Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Monday, 30 November 2015

December goals


Friends, I have so much to tell you. And so many goals this month. This episode of FG is going to be jam-packed!
Let's get right on it, shall we? 

First, let's take a look back at  November's goals.

Participate in Liz's gatherings photo-a-day challenge. 
I did - for exactly 12 days. Then the attacks on Paris happened, and somehow we all lost momentum. It was great though to take more photos again, and I've been trying to keep the habit going.


Write my CT exam.
I did! And I passed. :-) My final mark is 89%, which I'm super happy about.

Finish my book and find a publisher and/or research self-publishing. 
Okay, that's where I'm at right now: About 90% finished, with every intention to get this baby done. If for no other reason than proving to myself that I can finish it! 
The good news is that I did some research about publishing options, and I have found two that are both appealing. 

1. Thought Catalog 
I have published several articles with Thought Catalog before, and I find them easy and pleasant to work with. What I found out about their book publishing process is this: You submit your manuscript as a word document via email. They prefer word counts between 7,000 - 30,000, which works out perfectly for me, since I anticipate my finished manuscript to be around 27,000 words. 

If they decide to publish it, it usually takes less than a month before it's out in the world. They take care of everything: Editing, cover design, distribution, marketing, etc. In exchange for that they keep 60% of the revenue and you get 40%.

Advantages: If accepted, you don't have to do anything, Thought Catalog does it for you. Your book gets edited for free, it will be exposed to a huge market, and you have the satisfaction of knowing that someone in the publishing world believed in it enough to support you.
Disadvantages: It will most likely remain an ebook - only a select few or exceptionally high sellers get printed. 
You may feel that 60% is a lot for them to keep.

Which brings me to the second option:

2. Self-publishing with Blurb
With this option you are the boss. You decide everything: The layout, cover, length, content. There is no editing on Blurb's part whatsoever. I downloaded their app Book Wright which helps you make professional looking books. So far I find it confusing to use, but I'm confident I will be able to figure it out if I decide to publish with Blurb. 


  

Advantages: What's great about this option is that you can create print- and e-books. They can be sold through BlurbAmazon and other online retailers, or the Apple iBooks store for ebooks. 
Blurb prints on demand, which means they will print a copy of your book when it is ordered, which usually takes about a week. Blurb also handles shipping and customer service.

Disadvantages: You pay for the service. However, from what I have seen it is very reasonably priced: Depending on the options you choose, between US$2.00 and US$3.00 per print book.
Ebooks are either  US$9.99 for a fixed layout for Apple iBook, or you pay 30% in royalties for Kindle Direct Publishing
The main disadvantage for me at this point is that it is all very overwhelming. But if you are more experienced with self publishing, or not afraid of the challenge, this may be an ideal option for you!

My game plan is to submit my book to Thought Catalog first, in the hopes of being accepted. If they don't, I will tackle Blurb! Most likely I will print one book for myself regardless, because I would get such a kick out of it to have an actual book on my bookshelf with my name on it. I will keep you updated!  

This was more or less a lengthy introduction to my  

December goals:

Submit book. 
No further explanation necessary.

Write in my gratitude journal daily.
One of my favourite yoga bloggers, Allie, recently published 12 Ways to Be Grateful Every Damn Day. Her 12 tips are so, so good, check them out! One of them is to write in a gratitude journal every day. I had heard of that before, with glowing testimonies of how effective it is. Three days ago I opened a journal I had bought not too long ago, for no other reason than liking the cover. It had been sitting on my desk, waiting for a purpose. Now it has one! 
I have written some thoughts down every day since Saturday, and it is astonishing what a difference it makes to your day. Starting a new day with gratitude sets the tone for the rest of the day, it's amazing! I have a feeling this may become a lifelong habit, so my goal for December is to write in it every morning to help it become one. 

Scrapbook October and November
For the first time ever, I have been scrapbooking this year. I love it and look through it often. However, November was pretty chaotic for me, which means I never got around to scrapbooking the previous month. My goal is to do both months, and then write another post about it and show you some of the highlights of this year!

