January 29, 2021
Omigosh, is it really Friday again? Getting back into habits is HARD. So bear with me everyone. Here is a post I wrote a month ago as I was still attempting to get back into my blogging routine. Sewing, hurray!
I’m not a very patient person. I like to get things done quickly and efficiently, and if I can’t, why bother?
Until I met sewing.
After exhausting all my other creative endeavors over the past 10 months, I circled back around to sewing. I’ve always had a like/despise relationship with sewing, as in sometimes it was cool and necessary for doing things like sewing masks, but most of the time it made me want to drop my sewing machine out the window.
Until quarantine, I never really knew how to use my machine properly. I threaded it following the arrows on the machine, but when it the thread kept breaking for some unknown reason, I threw my hands up in frustration and decided sewing was officially not for me, even if it meant I couldn’t make masks. Fine, I’ll just buy them!
Weeks of quarantine passed, and with boredom quickly setting in, I actually sat down for 10 minutes and watched a Youtube video on how to properly thread my machine. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started, right?
Anywho, I learned I was making one simple error; apparently the presser foot needs to be UP while threading. Apparently this obvious fact is so obvious that it doesn’t need to be shared. Omg.
After overcoming that simple yet elusive hurdle, I went down the rabbit hole from there, and I now know how to sew zippers, apply interfacing, and add grommets. All I can say is, I am so ready for the Ren Faire when covid is over.
Sewing can be tricky, which prevented me from exploring it further in the past.
With sewing you need a toolbox, only it’s not evident which tools are best for the job. There’s lots of equipment for very specific purposes, and every fabric handles differently.
But the most important tool is PATIENCE! Sewing really requires slowing down, researching, and enjoying the journey.
At the end you might have something bespoke and beautiful, which is really why we all want to try learning sewing, isn’t it?
January 22, 2021
Hi everyone, life was a lot for a hot second (about 5 months). I was dealing with some real life stuff (who hasn’t been right?) which led me to do some more introspection and a lot of journaling. I felt like I couldn’t give my best to my blogging while also doing so much personal writing.
I dove to the bottom of the metaphorical pool to understand myself and the world around me better. I’m excited to come back to the surface to share my insights in future posts.
While I’m trying to get back into the habit of blogging, I’ll keep this post short so I can give myself a pat on the back for hitting ‘publish’. Below are some of my illustrations from the past few months.
Hang in there!
September 11, 2020
Ever wonder why you are the way you are? ME TOO. ALL THE TIME. And now thanks to covid, I have even more time to ruminate on my personality.
Also thanks to covid, I now have a fresh supply of anxiety. Knowing more about psychology helps me manage my anxiety.
Now I can be like, “that’s just my story pattern. I don’t actually need to fret.”
What is a story pattern? Thanks for asking! (I knew you would :))
To understand that, first we need to talk about attachment styles. Everyone falls into one of these three categories:
If your parents were predictable with their love, encouraging, and validated your emotions, you’re one of the lucky ones who has a secure attachment style! You most likely believe the world is a safe place and you’re not afraid to take risks in love or life, since you came equipped with a secure foundation.
If your parents were unpredictable, hot and cold with their emotions, you may have an anxious attachment style. Since you never knew how the people you loved were going to react, you may be a little anxious. In relationships, it shows up as neediness. The anxious partner frequently looks for reassurance, since they learned early on that feelings can change rapidly. When reassurance isn’t given, anxious attachers can get demanding/angry in their desperation to know their partner won’t unexpectedly leave them.
If you ever got the vibe growing up that it’s not okay to talk about emotions and that emotions are a weakness, you may be an avoidant attacher. Avoiders may have trouble giving comfort to others or understand why they are ‘so emotional’. They have trouble being vulnerable and try to stuff their emotions down. Their challenge is to see that emotions are a normal part of life and not something to be ashamed of.
Ok, now I’m going to take things up a notch. If you ever wonder why you fight with anyone, it’s probably because they are pushing the button on your “story pattern”
In life, we may have had some struggles or traumas. Maybe your parents divorced, maybe they always blamed you for things, maybe you were bullied at school. These struggles can form ‘patterns’.
For example, if your parents weren’t attentive, you can repeat the story of “lonely child” if your friends don’t want to hang out (it repeats, hence it is a pattern).
Realizing that the enemy is the pattern, not your friends, is the tricky part. Naming your pattern and recognizing when it pops up is the key!
Once you recognize your pattern, you can swoop in with some loving self-compassion. “It was so hard when I was lonely as a child. Just because my friends are busy this weekend doesn’t mean they are abandoning me.”
September 02, 2020
My previous boss said I let everything knock me over. She was right. I had so little faith in myself and my abilities that any hiccup sent me flying off my mountain. She said I had all the skills, all the knowledge, and I was really good at my job- I only needed to trust in myself.
When you are compassionate with yourself, you will also begin to trust yourself more, because you know you can handle whatever comes your way. Bad things will always happen, but being able to soothe yourself in these situations will keep you pushing forward and trying new things. You know you’ll catch yourself when you fall.
For a long time, I didn’t draw. If I created anything less than perfect, it would damage my ego and identity as an artist, therefore it was easier to not create. Sounds silly, I know. Many of us do something similar in order to avoid ‘failure’ and damage to our identity. Perhaps you procrastinate, because if you never accomplish anything then no one can blame you for doing a bad job. Our fear of failure, of not living up to expectations, of not being perfect all prevent us from doing something truly great.
How it would feel to turn something in on time, knowing you did your best? Anything less than your best is still a way of hiding and protecting yourself; let self compassion can be your new armor. If anyone is displeased with your best effort, you can use self compassion to comfort yourself. “This is really hard. It hurts to hear criticism, but I know I did my best so I’m proud of myself.”
September 02, 2020
I am usually quite hard on myself. I half-jokingly refer to myself as a “nervous pervous” for no reason other than it rhymes and it’s a cute way to say I am heckin’ anxious.
Last year, I thought I was doing better. I was being nicer to myself. Then a giant sledgehammer called COVID goofed up my hard-earned equilibrium. Though I didn’t know it last year, I realize now that what I was starting to do is called self compassion.
During this time of stress and loneliness, self compassion is vital.
Whenever I am worried about something like “omg, is society collapsing?” I comfort myself by saying, “It is normal to worry about your health and safety during this stressful time. Even if this time is tumultuous and the future is uncertain, mankind has lived for thousands of years. We will make it through, even if we can’t determine what the future holds.”
Though I don’t always remember to do this, it does prevent me from having a straight up panic attack on a day to day basis.
As I mentioned in my Cats + Mental Health series, treat yourself like you would a kitten, because no one can be mean to a kitten. And you shouldn’t be mean to yourself either!
In Western culture, we like to punish ourselves in order to ‘motivate’ ourselves, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you read Kristen Neff’s book, you can see all the studies she did that prove that people who are self compassionate are actually MORE effective at accomplishing their goals, because they aren’t afraid to fail. They aren’t going to punish themselves if and when they fail, so they don’t need to be afraid. They realize everyone fails sometimes, and failure is not connected to self worth. What better reason do you need to be nice to yourself?
After years of ‘punishing’ and ‘motivating’ yourself, it can be hard to believe that you are allowed to be nice to yourself. It can feel selfish. But again, would you say such mean things to your best friend? To a child? To a kitten? I hope not!
Even if you believe it’s selfish, hear me out: whether you punish yourself or are nice to yourself, the end result is the same. Your actions will be the same. So would you rather feel anxious or compassionate?
If it’s too hard to ‘talk to yourself’ at first, imagine your best friend saying kind words to you when you need them. Your friend believes you are worthy of kindness, and it’s true.
And if you are more motivated by being compassionate to others, here’s another twist: if you are nice to yourself, you will be nicer to others.
I used to be critical of myself, therefore I was critical of others. I didn’t even realize I was doing it, or why it was happening. I tried so hard not to ‘slip up’. Any failure of mine reflected directly on my self worth, so failure had to be avoided at all costs. Whenever I saw someone else ‘slipping up’, I would be quick to judge, because I judged myself so harshly. “How dare they get away with failing! I try so hard not to fail lest someone point out my shortcomings, so no one else is allowed to mess up without being berated!” was essentially my thought process. I would be so angry that no one came down on them as hard as I came down on myself. When you accept yourself and are kind to yourself, you will do the same to others.
Next time you ‘fail’, remember that all humans make mistakes, and you’re okay. Imagine a family member or friend saying exactly what you need to hear in that moment. Be gentle with yourself, you are worthy.
September 02, 2020
Wow, has it been 6 months already?? How are we all doing?
The only thing keeping me going right now is novelty- in order to not go crazy during quarantine, I have to keep finding new things to do, eat, watch, etc. No matter how trivially new, it still counts! For example, this week I tried a new brand of sparkling water. It was really exciting.
Does anyone else have stages of quarantine resemble mine?
March: OMG!! What is happening? The world is ending!!
April: I thought last month was boring?? This month is REALLY boring. Time to do some crafts that I’ve put off.
May: Wow, still going! Maybe I’ll start hiking all the state parks I’ve never been to.
June: Yay, it’s summer! Now I can do socially distant picnics outside, and the virus will dissipate!
July: Okay, so I’ve been everywhere within 2 hours of the Twin Cities. I’ve done so many socially distant picnics that I’ve run out of kebab recipes. Time to catch up on some reading!
August: Oh no. Winter is coming. I’ve exhausted everything I’ve wanted to do. Time to get a Hulu subscription.
We’re all in the same boat, so I don’t have much insight to give, but hopefully I can offer some inspiration.
What to do when you’ve exhausted all quarantine activities:
Every month I hit a metaphorical wall, and every month I manage to pass through it. It takes some creativity, grit, and making even the smallest things interesting. Even if it is as simple as buying a different flavor of La Croix., treat yourself to something new. Check out as many DVDs as you can from the library. And go down the YouTube rabbit hole and learn new things!
August 12, 2020
It is important to not give in to despair during quarantine. Even so, this week I’m don’t feel like writing a blog post today because sad. Instead, I thought I would share pictures starting from my last day of pre-covid life to now. In case you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to the last 5 months, this is it! Lots of nature, baking, cooking, and playing video games.
August 07, 2020
What Self Compassion is Not
What do you think of when you hear ‘self compassion’? Do you think of a narcissist? Someone who thinks they can do no wrong?
A narcissist fails to acknowledge their shortcomings because if they do, they lose their ‘shield’. They think by not acknowledging their mistakes or shortcomings, no one will ever be able to hurt them.
Even if you’re not a narcissist, it is still difficult to admit our mistakes in our culture. In the USA, we walk a tightrope of being confident while not being boastful. Don’t you dare show any signs of weakness, but also don’t you dare think you’re perfect. No wonder people feel they need a shield to protect themselves!
None of us are perfect. Some of us are just better at ruses. However, if you have compassion for yourself and your shortcomings, you don’t need a ruse.
Measuring Self Worth
Have you felt bad about not accomplishing enough during quarantine?
Covid hasn’t left us with many ways to keep up the illusion of striving for more and being perfect. Meaning: we don’t feel very good about ourselves right now. How do we measure our self worth if our previous methods of feeling like enough have been stripped away? Do we write a novel? Learn a new language? How do we maximize quarantine?
Am I doing enough? Am I enough?
Asking ‘am I enough?’ is an irrelevant question.
You Are Enough
You will always be enough, whether you decide to learn a new language or binge watch Netflix for 5 months. Have some compassion for yourself!
Instead of saying “I should be more productive. I’m lazy and a terrible person for watching Netflix yet again” try, “this is a really hard time for everyone right now and I’m doing what I can to cope.”
You may be thinking, “yeah, well is watching Netflix for 5 months straight healthy? Shouldn’t I be more productive anyway?”
You’re not going to feel better by judging yourself. So again, that’s an irrelevant question. Try being compassionate with yourself (not to be confused with feeling sorry for yourself).
That takes some of the pressure off, doesn’t it?
Maybe by taking some of the pressure off yourself, you’ll feel like learning something new. But maybe not. It doesn’t matter.
This is an important time to be nice to yourself. Even when quarantine is over, if you want to keep watching Netflix, that’s also fine. If that’s what you want to do, you were probably going to do it anyway, so why willingly increase your suffering?
Stop judging yourself. There’s no right or wrong way to spend this time.
July 30, 2020
Yep, there are lots of things to be upset about right now.
I worry about how selfish our culture has seemingly become. I feel frustrated because there is no end in sight for COVID.
Despite all that, I’m still happy. I have to be, because it’s my flotation device. I can’t give up on protecting my happiness, or the world will be too overwhelming.
Last year when I first started working on my happiness, I felt guilty and like I didn’t have the right to be happy. Then I realized, the state of the world would remain the same whether I felt happy or sad; I decided I would rather be happy.
Being happy doesn’t mean I condone the current situation. It doesn’t mean that I am happy about everything going on in the world. It means I try to find meaning in my life everyday, and to hang on to hope. I can be happy on the day to day while still being anxious about the world. We are allowed to feel more than one thing simultaneously.
I give you permission to be happy and to keep pushing for more change. Happiness isn’t complacency; it’s choosing joy now, because the world will never be perfect, so you might as well enjoy the ride while you’re on it.
You can look at this time as an opportunity to grow without distractions and test your resolve, or you can look at it as a miserable time of unfairness and think of all the ways in which you’ve been ‘robbed’.
And if you do feel like this is a miserable time and the world is unfair, acknowledge that. We can’t hide from our true feelings, even if we would prefer not to have these ‘bad’ feelings.
Instead of judging your feelings or pushing them down, try sitting with them and accepting them like you would a baby and/or kitten. Just like a real baby or baby cat, your emotions don’t know any better, and all they really need is kindness. Telling them they’re bad won’t make them go away.
There are some emotions we would rather not feel (like sadness, anger), so it is difficult to sit with them. Most of us want to try to avoid pain, which is why we stuff sadness and anger into a box. However, whether they burst out of the box in one big explosion or dangerously seep out over time, they will always escape the box, and you’ll have to feel your feelings regardless.
Might as well do it as soon as possible, because (Pain x Resistance) = Suffering.
The more you resist your emotions, the more pain you’ll feel in the end.
But this is a post about being happy, so how does allowing yourself to feel sad fit in??
Maybe a better way of saying ‘happiness’ is ‘acceptance.’
I know sometimes I’ll still be sad. That doesn’t make me ‘lesser’ or any less ‘happy’, because my overall state of being is happiness/acceptance.
If I have a drawer full of socks, the drawer itself is ‘happiness’. The socks in it are emotions like joy, sadness, anger, etc. I would rather keep all my socks in a happy drawer as opposed to a sad drawer, because I need to use that drawer everyday, and it just makes things a little more pleasant.
I encourage you to not judge your emotions this week. You are allowed to feel them. In fact, you HAVE to feel them. Sit with them gently, be kind to yourself, and don’t forget to be happy.
July 21, 2020
Does anyone else feel like driving and going into stores is super overwhelming since Covid started? Is it just me?
Usually I do drive through or order pick up for my groceries, but you can’t get every single item you need that way. So sometimes I need to go into the store to get a specific ingredient. And holy heck is it stressful!
I was an anxious person before I forcibly became a hermit due to Covid, and now everyday activities are giving me anxiety. Just thinking about all my new anxiety is giving me anxiety, AHH.
So today I’m going to tout what has long been touted to me: mindfulness. I know, UGH. It sounds SO BORING and pretentious.
If I pretend it’s not called mindfulness, it’s a lot more appealing. To me it means: name that emotion and why it’s appearing. It sounds really silly, but it’s easy and it works for me.
Exhibit A: Going into Target.
Mindless Deidre: AHH SO MANY PEOPLE WITHIN MY 6 FOOT BUBBLE
Mindful Deidre thinks:
I am stressed out because there are many people here while a global pandemic is happening. It’s normal to feel stressed out when there are many people within your bubble during a pandemic.
While it doesn’t change the situation, I feel a lot better about it because I’m validating my own feelings and allowing them to be felt. Though we desperately try, we can’t escape our emotions.
As I explained in my previous post, just because you ignore a kitten that is climbing your curtains doesn’t mean there isn’t a kitten still climbing your curtains.
We may ask, “why is the kitten scaling my drapery? That’s not very nice.”
Obviously it’s not an ideal situation, just like feeling anxious isn’t my preferred state of being. But kittens don’t care. Kittens just want to be acknowledged, and so do your emotions. Mindfulness can help with that.
July 14, 2020
Another Friday, another kitten analogy, here we go!
(this one might make more sense with a puppy, so I’ll let you choose which baby animal you want to imagine for this analogy. I’m still going to use kittens though because I’m on a roll)
What happens if you ignore a kitten (or puppy)?
Does it entertain itself and leave you be? Does it sleep peacefully?
