Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Trendy Goals

I don't really consider myself incredibly trendy.

Sure, I like trends, but I don't always act on it. But lately I've been thinking more about transitioning my love of minimalism to my every day life. (I know, I know. So is every blogger. Just hear me out, okay?) Let's start with my wardrobe. I heard about something called a "capsule wardrobe" while I was watching a YouTuber clean out her closet - I like slice of life vlogs, I guess.

Anyway, as Zoella cleaned out her closet, and I just watched her, eating a bag of chips and staring at my own closet from the corner of my eye, enviously, she said that a capsule wardrobe is where you have about 30 pieces total in your closet that all can coincide with one another into a number of outfits. Just the thought of that seems tough enough, but I figured I would look into it more. Zoe was in no way interested in taking on that feat for herself, but if she hadn't ever mentioned it, I may have still gone a while without ever hearing about such a thing. So I thank her for gawking at the idea, at least.

See, I have a problem. It's not that I necessarily have a problem with my current wardrobe, really. My problem is that sometimes getting dressed before work is literally the last thing I do before running out the door. So when I open up my closet on laundry day, this can be an even trickier task. After I did a bit of research I realized it wasn't feasible to donate all of my wardrobe and start completely over; instead I did a cleaning of my closet and put aside clothes to toss out or donate. (The only ones I did toss were ones that were beyond mending.) Despite my sentimentality, I even got rid of a couple of my old high school shirts that I haven't even bothered with in years.




I ended up with about 45 pieces leftover in my closet - this is not including the t-shirts in my actual dresser. Everyone needs more casual wear. But the pieces I kept can mix and match fairly okay, and they are the pieces I'm most fond of.

The next step (next year) will be to do another clean-out of my closet and only add pieces to my wardrobe, going forward, that match my color scheme and style - which right now is greens, blues, and whites to blacks. Occasionally some browns/light browns and reds get thrown into the mix, but primarily I wear the first three mentioned the most. I'm feeling good about this change. I'm feeling good about finally doing something with the clutter and donating clothes to someone who could really use them. Maybe one day I'll be able to clear it out to a true capsule wardrobe. I may still keep the t-shirts and random stuff hidden in a dresser, though.

One goal down, 90-million more to go.

Speaking of not being trendy at all, I just started something new to keep up with all of my goals and end 2016 correctly: a bullet journal. Yes, I heard about this from another YouTuber, but linking to the video is pointless, because it was mentioned in passing. In fact, the first time I heard about it a month or two ago, it completely exited my brain almost never to return. That is, until, this past week.



I am very Rory Gilmore-esque in a lot of ways. I don't just say that as a GG fanatic, but as someone who didn't even know who Rory was as a character until 4 seasons into the show, it was really refreshing to meet a character with which I could relate.* We were both shy during that age. We were both hyper-organized, studied almost too much, read a lot, wanted to be journalists and made lists. That last one is most important here. I have lists upon lists upon lists. Whether they are poorly jotted on sticky notes, found in the corners of notebooks, made with OneNote or hiding at the bottom of my bookbag or closet somewhere, the lists are abound. I am in no shortage of lists, and it's safe to say that I almost can't live without them.

Grocery lists, to-do lists, packing lists, workout lists, meal plan lists, reading lists, lists, lists, lists.

The bullet journal, as the system is meant to be and as it is traditionally, is more than just lists. Even for me that seems weird, but the concept is glorious. Some person thought up a system for turning any notebook or journal into a planner. And a planner is full of lists. It's pretty neat. You just take anything that you have or can buy - most people tend to go for the nicer moleskins because that's just oh-so in these days - and use the system the creator has outlined to make it the most effective planner you've ever had. You get the chance to design it.

Okay, you might have stopped reading this by now to check out a YouTube video or two of someone's bullet journal and thought that that is too much effort, right? I'm not going to lie, it is a lot of effort if you do it the trendy way. In fact, I would put bullet journals right up there next to the obsessive scrapbookers and the sticker-crazed planner hoarders. (I'm looking at you, Lyndsey.) People spend a lot of time making theirs look as trendy and cute as they can. I think a lot of that has to do with the pressure or blogs and YouTube. Don't let those folks fool you, the bullet journal can be quite simplistic.

