life curation

Making Space Challenge Updates

It’s been a few weeks since my last update on my Making Space challenge. So, here ya go!

I’m continuing to pare down my belongings and make room. I have a mini-project ahead of me that I’ll be working on for the next week or so. I have to store my porcelain doll collection to clear out my living room and make space for new decor. I’ll be boxing up my dolls (after I clean them and wrap them in acid free paper) and that will take a bit of time to do properly. I’ve already gotten my wrapping paper and I’ll be ordering my compressed air (for blowing out the dust that may have settled on the dolls) later today. I’m aiming to pack two dolls a day starting on Monday. That should translate to me being done in a little under 3 weeks.

doll

Not my doll, but isn’t she cute?

I also switched my wardrobe over from summer clothes to winter clothes a couple of weeks ago. Now that all of those clothes are hanging or folded in my dresser drawers, I can look at the items, one by one, and see which items fit my current style preferences. When I first switched the clothes over, I only saw one or two pieces that I felt needed to be retired (those went promptly into a charity giveaway bag). However, I can apply a more critical eye over the next few weeks, especially during my long holiday weekends (since I have a few coming up).

As far as “making space” internally, I’ve been happily saying “no” to anything that doesn’t bring me delight. This has been surprising for people in my life that are used to me saying “yes” without question, but by opting out of different obligations, I’ve had more time to care for myself and reserve my energy for the things that really matter. That has done a world of good for improving my low mood over the past few weeks.

Intentionally making space has been a good idea for another reason: I have to upgrade some things in my life and by getting rid of the things that don’t serve me, I have more time and other resources to devote to getting the things that will serve me best right now. This has been a great decision: I’m glad I did it! I love the changes that have come from choosing to #makespace!

international · travel

Cruise 2018: Dining on the Sea

If you all didn’t know, I love to dine out. I actually think I like eating out a bit too much, which is why I’ve cut down significantly over the past few months. That being said, I still got excited at the dining options available on my latest cruise.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

The Allure of the Seas (a Royal Caribbean ship) has multiple restaurants on board, as well as several cafes, wine bars, and snack bars. My family and I dined regularly at the main dining room at American Icon Grille. This restaurant  published a luxe menu every evening, featuring various appetizers, entrees and desserts. The restaurant changed up the menus every day, so there was always something new to try. There are also a few other themed restaurants, such as Silk (Asian foods) and The Grande (American foods).

KODAK Digital Still Camera

A typical breakfast that I’d order from room service

There is also a buffet located near the pools (the Windjammer Cafe), which has a few of the food items featured in American Icon Grille but also other dishes that aren’t available in any of the dining rooms. To be honest, I had the best time dining at the Windjammer in the evenings. The buffet had a different chilled fruit soup every night which were delicious and I could literally eat every day without getting tired of them (think the world’s smoothiest, most delicious smoothies . . . yes, it was as tasty as it sounds).

KODAK Digital Still Camera

A menu from one evening at American Icon Grille

Oooh, not to mention, there is a Sorrento’s pizza, which makes fresh pizza until 3 AM. Who doesn’t love pizza? And the room service has lots of delicious fresh options available all day long.

I won’t continue to talk about the foods: let’s see some pictures, shall we?

Lobster bisque and Tiger shrimp

Left: Shrimp ceviche; Top right: Shrimp and potato salad; Bottom right: Lobster

Desserts!!!

Enjoy your Friday, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

life curation

NaNoWriMo Week 2 – Updates

Happy Thursday, friends! I’ve completed my first two weeks of NaNoWriMo and I’m excited that I’ve been writing (basically) every day since the challenge started.

I’m at 15,000 words now, which means I have only 15 days to write another 35,000 words (whew, I’m tired just thinking about it!) But I’m committed to seeing this challenge through. I’ve got a few more days off during the next two weeks and I’ll focus on doing large chunks of writing during those days. My story is moving along nicely, though I’m not taking much time to reread – and not time to revise – as I write.

writing

I’ve found it helpful to write without doing any editing. You end up losing a lot of time because your brain “shifts gears” and you lose your momentum if you try to write and edit simultaneously. Unfortunately, the finished product ends up being quite “rough”, but it is a rough draft, after all. If it doesn’t come out as clean as you’d like, you can always edit, edit, edit it until it’s perfect. That’s what I always end up doing, and that’s what will happen with this book, as well.

So I’ll be putting my head down and focusing on getting all of my writing done over the next several days. Can I reach 50,000 words by November 30th? I think so. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

life curation

Winter Socializing: My Game Plan

Happy Hump Day! I’m already looking forward to the weekend, but I’m two days away and trying to make the best of it. As the days get shorter and the air gets cooler, I’m considering what my social calendar will look like. I hate having to go outside during the winter so any social events I attend must be pretty special in order for me to participate.

party

My ideal calendar for December 2018 to March 2019 would involve the following:

  • A monthly art event
  • One wine event during the season
  • Two or three workshops (less than 3 hours long each)
  • One long workshop (more than 3 hours)
  • Biweekly dinners with friends
  • One date per week

I’m an introvert, so this schedule is ambitious for me. In fact, there’s a good chance I could line up my calendar to include everything I’ve written above and I still may end up flaking simply because I don’t have the energy. But what I’m learning is that it’s really important for me to set social goals, much like I set career, education, health and financial goals. Social goals can really help me with managing the emotional lows that I tend to experience during this time of the year.