Haha, nope! If you ignore a kitten (or puppy), it will climb your curtains, tear up your tissue box, and find other mischievous ways to make its presence known. It will meow (or bark) “PAY ATTENTION TO MEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
What happens if you pat the kitten on the head, and halfheartedly dangle a toy in front of it?
The kitten will be appeased, for now. It may nap for a bit, before it decides to eat some string and turn your sock into a toy.
What happens if you fully engage with the kitten? You focus only on playing with the kitten, uninterrupted, for 15 minutes. You run the kitten up and down your apartment, wearing it out, and then shower it with kisses and snuggles.
The kitten will be satisfied, and will leave you in peace for the rest of the day.
The kitten is an analogy for your emotions. No matter how much you push them down, they’ll still seep out and destroy things in the process. You can’t just make the kitten disappear, because the kitten is part of your family. You can’t choose to love the kitten only when it’s convenient for you, just as you can’t expect to only feel happiness all of the time.
So then, how do we deal with our rascally kitten/emotions that are desperately crying out to be heard?
You fully engage with them, just like you would fully engage with a kitten to make it take a nap and stop knocking things off your desk.
As it is when playing with a kitten, sometimes it can be painful. You may get some claws in your leg while the kitten climbs you like a tree, and you may get some playful bites on your hand. The pain is the hard part. To fully engage with your emotions requires some degree of pain, which is why we are so reluctant to pay attention to them.
The kitten won’t be satisfied until you do engage with it. And just as you would unconditionally love and accept a real kitten, you should unconditionally accept your emotions too. Occasional poops on the floor and scratched up furniture is part of the trade off to get purry cuddles from a lovable kitten, just as sadness and anger are part of the package that comes with happiness
Sadness and anger can be a gift.They are a warning bell that lets us know when something is wrong and when changes need to be made. Even if it hurts to listen to the warning bell, we shouldn’t neglect it because it brings us pain. These important emotions are trying to protect us from more pain in the future.
I hope picturing your emotions as a lovable kitten will help you embrace them, and give you the courage to listen to warning bells and face your problems head on.
July 09, 2020
I’m continuing on the path of cats & mental health. You feel me?
As I’ve scraped the bottom of the barrel over and over for things to do during quarantine, I rediscovered a show recommended to me when I first started fostering cats.
Despite its intimidating name, Jackson Galaxy’s show “My Cat From Hell” is anything but.
Jackson Galaxy shows you how to work with your cat to change its ‘hellish’ behavior. Desperate cat owners (or guardians as they are referred to in the show) seek help for things ranging from scratched up furniture, ‘unprovoked’ attacks, and overzealous territory marking (AKA peeing everywhere).
In the opening credits of the show, he states “there’s never been a cat I can’t help.”
That is wonderful news, and not just because it means the cat won’t have to go to the shelter; it means no cat is broken. The environment needs to change, not the cat.
I believe the same applies to us humans. No one is broken. Only their situation or environment. It’s much easier to change your situation than it is to change your personality.
The cat guardians in the show are often surprised by Jackson’s approach, thinking he was going to say, “you’re right! Your cat is completely crazy!” and maybe do some intensive cat training. Instead, he encourages them to see things from the cat’s point of view. How is the cat feeling? Is it scared because cars go by every night? Is it bored because no one has time to play with it?
Oftentimes after he asks these questions, the reason for the cat’s bad behavior becomes clear: the cat is bored, scared, and/or lonely. The cat is acting out because it’s crying for help.
The cat isn’t broken, the environment is. And while results aren’t instantaneous, the solution is usually relatively simple. Add more shelves so the cat can look out the window. Buy more toys to keep the cat engaged. The key is to be patient and to realize there’s no quick fix for anything.
Whenever I feel anxious, it helps me to think of my brain as a scared cat in a hectic environment. What would Jackson do? For starters, he wouldn’t yell at the cat and say “stop being anxious! You’re stupid for being stressed out!”
He would approach the cat with an open-mind, coo at the cat, pet it, and play with it.
He wouldn’t try to change the cat’s personality; he would assess why the cat is feeling the way its feeling, and work to improve the cat’s environment.
He approaches every cat with calm, acceptance, and love, and you should do the same for yourself. If your current situation is bad, remember you’re not broken; maybe its just your situation.
July 02, 2020
I’m going to do something funky today and combine my passion for cats and mental well-being.
Do you ever beat yourself up for saying something stupid? Do you get frustrated when you don’t make progress on your goals like you should?
As I’ve said before, be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself like you would treat a best friend.
In case that analogy isn’t working for you, I’ll share a different analogy that I recently read: treat yourself like a foster kitten who hasn’t had proper socialization yet. Who can get mad at a cute little kitten??
If you get frustrated with your little kitten, just remember that it doesn’t know any better and it hasn’t been properly socialized yet.
With lots of gentle care, that feral kitten will soon become a purry cuddle puddle. Yelling at the kitten or being mean to the kitten won’t help it progress. You can forgive your kitten for following its instincts, right? Your metaphorical kitten is doing its best with the tools it has!
You may worry that your kitten won’t improve at all unless you put pressure on the kitten. You may say to the kitten, “be better!”
You may even give the kitten an ultimatum, “kitten, if you don’t go to the gym 3 times a week I’ll be mad at you and not give you any treats!” but the kitten won’t understand. It will only be confused and shrink away.
I can’t guarantee that removing all your expectations of the kitten will improve the kitten’s motivation. But I can say that the kitten will be much happier if you take a gentler approach, and the kitten may even end up surprising you with its progress once all the pressure is removed.
So if you get upset with yourself for not being more motivated, remember the little kitten in your head. Being upset with the kitten for not doing more isn’t going to make the kitten more productive, but petting it and whispering encouraging words might.
June 24, 2020
Have you heard of power posing?
I will admit, I was skeptical at first. Had I known the book I checked out from the library was by the person behind power posing, I might not have given it a chance.
My first reaction was “I have to read a whole book about putting my hands on my hips?!”
Spoiler: it wasn’t all about putting your hands on your hips.
I originally checked it out because this is the summer of ‘me’, and Presence is all about being your best and boldest self. Here are my top three takeaways:
Being sincere is a two parter!
Part one: Be honest in your thoughts and your actions.
You build a reputation with yourself. When you know you lie, exaggerate, have ulterior motives, withhold information, etc, it will subtly leak through your actions. And people can tell when you aren’t being sincere, even if they can’t quite put their finger on why something seems off. It’s a leftover survival instinct! If you are always sincere, your conviction and confidence will automatically shine through.
Part two: Be sincere when listening to people and withhold your judgements.
You may have noticed how difficult it is to change someone’s mind on a topic such as say, politics. When discussing politics, are you listening just to change the other person’s mind, or are you listening to truly understand their point of view? Even if you think someone’s viewpoint is wrong, they will sense that you aren’t being truly ‘present’, and it will affect your ability to have a discussion with them.
Be honest, withhold judgement, and listen to both yourself and others.
Think of a time when you felt ‘truly you’ and you were your best. What were the circumstances?
For me, I feel like my best self when taking care of my foster cats and kittens. I do what’s best for the cats and act decisively when I think they are sick. I pour so much love into my fosters, and have saved kittens that the humane society didn’t think would make it.
Since I believe strongly in what I’m doing, I am naturally confident about it. I don’t care if people think cats are aloof, feminine, mean, etc or if they think I’m a crazy cat lady.
If you think about your best self before an interview or presentation, it will put you in the right mindset. You don’t have to practice public speaking or completely change who you are to be confident, you only have to feel passionate.
We worry about what people think because they want them to like us, right?
Ironically, worrying too much about it is like having your brain firing on too many cylinders at once, which makes you less effective and probably less likeable. How can you possibly be your best self when you’re analyzing different scenarios and everything that is being said and could be said in real time? My brain is frying just thinking about it!
This knowledge has really helped me re-frame my interactions with others and helped me relax. I can only do the best I can do, and we all say something cringey at times.
Now that I know my best self will come through if I stop worrying about being my best self all the time, it has freed up so much mental energy! And for the times when I still get nervous, I know I have my Wonder Woman power pose to fall back on. Your mind follows your body’s actions, so you can trick yourself into thinking you are powerful, and it will help you relax. So starfish up!
June 18, 2020
I have a confession: I’m back on to self-helpy type books.
With not much else to do, I’ve decided that quarantine is the summer of ‘me’, and I’m going to get all my self help out of the way so I can finally be a self-actualized and functioning human being.
If you’ve been following along, you may have picked up on the fact that I have some confidence issues. Fear not, dear reader! I am *mostly* past it.
Sometimes you have to breeze through a few books and Youtube videos to find a nugget of gold (or a bread crumb) to completely change your perspective and put you back on the right path. I gleaned such a nugget from watching a Youtube channel called Charisma on Command.
Typically, things like ‘how to influence people and win over friends yada yada etc’ make me feel yucky inside. I’m not trying to manipulate people into liking me, I just want to not be a ball of anxiety! But luckily, Charisma on Command draped me with a warm blanket of love and self acceptance, and this is what I learned:
People don’t judge you on your flaws, they judge you on how you feel about your flaws.
Clearly, I’ve been going things very wrong (and I say that with all of my self-acceptance and love).
So many years of trying to achieve perfection to have a protective ‘shield’. I could have circumvented a lot of pain, money, and time if I just accepted myself and my flaws.
I feel so relieved.
No one can use my flaws against me if I’m okay with my flaws. In fact, now I know I can lean into my flaws, and everyone will just have a giggle about them! (Just look at Jack Black. He LEANS so hard into his ‘flaws’ and he is hilarious!)
My friends often comment on how early I go to sleep. I LOVE to sleep. And I never gave a flippity flip about what anyone thought about my grandma bedtime, because I know I need a solid 9 hours to maintain my pleasant demeanor. It’s kind of a running joke now (at least I think it is, if not sorry not sorry and I’m going to keep going to bed at 10PM anyway :))))
If I felt sensitive about my need for slumber, it might be a different story. But I’ve accepted that I need some gosh darn sleep and my friends have too. Yay!
If I can apply the same conviction I have for sleeping to other aspects of my life, I’ll be good to go! Stay tuned for more confidence nuggets throughout the ‘summer of me’.
June 05, 2020
Do you ever hear what your voice really sounds like (from a video recording, or the phone echoing back, etc) and cringe?
Our internal picture of ourselves is not always accurate- and anything that contradicts how we view ourselves can be… a little painful. No one is ever like, yay, give me some constructive criticism please!
Stick with me here, because I have some weird analogies coming up.
In this video game I’ve been playing lately called Persona, the protagonist saves people from their shadow selves, which are dangerous monsters that reveal your true feelings. You can’t hide from your shadow self!
For example, one person you save is a girl whose family owns an inn. She is quiet, smart, admired, and will eventually take over her parent’s business. Seems like her life is set, right?
Since I’m writing about it, you can probably guess that no, Yukiko does not feel that way.
She feels stuck. She doesn’t want to take over the inn because it was decided for her, and she feels she has no control over the future. She desperately wants a ‘knight in shining armor’ to rescue her from her city. She resents anyone who has a boyfriend, because she feels she deserves one more.
Popular. Capable. Angry. Jealous. All of these things are true.
In this game, the character must face their shadows in order to defeat them. The more the characters deny and ignore their shadow self, the angrier and more dangerous their shadow self becomes. They need to accept the ugly part of themselves in order to calm it down and defeat it. Once defeated, the shadow grants the character special powers, making them even stronger.
Your real strength comes from being able to face your shadows, because then they don’t have power over you. The more you acknowledge your weaknesses, the stronger you become. You have to admit there’s a problem before you can address it and improve.
With that being said, just because you have ‘shadows’ does not make the good parts of yourself any less valid.
My shadow: I am obsessed with perfection, and I get laser focused on issues until they consume me. I have a hard time letting go until I believe it has been fixed.
My strength: I am great at improving things, and I am often aware of issues before they even come up, meaning I am able to fix them before they become bigger problems.
The flaw I just described and my strength are one in the same. Your weakness is often your greatest strength with the volume turned up too loud.
Since I am aware of this about myself, it allows me to step in do a little course-correcting before things get out of hand. When my more negative thoughts crop up (as they often do) I can look at it from a distance and say, hello shadows! Thanks for those thoughts but also no thanks. It also allows me to know myself better and be more grounded in who I am. If someone were to offer me some constructive criticism, it would not come as a surprise, therefore I would not be as defensive. I can respond more calmly, and from a place of self acceptance and confidence.
In the video game, after defeating her shadow self, Yukiko learns she can forge her own path. In the end, she decides to keep working at her parent’s inn. It’s the same outcome, but this time it was the path she chose and accepted instead of the path prescribed to her.
If you face yourself, you can accept yourself.
June 01, 2020
People seem to have forgotten about this color:
And about this diagram:
They try to paint everything as black and white. If you don’t agree with us completely, then you must be against us!
I wrote what I thought was a heartfelt post on Facebook (great idea, I know) to let others know what was going on in the Twin Cities, seek support, and point out there are shades of gray and not just one force at work in the destruction.
I was sick to my stomach when I realized my post was misinterpreted, and others jumped to conclusions without trying to understand the intent of my post.
TLDR: I didn’t want protestors to be blamed for all the violence. Yes, some protestors may be destroying things. Some of the destruction might be from people who just want to get in on the excitement. Some might be anarchists who want to burn the establishment. Some might be white supremacists trying to incite more violence and destruction.
Maybe I just should have said that?
I was trying to convey that there are MANY people with MANY motivations, and it’s not a black and white picture of “Protestors are destroying everything!” or “No, the white supremacists are destroying everything. It couldn’t possibly be our own residents!”
I was worried people who weren’t in the Twin Cities would immediately turn blinders on and not try to further understand the movement because of the destruction.
Again, maybe I should have just said that.
Instead I talked about how shocking it was to see the gas station across the street from me be set on fire. I said that it was jarring to learn places I used to go were now destroyed. Yes, I was upset about the destruction, but that doesn’t mean I don’t support the movement or that I didn’t understand why it was happening. I can be upset about the death of George Floyd and the destruction of places that hold so many of my memories.
When the Target by me was first destroyed, I knew that it was part of the cause and while it may inconvenience my life, I also knew that this is how disenfranchised folks feel everyday. The police precinct was symbolic. The old Rondo neighborhood was symbolic. While I don’t condone the destruction, I was not upset by this.
I am upset about the opportunists destroying things like a tuition-free school, non-profits, and libraries. It is obvious to everyone in the Twin Cities that these actions are not a part of the movement. These are the actions of opportunists who just want to fuck shit up for the sake of fucking shit up.
Yes these things can be rebuilt, and I know the pain I feel about the neighborhoods that were destroyed doesn’t compare to the pain of others. But I can still be in pain. It doesn’t mean that I value buildings over human life. It doesn’t mean that I value my memories of those places over a human life. I can be sad about both things, and I can be different degrees of sad about them, okay?
Everything that is happening in the cities right now hurts so much because I care about this place and I have a strong connection to it. It is where I got married. It is where I got my first adult job. It is where I laughed with my friends. It is where I shared meals with my family. It is my home.
Please, realize the situation is a lot more nuanced than it appears. Realize there are shades of gray.
I am heartbroken.
May 22, 2020
Congrats dear readers! You’re about to finish up with the Craft Away the Sad program. I have one final *fancy* craft for you!
You can have the best smelling apartment in quarantine with DIY Soy Candles 🙂
I taught myself how to make candles after receiving a homemade candle as a gift from a friend. My curiosity was piqued, and one candle making kit later, I have all the soy candles I could ever want.
To get started, it might be easiest to buy a candle making kit as a baseline. But in case you want to pick out your own items, here’s what you need:
Candle making itself is easy, but the tricky part is proportions and temperature. Depending on the diameter of the jar, the shape of the jar, the volume of the jar, etc, you need a different wick. To save you the hassle and keep things simple, I’ll tell you exactly what I buy.
You’ll have some extra wicks, but that’s okay. They’re cheap and then you can make more candles in the future! Since each jar holds about 7.5 oz of wax, you can make around 20 candles with a little wax left over.
When I want to make candles, this is what I do:
Using the scale, measure out around 29 oz of wax into the pouring pot. If I were making these to sell, I would be super consistent. Since they are just for me 28.92 ounces is close enough!
Fill up the stock pot a little over half way with water. Set the pouring pot into the stock pot so it floats. Put the stock pot onto the burner and turn on to medium high.
Using the hot glue gun, glue one pretabbed wick (per jar) to the bottom of 4 jars.
Clamp the wick from the side using the clothespin (so the wick will stay centered while you pour wax).
Put newspaper under the cooling rack and set the jars on top of the cooling rack.
Periodically check on the wax while it is melting. If it bubbles, it’s too hot and you need to turn the stove down to medium or medium low. Resist the urge to stir- this will cause air bubbles and your wax will ‘cave’ when it’s poured into the jar. Basically, it creates an undesirable sink hole in your candle 🙂
Check the temperature with the infrared thermometer. Once it reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit, take the pouring pot out. Add 2 ounces of your candle-safe fragrance oil and dye if you’re using any. Using your stirring device of choice, gently stir in a figure-eight motion and try not to create air bubbles. I usually stir for about 30 seconds.
