The Self-Centered Routine for Creative Visionaries

Prioritize You

Yikes! I know you see it. I do too – those two bad words sticking out like a sore thumb: self-centered, and routine. Terrible title, isn’t it? I’m hoping that after reading the clusters of paragraphs I have laid out in front of you, you will re-discover the meaning for both. The truth is, it’s okay to prioritize you. You should be at the center of your life. What does that mean? Your visions come before the visions of others. Additionally, having a routine doesn’t mean your life is suddenly void of any ounce of fun or spontaneousness. I am here to share with you how I have learned to master the routine, and put myself at the center of it, each and every day, and how that alone has allowed me to put my dreams on a pedestal and accomplish them.

The Daily Routine

Creative visionaries, like you and me, live each day hoping to one day stand with greatness. Their secret weapon, that is often left unspoken, the rule that both Woody Allen and Ernest Hemmingway adhere to is the daily routine. Hemingway wrote 500 words a day, rain or shine. Allen once said that success is 80% showing up. If you want to create something worthwhile in your lifetime, if you want to write things, make things, do things, be things – you need not wait for inspiration to come knocking. Honey, you break that door down. You show up, and you work.

Habit and Discipline

I have often whined to friends of creative dry spells. For years, in fact, I did not write, and you know what? I hadn’t done a damn thing about it. Today I know that it wasn’t inspiration I was lacking, but habit and discipline. The hardest decision then becomes not the writing itself but prioritizing it over everything and everyone else. And, indeed, it is a hard decision to make, but a necessary one if you want to accomplish the things you wish to accomplish in your life. When I wrote and published my first book, I had so much fire in my heart, but few responsibilities. So, naturally, it was easy for me to say, “Hey, I’m going to write this book, and I officially don’t give a shit about anything else until it’s finished.” And, guess what? I finished it. In fact, I did almost nothing but write for days on end. I skipped meals. I took a pen and paper into the bathroom – yes, I know, gross. I was so immersed in my book, that I didn’t care very much about anything else. I didn’t have nearly as many bills to pay or obligations to fulfill as I do now. So, as you can imagine, it has become increasingly harder for me to reach similar heights of creative productivity (or, Creative “Zen”, as I like to call it), and even harder for me to prioritize me when the rest of the world needs me. Now, more than ever, I realize habit and discipline are the true keys to any craft.

The hard part is often not our needs, but the needs of others. Sometimes drastic measures need to be taken. Thankfully for us, in no way are these measures truly drastic. All you have to do is pick a few hours out of your day where you become unavailable. For a few hours, at dawn or dusk, you simply fall off the face of the earth. No phone, no e-mail, no social media – you become completely unavailable. Put that worry out of your mind! I know you’re feeling it – I promise, you won’t miss anything. That’s the truth! That text message isn’t dire, neither is your boss’s e-mail. I’m sure by now you’ve realized just how unpopular this decision will make you. Listen, they will survive without you for a few hours, and if they’re sensible human beings, or give a crap about you, they’ll understand. The irony of worrying about the priorities of others is that you actually miss out on yours.

Now on to the novel you’re trying to write, or the business you’re trying to build – can you work on it every day? For any day that you can work, you probably should. If you can watch a film for an hour, or play a video game, or skim through your social media feeds (I see you!), you can surely work. Let’s say you work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Heck, let’s say 10, because of traffic, bad breakfast digestion, and your offspring. That leaves you 14 hours. Of course, you must sleep, so now you have 6 hours left. Give yourself 1/2 of that time to food, friends, and family, and you’re left with 3. Most days, try to dedicate 2 of them to your dreams, your goals, your creative aspirations, but 1 is more than enough. Of course, your routine will fit your unique life, and meet your specific goals, and sometimes an hour just isn’t realistic. At the end of the day, it really comes down to using that creative mind of yours and making time. Buy a crockpot. Talk to your loved ones. Can they help you make time? It’s going to come down to planning, prioritizing, and persistence. If you can sit down and write your novel for 15 minutes, that is certainly better than none, and making that commitment, no matter how small, is what leads to results.

