The Non-Definitive Guide To Life

If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with rain" - Dolly Parton

Posts for Life Update

It’s 2021, let’s catch up!

LISTEN, SNAIL MAIL - March 1, 2021

A quick status report of where I’m at today, and 2021 thus far…

Feel free to read it all or scroll to the section of maximum interest.

HUSTLE & FLOW

Back in September 2020, after an innocent conversation I was having with a friend over Instagram voice messages caused me to spiral into a full-blown panic attack, I realized I should hire an expert in emotions to help me move past some major blocks I had been experiencing. At the top of 2020, before the pan dulce, I was extremely agitated when I’d sit down to set goals and have to push through the extraneous stress to even open up my imagination for envisioning a life I’d want to cultivate. I’ve always been a “figure it out as you go type of person” because, at some point in my past, that was what I learned for survival. My emotional brain has struggled to evolve past immediate needs and into being capable of working toward defining my own vision of success, especially when associated with my creative aspirations. In my perspective, my ambitions have thrived more professionally than personally because professions equate to income and stability. But even in that department, I’ve had my fair share of struggles. Since connecting with a professional life navigator, I’ve been able to shift and remove a few of my mental blocks. Allowing my brain to see new pathways for professional and personal fulfillment. I’m genuinely excited for this next chapter because I feel like I just may be equipped to achieve my idea of success for the first time. It doesn’t mean I don’t shake in my brocade boots or that the mean girls in my mind are in detention – but I’m able to acknowledge them and return to the yellow brick road laid in front of me.

Not ready to publicly share my specific goals and ambitions, but to those paying attention, you might start to see them manifest.

HEALTH & WELLNESS

The start of this year has been a little trying on my mental and physical health. Due to an overly ambitious holiday card project, I didn’t have time to set 2021 goals or make a 2021 vision board. Basically, apply all the great knowledge and insight I’d gained by doing the self-work I’d alluded to above. Seemingly innocent, except my inner critic would not let up how this lack of goal setting was a reflection of my self-worth. I fought back the mental bully while finishing up 30+ hand-painted ornament for friends and family. In addition to putting Christmas décor away because, after January 6th, formally cute turns to chaos and raises my cortisol levels.  Then the weekend, I’m finally getting everything wrapped up, Christmas tree is being deconstructed, and only six more holiday ornament packages need to be sent out – I come down with the rona. The panna cotta hit home. My husband works at a grocery store, and with the surge occurring in Los Angeles, everyone in his store eventually caught the virus. If you’re curious, I shared the full story on my Instagram the first weekend I felt recovered and saved it as a highlight labeled “storytime“. It’s a little all over the place, but you’ll get the gist.

My husband and I feel very fortunate that neither of us had to go to the hospital and are mostly back to normal. But we’re still experiencing some effects of Covid-19, like being easy to fatigue, and I have increased inflammation in my body, triggering a skin rash all over my abdomen.

EATS & DRINKS

After Covid-19 robbed me of my sense of taste and smell for about a week, I came out of the darkness with a fire in my belly, ready to indulge in all my favorites. Plus, it was my birthday, so I kicked off the top of February with cupcakes, pasta, Japanese fried chicken, ramen, sushi, and the decadence did not stop. My taste buds traveled to several countries from the comfort of my home. I don’t regret a single bite, but the excess and richness exacerbated my post-rona inflammation. Although cute, I’m not trying to have a skin suit that resembles a speckled robin’s egg for the rest of my life. Plus, who knows what damage the long-term inflammation can have on my body in the future, especially as I have a history of rheumatoid arthritis in my family.

So, I’m working on cutting out refined sugar (anything above >1% on the label), dairy, and most meats from my diet. Fortunately, I’ve been using Daily Harvest for a few months now as a quick meal solution on busy days. With this shift in my diet, I’ll be leaning harder on Daily Harvest as my Monday through Thursday breakfast, lunch, and dinner solution. I want to eliminate the window of opportunity for my brain to go, I’m not sure what to eat, or we don’t have anything to eat – so let’s get french fries and chicken strips. My goal here is to set myself up for success, which means knowing my weaknesses and countering them with fool-proof solutions. DH also helps manage food-waste in my home. A DH meal never goes to waste.  However, the fresh produce I purchased due to unrealistic expectations for myself cooking it before it spoils is an expensive and wasteful delusion.

I also picked up this SUPER cute Poketo Food Planner. It was sold out on Poketo’s website, but I found it on Nordstroms.com. I’ll be using it to plan what Daily Harvest meals I’ll be eating each day and what anti-inflammatory meals I want to cook for my legally bound life partner and me on the weekends. 

WATCH

HBOMax has been showing up with the light-hearted, feel-good content I’ve needed to escape the weight of 2021 thus far.

