Posts tagged ‘challenge’

2016, February 5

The power of small steps

Last January, during my year of following the 52/52 e-guide‘s assignments every week, I wrote a Life List. Even though I started out with the list looking more like a to-do list in the beginning, I quickly switched to dream-mode and thought of the things I’d really really want to do in this lifetime.

Now, my boyfriend is very realistic. He doesn’t like to make plans too far ahead, if at all. And it sometimes drives me nuts because I believe that the things that we focus on are the things that will surround us.
If we only focus on today, then weekend plans might fail because we’re not making an effort to think about them and make time for some things. Or if we only focus on having bills to pay and not having enough money, then that will be our reality. And we won’t be able to shift that reality until we start looking beyond our present, and start believing that things will get better. (I am quite bad at this one, after years of being in debt!) Then, we need to decide what it is we want, and take small steps toward those things.
For this reason, the other day I wrote a list of things we need to fix in the apartment, or stuff we need to buy. I’m hoping that being on a list will keep them more in focus as opposed to just in the back of our mind and never getting around to even think of them.

There are quite a few things on the Life List that I still need to start taking steps toward. Like turning my year of photo challenges into an e-book – I still need to sit down and work on it. Little by little, even if it doesn’t have to be done in one day, I ended up avoiding this item. Not sure why. But I fully intend to finally sit down and start assembling the e-book.

However, as I read it the other day, I realized that I actually achieved several things off my Life List. Also, I achieved quite a few things off the My purpose for money list that I wrote four years ago, when I had a total of four jobs at the same time by the end of 2012. It’s interesting to me how many similar items there are on both lists.
I traveled more in Romania and saw places I’ve never been to, alone and with loved ones. I re-visited places I loved (both in my country and across the border), and wrote a few travel articles. I visited friends from Great Britain and tried a lot of new kinds of food while traveling. I made a couple of my home-decor ideas reality decorating our small apartment, learned a bit how to drive, and saw the fireworks in Budapest, Hungary this New Year.

My most important item on the Life List and also on the My purpose for money list was by far to “Earn a living being a full-time writer/Turn writing into a priority and a steady income”. And you know what? I made that come true!

With a lot of support from my boyfriend, and learning more, I am now a technical author and love love love it! I recall writing a letter to myself talking about this when I was only applying for the job. It leaves me creative enough to write on my blog, too, and is still about writing, and editing and re-writing, etc. which I love doing as a full-time job. It gives me the chance to sometimes take the afternoon for reading, research and learning even more about the field.
It also gave me the opportunity to travel to London. Twice.
It pays better than any job I ever had before and now I can actually set money aside for travel and vacationing even if it takes a couple of months to save up. But I am finally out of debt.

Sure Life still gets in the way of things many times, but it doesn’t bother me quite as much as before. Because I am doing something I love and it made everything else much easier. I am definitely happier and more enthusiastic.

So if you ever stop and think about something you’d like to do as it being “unattainable”, please don’t. Try to break it down to small, achievable steps. Take one small step after the other, and it will all work itself out.

2015, February 16

A love letter to myself

Every night two weeks ago, I scribbled down a 6-word glimpse of my day. I continued doing that this past week as well, since Cathie and I had so much fun catching up with each other on Twitter. Use the #6WordDays hashtag, and tweet at us if you would like to join in. :)

The assignment for last week in the year of following the 52/52 e-guide in 2015, was to write ourselves a love letter. When I first started thinking about writing myself a love letter, I figured it’d be something along the line of what my first love letter to myself was, or my second love letter. Yet, as the week rolled by and life inevitably made up its own mind as to how it should be shaped, I found that the most love I need to hear at the moment is regarding changing my job.

Dear Estrella,

If this was anyone else, writing you a letter would be easier, I think. Why is that? Supposedly I am the one who knows you best, so this should be the easiest thing in the world. 