As much as I love to isolate myself, I really benefit from interacting with others in small doses. If I don’t overdo it, being around others tends to lift my spirits and give me some energy. So I’m going to spend some time today figuring out which events to add to my calendar. And, once I have those all lined up, you can look forward to some reviews and discussions regarding the stuff that I’m doing as I ride out this fall and winter. Wish me luck!

fitness · food

Diet Changes for Colder Months

Hi everyone! I went grocery shopping yesterday and I couldn’t help but notice the higher prices of some of my favorite fresh fruits and vegetables. Yes, summer is officially over and that means that the things I enjoy will cost a bit more since they are no longer in season.

That isn’t a problem, per se – we all make adjustments for our preferences from time to time – but I know that the foods that make me feel light and healthy during the summer don’t necessarily give me the same feeling during the colder months. In fact, I generally crave heartier, warmer foods during the fall and winter, and my body doesn’t feel as nourished by my typical summer fare.

veggie

I figured that now would be a good time to assess my diet and transition from my warm weather palate to my winter one. I’m still doing intermittent fasting (IF) so the timing of meals won’t change. I’m still on a 8-hour (more or less) eating schedule and I enjoy whatever I want during my window. But what I’m choosing to eat will be more suitable for the season.

I decided to consult a website to see which vegetables and fruits are in season during this time of the year. Lifegate has a very convenient breakdown of the fruits and veggies in season by month. I’m finding the website very useful for my dietary planning.

For starters, I’ll be putting most of my tropical fruit preferences (kiwis, mangoes and papayas, specifically) on hold. Instead I’ll reach for pineapple (which, despite being a tropical fruit, is in season right now), apples, and grapes. As far as vegetables go, I’ll still have the occasional salad but it won’t be my go-to lunch. I’m going to incorporate more gourds (squash, pumpkin) and root vegetables (carrots, turnips, potatoes) into my recipes. I’ll also be cooking more beans and legumes, as I find these very satisfying during the chillier months.

Because I’ll be doing a lot more cooking during the winter, I’ll be sharing some of the recipes that I’ve created or tweaked. If you have any meal recommendations, let me know: I’m always looking to try something new! In the meantime, I’ll be shopping with the Lifegate list in mind, and focusing on eating the foods and meals that leave me feeling full and cozy this winter.

I hope you all are doing well! Talk to you all tomorrow.

 

beauty

Beauty Review: Harvey Prince Hello Perfume

A couple of months ago, I saw a promo on Instagram for Harvey Prince Organics perfumes. After following the page, I received a message inviting me to get a perfume for free, with the only out of pocket cost being shipping and handling. Being a perfume lover, I couldn’t resist: I got a bottle. Behold!

The perfume arrived in a sleek black box with salmon pink writing. I wasn’t sure which rollerball scent I would receive (either it wasn’t explicitly confirmed by the company or I wasn’t paying attention) but the one that arrived was “Hello“.

The rollerball has a good amount of product for the price, and the small size is perfect for tossing in a purse or gym bag. The scent is fresh and has a slight sweetness to it. According to the Harvey Prince website, “Hello” has a lot of citrus top notes (Meyer lemon, white grapefruit and satsuma mandarin) layered over heady floral midnotes (summer forsynthia, pink plumeria and wild verbena). It dries down to a sweet, warm fragrance in the base notes (Tahitian vanilla and musk).

I initially enjoyed “Hello” when I applied it. I like citrus notes so the clean smell was an immediate hit with me. However, as it dried down, I liked it less and less. It turns out it didn’t agree with my personal chemistry and it started to smell kind of rank on me. I think it may have been a bit too floral and sweet for my tastes. In short, this smells delicious in the bottle, and probably amazing on someone else, but for me? I can’t do it. I plan to pass it along to someone who may like it better, because I’d hate for a good product to go to waste.

To it’s credit, Harvey Prince specializes in organic products. So for those that are looking for a perfume that is cruelty free, vegan and safe for pregnant women, this company is worth checking out. The prices are also very reasonable, so feel free to give them a gander if you’re curious.

That’s it for today’s review! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

life curation

Listening to My Creative Cycles

Happy Sunday, friends! I had been experiencing some emotional lows over the past few weeks and I recently came across an article that really put things into perspective for me.

Over on Affirming Spirit (a website created by teacher, artist and Law of Attraction guru Nancy Barry-Jansson) I read a post about entrepreneurs are more effective when they work with their natural creativity cycles. As I read it, I had a “lightbulb” moment: I’ve been resisting a natural cycle!

creative.jpg

Embrace each phase of the creative cycle

According to Nancy, there are four stages to the creative cycle: gestation, inspiration, creation/birth, and renewal/rest. You see, I am constantly in “create” mode. I love creative expression and didn’t think that I needed a “rest” from it because I loved it so much. I know the importance of recharging but I never paid attention to how I needed it for my current creative endeavors.

I also don’t allow enough time for the other stages: I tend to want to fast-forward from gestation to creation without allowing enough time for inspiration to come in and guide me. This disorderly way of going about things is part of the reason why I had been feeling out of sorts lately. Yes, I’m sure there are other things at play, but this part can’t be ignored.

So, even though I’m committed to completing my NaNoWriMo project, I will be incorporating a lot more rest into my routine. I’m also going to stop “rushing” through the phases of the cycle so I can have an energizing and satisfying creative experience. This will require some changes on my part, but I think it’s worth it.

That’s all for today. Take some time to get familiar with your creative cycle and learn to respect the phases for the best results. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!