You can ultimately do it however you want - screw the system! For instance, I don't have an index, key or regular planner pages. Mine is simply for my monthly and yearly goals. Sure, I've doodled cute designs on a few of my pages - I'm an artist, it's an urge of mine - but I'm not concerned with mapping out the ultimate daily, weekly, monthly planner. I have a calendar app for that.

So maybe mine is different than the typical bullet journal or the trendy bullet journal, but it's a bullet journal. So far it's been with me everywhere, and it was nice to cross off "clean out closet" off my list of short-term goals for June.

Now it's time for July where I'll be training for NaNoWriMo, and trying to hit my health and reading goals, as well.

...

*That's right, folks, I refused to watch GG for four years until I stumbled across it in its fourth season during ABC Family reruns (I quickly caught up and then jumped into the new episodes about a week later).

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Posturing

I've been thinking a lot about the way people posture. It's a strange thing that we feel so compelled, in different environments, to pose ourselves in different lights.

Every environment has its own etiquette and expectations; depending on that environment it may be important to adhere to what is expected (I'm thinking namely in business, and rarely anywhere else, because do how you feel), but you can tell who is and is not ready for those environmental constraints pretty easily if you put a group of people in a room and make them have a meeting.

Some people immediately change the way they speak once they sit in that conference room - not just in language, but even in vocal tone. Some people sit up straighter and are so acutely aware of their surroundings that they even breathe lighter. Some are too oblivious of their own actions and surroundings to make any effort. But the ones who are so obviously trying too hard - the vocal changers and straight sitters - are the ones for whom I often feel most pity. They're still learning, they're still trying to figure it out, and it's sorely apparent to anyone paying attention how lost they really are at it.

I guess that's true for a lot of climates, though. We spend most of our life adjusting and readjusting. Some people just haven't figured out how to weed out the voices, inside and around, telling them to be somebody else.

...

While I spend a lot of time shaking my head at the strange ways people try to prove they fit in, I do have to remember that these are the vulnerable moments that others may be missing. Perhaps we can learn something from a person's posturing; if they're trying too hard, perhaps that means that they are just as lost as any of us. Perhaps they're just barely holding it together. Those are the times that we should see their humanity and weakness and use it as a way to learn about who they are and love them more.

In the environments that impose feigned poise, it can be hard not to be competitive about who you are in that room. Inclusion is important, even in business. Accepting other voices - tonally different or not - is one of the best traits a leader can have. Listen, watch, listen.

...

Sometimes I see my friends, and I hear what they say they believe about the world and themselves - there is liberty in their words - but their actions show someone very different. We're all still so young. Not all of us learn at the same pace. Some people are 26 with multiple university degrees, and they still don't have together what I may consider common sense. That's okay. 

I'm sure when I talk out of my ass someone is nearby assuming I have no other way. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

lumos.

It took us 7 hours to drive from Atlanta to Orlando to start the last bit, and spotlighting feature, of our vacation. Hours passed, and while I tried to wrap my mind around Orlando, I could barely comprehend that what happened had indeed happened. I kept my eyes open from the time we passed under the sign that read, "Welcome to Florida - THE SUNSHINE STATE" until we left. It seemed unfair that a state that boasts its brightness should have to endure such darkness.



“Happiness can be found even in the darkest times if one only remembers to turn on the light.” - Albus Dumbledore

I fancy myself someone who believes in spreading love and positivity - to be a light for others. I may not always be the best light or the brightest light, but a light I try to be. It's an obligation I've taken upon myself from a young age; the sense of urgency was instilled in me from different influences ranging from (but not limited to) church, my favorite Switchfoot lyrics, personal healing and books like Harry Potter. Only a couple of days before we headed for Orlando for our second honeymoon to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, two tragedies occurred that shook me to my core: one the murder of Christina Grimmie, the other the massacre of an LGBTQ safe haven. Lives taken so quickly.

