One of my favorite podcasts, That’s So Retrograde, has a segment called roses and thorns where they share the best and worst parts of their life at the moment. I love this segment because it ranges from the general best life moment highlights too favorite product discoveries. Roses & Thorns is very broad-reaching in its ability to be an open category for favorites and unfavorites of the mental, physical, and spiritual variety.
I’ve decided to adopt the practice on this here blog to spotlight the roses, be transparent about the thorny parts of life, and most of all – roll out my music playlists ( 🤞 on a monthly basis)
JANUARY 2020 PLAYLIST
📷: February 1, 2020 – Self Portrait
My exercise for this new month is to not measure my performance or success on how perfect I execute something, but instead my level of effort
Starting off this month in bed with Loulou curled up next to me and the first episode of the Goop Lab playing in the background. The episode is the wonderful white world of wellness and its current exploration of psychedelics. I’m not as cynical as my previous sentence would suggest, I believe there is power in exposing different healing modalities through mass-media. But if you watch the show without some sort of eye-roll, then there is a clear disconnect from 99% of the rest of the world.
However, maybe I could benefit from psilocybin to further deconstruct the maze of mental obstacles I constructed this past month. Simply put – January was not my jam. On the last day of the month, my Lou accidentally ingested 5-HTP and had to be rushed to the emergency room. She was experiencing Serotonin Syndrome, and her BP had dropped to 65 by the time I brought her to the vet. For reference, a healthy dog of her size should have a BP of 110. It was an extremely scary way to end the month, but Loulou is healthy and we are together again.
This morning I woke up with incredibly painful menstrual cramps. CBD, ibuprofen, a hot bath – nothing took away the severe discomfort. I feel like not only am I shedding my uterine wall, but also shedding the pain and discomfort of this past month.Continue Reading
One Thing Leads To an Other – Home Décor Glow Up Gallery Wall, Bedside Table, and Plant Display
I wasn’t planning on giving our bedroom and home office a makeover this past weekend, but one thing led to another, and I believe I have successfully executed a little Home Décor Glow Up. The aesthetically pleasing self-care I needed this month. Here are five helpful tips that finally helped me get shit done around the house.
1) Have your home get in such disarray it causes a negative impact on your mental health
2) Visualize the perfect movie montage of joyful cleaning to get in the mood for your next big project
3) Address what isn’t working, and find a solution aka The Power of a Pivot
4) Become incredibly irritated by another thing that is 100% out of your control and be pushed to regain a sense of control through a little retail therapy
5) Be a micro-hoarder in the name of sustainability and find ways to repurpose items.
Read the full post and view Before & After pictures after the jump.Continue Reading
📷: January 1, 2020 – Self Portrait
2020 here we are.
Last night I was on the phone with GoDaddy for two hours trying to get the domain for my art and music blog back. My credit card had expired, and in a series of unfortunate unseen emails, I lapsed on the renewal. The website has been dormant since 2014, but it’s important to me because it was my first real blog. It was my gateway into utilizing social media for self-promotion. The concept of social media as a marketing tool was in its fledgling state back in 2009 when I started that blog. It was a great training ground, helping me to secure internships and identify how one could market their material. Now, social media marketing is my career.
In 2010 and the few years that followed, I was fully committed to that blog; interviewing bands, artists, and sharing what inspired me. Eventually, I wanted to write about even more interests, so I started Blanket Fort Adventures. Sadly, this blog has never seen the same level of dedication the art and music blog received – and it bothers me.
Several areas of my life continue to lack the level of dedication and attention I know they deserve. It is a frustrating aspect of my character. I have an aspiration or desire that burns really hot and fast, I’m caught in a whirlwind of inspiration or ideas, but the fire sputters out, and I allow the day to day to snuff out my motivation. Time goes by, and I wake up a year later, realizing I still haven’t leveled up and fully stepped into my potential. I’m good. I meet certain goals and obligations. But I’m not pushing myself to become and embody the image I have of myself in my mind’s eye. It’s a reoccurring self-realization.