Enjoy the season
With all the pesky studying out of the way, my main goal for December is so simply enjoy it!
My birthday is coming up, we have tickets for Cirque du Soleil (so fricking excited!!), and there are Christmas parties, dinners with friends and, of course, a family Christmas on the horizon. 
I have a feeling my gratitude journal will be full by the end of the month. ;-)

So many good things are all around us, and I'm just so grateful for my life. I hope you feel like that about yours, too. 

Have a happy December! 

I'm linking up again with the lovely ladies MariahEstherLindsay and Shannon to #clearthelist. 


Clear The List



What are your goals this month? Link up and tell us!






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Saturday, 28 November 2015

Unique and whimsical Christmas gifts under $40.00



Okay folks, it is here: The Christmas season has officially started. I'm not one of those Christmas-crazy people who start counting down in January, far from it - most years I'm more of a scrooge. But I am determined to appreciate this year's Christmas season for all its good parts: twinkly lights, sugar cookies, mulled wine, people coming together and all the whimsy that comes with it. While I am feeling conflicted about the commercial side of Christmas (who doesn't?), I do appreciate a good deal and some of the fabulous gifts that can be found during Christmas time. 

Today I did some window shopping at my favourite online store, ModCloth
I found some awesome gift ideas! 

For the animal corgi lover (aka me)

ModCloth Corgi Calendar
$12.99

If you happen to have a corgi-lover *cough* in your life, they would really appreciate a corgi calendar. 
I'm asking for a friend.

Pst. This calendar also comes in a cat version.

ModCloth Corgi T-shirt
$29.99

A corgi. A bicycle. A corgi riding a bicycle. Do I need to say more?
I wear a size medium.


For the hobby cook

ModCloth Fox Measuring cups
$34.99

How cute are these?! I'm obsessed. If you have a nature-loving cook in our family, you have to get them these adorable fox measuring cups. 


ModCloth whimsical shaker set
$39.99

Another fantastic gift for a cook who loves animals. I'm not even an enthusiastic cook, and I want these spice shakers. They are so great! I can't even.  


For the girl who likes to be comfy and stylish

ModCloth Christmas leggings
$14.99

So, apparently the whole (girl-)world has been loving leggings for years. Huh. I myself finally saw the light this year, when I started doing yoga in the morning, and then, somehow, ended up never changing out of my leggings for the rest of the day. Omg, the comfort is indescribable. 
But you already knew that. Because you, unlike me, aren't resistant to trends, and actually believe the one-hundred-and-million people who will swear by something. Colour me appropriately chastised. 
Now I want more leggings, all the time. These are a steal, and perfect for winter!
Also, perfect stocking stuffers. 
Or birthday presents.
(My birthday is on December 6th. Just saying.)


The perfect high-waisted jeans
$35.99

Okay, full disclosure: I don't own these jeans. Or any high-waisted jeans for that matter. 
I love them on other people. Love them! But I'm convinced they will look horrible on me. 

The way this will be going down is just like it was with leggings and me: I will refuse to wear them for years, until one day, many years from now, I will finally try them on and fall completely, ridiculously in love with them. Right around the time when they will become un-trendy again. 
Because that's how I roll.



For the Christmas fanatic (ironic or not)

Ugly Christmas sweater T-shirt
$29.99

Ugly Christmas sweaters are not ugly any more, they have become pretty much a necessity for the holidays. If you want to take the casual, I'm-not-taking-this-seriously-approach, how about this tee? Comfy, festive and ironic, it's perfect for the guy who refuses to put on a real ugly sweater.


Twinkly lights
$14.99

Twinkly lights are one of the best parts about Christmas, don't you think? How about these twinkly stars?


$20.99

Ladies, if you love Santa and dresses/skirts, these tights are for you. So fun!


