Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why didn't I think of that?

...Oh yeah; because I can't sew.

Either way, this is an excellent idea for tall boots that flop over when you store them.

[photo: cupcakebomb]

Rule: Have a great Thanksgiving, and eat lots of yummy things.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A (not) Brief Analysis

Hi Guys!

So remember this post and this post on creativity and life-balance?

I've thought about it a lot, and thought about what makes me tick, personally. And here is some honesty. Get ready for some crazy too, as I think I'm getting a little sick.

I love to help people and make them smile. I really love it. I think it alternates between genuine altruism and loving to make people happy (happy people are fun people) and a selfish desire to make my friends an exclusive club that everybody wants to get into because they're so damn happy all the time. The result is, however, that I over-commit to a lot of things. Taking people out to dinner, shopping for pick-me-up presents, cooking meals, hosting parties, coming up with lots of energy to energize others, revving people up to go out because they feel like they're in a rut, seeing my friends on an individual basis and really listening to them, spending quality time with my significant other, spending silly time with my significant other, etc.

I also love to show off. Who doesn't? Praise is awesome, and being able to display things that you're good at gives you encouragement to go forth and do more. The result here is the same, I over-commit. Usually it's on a micro level - making too many things for a meal, or things that are too complicated - but sometimes it's on a macro level, trying to solve everybody's problems all at once. This leads me to making meals for everyone but myself, doing other peoples' work at work and not getting any of my own done, that kind of stuff. They say that pride cometh before a fall, but it's really more like pride cometh before you turn into an empty, hollow shell who's eating a giant bucket of popcorn for dinner in pajamas and bathrobe while making whimpery noises and wondering why it's cold in the house.

I want to improve myself over time, not stagnate. I have this crippling anxiety of becoming boring and everybody thinks I'm lame and nobody wants to hang out with me ever again because I'm no longer funny, clever, helpful, supportive, or that last dish I made was sucky. No, don't reassure me that I'm awesome (ok you can if you want). Trust me, this is something that needs to be addressed by a mental health professional, as it's deeply embedded. When I was younger, with more significant troubles in my life, I was alone a lot outside of school. That gave me a lot of time to read, be smart, think of funny things, and daydream. This is a pattern that I fell into as a defense mechanism that has now become the type of thing that recharges me. Now that I'm an adult, and much of those troubles are behind me, I have a much more packed social schedule, and that recharge pattern is less available. Then occasionally, somebody at a party will say something totally witty and I'll laugh my butt off, and my brain will do this:

"HAHAHAHHA that was so hilarious HAHAHAHA- oh god why am i not that funny i am deficient oh geez quick i need to read something smart somebody hand me a biology textbook or a calculus problem"

Plus stagnate is a yucky word. It sounds like some sort of unwanted bodily fluid, or something stinky that comes from the fermentation of sewer goop that Ferran Adria will science into something delicious and spherical at some point in 2015.

[credit: unknown, someone help me out] This is giraffe threads with spherified stagnate and cheese gel.

I want to surround myself with loved ones. Again, this is kind of a no-brainer. I don't want to lose touch or relevance with the people I really admire and love, and who also really care about me. This means - as my friends happen to be scattered all over - I spend a lot of time sleeping on planes and buses, spending money, vacation hours, and brain-energy, and physical energy. Sometimes they come see me. All of which rules. I'm definitely not complaining. However, this means I get home and there's a ton of laundry, I have no food, I have no money, and my bathroom is a crazy haven for cave crickets, which are like terrifying jumpy spider things. Seriously terrifying get out of my house why are you in my house i hate you.

This is what I came up with:

Rule: Secure your own mask before assisting others.

They say during the portion of airplane flights when you're trying to figure out how to fit your personal pizza, your bottled water, and that stupid magazine you bought into that pocket in front of you. I think the announcement is supposed to be calming or something. The idea is if something bad happens and you have no oxygen, these colostomy bags fall out of the ceiling and you put them on your face. Or... oxygen thingies? Either way, they're supposed to make you not asphyxiate. You put them on your own face before putting other ones on other peoples' faces. This is because if you're running out of oxygen, you get all loopy, panicky, and floppy, and it's really unattractive. ALSO, makes you really bad at putting masks on other people. Really, nobody wants any of that.

This is true of life. First you gotta put the colostomy bag on your face. Then you're like a superhero. Is it getting hot in here? *thud*

I'm back! I'm up. It's fine.

