WECON 2016 & A Quick Check In

Hello friends, what an amazing week and a half! Between April 1st and now, I tabled at WECON2016, did some serious unpacking at my new home, and then my love Randall and I took a week long trip to New York and Brooklyn. It was a whirlwind of smiling and talking, occasionally stressful but ultimately triumphant Ikea assembly, and SO MUCH walking, seeing of cool stuff, and eating of delicious food (Momofuku and the best shawarma I've ever had). So good. ALSO! During the Resource Fair, I ran a social media contest! Please give a huge congratulations to Alex P!! She won a FREE MONTH of A Box of Your Own! And what, you may ask, in the name of bell hooks, is A Box of Your Own?? Why, only the newest coolest thing that I will be going public with June 1st! But, you can Join Circle Time to find out early!

I'm home now, refreshed, energized and ready. Cannot wait for the Girl's Rising movie screening happening this Saturday. We will be watching a stunning documentary film as we donate money for the Let Girls Learn Fund by the Peace Corp. CLICK HERE to RSVP

So, enjoy some photos from the WECON tabling, and get out there and tackle the world!

Tomorrow! Find me at WECON 2016 Resource Fair!

As you can tell from the title, this post is full of exclamations. And why? Because WeCON2016 is tomorrow! I'm excited and a little bit anxious as I prep the flyers, sign up sheets, and goody bags. "Goody bags?!" you ask? "Oh yes," I answer, "Really good goody bags.". Each one will have info about A Road of Your Own, print outs of my Self Care Worksheet, coloring book pages, crayon packets and SNACKS! Also exciting?

I've got a banner! Yes! So find me at the table with the super cool banner, and come get some snacks y'all.

See you tomorrow lovelies!

Life Update - I'm Buying a House!

What's going on right now? Where have I been, and for goodness sake, why haven't I been posting? Well... I'm buying a house!

A real, front door, back door, 2 bedroom, 2 bath, converted garage house! And in a beautiful twist of kismet, it's about 2 blocks from the high school I attended in freshman and sophomore year, the high school that I loved dearly, and felt accepted and challenged at. It's got bright blue doors, big windows, and lovely light brown floors. And in about two weeks, it will be all mine.

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It will be a home for hosting: friends, dinners, workshops, crafts, games. A home for love, laughter, and silliness. A home for listening, tears and tea. Early mornings, lazy brunches and late nights.

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Randall and I will fill it with ourselves, our hopes, our MarioKart and of course, so many flowers. So many lovely plans brewing, so much smiling happens as I picture the near (and far) future. I've got a massive spreadsheet where I keep track of ideas (favorites include: "plant a mini orchard in back yard - pomegranate, fig, citrus, maybe a peach or two" and "paint quilt mural in craft room???") and the blessedly few maintenance needs.

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It truly feels like everything is fitting beautifully into place, and I've consciously chosen to not second guess it. Starting April 1st, this will be our official home, and can't wait to welcome each of you into it.

 

 

An Announcement, A Poll & A Giveaway!

Friends, I'm going to share a secret with you, one that only a few folks know.

I've figured out what I want to do with my long-term career.

This idea has been sitting in my heart for a long time, glowing on and off, scaring me with its intensity, warming me with its truth.

ET with glowing heart

It's scary to share because well, what if people don't like it? Don't get it? This idea is so close to my heart, that I'm very much identifying with it. If they don't like the idea, do they like me? Which, I recognize, isn't a very healthy response. But it's the truth.

So here goes:

I, Katie Kronbergs, am creating an organization that hosts and coordinates empowering events and workshops for women in Austin, Central Texas, and online. Topics would include (but definitely aren't limited to) career/life goals, self awareness, stress management, healthy relationships, finances, body image, and advocating for yourself. Name? A Road of Your Own Events

Through volunteering with GENaustin, I realized there was a huge opportunity to create something similar, but for adult women. This was my jumping off point. My wellness workshop last year really brought it home, and showed me that I could do this successfully AND that there is a huge need for an organization like this. Each event will have expert speakers, concrete takeaways, and a fun and supportive environment. Eventually, I'd love to get a physical event space.

I've already decided on my second event (the Wellness Workshop being the first), taking place this Friday night: Moon Church! The New Moon is a reminder to let go of the past and rebirth your passions, so we'll be gathering this upcoming New Moon for a night of introspection, intention setting, and releasing past pains and stresses. Attendees will be outside in the night air, enjoying exercises, drawing tarot cards, making yummy custom bath salt soaks, burning things, and talking till our hearts are full.

moon church event cover (1)

If you haven't already been invited, and would like to join us, please leave a comment! I will get you the address location asap.