I wish for you to see yourself as I do. I wish you could see the smart, confident young woman I see. The young woman who has a job, lives with her boyfriend and their super cute kitten, the young woman who just applied for a Technical Author position. Which brings me to the specific thing I want to talk to you about today. Granted, it wasn’t the job you originally applied for. However, ever since you applied, you couldn’t stop thinking about it. The interview went well, and you are actually considered, even though you don’t have experience as a technical writer. That is saying something all on its own.

It says you are a great writer. It says you can do so much better than QA at your current firm. It says you are smart, and resourceful, and people want to work with you. It says that, even though you still don’t fully believe it, you could be making a living as a writer. Sure it wouldn’t be as creative writer, but you would be writing in English, you would have a much better salary, and it wouldn’t be too far from QA, you know what technical writing looks like, since your working with checklists and all sorts of documentation up to this point have prepared you enough for it.

My point is: you are good at your current job, you are a great writer, and when give the chance, you will be good at technical writing as well. You will have checked off one of the items on your Life List: earning a living as a writer. Who knows, maybe not mentioning “creative” when you wrote your Life List made way for this opportunity.

So, in conclusion, I wish for you to see yourself as I do. I wish for you to believe in the possibility of making a living as a writer, and in case this position is filled by someone else, I wish that you go online and search for another similar position. You can do it. And you will be good at it!

I wish you only the best, because you deserve nothing less. 

Love, ~ K.

The assignment for week 7, is Heart Mapping. Judy says it’s easy and fun, so I’m totally believing her! “You draw your heart, and then you map it, charting out the things that are most important to you, your values and passions. Some things that might go into a heart map: spirituality, creativity, family, the environment, health and fitness, your pets, your friends, you search for the perfect cheesecake. Whatever grounds you in your life and also lights you up inside. If you need ideas, Google heart mapping. There are some beautiful examples out there for this.”
I know I tried this before, and came up empty… so I can’t wait for Saturday when I’ll get a few hours to write and hopefully map my heart successfully!

Have you written yourself a love letter? Either this week, or any time before? I’d love to read it if you have it published on your blog, or took a picture of it and it is on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! Have you found it hard to write, or was it dreamfully easy?  :)

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, February 9

Six word days

As an update of my sewing project, the heart-button pillow still isn’t done… Life and a cold happened, so I spent Saturday evening and most of yesterday with a fever, chills, being sore (even my hair hurt!), and slept more than I was awake. Luckily, the boyfriend took really good care of me, and I felt okay enough to come in to work today. Still not 100%, my throat hurts and I am coughing more than saying words when I need to be talking, but at least no fever.

For last week’s assignment, every night I scribbled down a 6-word glimpse of my day. Then, I tweeted it @ my friend Cathie from the US who blogs at Bloggoneit’s Blog, and texted it to a friend who lives in the same city as I do.
And just like in part one and part two of the 41 six-word days from back in 2012, it was really interesting to see how much can be packed into just six words. I find that my days summed up in six words are similar enough, three years later.
It was so much fun to tweet with Cathie, and text with my friend each night! I hope to have as much fun with other assignments as well, when I can ask friends to play with me and we can check up on each other as the day goes by.

Here are my Six Words, all in one place:

  1. An Australian angel watching over me.
  2. Lemon Macaroon tea, the new favorite.
  3. Disappointing, promising – at the same time.
  4. Delicately fragranced Snowdrops are already blooming.
  5. Too much for only six words…
  6. Just what I needed, a fever.
  7. The boyfriend took care of me.

For week 6, the assignment is to write ourselves a love letter. I did this back in 2011, it was my first love letter to myself. And then I wrote myself another love letter in 2013. I wonder how different the love letter I write myself this week will be from these previous two?

Have you summed up your days in six words this week? Please feel free to share in the comments below. Or if you haven’t done this every day, will you sum up your past week for me to read about it? :)

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, February 2

Making art, aka my sewing project

As the weeks roll by and giving myself fifteen minutes each day worked out so well last week, I was excited for the upcoming assignment in the year of following the 52/52 e-guide in 2015: making art.

Having spent some time on Pinterest, I had two sewing projects on my mind for making something pretty onto the back of our Christmas-themed pillow cases. Given they’re a plain red, I figured it would be nice to give the existing ones another fun side (although I’d be happy with leaving the Christmas-themed side facing the room, not sure it’d be the best idea for all year long).

