Fall Bucket List 2017

 Autumn is my favorite season!

I know I said that about Winter last year, but good gosh, everything about this season gives me life! In fact, I reach my final form by the first of October. The spooky, witchy, completely transcended version of Jocelyn is in full effect, and she’s ready to wreak havoc!

A few posts ago, you all learned that I am currently residing in temporary housing, and that is particularly the reason why I haven’t been blogging. To be honest, having such a living situation makes it difficult to enjoy this time of year, and I know it may become increasingly depressing as we pass into the ever-so-jolly Christmasland. Regardless, I will make the best of a bad situation, and not let this setback, drawback, whatever you want to call it, prevent me from truly enjoying my favorite season.

Do you have a bucket list for Fall? Let me know what you’re up to in the comments below!

  1. Go to Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and the local mom-and-pop cafe down the street for a pumpkin spice latte. Of course, I can’t have my coffee without a pumpkin glazed donut or a bagel with pumpkin cream cheese spread! A bit of an overkill? Perhaps.
  2. Write a letter to a loved one(s). Of course, we should be writing letters and staying in touch with our family and friends all year long, but we can all admit that life happens and, well, we’re human. As Thanksgiving approaches, we start thinking of all those near and far, and this is the perfect time to sit down with a pen and paper and do some catching up. If it’s in the budget, I often like to send small gifts. A book, in my opinion, is always a great option.
  3. Take pictures. From October to December, I find myself always with my phone out snapping photographs of my surroundings. I love documenting a changing season. Growing up in Hawaii, you don’t really get to have that experience, so now, I really make an effort to take it in.
  4. Practice altruism. Again, none of us should be waiting until the holiday season to practice sharing or giving back. Keep in mind, community efforts benefit those in need all year long. There is always a need. Consider that altruism and solidarity is very much a mindset, a lifestyle. It’s the idea that, at the end of the day, all we really have is each other. Unity is what is going to make a difference in this world, and standing up for one another is something that should occur year-round.
  5. Go thrifting. But, before you do that, clean out your closet! Declutter. Get rid of all your junk! Then go thrifting.
  6. Read a book. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I read the most books between October and December. Although the indoors seem so inviting, go outside! Bring a book and a hot beverage to the park.
  7. Enjoy autumn produce. Personally, I’m looking forward to eating a lot of pears and persimmons.
  8. Cookies. Shortbread. Preferably almond or pecan shortbread. Maple creme cookies are also fantastic at this time of year!
  9. Have a lot of pie. I love pie. I would literally eat pie every day if it wouldn’t make me fluffy. JK – I’m already fluffy 😉 Apple pie. Pumpkin Pie. Pecan pie. Pie is life.
  10. Caramel apples. Or candied apples. Apples dipped in sweet stuff. Fruit turned cavities. I live for that. Funny thing is, I don’t think I even like caramel apples all that much. It has a lot more to do with nostalgia than anything else. (Isn’t it always?) When I was 10, my parents took me to Disney World, and I remember how exciting it was to try a caramel apple for the first time. When I was still living in Hawaii, I used to romanticized Fall and Winter in a sort of way that didn’t make any kind of sense – because I had never actually seen either season! On another episode of humans are weird asf.
  11. Apple cider. Now, this. I get down with cider. At New Years, my parents used to buy a bottle of apple cider, and we’d drink it in celebration. My first New Year’s away from home, I took like 3 bottles to the head and had the worst stomach ache after. LOL.
  12. Watch classic Halloween films or your favorite horror flicks. I’ve always been a fan of thrillers, however, I haven’t really been able to stomach slasher films and other horror flicks. To be honest, the closest thing to horror I’ve watched over the last several years is American Horror Story, which, by the way, if you haven’t seen, this is a great time to pick it up. There are several seasons on Netflix! As for classic Halloween films, much like everyone else, I love Halloweentown as well as Hocus Pocus, and even The Craft.
  13. Go for a hike. Is there no better time to go for a nature walk? I think not.
  14. Start journaling if you haven’t already. I can’t tell you how critical it is to document your life. I do a lot of life writing on several different platforms. I think there is something very unique about blogging because we’re writing for ourselves and others simultaneously. I suppose that is all writing, no? Heck, why do you even think I’m here? This is me documenting a chapter of my life. Yes, although I am writing for you, bits of my life come through on everything. The topics, the style, even the layout of my page, all of it is a reflection of me – even though I am technically writing to entertain you. This is me connecting with the world through my experiences. We shouldn’t underestimate the value of this.
  15. Start a bullet journal if you’re feeling ambitious. I started bullet journaling to aid my blogging journey. Bullet journaling is essentially this: part diary, part planner, and completely 100% customizable. You create a system that is ideal for tracking and organizing your life. In my bullet journal, you would find a
  16. Habit tracker! Again, this is a tracking system that is fully customizable. With it, you can have a better look at what daily habits you need to work on. A habit tracker is simply a daily checklist. Mine contains habits such as water intake and writing word count goals.
  17. Reevaluate your goals. OK SO – yeah, you’re right, we should probably be reevaluating our goals every 28 days, or 30 days, once a month basically. That way, we can have a clear path of action for each and every month. But, if you haven’t been reevaluating your goals at all, nows a good time to start as any! Honestly, for several months, I’ve put my goals pretty much on the back burner – basically I put my entire life on hold, because I thought there was simply no point to any of it, that it was a waste of time and effort, and all of this simply isn’t who I am, or could ever be. I mean, common, I was homeless. What do you expect? Sounds like depression doesn’t it? Bingo, baby. However, it dawned on me that, well, that’s the stupidest fucking thing I could possibly believe for myself. This whole thing, what I’m going through right now, is just…complicated… and there are so many things going on emotionally and mentally. Eventually, I’m sure more and more of this will come creeping out, but for now, if you’d like to read more about that whole THING, going here is probably the best place to start. (See Shelter Life Pt. 1-6)
  18. Reevaluate yourself (and your life). I’ve done a lot of this lately, but there is still so much more to do. So much more to go. I’m currently on a path of healing and, I suppose, growth. Aren’t we all? Like, always? But, I think that process, of growth, like, when it’s happening, is often not conscious to us. I think what matters is being able to take a look at our life and reflect in such a way that allows us to make informed, conscious decisions about our life. Every day. You should be asking yourself often, “Is this what I really want to be doing?” and “Is there a better way?” I’ve been experiencing waves of depression and every time I come up for air, I realize how much inaction and indifference is causing the drowning. Standing still is no different as walking backward. If I’m not going in the direction of recovery, I am essentially going in the direction of destruction. So, ask yourself often, “Am I going in the right direction?” Are your adjusting your sails when need be? Are you guiding your life or is your life guiding you?