For future events, I want to make sure that I'm offering the kind of workshops that you folks want and need, so please answer the poll below!

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Finally, as a thank you for voting in the poll and for supporting me in this new endeavor, I want to give one of you an awesome set of goodies: the newest edition of Vagina :: The Zine (Austin based bad ass feminist zine), a postcard of a super tough vintage tattoo lady, Magic Garden: Fantastic Flowers to Color (because coloring is really soothing) and a super cute squirrel pencil sharpener! To win, just leave a comment below. Thank you friends!

giveaway gifts

much love,

ktk

Currently...

inspired by this product from rukristin... Watching: All the Star Wars! My partner Randall got the Google Play bundle that's got all 6 films and loads of special features. We've had many comfy geek out evenings during our crazy rain/flooding this past week.

Reading: As always, I'm reading too many books all at once. Wait, scratch that, it's never too many. I'm working my way through Hausfrau (written by my mom's friend), An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, and still (still!) intermittently plugging away at The Luminaries. However, I just finished Deborah Harkness's All Souls trilogy on the recommendation of my sister. I'd second it. It's a set of thoroughly entertaining supernatural fiction: A Discovery of Witches is the first one.

Listening: RabioLab - La Mancha Screwjob. Listening as Jad and Robert "pierce the spandex-ed heart of professional wrestling, and travel 400 years into the past to unmask our obsession with authenticity and our desire to walk the line between reality and fantasy." Terrific background sounds while I work on ...

Making: ... a 'home sweet home' cross stitch hanging! The pattern is from Emma Congdon's etsy shop: Stitchrovia, and I'm really enjoying it.

Feeling: Inspired with introspective creativity. Randall is all moved in, and the house is settled. My desk and my newly expanded craft space (photos soon!) are super welcoming. I've been working on the cross stitch, planning my next quilt, doing tarot readings for myself, and obviously writing more.

Planning: A new education opportunity! I've decided to enroll in UT's Non-Profit Management Graduate Certificate Program next month. It's pretty much everything that I'd hoped to learn from the Master's degree in Ireland that I didn't finish: fundraising, volunteer management, creating a board of directors, grant writing, capital campaigns, and leadership strategies. It's online, and will take about 3 months, so I'll need to carve out time around work and friends for studying. Come the end of summer - I will be able to help you or your contacts with your non-profit! I'm so jazzed!

Loving: The home that R and I have made. He moved into the house that I've been renting for the past 2 years, and we shuffled a few of the rooms around. It feels so welcoming and cozy, and full of love. Makes my heart happy.

Prisma Visions Tarot Deck Cups Suite

A Road of Her Own - Interviews : Anne

It's part two in my semi-regular series: “A Road of Her Own – Interviews”. In this space I’ll be speaking with amazing and interesting women. With each interview, I’ll be following a chain of admiration, as each friend will pick the next person in line. My blog is all about finding your own path, and I want to talk to these women about their “own road”. Check out the first interview with Andrea here.

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My second interviewee is Anne! She is a professional grant writer, fundraiser, travel enthusiast, and peace pursuer. I'm thrilled to share our conversation here.

Katie: Hello Anne! How are you?

Anne: I'm fine, happy to be here!

In my blog, I talk about three things: authenticity, peacefulness, and productivity. Which of those three stands out the most to you? 

Anne: I would definitely say peacefulness, because it's what I'm trying achieve these days!

Of those three, would you say peacefulness is the most challenging? Why is that?

Absolutely. I'm in the midst of a lot of life changes right now, I'm buying a house and planning a wedding. I recognize that these are all very big blessings, but they're also very stressful. I'm trying to let go of control right now, and enjoy the waves of my life more than I have in the past. Trying not to be so anxious! I'm doing a lot of yoga.

That's perfect for my next question! Because when do you feel the most peaceful?

Practicing yoga has really been helpful, I'm trying to do it every single day. Breathing techniques really help too. And I've also taken up needle point! Which is very zen for me. You can just sit in front of a movie and do that, and you're not just in front of a computer.

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What are three words that’d you pick for this time in your life?

I would say Dynamic, Challenging, and Gratitude.

What three would you pick for your focus today?

Today is more about Productivity, Enjoyment (because it's Sunday) and Focus. I'm going on a business trip soon, so I have a lot of things to do!