Holiday season door mat
$23.99

This door mat is super-cute for the season, but also appropriate for all the deer-lovers in your life. 


For the wanderlusting person in your life

Wanderlust print
$14.99

Do you know someone who is always dreaming of their next adventure? This print will get their wanderlust going. 


ModCloth VW washbag
$34.99

Do you know that my parents owned this VW bus for real?? That's the vehicle we went on vacation with for at least ten years. We had great times in this bus, and so will your toothbrush when you pack it in there. This is what I call travelling in style!


Happy shopping!






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Thursday, 26 November 2015

Style: Katniss Everdeen


Guess what I'm doing tonight? Yup, you got it: see the final Hunger Games movie! To get in the mood I watched part 1 of the Mockingjay two days ago, and have been obsessed since. As in listening to the soundtrack on repeat and getting tears in my eyes when I hear Katniss sing the Hanging Tree song. Hence my Katniss-inspired outfit today. I even found an old bow (no arrows though) in our shed, so it was meant to be!
In case you haven't seen it yet, here's the trailer:


I seriously cannot wait. Tonight can't come soon enough! 


Jacket: old (similar); sweater: Joe Fresh (old; similar); scarf: handmade DIY (similar); glovettes: old (similar); jeans: H&M ; boots: Old Navy, currently out of stock (similar); purse: old (similar)



I'll keep this short and sweet today since our American friends are busy in the kitchen, cooking for Thanksgiving dinner. 

As always, I am thankful for every single one of you wonderful people reading and commenting.
You are amazing!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving America!
And the rest of the world: Happy Friday's eve ;-)





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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Lessons from the mat

Yoga lessons

When I started practicing yoga regularly, I was mostly interested in the physical benefits. A lean, toned body, great flexibility and mad handstand skills were what I was after. Still am, to be honest. 
But slowly, a deeper benefit is emerging. The time on the mat is teaching me more than being able to reach my toes. 

Once you've learnt it, you got it? 
One of the biggest misconceptions I had in the beginning was that once I learnt a pose, I would be able to do it whenever I wanted to. Kinda like riding a bike. Turns out, that's not the case at all. 
Just because I pulled off a really good firefly pose today doesn't mean that I can do it again tomorrow. 
Life is like that, too. You may think you have something figured out, and at that moment, you do! 
But sadly, it won't last.

Let me give you an example: You have finally figured out how to deal with that difficult aunt* of yours with all the probing, tactless questions. You will be friendly, yet firm, and won't be provoked into flying off the handle again when she asks you for the hundredth time why you are not married yet.

(*The aunt is fictional.)

It works fine for Thanksgiving. You are proud of  yourself, thinking you have finally mastered the minefield that is having a conversation with her. 
But then, Christmas rolls around. The season has been very stressful, you secretly expected your boyfriend to propose to you (he didn't), and you simply can't handle your aunt's expectantly raised eyebrows and hints about cows who give the milk away for free. Against your better judgement, you yell at her to shut up, and storm out in a huff.

Just because you know how you should deal with her, doesn't mean that you will always be able to do it. 
Yoga is the same: Just because you know the pose, and you have been able to do it before, won't mean that your body is capable of always accomplishing it. 

Firefly yoga pose
Firefly pose

The mind is powerful 
Another lesson I'm learning is the power of the mind. If you are convinced you won't be able to do it, guess what? You won't be able to do it. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Keeping an open mind is the secret to a full, vibrant life. Also, the secret to bending your body into positions you never thought possible. Our bodies are much more capable than we give them credit for, and our minds usually quit before the body does. 
And you know what? Life works the same way. You have way more talents than you think you do. 
One of - or maybe even the simplest -  so-called "secrets" of success is this: Hard work. Nobody who is successful was born this way. They simply figured out at some point what they wanted to do, and went for it. It's easy to say that successful people owe everything to talent and chance, when in reality? They worked harder than the other people in their field for it. 
We have a choice: Use our mind for us, or against us. Most of us are very accomplished in using it against us: I'm too stupid. I will never be able to do this. This is too hard. Nobody like me has ever done this before. Who do I think I am?

