Mid-Week Links

Friends! Here's what I'm really into this week! The Article

It’s like we all said hey, let’s change the narrative for women, but not change anything else. And then expected women to be so grateful that we’re allowed to have casual sex and work now that we wouldn’t notice that we’re being pushed toward an ever less attainable and less desirable goal. 

"Having It All Kinda Sucks" by Amy Westervelt on Medium

The Life Hack

I’m unabashedly a writer-downer of things; in fact, the sheer act of writing helps me remember and process. As much as I love digital tools and still use several, old-fashioned paper gives me a lot of bang for my buck. I actually get more done, even online.

"How I Use My Bullet Journal" by Tsh Oxenreider on The Art of Simple

The Product

I Think Your Sexist Jokes Are Boring tote bag from Feminist Apparel

The Book

Oh my goodness, I just finished reading Interview With A Vampire by Anne Rice. I'd seen the movie ages ago, but never read the book. My friend Sarah was so 100% right, this shit is amazing, and so much better than the film.  Ineffably lovely and sensual. Dang.

The Funny

Fake Bill Nye killing it

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The Release of a New Decade, and Our Next Event!

I turned 30 years old on Saturday, and I feel different. You folks already in your 30's (or 40's or 50's) will probably chuckle, but I do. Fall has always brought me a sense of a new year - new school season, colder air harboring changes, and the strongest of our modern American rituals: the birthday. It all comes together to bring this feeling of newness. And 30. A whole new decade. So at a family birthday gathering on Friday night, I asked everyone over 30 to talk about about what their entry into my new decade was like. I'd hoped for a tidy little theme (big surprise), but they were all over the board. For some, turning 30 was a year of struggles, and for others it was ease. Clarity and confusion. Stability and changes. Each person had their own path through that year. So I've decided to figure out how I feel on my own.

30 year old selfie

Because this fall feeling has a different quality than normal. As well as the newness (new opportunities, new commitments, new plans), I feel release. That this year's word theme of 'enrich' is coming to an end. That these last two months, the microbes broke down the matter, and the compost pile got HOT. Activity and friction and changes. I have a sense that the 'breaking down' has ended and I'm left with lovely dark crumbly soil ready for planting. And there is so much comfort and confidence in that.

Asia from One Willow Apothecaries has a gorgeous blog post that really fits how I'm feeling,

 When we let go of everything that is ready to decompose, we make space inside of ourselves for newness to be born. Dying has never been a finale, it is only a brilliant bridge to a new section of life. Like compost turned to rich and seed-ready soil, dying prepares us for a new phase of living itself. Though our smaller selves might dissolve, dying has never been an ending at all. It is, instead, an ecstatic transformation into a wider self. ...

Now is the time. In the knobbed hands of the wind, the antique scent of dried leaves and the warm cinnamon feeling of fire in the trees. Now is the time to let the dying enter you as clean and beautiful as the stone that was forgotten and then exposed in the wheat gold of fading weeds. Allow in the beautiful melancholia and heart-throbbing abundance of life itself. Let every day end like a cello on its last note. And relish. Relish, relish this season of profundity and release. Because, despite what we have grown to fear, dying is a beautiful thing. For then, we can rest. For then, we can embrace the unbelievable joy of what comes next.

I feel like a big chunk of my self guilt and insecurities have fallen away. I know that I still have my worries - I will always be a serious person. But, this morning, I feel so much more ... solidly me. I spent my twenties figuring out what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be, and now I feel like I know what I want to do and who I want to be. To bring folks into community, to let them realize "it's not just me", to hear their laughter and witness their care for each other. To be a carer.

On that, I'd like to announce our next event for A Road of Your Own: a journaling workshop! Join A Road of Your Own and your peers on November 21st, 2015, at 11:00am to develop a journaling practice that works for you! We'll discuss daily or weekly journal strategies, practicalities of when and where you can write, prepare our own journals, get compelling and interesting prompts, and get writing! A journal is included in registration if you don't have your own. Lunch will also be provided. Click the banner below to register! Look forward to seeing you all there!

