The Introspective Salon
I always forget, whenever I go to post these, whether or not I capitalize each letter in the title and every time I have to go back and look at previous posts. I wonder when I'll ever get it figured out on the regular?
This month, my husband and I moved into our own place. It is absolutely incredible. It is my ultimate favorite. The favorite of all time.
The place is technically a condo, but is set up more like a town house because it feels like we have the unit all to ourselves. There's neighbors to the side of us, but we're on the end so we only have to share the one wall, and I have hardly heard any noise coming from over there. It's bliss I tell you, pure bliss. It's also amazing how many windows this place has, especially since we were coming from a basement, I am basking in the glory of the windows daily, and this is what I woke up to the first morning here:
But, enough drooling. Geeze, they're just windows. Calm down.
Alright, into the other favorites.
I always find it interesting how grocery stories differ slightly from one area to another, and our new local Wal-Mart has a bigger selection in the Hispanic foods aisle. Where we lived before, there was next to nothing in that aisle, so I had fun exploring and I found some shortbread cookies there that have really captured the interest of my taste buds. The orange-flavored cookies are called Polvorones. I just did a quick google to see if they offered any other flavors, and the search was flooded with recipes (the cookies are also known as Mexican wedding cookies), so I think I will have to try making these at home. I love orange flavored sweets, especially when paired with chocolate, so it would probably be incredibly delicious to dip these cookies, whether homemade or store bought, in some fondue . . .
I've had a Pinterest account since I was like, nineteen or something (at least, my previous profile pic on the account seemed to be from when I was that age), but I've only ever used it sparingly. When I worked a desk job in undergrad, I used it almost daily, and then I used it sometimes when I was a preschool teacher and a para to get ideas, but mostly it sat neglected. Well, I've done a bad thing and downloaded the app on my phone. Now, I've been Pinterest hypnotized for the past week. Like most things, I know the initial fascination will come to an end, but it has taken some will power to not just completely waste the day on it. I especially like posting recipes and ideas for our new home. I've been saving some color swatches for when we're ready to paint. But, I think the biggest allure about Pinterest for me, is the ability to neatly categorize. For whatever reason, making categories and filing things away into them, god it's so sick and probably Type-A, but it just thrills me. Yuck. I know.
(I feel the need to side-note here, I say "Yuck" because I personally don't like the Type-A parts of my personality. They fill me with a lot of stress and dissonance. However, some people have amalgamated Type-A personality traits into their personality very well, and they own it. For me, though, these traits cause me more frustration than peace. Categorization works well with things, sometimes, and it's all fine on Pinterest, but mostly my desire to fit things into boxes means tasks take twice as long. The other problem is, categorization does not work with people So, that is why I say yuck, not because I think all Type-A people are yuck). Side-note over.
The other favorite in the apps category is the new mobile game, My Singing Monsters. It has also been stealing away some of my time . . . I mean, it's slightly frustrating because there's only so much that can be done unless you're willing to pay real money, and I am not. So, I log in and collect my free rewards, and then I just want so badly to do more things, but mostly I can't, so I just look at the adorableness of the monsters and listen until the little song they sing is drilled into my brain while I go to sleep at night. I'm not making this sound like much of a favorite. It's a love-hate relationship, I guess.
I have to say, Mobile games have made me very good at waiting for a reward. I hate the way the mobile game market is designed, but then I really want to play some of the games because they're so simple and cute and sometimes that's all I want from a game, so I just wait until I've collected enough free rewards that allow me to actually play.
Take that, mobile market.
The first favorite here is not a book, but it is, in a way, a vast collection of books. I recently signed up for an account on Goodreads, and although I have not used it yet to its full capacity, I already know that I'm going to enjoy using it because it's that categorizing thing again. I didn't include this under the app category because I'm not using it on my phone, I already have enough stuff to distract me on there.
The great benefit to using Goodreads is that since I'm reading so much for school right now, it's a nice way to remember what I've been reading. Once I get all my reading recorded on there (assuming that I actually backlog, I mean, I might be too busy pinning or staring at My Singing Monsters), it will be nice to see all that I've read and see a small blurb about the book. Sometimes, I read a book, and then only weeks later I forget about it because of all the books that came after it. It will be helpful so that books don't get so lost to the recesses of my mind and I can stop saying to people, "Yea, I read that book . . . I think." (Actually, I don't think I've ever said that to anyone. Maybe I've said it to myself). Well, anyway, Good Reads will be useful to keep all the many books straight.
I read this book, The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud in preparation for an essay I wrote this semester about ghosts in children's literature. I'm glad that I came across it because it was altogether an enjoyable book, and I would love to continue the series just for leisure reading.
The protagonist in this middle-grade fantasy novel, Lucy, is a badass adolescent girl who is continually brave and forthright. She is confident in her supernatural abilities and uses them to her advantage, and to the advantage of her team. Plus, Stroud writes engaging and creepy action scenes that kept me invested through the torturous nights these kids spent trying to rid London of evil and restless ghosts. I was rooting for them, and by the end I was disappointed I had to go read other books for school.
I wasn't asked or given any incentive to review or talk about any of these items. I genuinely enjoyed them (well, you know the deal with the mobile game situation - the love-hate thing) and I hope you find some joy in them too.