You’re Not Actually Showing Up If You’re Not Working

The real question is, how can you make the most of those precious 15 minutes? Right away, I must say, there is no point in showing up at all if you’re not prepared to work. Yes, 80% of success is showing up, but you’re not actually showing up if you’re not working. You’re not showing up by sitting on that fat bum of yours and sulking. If that’s the case, you really could be doing something else! (Frankly, I recommend going for ice cream.) Before I discourage you, there are ways to show up, every day, with a stellar game plan, regardless if you’re there for 15 minutes or 15 hours (I’ve done this – I don’t recommend it.)

Time Management

Although detailed daily planners are a great investment to improve organization and time management in your life, they’re often only as effective as how realistic you are about the time and energy you have, as well as the effort required to complete your tasks. I love planners, but I don’t necessarily believe they actually help me become more productive or useful. For most of us, things naturally get done when they need to be done, and planners can only do so much for laziness. Although it does help me keep track of my day-to-day needs, I believe there is a subtle illusion of productivity attached to them. There is a lot of instant gratification in putting a check mark next to a task you’ve completed. All I’m asking of you is a small, realistic – emphasis of realistic, list of goals for the day. On this list, in a small outline of the tasks, you will complete for your creative work. Keep in mind that most things can wait until tomorrow, and there is really no purpose is doing things before they need to get done.

Set Firm Edges

I think in a lot of ways, it’s safe to say that creative work doesn’t necessarily bode well with classic concepts of professionalism. This section is all about why I think multitasking prevents us from reaching our ultimate potential as creative visionaries. I don’t think that professionalism necessarily creates forward-thinking, exceptional, remarkable, new and exciting products for us. I think saying “fuck you” to professionalism does. This is not to say that professionalism doesn’t have its own place, but the work that we’re doing – creative work – it has no place. This is not your office gig. This is not data-entry. To create something remarkable in your lifetime, you need to be at your best, bring your best, and focus all of your energy into a single entity. A great thing requires all of your power. This is essentially why setting firm edges are too important to ignore. What do I mean by firm edges? You need to be strict about when you make time for creative work and the quality of the work you’re doing during this time. Nothing is to bleed into the next section, or into the one you’re currently working in. You begin when it’s time, and you stop when it’s time, and you do nothing but what it is intended to be done during this time. In short, do not multi-task.

Energy Levels

Most of us have a time of day in which we’re most alert and energetic. This is the best time for creative work. This is not the time for data-entry if you catch my drift. You may not realize it now, but these are truly the most valuable moments of your day. This is when you’re at your best, so anything important or difficult that needs to get done, should be done at this time. I find early mornings to be the best time for work. Preferably before the rest of the house has awoken. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and open your favorite word processor. You need to find a space where you can be with just you and your creative mind for a few minutes, or hours. Mastering this part has a lot to do with getting to know yourself. The same can be said about the next, and last section of this article.

Creative Triggers

Believe it or not, familiarity can trigger creative energy far more easily than new landscapes. When we put ourselves into a routine, giving ourselves surroundings that are familiar, it sends a trigger to our brains that say, oh! it’s time for work. It is also comfortable and puts us in a calm state. We are not busy processing and taking in all the new multi-sensory surroundings, therefore, we can focus and get to work quicker.

The Hardest Part? When It’s Time to Finally Become a Professional

Figuring out what makes you tick as an artist is only half the battle. Consider that you found your routine, you honed your craft, and you mastered your practice. Unfortunately, it’s not over. Believe it or not, the actual hard part has not even begun. No one is born a professional, in the way that some claim to be born an artist. Although an artist’s primary goal is rarely monetary gain, it is often exposure. More so, the ability to connect and relate to their audience. I think artists specifically want to reach people, and lock hearts and minds with another, even for just a moment. The problem is, in order for an artist to do this, they must actually become salesmen. They sell their ideas, their words, and, of course, themselves. There is simply no other way to reach another, without first unleashing them and becoming vulnerable. So, yes, the hardest part is becoming a professional, and what that means for artists is becoming brave.

Do you want to know what’s even harder than that – what’s harder than the hardest thing of all – an artist’s greatest fear? It is fear of being criticized and deemed a fraud – simply not being good enough. This is a shared concerned by me, you, and everyone else on earth. You’re telling the world, “Hey! I worked super hard on this! I poured my heart, soul, and literal brain into it – I kind of, sort of, believe I might possibly be good at this. Maybe, just maybe, I know what I’m talking about.” When in fact, you’re a student, like me, and it is not entirely that black and white. I am no expert, and I hope you didn’t crawl in this thick head of mine, take a seat, with hopes of being enlightened. There are no true masters here. We are all learning.