Continue Reading

October 2017 Goals & Life Reflections: Essentially, The Reason Why I Stopped Blogging

In truth, I would probably benefit greatly from coming up with a list of goals each month. But, that hardly happens, doesn’t it? As I’ve said numerous times here and there: Every day continues to surprise me. I dip and dive as life continues to yank me from one experience to the next. At each birth of a season, I consider how much life has changed since this time last year. Certainly, for this year, that is quite an understatement. But perhaps it is always an understatement. This year, I am much more me, than the last. Yet, not.

If there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it is that we must learn how to shine through our own darkness. Or, in less fancy words: Strength through adversity is EVERYTHING. Also, equally as important, the care and nurturing for the self. As they say, when in doubt, love yourself. No one says that, by the way. But, now I do. When your needs aren’t being met, when you’re suffering – physically, mentally, or emotionally – whatever the problem may be, your first instinct should always be love, care, and support yourself. You have to do this selfishly sometimes, without guilt. Neglect yourself and your entire life will follow suit.

For the better half of a year, I’ve kept this secret from most of my friends, family, and peers. That secret contains a lot of self-doubt, defeat, and shame. But, in order to move forward with my life, I think I really need to unapologetically speak out about it. Last year, my husband and I were met with a challenge we were hardly prepared for. At the time, we were faced with a landlord who, unknowingly at that point, was scheming to take advantage of us. We’ve played games with this dodgy landlord for several years up until that point, however, the cost of moving was extremely unrealistic, and we considered this “normal shady landlord business”. When it came to repairs, myself, as well as my neighbors were forced to make complaints to the New York City Housing Authority before anything got done. That’s how bad it was. And, I’m not talking a simple leak here and there. I’m talking no access to water, sometimes no heat in the winter. Before we left, we had a literal hole in our wall. I could stick my finger in our neighbor’s apartment if I wanted to. We also had excessive mold in the bedroom, to a point where I could no longer sleep there because of my asthma. These were very serious, almost life-threatening offenses. On top of steady rent increases, we were essentially being played by our landlord. It wasn’t until 2016, that he decided to double our rent. This ultimately leads us to fight in court. We did this for nearly 8 months before losing our case and getting evicted from our apartment. I spent 6 months working with several non-profits seeking legal, housing, and financial assistance. No one helped us. Soon we were faced with the threat of homelessness. We have been residing in the New York City Shelter System for 4-5 months now. It has been a trying experience – one that has toughened my already thick skin. A handful of traumatic experiences later, here I am.