Go forth, will you, eat some cookies, pin some pins, make some monsters sing, and record all that
I've been knee deep in lists lately. Between my personal to-do lists and the plethora of list format articles that fool me into reading them with their click-baity titles, I've been writing and reading an awful lot of lists. So, I thought, what a novel idea to make a list of lists. It's a little listception. Ba dum ch.
1. To-do lists
This is, perhaps, a somewhat obvious favorite given the content of last month's favorites. To-do lists have been keeping me on track and giving my days purpose and a sense of fulfillment. To-do lists are pretty great if you can find a way to make them work for you, otherwise they just kind of accumulate little boxes and tick marks that never see any action. Exhibit A: stock photo featured above.
2. Book lists
I've been doing some casual freelancing with a website called AmReading, and I write an awful lot of book lists. At first I was like, "god, I've sold out," but then, I've found that these are a fun way to get a vague sense of what kind of books are out there in the world, and it makes my Amazon book wish list like three pages longer on the daily.
3. Shopping list
This is an upcoming favorite. My husband and I are getting ready to move into our own place. We've sacrificed some personal privacy by moving in with his parents so we could take our time finding a decent place of our own, and we found it! Hoorah! Good things do come to those who wait. This weekend, we will once again find the need for shopping lists because the fridge will be ours. ALL OURS, MWAHAHA!
When I was in junior high and high school I took great pleasure and tremendous care making playlists for friends and family. I would meticulously write out the name of each song and artist, plus (if I was making the list for someone special ; )) I would write a small note about why the song was so awesome. I've been making an effort to listen to more music again lately because it's a great stress reliever. I've been utilizing Spotify to create playlists which I like, and I'll continue to do it this way because, well, free. But, uhh, I know CDs are on their way to being antiques (god that's weird), but there's something about the physicality of a CD mix that just can't be beat. Skips on bumpy car rides and all.
I was going to try and compose this list of 5 lists, but I couldn't think of another one that I've actually been using. A quick google reminded me of the, 'Bucket list,' but I've never gotten into that. I remember making one when I was younger, but that was before I conceptually realized that time really is finite and, well, that puts a lot of pressure on a Bucket list when you start to accept that you're going to die one day.
Such an optimistic ending, right?
I can't decide if January went by quickly or slowly. Actually, no I can. It went by slowly, but not in a bad way. It went by slowly in the way that feels like I accomplished a lot and was able to enjoy most days. It is, believably, February 1st now and soon I will be 25 years old. That is less believable than the fact that it's February. I was always the type of kid who never wanted to grow up, and I'm still like that now, yet, I find myself wanting to speed up time. What an odd balance of desires.
Regardless of my wish for hastiness, I think I was able to take January day by day and slowly create a routine for myself that will no doubt be challenged when my husband and I hopefully move in the next two weeks. . . oh my gosh it's only two weeks away.
I always meet change and transition with a fight, even if it's good change. So, hopefully my heightened awareness to this will help me ward off the usual ensuing depression when we move.
Enough rambling, although my first Favorite relates to my little anecdote above, because I'm hoping it will serve as a frame work to keep me from falling into my usual post-transition hole. What I'm talking about is a To-Do list. In the past 3 months, I have become an avid creator and user of To-Do lists, but only recently have I really begun noticing and reaping the benefits. I make these lists of my own accord, I don't use an app or template, I just make a small box next to the task, and I usually create a list of about 3-5 tasks for each day. Just last week I started using colored pens to categorize each task because I've learned that my brain likes to think categorically. Somehow, the colors have helped me approach each task with more exuberance. Probably, more likely, the exuberance is coming from the fact that I've been productive as a result of the list, but you know, the colors do help make it look pretty.
This is the mid-week glance at my To-Do list. I've planned a little bit for Thursday and Friday, but normally I just write the list the night before. If I plan too far ahead my schedule or mood might change.
Perhaps it seems a little silly, and if it wasn't for the fact that this has become a very personal endeavor of mine, I would also likely think it was silly. In fact, I did think To-Do lists were silly before I started utilizing them on a daily basis. I'd only make them when a task or project was down to the wire, but now I've been using mine not just as task masters, but as a way to keep myself inspired and motivated, and as a way to ward of anxiety and depression. It's very easy for me to slip into thinking that I don't do enough, and then make it personal, I'm not enough, I'm lacking, but with this list I can physically see what I've done in a day and what I plan to do. If I worked out every day of the week, but didn't note it to myself anywhere, then I might think by Saturday that I was lazy all week. I'm lazy. If I worked hard every day of the week on a grad school essay but didn't note it anywhere, anxiety might overtake me on Sunday and send me into a panic thinking, "how will I ever get it done?" I'm incapable.
These lists have been a tangible way for me to reverse negative self-talk because when I look at them I can't refute all the work I've done. The next step, though, is to be more flexible, and recognize that some days items on the list just won't get done, but that doesn't reflect on me as a person.
I probably won't use To-Do lists this religiously forever, but for my current stage in life the lists are what I need to remain realistic about what I am doing to meet my obligations as well as my goals.
Go forth, will you, weave details into a narrative and experiment with To-Do lists.