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?

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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!

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10 MUST-HAVE Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Products (And Where To Get Them!)

One of the many things that I look forward to during the holidays is limited edition products. I wait all year for Dunkin Donuts to come out with their pumpkin flavored drinks and donuts! And, by the way, the classic pumpkin glazed donut at Dunkin Donuts is to die for. I just had one earlier this week and I’m probably going to get another this weekend. LOL. Because these products are only available for a limited time, it really does make the experience of enjoying them that much more meaningful. So, with that being said, here are my favorite pumpkin spice products and where to get them!

  1. Lindor Pumpkin Spice Bag, 19 Ounce 61fW8X7-UhL._SL1000_.jpg

  2. Quaker Pumpkin Spice Limited Edition Instant Oatmeal 8 Ct, 1.51 oz Packets 91J0ocwhXSL._SL1500_.jpg

  3. General Mills Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cheerios – 12 Oz 81ynjqkyuxl-_sl1500_
  4. Twinings Chai Tea, Pumpkin Spice, 20 Count 91NqhkfB9+L._SL1500_.jpg
  5. Krusteaz Pumpkin Spice Pancake Mix A1oyhWmVpKL._SL1500_.jpg
  6. Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts – Pumpkin Pie (Limited Edition) – 12 Toaster Pastries 61FO7RRC0gL.jpg
  7. Nestle Coffee-mate Pumpkin Spice Non-Dairy Creamer 15 oz 81Lmy7FFdxL._SL1500_.jpg
  8. Hostess Twinkies Pumpkin Spice 10 count box (13.58 OZ) 515tDwP2b6L.jpg
  9. Kraft Jell-o Instant Pudding & Pie Filling, Pumpkin, 3.4-ounce Boxes (Pack of 4) 81fwqWYlPIL._SL1500_.jpg
  10. Ghirardelli Fall Pumpkin Spice Caramel Medium Bag, Pumpkin Spice Carmel 7166-gFskOL._SL1500_.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Hello October <3 // Fall 2016 Bucket List!

 

It feels like I blinked and the entire year dissolved. Like a cube of sugar met to a cup of tea, it was over. A friend and I were discussing how much seasonal changes can influence our moods – for me, I spend all year looking forward to October, November, and December. I love the holiday season and everything it stands for – giving and serving others, reflection and being thankful, and sharing love and light with those we care about. However, for her, it’s the complete opposite. The cold weather, darker skies, and quietness instead create a sort of sadness in her heart. If this is you, I hope you find solace in the kindness and softness of others.

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One of my favorite things about autumn is how abrupt the changes are. It gets chilly overnight and the physical world changes. We get thrown into it, usually unprepared, and have no choice but to adjust quickly. I think there really is no better time of year to let go of whatever may no longer serve you, and begin something new. Something new could be a lifestyle or career change, while for others, it may be something simple as picking up a new book, or starting a new craft. I also find this the perfect time to set new goals and make preparations for what’s ahead.

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With that being said, here is my TOP 10 must-do’s (BUCKET LIST) for Fall 2016:

1.) Make art!

The art you make is entirely up to you. Perhaps, take up a new craft or work on an on-going project you’ve been putting off for a while now. This is a fantastic time to try out some DIY projects! My “craft” is writing. November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I’d really like to dedicate at least an hour a day to writing in the month of October. This will hopefully prepare myself for writing an entire novel in November. I have yet to decide if I will start something new or continue something old.

2.) Document everything!

Take photos of everyone and everything. Journal EVERYTHING. Although I personally think it’s good idea to journal 365 days a year, most of us recognize it’s that the most important events happen during this time of year. Families often get together for the holidays, and you’ll want to photograph it all. In this day and age, journaling can take on many forms. For me, blogging and using social media apps such as Instagram can be a form of journaling as well.  I do, however, also journal privately on LiveJournal!

3.) Enjoy hot cocoa, warm cider, and holiday inspired coffee drinks (pumpkin spice latte – DUH!)

My absolutely favorite hot cocoa is Nestle’s Abuelita Mexican Chocolate. This isn’t your average hot cocoa, ya’ll. Abulita hot cocoa requires you to melt down an actual brick of chocolate in a pot of whole milk – it takes time and patience, but it’s well worth it. This is the real deal – as close to homemade as it gets. A single purchase makes more than a gallons worth of hot cocoa, so it’s an incredible value when you compare it to single single packets. However, if you fancy the convenience packets, you can also buy Abuelita Instant Hot Chocolate! (Just add water.)

4.) Purge your closet!

Do you have winter attire (coats especially) that you haven’t worn in a few seasons? I urge you to donate it! Coats (and socks) are in high demand among low income families and homeless as the weather starts to become colder. Donate your cold weather clothing to your local coat drive. Check out One Warm Coat!

5.) Take a free (or low-cost) course. Join a writing, art, or craft workshop!

This is in addition to #1. Last night, in a frenzy, I found myself enrolling in not 1, but 3 courses at UC Berkley! 100% free, by the way! If you’re interested in writing courses, I welcome you all to join me in English Literature & Composition! Ed2Go is an awesome resource for adult learning, continuing education courses, and for those not necessarily interested in receiving college credit or obtaining a degree.

6.) Attend free local events in your area!

TimeOut is a very good resource for finding out what’s going on in your town! Check your local news as well. Any city ran events will surely be on the 6 o’clock news, or in your local newspaper.

7.) Dress up your home in seasonal appropriate decor!

This is a good time to check out DIY projects, as well! You don’t have to spend a lot, either. Go to your local dollar store, such as Dollar Tree or Family Dollar! (which, by the way, are sister companies so you’ll find more or less the same type of stuff at both stores!) While you’re there, look for Halloween costumes as well. Many child costumes run as low as $5.

8.) Bake pies!

For the amateur chef, like myself, a pie may seem like a huge and complicated task to take on, however, you’ll be surprised by how simple it actually is – especially if you opt in for a pre-made crust! Pie filling, those made of  fruit such as apple or peach are very simple to make and the quality of that pie really does come down to the quality of the fruit (ex. the apple variety, and/or, the ripeness of the peach), not so much your skill or talent in baking.

9.) Whip up some of your favorite soups and stews!

I wait all year to whip up a big pot of soup. Hot soup on a cold night is the ultimate comfort. Consider making large batches to freeze for later. This will save you both money and time. My all time favorite winter dishes are Beef Stew and my very own Cheesy Chicken Veggie Chowder! Both of these recipes are low cost – less than $1/serving!

10.) Watch horror films!

Believe it or not, I used to be a huge horror movie junkie. I loved the Saw series in high school, and have been a huge fan of A Nightmare on Elm Street, the classic Freddy Krueger slasher film, since I was a child. These days, the scariest thing I watch is American Horror Story on Netflix. LOL! If you’re like me, you probably don’t even bother with cable. <3 Oh Netflix, you’re all I need! <3

Truly, there isn’t anything you can access on the internet. There isn’t anything you can’t *cough* pirate *cough* off the internet. I mean WUT? Of course EYE don’t do that. 😉

Wanna kick it up a notch? Go to free or low-cost haunted houses in your town!

What do you folks have planned for October? What are you goals? Any special plans? I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

 

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