is the wrong way to phrase it. But it definitely feels like a change. A very positive change. It’s one of those things where you didn’t realize something was missing or off about your life until suddenly things just click and you feel… well, you feel like the most you you’ve been in a while.

Have you done a self-care course? 

my self-care week

Maybe it’s because we’re hitting near the mid-point of the semester… But I just found myself not doing well recently. I didn’t realize that my stress and anxiety was building up silently within me, leeching all of my energy. Between my own health taking a hit by a rough cold, my mom being in and out of the hospital a lot the past couple of months, things that are happening on the news, and a case of bad attitudes going around — things needed to change. Something needed to change.

I needed a break. Things were not working the way they were going. So with Fall Break coming up (aka happening right now), I knew it was a good time to hit that reset button and start again.

I went back to the basics: better sleep, better food, and surrounding myself with as much positivity as I could. I watched shows I love (The Good Place), I journaled, I cuddled a friend’s dogs…

I wrote out a new schedule, asked my boss if I could switch hours (which will actually put me in their office for my assistantship more each week), and giving myself time to catch up on everything but also the forgiveness to take care of myself as well.

I’m definitely a firm believer that your mental and emotional health do impact your physical health. I had been internalizing a lot of stress from school and as well as some bad attitudes. Attitudes are 100% contagious, and I try to be mindful of what I’m putting out there. But for a bit there, it was kind of a spiral of exchanging bad attitudes back and forth. I wasn’t going to last the semester the way things were going. I needed to get away from the source of the bad attitude.

I hate this notion that we have to feel guilty for self-care. How is that ever a bad thing, taking care of one’s self? It’s like we wear being stressed out as a badge of honor. You’re obviously not living your best life unless you’ve run yourself ragged. Ugh. I can live a happy and productive life without driving myself to the edge of health and sanity each time.

That is the balance I am trying to achieve. It’s not always easy, and yes, I will fail at times. I will need more breaks for self-care.

I have some good support; online friends who are there for me regardless, and then another friend who just really builds me up and encourages me in a real and honest way. They remind me to be kind to myself, to see past the bullshit my depression or anxiety may tell me. I definitely recommend finding that if you don’t have it. That kind of support can come from a variety of places.

Don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself, friends. Some indulgence in your life is good. Take break from the negativity in your life, and cut out the toxic areas if you are able to. Sometimes its easier to make a clean break. like I am with using Fall Break, but sometimes you just need to make small steps, and do a little at a time.

This world is only getting more stressful. Take care of yourself.

Fun Updates: car, crafts, and cats!

So a lot of smaller, but not insignificant, things have been going on. Thus it’s time for an update post! I’ve been wanting to blog more, but having a hard time finding anything I feel like you all would want to read about at any length. So, for the time being, currently and update posts might just be what happen. If you follow me on other platforms you might know of some of these — and heck, have probably seen some of the pictures.

With the third roommate moved out, and my other roommate and I rearranging most of the apartment, I finally have a little gaming/streaming corner. I moved my big antique writing desk into my room, and then got a basic ikea desk for the PC. There’s not as much room, because it’s not as deep, but it works well for this. I have a privacy screen to block off the rest of the living room, a lot of fun decor, and the cats have their own space as well. It’s a really good use of the space.

With my room being rearranged, I have more wall area to cover — because apparently I can’t have blank empty walls — so I made this moon phase wall hanging based off of one I liked on etsy. Rather than spening $40+, I saved a ton and kind of like it a little more because it’s something I made. I want to replace the dowel for a driftwood stick, which my roommate said she’d bring back for me when she visits Michigan… but overall I think it turned out well. I still need to adjust the left side a little with the length of the twine… but still not a bad job.

Maybe the big thing… I got a new car!! Back in March, my mom gave me her Honda Civic. It was a nice car — older for sure, a 2003, but she was the only owner. Well, after my grandma died, I was driving her dog down to Kentucky to her new home, and got into an accident. Essentially, because of the car’s age and mileage, it totaled the car. All cosmetic. Muffy and I were fine… Well, I had a minor concussion and some temporary nerve problems in my arms. It was just really disappointing, though, to have the car for 2 weeks — it wasn’t even in my name yet — and then that happened. I could have lived with the cosmetic issues… but the driver’s side door lock pins were misaligned, thus making it super frustrating to unlock. It was the base model, so no keyless entry either. Honestly, that is the main reason why I wanted a new car.