Now, I’m really NOT a sewing type person, anything resembling sewing and I can mess it up. And, unfortunately, fabric glue was not an option (since I couldn’t find it anywhere in stores here…).
This meant, I didn’t want to rush it, nor start and never finish, so I decided Saturday would be the perfect day. I’d be at home, doing minor chores, and would have enough time to stretch out my sewing project as much as I wanted, while still having time to finish it the same day.

Come Saturday, and I was ready to begin: doily from my boyfriend’s grandma washed/dried, a bunch of buttons bought and also gathered from my mom’s and grandmother’s sewing kits, huge letters (L, V, E) printed, felt bought and heart design drawn. Everything was ready, and all I had to do was sit down and start my sewing projects.
So, I procrastinated until around 2-3pm.

When I finally started on my projects, I decided to start with the button-heart. It should’ve been done in no time! I mean, how hard can it be to transfer a heart outline and sew on a bunch of buttons onto a pillowcase? Turns out, quite hard… You have to choose each button individually, get the cat off the pillowcase, see how the buttons look overall so no two identical designs are placed next to each other, get the cat off the pillowcase, and then go through the tedious task of actually sewing said buttons onto the pillowcase… I managed to sew on exactly a dozen buttons before giving it up.

Sewing on the letters and doily to spell “LOVE” onto the other pillowcase turned out to be a bit more simple. Measure out spacing, don’t fasten the letter only start sewing it on, once done with the first letter place the doily next to it and sew it on, get the pillowcase onto the pillow and notice the “L” is too far to the left side… Get a call and go get ready, then meet up with friends. Leave the sewing project for Sunday afternoon.

My Sunday afternoon looked like this: take the first letter off the pillowcase, fasten it then sew on the “E” under the “O”. Look at the pillowcase from afar and conclude it looks good now. Then proceed sewing on the “L” and “V” for the following two hours. I was done, overall, in about three and a half to four hours. Sooo much more than “it should be done in no time”!
However, it looks really nice, I do love love love how it turned out. It makes me hopeful that I’ll finish the button-heart project as well. Anyways, I have two weeks until Valentine’s Day, so even if I go dozen by dozen buttons being sewn on, it should be done by the 14th of this month ;)

love pillow

In her e-mail last week, j suggested we give making lower-case art a go, as Andrea Lewicki describes it, differentiating it from uppercase art, which we make with the intention of sharing, publishing, selling, etc.
“Lowercase art is created more in the insulated awareness of an individual’s life. It has a certain wild individuality. Lowercase art is an internal dialogue, within the artist. It’s personal, deeply individual. You invent the rules, the traditions, the standards.”

Trying something sooo out of my comfort zone in terms of art project (and I am sticking to calling it art, because it makes our couch look prettier, and I definitely invented the rules and standards for what I created) was challenging, and honestly, I’m just glad I managed to finish without ruining the pillowcases in the process. Yet, it was good for me. It showed me that there’s no need for me to be afraid of trying other sewing projects in the future, and that it’s alright to make mistakes – even though it’s time consuming for someone who doesn’t do this on a regular basis, the mistakes can be fixed easily enough.

For week 5, we’re playing a game called 6-word days. Every night, I’ll be scribbling down a 6-word glimpse of my day, and will share them with you next Monday. I hope you join in, last time I played it was really interesting to see how much can be packed into just six words. I have a feeling it’ll be the same this time around.
In case you’re interested, here’s part one and part two of the 41 six-word days from back in 2012. I wonder how different or similar my days summed up in six words will be, three years later?

Have you made some art this week? As a part of the challenge, for your Etsy shop, writing group, or just for yourself? I’d love to see/hear about what you’ve created!

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, January 26

Giving myself fifteen minutes a day

Last week’s assignment in the year of following the 52/52 e-guide in 2015, was to give ourselves fifteen minutes a day to fill any way we wanted.
Writing my Life List was easy. You’d think giving yourself fifteen minutes a day is easy, right? Guess again.
However, giving myself fifteen minutes a day to fill with something I wanted came to me more easily than I imagined at the time of writing this blog post’s first sentences.

