March 28, 2014

My 13 Spring Goals for 2014

Celebrating Spring
Image from Antique Images

    This winter seemed to have me in quite a lull.  Hopefully the new season and the warmer weather will bring back the energy into my life.

    I have created some lofty challenges for myself, which I will have to stay on top of.  I am excited for the challenge though.

    Let's start with some of the fun goals and move our way up.

    1  Fly a Kite

    Every time I see the kites for sale in the stores in the last month or so that old song from Mary Poppins starts to play in my head.  I haven't flown a kite in ages.  I think it would be a lot of fun to give it a try.  I may even try to make a kite myself.

    2  Go to the Movies

    It has been a while since I have gone to the movies and there seem to be some good looking ones coming out this year.

    3  Have a Picnic

    I have been wanting to go on a picnic since the tail end of autumn.  Winter just isn't the season to sit out on the grass and eat finger sandwiches though.  Last year I learned about a fun sounding holiday through Gala Darlings post, Celebrate This: International Picnic Day!  It seems like a great reason to get friends out for some fun.  It will be a Wednesday this year.  June the 18th.  Though I must say, why only have one picnic in a season?

    4  Have a Crafternoon

    I love crafting in my spare time and it is so much fun to just sit around with friends.  An afternoon of tea and crafts sounds like a great idea.

    5  Make 5 Crafts

    I really liked this one in the winter and made three out of five of the crafts.  This season along with the use of the crafternoon, perhaps I will knock this goal out of the water.

    6  Study for an Hour a Day

    I am a nerd.  I enjoy studying.  However, there come times when I feel guilty doing things I enjoy.  Not a good thing when you enjoy doing stuff you need to do.  That and I will get to the things that are urgent rather than important. By setting aside at least an hour everyday for studying I hope to kick back into my habit of pouring over books and lessons.  It should help that they will be things I want to study and not things I am forced to study.  I would like to focus on French and maths for the moment.  I would also like to study GIMP some more.  Is there something you'd like to learn more about?

    7  Get a 60 Day Streak on DuoLingo

    In addition to setting aside time to study each day, I want to break my previous streak on DuoLingo sixfold.  Think big.  This means I need to keep at the studying each day.  Perhaps I will give myself a reward if I make this one.

    8  Catch up on Shows

    This one is mostly for my own enjoyment.  Also see the comment about feeling guilty about doing things I enjoy.

    A friend lent me Once Upon A Time.  This is an ABC show that I absolutely fell head over heals in love with.  After missing episode 17 and refusing to watch more till I saw it it has been a terrible wait.  I am so happy to see it again.

    I would also like to catch back up with Kurt's adventures on Far Lands or Bust.  There are a couple of other YouTube shows I'd like to keep up with.

    In addition I would like to catch up on podcast shows that I follow regularly.  The only one I do not plan on hearing all the episodes of in spring is Astronomycast.  With over 330 episodes I will settle, for now, with just getting back to listening to the new episode each week.  Bonus, they now air as hang outs every Monday.

    9  Donate to Johanna's Surgery Fund

    Johanna is a lolita and artist I met at Realms con.  She is trying to raise money to help pay for some surgeries she needs and I have selected her's as my donation goal this season.  Check out the link and if you too can donate anything she would certainly appreciate it.

   10  Write 750 words a day in April for Camp NaNoWriMo

    This session of Camp NaNoWriMo starts on the first of April.  As I have been in quite a lull even in my writing I plan on using this session to kick start my writing back into gear.  I will be writing a sort of encyclopedia for myself.  Taking note of any of the world details I will need to be able to quickly reference in my story.  I want them to be nice and organized.  At the moment I have to dig though files in hopes of finding the information I want.

   11  Save for Texas Renaissance Festival

    I plan on attending the RenFair this autumn.  I am going to start saving now.  It is always fun at the festival and I'd like to stay more than one day this year.  

   12  Learn 1 New Song a Week on the Violin

    I am learning to play the violin and it can be really tough getting your body to learn how to move in a way it doesn't normally move.  I used to do choir so I am at least familiar with reading music and memorizing pieces.  I also know from my time in choir that I can learn the music quickly if I commit myself to it.  As such I am going to try and learn at least one new song a week for a total of 13 new songs.

   13  Learn to Cook a New Meal Each Week

    I enjoy working in the kitchen.  I know how to cook for myself, but there are so many things I just don't know how to work with.  This spring I would like to work on learning more techniques and how to work with new ingredients.  So 13 new meals should get me into some crazy fun in the kitchen.  