For example, in 2012, I wrote about finally committing to going on a cross country road trip by May 2013, you can read the proclamation here. I didn’t meet that deadline. During the first few months of 2014, my heart was heavy knowing I had let myself down – again. I burn bright and then sputter out. But I changed that year, and I made it happen, I went on that trip.
Now, I find myself with that feeling again. Knowing that I’m letting myself down. I have within me all the lessons and experiences that have shaped who I am up to this point and can use those tools to really form the woman I want to grow into. We all do. I don’t want to say I’ll do something anymore, I want to do it – all of it. Step into my creative ambitions fully. Step into being a better partner and friend. Step into being a better human and being more mindful of how I move through this world, and treat this planet. Step into playful wonder and spontaneous adventures. I’m not trying to be my idea of perfection, but I am trying to step into, embrace, embody and reflect the truest sense of myself…
A thirty-two-year-old half Japanese woman without a bachelor’s degree who lives (and pays rent) with their mother. A writer, artist, storyteller, and performer with an endless desire to be heard and express themselves. A Kinsey scale 2.5. A mother to my inner child who is still overcoming parental trauma (specifically from my Father). A kind, open, and understanding human. A fun, silly, and loving human. A determined, hardworking, and passionate human. Me.
Excited to meet who I am next decade.
The best songs of 2019, that may or may not have been released in 2019, part two
Only a mere stone’s throw away from December, I feel punctual in my publication of the best songs of 2019 part 2. The videos below highlight the top two tracks from each Spotify playlist I created, Q3 2019 and Q4 2019. A sampling of the melodies that filled my head during the last two-quarters of this past decade. Despite what my Spotify end of the year recap may suggest, I listened to a lot of other music besides the cast of Nashville.
I think it’s really cool that in 2029 ( if our planet hasn’t imploded and the AI apocalypse hasn’t hit), I’ll know exactly what I was listening too in 2019. Music can stimulate memories and retrieve forgotten feelings, passions, dreams – I’ll want to recall this time in life.
“Cool for Cats” – Squeeze | A playful earworm with some silly storytelling, and after watching the music video I feel I need to track down a pair of American Apparel red metallic spandex pants.
“You Push I’ll Go (feat. Alex Sanchez)” – Baby Dayliner | The singing/ lyrics give me Mark Kolzik vibes but the melody has a few more pop notes in it than the brooding irreverent singer-songwriter usually produces. The video for the song is NOT what I expected, and I assume was created with a bit of self-awareness, with that said, I’m here for it.
Dan feels the video detracts from the song. So you may want to just play it on the Q3 playlist.
“Hello?” – Tensnake | I imagine Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan prepare Sunday brunch for their closest group of friends with this song playing in the background. The centerpiece is a decoupage bowl filled with pushpin covered apples, bananas, and oranges.
“Oh Me I’m Never” – ShitKid | I wish I was thirteen discovering ShitKid and not in my thirties. They are cool as hell, and teenage Bekka would be ALL OVER the grunge punk-influenced garage rock. Now, I’m just an adult, wishing I wasn’t, so I could enjoy the tunes with that special verve one possesses as a teen.
Q3 2019 //
Q4 2019 //
Follow me on Spotify for all my playlists – blanket_fort_adventures
Dan and I are a couple of art dorks.
Exploring Las Vegas hasn’t been high on our priorities list, but an opportunity came up that we couldn’t pass up
Family is extremely important to my husband and I. My first Christmas with my husband’s family, they remarked how I must be surprised by their volume and I laughed saying they had yet to hit my family’s decibel level. Our love of family, even if we are the odd ones in the group, is a part of what bonded us as a couple. So, when his older brother was planning a 21st birthday celebration for his son in Las Vegas we decided it was time to visit Sin City together.
It was so much fun making memories with my husband’s family. On the first day there, they collectively won 1,800. They know how to do Las Vegas, and it was great experiencing the city with them.
Below are the home videos of our adventure in Vegas!
A handful of candies are perfect in their fun-size form and lack the same appeal when at their counter non-fun sized proportion. My 30 years as an American Halloween candy connoisseur has awarded me the tireless research and expertise needed to make these definitive conclusions. The fundamentally better candy when fun-sized includes Mr. Goodbar, Dots, and Laffy Taffy.