What was the first book that really affected you? Why?

Well, I remember James and Giant Peach being the first book that I read in one day. I think it took me 8 hours and I just laid on the couch all day and read it. It was the first book that I was obsessively reading and I couldn't put it down. I think was probably 7 or 8. As more of an adult, Kate Chopin's The Awakening was really big for me. It was the first feminist book I had read. I was in high school, and it really blew me away. It was the first story I had read of a woman who took a different and unconventional path. So much of the books that we were assigned growing up were the classics with male protagonists, and [The Awakening] was such a change from the standard women's role. It definitely opened my eyes to a different point of view.

What is a book that you just read or that you're reading that you recommend? Why?

One of my favorite books in the last couple years was Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart. I recommend it to pretty much every person I meet. It's a dystopian novel, so funny, and so smart. It really nails it on the head of where our society is going. Our use of technology, our focus on money, looks, and materialism.

What do you listen to when you want to feel unstoppable? Why?

*Laughs* That's a really good question! Music for me is a lot of dream pop and folk, stuff that doesn't really feel unstoppable. But, oh ... Prince! It's hard not to feel amazing when you're listening to Prince.

If you knew you couldn't fail, what would you try to do?

I actually feel very strongly that failure is important, and making mistakes is an incredibly important part of life's journey. One of my life philosophies is to do the thing that scares you, regardless of failure. But, if I knew I couldn't fail, I would probably open up a thrift store! That would be my dream life. Own a thrift store and shop for vintage clothes all day.

What is your goal for 2015?

Be the best partner I can be.

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This is an imagining question! If your life up to this point was a road, what would it be like, what does it look like?

Very up and down, but going up. Upwards in elevation, and becoming ever more expansive.

Looking forward, can you see what the road looks like? 

I see it expanding in front of me! As you grow older, and you know yourself better, you have self confidence and there's more and more in front of you that you can choose from. Your life gets more expansive and richer.

What do you most admire about yourself?

I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin. I think that women in general struggle with self esteem, and there's so much pressure on us to fit into certain boxes. Since I've been in my 30's, I feel happy with where I am.

Who is a formidable woman (fictional/real) that you’d like to be friends with?

*Laughs* I would love to be friends with Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer from Broad City. They bring a lot of joy to my world.

What woman in your life should I interview next?

I really admire Adrienne! She's put so much effort into Bikin' Betties, she does it every single week, and she's training for this big bike ride across California. You should definitely talk to her.

 

Thank you so much Anne for sharing your road with me! It was a joy to chat and learn about you. Can't wait to talk to you, Adrienne! 

Street Dancing Girl

Halloween traveling in a new city. Chances to be somebody else, try on someone else's style, explore different parts of yourself. Am I ... this? Or maybe more that? I try New Orleans on for size; could I live here? Is this a future home?

No, I don't think I'll move here. A little too fussy. But yes, I think, I shall be a crazy hat lady. And yes, I'm definitely someone who dances in streetsPretty sure 29 looks good on me.

Releasing Comparisons & Competition

For the past three (ish) weeks, I've been taking Aerial Hoop classes and loving it. I've had five so far, and have learned a ton of positions, conditioning exercises and even how to start spinning! aerial hoop

Taking on this new activity has been challenging, both physically and emotionally. A lot of these maneuvers require a core and upper body strength that I don't have right now. I know that I can get there, but sometimes class can be tough - especially at the end. My hands will burn, biceps and triceps will shake, and my abs will protest.

side climbing an aerial hoop

More challenging though, are the emotions. I'll start comparing myself to the other women in the classes, and feel low when I'm not as good, or as strong, or as thin. Many of my fellow aerialists are petite and whipcord tough. I'm pretty strong, but I've also got about 30lbs and 5" on most of them.  I'll forget that they've been attending classes for months, or were gymnasts for decades. The comparisons and negative competition in my head will lie to me, reminding me about my belly, or weak arms. A familiar siren song will play: "You're not one of the be-est. People will se-eee. Might as we-ell stick to what you're gooood at." It's a tune that I've listened to in the past. For example, the first time I went skiing, I was 4 and I couldn't figure it out. I fell over again and again. I got increasingly frustrated (I'm fwustwated Mama!), and upset.  Why couldn't I do this?? Everyone else could! The answer? I was 4.  It was the first time I was on skis. Everyone falls down, A LOT, the first time on skis. So then, instead of persisting, I refused. I was over that impossible shit. I lost 7 years of fun ski time, as I finally picked it back up at age 11. Nowadays, I LOVE to ski, and I wish I'd stuck with it.