Now, let the wax sit until the temperature cools to around 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit. Now you may pour it into your jars!
Some more tips:
Voila! Around 4 hours later, your candles will be hard-ish. I wait about a day before trimming the wicks to about 1/4″ using a scissors. Wait 3 days before burning, and for best results use within a year or keep it covered with a lid. So fancy!
What are your favorite fragrance oil scents? Mine are coffee and orange!
May 15, 2020
Hello everyone! Quarantine has gone on far longer than probably any of us expected. Or is it just me?
Even though I am struggling to fight malaise, I keep blogging and crafting to stay entertained. It’s tough to keep going even though it feels pointless (how will anyone use all these bath bombs??! Where did all my blog readers go since quarantine??) but it’s the only way I know how to stay sane. I have a few more crafts up my sleeve, so I’ll be here as long as you’re still here!
Let’s up our bath game and make some DIY bath bombs. Alleviate boredom and relax in one fell swoop!
After much experimenting via various recipes off the internet, this is a recipe I concocted that worked best for me. I prefer enough coconut oil to hold my bath bombs together, but not so much that my tub becomes a pain to clean. Here it is!
With the exception of the fragrance oil, you can get all these ingredients at the grocery store. The fragrance oil is totally optional if you don’t want to shell out shipping $ for something you’ll only use once. I understand how it is, I got your back 😉
Step one: Combine baking soda, citric acid, and epsom salt in a bowl. Mix with your hand or a spoon.
Step two: Melt coconut oil in a glass bowl. If you’re using fragrance oil, allow the coconut oil to cool before combining.
Step three: Add the oil mixture to the dry mixture. Mix thoroughly with hands, use glove if needed. Spritz with witch hazel until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand. It should just barely stick together and not be too wet.
Step four: Depending on your mold, there are a few different ways you can do this. If you have a true bath bomb mold, just scoop the mixture using your mold and pat it down firmly (much like you would if it were brown sugar). If you have a silicone mold, grab a handful of the mixture and squish it together in your hand, then place into your mold and squish down firmly. Just a heads up: the silicone mold method is a little messier, but most people have muffin pans and may not have bath bombs lying around 🙂 as always, I have a designated muffin pan I use for bath bomb making.
Allow this mixture to dry over night, and pop out the next day!
Bath bombs can be a little finicky, so don’t be discouraged if your bath doesn’t turn out. You can still use it! The humidity of the air will make a huge difference. If your bath bombs seems crumbly, add more coconut oil. You can tell if your house/apartment is humid if your bath bombs look bubbly/and jagged. Again, they are still usable, they just won’t be as pretty 🙂
Good luck and have a great bath!
May 08, 2020
I thought it would be fun to show you my drawing progression over the last 9 months since I took my illustration class to quarantine!
This cat drawing is from when I first purchased an ink pen and Copic markers. I didn’t really know what to do with the markers, how to blend them, and I was using the wrong kind of paper. I also didn’t have many colors too work with, so I don’t blame myself too much for the choppy shading.
This one is a top to bottom comparison of how much my cat drawings have improved! (with bonus wizard hats thrown in). The ink lines on the ‘gamer’ cat aren’t very confident yet, and I was still figuring out how to blend and create marks. At least for this cat drawing, I was using marker paper and experimenting with blending more.
This bird drawing is from the beginning of quarantine when I started drawing more.
And these cuties are from a couple weeks into quarantine. Shading is smoother and the lines are more confident 🙂
I hope this shows how big of a difference 9 months can make in improving a skill. You can do it!
May 01, 2020
I have another craft distraction for you!
When looking at the greeting card aisle, did you ever wonder how they make cards glossy and shiny? Well, I did. So I learned how to do it myself and bring my greeting card game up to 10,000.
It’s called embossing!
If you want to impress literally everyone with a deceivingly easy yet extremely fancy craft, embossing may be for you.
To get started, head over to Paper Source and order:
That will run you around $50, but you probably won’t need to get supplies ever again (unless you want more stamps, more colors to emboss with, and more greeting cards!)
First, I put my blank greeting cards in the blue thing. As you can see, the blue thing as a funnel on the left, so you can liberally sprinkle your card with embossing powder, then pour the rest back into the container when you’re done.
Next, I put my stamp on the VersaMark stamp pad- unlike your typical ink, the VersaMark pad is colorless and is an adhesive for the embossing powder.
Next, stamp your greeting card and pour the embossing powder over it. You’ll have something that looks like this:
Lastly, you’ll run your heat gun about 4 inches above the embossing powder for like 10 seconds. It’s super hot and it goes super fast, so be careful!
You’ll see the powder magically turn shiny right before you eyes, so once you do, you should stop before it smells like burning 🙂
As you can probably tell, my card is a bit messy. Here’s how you can avoid that:
I can’t wait to see your beautiful cards!
April 24, 2020
Since last year, I’ve made it my priority to keep happiness as the baseline, not as the exception.
When I say ‘keeping happiness as the baseline” I really mean protecting mental health against an onslaught of negative thoughts and feelings.
Once the fragile gates of your mental health have been overrun it can be hard to pull yourself out of the rabbit hole. During this global pandemic, it is incredibly important to protect and maintain your mental health before it becomes a chronic issue.
Step 1: Accept Your Emotions
There are many reasons the COVID situation is sad. Deaths, lay offs, being separated from family and friends. You are allowed to mourn the loss of normalcy.
It is possible though to still mourn and feel content. Too much sadness is hard to hold onto and is not a sustainable way to live. You can be sad your friend got let go, and happy that you still have a job. You can be sad you can’t see your friends, but glad knowing you are doing your part. You can be grateful that we still have running water and can enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning.I think that’s about the best we can do right now. There is space for more than one emotion at a time, even if the emotions are seemingly conflicting.
The goal of life isn’t to be happy all the time- if it is, any negative experience or bad event will send you into a tailspin. Pivot your expectations, and look for meaning and purpose, not necessarily happiness.
Step 2: Thank Your Emotions and Let Them Go (without allowing guilt to replace them)
Sadness isn’t a bad thing; we need sadness to make us balanced, caring people. So, let’s accept our sadness, thank it for reminding us to have empathy for our neighbors, and Konmari it goodbye. Our sadness has served its purpose, so we can let it go now.
Once you let your sadness go, there will be a gap. Don’t allow feelings of guilt to settle in where sadness once resided. Guilt is just sadness masquerading as another emotion. I give you permission to not feel guilty about feeling content when so many other people are distraught. We must take care of ourselves and put our oxygen mask on before we can help others.
Step 3: Find Meaning
Times like these make me realize how human and vulnerable I am. A lot is out of our control. However, because everything is so out of our control, we don’t have to try to control it. I can’t begin to comprehend why this is happening, so all I can do is trust the universe and look for meaning.
Here is what I have learned from COVID:
-Without suffering there is no compassion or gratitude. I have seen so much compassion over the last few weeks, and that is what I hold onto.
-It is possible to maintain close relationships with people that live across the country. I talk to my friends more than I did before quarantine, and virtual hangouts are no longer burdensome but something I look forward to.
-Even with an extra hour of time (no more commute!) I still struggle to carve out time to work on drawing (AKA, it wasn’t commuting that was holding me back). When I am done grieving, I will hold myself more accountable.
-I usually rush through things because I’m always thinking about what’s next. Now that I’m forced to stay still, I am diving into topics more deeply, and I’m learning a lot about graphic design and my cooking has become rather artisanal.
Faith us trust, not understanding. We will make it through this. I hope this helps.
April 17, 2020
This is my foster cat, the 15 year old bronze cutie! (or bronze terror, depending on how often he wakes me up during the previous night)
Take a page from Skippy’s book: forget about all your worries and just pass out on a hard chair.
I have a trick question for you: were these all taken on the same day?
Look at the subtle changes in sleeping positions!
Look at his little paws covering his widdle face!
He really likes this really hard and uncomfortable chair.
Believe it or not, these are all different days! He’s just so cute I can’t help but photograph him every day. Also, what else do I have to do during quarantine? LOL
He sleeps about 90% of the time. However, he is wide awake between 4-6AM though, and loves to poke my face with his paw until I pet him.
Hope you’re all a little more relaxed now 🙂 feel free to share your cuties with me!
April 10, 2020
I love dessert. So much in fact, that I found a way to eat more dessert (perfect for coping during this crazy time of Covid!)
In January, I challenged myself to go sugar free for 30 days. And I did it! An impressive feat for a chocoholic such as myself. How did I do it, you ask?
Sugar free baking (which also happens to be vegan, gluten free, and dairy free. Holla!)
By sugar free baking, I don’t mean cheating and just using Stevia instead of sugar (spoiler: I do use maple syrup, which depending on your definition of sugar, may be sugar. But hey, at least it’s natural!)
So, pop over to Costco, and get yourself some medjool dates, cocoa powder, maple syrup, coconut oil, and some toilet paper while you’re at it.
First Up: PEANUT BUTTER CUPS
During Sugar Free January, I discovered that coconut oil + cocoa powder had a very similar texture to chocolate, and it was just enough to scratch the itch. I didn’t even feel deprived at all. Look at these beauties!! I dare say they are down right professional.
After making these life changing treats and discovering that I could indeed live without chocolate, I experimented with what other sugar free desserts I could trick my brain with.
I first bought medjool dates to try out a recipe for sugar free and flour free muffins. Gosh darn, I was fooled again! This is when I fell in love with the sticky and sweet fruit.
After making the banana muffins, I had about 30 leftover dates. What to do? Obviously, create VEGAN BROWNIES!
NO SUGAR, JUST DATES, WALNUTS, AND COCOA POWDER (and almonds, but those are optional)
KABOOM! BOOM! KAPOW! That is the sound of my mind being blown, again and again!
If you’re expecting these to taste exactly like brownies, you’ll be disappointed. But if you want something that has the same characteristics that make brownies awesome (AKA gooey and chocolatey) then welcome to vegan brownie town!
I still had some dates leftover, and my internet search led me to my final baking experiment: chocolate peanut butter balls.
Wowee! These are truffl-y and I don’t even know how (actually I do, it’s the magical medjool dates!) They are creamy and soft, and the cocoa powder gives it that chocolate-tasting magic.
My work here is done. Being stuck indoors has forced me to use up unusual experiments and has been a great exercise in creativity! What have you created during quarantine that you wouldn’t usually have made?
April 03, 2020
I asked, you answered: this week’s blog post will be the ULTIMATE DISTRACTION! CATS AND CRAFTS COMBINED!
Full disclosure: I didn’t think of this post idea until after I was done crafting, so my photos are not perfectly curated and beautiful. I was playing around with my leftover melt and pour soap without a particular project in mind, so I made some more ~unusual~ looking soaps
Also, sometimes you can’t be bothered to wash soap off your soapy dishes to make more soap because it’s just soap anyway and you’re in quarantine and you’re over it. So be warned, the following photos may contain soap residue.
Without further ado, here are the remnants of my melt and pour soap craft!!
I started making soap because I was fascinated by the beautiful bars I would see at craft fairs and in fancy boutiques. I too wanted to be fancy, so I taught myself how to make soap with a simple melt and pour kit from Amazon.
All the hassle of real soap making is taken out with melt and pour soap. There are no hazardous chemicals such as lye, which is used when making soap from scratch. Melt and pour soap has already been through the lye process and is just plain old ready-to-use soap.
You can get all the ingredients online. I use a combination of Amazon, CandleScience, and Bramble Berry to get all my supplies.
This is what you need:
I have a larger soap mold (the purple one) for making large batches, but I started with the pink mold just to make a few bars at a time. I use the brown mold make pretty jewel soaps which I either keep as is or use to decorate other soaps.
I put fragrance oil and colorants as optional because when you’re starting out, it’s a little tricky. Since it’s touching your skin and gets close to your eyes, I’m a little more cautious about the products I use in my soap. I only use the fragrance oils specifically made for soap from CandleScience or Bramble Berry.
Now that you have everything you need, let’s make soap!
First, take our your soap base and place it on your crafting cutting board. (You could probably use your normal cutting board, but I’m a bit of a hypochondriac so I like to keep things separate).
I use around 3-5 ounces of soap at a time, around 1/4 of a block.
Using your dough cutter or knife, chop it up into itty bitty pieces, a little smaller than an inch. This makes them melt and easier, which also means you don’t burn your soap. Believe me, the smell of burnt soap is nasty. You don’t want to burn your soap. So chop chop!
I highly recommend the dough cutter. It makes cutting the soap so much easier, just like slicing through butter! I had used a knife for a while but it makes cutting soap a monumental effort, and wasn’t particularly fun.
Now put the chopped bits in a glass measuring cup or bowl. The glass measuring cup works really well since it has the pouring spout. Again, I like to keep my crafting and cooking separate, so I have a specific measuring cup designated for only crafts.
For about 5 ounces of soap, I microwave it for 30 seconds to start. Then I stir it, and if it needs more microwaving I’ll pop it in for another 20 seconds. I don’t do increments of more than 30 seconds, lest I burn my soap. Small increments and stirring is key! Repeat as necessary, but seriously, try not to burn your soap.
Once melted, you can stir in the fun stuff! I used Blood Orange fragrance oil, my favorite scent from CandleScience. It tells you on the bottle what % is safe to use in your soap, in this case the fragrance should make up about 3-6% of the soap. If you get really into soap making, it might be a good idea to get a small scale so you can weigh this precisely.
For this batch, I didn’t use any colorants because I’m using the pink embeds to jazz it up. If you’re just starting out and don’t want to shell out a ton of money for fragrance oils and colorants, you can use things such as turmeric, tea, or honey.
It might not look that beautiful LOL but in quarantine anything goes. I made do with what I had just so I could show you the process 😉
Take care, and I hope you enjoy your new quarantine hobby!! 🙂
March 27, 2020
Things are weird, we can all agree on that right? I had to keep rewriting this post because thing change every day.
It’s taken pretty much all of my mental energy to not despair. I still have money, food, and a place to live, so everything is pretty much okay.
The stressful part is no one knows what’s going to happen next; all rules have been thrown out the window, new information surfaces constantly and things have been changing every 24 hours. It’s a lot to deal with!
In one week I’ve gone from coming back from vacation to having half my workplace let go, including my best friend at work. I’ve been grieving for her and the sudden loss of our daily contact. There was no warning, no goodbye party, no last hugs. The hardest thing for me has been coping with the loss of routine and rituals that I took for granted. Even ‘sure’ things, like a friend’s wedding and the Olympics, have been cancelled.
Amidst all this, what’s keeping me together is yoga and trusting that everything will be okay. It might end up being a very loose definition of ‘okay’, and things might not be the same as they once were, but we will find a way to survive. I trust in the universe because of all the the displays of goodness I’ve seen over the last week.
A sewing shop around where I live was offering supplies to create face masks for nurses, and the line for supplies went for THREE blocks! And after our animal shelter announced it would be closing all but one of its locations, people lined up to adopt the remaining animals, and over 300 (nearly all!) of the animals found a home.
And for right now, I got this old guy to take care of:
I am fostering him while the shelters are closed, but I think I need him more than he needs me right now! He’s very purry and affectionate and a good distraction.
Things look bad right now, but what gives me hope is all the people stepping up to the plate and helping their neighbors.
Staying inside isn’t exactly what I was expecting to do this spring or summer, but it’s an opportunity to connect with friends in a different way, work on my art, and get creative with what I do have.
How are you coping and taking care of yourself?
March 20, 2020
How eerie that I wrote this post a week and a half ago after returning from my road trip. Things were different last week; it now feels like a year ago.
Here are some insights from Deidre of last week, which are oddly fitting for this time of extreme disruption and uncertainty:
“Lately, I’ve felt like my life is a little too routine. I try to maximize my happiness and productivity by doing yoga, eating less sugar, and drawing everyday. Which are all good things, except for the reason I do them: I have a bad habit of trying to minmax my life.
If you’re a gamer, you’re probably familiar with the term ‘min-maxing’. Here’s the definition of a minmaxer from Wiktionary:
With everything I do, I try to optimize myself and my experiences.
While on my road trip, I wanted to make sure I was having the most fun possible and getting the most out of my vacation. If I didn’t hit every tourist attraction or sample all the local foods, my vacation would be a waste, and I would only focus on the things I hadn’t experienced, rather than the amazing things I had done.
Case in point: I’m still kicking myself for not doing anything in Dallas. At the time I was too tired and stressed out to pack more into my road trip, and I really just needed to rest that day. So that’s what I did. And it felt so wrong. I even fall into this trap with my Etsy store.
I’ve been constantly trying to improve my marketing, my products, and my drawings. For a while, drawing became all about what other people would like to buy, and drawing without the purpose of selling seemed like ‘a waste of time.’
