A Zen Start to the Week / Life Update

Hello and Happy Monday!

It has truly been a hot minute since the last time I popped by this space.  Unfortunately, I have a full course load at school this semester, which has resulted in my now needing to prepare for a grand total of six exams.  Yes, six. I do not know why I do this to myself, other than the fact that I must be some kind of academic masochist.  With all that said, my absence from this blog has sadly been intentional.  With all of my school commitments and deadlines approaching full force, pretty much everything else has needed to fall by the wayside so I can get through the next month or so.  And I mean, literally everything else: the blog, dating (but let's get real, I haven't been that interested in doing much of that anyway, ha!), and I even quit my part-time job to accommodate my rigorous exam schedule.  So yeah. That's been fun.

I decided to pop back in today because, well, I really miss being creative. A big part of having to take a step back is the fact that once I get on a blogging roll, I tend to get into a zone.  Once in the zone, I get so focused that I forget to eat.  Which, if you know me, that is a pretty big deal because I am pretty much always hungry.  Real talk.  If I forget to eat, I will definitely forget to study.  Therefore, any potential threat to my study time had to be temporarily eliminated, as boring for both myself and for the blog as that may be.

Today, however, I was extremely productive, so I thought hey--why not take the time to write a blog post? I think my productivity was helped by the fact that I started my day with a walk around Mosvannet, a lake just a short walk from my house.  It has been raining, windy, and disgusting in Stavanger the last few weeks.  So when I woke up to relatively nice weather this morning, I couldn't wait to go outside.  I decided to take my morning coffee with me on the walk so I could wake up and get some exercise at the same time.  Let me just say: it was an unparalleled zen experience. 10/10 will do again.  In fact, I actually don't know why this hasn't already been a part of my routine this whole time! (Well, I kind of do: rain, and laziness. ha!).

Whenever I walk to Mosvannet, I always stop at the same cluster of rocks to take in the view (which is featured in the first photo in this post!).  I do not know when or why I started doing this, but it has become something of a tradition, particularly if it isn't raining.  Today, I perched on this rock for about twenty minutes, raising my thermos in a toast to a duck couple enjoying a morning swim before continuing on my way.

While the walk provided a very relaxing and healthy start to the week, the rest of the day has been pretty routine--I reviewed some notes for my last lecture in Strategy, and began a practice exam for my Accounting test at the end of the month.   As dull as that sounds, I am well on my way to crushing my academic goals for the end of this year, which to me is quite exciting! Let's hope the trend continues!

Hope you have had a wonderful Monday and have a super start to the week! I will be back here again as soon as these exams allow!

30 Things I've Learned in 30 Years

I took this picture while farting around with the manual settings on my camera in low light.

Hello, blog!! Long time no post, I know.  Life has been more than a little crazy, so sadly my creative projects have had to take a backseat to both my job and academic pursuits recently. However, today is my birthday, which means that I have given myself license to basically do whatever the eff I feel like. In this case, whatever I like entails drinking copious coffee baileys, blasting some favorite records (currently "Facelift" by Alice in Chains), and, of course, blogging.

I am turning 30 today. In the weeks and months leading up today, I have been having a not-so-mild existential crisis about this milestone.  However, waking up this morning was not as painful as I anticipated.   If anything, I feel thankful for my life and the opportunities it has brought with it.  In honor of this sentiment, I would like to share 30 things I have learned in 30 years:

1.  My paternal grandmother always used to say something to the effect of: "People spend all this time worrying about something that might happen, but then it never actually happens.  So they wasted all that time worrying about something that never happened anyway when they could have been thinking about something else."  She was not wrong about this.