But here is the thing: We don't have to talk ourselves down. Why do we do it in anyway? To avoid disappointment? To keep us small? Because modesty is a virtue?
I'm still in the beginning stages myself, so there is only so much I can tell you about it. But so far, what I have experienced is this: If you believe in yourself, amazing things will happen.Your body is much stronger than you think. So is your soul. 
Let's talk positive about ourselves for a while, and see what happens, okay?  

Pincha Mayurasana
Forearmstand

If your mind is unbalanced, everything else will be, too
This has been such a surprise to me, even though it probably shouldn't be. We all know that body and mind are connected, don't we? But still, experiencing it first hand is wild. 
If I had a tough day, and my mind is in turmoil, I cannot balance for the life of me. Be it on one foot, on my head or on my hands - I will topple over for sure. Without a calm and focused mind, it is impossible to have a calm body.
That also applies to the rest of your life.

If you are worried or preoccupied, you won't be fully present. You either live in fear of the future (because that's what worry is), or you wrestle with a problem in the present that takes all of your energy and focus.  
We can't avoid these emotions, because they are part of being human. But with practice, we can learn to control them, instead of them controlling us. This is what I'm currently trying to learn. Yoga is helping me a great deal with it. Not only have I started to become more aware of it when it happens, but I find that by focusing your energy on the present moment, you can push the worry away.

Grasshopper pose
Grasshopper pose


You are never finished
Many yogis dream of that one posture that they want to accomplish one day. (Scorpion handstand is mine.) Chasing that goal is what keeps you motivated, makes you roll out your mat day after day and practice patiently (or impatiently on some days).

Do you have a life goal like that? Maybe you want to get the corner office one day? Become a manager? Get a big house with a swimming pool? Have your dream wedding?
Whatever your goal may be, have you thought beyond it? What you will do once you have reached it?
Because here is the thing: You won't be "done". If the goal is still far away, you may think that once you have finally achieved it, you can lean back and enjoy the fruits of all your hard work.

That's not how it works. It may not seem that way, but the journey is the goal. The satisfaction you get when reaching little milestones is an incredible high.
And here is a secret: Once you have reached your original goal, you will want more. On the way there you have been exposed to new and exciting possibilities you didn't even know existed. (Like press-up handstands, omg!)

And that's okay. In fact, it's one of the three secrets of a happy life! I'm pretty sure I have mentioned them before on here, but I like them so much, I'll do it again. One of our friends told us a few years ago, and I never forgot because I think it's so true.
They are:

Someone to love, something to work towards, and something to look forward to. 
 
Simple yet powerful, no?

Floating lotus pose
Floating lotus pose

This is just the beginning. There are so many more lessons waiting for me, and I can't wait to find out what they are! The yoga journey is mysterious, full of promise and possibilities. I love it.

What lessons have you learnt from your workout?

   

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Monday, 23 November 2015

10 secrets to a happy marriage

10 secrets to a happy marriage

My husband and I have been married for almost eleven years. Our marriage is the most important part of my life, and has top priority above everything else (even the dogs - gasp!).
Finding someone who is always in your corner, cheering you on and helping you through difficult times is the most precious gift there is. I love the life we have created together, but it wasn't smooth sailing right off the start. I learnt some valuable lessons along the way, and today I want to share some with you!

1. Quit the nagging.
That one is huge, and has been particularly difficult for me. I come from a long line of accomplished naggers, and happily continued that tradition in the first few years of our marriage. To my surprise, it didn't get me any results. On the contrary, the more I nagged, the less he was inclined to do what I wanted him to do. Hmm, curious. 
More or less inadvertently, I slowly changed my approach. Instead of complaining for the millionth time that "you never do anything around the house" (the most common quibble we had), I would ask him sweetly if he could help me. He never said no. 
The odd time when he cooked, or cleaned up after himself, I would praise him profusely.
Sounds a bit like training a dog? That's because it is. I thought to myself: Rewarding positive behaviour works for dogs and children, why shouldn't it work for husbands?
It totally does.
Less nagging (I will never be able to quit completely), more help around the house: We are both happy campers these days.   