Being productive all the time is joyless. Beneficial yes, but joyless.
Even writing this blog post feels a little too productive, but it does bring me joy because I’m not trying to stuff it with keywords or rank for SEO. I’m writing for me.
If you do things out of joy, sometimes the side effect is productivity.
So I’m not setting any more goals.
Trying to maximize my life sucked the joy out of it. You can’t plan for everything. You can’t predict the future. You can only do things in the moment, and marvel at how amazing life is.”
I get chills just reading what I wrote last week. Hope you’re all having an unproductive week and taking care of yourselves. Best wishes to everyone,
March 13, 2020
In keeping with my theme, here are my discoveries from drawing every day for 30 days. If you’d like to see my drawings, follow me on Instagram!
March 06, 2020
Lately I’ve been a big fan of 30 day challenges- it all started in January when I did Sugar Free January and 30 Days of Yoga (I couldn’t pick just one, so I ended up doing both). I have wanted to blog about it since I started my challenges, but couldn’t figure out the right format- until now!
Committing to 30 days was incredibly attainable. Since I have ALL OF THE hobbies (meaning I frequently stretch myself too thin), I gave myself permission to put other interests on hold while I delved deeply into just one topic per month. I found that since I’m not switching gears so often, I was getting better results and making more discoveries quicker.
Without further ado, every week for the next month will feature 10 things I’ve learned from a certain topic 🙂
10 Things I learned from doing yoga for 30 days:
February 28, 2020
I’m not sure when I lost my confidence in my art; I think it was somewhere between high school where I was told by a ‘friend’ that my acrylic paintings were not as good my watercolor paintings.
And they were right- my watercolor paintings were much better. Acrylic didn’t come as naturally to me, but I preferred painting with acrylic.
Instead of honing my painting skills, I figured it was best just ignore it all together, stop painting, and then no one could tell me otherwise. My identity was an artist, and it needed to be preserved. If I didn’t paint, no one could tell me my paintings sucked.
In college, my art classes focused on things that were REAL. We almost exclusively drew from still life set ups, nude models, photos, and anything we could find around the campus or our dorms rooms.
One time when I made a painting without using a reference, my teacher told me my painting wasn’t believable. Again, she was right: the painting I did from a real life subject was better. So I gave up on using my imagination.
After four years of only drawing from real life, I started to doubt I could draw well if I didn’t have anything to reference.
Recapturing My Imagination
As a kid, I loved Sailor Moon. I still love Sailor Moon. I love all the ribbons, all the gems, all the pink, and how everything has wings or a heart on it. I love her magical cats. I love her adorable outfit. I love that she wears a crown. I LOVE ALL OF IT.
As a kid, I would spend entire weekends drawing my own staffs, my own wands, and my own Sailor Moon characters. I never worried about reference photos. Obviously, there are no reference photos for Sailor Moon, because it isn’t real.
To truly be on a quest for cuteness, I have to give up on my beloved reference photos, and trust that I can still create without them. Wizard cats don’t exist, nor do magical pink sloths. And that’s okay, because my goal isn’t to create the most realistic magical pink sloths.
Let me explain with a story from my marketing class: Cola technically is not the best tasting cola.
Pepsi is. Pepsi did a blind taste testing campaign, and it was clear from the results that Pepsi was the better tasting cola.
In order to compete with Pepsi on taste, Coca Cola created New Coke. And guess what? People HATED IT. They demanded the old Coke, and voila, old Coke is the one that is still available today.
Coca Cola briefly allowed Pepsi to define the conversation on taste. Coke quickly realized their mistake: the best taste wasn’t the point. Coca Cola’s fans loved it for what it was, not because it was the best.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the best. Don’t let someone else define the conversation. There are plenty of successful people who are NOT THE BEST. They are great, but they are not 100% #1 THE BEST. Is Calvin and Hobbes a realistic drawing of a kid? No, because it doesn’t have to be. That is not its goal or purpose.
So, it doesn’t matter that my imaginative drawings are not as good as the ones that are drawn from real life references, because I can’t create what I want to create if I only rely on real life. Realism is not the conversation, and I will not let my skill or lack of skill define the conversation of my art.
February 21, 2020
This past week, I attended my first Japanese class. And suddenly, I was a kid again: I felt alive and excited and like anything was possible.
So many people in the class were doing cool things and wanted to study Japanese for different reasons, such as being able to communicate while entering a taeko drumming competition or attending a Japanese home and garden show. I realized I had forgotten what it was like to do things just because I wanted to, instead of for monetary or professional gain.
Before this year, the last time I had felt truly happy was in college. Once I was thrust out into the world after 16 years of schooling, my dreams became second to survival.
It was hard to dream when student loans loomed over my head; all I could think about was money, and for a while I forgot what it was like to dream. I postponed my happiness for years until my body started giving me physical symptoms, and I needed to focus on my happiness for health reasons. Even if you need money, it is still important to focus on little things that can make you happier. Your soul needs nourishment too!
If this past year has taught me anything, it’s that the future is unpredictable. That doesn’t mean that you should throw caution to the wind and forget your responsibilities- but if you are a little too responsible, maybe now is the time to think about injecting some whimsy into your life. Take a class, go on a trip, write a story. You can dream again.
February 14, 2020
After The Digimon Incident of 2019, I decided to reread the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy to hone my sense of joy. Even though I had some KonMari regret, it does not mean that tidying is bad. It just means I had more to learn!
With new information in hand, I decided to work on de-cluttering something I had skipped the first time: digital clutter.
I originally skipped it because it was daunting and less satisfying than seeing piles of physical items to be discarded. I had years of photos to go through- all the way from high school to my post college life. I had 3000 photos from just my time studying abroad. Ack!
I began with college because it seemed easy enough; I had four neat little folders labeled “Freshmen Year” and “Senior Year”. But each folder had 500 photos each.
I realized very quickly that having 500 photos from each year of my life does not bring me joy. It brings me anxiety. It is impossible to enjoy the memories in my photos if I have to sift through 7000 of them (that is not a joke. I take a lot of photos).
The sheer amount of photos I had caused me to quit trying to declutter them before. I would say “it doesn’t take up any physical space so I don’t have to deal with it”. But even if I didn’t have to deal with it on a daily basis, in the back of my mind that they were weighing me down. I wanted to be able to find things easily and reminisce with my friends, because that would bring me joy.
In doing this exercise, I realized that for the majority of my photos, it was a waste of my time to take them. Now don’t get offended- we all like our photograph memories! But I was definitely taking waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many photos. And I now realize I can scale it back, and everything will be okay. Future Deidre will even thank me for all the useless photos I am no longer burdening her with.
Like, why did I take so many pictures of random trees?? Random landscapes?? Close ups of pretty flowers? Those things were better left to be enjoyed in the moment, because they don’t have sentimental value and the camera does not do them justice. I could make an entire scrapbook titled “Trees Deidre thought looked cool” and it would be SO. BORING.
In conclusion, if I am going to interrupt my enjoyment of the present moment to memorialize it via photograph, my photos will not be blurry selfies. They will not be of trees or flowers. I am limiting myself to 1 group shot, and MAYBE 1 selfie, and 1 well-staged photo of the event. ONE TO TWO PHOTOS PER EVENT ONLY.
Having 7000 photos meant none of them were special- it only meant they were a SELF-IMPOSED BURDEN. AAH!! I’m using all caps because I feel so strongly about this after sifting through photos for TWENTY HOURS! THAT WAS ALMOST A WHOLE DAY OF MY LIFE!
The photos I kept are even more valuable to me now because I get to enjoy them more often 🙂 and it won’t even take a whole day to look at all of them!
February 07, 2020
As previously mentioned, I took another class! It was valuable!
I would summarize it as: learn all the scary stuff about graphic design and printing.
I originally wanted to take graphic design, but the class was cancelled due to low enrollment 🙁 bummer. I’m glad I took this class even though I felt a little out of my league! I was definitely forced to put the cart before the horse, it was a good motivator to learn InDesign real fast!
The scary stuff:
Do you know the difference between RGB and CMYK? You may be like, I have heard of those acronyms but I don’t know what the heck they mean. I know right?? But don’t fret, I finally know the difference.
RGB is for WEB ONLY. It gives you extra colors that only look good on screen. If you print them, they will turn into dull CMYK.
CMYK is for printing! They are more accurate. But they are dull. But that’s all you get!
After all the art/computer related classes, I can’t believe no one said it like that before. They were all like, RGB is an additive light color method, while CMYK is a subtractive color method. Like, OK. Helpful. Not. I don’t care about the theory at this point, I just want my printed pieces to turn out okay and for me to not look like an idiot.
Do you know the difference between file types? Another scary thing right?? I sure as heck didn’t!
What is a JPEG? What the heck is PNG? And when did TIFF arrive on the scene???
I used to play file type roulette and just pick whichever acronym I liked best that day. I heard of JPEG, but I also heard that JPEG compressed things. So sometimes I picked PNG because it looked fancy. TIFF took FOREVER so I avoided that one. Now I know what’s up!
Similar to the color acronyms above, I don’t know why no one seemed to be able to explain this in layman’s terms before.
JPEG: for print, does a little compression.
PNG: preserves transparent backgrounds, so this one is for web obviously. You ever get that annoying white background?? That’s because it was a JPEG. JPEG is for print so it don’t matter!
TIFF: Is called a lossless file, which means it doesn’t do any of that crappy compressing! If you want your file to be totes preserved, you can use this high quality but slow as heck TIFF. It’s slow because it has so much info to save!
Was that helpful? I thought so. Hope you find this info as helpful as I did!
January 31, 2020
Yes, I originally started this blog to go along with my Etsy store. Yes, I would love it if you bought something. But only if it brings you joy- after blogging for exactly a year now (say what??) this blog has evolved in a way that I did not expect, and has led me to realize what I really enjoy doing: a deeper kind of self reflection that is hard to come by. Other blogs will give you listicles, or scratch the surface of things like depression and purpose (while advertising their ebook).
To be frank, I lose money on this blog, but I have enjoyed it so much it’s worth it to me to continue paying for hosting and provide a nice, ad free experience for my friends and family 🙂 this blog is not about making money for me, it’s about sharing what I have learned over the course of probably the toughest year of my life. It has been a valuable experience for me and I hope it has for you all too- I have been touched by the friends and family who have reached out to me after reading my posts. I love hearing their thoughts, and it makes me feel even more connected to all of you 🙂
And I wouldn’t be a true KonMari-ite(?) if I just told you to buy my Etsy stuff. If my greeting cards bring you joy, definitely buy them, display them, gift them. I don’t want them to be bought out of guilt, only to sit on a dusty shelf. I’m not trying to shill my Etsy products in the guise of self-reflection, because as I hope you have realized, this blog has become more than that to me.
A greeting card allows us to get deeper than we often would in person. The words can be reread time and again, offering encouragement when you feel doubt. They can remind you of the happiest days of your life, or they can be irreplaceable reminders of people who have passed on.
I do not create products to ‘sell’. I create products because I enjoy doing it and it makes me happy. Greeting cards are a new venture for me and more meaningful to me than any other product I have created. I hope that comes through and I hope they provide value to you.
I didn’t feel like I could launch my new collection without explaining ‘why’. I have launched several collections in the past, but this has been the most time-consuming and personal. This is it. My thoughts, my blog, and my art. I hope you enjoy 🙂
Lots of love,
January 24, 2020
I am having a great time looking through old posts I wrote like 3 years ago for a blog that no one read (don’t be sad for me, it’s okay). So here’s another gem from the Deidre vault that has held up over the years:
At any given time I have a million ideas, all of which I usually think are great (though they definitely aren’t all winners). I can share what I’ve learned so you can make a lean, light products that won’t break during shipping. After all, money spent replacing broken items is money you’re not making.
Make it Light
Maybe you love outdoor patio tables- there is a time a place for that heavy product, but with the amount it would cost to ship, it may not be worth it for you or your customer if the shipping is around the price of the product! Not to mention, it could also break. Choose something under a couple of pounds, the lighter the better.
Make it Unbreakable
One of my first product fails were these cute little fairy jars made out of clay. After transporting them to the office for an employee craft fair, several of the flowers on them broke. My bad. I much better product idea was a silicone muffin pan which would not be affected by being tossed around during shipping. Which leaves me to my next point:
Make it Sturdy
If your true love is selling mugs, who am I to stop you? They aren’t quite as indestructible as silicone, but we all need and love mugs, so I get it. Either bubble wrap that thing tightly, or find a way to make it more secure. To solve my fairy house problem, I started using strong glue to make sure the parts were secure, and I also made flatter pieces with less things sticking out. (The artist in my was like Noooo! I can’t sacrifice art in the name of shipping! But the business side of my was like: yes, yes you can.)
Make it Something People Want
Ok, I’m not going to lie, the fairy houses were probably the worst product I ever created and were the opposite of everything I am suggesting here. They were heavy, time-consuming, breakable, and worst of all: NO ONE WANTED THEM.
The artist side and business side will always be at war, but there is a way to keep both sides happy. To sell, create simpler designs that are at a cheaper price point (and are faster to make). Keep the intricate things for my family in friends who will appreciate it.
Make it Easy on Yourself
My fairy houses were very time consuming to make. But how much would people actually pay for a small intricate sculpture with no purpose? $10. I quickly realized that was not sustainable at $5/hour, even though I loved to make them. They weren’t very practical, but they made great gifts for my mom who loves everything I do. I love you too mom!
Give it a Theme
One thing I learned from marketing class is to give it a theme. Which party would you go to? A Halloween Party or a Murder Mystery Halloween party? Yah. Themes make everything better.
When thinking of a product, go easy on yourself and your customer. What do they really need? What is sustainable to produce? Will it be cheap and safe to ship? Asking yourself these questions will save you heartache and money in the long run.
January 17, 2020
You may have heard the term Pantone thrown around before, but until now it was just another mystery like RGB and CMYK.
Pantones are extra special (meaning expensive) colors that you can print with. They are super vibrant and consistent, and offer you a larger variety of colors than the dull CMYK ones. Did I mention they were expensive?
If you’re working with a company that has a large budget, shouldn’t be an issue. But for yourself, uh probably not going to happen.
In my class we got to print something with Pantones. This scanned image won’t do it justice, but just know that it makes your eyes vibrate.
We also learned about fancy things you can do when you print something, like get coily binds, or open binds, and basically any kind of bind you want for your book. They can make it happen. They might have to outsource it, but they’ll do it. I saw a book that was literally made out of sails and a book with a Menard’s tile as its cover.
You can also add cool textures like embossing, debossing, foils, and that cool orange peel textures gloss!
I am excited to venture into more creative greetings cards. I like the ones that have a holographic foil. What are your favorite kinds of greetings cards?
January 10, 2020
Last year, before I even knew there was going to be a TV show, I got into the KonMari craze. My husband happened to check it out from the library. I didn’t read it at first because I was like, “I am already super organized and make monthly trips to Goodwill.” But then my husband was like, “Just read it. I can’t explain.” My husband’s mysteriousness surrounding the book intrigued me, and the rest is history.
I have about a 600 square foot apartment that I share with my husband- so not a lot of space. How could I possibly have anything to purge?
6 bags full later, I learned that I did indeed have a lot of stuff, and I was good at finding places to hide it.
More organization is not key; the key is keeping the accumulation of stuff at bay. Especially stuff that does not bring you joy.
As the blog post title suggests, I began to have some regrets. It’s been about a year since I KonMari’d my apartment and my bedroom in my childhood home. For the most part, I don’t even remember what I gave away.
When I went home for Thanksgiving, it was nearly the 1 year anniversary of my KonMari adventure. I got rid of a measly 6 bags from my apartment, but from home, I got rid of 8 giant TUBS. Like, full trash cans of STUFF. My entire childhood went to Goodwill and the dumpster.
I was so into the Life Changing Magic of Tidying up that I read it very quickly. I couldn’t wait to purge, because I actually do love getting rid of stuff, and I had just discovered this new and different way of getting rid of MORE STUFF.
And I am happy that I got rid of all that stuff. I feel lighter, and better knowing that my parents are unencumbered by my stuff at their house.
With one exception:
I was very on the fence about getting rid of them in the first place. I only saw them once a year, so did it really matter if I never saw them again? If I brought them back to my apartment, where would I store them? Wouldn’t it be weird to display my childhood toys?
If you’ve read the books, you know there is a certain order to the things you get rid of. You start with clothes first, because those are easiest. Then you move to books (slightly more sentimental), and then odds and ends. The last part of the book is sentimental items.