With this knowledge, I wish you a prosperous Halloween.
Amazed. Astonished. Breathless. Some will reject this person, and others will worship him.
Julio Torres is the David Bowie of comedy. I have no idea if someone of actual critical merit has already made this comparison or not. I’ve been actively avoiding reviews of his new HBO special My Favorite Shapes because I want my opinion of it to remain pure and strictly my own. I didn’t want my thoughts tainted or made biased by the perceptions of people with respected views.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been listening to an unofficial David Bowie autobiography titled Hero by Lesley-Ann Jones, watched the documentary Finding Fame on Showtime that highlights Bowie’s formative years in music, and played track by track of every album from David Bowie to Diamond Dogs. It’s a lot of Bowie, but could there ever be too much Bowie – that’s a negative.
A few friends had been posting about the special, and I’d seen trailers on Julio’s Instagram feed. Neither spoiled the magic nor artistic brilliance, which is My Favorite Shapes. We’ve been presented with comedy specials that break the format, Hasan Minhaj’s Homecoming King for example. But from the set design to the glitter on Julio’s well-manicured hands sharing his favorite shapes with us all, Torres didn’t just break the mold of comedy – he shattered it and then reassembled the pieces into a gorgeous fountain mosaic at the center of his alternative zoo.
I sat there watching the special, for a second time around, and exclaimed, “this must be how people who saw David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust on Top of the Pops must have felt.” Amazed. Astonished. Breathless. Some will reject this person, and others will worship him. When I was a kid, Earth just happened to be close enough to Saturn that through a telescope I could see the rings around the planet. It was so special, and not something I could replicate a week later. It was the fact that at that moment, on that night, I could see Saturn’s rings. And at this moment in time, on that particular network, Julio Torres’s My Favorite Shapes was contracted into existence without needing the comedian to convince anyone of the concept.
Torres’s past performances can be seen on YouTube. A scavenger hunt of the puzzle pieces that would become his special. In 2016 at a Risk! Live show he discusses that job interview where he blurts out “I love corporations” in more detail. At Paste Studios he goes through impersonations that demonstrates his style which would lead to that bitchy little curtain between first and second class. It was also in 2016 that he had yet to have crafted his sign off, “if there are no further questions,” struggling for a way to end a set. But Julio from the past, you will figure out how to end a set, and it will be perfection. In April of 2017, Daisy Duck makes an appearance in his performance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, and a year later Cinderella’s glass shoe on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. My Favorite Shapes isn’t an overnight success, like all great art; it has taken years to craft and refine.
David Bowie’s Space Oddity brought Bowie attention, but not the fame and notoriety that would be his legacy. Bowie put out The Man Who Sold the World and Hunky Dory after Space Oddity, and the albums have excellent songs on them, but it wasn’t till The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust was released that Bowie ripped the veil between fame and icon. Julio Torres ripped through that veil with his special; its uniqueness makes it iconic. And not in the way the word is overused today, but in the most real sense of the word – Julio Torres is worthy of adoration, great respect, and reverence. I can’t wait to see what he comes out with next. My only prayer is that the pressure of the artistic success and achievement of My Favorite Shapes doesn’t get into his head and that he will continue to be fiercely true to himself. Write what makes him laugh because his audience will find him. And as he continues to navigate life, he takes influences from wherever he may roam. I can’t wait to see the Julio Torres spin on all of it.
The melody in this song feels like the summer before my senior year of high school.
The summer solstice has come and gone, meaning we are officially in the second part of the year. Yes, half of 2019 is gone and we are barreling towards 2020. It’s the perfect time to be reflective and set out fresh intentions for the year. In the spirit of mid-year evaluations, I am sharing what I deem to be the best songs of 2019 thus far. The top 5 songs pulled from my Q1 and Q2 playlists, that must be added to your summer playlist for road trip listening or poolside chilling.
“Trouble on Central” -Buddy | A harsh reality weaved into a beautiful melody.