    I must say that this list of goals scares me a bit.  There are certainly more than one I  would consider difficult.  I need to make myself a game plan.  I really think that may help.  

    I will be keeping track of mine over at Day Zero Project.  This site is great keeping track of goals.  

    Are you joining in on the fun or do you have any current goals?  

March 27, 2014

Things I Love Thursday: Tea

Orchids and Koi Pond
Taken at the new tea shop Jenn and I found.


    Has it already been a week.  It has been so busy for me.  there has been some really fun stuff too.

  • A pint of feel good ice cream.  (Mine is Ben & Jerry's Phish Food.  What is yours?) 
  • Trying new teas 
  • Getting back on the study wagon.  Studying French on DuoLingo again.  
  • Face time with best friend.  
  • Rewatching episodes of Once Upon A Time
  • Meditating again.  
  • Finding a new tea shop 
  • Koi
  • Finches
  • Tea with a friend
  • Trying red tea
  • Taro bubble tea 
  • Talking to someone who is very enthusiastic about tea
  • Making people laugh
  • Undisturbed sleep 
  • Having a friend to talk things over with 
  • Talking about world building
  • And More Science
  •  
  •  

    Has your week been interesting?  Tell me about it.  

March 20, 2014

Things I Love Thursday: Welcome Spring!

Willow Tree: Grateful
One of the discoveries on our Tea Time Tuesday adventure

    The spring equinox is here!  And not a day too soon.

    I am hoping for sunny spring weather and maybe a few picnics in the grass with friends.

    It has been a long cold winter and all week I have been seeing little signs that spring is coming.

    Before I go on, I want to shout out some thanks to Gala Darling.  It was her blog feature that inspired me to start keeping a gratitude list and post it on my blog every Thursday. You should check out her Things I Love Thursday posts.  She's got lots of other great posts, so take some time to poke around her blog and check out some of the stuff she is doing.

    There are plenty of other people out there that do these posts too.  Just do a search for "Things I Love Thursday" and you are sure to find some of them.

Willow Tree: Love of Learning
Jenn said this one was perfect for me


    and now to the happiness and smiles of my week:


    I know there are plenty of things I forgot.  It was a great week. How did your week go?

    Also have you considered trying out the 13 Spring Goals Challenge?

March 17, 2014

NaNoWriMo: Camp Style

    Do you love writing?  Do you have a story in you?  Want a fun challenge to push yourself to finally put words to page?

    Enter Camp NaNoWriMo!

Image from CampNaNoWriMo.org


March 16, 2014

13 Spring Goals Challenge

Winter Scene
Image from Antique Images

Well for many of us this has been a long and cold winter.  Or at least longer and colder than we are accustomed to in our own regions.  In south Texas we often jest that we only really have a few weeks of coldish weather.  Well we can’t really say that this year.  Our weather would tease us with a day or two of warmth and then drop back down to around freezing.  

Is it colder than normal where you live?  Are you ready for spring to come?  

March 20th, the Spring Equinox, is right around the corner.  And I am hoping it will bring with it more than just the promise of warmer weather.  I am looking forward to more favorable conditions for outdoor activities both with the local lolita community and on my lovely bicycle.  

  Let’s start spring off with more than just hopes though!  Let us start it off with some goals and challenges for ourselves.  

March 13, 2014

Things I Love Thursday: Have a Sparkly Week

Hot air balloon
Image from The Graphics Fairy

    A gratitude list is a great way to help keep yourself from falling into the doldrums of life and seeing only the darkness.  It helps to remind us that there are sparkles and even explosions of happiness all throughout our world.  Have you tried at least taking note of the happy things as they occur?  Give making weekly gratitude lists a try.  What do you have to lose?

    Here are the wonderful sparkles that made my week a happy one:

March 10, 2014

Creative Exercise


Climbing Roses
Image from Antique Images

    Today I have an exercise for anyone else who is having trouble with their art or having trouble focusing on their art.  Life can be very hectic and there are so many things that can distract us and steal away out time and attention.  If you are having trouble take some time out to do some introspection.

March 6, 2014

Things I Love Thursday: So Many New Things

Trees in bloom
Stop to smell the flowers.