At the time, I was simply thinking of them as toys. But as I realized on my return home a year later, they were my childhood friends. Silly I know, but we all have things we are attached to and can’t really explain. I felt such a hole when I returned home and realized I couldn’t unearth and admire my Digimon. This was my favorite thing to do every time I returned home, and home felt empty without them. I cried over my lost plastic friends. I cried even harder when I realized that unlike Pokemon, Digimon swag was hard to come by, and according to eBay, they were ‘rare’. I knew then that I could never replace them and that I had made a huge mistake, because I had been asking myself the wrong question. Instead of asking, “Do they bring me joy?” I was asking “Where would these fit?”
According to the KonMari method, if you have 30 stuffed animals and they all bring you joy, you should keep them. It’s not about purging, it’s about keeping what brings you joy. And on my first pass through the method, I missed that key element. Next time, I would take it a little slower, and definitely save sentimental items for last. I was so worried about losing my momentum that I got rid of my treasured items in a crazed-purging haze. Luckily, the Digimon are the only items I actually regret. Also according to KonMari, it’s okay to sit on items for a while as you decide if they really bring you joy. Had it been a different day or a different mood, I probably would have kept them.
If something is really important to you, you should find a way to display so it can bring you joy on the daily. KonMari is really about curating and making room for the things that make you happiest. And I did learn so much about myself from the process (like, everything I own is pink, cute, a unicorn, or glittery. Sometimes all four). Konmari can also apply to feelings. If a memory isn’t bringing you joy, you can thank the memory for the lesson it taught you, discard it, and move on. It frames things in a very positive way so that nothing has to feel like a loss. Everything is a lesson.
After stalking eBay for 2 weeks, I managed to acquire back my 2 favorite Digimon toys for a reasonable price. It was definitely a good lesson in listening to myself and honing my joy-radar, and I won’t be letting them go in a hurry again. So parting with my original Digimon toys was not for naught 🙂
It’s okay to take your time with the KonMari process even if it is exhilarating to discard everything, the bags pile up, and Goodwill starts to recognize you. KonMari method is wonderful and I do not mean to discourage anyone- rather, I encourage you to follow the process, to take it slow, and listen to your heart.
January 01, 2020
This year has been the hardest and most transformative year of my life.
I quit my job.
I worked part time.
I transformed my store.
I started this blog.
I began believing in myself and that I am good and worthwhile.
I lost some family members this year. Nothing in life is guaranteed, which is why you need to be nice to yourself and make choices towards happiness. Do the thing you’ve always wanted to do, or start taking steps toward that thing.
I finally started making good decisions for myself.
I kept happiness as the baseline and not the exception.
I also started taking small steps to where I ultimately want to be.
I started being nice to myself. We’re all just doing the best we can, right? So be nice to yourself too, because you deserve it. Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend.
I did yoga consistently and practiced self-love. I personally really like Yoga with Adriene, which is free and on Youtube.
And finally, I learned about power. And I don’t mean like, physical power, or like Dragon Ball Z glowy power. I mean the power that you have. That I have. And how it’s important not to give it away.
I used to be very afraid of what people thought of me. What they thought of my Etsy store, what they thought of my blog, what they thought of my career. I realized that I was giving complete strangers (and sometimes family members) too much power over how I felt about myself. Any comment that wasn’t 120% supportive had me spiraling downward. But then I realized, I don’t have to give them that power over me. I can choose to be like, “no thanks, I’ll keep my good feelings.”
I am on my own journey, and everyone’s journey looks a little different. I am trying, failing, succeeding, and doing the best I can. So their negative vibes are irrelevant.
And those are my thoughts for 2019. Peace.
December 27, 2019
The inspiration for this post came from researching ideas for blog posts. Write about a productivity hack! Several blogs said. Everyone wants to be more productive!
So now seems like a good time to inform you: this is not another blog post about productivity. This is a blog post about overcoming deeper things to be productive. I will give you a hint: it’s not time that holds me back.
I have always been organized. I make lists, and then I make lists for my lists, and I get a productivity high when I check boxes. Despite how organized I may seem, I am in fact a normal person. And like most people, I am afraid of failure.
This has the biggest impact on my productivity, and I am guessing it impacts yours as well.
For me, it comes in the form of holding back. I could probably do more, but I am afraid. So I don’t put my whole heart into projects, and I am not surprised when they don’t succeed. But then I can tell myself that I did try (but did I really?). For other people, this takes the form of procrastination. You’re afraid to take action because you are worried you will fail, so you are paralyzed until the last minute.
Unfortunately, planners and sticky notes can’t solve this problem.
The good news is that failure is completely normal. In fact, failure is the key to success. It teaches you lessons that reading simply can’t. Too much preparation is the same as collecting too many underpants. You can keep collecting underpants, but what good does that do you?
Confused by that sentence? This blog post was an eye-opener for me: https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/underpants-gnomes/
So, here is my productivity hack: just do something. Do it and move on. Don’t dwell on mistakes, don’t dwell on what others will think, just start. Done is better than perfect, and failing is better than not trying at all. If you’re still hesitant to get started, set a goal so easy it would be embarrassing to fail. A goal is no good if you don’t actually take steps toward that goal, am I right?
Read more about setting fool-proof goals: https://stephenguise.com/how-to-be-an-imperfectionist/
So to send you off, here is a list of some of my favorite quotes about failure.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” -Thomas Edison
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” —J. K. Rowling
“You always pass failure on your way to success.” —Mickey Rooney
“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” -Lance Armstrong
“If we learn from the experience, there is no failure, only delayed victory” -Carrie Chapman
Remember that every time you try again, you are starting from experience.
December 20, 2019
This is a vintage Deidre post from an old blog I used to have. I thought it would be fun to dig up, since I got my hair cut short again.
As I will mention later in this post, cutting my hair usually has an emotional aspect to it. Growing up, I wanted to have ’emo’ hair, but I was too nervous to get such an edgy cut. So I’ve lived out the dream of 13 year old me, and I finally have my emo hair. I did what I wanted and what made me happy because that has been the theme of this year. No more prolonging my happiness or worrying about other’s opinions.
I was really proud of this post when I wrote it back in 2016, and my thoughts surrounding my haircut were a big revelation for me at the time. Without further ado, here it is:
This past week I made a decision: I was going to get my hair cut really short and I could not back out (into a pixie, but my hairstylist corrected me and said it was actually a short bob).
I have had long hair almost my entire life, with a few above-the-shoulder length flings with short hair. As a female, you are expected to have long hair. Hair is your beauty. Without it, we are told (or at least it’s strongly implied) we are as good as one of those cats with no fur.
I have always kept my hair long without questioning it, even though it would get caught on my backpack, caught on my boyfriend, bugs would get caught in it, and sometimes I would accidentally sit on it. I was never good at styling hair, and never particularly interested in learning how. I just knew that to be a girl, I had to have long hair.
My few flirtations with short hair always happened after big moments in my life- a falling out with a good friend, my first breakup. There is something cathartic about cutting one’s hair. This time when I cut my hair there wasn’t a negative impetus; for me it was symbolic of growing up. I’d been dating my boyfriend for 4+ years, I landed my first real job, got a 401k, and made an investment into an awesome bike to have as my main mode of transportation.
Back to the main point here- I thought cutting my hair was about me. To signify an important change in my life. I WAS WRONG. Apparently cutting MY hair was a big deal to everyone else who has to look at me, and they felt free to share their feedback.
Results: Overwhelmingly positive! (except for my dad, but that will never change. Hi dad!)
Everyone at work loved my new hair. To my shock, the men in the office complimented my new cut, and the women commented on how freeing it must be. I was shocked! I thought my hair was my beauty! It is and isn’t.
See, there are many definitions of beauty. I’m getting a bit ramble-y, but I wanted to impart that you shouldn’t keep your hair a certain way because you think it is what is expected.
I realized that I was keeping my hair long for fear of other’s reactions to it. Now I get to be part of a secret society of women who know how great short is. We have an instant bond.
Those women know it’s freeing. They know you save shower time, style time, and money on product. They know they made a choice about their body that was for them and not to please anyone else (if you like long hair that’s great too, but do it for you and no one else!) They know that people will look at you differently, and it’s an awesome feeling.
And surprise, no one’s eyes have melted yet because my new hair isn’t their idea of beauty. Over the last week I’ve felt respect, admiration, and even jealousy. To the one girl who said “I wish I could just cut my hair like you” the good news is, you CAN. I did. JUST DO IT!
December 13, 2019
Can you? Yes. Should you though? Sure, why not.
Winter biking is about preparation and discipline. So is a business. The same traits that prompt me to try winter biking also prompted me to open an Etsy store. So, this still relates to Quest for Cute 😉 I dare you to challenge yourself and bike once this winter!
I wrote this post in November, which is fully fledged winter in Minnesota (Wisconsin, I miss you). You may have thought good biking weather ended in September. WRONG! You can bike all year, except for maybe December-January (depends how snow covered the bike lanes/trails/sidewalks are).
Well my friends, I am about to demystify winter biking! The key is layers. Here is a list of what I wear:
That’s right, sweatpants! The kind you get from college. You could also probably purchase them from any superstore for a reasonable price. Notice how I didn’t write spandex?
Sometimes when it gets chilly (around 10 degrees) I will wear leggings under my sweatpants.
3. Athletic shoes
My feet actually don’t get very cold while biking, but if your toesies are prone to freezing, you could wear boots, or plastic bags over your shoes (seriously, bags are great) I wear normal athletic shoes with some socks!
I wear crew socks until it drops to the notably chilly temp of around 10 degrees, then I will wear my wool socks.
Ever heard the expression ‘cotton kills’? Cotton won’t keep you warm or dry- it will keep you wet and and cold though! My bike commute is short enough that cotton doesn’t pose a danger (about 7 miles, takes me about 40 minutes) so I still wear cotton sometimes, but otherwise I wear a long sleeve or short sleeve dry wicking Nike shirt. You can definitely tell the difference in the quality.
Ok again cotton kills, but I alternate between a cotton and polyester sweatshirt depending on my laundry situation. The shirt helps buffer the sweat, so no dying during my 7 mile ride.
You know those 3 layer jackets you get from Columbia or Northface? I just use the outer shell over my sweatshirt. I found the inner fleece to be itchy, constricting, and gross after biking. The sweatshirt is roomier.
8. Gloves + Mittens
Hands do get cold, and you need a little more mobility to effectively shift and break. I wear a pair of wool gloves underneath loose, soft mittens. This gives me the warmth and mobility I need.
I wear a face mask when it hits between 10-20 degrees. It keeps my face toasty.
I always wear a hat, starting around 55 degrees and under, otherwise ears get chilly! I wear it on top of my balaclava too.
I wear cheap safety classes I got for $10 off Amazon to stop the wind from freezing my eyeballs at zero degrees. They do fog up a little bit, but for the price and the infrequency of me biking in 0 degrees, it works just fine. My husband got a pair of ski goggles for $40 from REI on sale, which seem to work well and don’t fog up. Also, he looks a lot cooler than I do. But otherwise, cheap glasses will do, especially when paired with the balaclava and hat.
So that’s all my gear. But gear will only get you so far, and you may be wondering- what about the ice???
I did in fact hit a patch of ice last year and slid off my bike. The good news is, there was so much snow it was like landing into a snowy cushion. I only had a bruise where my saddle hit my thigh, but other than that, it was a pleasant fall. Also, my multiples layers padded me as well. As long as there isn’t a foot of snow to bike through, you can bike! 🙂
Additional accessories to consider:
A safety vest ($10 at Menard’s)
Here in Minnesota, it gets dark at 4:30PM in the winter. That means I am always biking in the dark. I noticed a visible difference when I started biking with a high visibility vest- cars gave me the space I needed, they were like “Whoa this girl is safe! Here’ s a 20 foot buffer!”
Front and rear light
We never see the light of day in the north. I like to have front and rear lights to increase my visibility and spot and patches of ice.
This is a given! I use it for every season to carry my crap around. It’s waterproof and can hold alllll my layers, for those last minute Midwestern weather changes!
In case there’s a last minute snow storm and you actually can’t bike home :0
So you can call your friend to pick you up if you beef it on the ice 🙂
That’s it for now! Give it a try and let me know how it went. Remember to take it slow, keep an eye out for ice, and enjoy the freedom of winter biking and the trails all to yourself.
December 06, 2019
If you couldn’t guess already I think a lot about life. I love self help books and self improvement. Probably (definitely) a little too much. I just want to be the best Deidre I can be =^.^=
In one of my favorite books ever, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, it has you write a mission statement for your life. It is both scary and simple; forcing your to think about what you have accomplished so far and what you have yet to do. But don’t be intimidated by the title of the book; it’s not about how you can squeeze in more meetings or be more productive- the key word is effective for a reason.
He encourages you to be effective in life. That means in your relationships, community, and contributions to society. How do you want to be remembered by your friends and family? It could be as simple as being remembered for always showing up, or for bringing the best cookies to the bake sale, or for volunteering in the community. It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking- I actually think it is better if it isn’t, because then you’re not paralyzed by the pressure of trying to become rich/famous/super innovative.
I really believe that small things add up, and if you are known to your friends as being generous, who knows what kind of impact that could have on the world? Maybe you inspired your circle of friends to be a little more generous too, and their generosity inspired even more people.
~Back to the mission statement~ other than keeping me on track, this exercised has helped me become a more grounded, decisive person. If you know what your values are, no one can question that. So here is the recipe for how I try to live my life:
Whew! That was a lot for a Saturday morning. This time, I’m drinking Chocolate Truffle pu erh tea while writing this post. I think it will replace my chai for a bit 🙂 so, what is your life mantra? Or, if you prefer something lighter, what is your favorite warm beverage?
November 29, 2019
After college, I just assumed I would get my dream job. Or even just a good job. I wouldn’t say any of the jobs I had were bad, but they also weren’t exactly what I had imagined. They were very tangentially (not at all) related to art, which is what I actually wanted to be doing.
So then I asked myself, why am I not taking steps toward doing what I wanted to do?
At the time, I thought I was headed in the right direction. I was like yes, I am saving money so I can do art in the future.
But who knows when the future would be? 3 years from now? 10 years? 20?
I could only delay what I really wanted to do for so long. Even if I wasn’t consciously thinking about it, unconsciously my body was like, we reject this mission! And I started having weird physical symptoms.
Since then, I have taken small steps in the direction I want to go, and things started falling into place.
Step one: I started by taking an illustration class. I really found a style I like and that works from me. I realized I don’t really like drawing environments, but I do like to fill up a page. Which is how I came up with this idea for greetings cards. This style feels more authentic and true to me, which makes it more enjoyable and easier to create.
Step two: invest in expensive, professional markers. Aah!! For anyone that knows me, I am very hesitant to drop cash. Luckily, the markers have been a game changer and I use them all the time. They were a worthwhile investment!
Step three: Digital art/Graphic Design has always been kind of a struggle for me, and I do my best to avoid it. However, I recognized the benefit that a real graphics editing software would have for my business, so I faced my fear of Adobe programs by enrolling in a Print Production class. I finally understand the difference between Tiffs, JPEGS, and PNGs, and I feel more confident in my ability to approach print shops and get my cards printed.
This all took the course of about 8 months. When I put it in a short blog post, it seems logical. But at the time, I didn’t see how each of the pieces connected. I just started listening to what I felt called to do, and faced the fears that were preventing me from doing them.
Always take steps. Small steps add up. And the good thing about taking steps is if you’re not on the path you want to be on, you just take more steps toward that path.
Best of luck on your journey, and take a step today.
November 22, 2019
Just as I was stocking up my closet on cozy sweaters and fall colors, snow appeared. I didn’t even have a PSL yet. Welcome to the sequel of Winter: Deidre watches Netflix (again)!
This past month was the end to a couple things: the end to four weekend road trips in a row (that was way too many) and the end of my print production class. I feel significantly less stressed out now. But I also did a lot of fun things this month! I attended my college’s homecoming, stayed at the coziest Airbnb ever, and was a ballerina for Halloween.
My favorite memory of the past month was the haunted house with my parents- for some reason this haunted house wasn’t particularly clear, and when we couldn’t figure out where to go, we went through a giant door (logically) that turned out to be the fire exit. Woops. A few people even followed us out! I didn’t even realize anything was amiss; things were roped off, and there was a run down truck. I just assumed it was part of the decor, but I was wrong.
For the upcoming year, I am going to dive into creating greeting cards! They are currently in the works, but I don’t want to rush it because I want them to be amazing. And they are all hand drawn, which means the process is a little slower, but I think in the end it will be a very high quality product that we all will love 🙂 fabric products are going to take a back seat for now; they are not quite as versatile as greeting cards. So if you’d like a pencil case or laptop sleeve, you should probably get one within the next few months!
Other fun things this month: I am getting caught up on my blog again, I am practicing yoga more (gotta fight off the winter blues!) and I found two new teas I like: decaf spice and chocolate truffle pu erh. I binge watched the new season of Great British Baking show and Queer Eye in Japan. Did you love it too or did you really love it?
November 15, 2019
Earlier this year, I had been working part time for a few months. This came after I was feeling really burnt out from my string of unhappy jobs, and I needed some time to regroup and plan before launching into another full-time job. My part time job was enough to pay the bills, so all was well.