So, after looking for a while, I actually found a Fiat I liked that was a good deal. From there the dealer and I found a Mazda3 hatchback that I fell in love with. I even put money down on it. But because of my student loans and graduating soon, we couldn’t find a good point for financing it that I was really comfortable with. Yes, I could afford the car and the payments, but it was at the very top of my budget. So, the dealer did some talking and negotiating on my behalf… and we found that beauty. My new-to-me 2012 Nissan Versa hatchback.  She has great mileage, fuel economy, and is very roomy. We’re actually a two-Nissan Versa hatchback household now, as my roommate has a silver 2014 Note (that she got after totaling her previous car). So, yeah, the universe has a bit of a sense of humor.

I haven’t streamed recently — it’s still part of my fall goals — but I have been very active on Twitch. I’m a mod for a couple partnered streamers, and one has been doing front page stuff recently, so it’s been keeping me a little busy. But I love it. The community is great and it’s been a lot of fun hanging out with online friends.

I know I mentioned that I have been dating around a bit this summer… Well. I turned off all the notifications from the dating apps recently and not because of lack of options or anything. Not going to say much, but I’m excited to see where this goes.

Also, look at Tuija with her new toys. All food based, because of course. Not shown is the fish taco one she absolutely loves to kick around all over the house.

How are things with all of you? What’s going on in your lives? Any new updates?

Fall goals

Ok. So I’m one of those people who believe that the seasons start according to the lunar calendar — so Fall doesn’t official start until the equinox, on September 22nd. PSL out already? Sure fine, but it’s still technically summer right now. Weather cooling off? Awesome, we’re transitioning — still not Fall yet.

So even though I’m four weeks into my Fall semester, Fall hasn’t actually started, so this is a perfect time to think about my Fall Goals.

  1. Complete my CITI training and start my observation at my fieldsite. This semester is all about my thesis research, so getting permission from the campus IRB to do said research is the most important thing. Sadly, CITI training is just long and tedious, thus making it hard for me to want to complete. Need to just push through… maybe reward myself with something nice when it’s all done.
  2. Schedule a weekly visit to the gym. I need to find something that suits my work and academic schedule, but I’d like to spend at least 2 hours at the gym a week. Mostly this will be riding the bikes and then walking the indoor track. I have someone who volunteered to teach me about some of the weight machines, so I’m going to take him up on that sometime.
  3. Stay on top of tidiness in the apartment. So I guess task management and such is a theme… but yeah. I’m one of those where clutter bothers me. So unorganized things out on tables or counters just makes me a little twitchy. It’s not a major issue, so I have no need to really bring it up with my roommate ASAP, but for the sake of our friendship, I’d like to be able to say “hey, can we just check on these areas every so often? And also, what are the areas that you’d like to have checked for your sanity?” I, too, need to be conscious about leaving certain things out. (I tend to leave journals out on tables, and those need to go to one of my desks.)
  4. Stream.  I’m typically too tired by the time I think about streaming in the evenings, so I haven’t for a while now. I definitely miss it. I’m also modding in a couple partnered streams now, so that does take time away from my own things — only slightly; one is a morning streamer, so that does help. But I’d like to stream at least once a week or every other week if I can. Plus, I just finished setting up this sweet new streaming corner, so.. I should really make use of it and show it off.
  5. Put money from my paychecks into my savings. I’m building my savings finally so that I can actually have some money for when I graduate and start looking at moving away. I also want to get a new car, so, that’s a thing too.
  6. Figure out a plan for my business. I’ve taken a little break from my jewelry business, Lost is Found, but I’m ready to get back into it. So I want to keep the website updated, look at doing more on Etsy — even though I don’t really care for Etsy as a shop manager (it’s the fees). I also want to look at doing more local markets. Hopefully, I might be able to talk to one of my favorite shops about doing some consignment potentially.
  7. Set up a doctor’s appointment. Mainly I need to make sure I’m on a good dose of my heart medicine, but I’d also like a general check up since I’m really do for one. My mom’s been in the hospital a lot for her heart, so it’s definitely something on my mind.. And recently my SIL was in for emergency surgery related to the same procedure I had last year… so I’d like to do a check up on that to make sure there’s no complications and that I’m healing properly.

For the most part, that’s most of what I’d like to accomplish at this point. I’m sure I can think of more, but this is definitely manageable. Things are going super well. My assistantship is a great fit, class is going well, I’m staying in touch with my adviser regarding my progress… And, you know, I’m just having fun.

What are some of your goals for Fall?