The Tonic of Self-Care

We live in a success-driven society, and I find myself falling right in line with its expectations.  I work hard at my job; I exercise; I try to cook healthy dinners at night with my husband (I don’t like cooking, but my craving for home-cooked meals wins); I have a multitude of crafty projects I want to complete at all times; and I want to PASS MY TEST DAMN IT.  Usually I can stick to my routine without a problem, but every several months, my body protests. I used to ignore signs of burnout until it was too late, but  I’ve learned to read these signs more carefully than I used to.  When I start dreading my morning workouts and make simple but careless mistakes at work, I know it’s time for a physical and mental recharge.

It happened to me this week – I was doing ALL the things until I noticed I was feeling listless in the mornings.  I wasn’t focused at work. So I took it easy – I skipped my morning workout on Thursday and did very easy, restorative yoga Friday morning.  I went on a leisurely run Thursday evening, not worrying about pace or distance.  I felt really good at the end of it.  And instead of studying at night, I curled up on the couch with Husband to watch Parks and Rec and work on this baby blanket:

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I’ve been a little extra on social media about reminding everyone that this baby blanket is NOT FOR ME.  I only say this because Husband and I were married for two hours before well-meaning friends were asking us about our future children at our wedding.  I mean – I definitely want kids, but one major life change at a time, please.

This baby blanket is for some friends of ours who are currently expecting.  We got the little shark toy from a cute shop we visited in Maui.  I can’t wait to send them this package! I just need to wash the blanket first (since Apollo decided this blanket was his), and block it.  I used Loops & Threads “Snuggly Wuggly Big!” yarn for this blanket, in the colorway “Petal Dots.” I used the Sonoma Baby Afghan pattern that came with the yarn.  This pattern took exactly a month to complete!

Several days of self-care was just the tonic I needed. I feel recharged and ready to tackle my to-do list.

 

 

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Wedding Procrastination Part 2: Craft Mania

I know it’s only Monday, but is it Friday yet?  Most of my mental energy has been occupied by work and wedding planning.  But I’ve had some time to sneak in some crafting.  As usual, there is not any real kind of logic to what I’m doing and why.  And of course, right when I sit down with the intent of doing wedding crafting, I’ll pick a completely unrelated project to work on instead, because procrastination, I never learn, etc.

Let’s throw some pictures up in here.

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Fiancé and I went to JoAnn on Friday night, because – I’m just gonna say it -we are getting overly ambitious with our plans for our wedding favors.  I mean, I LOVE our ideas, don’t get me wrong, but I’m pretty sure what will end up happening is (A) we will make a couple of prototypes of said item(s), realize how much work it will be, and will be paralyzed by the sheer amount of work ahead of us, and, (B) two weeks before the wedding, we’ll be like FUCK IT and throw jellybeans into mason jars or something.

Anyhoo, JoAnn had all these cute little wooden charms, so I threw a bunch of them into my shopping basket.  Like, there’s no coherent plan on what I’m going to do with these things other than paint them?  Maybe I can elegantly toss them at random friends as I walk down the aisle? I don’t really know.

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Sooo at some point this summer (spring? I don’t even know anymore), I took a Sailor Top class.  I didn’t finish the top while in class, but I had TWO MORE THINGS left to do before finishing – “stitching in the ditch” for the collar, and then the bottom hemline. That’s it.  That’s all I had to do, guys.  Yet this top has sat in my basket for at least six months before I finally dug it out and finished it.  While I’m glad it’s done, the stitches aren’t the greatest in the world. I’m just saying. Your six-year-old can probably do a straighter hemline than I did with this top.  But whatever, I was tired of it sitting in the workbasket, so it’s done.  I’ll make a post when I look blog worthy, aka not right now.  (Currently I’m wearing pajama pants with foxes on them and a Mickey and Minnie Mouse hoodie.  It’s a super sexy combo, you guys).

Ok, what’s next?

Blanket progress! I actually haven’t worked on this in a couple of weeks.

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This next project I started during the weekend, because WHY NOT:

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You eagle-eyed knitters can probably already spot my wonky slip stitches.  (Actually – the mistake is so glaring that probably anyone can see it.  IT STARES INTO MY SOUL).  But I’m too lazy to fix it. I honestly haven’t properly learned how to fix a wonky stitch, so it’s just going to be like that forever, you guys.  “Only you can see it,” my fiancé kindly told me as I showed him my progress and whined about my various mistakes.  So yes, I suppose only I will notice once it’s finished…but I WILL ALWAYS KNOW.  Yet my laziness overtakes my will for perfection. Sooooo ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Well, I guess it’s time for me to go- OH YEAH.  This project is legitimately wedding-related.

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I didn’t learn how to do French knots until 2015 or 2016, so I tend to get all FRENCH KNOT ALL THE THINGS.  I’m actually not liking how many French knots I added to this piece.  It’s kind of reminding me of this?

 

nightmares

Source: NPR

Now that I’ve given everyone nightmares, I’ll take this as my cue to exit. NIGHTY NIGHT.