It was kind of an unusual decision for people in my age group- working full time obviously allows you to have more money, which allows you to pay for more things. I felt guilty not maximizing my earning potential- but I was also trying to frame things differently in my mind, and accepting that while I wasn’t making a lot of money, I was investing in myself, and hopefully it would pay off in the long run.
So, I just wanted to share some thoughts on my part-time experiment, in case any of you daydream about working part time instead of full time 🙂
Wow! Do you want to work part time now? Well, here are the not so glamorous parts to think about:
I really enjoyed my 6 month mini-cation while it lasted- and I would definitely consider working part time again in the future after having more savings. My life had a good balance, and I could do what I enjoyed while also sustaining my lifestyle.
The most valuable thing I gained from working part time was an answer to something I had often wondered. While at my previous job, I daydreamed about what would happen if I just quit and focused on my art and my business. I thought that all I needed was time off to become wildly successful- then I would have time to draw without feeling exhausted.
The answer I learned was this: You can’t speed up success. Many of the big businesses that are around today have been around for DECADES. Coke didn’t just launch last year and have wild success. Great things are built over time. They are built through practice, and through taking one step each day to improve. More time can certainly help, but more important than that is consistency. Working part time certainly helped give me the energy and time needed to work on my art, but it also didn’t make me an instant success. All snowballs start small, you just need to keep rolling it 🙂
November 08, 2019
Aren’t they cute?? I started fostering 3 years ago after playing with my friend’s foster kitten- at that time I didn’t even know you could foster animals!
I was so excited to start fostering because it satiated my desire to have a cat while I was still on my AmeriCorps budget. It was the perfect solution and I’ve been doing it ever since 🙂
November 01, 2019
It’s the final collection of the year! It will be released TUESDAY, November 5th at 7PM. Check out my store here. Now, let’s see what goodies are in store!
A penguin notebook! How adorable. The cover has that kind of soft, kind of matte feel like an orange peel. Then penguins will guard all your secret thoughts!
Kawaii milk and cookies! What could be better than sentient milk?
What’s this? A corner of a pouch! Features the new snowflake design.
Would it be Christmas without ornaments? heck no! This pattern is available on pencil cases and pouches. You can organize and store all your Christmas doodads in them 🙂 or use it year round if you really love Christmas!
October 25, 2019
Happy fall! How are you doing? Drinking all the pumpkin spice?
In an effort to cram in all the fall activities possible, I may have overexerted myself this month. I had a fall activity planned for every weekend, which sounded like a good idea at the time. But now I am EXHAUSTED. Still, fall is great!
I went on a long bike tour and stopped at a beautiful waterfall. The fall color was just starting to come in, and the sunny 60 degree weather was perfect.
Next up on my long list of fall activities, I watched Hocus Pocus while eating a pumpkin spice cupcake. It had been so long since I had seen it, it was like watching it for the first time. When I was young, I totally had a crush on Thackery. (what kind of name is Thackery by the way??)
I also made artichoke dip for the first time. It was pretty simple! I used artichokes, mayo, and parmesan from Costco. Next time I might spruce it up with another ingredient… perhaps cream cheese?
What are your favorite fall activities and fall treats?
October 18, 2019
I wanted to write a follow up post to the one about why I quit my job to further explain the reasons behind my decision to quit, but in the end, I think it came across how I wanted it to.
There were a lot of reasons I quit, and I kept rewriting my post because there were so many reasons but none of them seemed to do my decision justice. Mostly, I didn’t want to blame anyone- because it really wasn’t anyone’s fault. And I didn’t want to come across as “too sensitive for this world.” I may be sensitive, but that doesn’t mean I need to put up with unhappy situations. No amount of self help books or negative self-talk over the last 28 years has seemed to change the fact that I am sensitive, so I guess that trait is here to stay ~(*.*)~ accepting this has been hard, but that’s another blog post!
At its core, the issue was that I believed it was necessary to struggle and grind- isn’t grinding what you are supposed to do before there is a big payout? Is work really work if it isn’t painful?
I resisted quitting because then the grind would have been for nothing- there would be no promotion to make the struggle worth it. I also worried that it was my fault for not being able to make the job work- I would ask myself, why can’t I just do the job? Why can’t I just make myself be better?
What I should have asked was: why struggle? Why not do something I’m good at? Why not be brave? Sometimes a situation is just a bad fit, not a personal failure. It’s ok to accept that you were not made to do everything. You don’t have to go against the grain and pretend to be something you’re not, because that is exhausting. Maybe that’s obvious to some, but I never knew I could just try to get a job I might be good at. I never felt ‘ready’ or ‘worthy’. An enjoyable job could only be attained after the struggle, when I had 110% of all the necessary skills and qualifications. But, it turns out that if you apply to enough carefully curated jobs over the course of several months, eventually you might actually get one. And this time, it will actually be one you want. Whoa!
October 11, 2019
Hi fellow lefties! (but most likely righties)
Let me break down why being a lefty isn’t that cool (this isn’t even a humble brag post, I promise. Now let’s make fun of lefties!)
My journey with left handedness began when I was 4 and couldn’t tie my shoes. How the heck does the rabbit go into the hole around your thumb? I honestly still don’t know. Velcro shoes were my best friend, and I probably would have worn them the rest of my life if my mom hadn’t stopped me.
I finally learned how to tie my shoes from my babysitter, who taught me the rabbit ear method. This is still how I tie my shoes (seriously, I don’t get the rabbit in the hole method???)
Pretty quickly after that trial, I had to learn how to write. In a completely different way than my classmates. Luckily, my first grade teacher was a champion and pulled me aside for special left-handed writing time, where she taught me how to hold my pencil correctly. She wasn’t even left-handed, what a saint!
Unfortunately, gym teachers were less sympathetic. There was rarely left handed equipment, and if there was, you better hope there weren’t any other lefties in your class, lest you have to fight over the left handed golf club! Guess who got stuck with a righty golf club- I’ll give you a clue. I can golf with either hand =^.^=
I also had to learn everything completely backward from everyone else. I couldn’t properly mirror the gym teacher, and I now realize they just thought I was inept at sports. I also thought I was inept at sports, because it took me longer than anyone else to learn what we were doing in gym. Which of course, why wouldn’t it when I had to learn everything backwards? 10 year old Deidre’s confidence level: 0
Which brings me to my next point: everyone says it is great to play sports as a lefthander, but if you paid attention during my last paragraph, you can guess what I have to say about the matter. It FREAKIN sucks unless anyone has the patience to teach you properly. I took fencing two years ago, and though it was really fun, it was an uphill battle to learn. The instructor and my fellow classmates frequently forgot I was left handed, and they liked to correct how I was holding my sword, until they had an embarrassing moment of realization. No, I was really not dumb enough to hold my sword in the wrong hand. Lol.
The one thing I am super jealous of righties about is how they can literally use any equipment. Want to shoot your friend’s bow? Sure, go ahead. Meanwhile, I will not try to shoot the bow, lest I impale someone. I’m not that ambidextrous 😉
I also never learned how to play guitar because that would have involved special instruction and a special guitar. Someone once asked me why I don’t just learn how to play it right handed, and to them I say “Why don’t you learn how to play it left-handed?” It’s hard and feels weird, that’s why.
And let’s not forget about the arm-stabbing notebooks spirals. Or hand-pinching scissors.
So in closing, now that I have sufficiently self-deprecated, I can humble brag a little. There are a few good things about being left handed: it makes you kind of unique. Allegedly you are more creative. Sometimes you have an advantage in sports. And it gives you an instant bond with other lefties. But it also has drawbacks, and sometimes affected my confidence (shoe tying??? sportsball?!!???). So if you are a righty, you can feel grateful for all the equipment-related opportunities you have, and I hope you will strum a guitar in honor of the lefties that don’t always have an easy time. And to you lefties, hiya!
October 04, 2019
So if you’ve been following along, you know I’ve been taking an illustration class. It’s been a GAME CHANGER. Not necessarily in the drawing aspect, but in finding my style.
I thought Kawaii was my style- and it still kind of is, but I realized it’s actually somewhere in between. It’s like cartoony-realism. For this series, I challenged myself to make some pretend greeting cards to see how they would turn out (and maybe they will become real greeting cards soon!).
We used this layout a lot in class, and I found it very freeing. I don’t really like to draw backgrounds or environments, and I don’t really like making one object the focal point. I felt limited. Until I discovered this layout! Now I can draw all the things together.
This is when I discovered that I really like comforting things like cake, warm beverages, books, and cats (the last one was a given). It reminded me a lot of the things you would find in a cat cafe. Pretty everything I drew would be in a cat cafe, actually. So to sum up my style: cartoony cat cafe. Boom.
What do you think of these cards? Which is your favorite? Even if you don’t want to publicly comment, send me a message 🙂 it would help me immensely!
September 27, 2019
Last week was intense! Let’s lighten things up and talk about my favorite city in Wisconsin 🙂 Madison!
Growing up in Wisconsin, everyone knew Madison was the coolest place you could go. It had the BEST school, the BEST restaurants, the BEST sports, and it was completely unlike the rest of Wisconsin. I went there a couple weeks ago, and now that I’m an adult and I live in a much larger city, Madison is… STILL CHARMING!
I was enchanted by it the first time I set foot on State Street as a 14 year old. There were so many new stores to explore (like Urban Outfitters- my favorite at the time) and people walking down the middle of the road. WALKING ON THE ROAD! I had never seen anything like it before. And I loved it.
Now that I was back as an adult, I was excited to do things I couldn’t do as a when I was in high school, like go to the Farmer’s Market! The farmer’s market surrounds the capital and boasts scones for ‘sconnies (did I hear my name?) and warm cheesy bread. You’ll also find several people with megaphones talking about the end of the world and their least favorite politicians. The energy was invigorating.
If you go to Madison, my must do’s include:
The Terrace. It is the student union, but you don’t have to be a student to go there. There are people of all ages enjoying pitchers of beer on the famous colorful chairs.
The Great Dane. There are lots of good restaurants in Madison, but this one has a special place in my heart- I went to it with my family while visiting my brother. All their food is good. All the cocktails. All the beer. And at small city prices! You can also sit outside and be enchanted be fireflies while sipping your homemade soda.
Midtown Pub. I was only there once, but what an impression it made. Bowls of free and tasty chex mic were on every table, and they made the best and the cheapest [Wisconsin] Old Fashioned I’ve ever had.
C’s Restaurant and Bakery. Across from Midtown Pub, their breakfast food was cheap, amazing, and unpretentious. Get there early so you can get a table! Their homemade desserts were to die for.
Botanical Gardens. FREE, and expansive! When you first enter, you will not realize how expansive it is. But it just keeps GOING. And there are frogs in ponds. And unique flowers. and a beautiful Thai Pavilion!
What is your favorite city to visit? Have any recommendations?
September 19, 2019
A little while back, I quit my job. Actually, I’ve quit several jobs. I took whatever came my way, happy to never be the dreaded U word (AKA, Unemployed). One unhappy job led to the next, and each time I believed things would be different. Turns out, that was not the best plan.
You see, if you only leap from lifeboat to lifeboat, you only learn to stay afloat, not to thrive. I was surviving, but I never realized that all along I could have been happily sailing around. If I had just looked around in between desperate flails, I would have realized there was a shore, and that I didn’t need to be treading water for so long.
So basically, that long boat analogy is me. I flung myself into bad situations that I didn’t have to, because I didn’t believe it was possible to have anything better. Happiness? What even is that?
I was really nervous to share this, because I worried you may think “She didn’t have it so bad! At least she had a job! I have it worse!”
Well, things COULD always be worse. But that’s not a good reason not to do something. Especially when it begins to affect not only your life, but your health. And that’s why I think it’s important to share this. Because while someone probably does have it worse, that does not invalidate your situation. Your situation can still be crappy, it may just be a different level of crappy. And happiness should be your the baseline, not the exception, and you shouldn’t settle for anything less.
For a long time, I had my mental game under wraps. I was plugging away, day after day, unaware of little changes that were creeping up on me. I started sleeping a lot more- which wasn’t immediately cause for alarm because I’ve always liked to sleep. Since I was tired, I figured I just needed to bike more. So I exercised like crazy, biking around 60 miles a week to get those sweet endorphins.
Then, things started to get a little weirder. The month before I finally quit, I started getting heart palpitations and random back pains. I figured that I might have been from biking too much, so then I started getting massages to help with the back pain. Oddly, it seemed to only help for a day.
My breaking point was when I was in a restaurant with my friends, and my chest started getting tight. The room was a little warbly. I went to the bathroom to take deep breaths, but my breaths were shallow. I felt trapped. I cried even though I wasn’t sure why I was crying.
Though I tried really hard to control it, my series of unfulfilling lifeboat jobs caught up to me, and the stress began seeping through the cracks. Sure, my jobs “could have been worse.” I may even be “too sensitive.” But I didn’t like how I was feeling, and I didn’t want to live like that. And maybe I am too sensitive, but that’s who I am. And that’s how I feel about that.
Quitting my job was one of the best and healthiest decisions I have ever made for myself. All of my weird symptoms have since gone away.
I immediately started sleeping better, had more energy, and focused on my art again. I got a part time job, took classes in illustration, did yoga every morning, and was able to do things I wouldn’t have otherwise like spontaneous road trips home and traveling to New York. For the first time in a long time, my life was in balance.
Fast forward, I now have a new full time job that I am super excited about. And I dare say, for the first time since graduating college, I am happy. I broke the cycle, and I could have been doing it all along.
Remember to be kind to yourself and do what’s best for you,
September 13, 2019
I just got the pins this week, and I am SO PUMPED.
Look at them!!
I even got the fancy rubber backings instead of the typical butterfly clutch. Rubber backings are cuter, and they won’t get weird and bendy, meaning your pin will stay put!
And for all the backers that supported me, expect to see them to arrive within the next couple of weeks in this eye-catching package:
I am so humbled by the support I received to make these pins come to life. RPGs and cats hold such a special place in my heart, and now they do in my art 🙂 thank you again!
September 06, 2019
I wouldn’t say I am a fan of ghosts, nor do I hope they exist. But anyone that knows me knows I have a thing about ghosts. One of my biggest fears is living in a haunted house with a malevolent ghost. Chill ghosts are fine though =^.^=
Like I said, I don’t want them to exist, but I also don’t want them not to exist. Life is a little more exciting with a few unknowns 🙂
I’m not sure where my fear/fascination with ghosts came from- but I do know I have a very active imagination. It may come as no surprise that I can’t stand scary movies. Somehow seeing it portrayed on a screen makes my brain be like “yah that’s totally real.”
For example, I was at a Halloween party where Poltergeist was playing silently in the background, and even without the sound or my full attention, I could NOT HANDLE IT. Totes had nightmares.
The first scary movie that I ‘watched’ (with a blanket over my head) was Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I didn’t watch another scary movie for two more years until I was invited to watch Paranormal Activity (which I was only okay with since the lights were on). Each of these movies was a traumatic experience, and now I’m always on the lookout for suspicious looking chicken feet.
Despite being on the lookout for things like demonic chicken footprints, I haven’t actually experienced any paranormal activities- I think. There was a house I lived in while I was in college that was maybe haunted, and where I maybe heard footsteps coming from upstairs while I was home alone (but could probably be explained as typical houses noises or squirrels in the walls??) just to be safe, I noped out of the college house without finishing my breakfast, and spent the hour before class in the library.
Other than that, my life has been relatively ghost-free, and though I am not convinced of their existence either way, I like to remain cautious. In honor of fall/Halloween, feel free to share any spooky stories of your own!
August 30, 2019
What is your favorite way to spend a day? This question is always so interesting because it changes so much from person to person. Get ready, because you’re in for a ride! (a relaxing ride filled with chai tea :))
Saturday is of course the superior day and my favorite. You’re well rested (probably) since you got to sleep in, and there is no work hanging over your head for the next day! I like to start my Saturdays off by eating a long breakfast, preferably of fluffy blueberry pancakes with piping hot chai tea. Sometimes I’ll even call my mom in the morning 🙂 then, I like to relax with some drama filled reality TV, and once I am fully awake and showered, I will do something creative like draw, paint, or write a blog post (as I am doing right now- what a surprise!)
After that it’s time for lunch, where I’ll make a fancy salad or curry dish. In the afternoon is when I get active- I either fish, play tennis, or go hiking. Dinner is probably a hamburger or some kind of pasta, and then I end the day with a cocktail and a sitcom.
Phew! There were so many twists and turns in my thrilling ideal day, I hope you were you able to hang onto your belongings! Feel free to share your ideal day in the comments, I would love to hear about it!
August 23, 2019
Some of the best advice I received in college was inspiration does not strike, it is created.
I was having trouble coming up with ideas for my senior art show, and therefore I procrastinated until I thought of the ‘perfect’ idea. As my post suggests, the number of ideas I had was zero.