If you’d like to read more about my experience in housing court, you can read a paper titled A Tale of Landlord and Tenant: Exploitation, Eviction, and Homelessness here. If you’re interested in my experience of living in the New York City Shelter System, see my short essays titled Shelter Life Pt. 1-6 here.

As you will read in my essays linked above, coping with these obstacles really comes from maintaining a sort of normalcy – a level of ordinariness. Until very recently, that was very difficult for me to do. Now that I have access to the internet, I am better able to return to what makes me, me – writing. With that being said, my biggest goal for October is to just enjoy my favorite season to the best of my ability. How will I do this? In celebration of this spooky season, I will write 30 – YES THIRTY – blog posts between now and Halloween! I will also update my banner above to better represent this beautiful season. In addition to the upcoming posts, I also plan to finally kick, ban, and delete all of my spam bots – and believe me, there are many! While I write these posts, I will also be preparing for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) on the side. I have a new work-in-progress stand-alone novel titled Arcane Archives on the way! An introductory post, as well as daily progress reports, will definitely come in November! I’m excited for what’s to come this Fall and I hope you will stick around for it!

Continue Reading

Modesty Is Bullsh*t

We often mistake modesty for humility, and although they have similar definitions, one is authentic, while the other is not.

I was very lucky to have a mother who believed I could do anything — literally anything. Only and if I wanted it bad enough. My father reminded me often of my worth. He lifted me up while also making me tough. I wasn’t really taught modesty, like many of my peers. I wasn’t taught not to brag. I wasn’t taught not to be self-centered, or not to be self-indulgent.

Instead, I was taught to not only notice but also value my accomplishments. I was taught to be self-aware and honest. And, most of all, to cultivate and protect my happiness and well-being. Although indirectly, my parents helped me realize that modesty is by far the most false and unwise attribute you could use to sell yourself.

I never once questioned if I could ever, or would ever, earn the title of “writer”. I didn’t concern myself with the deep implications of this seemingly logical term to describe the practice I do often — write. I write — I am a writer. It’s not rocket science. Modesty is stupid.

It’s not only stupid, it’s manipulative and needy.

It’s a false crutch. It’s a way of saying: I’m insecure! The thing is, it takes great bravery to say, “Yes, I am good at this; I am good at writing” because there will always be someone, who is less secure about themselves, that will say, “Hey! You’re taking up too much space in the room; you’re too big — who do you think you are?” And that stings.

But, what is it you’re supposed to say? That you aren’t sure of yourself? That you are terrible?

That’s silly. The game of modesty is silly. Recognizing your strengths is not bragging. If you wrote an A+ piece, more than likely, you worked hard. Your hard work paid off. You did a good job — that was the entire point, wasn’t it?

But then you realize that you’re simply celebrating your victories — the ones you worked hard to accomplish. You’re doing this because it is more productive than sulking, whining, and marinading in failure.

Insecure people will always want to make you smaller,

and you shouldn’t take that personally. Find and seek comfort in your power, in your strengh, and in the energy that you possess. Celebrate your life force, shine bright, and be colorful.

Humility, on the other hand, is simply living honestly. It is being “real”.

Humility is admitting that no one gets to their destination alone. We all had help.

But, that doesn’t mean we didn’t work hard. That doesn’t mean we didn’t fight tooth and nail. That doesn’t mean that hard work doesn’t pay off — because, at the end of the day, nothing pays off more.

All humility means is that we’ve developed self-awareness. We know what we do well, and we know what it is we could work on. We are honest about our strengths and our weaknesses.

Sometimes you’re good. Sometimes you suck. Sometimes you’re brilliant. Sometimes you’re foolish.

And, you know what, when you start becoming comfortable with your strengths, you also start becoming comfortable with your weaknesses. Eventually, you want others to point them out — you want to improve. Why? Because you believe in yourself and you trust others. You want to be better for yourself and those around you. Don’t be modest. It’s bullsh*t.

Continue Reading

Where Do We Go From Here

Blogging is such an intimate act, isn’t it? Sure, it is hugely public, but there are many eyes that do not engage their keyboards. In no way am I asking you to – if fact, apart from my blog, I really don’t engage with others – especially not bloggers, but perhaps I, and you, should start. What’s interesting is I am fully aware that I am talking directly to people who are reading, but I am still sort of talking to myself, for myself.

I truly can’t say what direction I’m going in with this blog. I haven’t a clue what the future holds for us. In truth, I started this huge project on a whim because I needed something to throw myself at. You’ll soon discover that I throw myself into a creative project whenever I am in a crisis. And, this is, in fact, the result of that. Believe me, I was hardly prepared for the work ahead, but today, even though I am far from reaching my writing, blogging, and publishing goals, I am immensely proud of myself.