2. Support each other's interests.
Rich has always had a broad variety of interests and hobbies. I have an entire category on the blog dedicated to his biggest hobby: Our farm. It is time-consuming, makes going away challenging, costs money and is a lot of work. But it makes him happy and content. 
I dedicate a lot of time to the blog (we are talking hours every day) and yoga. We are both very supportive of our hobbies, and give each other the space and time we need.  

3. Don't listen to outsiders. 
This is sort of a continuation of the precious point. Over the years there have been dozens of people telling us that what we are doing is wrong: We have too many animals. I will regret not having my own kids.
Am I sure I want to be with someone who is 25 years older?
Is he sure he wants to be with someone that young?
You have to do your own thing, and ignore everything else. Everybody's relationship is unique, and only you two know what works for you and makes you happy. The outside world is just noise you should tune out.  

Married bliss

4. Don't take him/her for granted.
Having been with someone for a long time makes it easy to take that person for granted. We have all these expectation of them, and get mad when they don't always fulfil them. It's good practice to stop and pause once in a while to reflect what the other person is doing for us. 
Before we (finally) installed our timer, we would always manually turn on the coloured lights strung up in our driveway for each other when one of us got home late. It's such a small detail, but every single time I approached our home and saw the lights twinkling, it made my heart swell with happiness. I knew he had thought of me. 
Doing little romantic gestures for each other is so special, and keeps the spark alive.

5. Make time for each other.
I get it, we are all busy. Jobs, kids, housework, friends, social life - it's tempting to put our relationship last. Don't, though. Go on dates, have at least one meal a day together, talk to each other. It's easy to drift apart, but may be much harder to find your way back to each other. Don't risk it. We should be partners first, everything else second.  

6. Develop your own language. 
People who are freshly in love, flooded with hormones and a stomach full of butterflies, sometimes fear the times when the first spark is gone. While those first few crazy weeks (or months, if you are lucky) are exciting, what they don't know yet, is that what comes after is better
Getting to know the person you love is thrilling. But creating a life together is the real high. 
Since we are both bilingual, we literally created our own language, a curious mix of English, German, and made-up words. We have tons of codes, insider jokes, and shared memories. Our shared history is a treasure chest that is more dear to us than anything else.  

7. Do your own thing. 
Every married couple sleeps together at night, right? That's just how it's done. As soon as you have said "Yes", you have also said "No" to solo sleeping. 
Or have you?
Who says that you have to do it?

We have our shared bedroom, and we slept together in it for years, just like we were supposed to. Except for the (many) nights when Richard would fall asleep on the couch, soothed by the sound of the TV in the background. And I could snuggle up in the bed all by myself, hot water bottle by my feet, reading for hours before turning off the light.
Because here is the thing: We are compatible life partners, but incompatible sleep partners. I can't sleep with the TV on. Richard can't fall asleep when it's too quiet. I pile on the blankets and like it toasty warm, while Rich gets hot flashes and is drenched in sweat when in bed with me. I talk in my sleep. He snores.

We continued our somewhat uncomfortable sleep situation until we got our first house dog two years ago. After the obligatory beginning phase of swearing that "the dog will never sleep in the bed", I sneaked her in one night when Rich was away, and the rest is history. The dog sleeps in our (my) bed, and Rich sleeps in our guest room next door most nights. 
We have never been happier.   

Romance

8. Stop trying to change him. 
I never thought of myself as a wannabe-man-changer, but I sure behaved like one. Many of the qualities I admired about him (and fell in love with) drove me batty later: His independence, masculinity, self-assuredness. For a while there I tried to make a compliant, obedient "yes dear"-man out of him. Incidentally, the same kind of men I used to date before, all relationships that never worked out for that very reason.