I explained this to my professor which is when he gave me that nugget of advice. You need to create stuff first before you will be inspired. Even if that first stuff is bad. Sometimes you have to make some bad stuff just to get the ball rolling.
He gave me an assignment to draw something 100 times in different ways. It sounded daunting, but I had nothing for my critique which was in 5 days. I picked a statue of the Buddha from my study abroad program which really spoke to me and spent all weekend drawing the same statue.
100 images of the Buddha on the wall was powerful and created a beautiful collage effect. Even though I drew it 100 times, they were all a little different, and I learned something with each iteration. I discovered which materials I liked and didn’t like, which mediums went well together, which colors really popped together. And I had tons of ideas for where I was going to take this idea next.
So in conclusion, the best inspiration is just getting started, and embracing the fact that some of it may be crappy. Sometimes you need to dig up some rocks before you find some gems 🙂
August 16, 2019
Everyone loves fall, and it may come as no surprise that I also love fall, probably for the same reasons as everyone else: Pumpkins! Pumpkin lattes! Hot beverages! Spices! Corn mazes! Haunted houses! Apple picking! Cider! Everything!
My new collection serves up hot beverages and with a large helping of cute animals. We’re talking cuddly foxes, mischievous squirrels, and curious hedgehogs. We’re talking piping hot tea, happy matcha tea lattes, and cozy mugs overflowing with coffee. Do you have cozy feelings yet?
Collection launches on Thursday, August 22nd at 7PM CST 🙂 get it here!
August 09, 2019
It’s almost back to school time! So for fun, I thought I would write about my life hacks/principles that I live by. Feel free to share your life hacks in the comments as well!
1. Say yes to plans more often that you say no. As an introvert, staying in and laying on the couch is my default preferred activity. It’s low stress and comfy. And that’s about it- there’s no excitement, no bonding, no memories to be made. In the moment, it may be preferable to do nothing over expending energy to do something, but usually you’ll feel a lot better getting out and about 🙂 and you’ll look back with fewer regrets.
2. Make other people feel welcome. Survey the crowd, see if anyone looks uncomfortable, and say hi. You will 100% have a new introverted friend.
I am frugal- I love the thrill of the hunt, the challenge in finding cheap deals and things to do. Here are some things I do to challenge myself:
1. Bike when you can. Is your workplace less than 10 miles away and not riddled with highways? Try biking! The library is only 2 miles away? Why not bike! You get exercise, a good mood, and save money on gas. Not to mention, you don’t have to fight for parking 🙂
2. Cook like 80% of your meals. I wouldn’t say I enjoy cooking, but after years of cooking, I have become a semi decent chef unintentionally. It saves money and you build a skill!
3. Have lots of cheap hobbies. Instead of buying candles, I learned how to make them. And then I made soap. And bath bombs. You’ll have Christmas gifts for decades!
Necessary but not-so-fun Stuff
1. Do the dishes, or at least rinse them out before they get crusty. No one ever wants to them, might as well do them when they’re still easy to clean!
2. Get everything ready the night before. No more worrying that you’re forgetting something and no more running late! I have never not done this, so I have a hard time understanding why you wouldn’t- but also I understand that some people may prefer a more leisurely morning than my mad dash to get ready in 25 minutes. I love me some sleep.
3. Finally, be nice to yourself and free up some brain space by doing the things you are dreading most. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound by cure 🙂 it make your life simpler and less stressful, leaving you more time to enjoy yourself with less worrying!
What are your life hacks or principles that you live by?
August 02, 2019
In 7th grade, I received a Yellow Submarine sweatshirt and “Cat Lover’s Soup for the Soul”. It was the right amount of quirky and mainstream, and I loved it. The sweatshirt was worn well into high school, and Cat Lover’s Soup for the Soul sits prominently on my book shelf after surviving rounds of KonMari purging.
Have any of you read the 5 love languages? Though the title has the word love, it can apply to friends and family members too. My love languages is 100% gifts (not saying you have to get me any ;)) My first reaction was “I’m not materialistic!” But then I thought about the times I felt most loved, and it totally made sense. It’s not so much about the gift as it is the effort and thought put into choosing a gift. It shows they paid attention to all the little things you say and do, and they really GET you, and your interests, and who you are as a human being.
On the flip side, the gift I was most proud of picking out was for my brother’s high school girlfriend. I was a freshmen in high school at the time, so obviously the two best things I could think of for another deep, artsy soul like myself: the Twilight book and the Juno movie soundtrack. I was so proud, and a little jealous that she was getting such an AWESOME gift. My mom surprised me with the same gift a week later because she’s the best 🙂
Other great gifts I’ve received: tea and a homemade birthday cake, a cat card game, cat socks and a coloring book. My tastes have not changed much apparently =^.^=
What are some of the best gifts you received?
July 26, 2019
This year, I am not going to be mean to myself.
As an introverted child, I had a hard time making friends. I quickly learned that who I was (a quiet person) was not ideal. Comments like “why are you so quiet?” made me even more nervous in social situations- I wanted to talk more to blend in, but then I would get so nervous about what to say I wouldn’t talk at all. And I was not very kind to myself about these ‘failed’ social interactions.
So I tried to pretend to be more outgoing. I read self help book after self help book on how to talk to people and how to better myself. I thought of at least 20 things I could talk about at any given time, but inevitably someone would still call me out for being ‘quieter’. I would beat myself up over it because I had failed in my goal to be “talkative.” Every time I heard that I was quiet, it reminded me of my failure. If only I were more talkative, I would have more friends, more opportunities, a better life. If only I had a completely different personality, everything would be better.
Because of this, I was going to extremes to ‘perfect’ myself. In my mind, if I achieved ‘perfection’, then no one would ever be able to tell me I was quiet. Or, even if I was still quiet, it wouldn’t matter because of all the other great things I’ve done. To me, being told I was quiet meant I was still not good enough.
I wanted to have so many adventures that no one could tell me I was shy. I wanted to be so well rounded that no one could call me a nerd. I surrounded myself with hobbies and knowledge and experiences as a protective shield.
But the problem with having a goal of ‘being outgoing’ is there is no definitive end. And it wasn’t the real me. I was running myself into the ground for an unhealthy goal I would never reach. No matter how many hobbies I had or how hard I tried to pretend to be outgoing, there would always be people that would comment on my personality.
Does that sound like an enormous amount of pressure or what?
So yeah. This year I am not going to be mean to myself. That means I have taken a step back from constantly trying to ‘improve.’ It means no more self help books or negative self talk. It means no more dissecting everything I said, everything they said, every facial expression I thought I may have made when talking to someone. It means not beating myself up and not blaming myself for every social interaction that isn’t ‘perfect.’ It means treating myself like my own best friend: with encouragement and acceptance 🙂
July 19, 2019
Yup, I purchased my engagement ring and both of our wedding bands on Etsy.
There are a ton of websites out there that sell rings, and I must have looked at at least 50 while searching for my forever ring. I scrolled through rings for hours, but everything just felt a little generic. I wanted something that looked vintage, and to make my search a little more difficult, I also wanted a ruby instead of a diamond. And that’s where Etsy came in, and why Etsy was totally perfect!
Why a ruby? It’s a play on my last name, and I have always loved red stones- my birthstone is a garnet. From Etsy, I got a custom gemstone, custom wedding band to match my engagement ring, and they were both significantly less than the $3000 jewelers online were charging. It was exactly what I wanted!
I also bought several things from Etsy for the wedding reception, such as decorative gold paper place mats which I used under the centerpieces (pictured in back, made with gold washi tape, Ikea candles, dollar store vases, and some hot glue). I didn’t have a cake topper per se- instead I got these cute cat figurines to put in front of the cake 🙂 they were gold and vintage, which matched the colors and theme of our wedding.
I also bought a gold vintage frame from Etsy for our Victorian themed engagement photos. So fun to dress up and do those old-timey photos!
Etsy really came through for my wedding in finding unique items that had a little more flair. Since becoming an Etsy seller, I am more inclined to also shop on Etsy. A lot of love goes into each item, and you know you make someone’s day! Also, they are usually happy to make something custom for you 🙂 I’ve done several custom orders myself!
What was your favorite purchase from Etsy?
July 12, 2019
So! I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’m taking an illustration class. And because of that, I spent a ridiculous amount of money on professional grade artist markers. Below are some things I drew with said markers:
It’s a little different than my style in my Etsy store, but I kind of like it! What do you think?
You all said you love the items with cats in my shop, so expect to see more animal things in the fall 🙂 I can’t wait. Also, more cats.
Just for fun, here’s a gouache painting I did- gouache is very new to me, and I’m not sure how I feel about the ‘flatness’ of it, but it is fun to experiment! I absolutely love these figures I got in Japan, they are such good inspiration 🙂 notice how I drew it three times haha.
Which is your favorite style? Do you prefer digital or hand drawn?
July 05, 2019
So it’s the day after the 4th of July so we’ll keep this short and fun 🙂 I looked up some of those fun quizzes that used to be all the rage on social media (maybe still are?). Here are my answers, comment your own if you’d like!
1. I’m happiest when… I am wrapped up in blankets
2. …Especially if it… watching Netflix, drawing, or playing a video game!
3. I’ve always wanted to… travel to Ireland
4. My first job was… working as a cashier at an outdoor ice skating rink. Reading by the fire, hot cocoa and toasted marshmallows for days! (the rink wasn’t that busy ;))
5. I could probably eat chocolate everyday.
6. I make the best… brownies
7. I’m (now) a Minnesotan, but I think I’ll always identify most as a ‘sconnie. (That’s Wisconsin, obviously)
8. At 5, I was deeply in love with my Princess Jasmine Pajamas and frogs
9. I can’t stand… people clipping their fingernails in public. Why???
10. Whenever House Hunters is on, I’ll watch it.
June 21, 2019
I’ve restructured and changed things up for my 2nd Kickstarter! The first goal of $200 will be used to fund the Warlock pin. Each subsequent pin requires another $200 to fund. Here’s what the line up looks like:
Each pin will be 1″ and made from soft enamel (which means they have slightly raised edges instead of completely flat, so it has kind of a cool texture!) and they will come with a butterfly clutch.
Enamels pins are really cool, though expensive to make. It costs $200 to make a run of 50 pins, which is why I need your help! With pins, options for self expression abound and design options are pretty limitless 🙂 they are fun pieces of flair that are relatively cheap, other than the 50 pin minimum to start up. This is the cheapest these pins will ever be, and I hope you will consider helping out. You can do so here 🙂
Thank you so much!
June 21, 2019
Current Obsession: Nerds Ropes. Don’t ask me why. Actually do, and I’ll tell you: I saw them in a gas station near Denali and it reminded me of 7th grade dances which were a surprisingly happy time for me and that’s all it took for me to impulsively buy a box of 20 (that was the smallest amount I could buy :0) anyone want a Nerds Rope?
What I am eating: Other than Nerds Ropes, I thought I would try eating less sugar (haha) but really though. Since it would be impossible for me to cold turkey stop eating sugar, I am doing Whole 30 ‘lite’, or as I like to call it, Half 15. Most of my meals consist of meat, eggs, quinoa, and spinach ?
What I am currently working on: I am taking an illustration class, and I think it will really help me come up with some new creative stuff! I’ve been drawing cute things for so long, it might be good to get outside my usual style and explore something new 🙂
I am also relaunching my cat enamel pin Kickstarter- watch for updates here!
June 14, 2019
It’s time for my 2nd giveaway! This time I’m giving away a Strawberry pie padded laptop case and a blueberry cheesecake pencil case.
The pencil case is available in my store, and it is super soft and super vibrant. Honestly I’m a little jealous of whoever wins it 😉
The laptop case was a test run, so it is ~extra special~ because it’s the only one of it’s kind! It has a padded fuzzy interior and is 15″x11″.
Giveaway runs until 6/27/19.
~Click here to enter—> http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ebbd7e941/?
**Open to residents of the USA who are 18 and older
**You have several opportunities to win but not all are required!
**You are NOT required to like my page to enter, though it will make it easier to find you if you have won! Liking my page will not results in an entry.
**Giveaway ends 6/27/19
**Please check out my Etsy shop if you would like to purchase these goodies and/or to check out my other cute accessories: etsy.com/shop/questforcute
**Note: Some older phones do not support this app and will not load the page. If your phone fails to load, please try again from a desktop computer.
**View full official contest rules and conditions here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RIc2o6U3ZV4lv34xA0o5kjUmI8DQDo0fGrpk9AGoRUU/edit?usp=sharing
June 07, 2019
I get butterflies whenever I get a sale- and I’ve had about 200 butterflies. It reminds me a lot of dating: putting yourself out there and hoping they like you- or in this case, your product. There is nothing more rewarding when those feelings are reciprocated. But as we all know, sometimes you have to wait for a while before you land a good fish 🙂
Those moments of business are really enjoyable, but the majority of business feels more like endlessly checking Tinder: you don’t know who will be your next love interest, and you get slightly more desperate the longer it goes on. The biggest challenge is to keep going despite not knowing when you will find ‘the one’ (AKA find the customers that love your style). However, each time you push yourself a little farther, you uncover something new. You learn how to make better designs. You learn how to connect with your customers. And you learn how to believe in yourself (even if it’s out of necessity :))
May 31, 2019
Pictures are more fun right? So, from left —> right.
Take notes, because there will be a test on this later 😉
What are your favorite things?
May 24, 2019
Couldn’t think of a click bait title for this one so I’m just laying it out there 😉 mother’s day was last week, but you can appreciate your parents any time! This post is a shout out to the ‘rents and how they inspired me 🙂
My mother is a beacon of sunshine, and nothing can ever dampen her positivity. She stays the course, happily plodding along. She is also incredibly organized, which is a trait she fortunately passed along to me. She takes care of everyone and makes them feel at ease. She also appreciates a good TV drama as much as I do.
My father is always pushing me to try new things- we often had competitions at restaurants to order the most unusual foods. He is unapologetically himself and has a wide variety interests; he enjoys D&D as much as he enjoys fishing. He is the reason I am a huge nerd; we played EverQuest and World of Warcraft together when I was growing up. He also took me to Gen Con where I won a Happy Birthday Pikachu (one of my most prized possessions). Because of him, I will always feel at home at game shops and conventions, and hope to one day sell my creations at a convention like Gen Con!
May 10, 2019
My new collection launched yesterday!!!
This collection was a joy to work on whilst I was cooped up in my apartment from snowy February to snowy April. It started while I was daydreaming of summer and what I was most looking forward to: 4th of July. Who doesn’t love the 4th of July? Being outdoors in the sun, grilling with friends and family, fireworks, and most importantly: those blueberry and strawberry pies that look like American flags. I absolutely LOVE those pies, and those are strong words coming from someone who pretty much exclusively eats chocolate.
I asked some of you what your favorite part of spring is and you said the green grass and sunshine- I am happy to announce we finally have green grass in Minnesota (even if it occasionally still gets covered by snow in MAY. MAY!) Anyway, we’ve had a couple of days in the 70s already and we’ve already grilled out twice. You never know when the weather will change here, so we make sure to pack in as much summer as we can whenever we can!
This summer I am most looking forward to strawberry picking! Strawberries are my favorite fruit. Though I will admit, I definitely do more strawberry eating than picking. What are you most excited for?
I tried something new with this collection and made my own gingham pattern, and I am so happy with the results 😀 and the fabric is the same buttery soft, thick fabric with a quality zipper! Hopefully you can see the quality and texture through the pictures. I absolutely hate it when I buy something online and it’s nothing like the picture, or it feels really cheap because it was made in China. I 100% promise my pencil cases are so much better than that 🙂
May 10, 2019
What a whimsical blog title!
I really do have two loves: cute and nerdy. A few of you may know of my other Etsy store where I sell RPG related items. Previously known as Gems and Scales, I did a complete rebrand, and it is now called Cutest Loot! (I couldn’t let that gem of a name fall by the wayside) more cute goodness but with an RPG twist. In the semi near future, I will offer skirts, yoga pants, and hopefully enamel pins!
There is a lot of overlap between Quest for Cute and Cutest Loot, and when they do overlap, I will be sure to post about Cutest Loot updates here 🙂 think of it as Quest for Cute’s far nerdier twin.
As I also briefly mentioned, I am doing my first Kickstarter! This is one of those moments where there is overlap between my two stores: cute cats, nerdy theme.
If it is fully funded, I will create cute character class pins 🙂 right now, I have pins designed for barbarians, rogues, and warlocks.
Enamel pins are durable, light, and small enough that you can bring them anyway. The options for self expression and flair are limitless (plus they are so darn cute). If you are interested, you can check it out here.
That’s it for now! If there’s anything you’d like to see in the future, be sure to let me know 🙂
May 03, 2019
About a month before the KonMari craze, my husband picked up the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. At first I was confused by his choice, since our apartment is so small, we already have to be tidy by necessity. How could we be any more tidy?