I initiated this very firm plan of focusing specifically on minimalist and frugal living, with a focus on urban cities such as New York City, but alas, my life is so much more than that. Yes, I am food-stamp receiving coupon-clipping human. Yes, I get a thrill when sifting through crates of hardcover books at the Salvation Army. But, I am also heavily interested in politics and culture. I spent the last year gaming somewhat competitively in a very popular MMORPG. But most importantly, writing is my life. I live a writer’s life and have lived it since the age of 13. Being confined to a “themed” blog was painful at times. I wanted to write poetry. I wanted to share my life without using nice words. I wanted to write all of the things I am publishing on this blog now.

I have a few blog posts lined up for the rest of the month. The next post will probably be in dedication to my husband. He and I are celebrating our 3 year wedding anniversary this month and I’d like to write a little something about that. This year, I have officially known him for half of my life. Isn’t that just insane? Especially at such a young age? We met 13 years ago, gosh, probably more like 14 years ago. I can’t even begin to tell you how blessed we are to have each other. Life is hard, and it’s nice to have someone to share the burden.  He is much more than a lover or a friend, he is an ally, which is a bigger word than most realize.

In the future, I’m hoping to gain the courage to be real, to be raw, to display the fact that, yeah, there is a real person behind the scenes, with a life equally as terrifying as yours. To those reading quietly from the sidelines, I appreciate you and I hope you stick around. And, please, know that I am always ready to engage. If you choose to connect, I will listen, and be grateful for it.

See you in the next post,

Continue Reading

Technology Sabbat: The Practice of Unplugging

There Is Something Significant At Work Here

The author of Brain Power: From Neurons to Networks, Tiffany Shlain has a lot to say about the impact of technology and social media. She warns us of how constant connectivity can impact our lives, our relationships, and our culture, for both good and bad. As a Millennial, my generation participated in the shift of technology – from Yahoo! chat rooms and AOL instant messaging, to the social media empire we know today, such as Facebook. I have a clear memory of before and after the internet came alive. Today, most of us are always connected. We’re always plugged in. That’s because we carry tiny pocket-sized computers with us everywhere. Shlain doesn’t necessarily believe, like some others, that technology is going to somehow be the downfall of civilization, but I think we all can recognize that there is something significant at work here. We are quite literally existing in such a different way than we did even a decade ago.

The Good & The Bad

When you think of the internet, what do you see? I see an extension of ourselves. The internet is all of our brains talking at once. It’s complicated, yes, but still quite extraordinary, don’t you think? Every time we’re on it, information is being sent to us and processed. Most of the time, unintentionally. This is occurring all of the time – every time you scroll through your Twitter feed you’re being influenced. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Why is that? Because humans are both good and bad. You can learn anything – anything at all, on the internet. On the other hand, not all of our ideas are particularly useful or beneficial. Yet, everything we share, we consume. Even more importantly, the internet, and being plugged in constantly, puts us in a state of constant focus and distraction. I think we’re pointing fingers at the wrong entity when blaming the internet. The internet isn’t bad. The issue, as Shlain proposes, is that we don’t know how to turn it off.

Technology Sabbat

I used to think that I was a little more detached than the average technology consumer – simply because I was not particularly entranced by the idea of having the most recent iPhone or using Snapchat. Instead, I spent all of the time at home on the internet. For a few years after college, I found myself in quite a post-grad rut, which is far from uncommon. Job prospects were few and far between, and I had lost sight of my goals. I struggled to find the discipline required to put in work for various creative projects. Frankly, I spent a lot of time not doing the work and a lot of time sitting in front of the computer scrolling through Facebook. Pulling away was harder than I expected it to be, and I noticed real side effects to being constantly plugged in. I felt detached from real life and the world around me, and more often than not, lonely. For years, I knew it would be impossible for me to get my life back without taking a true hiatus from the online world. `

This is where the idea of Technology Sabbat comes into play. If you’re not yet familiar, Sabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week, also known as the day of rest. The concept of Sabbat is once a week, for a day, our brains, and our souls, are reset. We turn everything off and allow ourselves to truly rest. For us, that would mean for one day, perhaps a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, we turn off our cell phones, our TVs, and our computers, and we tune into the world and people around us.

For the last month and a half, I haven’t had the internet at my home, not particularly by choice, but through this new challenge, I gained insight into what really mattered to me. And, in a lot of ways, I finally gained my life back. I am beginning to notice things – life happening all around me. I am grounded, level-headed, focused, and motivated. As a creative, I believe it may have actually saved my life, or at the very least, my creative life.