“Dance With Someone!!!”- Busty and the Bass | Love this insanely funky song, but I just saw a live performance of this song, and it’s a total Rick Astley like experience.
“Can’t Hardly Wait” – Justin Townes Earle | Sometimes a cover is just as good as the original. This rendition feels like a cool breeze on a hot day, salty skin and simple adventures.
“The Jangling Man” – The Cleaners from Venus | This song swirls up so much nostalgia, and I was only just introduced to The Cleaners from Venus, but the melody in this song feels like the summer before my senior year of high school.
“Lost on You” – LP | I have a total crush on singer-songwriter Laura Pergolizzi and this song. The emotion in the delivery twists the echoing pain of unrequited love and rejection. I could roll around in the self-indulgent lamented pain that drips from every word. #obsessed
BONUS: “Viktor Borgia” – Stephan Malkmus | This song is awesome, but the comments on the music video, if read with love – are flipping AMAZING. My favorite: “When you need to make a Dadtronica video to embarrass your teenage daughters but don’t feel like changing out of your lawn mowing outfit.” – Luke Larsson on YouTube
Enjoy the above tunes and more on my Q1 & Q2 2019 Playlists. I’ll be back in December to share Q3 & Q4.
In the meantime, let me know who I should look up or listen to. I’m welcome to suggestions.
Q1 Playlist //
Q2 Playlist //
Follow me on Spotify for all my playlists – blanket_fort_adventures
I interviewed for a company that was all about crystals and the zodiac. In my cover letter, I outlined how my sun and moon sign makes me a great candidate for the position.
In April I started my dream job. I’ve never had a specific title I’ve been gunning for or a particular company I dreamed to work for, but I had a very specific desire when it came to my next career move – and in the process of finding a new place of employment, I landed a dream position. Since November 2018, I had been interviewing and sending out my resume to different job prospects. By the time my job hunt had ended, I had 3 job offers on the table. I don’t mean to sound arrogant or haughty, but I’m sharing to support the claim I’m about to publicly make. I’m really good at finding a job. The last time I was hardcore job hunting in 2011, I ended up having 2 job offers at one time.
I don’t like job hunting, I find the process exhausting and stressful. But I feel pretty confident in my job hunting skills, enough so that I feel like sharing my process. This list will also basically reflect how my year has been so far.
*Disclaimer – I am a spiritual person, who believes in source energy and the law of attraction. I will have very logical and actionable steps for getting a job. But, as a reader you should know, I attribute 50% of my job to the spiritual work I did along with physical actions.
Step 1: Identify What You Want.
Get really clear about what you want in your life right now.
When I was job hunting I wanted to move into a position that would provide me with more financial stability, and help me grow as a professional. I had a specific number in my head in terms of income. I wanted to feel challenged by my work, not just stressed. Work on projects that I would be proud to share. I also knew the places I would compromise, like a title demotion in exchange for company/brand name recognition on my resume. Subconsciously, I also wished for a place with a flexible work schedule and a great paid time off policy. Benefits that included good health insurance plans and 401k. But I was mostly focused on income and professional growth versus company perks.
Being clear about what you want helps to guide the job hunting process.
Step 2: Get Your Materials Ready
LinkedIn profile, PDF resume, portfolio – be prepared to send them if asked.
Towards the end of 2018, I was feeling pretty lost in my career and knew I would be pursuing a new job in 2019, so I started working on my LinkedIn. I made sure my current position was updated with my responsibilities and included information around my various side projects. I looked over profiles of people whose careers I admired and used them as inspiration when crafting my bio. The LinkedIn makeover attracted the attention of a few recruiters, and I was having phone interviews before I applied to a single job.
I freshened up my resume with the information I included on my LinkedIn. And to stand out against the sea of black and white resumes, I added simple design elements built out in Word. Then I created a matching portfolio in PowerPoint. If you don’t have Microsoft Office, Google Drive has programs that act as Word and PowerPoint, which can be easily used and exported as PDF’s to send when applying to jobs.
Employers are sifting through dozens if not hundreds of resumes, a little visual disruption never hurts.
Step 3: Take Every Call and Apply Daily
Every No is practice that refines you for the Yes.