I strongly encourage you to read it (watching the TV series doesn’t count!). Because her book is so succinct and free of clutter, it is hard to summarize how magical it is. You’ll just have to trust me on this 🙂
After going through everything in my apartment, I had 6 grocery bags of stuff to donate. SIX BAGS. That may not sound like much, but our apartment space is at a premium. We could fit a few extra people in our apartment for 6 bags worth of stuff!
It was so liberating to purge the clothes that plagued me- ones I bought on sale that were just a little off such as shoes that were just a little too tight. and pants that were a little too short. Yes I paid money for them, and for the longest time I held on to them because of that. But now, I am not haunted by my clothes. They were still invaluable because they taught me a lesson: don’t buy things you don’t really want just because they’re on sale
And now we’re getting to the part where it actually relates to my Etsy store: the items I was collecting without realizing I had a collection. Who knew I had a penchant for toothbrushes, tea tins, beads, and… pencil cases??
“No duh, Deidre,” you may think to yourself. We all know you are a 6 year old princess at heart who loves collecting shiny things. Yes, I love unicorns. Yes, I love cats. And about 50% of my clothes are a shade of pink. And now that I know myself, I can embrace it. Looking at all my stuff made me realize, “huh, so this is who I am,” and gave me so much self awareness. I love things that not only make me smile, but are also functional! (Such as toothbrushes, and you guessed it- pencil cases)
As you may have noticed, I now have a kawaii themed Etsy store with functional items. I absolutely love it! Who doesn’t feel happy after looking at a cute animal? Who doesn’t want accessories that express themselves? Which is why I do what I do now- functional cuteness. When you have limited space, you need to make everything you own count 🙂
Have you tried the KonMari method? What did you discover?
April 26, 2019
Who doesn’t love a snowy April? Are any of us in Minnesota surprised? I was hoping I could give you more exciting updates other than “watched Netflix while it snowed”. Since I first drafted this post, the snow has melted and we’ve had a few 70 degree days! But again, as us Minnesotans know, that doesn’t mean anything 🙂
If you were hoping for more excitement, I did go to Boston and New York in March! It was only 30 degrees in Boston, but heck, that was 30 degrees warmer than Minneapolis.
We stayed in Chinatown and basically our New York trip became a noodle tour. We had all the noodles.
Plus, I discovered boba ice cream (why does this not exist in Minneapolis??)
Other adventures include buying Torchic from the Nintendo store, ordering cocktails from the boujie Death&Company, and bagels upon bagels.
I’ve also started a new project! Trying my hand at Kickstarter for enamel pins, inspired by classic RPG character classes. In cat form, of course. It runs until May 26th, check it out here!
I’ve had several other projects on the burner as well: my spring collection, summer collection, and even my winter collection! I’ve been playing around with ideas while I’m still cooped up, because good luck getting anything done while it’s summer 🙂 everyone in Minnesota goes into a frenzy to cram as many summer activities as possible in the few months of decent weather we have. If you have anything you’d like to see in a future collection, let me know!
In other news, my one year marriage anniversary is coming up in May! My husband and I are going glamping. What are your summer plans?
April 19, 2019
Deidre, how do you come up with your designs?
For my first collection, Galactic Confections, I thought of what would define me and my store. What is the thing I love most? Cats. The second most? My husband. Third? Unicorns.
Next, I doodled different versions. Outline or no outline? Winking or eyes open? Mouth or no mouth? I tried different things until I liked the end result, and asked my friends to vote on which style they preferred
Once I had the main elements down, I was looking for more cohesive drawings that would fit with the theme. What goes with unicorns? Space, clearly. So I drew stars and moons. What is as sweet as cats? Cupcakes, obviously. And once I drew the unicorns, I was like, why can’t my cats have wings too? And boom, my caticorn was born.
I also thought very hard about the color scheme- I started with my favorite color teal, plunked it into a color generator, and kept clicking until it came up with a combination of colors I liked.
I typically draw more elements than I need. For galactic confections, I had ribbons, ribbons with wings, hearts with wings, hearts upon hearts, and even an evil caticorn (gasp!). I move the elements around and copy and paste until they fit into a nice little puzzle. During this process, I find that some of the things I drew don’t fit (like evil caticorn) but that’s okay, because they may make an appearance further down the line, or they inspire new ideas and combinations.
What does your creative process look like?
April 12, 2019
Video games. Sparkles. Cats. What do they all have in common? (do they even have anything in common??)
I love glitter, princess, unicorns, and… video games. And I know I’m not the only one who does. I really struggled to convey these seemingly different things in a one little store name. I tossed around names such as Cutest Loot, Cute Loot, and Cute Castle- though none of those captured the warm fuzzy feeling of Japanese Kawaii and the adventurous spirit of well, questing, as much as Quest for Cute did. The challenge came from combining all these seemingly different things, though as I wrestled to capture my idea in the perfect words, I realized that overly cute and the competitiveness of video gaming really do go well together. Kawaii is the rebellion against expectations of what grown adult women should like, while gaming is typically thought to be a more competitive and male dominated hobby. Both are rejecting social norms. Who says people can’t like cute things once we grow up? Who says women can’t be competitive? Who says people can’t be cute and competitive
A little bit about my background
I was playing in Pokemon card tournaments when I was 10 against guys who were 18. If you know me really well, you know that my most prized possession is the Happy Birthday Pikachu I won in that tournament. #winner
If you know me really well, you also know that I have been playing MMOs since I was 8. My first character was a high elf wizard named Truly Sweet in the game EverQuest. I literally ran out of the computer room because I was too scared to fight the orcs in Crushbone.
When I was 13, I discovered the very aesthetically pleasing universe of World of Warcraft. This time I created a night elf druid (also named Truly) because druids could turn into cats (everything in my life comes back to cats =^.^=). I was a tank for my raiding guild (whoa) and I was a 13 year old girl (double whoa) which is one of my proudest achievements. Can I put that on my resume?
So, to tie this all in a neat little package, you could say there are two sides of me: the one that is drawn to the girl’s toy section in Target (uh, hello glittery princess everything) and the one that is a closet nerd who spent hours of her youth PVPing (player vs player, and if that still doesn’t make sense to you, just know I kicked other player’s booties). For a long time I wondered how I could have such ‘conflicting’ interests, until I started wrestling for the perfect name for the store. That is when I realized the underlying themes: happiness and rebellion. Do what makes you happy, like what you like, and it doesn’t matter if it makes sense to anyone else.
Anyone want to reminisce with me about EverQuest or WoW? <3
April 05, 2019
First of all, let me say hi! Enjoying all the spring weather? Me too! Of course, if you live in a normal state that is not Minnesota, maybe you experienced spring weather much earlier. Of course, I’m still a little hesitant to believe this is ‘real’ spring. Just because it looks and feels like spring in Minnesota, does not mean it is Spring, even when it should be spring. Last year, we had a blizzard on April 14th. Yeah. The bus couldn’t even make it through the snow, and I had to walk a mile and a half home. So, I’m cautiously optimistic that this is ‘real’ spring, and not ‘sucker’s spring’. I am squeezing in all the hiking and outdoors things I can, because as all Minnesotans know, it may not last. It is definitely possible to get snow in May.
That was a long intro just to talk about my giveaway! Now that it’s out of my system and we’ve caught up on all that is new and exciting in my life, have you heard about my giveaway? If you’re here on this blog, than yes, you probably have, because that’s probably how you found my blog. Congrats!
I will be giving away a galactic unicorn tote bag, notepad, and pencil case. They all match and are oh-so-cute.
Click here to enter—> http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ebbd7e940/?
I have to get some quick disclaimers out of the way, so read them below if you desire:
**Open to residents of the USA who are 18 and older. You have several opportunities to win but not all are required! You are NOT required to like my FB page to enter, though it will make it easier to find you if you have won! Liking my page will not results in an entry. View full official contest rules and conditions here
I plan on hosting more giveaways in the future, so thank you for following and spreading the word!
March 30, 2019
This post is all about cats. Because I FREAKING LOVE CATS. And it’s very important to my origin story and inspiration for my business.
About 19 years ago, my grandma died. About 18 years and 10 months ago, my grandma took in a black kitten that was shivering by her garage. Grandma named her Cleo.
Cleo and I had an instant bond. She was affectionate, quiet, and nervous, not unlike the 8 year old me. She didn’t bite, and she let me hold her. She was totes my best friend. I begged to go to grandma’s house so I could eat Lucky Charms cereal (which she secretly kept stocked) and play with Cleo.
When grandma died, Cleo came to live with my family. By losing one best friend, I gained another.
Not all cats live forever, and Cleo died on New Year’s Eve as I hailed in 2012. Not the best way to start my year.
Fast forward to 2016. I graduated college, finished AmeriCorps, and was wondering how I could have a cat but also not pay for a cat (student loans lol) when one of my friends told me about fostering!
I have fostered two cats and six kittens since then. They’ve had eye infections, UTIs, URIs, and ear mites. My husband and I nursed them all back to health!
So end of story, I LOVE CATS. Look at my little angels below!
March 23, 2019
Everyone has an origin story- and everyone loves an origin story!
So what is MY origin story? So glad you asked!
I will spare you the soul sucking details of working a job you really don’t like. I am still searching for my ‘job charming’!
So instead of waiting for job charming, I decided to start an Etsy store. That was back in 2014. I sold paper crane garlands. They were really pretty!
But… they took me so long to make, and I only made about $12 off each one for hours of work. Ah! Not the way to run a business.
What does everyone love at craft sales? Candles! Soaps! Yes!
I tried my hand at candles- they were too heavy to ship. And breakable. So I tried my hand at soap. Soap takes a month to cure- and also you have to use lye. For the hypochondriac in me, that wasn’t something I wanted to do long term.
Then I made mugs! They were nerdy, and people seem to like them. But I couldn’t connect with the audience as well as I thought I could. I like D&D, but I don’t necessarily live and breathe it. Ask me one question about stats or items and my eyes glaze over.
ONE FATEFUL DAY, I was tidying my apartment and going through my things. And what did I see? Pink. Cats. Unicorns. Polka dots. Ribbons. Explosions of color everywhere. Glitter.
AHA! I thought to myself. So this is what I really love, and this is who I really am (did that come as a surprise to anyone other than myself? I don’t think so haha)
And thus, Quest for Cute was born with the idea of creating cute accessories to add whimsy to your everyday life. If you have an office job, you certainly need some whimsy to get through the week! I plan to keep creating cute things that I love. Stay tuned for more accessories in the next couple of months!
March 15, 2019
Looking for some cute storage for your precious belongings? This little teal cat pouch will accomplish just that.
It has fabric that is incredibly soft with a kick-butt zipper that will not eat the aforementioned super soft fabric!
My laptop is about 12”, so I use the 14” pouch to allow extra room to shuffle my laptop in. Honestly, I use my laptop frequently enough that it doesn’t need protection from dust- really I use it as a laptop sleeve because it makes my laptop look fricken cute. Which in turn makes me feel fricken cute too.
If you have already Marie Kondo’d your apartment, this nifty little bag can be an aesthetically pleasing storage bag for craft supplies, pencils, jewelry, and etc.
You can also add a nifty little pull tab for $2 if clutches are your thing
Teal has been my favorite color since I received a teal Game Boy for my eight birthday (how cute right?) I know you will love this pouch as much as I do. It’s so versatile!
March 07, 2019
So what’s new this week? I feel like it gets a little boring if I keep talking about the snow, so my default status is REALLY SNOWY AND COOPED UP until further notice.
I did go see my friend’s new kitten yesterday, so adorable! It took me an hour to drive home in the snow, but it was worth it! <3
In keeping with the theme of snow I am going snowshoeing today. I will enjoy this record-breaking Minnesota winter like my sanity depends on it!
Now, let’s talk about my favorite product (I’m allowed to have favorites right? really though, all my items are my favorites. It’s a very close 15-way tie)
The caticorn cosmetic bag!
First off, what’s not to love? I drew this adorable cat with wings, and added a unicorn horn, and voila. Set in a delicate purple hue and lavishly decorated with cupcakes, ribbons, and ribbons on top of cupcakes.
The fabric is so soft and high quality. The zipper zips like butter; no getting caught on this cosmetic bag!
And it’s lined with denim. DENIM POCKETS!
So the answer to my blog post question is no, you can never have too many pockets. This one has two inner pockets, which you can use to store literally anything. I use it to organize my jewelry, but you can also use it to store your cosmetics, because it is a cosmetics bag after all.
You can get 20% off by joining the cuties in my VIP list here.
And just in case you were looking for it, my listing is here.
February 28, 2019
Let me tell you a little about my collection, Galactic Confections! For starters, it is epitome of me. When I was planning the collection, I thought of what I would personally love, and you can see the answer here is I really, really love cats and unicorns.
I have pencil cases, cosmetic bags, laptop covers, totes, notebooks, and stickers! The bags are made with the softest polyester canvas, and most of them are lined. Also, they have the best zippers because screw cheap zippers.
I was inspired to make cute accessories after Marie Kondo’ing my apartment and realizing all my cute pencil cases brought me joy. Yes, I still have them and now my collection is growing. We all need joy in our everyday lives! Office life is even better with a discreet unicorn notebook.
I know you will love my whimsical accessories as much as I do. Thanks for reading!
February 21, 2019
Yes, my store finally launches next Thursday! More on that in a sec.
This week I had a friend visit from college, and I’ve turned yet another unsuspecting soul into a Terrace House fan
It may sound like I watch a lot of TV (that’s only half true :)) but have you seen Kitten Rescuers? It reminds me of the Great British Baking show with its peaceful tunes and feel-good theme. It reminds me a lot of my work as a foster cat mom, I’ve taken care of several kittens with ‘dodgy’ eyes. Their little squeaks make my heart melt every time!
This week I received the rest of my samples for my product launch next week Thursday! I am so ready for it, I have been working on it for the last three months! I hope you love it as much as I do, since it literally has everything I love: cats, unicorns, and cupcakes.
While I am waiting for next Thursday, I decided to do some drawing for fun and to get inspiration for my next collection. My next collection is still A SECRET, but I can tell you a little bit about my process 🙂
First, I make a list of everything I like (which includes everything you would hopefully like as well!) and I pick about 10-12 things that would go together in a theme.
I draw those 10-12 things, and start playing around with them together to create patterns. Not all of them work out, and I don’t use everything I draw. But it is hard to tell exactly what will work without putting all the pieces together! It’s like my personal puzzle. Once you find something that works, it is totally a light bulb moment. That’s what I’m looking for, and that’s how I know a pattern is a keeper.
See you next Thursday at 3PM CST!
PS. Here is my Etsy Store 🙂
PSS. If you want 20% off, become a the Cute Castle VIP member here!
February 08, 2019
Wondering what’s up with me today? Well, I unburied my car, parked on a different side street (#snowmergency) and ate some dumplings. Good times!
I’m still working on some spring designs, as well as looking into new kinds of products…. 😀 what is an accessory you can’t live without? A laptop case? A coffee mug? Let me know!
I’m continuing to learn Japanese and keep up with my yoga practice. Most of what I do in the winter is combat the winter blues =^.^= gotta stay sane some how! I also tried my hand at baking bread, and unfortunately it wasn’t quite like the Great British Baking Show. Is it under-proved? Over-proved? I’ll find out in about 20 minutes!
Tonight will be fun though, I’m going to play some board games with my friends, including Love Letter, which really doesn’t have anything to do with writing or letters but it is a super fun card game!
What’s keeping you busy? Know any fun games?
February 01, 2019
This week I have been working on the designs for my summer collection. It’s keeping my spirits up during the polar vortex and the inches of snow. Both my husband and I have had our work cancelled this week because of the weather. For me, that means two things: my new favorite show Terrace House and a glass of wine. Do any of you watch that show? I love it!
Inspired by Terrace House, I decided to start working on learning Japanese on Duolingo. I have been to Japan, yet I don’t know many words. Anime was also my childhood and I had dreams of learning Japanese but it was never offered at the schools I attended. Thank goodness for Duolingo and the internet!
I also signed up for two community ed classes, both of which were this week. I learned my lesson, never sign up for anything in the Minnesota winter! The first class was NOT cancelled, despite the large amount of snow and dangerous conditions. I ended up walking halfway home from work after attempting to take the bus (it was not moving, nor were any other cars) and then hopping on the train, which is great for most of the way but still 1.5 miles from my apartment. I ended up walking home, but at least I got home! For many people I know, it took 2+ hours to go about 6 miles.
I did end up attending the class yesterday which was on glass fusing. I made a cute little dish. Once it is fired, I will post pictures!
I’m always interested in learning new crafts and expanding my art skills. Who knows, maybe I’ll have to include glass art in my Etsy shop!
What kinds of things do you do when the weather is rough outside? Do you have any fun crafts or classes coming up?