Point is, everybody wants you to be the best you can be; you should want that too. Doing things that recharge you will make all these other things much easier. Artificially producing creativity, support, or knowledge is basically mentally forcing it. And as with poops, it's unsatisfying, exhausting, potentially painful, and sometimes shooty.

Those are my thoughts. Hopefully they weren't too shooty.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pre-populate, and your life will become easier

Hey All!

I have a lovely friend who has a lovely blog with excellent writing. Her name is Elizabeth Downie, and this is her blog. I'm usually laughing my head off reading her posts, so I thought I'd ask her for some tips and tricks in an interview!

(Fancy, huh? This way, I don't have to come up with my own content! Woohoo!)

Me: Hi, Elizabeth! First of all, I want to say that I think your blog is super fun to read, and that I'm glad you decided to write it! Why don't we start by having you tell our readers why you started your blog?

Elizabeth: I needed a creative outlet. I enjoy my job but it allows me no creativity! I've always enjoyed writing and making people laugh. Blogging is a good way to combine the two! I was nervous about starting a blog - that's something I don't tell too many people. I was afraid it was vain for me to assume anyone would care what I had to say. But after about two posts, I was hooked. And I completely changed my mind about blogging being vanity. Blogging is about sharing our lives with each other, staying connected, and giving us something to read when we're bored at work.

Me: What do you think makes a great story?

Elizabeth: I think a great story is one where you can picture what the person is telling you about and relate to what they're saying. I try to make my stories relatable. I live a really fast paced, Hollywood lifestyle though so it's not easy. But I try to remind people that I'm really just like them and there's no reason to be nervous around me.

Me: Who among your friends or family is your favorite storyteller?

Elizabeth: My family is full of story tellers, especially my uncles (on both sides of my family). Family get togethers are always full of hilarious stories, with a
little bit of exaggeration thrown in here and there to spice things up. It's hard for me to choose one! They all crack me up.

Me: You use a lot of humor in your posts; you always have me laughing! How do you turn an ordinary story into a hilarious story?

Elizabeth: First of all, thanks! Secondly, I always try to find the humor in whatever situation I'm in. Sometimes it's not easy. Life is hard, and we can either laugh or cry, right? When it comes to what I write in my blog, I choose to laugh. I save the crying for later. I use my blog as a place to think positively - I never want to write anything in it that would bum people out. That gives me the opportunity to think about what happened and find the humor in it. Usually I can do that by laughing at myself, and poking fun at the things I do.

Me: Who are other bloggers who you think tell excellent stories?

Elizabeth: I love my friend Sara's blog. She is a great writer and photographer, and the combination of the two make her blog completely charming. ( I have a long list of blogs I follow on my side bar and I read every post those bloggers write. I love reading about my friends and family's lives and am always thrilled to see an updated blog!

Me: How do you deal with really tough stories? The ones that are sad, personal, or scary?

Elizabeth: Most of the time I don't write about those, but when I occasionally do, I try to just be me and be honest. It's scary putting stuff out there. And those types of posts get the fewest comments which makes a blogger feel even more insecure. But if I feel I need to say it, I just say it. You have to be true to yourself as a blogger. When you are, your readers will know what they can expect from you.

Me: Any tips for budding storytellers?

Elizabeth: Be yourself. Think about what makes you you - do you love your dog? Do you love to read? Do you love sports? What is it that makes you you? Think about that and let that guide you as you write in your blog. Your passion and honestly will draw people in and make them want to get to know you more.

Thank you for giving me the chance to answer these questions, Sandy! I feel so honored that you asked. I hope it's what you were looking for. :) See you in the blogosphere. ;)

Thank you, Elizabeth! So there you have it, tips from an amazing storyteller and all-around classy lady.

Rule: Have classy ladies in your life; it makes things better. Also, do check out Elizabeth's blog, because it's pretty awesome! If you have any other thoughts on storytelling, leave 'em in the comments. I would love to read them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

1.21 gigawatts! Great SCOTT!

Rule: the best way to soothe a curmudgeon on a Monday: sit her in front of a giant cheeseburger, a cold soda, mobile internet, and leave her alone.

I'm fighting off whatever cold my boyfriend had; it's floating around our apartment, scratching at my immune system and mewling loudly, so no giant post today. For your entertainment, here's a conversation I had with the boy:

- me: when will you be home?
- boy: 3pm
- me: it is 4:31p
good luck

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I like consuming cute things

I eat kittens for breakfast. I don't put milk on them or they get soggy.