Plugging Back In

When you do finally plug back in, be mindful. Be mindful of who and what you let into your stream of consciousness. Everything you consume – that tweet, that meme, all of it influences your thoughts and inevitably your behaviors. So, take that as a warning to curate the content in front of you. Choose carefully those you follow. Additionally, be aware of the purpose you’re there, and keep this purpose in mind while using social media. Consider why you’re using it, what your intentions are, and what good (or bad) it is doing for you. It may also prove helpful to set boundaries on how, why, and when to use social media. Some questions you can ask yourself is: Does this content add value to my life or the lives of others? Is it true? Is it helpful, useful, or insightful? Am I looking for validation – is there value or purpose in sharing this experience? Am I bored? Is there something more purposeful I could be spending my time doing? Am I lonely? Have I reached out to loved ones today? Am I using social media compulsively, mindlessly, or consciously?

Our relationship with technology is indeed a complex one, and it affects us all differently. If you’re feeling less in control, consider unplugging for or a day, or a week, or a month. Remember that we can control how social media influences our lives, and it is up to us to determine how we benefit or suffer, from plugging back in.

Continue Reading

Hey! I’m Back!

After spending a few short hours fiddling with my domain – stupidly, I must add (then having to call tech support to prevent the damage I was mindlessly causing) …I’m back!

It has been nearly seven months since I logged into my WordPress blog, and I regret neglecting it for so long. Let’s be honest, running a blog is a lot of work, and let’s just say, the first half of 2017 wasn’t exactly friendly to me – hence why I haven’t been around.

Regardless, I am happy to be back, and I am ready to write. Which is frankly, all that matters anyway!

Surely, over time, bits and pieces of my story will begin seeping out from my blog posts, and the bigger picture will emerge. Doesn’t it always? We always try to control how much of our real life bleeds out into our writing, but it never works.

Believe it or not, I’m actually living more minimally today than at any point while I was contributing to this blog – just not entirely by choice. All of my belongings fit in all but two items of luggage. Can you believe that?

In addition to that, I’m excited to share that I am reading more, and in turn, WRITING more, which is the biggest victory of all.

I truly can not wait to share with you all what I’ve been up to! I’ve sunk my toes into Hub Pages, danced around at Medium, and have had a ball branching out into content writing and journalism. Reading poetry, writing really bad poetry, loving memoirs, and staying up late. I feel kind rebellious, to be honest. 😉

Dear Followers and Subscribers,

Thank you for sticking around. At some point, while I was gone, I broke the 20,000 subscriber mark, and I have to admit, I’m humbled by your loyalty – I just wish I’ve had something to show for it. Your inbox has been empty, I know, and I’m sorry! For those who recently came on board, I hope you stick around as well, and I, of course, hope to not disappoint.

As for the future of MIM, at this point, I am simply creating it. I’m letting MIM create itself.

 

 

Let’s see where we can go. Let’s hold tightly to the magic that dances under our keyboards and at the tip of our pens.

See you in the comments section, friends.

Continue Reading

BLOGMAS Day #2 // Hallmark Holiday

blogmas-2

Christmas, once a sacred holy day, and arguably an ancient pagan tradition, may now seem like nothing more than a Hallmark Holiday. This is nothing short of the hard truth.

Hallmark holiday” is a term used predominantly in the United States to describe a holiday that is perceived to exist primarily for commercial purposes, rather than to commemorate a traditionally or historically significant event. (wikipedia.org)

However, even the commercialized, capitalistic, consumerist nature of my FAVORITE holiday is STILL founded on what I would consider good moral values. Heck, I’ll say it – I’m not even religious!

Trying to steer clear of *controversial topics here* *obviously that ship sailed 3 paragraphs ago* 

Despite this fact, I have humanist values that go hand-in-hand with the meaning of Christmas; which is altruism, humanitarianism, and social consciousness. Yes, we *do* throw mountains of money at big corporations during this time of year, but we often do it for others in the form of gift-giving. Although my goals are minimalist-focused, I recognize that a lot of the money spent by others during the holidays is meant well and often unselfish.

635850670137007413-840073120_christmasconsumerism3.jpg

I’m keeping today’s Blogmas post short and sweet (because I clearly over-wrote yesterday. LOL.) This is more of a conversation opener – an invitation for discussion. I’m genuinely curious about what you folks think! What are your thoughts on the consumerist nature of Christmas and how does that effect (or not even a little bit) how you spend the holidays?