It wasn’t until the second week of January that I started to aggressively job hunt. Everything else had been passive, but I knew it was time to get serious. I checked LinkedIn and Indeed for job posts almost daily, and applied to everything in my field that felt like a position that would move my career forward. Even if the company seemed dull, or the commute inconvenient – I applied. When I had a bad day at my previous job, I would throw out my discernment and just apply to any position that had the word marketing in the description, because it helped make me feel like I was still trying to change my future.
I see it all as a numbers games, the more resumes I send and applications I fill out, the closer I get to the job that is meant for me. Because of how many places I apply when actively hunting, I keep track of it all in a Google spreadsheet, with the name of the company, position title, and link to the job post. Over 2.5 months I sent my resume out to 30 companies, had 6 recruiters reach out me through LinkedIn, 8 phone screenings, 4-second interviews, and 2 in-person interviews. I said yes to any call or conversation with whoever would have me.
When discouraged seeing your effort towards finding a position can help provide perspective. If I had hit 10 in-person interviews with 0 offers, I would have sought out an interview coach. But my next tip can help and is more cost effective
Step 4: Take Copious Notes
Assess what you are doing great, and what needs improvement.
I’m a researcher and data nerd. I love to analyze the facts of a situation and deduce a reasonable solution. Since I hadn’t gone on a job interview in 5 years, I looked up various interview prep videos on YouTube, like what questions should I ask and how do I spin a negative into a positive. I wrote down my answers and ran them by the most professional and smartest person I know, my sister. That was all my prep, but it wasn’t until I saw the headline of a Ted Talk video (yes, I haven’t even watched it yet) did I get the idea that I think changed the game for me.
The Ted Talk inspired me to track the performance of each interview. I made a timeline of initial screening to a call with the hiring manager, so I could anticipate an average turn around. I reflected on the interviews and wrote down the answers that I felt received a positive response from the interviewer, what anecdotes and knowledge resonated with them. I made notes of the questions where I fumbled or gave an answer that the interviewer needed clarification on. From there I refined my answers, till I knew exactly how to present my skills in the best way possible. When I went in for my 90-minute interview with the company I’m at now, I was like a trained athlete ready for the Olympics. I had practiced and perfected my technique, and it’s all thanks to my notes.
Use all the resources you have, and that includes the interview process itself.
Step 5: Know Your Worth, Know Who You Are.
At the end of the day, you’re either what they are looking for, or you’re not. And that’s ok.
As I expressed above, I analyze things. I OVER ANALYZE things too. I stress over my handwriting in a thank you card. I re-read post-interview thank you emails multiple times. (Oh yeah, don’t forget to send a thank you or follow up email to your recruiter). Remember when I said I didn’t have a dream company, well I guess did, because when they reached out to me I got as excited as a pre-teen going to their first concert headlined by a prepubescent popstar. It’s a company that sells art printed on kitschy items, perfect for me, and yet they totally brushed me off because I didn’t have any flashy brands on my resume. I could have beaten myself up over it but realized that it was their loss, not mine. And it really was, because now I’m with a better company, in an even better position.
Sometimes, what you think on paper is the perfect job – might not really be the perfect job.
I interviewed for another company that was all about crystals and the zodiac. Yeah, I outlined how my sun and moon sign makes me a great candidate for the position in my cover letter. They wanted an in-person interview immediately, but after reviewing their Glassdoor – it was NOT the place for me. Because I know my worth and value, I know what I bring to a company and what I wanted out of my next position – I was comfortable walking away from opportunities too.
My goal was to go where I would be challenged and my worth would be reflected in a tangible value. Knowing who I am, what I bring to a table, and what I wanted kept desperation at bay and perseverance high.
Also, I don’t want to make it look like I didn’t get bummed out, disappointed, frustrated, have stress-induced insomnia or cry in a little ball on my bathroom floor – because I did all of that. BUT, I didn’t let it stop me from believing that the right position was out there. I cried on the bathroom floor and then sent out my resume to 6 different job posts.
The company you’re interviewing with wants YOU to be the one, just go in and show them that you are.