Actually, this is entirely untrue. But check this out:

Belly Owl Ornament

This is from one of my favorite stores: Terrain. They're gardening/terrarium-focused, but they have a lot of neat stuff for your kitchen, your home, and for da ladies, all with beautiful packaging. I highly recommend checking them out. I've watched them accumulate lots of press from other bloggers recently, and I'm glad for it, since now I know they won't go out of business. They have an awesome holiday line of stuff right now!

Anyway, OMG IT'S SO CUTE with the giant tummy and eyes. The end.

Rule: Don't eat kittens, with milk or otherwise.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

So, what did they say?

Here are some excerpts of what my friends said. They are all awesome, so you might find some tips that will help you out, especially with holiday/winter craziness coming upon us. I'd always love to see more tips and tricks on keeping a good balance, so feel free to leave your own in the comments.

- photo from icanhascheezburger

"For me, keeping my passion has been built on two major things; forgiving myself for "failing" and putting up goals which I can reach.[...] I personally don't think that there is one good way to keep passion in life, for me it was to find solutions for my weaknesses, for you it might be to challenge your strenghts. And I don't think that this one way works for more than a few years or months. For me, my life has changed so much since I started my internship that I had to find a new way that worked right now to not burn-out. But maybe you at least got some inspiration on how to do it, or how not to do it now ;)

I also think that cycles are good, I think they make you develop, how else would you have begun to reflect on this?"
- my social media marketing friend

"- BIG THINGS: I check in on myself all the time. If there's something that consistently makes me happy, I structure my life around it, like making time for lindy hop and friends. Conversely, when I feel a general sense of unease, I pinpoint the source and then make a structural change to my life, like becoming vegetarian.
- LITTLE THINGS: I keep a focus on things that I would like to do more of, try to modify my habits to do them more, and then pat myself on the back when I do them. Positive visualization, as hokey as that might sound. Also hanging out with inspiring people, like you! Conversely, I remove things/people from my life when they're not worth my time or they stress me out.
- TRENDS: I'm figuring out what works best for me, but not stressing out about not being there yet, or not getting it right all the time. Oooh, other new insight: what that means is allowing all my personality traits that I've had since I was a kid (reflective, liking change, outgoing, procrastinating, bursting, etc.) to coexist. Tricky stuff when they would make me act in contradictory ways; sometimes I can allow them to coexist without stepping on each other, and sometimes one needs to win out over the other.
- I talk about it with my friends. I'll be interested to hear what you conclude once you collect and digest all the responses to your email!"
- a dancer friend

"I think some activities lend themselves better to different types of management than others. For example, I keep family stuff on a regimen - I call my parents once a week on the weekend (of course, I answer e-mails and chats right away - online communication is something I keep on top of because both my life and job are reliant on it and it doesn't take a lot of effort to leave a mail window open).

Creative stuff is harder for me. Usually, I am inspired to take on a project and I power it through it as quickly as I can because a) I stand to learn something from doing it b) it could be potential portfolio material, so I want to get it done and c) I am impatient and want to see immediate results of my ideas. You are right that this can cause burn-out, but I typically focus on different things - it's never all writing or all 3D or whatever. It's more like "I'm inspired to do this thing! I'm doing it, now it's done!" and it feels kind of neat and tidy like I can check it off the list and focus on something else. So I guess you could say I manage creative urges in little chunks. "
- my game designer friend

"I try to get rid of stuff that I don't enjoy. I also have been wasting my time less and less with shit like tv and internet.

I also try to get people to not expect things from me that I don't want to do.

I also try to get in habits of doing things (like music practice) as a habit. Like, daily at a certain time. I don't stress about it though."
- another dancer friend

"I thought for a long time about this, and the only thing I consistently come up with is: do what makes you feel is right. It's cliche advice but so hard to take. There are so many times where I think what I am doing doesn't fell right, when really, it doesn't feel right to others and I am taking on their feelings as my own. It takes a lot of self awareness and courage to say, this is what I really want to do right now, be it writing or socializing. You should try things out and see what feel best for you. And also, take some time to get to know yourself enough to be able to actually make that discovery. [...] I try to think about what it is I really want to do, and accepting that. It's hard and I'm not always successful (unsuccessful more often than not) but ultimately, I'm hoping it will result in a happier self."
- a college friend

Rule: My friends always amaze me at how smart they are.

My thoughts soon.