Welcome, 2018 or: Waiting to Get January Over With

Every time a new year begins, I feel conflicted.

-Cautiously optimistic about the year ahead and what I can potentially experience or accomplish

with a piling heap of

-Wanting to accomplish ALL THE THINGS

with a dash of

-Morbid fear about what kind of sadness the new year will bring

with an extra side of

DAMN IT, I HATE JANUARY.

I do. I really do guys. I try really hard to be an optimistic person and I feel like I am much better at it than I was in my trainwreck 20s.  But. BUT.  I don’t like January and January clearly doesn’t like me.  Just about every year I stumble out of January feeling chastened and humbled.  This year was no exception, and started off with a thud as I returned to work after a short vacation and felt like a ton of bricks had hit my desk in my absence.

But I have a cuddly dog to snuggle with, lots of hot chocolate to keep me warm, and my Spotify Top Songs of 2017 playlist to keep me occupied as I work (clearly I listened to a lot of Alice in Chains last year).  I have some anniversaries to look forward to in January – six years with my love, and ten years living here in Austin and working at my firm.  (Ten years?  TEN YEARS?)  And we have a wedding to finish planning that is in three months and holy crap there’s still so much to do LET’S NOT TALK ABOUT WEDDING PLANNING IN THIS POST, OKAY?

Okay.

I also have a lot of craft projects to keep me occupied in the evenings since I can’t bring myself to open a book and study just yet.

I am working on little bits here and there for the wedding that I will consolidate in one post after I have some, you know, actual progress.  I’ve finished the November Little Box of Crochet project that I guess I will post….soon? Even though it was a Christmas box?  Whatever.

And this!

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It’s a blanket!  It’s a project for someone special.  I am hoping to finish it this month while it’s still cold and before wedding planning takes up all my free time.

As for my resolutions this year, they’re pretty vague and simple.  And, with the exception of the third, should be pretty easy to achieve.

  1. Get married
  2. Be crafty
  3. Get licensed already, for the love of god

Time for me to get some hot cocoa and ~hygge~ (It’s not a verb, is it).

 

A Quick-ish Hello

Hello friends!

I just wanted to drop a quick note and say hi.  It’s been really busy over here – I’m five days out from my test, work has finally started getting really hectic again, and we’ve been planning our wedding in between.

I’ve logged 133.75 hours of studying for this Friday’s exam.  I didn’t log how many hours I studied in the spring (it can’t have been more than 60-70 hours), so I definitely feel more prepared this time around. It’s still a very broad exam and all the hours I’ve logged doesn’t guarantee I will pass. I’m just ready to get it over with. I can’t wait to come home from work and not have to spend the rest of my weekend studying.

Right after the exam, I’ve got field work at a relatively new site.  I’m pretty excited that the chances of getting stuck in mud at this site are pretty low.   Then after field work, I’m freeeeeee to do nothing on my weekends.  (Except plan for the wedding.)

I finally pinned some bridesmaids dresses for my ladies this weekend (I’m letting them choose their dresses).  Fiancé and I are taking our engagement photos on Wednesday and I am so excited. I’m getting my hair and makeup done for the shoot, which I’ve never done before.  It’s going to be a really fun study break.  I already have my wedding dress as well, so everything is slowly coming together.  My hair stylist gave me the idea of making my own veil, which is something I’m definitely going to pursue. I have zero interest in purchasing a veil that is half the cost of my dress.

I’m typing on my new laptop because yours truly dropped her old one several weekends ago and cracked the screen.  I really like it so far, and the photo editing program that comes with it is just basic enough for me to grasp.  I honestly haven’t been doing much in the craft department, other than working on a simple blanket that doesn’t require any counting. But up until a couple of weeks ago, I was working on a wreath from an old Little Box of Crochet project:

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Well, I’ve procrastinated long enough.  Time to hit the books again.

 

An Update: Caverning, Adulting, and Some Crafting

Hello everyone!

I’m still struggling with finding a good update schedule for this little blog as I delve deeper into test mode (now less than two months away, gulp).  After doing yoga this morning, I grabbed a cup of coffee and here I am.  If there’s anything I’ve learned in my life, it’s that progress and improvement happens slowly.  I’m not going to build an amazing blog overnight, just as I am not going to become a super strong runner or indispensable employee in just a couple of days.

Here’s what I’ve been up to the past week:

  1.  CAVERNS

This weekend, Fiancé and several of our friends visited the Natural Bridge Caverns in New Braunfels.  It’s one of those things I’ve wanted to do for so long but had never set aside some time to do.  It was so awesome!  We took the Hidden Passages tour and went 180 feet underground to explore the caverns.  We got to sit in total darkness for several minutes, which was unlike anything I’d ever experienced.  I couldn’t even see my hand when I held it out in front of me.

Confession time – the more our guide told us not to touch the cavern walls and stalagmites,  THE MORE I WANTED TO (but didn’t.  Because I respect nature, etc. Also I did not want a 3rd degree felony on my record).

2.  Books (for fun)

I took a break from studying and blazed through this book over the weekend: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware.