Wanna read another Blogmas post? You can find them all here.

http-signatures-mylivesignature-com-54494-369-f8b51ddfefd2a1af306074b3f0eda3c9

Continue Reading

BLOGMAS DAY #1 // Holiday Bucket List

BLOGMAS1.jpg

I was following the pack
All swaddled in their coats
With scarves of red tied ’round their throats
To keep their little heads
From fallin’ in the snow
And I turned ’round and there you go
And, Michael, you would fall
And turn the white snow red as strawberries
In the summertime
— White Winter Hymnal, Fleet Foxes

OK, so, it’s pretty damn obvious I am OBSESSED with Christmas. I don’t know when or why or how or what the heck happened (obviously my Mother sprinkled Christmas fairy dust in my crib when no one was looking…) but I’m GOSH DARN JOLLY at this time of year.

The fact that I am now living in NYC makes it so much more exciting because there really is no place better to spend the holidays than in NYC. The city of lights turns into the city of Christmas lights and asdfghjkl, it’s magical. There is so much about Christmas that I love, but I won’t write 17 million paragraphs about it right now or I won’t have any content left for the rest of Blogmas…so let’s just start with Day #1, shall we?

For today’s post, I will be writing down my holiday bucket list for 2016. There really is so much I want to do this year – I’d like to do some things I’ve put off year after year, while I’d also like to revisit some traditions. Of course, I went on PINTEREST (Jesus Christ, why?) and basically further elongated my list. However, I want this bucket list to be more like a list of goals – attainable and practical goals.

// Bucket List //

1. COMPLETE BLOGMAS
Ugh, I’m so bad with monthly challenges. I’m usually fine for the first week (I’m lying, I don’t get past day #4), then like the pleb I am, I completely fall off the bandwagon. Routine isn’t my friend. Legit, I WILL set an alarm if I need to. We’re getting these posts done! To make it easier for everyone to follow my Blogmas posts, I will add a link at the end of each post.

And, seriously, to the ones who already completed Blogmas in November, or August because you’re nuts (because you’re responsible)…HOW ARE YOU LIKE THIS?

2. ATTEND A HOLIDAY MARKET
So far, I have 3 pop-up markets in mind: Jingle @ Chelsea Market, Union Square Holiday Market, and Bryant Park’s Winter Village. I have never been to any of these events, but have been wanting to go to them for quite some time. From what I know, the Chelsea Market pop-up includes live music, Union Square’s Holiday Market offers tons of homemade gifts, and the Bryant Park market showcases new decor each year, as well as FREE ice skating and a tree-lighting event! All of these markets are very easy to travel to via public transportation which is a big plus.

3. SEND A WRITTEN LETTER TO LOVED ONES + HOLIDAY TEA BAG
Because I am so far away from family and friends, I don’t usually purchase and wrap gifts. In the occasion that I do buy gifts, I will order something online and ship it directly (because I’m lazy). This year, however, I want to take the time to actually write a letter to loved ones (my best friend, parents, and grandparents) and include these holiday tea bag(s) with my letters – a tradition I’d like to adopt from my Grandparents.

4. DIY CHRISTMAS CARDS, TREES, AND SNOWFLAKES
In addition to writing letters, I’d also like to dabble in DIY printables, including Christmas cards (for the letters), trees, and snowflakes to tape on the walls around the apartment because it’s cheaper and frankly, a lot cuter than buying any kind of decor!

5. BUY A SMALL HOLIDAY POTTED PLANT
When I lived at home, one of my favorite parts of Christmas was picking up a tree from Lowes with my parents and decorating it. Unfortunately, now I like in a 750 square box in Manhattan! We just don’t have space for a tree. *sobs* Not to mention, I have a cat who is absolutely fascinated with Christmas trees and would probably knock it over hundreds of times! I noticed the flower shop down the street just brought out these tiny potted ferns that are just too cute to pass up!! Not to mention, the money we’ll save! A little plant I can take care of that costs $5 beats a gigantic tree that costs $60 (don’t forget the tree skirt, ornaments and cat repellent!) Fact of the matter is, a Christmas tree is an expensive investment.

6. HOST A CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY
This is something I knew I wanted to do since Halloween. It’s just a matter of figuring out what I’m going to send! I want to include an extra-special written letter, and “stocking stuffer” type goodies – candies, holiday stickers, and maybe a few holiday-inspired beauty, body or home products! I have tons of ideas including mittens, fuzzy Christmas socks, lipstick, nail polish, candles, and candy canes. I’m not going to pretend this isn’t self-advertisement and exposure for my blog, because YES MARY, is it.