We are strange creatures.

You don't have to love all your spouse's idiosyncrasies. I sure don't. But I did learn to live with them. Instead of getting angry about him never putting his dirty clothes in the hamper, but scattering them all over the house, I get exasperated now. That's progress! I have learnt to accept that he will most likely never change that behaviour, and you know what? If that's the worst he does, I got off easy.   

9. Be best friends.
He is my best friend in the world. I am his best friend. I believe that this bond is stronger than the marriage-bond. You wouldn't betray your best friend, would you? It seems easier to betray your spouse. I know it sounds horrible, but look at the evidence all around us. Divorce rates are higher than ever, and I know more married people's infidelities than I care for. You have to be great friends to make a marriage work.  Because if you are friends, it won't feel like work. It will feel like way back in your childhood, when you and your best friend were playing hopscotch and eating ice cream together: effortless, fun, and with the promise to last forever.

10. Laugh together. 
The most important secret of all: Have fun together. We still make each other laugh every day, and the day that will stop is the day I know we are in trouble. Laughing is one of the best things in life, and doing it together with the person you love? Priceless

What are some of your relationship secrets? Please share in the comments!





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Friday, 20 November 2015

Ch-ch-ch-changes



You know you had a rough day when you get these three seperate comments, from three different people, within a single afternoon:
"You look like you are ready for bed!" (At 3pm.)
"You look stoned." (I don't smoke pot, ever.)
"You look really exhausted today." (Uhm, thanks?)

Apparently, I have no poker face. Because yes, it has been an exhausting day, but in a good way. I finally wrote the last exam of the year, which I will be thrilled about tomorrow after a good night's sleep. Right now I'm a zombie. For someone who hasn't done any studying for four years, two fairly important exams in the span of one month is tiring. On October 20th I wrote my citizenship exam (passed!), and today, exactly one month later, I wrote my CT exam (results yet unknown). Don't you just love the symmetry of it, both on the 20th? And both days featured brilliant sunshine, which I take as a good omen.

Something else positive came out of it: I had an idea! An idea about my sweet, darling blog, the poorly neglected child that has been coasting for a while now.

Do you remember The Big Bang Theory episode where Shelton is stuck on a physics problem, and starts working at The Cheesecake Factory to distract his mind with menial tasks, so his subconscious can figure out the solution? It works for him, and something like that happened to me. Sometime during the long hours buried in books and study notes, I had a minor epiphany.

First, I realized that I miss regular blogging. Really, really miss it. While I haven't actually been away, it has not been the same for me for a while. I used to write more. My thoughts, revelations, silly things that pop into my head - I used to lay it all out here. And then, I sort of stopped. I think it's largely due to the book I'm working on, but it's also deeper than that.

Writing personal stories in blog-form is familiar and comforting to me.
Doing it in book-form scares the shit out of me.

'How is it different?' you may wonder. Well, right now I'm not accountable to anyone. I can do whatever I want, and don't have to explain myself to anyone. But when I want to sell a book, I will have to pitch it to other people. They will read it, and critique it. They may tell me that it's not good enough. They may laugh in my face at my pitiful attempt of wanting to be an author. 
The sensible part of me tried to explain that blog and book are not that different from each other (or are they?), and that I may even get positive feedback. But the sensitive part of me took my imagination into overdrive, and what it came up with wasn't pretty.

It just became overwhelming, and it paralyzed me. The words froze up inside of me. Every time I sat down to write, I would overthink it, and do the type-delete-type-delete dance. (That dance sucks.)

But then, the study-induced revelation struck.
Do what you love - which in my case, is blogging. Not only is it excellent therapy and a highly enjoyable hobby, but it is also writing practice.

Here is what will change: I'm going to update the look of my blog. It's time for a new outfit, the poor thing has been wearing similar clothes for years. I bought my first-ever layout last week, and will install it this weekend. Then, of course, more posts! More writing! More silliness! I cannot wait.