The Don't Suck Song is a liar. Comparisons and negative competition do no good, and keep us from the thrill of achieving hard fought goals. Feeding my insecurities doesn't help me to perform better, and definitely doesn't help form good relationships with my classmates. I've got to release my inner comparisons and appreciate what my body can do.  Because my aerial classes will help to tone and strengthen me, but I'm never going to be one of the best, not even in the top 25%. I'll get to about the middle, and will most likely stick around there. I'm going to be okay with that. For a recovering over achiever, a solid middle of the road performance can be SO freeing. So, goodbye comparisons, and hello appreciation!

reach for the stars pose aerial hoop

Summer Challenge: Wardrobe Building

I've always been interested in closet projects - re-organizations, clothing purges, color stories - every since I was in middle school.  Pretty sure the fascination comes from the Color Me Beautiful book I got for Christmas in 7th grade.  Here it was, a whole system, guaranteed to make you feel awesome!  I've been stuck on wardrobe solutions ever since. Given that, I was beyond thrilled to discover Into Mind, a website dedicated to establishing and curating your personal style and wardrobe.  It's a treasure trove of information, and I'm diving headfirst into it.  I've recently felt a little lost when I stand in front of my closet, not sure what to wear, and feeling like the contents don't really match who I am these days.   So discovering this website is perfect timing for me.  Anuschka offers amazing practical advice, and this summer, I've decided to complete one of her projects:  a capsule wardrobe!

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CAPSULE WARDROBE: Step 1 - Identify Your Trends

I have always wanted to work on and develop a capsule closet: a core wardrobe set up with good basics that I know I can depend on and that match each other.  Step one, according to Anuschka, is to create or review your 'mood board' of ideal clothes.  Luckily I already had this!  I've been filling up my 'My Style' board on Pinterest since I started my account.  It's funny, because even though I've been steadily adding to it, I've never taken the time to review the board for trends and themes.  As I looked back, I had to laugh, as I was essentially pinning the same 3 outfits, and the same 3 trends, over and over!  Check it out below.

You can make your own mood board: either by flipping through magazines/catalogs and cutting out what speaks to you, keeping a folder on your computer for clothes images, or starting your own Pinterest board(you can make 'secret boards' now that only you can see).  Go with your gut as you pick images, and select items that 'feel right'.  All of the images below felt like me in an instinctual way.

Remember! Look for recurrent:

  • shapes
  • patterns
  • fabrics
  • colors

What would your trends be?

Outfit 1:

Pencil Skirt + Loose fit Tank/Tee

pencil skirt + loose fit tee-tankOutfit 2:  Skinny/Straight Leg Pants + Neutral Tee + Jacket/Cardigan

fitted pants + neutral tee + jacket

Outfit 3: Solid Color Draped Dress

selection of draped tailored dresses

Trend 1: Flannel & Chambray

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Trend 2: Black & White Pattern

black and white printed outfits

 

Trend 3: Natural/Ethnic Accessories

natural leather, wood and textile accessories

 

Once you've got your trends, the next step is one of my favorites: COLOR! Stay tuned for next week!

Check In and Wednesday Links

I've started and stopped 5 different posts in the past two and half weeks, so I'm just going to get something out there.  I can be such a tough critic on myself/perfectionist that I need to remind myself that the 'perfect is the enemy of the good'.  Plus, last week I was at a work conference in D.C. without a laptop, and typing a whole blog post on my iPad wasn't particularly appealing!  Anyways, I'm glad to be back, and feeling more energized.  Here are a few posts, images, and articles that I've been very drawn to this past week. Learning to Focus book excerpt from Everyday Mindfulness

Copper and Wool for My 7th Anniversary my friend Emma shares reflections on her 7 year anniversary of being diagnosed with MS

The Story of My Preemie and our Journey in the N.I.C.U. friend Andrea of The Everyday Soiree shares the second half of her daughter Birdie's birth experience

Post and Totem quilt patterns from Carolyn Friedlander

Persistence

Persistence is a funny thing.   It's a virtue, that helps us get through crappy things, in order to make us feel good.  It's an alchemy I still don't 100% understand.  In order to get the elation, the feeling of triumph, the awesome "I DID IT!", you have to go through the muck, the pain, and the uncomfortable.  It's like the laughter that's stronger at the end of a gotcha prank, the relief when you realize that the April Fool's gag is in fact not true.  The fear/worry/pain makes the ending that much better. Sometimes, persistence can be a quiet companion, walking just behind us and we forget about it.  We go through long, tough times and feel like we're all alone.  I felt like that this past winter.  I was depressed, and felt like I was a crappy person not living up to my potential, and that I was devoid of virtue.  But looking back, persistence was there with me.  Persistence is what got me to reach out and find a therapist, and what helped me to just keep going.   Now, despite the crappy slog, I feel good.

selfie with author on a bike with crowd behind

Other times, persistence is a charging powerful steed, and you ride that sucker to glory.  I did that this past weekend, when I rode the Shiner 1/2 Gasp, a 50 mile version of the standard full 100 miles.  Most of the time, I felt good.  I was strong, and while there was pain, there wasn't suffering.  The last 5 miles were tougher though.  I was going through some crappy hills, knee pain, a later discovered saddle sore, and mental exhaustion.  But persistence was powering me.  I saw the folks around me and wanted to be strong like them, but more importantly, I knew I wasn't going to stop.  Yes, it hurt.  But, there wasn't much of an option to stop.  I was 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 miles away, and damn if I was going to let the SAG Wagon pick me up.   My legs were just going to keep going.  I knew persistence was with me then.  I felt full of virtue then, and at the end of the ride, Shiner beer in my hand, I felt good.

bicycle with Persist, You are stronger, and tougher than you think written over the image

My Painting

I have a painting above my bed.

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It makes me feel like this.

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I did not paint this, but I did buy it (here).  It's been above my bed since I moved into my current house, and last night I FINALLY REALIZED that it's a road.  Going into the mountains, on an adventure.  Y'all!  It's a road of my own.  Hanging on my wall, speaking to me with it's promise!  How did I not see this before? I have no idea.  It's like when you wake up and immediately start thinking about your dream and go "But what does it MEAN?!?", and when you finally start to talk about the dream out loud, you chuckle at how obvious your subconscious is.   I will always laugh at the pointedly obviousness of the universe.   So, what's your favorite art piece in your home?

 

Sleep Update

1april monthly challenge0 days into my Sleep Challenge, so it's time for an update! The first week I was amazing, and followed all the guidelines, but I've slacked a bit this second week.  The weekend was the crutch: I stayed up much later and was on my phone communicating with folks way past 9:30pm.  I was completely experiencing some 'social jetlag', described in Thrive as "[a term] to explain the discrepancy between what our body clocks need and what our social clocks demand."  Getting back into the swing of things has actually been much harder than establishing the habits in the first place.

But, I have definitely noticed a positive difference.  My emotional resilience has increased: I'm able to bounce back much faster from negative experiences, or perceived negative experiences.  I was actually able to catch myself in the middle of road raging at a driver who marginally cut me off, thinking "Wow, they haven't hurt me, and no one else is hurt.  I cannot control his behavior, but I CAN control my reaction."  It felt good.  Really good.  I've had more energy throughout the day, and haven't crashed and cried at 10-11pm.  Also, getting enough sleep during the night has meant that I don't lay in bed until the absolute last possible moment before heading to work.  I have the miracle of grooming time.  As such, my eyebrow game has been freaking amazing.

Let's put that on a bumper sticker: Sleep More, Get Bangin' Eyebrows.  I'd buy it.

 

Sleep Challenge!

april monthly challenge "Rob yourself of sleep and you'll find you do not function at your personal best.  This is true of work decisions, relationship challenges, or any life situation that requires judgment, emotional equilibrium, problem solving, and creativity." -- Arianna Huffington  

April is officially my month of sleep!  I will be instituting behavior guidelines, giving you all updates about my progress, and sharing interesting facts about sleep.  But forcing yourself to just lay down and turn the lights out is a poor strategy for effective sleep, so I pledge to do  the items on the list below.  Not only will these be challenging (no Angry Birds on my iPad in bed??), but all of them are key to ensuring that you have good sleep patterns.  Apparently, it's quality over quantity!

I pledge to:

  • No 'solo' screen time after 9pm
  • No communal screen time (movies/tv in a group) after 10:00pm
  • No alcohol in the hour before bed
  • In bed by 10:30pm on weeknights
  • Exercise once a day
  • No snooze button allowed in the morning
  • And any additional ones I decide upon!

Does anyone want to join me?