2.  Wash your makeup off before bed. Always.

3.  Do not ever let yourself get too angry, lonely, hungry, or tired.

4.  There is no shame in admitting wrongdoing or asking for help.

5. You can't control what other people do or say, but you can control your reaction to what they do or say.

6.  John Lennon once said: "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans."  He was not wrong about this.

7.  It is important to approach others with kindness.  It is equally important not to take anyone's shit.

8.  Not everyone is going to like you.  And that's OK--you probably don't like them anyway.

9.  Some people are meant to follow the basic life formula of go off to college, get a job, get married, and then have 2.5 kids and a house in the 'burbs.  And that's amazing!  Other people are meant to do things a little bit differently.  At 30, I am finally OK with falling into the latter category--in fact, I now acknowledge that I would not be happy otherwise.

10.  People are always going to try to put other people into a box/label them as being a certain "category" of person.  I have never fit neatly into one of these categories, and that is OK.  No one really does anyway.  We are people, not objects.

11. Know your strengths, but know your weaknesses as well.  This gives you a realistic starting point for setting and completing goals.

12.  Quality is way more important than quantity.  This goes for friends, handbags, shoes, bottles of wine--pretty much anything.

13.  If you're going to invest in your wardrobe, invest in good quality bags and shoes.

14.  Always listen to your gut.  It usually isn't wrong.

15.  Embrace all aspects of your background, no matter how conflicting they may be.  They are all a part of who you are.

16.  If you harp too much on the potential for something negative to happen, you will likely wind up manifesting a self-fulfilling prophecy.  So focus instead on what you want to happen rather than what you're afraid will happen.

17.  RuPaul once said: "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love anybody else?" She was not wrong about this.

18.  The value of experiences appreciates. The value of things depreciates (for the most part).

19.  Live in the moment, because time goes by fast.

20.  Don't say no to spontaneous adventures (within reason, of course).

21.  Do not do a wine/keg stand in a skirt.

22.  Take good care of your skin and don't get too much sun.  And stay out of tanning beds (so glad I quit them in my mid-20s!).

23.  Know when to call it quits--on a night out, in a poker game, on a workout, on a relationship, on a job...This applies to pretty much anything, really.

24.  If you have the chance to see a favorite artist perform live, GO!

25.  Take advantage of any opportunity to spend time with loved ones, and enjoy every moment of it.

26.  Sometimes, you need to get yourself together and get shit done, even if everything seems overwhelming and impossible.  Other times, you need to stop and let yourself breathe before taking on new tasks.  There is a delicate balance between these two--find it.

27.  Don't skimp on your health, your skincare, or your bedding.

28.  Don't buy something just because it is on sale, you need an item loosely meeting that description, etc.  Only buy it because you love it and/or really need it (and sometimes really loving the item means you really need it).

29.  An old, southern woman on the Maury show once said: "Men are like busses.  You miss one, you catch the next one, honey."  She was not wrong about this.

30.  You are only as old as you feel. Cliche but very, very true.  I feel younger today at 30 than I did at 25!

So concludes my 30 nuggets of wisdom obtained in 30 years.  I am still relatively young in the grand scheme of things, so there is likely a great deal of wisdom still to be obtained.

On that note--I am off to continue my day.  Starbucks and some Mexican food are on the menu before tonights party, and I am super excited!

Monday Motivation -- On a Tuesday

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I felt the need to change up my greeting on this post--I say some variant of "Hello and..." every day, and that gets a bit boring.  But at the same time, the post feels naked with no greeting. So here we are.  Fun fact: this is also how I greet my friends in real life. (You guys know who you are--I bet you even read that "hola" in my voice, too, huh?).

Anyways!  I am coming at you with some Monday Motivation on a Tuesday.  I could have posted on a Monday (so yesterday), but after a week of no posts, it seemed a bit boring to have two of the same posts in a row.  So here we are!

As I mentioned yesterday, it has been kind of a weird week.  This is largely due to my little recovery period from my procedure.  But it also has to do with life in general.  It has also rained pretty much non stop, so there is that as well.  I am not normally the type to long for warmer/sunnier weather, but today I really found myself dreaming about palm trees and clear skies. 