You Can Write

Mid-Year Check In & NYC Photos

Yesterday was the Summer Equinox, and it's got me taking stock of how my life has moved forward this year. When I reviewed my 2014, I noted that this year's theme was "enrich". On the whole, I feel like I've been true to that idea. I've turned and nurtured my soul soil with friends and family, my own internal work, and so much love with my man. We sit and talk for hours about our stressors and relationship, and dreams for the future. It's real, deep and meaningful communication. Our home feels lovely and welcoming; a comfortable place to snuggle down into. He's even helping me learn how to cook! But here's the thing. I still get bogged down in feeling like I haven't accomplished everything that I wanted to by now. Working out, dancing on the regular, writing my novel, sleeping under the stars, gardening.  I've kept putting these things off and off during the past three months. "Oh, I'll start after Randall moves in and get's settled", "...after I get back from my work trip", "...after my ankle feels better", "...after I watch this Netflix episode", "...after I'm back from my vacation." All the while, those intentions are camped out in my brain like big fat pigeons, pecking me with guilt. Procrastination is not a happy campground y'all.

Ought I just strap in, and get it done? Galvanize and go?

But, enriching takes time. Hard pack dirt can take months, years even, to become pliable and healthy soil. I was nowhere near as sealed off as that analogy implies, but it's good to remind myself of the time needed. My 2015 theme wasn't 'action' or 'accomplish', it was 'enrich'. As such, I think I have to give it more time. I can't rush it. I have to dig in with the nutrients and be peaceful with myself. Beautiful things have happened so far, and I know there's more to come.

Anyone else feeling this way about their 2015?

In the meantime though, feel free to check out some of my favorite photos from my trip to NYC to visit my sister - an enriching experience for sure!

Friday Quotable

Confidence is not, as we once believed, just feeling good about yourself. If women simply needed a few words of reassurance, they’d have commandeered the corner office long ago. Perhaps the clearest, and most useful, definition of confidence we came across was the one supplied by Richard Petty, a psychology professor at Ohio State University, who has spent decades focused on the subject. “Confidence,” he told us, “is the stuff that turns thoughts into action.”  --Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. "The Confidence Gap" The Atlantic

Here's to a weekend of actions!

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!

Screenshot from 2014-05-20 21:41:40

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

Untitled2

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

Wellness Workshop: A Success!

GUYS!  You are all AMAZING!  I had such a wonderful time today at the first Road of Your Own Wellness Workshop!  It was a joy to organize and host, and an even greater joy to experience all the sessions with my attendees.  Everyone brought such wonderful hearts and energy and spirit.  It was a joy to be in the presence of such beautiful souls. I'd definitely like to thank the facilitators, Grace, Shelly and Carrie.  I couldn't have done this without them, and greatly appreciate their time and expertise.  Each of these women are welcoming your patronage and accepting clients, whether you're looking for massage, aromatherapy work or yoga; one on one or couples therapy; or intuitive spiritual guidance!

I'll be writing more posts about each session: take aways, how-tos, etc. over the next week, but please enjoy a few photos in the mean time!

DIY Backyard Labyrinth

stress management worksheet

paper with I Am Loved written on it

room with candles and white curtains

1, 5, and 10 Year Goal Worksheets

colored mandalas on fridge

So much love to you all!

-ktk

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

Wellness Workshop: So Close!

