Tips and tricks

June 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

After being in school for twelve years, we’re programmed to believe that summer is a time for play and relaxing and vacation. And then we enter the workforce, and I’m all, ‘So…when’s my last exam so I can get the hell out of here?’ ALAS. It does not come. But that doesn’t stop me from “planning” my summer. More pool visits! Baseball games! And then it’s like, oh yeah, nothing’s changed. I’m still working, and like, the weekends didn’t get longer or anything, just hotter, so does anyone else want to take Lena to the pool? It’s too hot out.

I do have some summer projects that I want to work on. (Again, with what mythical free time again?) I scored some cheap canvases at Michael’s, and I’m working on some arty things, for my room and for Lena’s room. Since we’ve pretty much decided we’re going to be hunkering down with my parents for the foreseeable future, it’s time to take some of the stuff off the walls of my old room which Lena now resides in, and make it a little more nursery/kid room friendly. (CHARLISS: I still have that picture of those skateboarders we met on campus that day, remember????? When we were taking that photography class??? So every night I snuggle in bed with Lena and look up at my walls and think, ‘there’s a picture of two shirtless boys with skateboards that Charliss and I met when we were like 14. that’s an awesome thing to be hanging in Lena’s room.’)

I’ve been hanging out a lot on Check out my boards. It’s a super cool way to curate your online interests. I surf a lot of blogs throughout the day, and pin some of my favorite things, whether it be style-y stuff or art projects I want to do or food I want to make.

Where was I going with this? Oh yes, so this summer is about simplifying my life. Just working on bits and things to make life a little smoother. I wrote about this earlier, and I’ve been more present with Lena, and I’m super satisfied with that, and I’m going to work on me too, a little more. I’ve already started on cleaning out my closet, getting rid of clothes I haven’t worn in years. I’ve donated over three trash bags full of clothes, and I’m about to donate some more.

The one thing that has really helped in ways I could not have imagined is It’s an online free way to manage your money. You can link up all your accounts from different banks, credit cards, loans, and it’s in one easy place. It sets up a budget for you, and has an easy way to set goals for yourself. Whether it be saving for college (Lena, btw, is going to a in-state public school, because HOLY SHIT college is going to be expensive in 15 years.), or saving for a down payment on a house. I recommend any recent grad 20-something with little to no money manage experience to check it out. Seriously, it’s amazing. The other thing that it does, is just by signing up for it I’ve started saving more money monthly. I know this won’t go for everyone, but there’s this crazy psychological thing, that when you write things down, and document them, you’re more aware of what you’re doing, and you’ll do them better, or if it’s a vice, you’ll do them less. It’s why a lot of diet and exercise programs have you keep logs. If you write down everything you eat for a week, by the end of that week you’re less likely to gorge on a whole bag of Dorito’s. On the flip side, if you’re running every day, and you’re logging those times and mileages, you’re more likely not to skip a run just because you’re feeling lazy, because you’re tricking your mind into thinking that your little log is the end all be all. This guy I work with is trying to quit smoking, and he just writes down every time he smokes a cigarette, and with very little other behavioral change, he’s been smoking less, just because the act of writing it down is enough to make him think twice about when he smokes. This is sort of what’s happening with me and I’m thinking twice before I whip out my debit card to splurge on coffee in the morning. I’ve made my lunch for the past two weeks, so I’m not spending on that. When I want to make something new for dinner, I’ve been trying to use stuff out of our pantry, instead of gratuitous trips to the grocery store where I end up buying new nice smelling soap or nail polish along with groceries. Because I need them! It’s cool. It feels really good. Go check it out.

Last night after the bath, I painted Lena’s fingers and toes. She was beyond ecstatic. It was the ultimate big girl moment. One foot is green, the other is pink, and her fingernails are orange. I painted her fingernails in bed, and all throughout the two chapters of Charlotte’s Web I read to her, she lay back on her pillow with her hands outstretched in front of her, admiring her new fingernails. She kept her arms extended and her hands out for much longer than necessary, but I didn’t have the heart to tell her. My grown up girl.


Watch and Listen

June 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

I love Wednesdays. Middle of the week, the end of the week is in sight. Plus last night Lena got a bloody nose at around 10:30, and didn’t fall asleep until midnight, so, you know, it can only go up from here.

Here’s what I’ve been watching to get me through the week.

Sarah Dessen, speaking at BEA in NYC (Book Expo of America), about writing young adult fiction. Sarah Dessen is seriously my favorite YAF author. There’s something so wonderful about YAF, and I never could put my finger on it until I listened to this the other day. “Happen, happen, happen.” Something is always…happening. So you know, this applies to young readers to hold their attention but also to self-diagnosed ADD mothers of toddlers.

Coolest video ever of a group of women longboarders in Madrid. Wonderfully shot, fun music, definitely worth the watch.

Carving the Mountains from Juan Rayos on Vimeo.

And finally, to take a listen: Heard this on NPR on the way to work. It’s about a woman that underwent dental surgery and then woke up with a foreign accent. It’s a real thing, Foreign Accent Syndrome, and a great story for radio.



January 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

2 things:

1) I am proud to have Barack Obama as my president.

I’m proud that Lena will get to grow up with Obama as president.

I’m excited about my ability to give Lena stories. So many stories.

Which brings me to…

2) Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk.

If you have twenty minutes, (which I’m sure you do. Halftime, people) this is worth the watch.

I won’t say too much about it now, maybe more later (gotta go watch the heels) but I will say that I’m inspired to teach Lena this, and I also want to thank those around me, daily, that save me from the single story that I would be in danger of becoming.

I just surprised myself by getting a permanent position in a field that I love, doing a project that I love, taking a grad school class that I love.

And there was a moment when I thought that that couldn’t happen. And I realize now that I would be guilty of only realizing the single story of “teen pregnancy” or “single mom”. And that was dangerous.

And now I am reaching paradise.

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