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It was okay.  It was pretty predictable, and wasn’t as scary as Reese Witherspoon’s cover quote promised (actually, it wasn’t scary at all).  In terms of atmospheric thrillers, it doesn’t even come close to someone like Tana French.  But it was a fun, quick read, and something to add to my Goodreads tally, which has been sorely neglected for the most part.

3.  Adulting (the Front Yard Edition)

Confession time # 2 – I am a terrible gardener.  TERRIBLE.  My gardening methods are like so:  purchase 15 plants from Home Depot, come home, stare at the plants, think, “Man, that’s gonna be a lot of work,” leave the plants in their containers for two weeks, finally plant them out of guilt, and then let the garden become its own version of Lord of the Flies.

This time I was determined not to let the plants die, and to not overwhelm ourselves with gardening for more than 20 minutes.  Our front yard needed some TLC, so I decided that we would only buy 3-4 plants max.

Voilaaaaa!

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Yayyy! So pretty!

Please don’t die, plants!

4.  Crafting

I’ve been in a major crochet mood lately, digging out a blanket that I had started during the spring during the first exam attempt.

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The colors I selected are very cozy, and as the weather gets (slightly) cooler here in Texas, I am feeling more inspired to dig out the long-term projects again.

I’m also catching up with a Little Box of Crochet project from last fall.  I am making a wreath.  Here’s the beginning of a leaf:

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I hope wherever you are, you are keeping cozy!  Talk to you soon!

The Importance of Taking Time Outs

I’m the kind of person who thrives on discipline and routine.  Otherwise, I don’t have motivation to complete my goals.  There are many times I don’t really feel like running, for example, but I know I’ll feel really guilty if I don’t.  And so I run.  Or cleaning my house.  I’m never, like, “YAYYY I CAN’T WAIT TO MOP!” but I get stressed when my house isn’t clean.  And so on Sundays, I do all my weekly cleaning chores.

Theoretically, there are many things I’d still  like to accomplish with my life.  I make it sound like I’m getting into my twilight years – I’m 33 and that’s still relatively young.  But there’s only so many activities we can devote time to until we feel overworked.  Getting my Professional Engineer’s license and project management certification are tangible, responsible things I’m working on now.  But if we’re talking theoretically – I’d like to be published (maybe a book of poetry); learn guitar well enough to release a self-recorded EP of songs (but not those overwrought covers that are suddenly trendy because I think we can all agree that those are officially The Worst); be fluent in Italian and French; be a craft designer and blogger; qualify for and run the Boston marathon (!); be a studio drummer.  What else?  If we’re getting really fantastical, have a dachshund farm and sheep farm (for my own line of home-dyed yarn, duh!). And throw raising a couple of kids in there.

But since I can’t do ALL THE THINGS, I choose some of the things.  A handful of the things.  Really just three things.  Right now I’m focusing on work, studying, and running.  I wake up, do yoga, go running on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, come home, eat dinner, study for an hour and a half, then go to sleep.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

But yesterday I just felt so exhausted.  I’ve been trying to increase my running distance and in this heat, it’s just taxing on my body. I felt bleary-eyed at work all day and didn’t feel any kind of  motivation to do much of anything, other than wanting to fall asleep.  My routine was catching up with me and I couldn’t motivate myself to come home and study.  So instead I made a nice dinner with Fiancé, we walked our dog and then I did NOTHING! It was great! No studying.  No reading serious articles about North Korea and our increasingly unstable president on the internet.  Instead I read about the real issues, like WHY DID ANNA FARIS AND CHRIS PRATT BREAK UP? and ARE ANGELINA JOLIE AND BRAD PITT EVER RECONCILING?

I fell asleep before Colbert came on and just slept all night. It was great.  I woke up this morning and instead of doing yoga, I typed out this blog post with a cup of coffee and belligerent dog by my side (he’s upset about the unknown entity in the chimney. Let’s give him some space).

Goal-setting, keeping a routine, and having discipline are all crucial elements to accomplishing what’s on your constant to-do list.  But sometimes if you don’t listen to your body, you’ll burn out.  By taking a break from my routine, I feel refreshed and motivated to start my day.  Sometimes a quick little break is just as important when it comes to meeting your goals.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to work and stuff.

Rapid Fire Picture Post Time

Hey guys! I hope all is well.  Things are good here, studying has taken over my life, etc etc.

PICTURE TIME.

So I’ve been able to work on my Little Box of Crochet March project…I have one mug cozy completed. I just have to block it, which I’ve been too lazy to do.  Blocking and gauge swatches – who has time for that? (I know, I know, these are important elements, just let me ask my rhetorical questions.)

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I’m now working on the second cozy, which has pretty flowers:

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I’ve also been working on my embroidery project from Studio MME:

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But most importantly, I can confirm that, yes, I did order the Scheepjes Hygge CAL kit in Jewel because it arrived today! Look, look, look:

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Squeeeeee!

Ok, I’m going to unwind by working on my projects!  I hope you had a great Monday. Let me know what you’ve been working on!