    It has been a long but great week.  Spent some great time with friends and had quite a bit of tea.  Tried a gunpowder green tea.  I liked it.  I actually tried a few new things this week.  Here are the things I loved this week.
  • The Astronomy Picture of the Day was beautiful on the  25th of February.  The Pleiades Deep and Dusty.  Found out about it on twitter from @BadAstronomer
  • Misako Aoki: The Interview A wonderful interview for any lolita to read.  
  • A long warm bath scented with rosewood.  
  • This gorgeous illustration by Fritz Willis over on ALB's Tumblr
  • Learning about dansou and Fudanjuku through QueerAsCat (watch their video below for more details)
  • Trying new things
  • Raspberry pound cake
  • Stopping to smell the flowers
  • Cereal filled with peanut butter
  • Lots of blankets and pillows on a cold night
  • Hot drinks
  • Window shopping
  • Trying out new lotions and body scrubs.  
  • Showing stuff to friends and having them show me stuff.  
  • There were a couple 8tracks this week that really caught my ear:
  • A review by QueerAsCat of the Japanese magazines Garçon Girls and Novia Novia.  
  • Fraser Cain answers "Can Moons Have Moons?"   

    I hope you all had a great week and tried something new.

March 3, 2014

Daydreaming as a Method of Brainstorming



    Brainstorming.  What is brainstorming?  I like the definition by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  
:  a group problem-solving technique that involves the spontaneous contribution of ideas from all members of the group; also :  the mulling over of ideas by one or more individuals in an attempt to devise or find a solution to a problem
     Some sources used the word brainstorming exclusively for group idea generating, while others talked about an individual generating ideas or solving a problem.  In the manner that I use 'brainstorming' it is both.  As writers we have a myriad of skills to learn and master.  Or at least it feels that way.  One of them is brainstorming.  Often times you may be doing it on your own.  

There are many methods of brainstorming that are listed out there and everyone has different methods that work better for them.  While I will use listing, research, and free writing depending on what I am working on, one of my most utilized methods of brainstorming is to daydream.  To sit in my own mind and think.  Not all daydreaming is the same.  It is not all mindlessly wandering.  But all types of daydreams can have value to a creative person.  The very beginning of some of my ideas have come out of wasting time away daydreaming in my room (or elsewhere.)  When you have one of these ideas that sticks out or sticks with you, remember to write them down.  They can float away just as easily as they come.  

Now like I said not all daydreams are just mindlessly wandering.  With the use of both focus and a good imagination you can turn your daydreaming into productive time.  This can be done at many different points in your creative process.  Just chose something you want to work on and focus on that.  Turn it over in your mind and analyse it.  Put it in different situations.  See how it reacts. Here are some of the different ways I go about productively daydreaming.

Visualization


Try to picture things in as much detail as you can.  
  • The locations
  • The buildings
  • The fauna
  • The flora
  • The characters
  • The tools or weapons
You don't have to use every detail in your writing, but you may find yourself feeling more confident than when all you know is that Tom's shirt is red.

Thought Experiments 


Test out different ideas in your head to find which ones fit together.  Try putting a character in different situations to see how they might react.  Try it several times to see if a different reaction works better.  Remove them from their normal world to see how they handle.  You never know what you will learn about them.  Try visualizing other people in the world to see how the world itself works.  You can also use this method on aspects of the story other than the characters.

Interviewing 


Literally talk to one of your characters or several of them.  Ask them questions.  Just so you know, they don’t always answer.  Remember that you can also look at how one character sees another character.  So in your imagined interview you can ask about anything.  Other characters, how government works, and even the climate are all subjects you can attempt to explore through one of these interviews.  

There are countless different perspectives and methods to use in your brainstorming.  Try things out and find what works for you.  
   

Writing Exercise: Color & Description 


    Choose a color that uses a nature or geographical word in the name (ie: ocean blue, forest green, coral pink).  Try to describe the color without using the nature or geographical word used in the name.  For an example, imagine that you are trying to describe the color of moss green to someone who has lived their entire life in the desert and doesn't know what moss looks like.  In this particular case any forest related word may be useless.  The point of the exercise is to work on how well you can describe something.  Challenge yourself and have fun.  

March 2, 2014

March Try-Its

Lady in a hammock
Image from Antique Images

    March is here and spring is coming.  Time for a new list of try-its to tackle.  This month I really want to focus on self-love and my writing.  I also want to get back into some daily habits that are both good for me and make me happy.  There will surely be other things I will try out but here is the list of things I want to work on each day.

  • Use my Radical Self-Love Bible and do something for myself each day
  • Write a lot for my main project
  • Study: French, GIMP, Violin
  • Set aside time to read books at least once a day

    What are some things you will be trying out this month?  And are you ready for spring?  It starts on the 20th of this month.  Will you join me for another round of 13 seasonal goals?  

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