A true artist works hard at their routine, and at their craft, but even more so, accepts they have much to teach, and even more so, to learn. They know we can all become a little bit stronger, a little bit better, a little bit smarter, by opening our eyes and ears to each other.

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How to Fight Like a Grown-Up

Jiu Jitsu for Beginners

Nope, it’s not what you’re thinking – this is not a martial arts crash course. Not to mention, if you’re looking for street fights, you’re definitely in the wrong section of the internet. This article is all about handling opposition and having adult arguments, with a few tidbits thrown in about basic grown-up communication. We’ve all seen Reddit forums and the Youtube comments section. Fun Fact: That’s not how communication works in the real world.

Fight Like a Grown Up

Let’s face it, it’s not easy keeping your cool when discussing what you’re passionate about. It’s not easy composing yourself when you’re being insulted. I get that, and I struggle with this just as much as everyone else, but part of being an adult is controlling your emotions, being conscious of your behavior, and always being the bigger and better person.

What does it mean to fight like a grown up? It means being patient and kind even when you don’t feel like it. Remember that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. You’re more likely to be taken seriously if you’re a kind person. You’re more likely to get what you want if you’re a patient person. Do you want others to respect you? Then don’t be an asshole. Regardless of your motives, pure or not, unless you’re a powerful figure in this person’s life, the best way to get your way is by playing nice.

Grow Some Armor

Thick skin! Get it here!

Remember this: Hurt people hurt people. Chances are, this person is being a prick because they’re going through some tough shit in their life, or they’re just a bad, mean person. Either way, you’re not a therapist. And, regardless of whether or not you feel their behavior is their fault or not, you still don’t deserve it.

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” — Mark Twain

Warning Signs

Is this conversation literally going in circles? Is there an exchange of point-of-view and information? Exchanging insults doesn’t count. Are they reasonable? Is their perception of the world so out-there, so odd, and skewed that you’re basically wasting your time? Do they scream at waitresses? Are they drunk? <– This matters.

You Can’t Get Along With Everyone

It might be hard to accept that you, or I, could possibly be disliked! With all our great personality and fabulous good looks! Realize that everyone has their own taste, their own preferences. Personalities clash and sometimes it just doesn’t work. You don’t like every single person you meet, right? That would be weird.

Swallow Your Pride

Knowing how and when to apologize is essential to fighting like an adult. We don’t always apologize because we’re wrong. In fact, sometimes we apologize when we truly believe we’re right! The thing is, deep down, in your grown-up-gut, you know that there is still room for improvement. A grown up knows that in all situations, we all could have done things differently. We all could have been better somehow. Being an adult is knowing you could do better and then going and being better.

Fighting Tactics 101

Those who claim to NEVER experience conflicts with their friends or significant others are 100% full of shit. Either they’re lying to your face they or they literally never disagree with anything. It’s also possible that they’re such a doormat that they refuse to have opinions. Either way, that’s a disaster waiting to happen.

Now, I’m no communication expert, and honestly, I have a lot of work to do myself, but I have a basic understanding of what it means to not be an asshole.

What you shouldn’t do:
Yell, call them an idiot, or anything else that constitutes as an insult.
Pull past resentments out of your top hat.
Avoid the topic, avoid how you feel, or what you think the solution should be.

What you should do:
Not engage while angry. Cool down first, then approach the problem. (Vent to a trusted friend or family member, first, if need be. Get advice on how to approach the situation while you’re at it.)
State clearly, and concisely your side of the story and/or what you’re upset about.
Listen intently their side of the story and learn as much as you can.
If you’re going around in circles, walk away.

Apologize, Dammit!

Did you hurt someone? Then you need to apologize and try to do better next time.

In order to make a grown up apology, you first need to know what you have done wrong and actually find it in your cold-dead-heart of yours to regret what has happened. Ask yourself: What did I do? What should I have done instead?

Just because you’re making an apology, doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to explain yourself, however, that doesn’t mean you can excuse yourself. That’s the other person’s job.

Now What?

Graciously accept apologies, even if you’re still angry. Do not accept apologies for repeated transgressions. At the end of the day, we need to remember that people change on their own terms and in their own time – if ever. In the meantime, accept this terrible thing that this person keeps doing.