Selena + Chef

I’m a pretty big Selena Gomez fan, not going to go into it right now, but let’s just say if I need to stay awake on a long drive home – Selena is one of my go-to sing-a-long artists. I love the girl, so it surprising that it took so long to start watching Selena + Chef. But it was the perfect show to binge when I felt like absolute crap and needed some comfort television, consuming delicious episode after episode with talented chefs and Selena’s sweet determination to learn to cook. The tension is real; in one episode she came out wearing a sweater I thought was awful for cooking in (sleeves for days, kitchen hazard 101 – no loose sleeves), she never lit a sleeve on fire, BUT lots of other shenanigans go down.  For foodies and novice chefs, this is a fun show. I’ve been using the French omelet technique to cook eggs since watching episode 1.

Full Bloom

It’s a wholesome reality competition involving flowers. The contestants and judges were entertaining, but I was there mostly for the floral executions and occasional takeaway tips on playing with flowers at home. This reminds me, I want to pick up some tulips from Trader Joes this week.

Honorable Mentions:

The Great (Hulu)

Fun period piece, drama/comedy, featuring the occasionally true story of Katherine The Great. Costumes are opulent and gorgeous, and watching Katherine (Elle Fanning) navigate assimilation and rise to power in Russia is fascinating, although 99.9% fictional in its depiction. Discard the need for historical accuracy and go for the ride.

Crack (Netflix)

A fascinating documentary about the crack epidemic that is heartbreaking and blood-boiling, but I’m a firm believer in consuming content that expands one’s understanding of our society, country, and how the world operates. Documentaries allow for our continued education, helping us to paint a richer picture of our reality and the reality of those who do not have our same experiences.

ADD TO CART

I love fun-size candy and travel-size skincare. Skincare can be so expensive, so I rarely buy a full bottle of something if I can try it out first in a value/gift pack or travel size version.

Here is what I’ve explored recently all as travel sizes:

Sunday Riley

Good, I like it, nothing offensive – not sure if it’s doing anything, but might purchase cause it MAY be doing something just needs more time.

Love it, will defiantly be purchasing full-size product

OSEA

Also, while in a corona-fueled moment of cabin fever, I bought the Les Mieux’s Skin Perfecter, which is a $200* exfoliation tool. I really like it, and it’s totally satisfying for anyone that enjoys seeing gunk come out of their pores.

LISTEN [ Hyperlinks go to Spotify]

Music

Still making playlists, this year’s start has been light in development hitting around 40 – 45 mins for both monthly mixtapes.

2021 January Playlist

2021 February Playlist

This radio station has been my go to for the workday –

Mista Izm Radio

Podcasts

Good Word with Kirk Franklin  –  so far, he’s interviewed Pharrell Williams, H.E.R., and Chance the Rapper. Each conversation has provided nuggets of insight around the human experience, reflection on our relationship with God, faith, or church. Chance the Rapper educated me on Chicago’s segregation issues that added colors and context to the conversation around black on black crime. Great podcast – looking forward to more episodes.

Thanks for catching up with me! What have you’ve been eating, watching, listening to, or adding to cart? How have you been hustling and flowing? No winners or losers here, only wins and lessons – got any you want to get off your chest? Let me know in the comments.

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Happy New Decade!

SNAIL MAIL - January 6, 2020

📷: 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.

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Vlogmas Burn Out

SNAIL MAIL - December 16, 2016

It’s day 15 of Vlogmas and I’m feeling some burnout. This has been a busy holiday season. One weekend, I was even uploading videos while driving to different holiday gatherings. But, I feel like I have no idea how to make my day to day interesting – am I too self-aware? Perhaps. I’m looking forward to 2017 when I’ll be posting regularly on my channel, but it’s not my day-to-day. This year, I really committed to YouTube in a new way, I attempted to create series and a regular upload schedule. I improved in my editing and hit 100 subscribers!

Last year, I learned a lot about myself while doing Vlogmas. This year, I’m not coming across very many revelations. I’m sort of bopping along making videos, trying to create better stories. Test out different editing techniques. No real direction. Well, not until next year. After Vlogmas will be my time to really stretch my wings and see what I can bring to the platform.

It’s a question I struggle with a lot, what’s YOUR take away? Yes, YOU! The reader, viewer, follower – what do you take away from seeing what I’m thinking, writing, posting, sharing. Let’s just say, I feel like I finally know who I am on the internet, now I just have to make sure you’re happy with the relationship. Although, like even in romantic relationships, please DO NOT make me responsible for your happiness.

Anyways, if you wanted to know how my December has been going – here you go!

Featured photo by Ariel Marte

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October Life Update

SNAIL MAIL - November 8, 2016

October was a crazy month and I didn’t post on my blog nearly as much as I’d want too. If you’re curious as to why it was so crazy, I made a whole life update video! In addition to sharing about the crazy schedule I was living in October, I also did my first YouTube tag. YAY! A YouTube tag is when other YouTubers tag people to create a specific kind of video centered about a challenge or maybe a survey. I’ve done tag videos in the past, but I was never specifically called out to do the tag. It felt special to actually thank a specific person for tagging me.  In November I will be creating a lot more content for Blanket Fort Adventures, so if you have any ideas please share in the comments!

love and light signature

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