7. BUY A PLANNER AND JOURNAL FOR 2017
If I’m going to take 2017 by storm, I’m going to need to be prepared. If there is one thing I’ve learned about myself over recent years it’s that I am most productive when I write things down…and by things, I mean EVERYTHING! When it comes to daily writing, tackling goals, making appointments, or lists – I’m telling you, planners and journals are a must-have. If you did not utilize a planner or journal this year, I highly recommend checking it out for next year.

8. MAKE A DONATION TO TOYS FOR TOTS, NEW YORK CARES COAT DRIVE, TEACHERS WITHOUT BORDERS, AND DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS
Like I mentioned above, I will probably not do any in-store shopping this year, but I am considering making product donation purchases online (toys and a coat – if I can budget it in), if not, I will make a $1-5 donation to all of the above organizations. I’m unsure if I’ve mentioned this on my blog yet, but I’m actually a member of Teachers Without Borders! If you’re an educator, consider joining! It’s free!

9. PURGE CLOSET AND MAKE A BIG SALVATION ARMY DONATION
Gosh, there is always more purging to do! Because I live in a tiny apartment with virtually no closet or storage space at all, my stuff is basically all out in the open and visible. It’s easy to feel cluttered, and I want to declutter as much as possible. I think this is a great way to kick off the New Year – with less crap. At the very VERY least, I’ll need a dedicated junk drawer…

10. PICK UP A NEW HOLIDAY MUG + MAKE ABUELITA Chocolate W/ MARSHMELLOW AND CANDYCANES
One of my fondest memories as a newly New Yorker was going on 3am trips to Rite Aid with my husband on a Friday or Saturday night. It usually started with, “I’m hungry, is there any take-out spots still open? Nope? Wanna go to Rite Aid?” And, there you have it – a tradition was born. Frozen pizza and hot pockets galore. During the holidays, we’d often be the first to check out new merchandise. So, we’d always get dibs on brand-new gift sets, including the hot chocolate with mugs set, which you guessed it, we bought, every year. Lol. Each time we moved, there’s always been a Rite Aid nearby (which isn’t really that much of a coincidence when there are more Rite Aids than Starbucks OR McDonalds. Yeah, that many! Last year, I discovered the phenomenon that is ABUELITA Chocolate. This year? The candy canes melted in. Every year before that and every day of my life? Marshmallows.

Wanna read another Blogmas post? You can find them all here.

http---signatures.mylivesignature.com-54494-369-F8B51DDFEFD2A1AF306074B3F0EDA3C9.png

 

Continue Reading

There was no cake.

birthday-1208233_960_720.jpg

I just turned 25. Growing older is rough – I’d like to think it is for everybody. As morbid pathetic dramatic as it sounds, that’s just another year closer to death. That’s my life slipping through my fingers. That’s time running out.

I’m not bitter. I’m not resentful. I’m just a little bit sad.

Sure, I should be focusing on the growing of wisdom and self, but that’s not where I am right now. If or when I do get there, it’ll be a miracle.

But, never mind that for now. Let me tell you what happened on my 25th birthday.

It started with french toast.

I woke up to the smell of cinnamon. Sticky fingers — maple syrup all over my keyboard — this was the ideal way to start the day. I brushed my teeth, slipped on a skater dress, popped over a cardigan and headed out to Time Square. We were 2 and a half hours early before the first showing of Ant-Man. I’m always early to everything.

There was food. As it should be.

We walked into B.B. Kings. There wasn’t a single soul in this dim lit bar scene. I ordered crawfish. We sat there for an hour oohing and aahing over the food. Thomas proceeded to teach me how to eat pasta properly. “From the edge inwards,” he said. I just sort of stabbed my fork into the bowl and twisted. The food was amazing.

(Which reminds me, I still need to yelp them.)

I just wanted to have fun, you know? Forget for a moment that time was running out. Why the hell am I so dramatic? 

We went to Walgreens and bought 4 king size snickers, a mini-can of pringles, and a turkey sandwich. Of course, I’m always prepared to sneak food into the theater.

Still, we had 45 minutes to kill. We rode escalators. I beat Thomas at a game of Pacman.

We saw the Ant-Man in 3D.

The day ended with an open seat on the train and no incredibly annoying leg-spreader sitting next to me.

So what if there was no cake? It’s not like I ever wait until someone’s birthday to eat cake anyway.

I wrote this on my 25th birthday last year, on a crowded train coming home from Time Square, with Thomas hovering above me holding on to the railing, as he always does. Ironically enough, today is his 29th birthday. I was searching through #tags, looking for anything I wrote that included the word”birthday”, which is a kind of ritual for me – something I do each year. 

Birthdays are hard for both of us. It leaves us with a heavy heart. It makes us cranky. As I wrote above, growing older is rough. It’s like that one Adele song, “We were sad of getting old, it made us restless.” 