Decide whether or not they are deal-breakers before moving forward. No one is perfect. Everyone you meet will have good and bad qualities. However, everyone you meet will also have a list of standards that must be met (or a line that cannot be crossed). For me, good-personhood is a deal breaker. I value being a good person, and it is something I want for myself, therefore, I want the internal compass of those I call my friends to be at least mostly in line with mine.

If you cannot accept an apology, be honest. Let them know in a calm and clear way that you cannot or will not move forward from this.

You can say something like, “I understand that you’re sorry and I appreciate you making sure I know that. However, I really don’t think we can be close anymore, and I need you to respect that. If anything changes in the future, I promise to reach out.” This in no way guarantees that when you do, possibly, reach out, they’ll want anything to do with you, but the point is that you made an effort to be honest and (not make a scene).

Being an adult sucks, doesn’t it? Mouthing off really does feel better, but mouthing off doesn’t actually help us make or maintain our relationships in the long run.

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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.

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Blogmas Day #13 // The Gift of All Gifts

Let’s face it, as an only child, birthdays and Christmas are amazing! Why? Well, simply because it’s literally all about you. Although my parents did have a lot of disposable income, and expensive gifts were not really a thing, I received very thoughtful and wonderful gifts as a child. It really was a reflection of how well my parents knew their child. I was a creative and artistic kid, and I often got gifts that reflected that.

The most memorable gift I’ve ever received, the gift of all gifts, was an electric guitar I received when I was 15 years old. As much as I loved it, I never got very good at it, and eventually, it started to collect dust. Regardless of this, it was still a very special and symbolic gift. Gifts are often funny like that. It has very little to do with the product, and everything to do with the intention.

And, I believe, the intention was an investment – not only a big monetary investment, a sacrifice from a parent, but also an investment in a child’s interests and personality. It closed the gap between us, and although at the time, and perhaps for many years to follow, it did not seem this way, I saw them on a different level – as people, I guess. My love and understanding of who they were, not only parents but as people, was solidified that Christmas.

A message was sent at this time – perhaps even they did not know they were sending it – be that as it may, at that moment and thenceforward, I felt advocated for. Until this day, I feel that my parents are experts at helping me cultivate who I am. In truth, I wish I had never let the guitar go, regardless of whether or not it ever got any use. It would have been a fantastic symbolic gift to give my children so they would also know I am forever their biggest fan.

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Blogmas Day #12 // Christmas Poem Pt. 2

December flies by, and so do our years,
Each time a surprise, or so it appears,
But you can depend, my love and my friend,
My heart to beat constant through
Hopes and fears.

Grateful I am, for each second we spend,
Sometimes in laughter and
Sometimes in tears,
But let’s give in to love– this winter night;
Whisper sweet nothings in each other’s ears.

Christmas is here, so let our love take flight,
Christmas is here, so let me hold you tight,
Christmas is here, we made it ‘til the end,
Christmas is here, it will all be all right.

This beatific time, where hearts slowly mend;
Choosing peace and love, we will all ascend.

Merry Christmas, darling – M.A. Tempels © 2016

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Blogmas Day #11 // My Perfect Christmas

One of my favorite Blogmas writing prompts (that I’ve clearly been putting off) is:

How would you describe your perfect Christmas?

I’ve been writing this post for the last 4 days. I know – that’s a bit overkill for Blogmas, but is not an easy topic to write about! I think the honest reason why I’ve been putting it off is because it makes me emotional. It makes me miss my Mother and the traditions we had with our family. We bonded over holiday shopping and gift wrapping. My Dad often set out a train to circle our tree. Whenever I pass by a train set for sale, my heart hurts a little. Although I am an only child, we have a big family and it was very much about giving the kids a great Christmas and spending time together.

My perfect Christmas would be one where everyone I love feels loved. It really isn’t much about the gift that is given as much as it is about the symbolism of giving. (I’ll get more into that in my next post where I will share the best gift I’ve ever received – which is an electric guitar, but I’ll leave that story for later.) Sometimes our best gift is our eyes, ears, and a shoulder to cry on. My ideal Christmas is catching up with those I care about and making sure they’re O-K.

Comparable to what I’ve talked about in the past, I think a lot of young people, especially those with far-away families and no children – the holidays can be a very lonely time of year. The shorter, colder, and darker days do not help either. Because of this, I think it’s such an importance to make sure you send an extra dose of kindness to your family and friends during this time of year. Let them know you’re thinking of them!