What I saw rise from it all was something greater, though: flags at half mast, colors and rainbows decorating buildings and sidewalks, pride parades stubbornly and bravely marching on, and people appreciating what and who they have. Love. When I think about the people in my life whom I love, I think about our laughs, our hugs, our smiles, our "I love you"s. I'm thinking about the love they give me, and the love I try to give them in return. And despite how hard it can be sometimes to see it, we all deserve happiness. We all deserve those moments of light.

Even now I sit in a strange limbo where I foolishly want to believe I'm somehow safe from all of this, even when it's so close to me. Before our long drive down - hours of these thoughts haunting me - I was comforted by family that said it wouldn't happen in an actual park. Not with so many people, in broad daylight, and so much security. As if that changed or meant anything for the events that transpired before. We're all just grasping for comfort and hope amidst disaster. Danger is always a distant feeling until it's staring you in the face. We can't predict what others will do, but what we learn from all of this matters more.

Orlando drew nearer, and I looked to the sky. Hues of blue, purple and orange were setting against the clouds. To my left was a rainbow - a double-rainbow even. "An arc of spectral colors, usually identified as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, that appears in the sky opposite the sun as a result of the refractive dispersion of sunlight in drops of rain or mist." A show of light, peace, resolve, promise.

Monday evening, after the events in Orlando, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Orlando held a night vigil at Hogwarts castle. Everyone lifted their wands and lights in respect of those lost. Just as everyone at Hogwarts had done when Dumbledore's life was lost. Knowing this warmed every part of me, but also broke my heart tremendously.

I got a simple spell today: "Lumos." The spell of light. Because it reminds me of Dumbledore's words, of flags at half mast, of spectral light beaming across a tearing sky, of the hugs I've shared, of billboards that say "#OrlandoStrong" or "#OrlandoUnited" in remembrance of neighbors, of singing "Love alone is worth the fight!" at the top of my lungs, of To Write Love on Her Arms, of God's love, of your love, of my love, of the love and brightness I see when - days after tragedy - Tripp and I celebrate our love through a replica of a story that taught us love (HP world). We may not be able to stop all tragedy, but we can certainly fight against it with love. I didn't just get this for Orlando, but Orlando made me realize that I had been sitting on it for too long.

We can be a light for a world. We can brighten shadows. We can BE love. Please, please, please hold onto your light.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Vacation VI: That Time I Got Drunk In Diagon Alley

Okay. So I didn't get totally drunk.

I did get a buzz, though.



But really, get the fire whisky paired with apple cider (if you're of-age). Yes, I was also drinking butterbeer at the time. It's not alcoholic. It's okay.








It was our last day in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We will be back (again, again), though. <3

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Vacation V



Harry’s head was swimming. Hagrid, meanwhile, was counting bricks in the wall above the trash can. “Three up... two across...” he muttered. “Right, stand back, Harry.” He tapped the wall three times with the point of his umbrella. The brick he had touched quivered — it wriggled — in the middle, a small hole appeared — it grew wider and wider — a second later they were facing an archway large enough even for Hagrid, an archway onto a cobbled street that twisted and turned out of sight. “Welcome,” said Hagrid, “to Diagon Alley.” 
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 5: Diagon Alley 




I still feel very lucky that I am in a time where an entire world that I have known and loved for years is tangible. I can visit Grimmauld Place, Gringott's, Honeydukes, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Sugarplum's, the Three Broomsticks, Hog's Head, the Leaky Cauldron, Madam Malkin's, Ollivander's, Gregorovitch's wand shop, the Owl Post, Quality Quidditch Supplies, take the Hogwarts Express and see and explore a bit of Hogwarts. I can be there.

There are so many other places and experiences that I am missing when I list the ones above, and I've done this before when it was just Hogsmeade. But I hadn't been back since. Coming home is such a wonderful feeling. I still have two more days to bounce between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade and I feel so, so lucky to be here and see this. I feel so, so lucky to be with Tripp seeing this. I even crept into Knockturn Alley for a few darker kicks.