I'm still working on my book, but my blog will once again take centre stage. With no more extracurricular distractions, I feel like this will be a breeze. Which I know is wrong, but for now, please let me have this illusion!

With this, I leave you for tonight.

Thank you all so very much for reading, sticking by me and making this little blog the happy place it is.





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Thursday, 19 November 2015

Style: Happy thoughts and a shift dress


As I'm sitting here on my desk, cup of coffee by my side and corgi lying across my feet, I feel happy and content. The sun is streaming in, and it's the most beautiful morning you can imagine. Half an hour ago when I let the dogs out, I had to run back inside the house to get my camera, the light was too pretty to resist! I love this feeling of being overcome with a creative urge. As someone who believed herself to be "practical" and without a creative bone in her body for the majority of her life, this feeling still thrills me. The power of our mind is truly powerful - what you believe about yourself becomes true. This can work against you, but once you realize it? Turn it around and make it work for you!


Okay, now let's move on to the shift dress. I vividly remember my first introduction to it. I was 15, my family had a christening to go to, and my mom had bought a shift dress for the occasion. She proudly presented herself to us in a really beautiful dress - and I was unimpressed. Being the arrogant teenager I was, certain of my superior fashion sense, I thought it shapeless and unflattering. 

Shows what I know. Twenty years later, more mature and, once again, comfortable in my taste in fashion, I adore them. The shift dress hides a little belly, can be transformed into a hourglass shape by simply using a belt, and is super easy to wear. What's not to love?


I bought this beauty (highly discounted) at our friendly neighbourhood store Otter Co-op. It's a grocery store that has everything: Farming equipment, poison (rat poison that is), nails, paint, groceries, Christmas lights, purses, jewellery, clothes, and so much more. It's awesome. Often quite pricey, you can get great deals if you keep an eye out. Since I'm at the store at least three times the week, I rarely miss a good sale!

Anyway, back to the outfit. Geesh, I'm easily side-tracked today - I blame it on the upcoming exam tomorrow, my brain is mush. Maybe not the best condition to write an exam with, but what can you do. I'll return to the books shortly, the last 24 hours are the best to make yourself crazy pound information in your brain.  

Lately I'm not doing much clothes shopping, because money.
But that's actually okay, because my closet is fairly well stocked! Everything I wear today is between 2-8 (I think?) years old, and it still works! At least for me. That's the great thing about fashion: Everything comes back eventually. And when it comes to personal style, you can make anything work, as long as you wear it with confidence!
  

Dress: Otter Co-op (look at this beauty!); jacket: H&M (expensive optionaffordable option); shoes: Old Navy (similar and affordable)



What's your opinion about shift dresses? Do you agree with teenage-me or mature-me?



Linking up with Fashion Should Be FunPassion 4 FashionJaymie Ashcraft and A Pocketful of Polka Dots


P.S. The lovely Jenny from Jeneric Generation is embarking on a fun style challenge: Thrifting her way to a capsule wardrobe. Check it out, it's fabulous!



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Monday, 16 November 2015

Current thought processes

I wake up with a start. Ugh, I had the dream again. It's weird and embarrassing, so obviously it needs to go on the Internet. Here goes:
Lately, I have repeatedly dreamt about being on the toilet, doing a number 2, when my crush wanders in. It's a guy that only exists in my dream, and that I only have a crush on in my dream (because he isn't real, duh). We both pretend that everything is normal, and that a) he can't smell the evidence, b) he can't see me sitting on the toilet, and c) he doesn't notice me wiping and flushing it all down. Instead, we have a casual chat, that even occasionally crosses into flirtatious territory, depending on the dream. The entire time I am aware how bizarre it is, but manage to shove the thought away. Dream-me is way more badass than real-me. 
But what does it mean???   

Once I have recounted the dream to Richard (who agrees it's unusual), the thoughts start to assault me.