As you all probably know by now, most of my family reside in Hawaii where I grew up and spent most of my life, and even more scatters throughout the states. There is no such think as shorter, colder, and darker days in Hawaii, well, mostly, there isn’t. So, just the environmental change requires an adjustment to my body. I find that during this time of year, I seek more meaningful conversations and quality time with the ones I love. It ends up making Christmas that much more special as well.

To speak bluntly, this year has been rough for almost every single person I love. I wrote letters to long-time friends with words of encouragement. I wanted to make sure they knew I was here, and I see them, and I hear them. And, I feel for them deeply. None of us will enter 2017 alone.

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Blogmas Day #8-10 // 3 Questions Answered

Hey gang,

For today, I decided to simply go through the list of Blogmas topics, and try to find 3 writing prompts that I felt complimented each other well.

Let’s jump right into it!

1.) Do you celebrate Christmas? If not, do you observe another holiday during this time of year?

Clearly! I grew up celebrating Christmas and I still very much do. It is my favorite time of year and my absolute favorite holiday.

2.) Are you religious and how does your faith influence your Christmas and holiday traditions?

Despite the fact that I did grow up with Catholicism-based traditions within a Christian/Catholic household, I am not religious in the slightest. Although I am not religious, I have very strong humanist values. I respect and support any religious figure (such as the Pope) with similar moral values regardless of their faith.

3.) How are you spending Christmas this year?

If you’ve read my first Blogmas post, you probably already have a good idea of how I plan to spend the holidays. As for the actual day of Christmas, I have yet to make any concrete plans!

I’d love to hear your answers to these questions. Feel free to share in the comments!

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Blogmas Day #7 // Christmas Songs

If you’ve been keeping up with my Blogmas posts since December 1st, I apologize for leaving you empty handed last night!

This evening, I thought I’d go ahead and knock out my favorite Blogmas topic – Christmas songs!

I love going through holiday playlists on Youtube during this time of year! Fair warning: I’m kind of obsessed with Pentatonix and Post Modern Jukebox. They’re my two favorite go-to artists for Christmas music!

Without further ado, here are my favorite Christmas songs!

  1. [Official Video] White Winter Hymnal – Pentatonix (Fleet Foxes Cover)
  2. Last Christmas – Vintage Andrews Sisters – Style Wham! Cover – Postmodern Jukebox
  3. Ariana Grande – Santa Tell Me
  4. Sam Smith – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  5. [Official Video] Angels We Have Heard On High – Pentatonix

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BLOGMAS DAY #6 // Is your “holiday blues” seasonal depression?

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Although I often say, “I love the holidays!”, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I equate the holidays with happiness. Instead, on a more personal level, I often feel a sense of longing, sadness, and melancholic during the colder months. There really is such a thing as the “holiday blues”! It is not uncommon to feel a bit of sadness during this time of year due to weather changes. We see less daylight and more rain.

However, seasonal depression can be a sign of major depression or bipolar disorder, and I would urge you not to dismiss these feelings, especially if it’s a common occurrence. If you find yourself in a “funk” that lasts for several days or weeks at a time, changes to your eating or sleep patterns, it may be time to see a doctor.

For me personally, the holiday blues is often triggered by loneliness. I grew up with a big family and the holidays often meant spending a lot of time with extended family from Thanksgiving through New Years. Because I have so many cousins, nieces, and nephews, Christmas shopping and gift wrapping were a huge part of our holiday traditions. My mother and I would spend a lot of time together doing just that!

In college, I often had friends and classmates preparing to go home for the holidays whereas that wasn’t something my family and I could afford to do. Because of this, I often felt quite a bit of sadness at the beginning of October, and that sadness often peaked at the beginning of December. Over the years, I’ve discovered ways to help combat seasonal depression, which I must add, can be helpful for any kind of depression or sadness you might be experiencing.

Firstly, I’d like to mention that participating in Blogmas might be a great tool for you. So far, I’ve noticed that the daily reflection has allowed me to be a bit more self-aware of my feelings and how I’m doing emotionally. It also provides me a daily goal, which ultimately, should provide some feel-good activities! So far, I’ve been very active in participating in holiday activities I’ve included on my Christmas bucket list. Truly, this is all thanks to Blogmas.