I wrote the above “guess again” sentences last Monday night, when I finally settled in to check my e-mails before bed. And for good reason, because when you wake up at 8am, get ready quickly to leave for work at 9am and get home (depending on obligations) well past 8-9-10pm, after which you need to get dinner ready, eat, take a shower, and so on…. even just making it into bed by midnight is a stretch.

After finishing said sentences, I of course noticed that I haven’t taken those fifteen minutes that day. So I allowed myself to log into Pinterest and get lost among the many photos and links to yummy recipes, craft and home decoration ideas. I even pinned some of them onto my boards. A small thing, but I love love love looking at so much prettiness. This might have been the stepping stone to how I managed to keep it small, yet find the greatest ways to spend my fifteen minutes of me-time all week long!

Monday – let myself get lost on Pinterest. It was actually really helpful to keep it inside of 15 minutes, since I truly can get lost on there…
Tuesday – made a few photo edits with iStudio to have at the ready and post on Instagram, for days when I won’t have time for the editing part or nothing interesting happened for me to take a picture of.
Wednesday – played, for fun.
Thursday – walked fifteen minutes off my usual route to get the lunch sandwich I’ve been craving for a week.
Friday – got to bed early. For me, this is the hardest thing to accomplish in a day!
Saturday – called a friend up for a chat. It was sooo nice catching up.
Sunday – took a long hot shower, and then updated my travelogue with my latest trip’s info and itinerary so I can recall each day’s happenings more easily when I write a travel article about Brasov. That’s two things, but hey, it was Sunday after all ;-)

I was truly amazed at how taking these fifteen minutes of unapologetic me-time had this much power in making me feel better about everything else going on in my life.

IMG_20141029_235946

Strongly related to giving myself fifteen minutes every day this week, I’ll take this chance to send you over to Milliver’s Travels.
My super-short, funky sign travel article has been up since October 2014. Yes, 2014! I somehow haven’t managed to find a quick fifteen minute stretch of time to post two sentences on my blog about it… And the funny thing? It took me fifteen minutes to write it all up back in October (and half a minute to add in this paragraph here, but let’s not get too accurate)!
So here it is, Funky Signs: How to have a girlfriend/boyfriend in 3 steps, #Frescobar. Hope you stop by to read some funny messages ;)

For week 4, the assignment is to make art. Having spent some time on Pinterest, I have a few ideas for making something pretty onto the back of our Christmas-themed pillow cases, which are a plain red. There won’t be enough time to learn how to sew a whole new pillow case so I’m not even going to try that, but it would be nice to be able to give the existing ones another fun side.

So did you join in this past week, or do you already include at least fifteen minutes a day just for yourself? Do you read every night before bed, go for walks, make yourself smoothies? I’d love to hear about what you do for taking some you-time!

PS: If you’d like to join in, the e-guide is only $15 , and for the month of January you can use the coupon code LOVEYOURWILDSELF to save an additional 10% on the guide and anything else in the shop.

2015, January 19

Estrella’s Life List

In the year of following the 52/52 e-guide‘s assignments every week, last week’s was to write a Life List, or to revise one’s existing list and take one step toward making something off of it happen.

My week of texting love daily went quite well. I haven’t written a Life List before, so my task was easy. It could be done in one day if I set my mind to focus for half an hour tops, right? Yes!
So, naturally, I procrastinated and ended up writing it Sunday afternoon.

I wrote all of these on a pretty stationery as you can see, and will pin it to my inspiration board one of these days. Even though I started out with the list looking more like a to-do list in the beginning, I quickly switched to dream-mode and thought of the things I’d really really want to do in this lifetime.
Of course, if I think of anything else, I’ll scribble it on there as well.