The Wellness Workshop is Saturday!  I'm so excited! It's getting down to the crunch time in terms of final preparations, mostly of the Should I do a salad at lunch?, Wait, I need to get tiny journals!, Eek chairs! variety, but I'm so pleased about how everything is coming together. My house is cleaned and cleared, the schedule is set, my facilitators are ready and getting pumped up, and I feel really good about the two sessions I'm leading. Our final facilitator is Carrie Blanda, an intuitive card reader. More accurately, Carrie is an angel reader. When I first met her, I was a little taken aback by how casually she kept using the word 'angel'. But I felt comfortable enough to ask her about it, and she shared that as an intuitive, she could call the source of her intuitions whatever she chose: Spirit, spirits, a Conscious etc, but that when she read people's cards, saying Angels is what came most naturally for her. It felt the most true. She asked if I'd prefer to leave it out, but as A Road of Your Own celebrates authenticity, I told her it wasn't necessary. I want everyone who attends the workshop to be true to themselves and the own reality and experiences. As such, I'm excited to have her join Saturday's team of wellness professionals!

aroyo facilitator flyer 2

I'll post a few more 'sneak peeks' as it gets closer to Saturday!  Can't wait!!

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?

 

Four Personality Types

Carrot on a String Motivation This post by Gretchen Rubin is blowing my mind.  In it, she discusses a framework for categorizing people based upon their responses to motivations.  She's got four categories: Upholder, Questioner, Rebel, and Obliger.

Upholder—accepts rules, whether from outside or inside. An upholder meets deadlines, follows doctor’s order, keeps a New Year’s resolution.

Questioner—questions rules and accepts them only if they make sense. They may choose to follow rules, or not, according to their judgment.

Rebel—flouts rules, from outside or inside. They resist control. Give a rebel a rule, and the rebel will want to do the very opposite thing.

Obliger—accepts outside rules, but doesn’t like to adopt self-imposed rules.

I am, without a doubt, an Obliger.  I need external expectations to get things done: the sports team waiting for me, the deadline approaching etc.   I've always been so bummed out by my response to inner stimuli "Why can't I get myself to do x?  It's good for me! What's wrong with me?".  I've thought it was a character flaw to be corrected.  So reading Gretchen's post is a definite game changer.  She's stating that it's no longer a deficiency, instead it's just the way I am.  In fact, it's just the way that a lot of people are to judge by the comments on that post!

This is pretty liberating.  Instead, of chastising myself, I can now restructure my goals and habits to this framework.  I can stop wasting energy on being upset with myself for not going for a run, and create external obligations, like having a work out tracking account that shares my runs on social media.  I'm motivated to get out and run when I say I will, because I know that folks will be able to tell if I haven't done it.   "I told A I'm going for a run, I have to run, because if I don't, then the workout won't show up on Facebook!"  I used to think this was tricky and a bit pathetic, but it feels great to say, no, this is not sad, this is just my strategy for maximum effectiveness!

Which do you think you are?

Procrastination

Procrastination has been by side my entire life.  Paper to write?  Meal to prepare?  Project deadline approaching?  Run to go on?  Ala Honey Badger, my brain don't care!  Why would I, when there's that book to read, that Facebook post to comment on, Pinterest, Youtube, oh wait there's another chapter... On and on. There are true downfalls to this task avoidance.  It makes me late to things.  Important friend/work type things.  I don't make that meal, and so I eat shitty chips and hummus (again), and I don't go on that run and feel bad when my new undies arrive and don't fit right.  I don't write back my friends, grandma etc, and they feel hurt.

In fact, writing this post has now taken upwards of an hour, because I've become distracted multiple times, and have let myself slide away from the task.

Particularly worrisome to me, is that my only impetus to get stuff done is communal pressure and expectations.  "XYZ will be dissapointed if this isn't done", "I need to be at volleyball practice NOW people are counting on me", "My boss is right behind me so I better actually work."  Why don't I have any internal motivations?  I'm rather dissapointed in myself fairly often, but the self berating doesn't seem to have as much effect as potential external dissapointment.

I think I need a new take on motivation.

Leo Babuta with Zen Habits has a challenging post "Why Motivation Doesn't Really Matter".  In it, he talks about listening to your natural flow of energy, and asking yourself what you really want.   Do you really want to do what you've been avoiding?  And if you do want to do it, then self reflect and find out what the barriers are that have been keeping you back.

So what do I really want? I want to help people.   It's time to work on how.

EDITED TO ADD: I think there are two main questions behind all of my procrastination: "what is the positive effect of what needs to get done" and "what am I worried will happen".  If I can't see the positive effect, then I'm going to procrastinate; and/or if I'm worried that I can't do something the right way, or poorly and don't know how to proceed, then i'm going to procrastinate.  Hopefully with researching/refocusing on helping people I will see the positive effects more often.

On Cleaning

I'm not good at cleaning.  Or rather, I'm not good at cleaning my private spaces.  My public spaces (desk, front porch etc) are typically very well organized and well kept.  But the inside of the car, my bedroom, my laundry pile?  Mess.  They get bad, I get avoid-y, they get worse, I get sad, they get even worse and I finally, frustratedly, try to conquer. Growing up, tidying  was a mad dash "CRAP, people are coming over, clean up NOW" affair.   Cleanliness was for company, not for family.   I'm not judging it, it's just the way it was.  I entirely support choosing to avoid the drudge of regular dusting, mopping and all the rest when you have three children all under the age of 6 (this comic comes to mind).  Plus, my feminist self rebels against the 'women keeping tidy' stereotype.

Real Talk

But I wish I'd learned to establish a somewhat regular routine.  Because cleaning for strangers who 'matter' implies that the intimates in my life don't matter as much.  It's something that Anthony and I have been bickering about recently.  Cleaning isn't onerous for him.  I think he actually enjoys it, as it calms his mind to know that his surroundings are in a general state of upkeep.   The dirty floor of my new home's closet (drywall flakes, sawdust, carpet and wood scraps, a few candy wrappers) was driving him up the wall.  "But it's on the floor... of my closet. Plus, we don't even see it!  Why does it matter?  It's just you and me!" I found myself fuming.  Turns out, it mattered to him.*

So I'm going to start small, and do just one thing a day: take out the trash, wipe down counter tops, run the dishwasher, sweep out spider webs from the corners etc.  Hopefully these small tasks will get me into a routine.  I think I'll be able to handle it as long as I don't get behind and then stare despondently at the mountain of mess.

*We worked it out and shared mutual sorries by the way.  

Moving

Moving house.  What a crazy time.  You're energized with the new home decorating, yet exhausted by moving furniture; happy with your new shorter commute, but worried about finding the right roommate; pleased with your expanded space, but thoroughly stressed by all the damn stuff you seem to have acquired.   Here's a few tips I offer to make your moving experience as benign as possible:

  • Spread it Out.  Don't try to move your entire household in one or two days.  Try to get at least a week of overlap between the old and the new home.
  • Unpack your Favorites.  Get your favorite room of the home set up first.  It will make the new place feel amazing, and won't let you drag your feet on getting the old one finished up.  Also, have a few favorite pieces (photos, art, that badass Cuisinart) to set up in the new home.
  • Get Help! Enlist friends, family, movers as many people as possible.  Also, try to pick people who are at an equal excitement level as yourself.  It's a bummer when you can't delve into the intricacies of curating a bookcase or gallery wall hanging if that's what gets you going.  On the flip side, having a friend that's crazy hyper excited when all you need is a strong pair of arms is also not a good fit.
  • Smile & Thank You.  Moving is stressful as hell.  People understand that, and your friends/parents/significant others will be generally calm if you're snappy at them.  But that only serves to make them stressed and then the feedback loop kicks in, making you feel worse.  Check yourself, and smile at them.  Even if you don't feel like.  You'll get that friggin' couch down the stairs eventually, don't worry.
  • Make a Checklist.  Pilot lights lit? Address changed with the post office? Don't try to remember all of these, let the list remember for you.
  • Plan a Housewarming Party.  Nothing will get you unpacked and settled in faster than the impending doom of hosting an event.

My Favorite Thing