In addition to Blogmas, here are 5 ways to kick the holiday blues that I have found to be most effective:

1. Get out of the house.

I know, I know – you just want to stay in watching Netflix, maybe read a Harry Potter book while sipping your hot cocoa. (I know this because this is exactly how I want to spend my holidays.) Well, my dear, you can’t spend the ENTIRE month of December doing this! During the winter, you’ll want to get as much sunlight as you possibly can.

2. Keep a journal.

It’s always a good idea to keep a journal. Journaling provides you the opportunity to reflect and keep track of not only events in your life but also your emotions. It allows you self-reflection which is essential to personal wellness.

3. Stay connected.

If you’re far from family, this is especially important! It is something I need to remind myself, as well. I try to keep in touch with my parents on a more regular basis during the holidays so I feel more included in their lives and them in mine.

4. Invest time to do things you want to do this holiday season.

I think this is equally important. Every year, I find myself saying, “there is always next year” while I push back events. Truthfully, money is always a factor, but listen to me when I say that fun is a necessary investment.

5. Talk about it.

Talk to Mom. Call your best friend. Tell your cat. Schedule a visit with your therapist. The absolute last thing you want to do is bottle up your emotions and let them fester. Work on them with a loved one or professional.

Are you suffering from seasonal depression or the “holiday blues”? Do you have any suggestions on getting through this time of year?

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BLOGMAS DAY #5 // PROGRESS REPORT!

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Instead of covering a specific topic today, I thought I’d just write a bit about what I’ve been up to and what I’ve got planned for tonight!

This evening, I stopped by the post office to complain about the packages I haven’t received. For some reason, the post offices in the upper-Manhattan area are so terrible! It really is disappointing. I do a lot of online shopping and receive care packages from loved ones out of state, and it’s such a challenge receiving any of my parcels.

The line was long and those standing in it were very grumpy, to say the least. On the bright side, I didn’t leave empty handed – thankfully! I was able to pick up at least one package – 2 pairs of leggings and a cardigan from Forever 21 which I purchased on Black Friday. I love Forever 21 basics, especially their solid knit leggings. They’re surprisingly thick and fantastic quality. I wear leggings all year long, and they often don’t last. Big thighs create friction and tend to wear down on the material quickly. But these beauties? They last at least an entire season! Which may not seem like much, but at $5.90 a pop (that’s their list price!), you can’t find a better value for plus size leggings anywhere else.

I really enjoy the Fall/Winter colors as well. I picked up one pair in a maroon color and another in a forest green color. I also ordered a basic flyaway cardigan for under my coat! Eventually, I’d like to style these pieces and show you how I plan to wear them!

On the way home from the post office, I stopped by a few Mom & Pop discount stores, which, by the way, is very common in every neighborhood in NYC. They basically have a little bit of everything. I was able to find wrapping paper, scotch tape, glue sticks, danish cookies, hot cocoa, a box of tea, and Christmas cards for a dollar each! Before I go to chain stores, I always check the nearby discount stores first to see if they have what I need for cheaper – 99.9% of the time they do, and for a dollar. Hands down, I’d probably spend $20 instead of $7 if I went anywhere else.

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Tonight, after I finish uploading this blog post, I plan to wrap a few gifts, and work on these DIY paper houses I started last night. I will probably be enjoying some tea, maybe coffee, or cocoa, and of course, the danish cookies I purchased today! If I have time, I’d also like to start working on my Christmas cards and get them out ASAP!

// Blogmas Day #1 BUCKETLIST progress //

I’m proud to say that I’ve been making good progress getting through my Christmas bucket list! So far, I’ve picked up my small potted plant and made my Toys For Tots donation! 😊 

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I’m also well on my way to completing the DIY projects I have in mind, as well as sending out the Christmas cards with written letters. I have a few 2017 planners sitting in shopping carts, as well as a journal, but I’m honestly really considering bullet journaling and/or putting together a binder and printing the entire thing out myself with the hundreds of free printable planner inserts you can find on Pinterest! I have the paper, the printer, and the ink. And, a 99 cent binder is a lot cheaper than a planner, amirite!?

How is everyone making progress with Blogmas? Have you kept up with it? It’s only been 5 days! I know it’s starting to feel like a chore already, isn’t it?

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