Maybe it is the weather, but I am feeling a bit blah on this weekly column.  I am wondering if it is something I just don't want to keep up, or if my lack of enthusiasm is a sign that I am not doing enough to work towards my personal goals.  I am leaning towards the second one.  And we all know what that means: time to get back on track academically, physically, spiritually, and all the other "ly's." 

Wish me luck!  Here's to hoping next week's column is a bit more motivational. 

Fresh Nails

Hello and Happy Monday!! It has been a minute since I last checked in here.  Last week, I mentioned that I had a small procedure performed to remove some moles on my neck.  I didn't think it would have much of an impact on my daily routine, so I didn't schedule any pre-made blog content in case I'd end up not feeling up for taking photos, etc during the rest of the week.  That assumption turned out to be quite wrong, as I spent the entire week feeling pretty blah and downright gross due to the stitches and bandages on my neck.  This feeling, in turn, sapped me of all creative forces.  Fun times! (Not).

To perk myself up a bit for the weekend, I went on Friday and had my nails fixed.  I decided to try something different from my usual dark colors or neutrals and went for a bright red.  I am loving the result--it definitely cheered me up!

I go to the Nail Room here in Stavanger*, and can't recommend them enough! I prefer to keep my real nails, and don't like them to be too long, so I get a regular manicure with gel polish.  It lasts about 2-3 weeks before I start to get annoyed at the little gap between my nail bed and the color as my nails grow out.  I could do (and have done) my own manicure at home, but I vastly prefer the result I get at the salon.  Plus, it is also nice to get my nails done this way and then not have to worry about it again until next time. I'm just lazy like that, I guess.

*Not sponsored or an adlink, I just really like the work they do and highly recommend them!

In other news, I have been learning so much about photography with the "new" (it is a used Canon that I got for a scandalously low price) camera I recently got.  It is fun to try out new techniques, but I feel like I am having to re-learn everything I thought I knew about photography and photo editing. I have taken so many photos in the past week, but have only felt comfortable using the ones in this post because most of them have turned out...well...ugly. And even these I am not 100% happy with.  I am hoping that I will quickly master this learning curve!  Practice makes perfect, I suppose?

At least now it is a new week, and I am stitch-free.  So here's hoping that things can only go up from here!

Monday Motivation - Week 42

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Hello and Happy Monday!!

It is a bit of a slow Monday around these parts, as I had a procedure this morning to remove a few moles from my neck.  It is not a particularly invasive procedure, but for some reason, I have been super tired ever since I got home. I am not sure if this is due to the numbing agent, or just the comedown from all the adrenaline running through my body prior.  The one mole was on the middle of my neck, and I kept having visuals of the doctor somehow accidentally cutting too deep and nicking a main artery, causing me to bleed out right there on his table.  Dramatic, I know, but that is where my head winds up sometimes.  (Everything went fine, for the record: now I just get to walk around with a bit of a Franken-neck until the stitches come out).

Anyhow! My mole procedure is probably the least interesting thing I could possibly write about, so I am going to drop that subject for now.   This week, however, in general, is a bit of a slow one, as it is Autumn Holiday at school.  Although on my end, it is a week for getting things done more than it is a holiday: I have a project to work on, finance problems to master, and other fun tasks.  I have to say I like having a bit of a break to catch up.  Sometimes it is exactly what is needed to get back on track, especially for me who has been so stressed and tired the last few weeks.

The most exciting thing happening this week, however, is connected to a few investments I have made into this blog recently.  More specifically: I have invested in a used DSLR camera and a tripod.  Which hopefully will mean a huge upgrade in the quality of images presented here on the blog.  I am also seriously considering a migration to WordPress in the not so distant future.  My hope is to continue developing the quality of my content, while also giving this space ample room to grow.  And I have to say--I am pretty dang excited for what the future might hold!

On that note, I am off to get a few things done and hopefully cross them off my to-do list.

Have a great Monday!
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