Shows I can’t stop watching

So as a grad student, you’d think I’d have zero free time to keep up with any shows. However, thanks to duel monitor setups, I’m able to have some shows on while I work. I know some people find this super distracting — but for me it’s a controlled distraction. I typically pick shows I’ve either seen before or are ones I’d be ok if I didn’t give it my full attention. But there are a few that I try to make time for during breaks, because they’re just that good.

The Good Place

If you haven’t heard of The Good Place by now… Well, that’s frankly pretty impressive. In it’s third season now, it feels like everyone is talking about this show. And for very good reason. Everything in this show just clicks. Good writing, interesting premise, and a cast that truly gels. Seasons 1-2 are on Netflix, and the most recent 5 episodes of Season 3 are on Hulu. It is a forking amazing show you should definitely check out.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Moved to NBC for it’s 6th season after FOX decided to dump it, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a gem of a show. Honestly, I wrote it off for a long time because of how FOX advertised it. It seemed just… stupid. I had absolutely no interest in a just stupid humor for the sake of stupid humor. But this show is done so well. Is some of the humor dumb? Yeah, but it does’t feel forced or inauthentic to the spirit of the show and characters. Both Nine-Nine and The Good Place were created by Michael Schur — who also co-created The Office and Parks and Recreation.

New Amsterdam & The Resident

So I’m pairing these two new medical dramas together, because frankly, after the holiday break I had a hard time keeping not only their plot lines straight, but who was on which cast. They’re both shows about “rebel” doctors who fight against a corrupt medical system. But one definitely focuses more on the young “sexy” cast and the other has (still attractive but) almost more human feeling characters.

The Rookie

Man do I love Nathan Fillion. Yes, when they were announcing this show I was skeptical. “Really, Nathan, another cop show right after Castle ended?” But The Rookie has been great. For anyone who has felt too old to go after their dreams or make big life changes, Officer John Nolan is right there with us pushing through.

What are your current “must watch” shows? Any other shows you’d suggest for me?

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.