"Just one cup of coffee and then I'll study for a couple of hours."

[One hour of browsing the Internet later.]

"Ugh, I'm so behind."

"I'll never catch up."

"I should do a load of laundry."  

[Sorts the laundry, starts a load.]

"Okay, let's do this."

"Oh, I need something to eat first."

"And a glass of juice."

"And a cup of tea."

[Sits down to study, finally, 3 hours after waking up.]

"Sh*t, I should have started way earlier. This is too much information! I only have 4 3 days left!"

[Starts getting stressed out. Gets some cookies.]

[Sits back down again. Leaves through notes, feels panic rising.]

"I need to do some yoga for stress relief."

[Gets on her mat, can't focus.]

[Gets off after a few minutes, frustrated.] 

[Eats more.]

[Stresses more.}

[Reads some material, takes some notes.]

"It's not so bad when I stay where I'm at, is it? Not everybody is supposed to advance their career."

"Why do I even want to learn more?"

"This is boring."

"I hate studying."

"I suck at studying."

[Puts laundry in dryer.]

[Goes out with husband to buy dog house, which has been on her list for months, but which has to happen today.right.this.minute.*]

*Did someone say procrastination?

[Buys nieces' presents, wraps them and sends them off today. You know, because Christmas is only 5.5 weeks away.]

[Having run out of stuff to do (after having done the majority of Christmas decorating), reluctantly sits down to study some more.]

I have an exam on Friday, and this is what my days look like right now. 
I'm bad with studying, and bad with exams. I get anxiety about it, but also have major procrastination syndrome. 

On the plus side, my house is never cleaner and my life never more organized than when I should be studying. Anything looks more attractive than learning about types of storage, bandwith and ring artifacts.   

How are your study habits? Are you a procrastinator like me, or a go-getter who gets 'er done?





P.S. I'm sure the dream is a symptom of stress. Do you know what it means?


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Sunday, 15 November 2015

The world comes together


We have all seen the horrifying images from Paris about the attacks that happened on Friday the 13th.
I never discuss politics on my blog, and rarely in real life; it's a difficult topic, with people having strong opinions, and I don't like getting entangled in discussions that lead nowhere (in my opinion). 

However, I feel as deeply disturbed by the tragedies that happened like everybody else does, and I want to talk about two things.  

One: Violence has to stop. Hate generates more hate. The more we "fight back", the more we invite further fighting. It's a vicious cycle that will never stop. Only love can stop war. I'm not the first one to say that: People much smarter than me have said it before.

Mahatma Gandhi:
"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind."
Maya Angelou:
"Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet."
Nelson Mandela:
"If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner." 
Pope Francis:
"We wonder how can it come to the heart of man to conceive of and carry out such horrible events...
... the road of violence and hatred does not resolve humanity's problems. And using the name of God to justify this road is blasphemy." 


Two: As awful as these tragedies are, they have one remarkable side effect: The world comes together. As Albus Dumbledore has said:
"Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."
Shortly after the attacks happened, the world showed their support for France.
Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany (source)
Opera house in Sydney, Australia (source)
City hall in San Francisco, US (source)
Niagra Falls, Canada (source)
London Eye, England (source)
Milan, Italy (source)
Candles at the French  Consulate in Barcelona, Spain (source)
Tel Aviv, Israel (source)

And, maybe most powerful of all: Members of the German-Tunisian association holding signs condemning the deadly Paris attacks during a gathering in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
source
The signs read: "We are Tunisians. We are against terror."
"ISIS does not represent Islam"
"We are Muslims. We are against terror."

It is important to remember that terrorist attacks don't represent an entire religion, or state, or country. These are the actions of a few mad fanatics, they don't reflect the opinion of the majority of people.

These images from around the world gave me hope that our world is not completely evil, but has so much good in it.
I believe in our world. I believe in the good in people. I believe that we should never give up hope.

Art work by Jean Jullien
Let's all spread light, love and hope, not hatred.

Lots of love,





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