Thomas and I have known each other for nearly half of our lives. We’ve seen each other struggle and flourish. Much of which was thanks to each other. At times it was very hard. From all directions, we faced a lot of resistance since the early part of our relationship – when we were literally just kids. For over a decade, we have been a solace to each other. My husband is a sanctuary. I often think if our bond was not as strong as it is today, the last few years would have been very taxing on our relationship because it was very taxing on our individual selves. Life was (is) hard. No one wants a life of struggle where the finish line only gets repeatedly pushed back, until, well, it’s your time to go.

Beyond under-employment and financial struggles, I had experienced a late-term miscarriage followed by many fertility and reproductive health concerns that were not only wearing on my physical health but also my emotional and mental health. It was not an easy recovery, and an on-going one it still is.

The thing is, there won’t always be cake. But life isn’t necessarily about the cake, or the reward, or the finish line. It’s often about the journey. When you reflect back, it may make you a little bit sad, like it does for me. You can feel that. When the memory tugs at your heart, feel it, validate it, embrace it. 

Continue Reading

The Terrifying Process of Turning Dreams into Goals

success1.jpg

// Be goal-oriented. //

Personal development is very important to me – I am a seeker of knowledge, peace, and growth. Therefore, you can imagine, I am a very goal oriented. I think the process of completing a goal not only gives us a sense of accomplishment, but it’s also a way for us to stay motivated and driven in our day-to-day lives. Remember, the act of setting and completing goals it is very good for your personal wellness and self-esteem. For many years, I have built a habit of setting daily, short term, and long term goals. (For example, today, my goal was simply to make time to write this blog post!)

I also reflect, update, and adjust goals accordingly. I highly recommend we all do this! Also, it’s important to understand that the purpose of setting a goal isn’t simply…to complete a goal… but to work towards and achieve personal happiness. You are doing this for you, so if this is no longer something you desire, you are NOT obligated to follow through. However, giving up when things get hard is not an option.

// Take calculated risks. //

Imagine I’m that highly irresponsible voice in your head, “Do it, you coward!” Are you trembling in fear yet? *shudder* That voice right there is literally me, talking to myself – probably getting my ass in trouble. Having an excessively driven personality can be both a blessing and a curse! For some, and I’m sure for many of you, taking risks is downright terrifying. But, taking risks is necessary for getting you from where you are right now to where you want to be. It’s essential for obtaining the quality of life you seek. For growth – in order for you to make any progress in your life, you must take risks.

But to do so without sufficient preparation? You’re only asking for trouble! In truth, there is no guideline or blueprint on how to correctly prepare yourself for what’s ahead, simply because we cannot predict every detail of what’s to come. However, we can actively put in the time and effort in learning all there is to learn about the decision we’re about to make. We can seek advice from experts and have discussions with those who have experience in what we seek. We can prepare ourselves for the many problems that may arise, and we can establish a plan B and safety set. In short? Think long and hard (critically) before you act!

// Pride often stunts your success. //

Both my husband and I are ridiculously prideful. I can’t speak for him, but it’s literally in my bloodstream. I don’t know what it is, but people just love to struggle – they’re in love with it – and it’s very common for others to even romanticize the act of it. Don’t get me wrong, celebrate what you have overcome – we do. My husband and I have seen and faced a variety of adversity to homelessness to mental illness, but to purposely wage war? Don’t do that to yourself.

You may want to do everything yourself, you may hate asking others for help, but let me tell you, knowing how to ask for help is a sign of strength. Additionally, a smart man (or woman) asks for help. There is nothing to be ashamed of. When someone offers you praise, always respond with, “I had help.” In truth, and I’ve said this time and time again – all we have is each other. We’re here, on earth, to live, to love, and to lessen the suffering of others. That’s it. So, let others lessen your suffering.

// 99% of the time, things don’t turn out how you imagined it would. //

I like to say that my life is always eventful. I take the good with the bad every day. Sometimes the train you’re on gets thrown off track and you end up going where you didn’t intend to go. And, that’s OK. We can make a decision at that point to get off and turn around, or stay on.

// Know how to be proactive AND reactive. //

When it comes to goals… (and I guess life in general), it really is all about learning how to be proactive when appropriate and reactive when appropriate. Before you make a big decision or investment, regardless if it’s time or money or both, you’ll want to be proactive by identifying potential problems and taking the necessary steps to avoid them. At the same time, we know that, well, shit happens! And, that’s when being reactive becomes just as important.

How will you adjust your sails?

Will you get off the train, in a place you’ve never been? I would.

Continue Reading
1 2 3 7