IMG_1895-001

Estrella’s Life List

  • Travel more in Romania.
  • Visit friends across the border and overseas.
  • Re-visit places I loved.
  • Write travel articles about each place I visit/or have already visited.
  • Turn my year of photo challenges into an e-book.
  • Meet John Green.
  • Attend a Formula 1 race.
  • See the New Year’s fireworks in different cities (Budapest, Paris, Siracusa, Boston, New York to name just a few).
  • Learn to swim.
  • Design and build my own house with a small yard.
  • Try as many different foods as I can.
  • Learn to drive.
  • Buy a cake from Carlo’s Bakery, New Jersey.
  • Realize all my home-decor ideas.
  • Buy Christmas presents from the Vienna Christmas Market.
  • Master making latte art.
  • Earn a living being a full-time writer and craftswoman.
  • Attend the New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic.

I thought of countless things I’d love love love to do. Being interested in so many things doesn’t make for a short list, yet I didn’t want this to become miles long and by extension, probably unattainable. So I went with thinking of the things in terms of “which small steps can I take toward achieving them?”.
Like turning my year of photo challenges into an e-book – I need to sit down and work on it little by little, it doesn’t have to be done in one day.
Or traveling, and visiting friends in various places all over this Earth – I can start small enough by saving up for one trip at a time.

That is the problem with New Year’s resolutions, and plans, and life lists, I think. We think way too big in the beginning and abandon them because we stop thinking of how to achieve them. And while thinking big is a great thing in general, sometimes we need to approach things by starting small to actually achieve our heart’s desire.

For Week 3 the assignment is, as j phrased it herself, to give yourself 15 minutes a day, “guilt-free, to fill any way you want: eat something delicious, stare out your window, wander, nap, read a book, surf the internet, doodle, meditate, create, get lost on Instagram, research medieval weaponry, write a love note out in chalk on the sidewalk. Whatever. It’s YOUR time and the only rule is that you have to take it. Fifteen minutes. Every. Day.”

I have a feeling this will be kinda tough. In any event, I’ll see you back here next week with my update on how it all goes.

Did you join in, or do you already have a Life List? is it written and tucked into a notebook, on your inspiration board, or do you have it just in mental notes? Please share, I’m really interested in your lists! How did your second week of January go by?

PS: If you’d like to join in, the e-guide is only $15 , and for the month of January you can use the coupon code LOVEYOURWILDSELF to save an additional 10% on the guide and anything else in the shop.

2015, January 12

Texting love daily

As you may recall from my blog post last week, I decided to join in a year of following the 52/52 e-guide‘s assignments every week. So I am back with last week’s updates.

The assignment was to text love daily. I won’t lie and say that it went flawlessly, because it didn’t.
I had a couple of days when I didn’t text anyone, although I did make up for it the following day. Some of my texts generated no reply. Even though I wasn’t expecting a reply per se, it was a bit sad not to receive one.
Also, it was a hard reality-check to see that a few friends whom I haven’t kept in touch with too often in the past few months have thought I mis-sent my text, and replied thinking they weren’t the original recipients. I honestly didn’t mean to become so out of touch… My phone plan includes enough texts, so I’m hoping I’ll be more mindful about it after this week.

On the other hand though, it was fun to text love (almost) daily!
As I texted my boyfriend (the only person I text daily in general), I was mindful of sending hearts, hugs and kisses along with the “Pixel’s starting to wake up after his neutering and walks super funny.” type of texts.
I received cute and funny replies, and have set up two meet-ups with different people as the love I sent out came pouring back into my inbox. I am not an avid text message sender (if that is even a valid term for it), so this sort of thing only happens around Christmas time and New Years when I send a collective message to friends wishing them all the best.

This, the second, week’s assignment is to Write a Life List.
I keep thinking “I must do this one day” about several things, file them away somewhere in my mind and then promptly forget about them all. So this week, I’ll think about the things I really want to do, and see about writing them on some nice cardstock which I can then pin to my inspiration board.

See you next week, with updates on my findings and a photo/transcript of my Life List.

Did you join in, or have texted some love to anyone this past week? How was your first week of January?

PS: If you’d like to join in, the e-guide is only $15 , and for the month of January you can use the coupon code LOVEYOURWILDSELF to save an additional 10% on the guide and anything else in the shop.

%d bloggers like this: