Posts tagged ‘lists’

2017, September 1

Six Reasons to Smile – Summer 2017

This is my second blog post in the “Six Reasons to Smile” series, which I have turned into a seasonal one after a year of monthly blog posts.

Summer was a mix of good, of bad, of worse, and everything in between. I honestly still don’t really feel like talking about it, so I’ll simply leave you with the collage.

Here are the reasons I smiled this Summer:

 

Did you smile a lot this Summer? This month? What were your reasons? In case you’ve also captured them on camera, I’d love to see!

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2017, May 12

Six Reasons to Smile – Spring 2017

No, you are not seeing double. I totally just back-dated this blog post because I missed hitting “publish” when I was supposed to. Good thing I read Bloggoneit’s Blog, and her ‘6 reasons’ posts reminded me!

I think that we all need more positivity in our lives. Which is why, near the end of each month last year, I posted a collage of six pictures here on my blog as part of a year-long “Six Reasons to Smile” series. I liked it so much I’ll continue the practice into 2017, except as a seasonal summary. Here’s hoping I remember to publish them on time for the rest of the year!

Spring was really nice this year. As soon as it was warm enough outside we started taking road trips to cities and villages near our city, and for my birthday we traveled to Bucharest, the capital of Romania. Chia pudding quickly became a favorite after trying out new recipes. I marveled in the quietness of the countryside, and the beauty of flowers, of nature all around me. It was a hectic kind of season, but I think we managed to feed our souls, too.

Here are the reasons I smiled this Spring:

Did you smile a lot this Spring? This month? What were your reasons? In case you’ve also captured them on camera, I’d love to see!

2017, April 21

Seasonal must-haves: Spring

Thought I’d try something different this year, and talk about a few things that made my seasonal must-haves list this Spring:

  1. Hoodies – The weather is getting warmer, but it is still quite chilly in the mornings, so I’ve been reaching for my hoodies more often these past few weeks.
  2. Hiking shoes – The boyfriend and I decided to aim for as many weekend road trips as possible when the weather is nice and warm, since we might not be able to go on a longer vacation this year. But even if we will, it’s still a great idea to spend half the weekend outside being active, instead of indoors.
  3. Sunglasses – One of the best decisions I’ve made was getting prescription sunglasses last summer. Even with the photochromic lenses of my everyday glasses, the light still bothers me sometimes, so the wide and darker lenses of the sunglasses are great to have with me.
  4. Tote bags or light backpacks – Especially for road trips, I love throwing my sunglasses case, wallet, water, napkins, sandwiches and some snacks into a tote bag or light backpack. Makes reaching for things easier, and also isn’t too heavy to carry while hiking.
  5. My Nivea Aqua Sensation cream – I bought it during Winter when I forgot to take face cream with me on a trip, and love it even more now in Spring because it’s moisturizing yet doesn’t leave my skin feeling sticky or oily. I think it might just be the perfect year-round cream.

Have you ever thought about your seasonal must-haves? What is your list for Spring?

2017, April 14

Today, I…

Life can be overwhelming sometimes and we all have days when we feel like we’re about to lose it, and while it’s necessary to work through all the hurdles in our lives, it’s also important to recognize that we need a mental breather, and step away from situations to find some clarity.

  • Today I dared to confront a friend.
  • Today I took a risk in writing a letter to an old friend.
  • Today I said goodbye to my vacation plans.
  • Today I challenged myself to run 6km! I made it to 7,4 km!
  • Today I did the hardest thing for me when I didn’t bring up what I truly wanted to talk about with my mom.
  • Today I did something worth doing: ran in a charity cross event!
  • Today I traveled to a friend’s funeral.
  • Today I was bold when I asked for what I needed.
  • Today I loved you in the only way I can right now.
  • Today I resisted fear by following the lead of my boyfriend.
  • Today I took a leap when I offered a different solution to an older, recurring issue.
  • Today I had the courage to sign up for a photography class.
  • Today I said yes to dates instead of chocolate.
  • I asked for help from colleagues when I got stuck.
  • Today I stopped doing the dishes to cuddle with the cat for a while.
  • Today I let go of the idea that I can’t have fun alone.
  • Today I got rid of half my wardrobe.
  • Today I acknowledged that I am enough, just as I am today.
  • Today I showed courage when I went ice skating alone.
  • Today I surrendered to depression.
  • Today I took a chance on myself.

They’re not all positive, just like Life doesn’t stop if we’re feeling low. But I enjoyed coming back to this blog posts’s draft for over two years, until I ended the sentences above.

Below, or if you click ‘continue reading’, you’ll find the list if you want to copy it for yourself and fill it out.

read more »

2016, December 30

Six reasons to smile in December

This month, I couldn’t help but notice a trend: Winter weather has definitely settled in to stay in this little corner of the world, ever since mid-October actually when the weather changed drastically, and many of the things which made me smile every day are off of my Cozy List for Sweater Weather. And then there was Christmas, too, and being off from work, getting the chance to finally rest for a bit sure made it easier to smile.

I wonder if I should continue posting these six reasons to smile blog posts next year as well? They were fun to write up and share the pics, yet I’m not sure if I want to continue…

Here are the reasons I smiled in December:

six-reasons-december

Did you smile a lot this month? What were your reasons? In case you’ve also captured them on camera, I’d love to see!

2016, December 23

Christmas: Then vs Now

Recently I read an article, where it said “As you grow older, you begin to experience the “Christmas spirit” in a different way. Instead of counting down the days until Christmas starting Dec. 1, you are caught off guard when someone says that Christmas is only a week away. Your older self doesn’t necessarily become the Grinch, but the excitement that takes over your every thought slowly dims.”
How true! I wanted to come up with my own blog post on the subject. So, keep on reading.

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~

What was the holiday season like way back when I was a kid?
~ What is the holiday season now that I am pushing 30?

~~

Starting with Advent, we would listen to Christmas carols all day, every day, and sing along.
~ Now, I mostly forget to play carols or Christmas-themed songs, because I don’t listen to music much anymore.

The night before Christmas I would stay up late because I was too excited to go to sleep.
~ Now, I stay up late because at 10PM there are still a million things I need to get done.

On the 24th, I would wake up very early and all excited. The excitement level would only go up as the evening approached. (The custom is to receive presents on Christmas Eve, not on Christmas Day here in Romania.)
~ Now, I try to snooze the alarm clock five times before getting out of bed to skip breakfast and finish everything that didn’t get done the night before. The stress level only goes up as the evening approaches.

On Christmas Eve, my mom, grandparents and I used to go to church, and I was always in the Christmas play the kids at church would act out in front of more than 300 people.
~ Now, I don’t go to church anymore. (My mom and I go listen to my former high school’s choir concert, but that’s a a week or two before the holidays.)

During the play, one of my grandparents or my uncle would go to my mom’s house to decorate our Christmas tree and place presents under the tree – because I would’ve noticed if my mom wasn’t in the front row singing along carols with us kids. My grandparents decorated their tree and placed the presents under it before they left. My uncle did the same at my great-grandmother’s house.
~ Now, I decorate our apartment, my mom’s and my grandparent’s houses and their Christmas trees. Aside from helping with cooking and baking, and my own cooking and baking. I kinda like the being-surprised-by-a-Christmas-tree-materializing-out-of-nowhere idea better, but that most likely won’t happen ever again.

After the play, on our way out, all of the children at church would receive a small present.
~ Now, I am the one assembling presents for children (both my boyfriend’s and my firm take presents to ShoeBox Romania). An extra present for myself comes from Secret Santa at work.

First we’d go to my mom’s to find that Santa brought us a Christmas tree and presents. Then to my great-grandmother’s, and then to my grandparent’s for the same.
~ My boyfriend goes to his brother’s and they go over to his grandma’s. At home, I skip lunch to finish everything that didn’t get done the night before or in the morning. Then we go over to my mom’s and grandparent’s.

My Christmas wishlist would be a mile long. Yet everything was still a surprise when some of the items off my wishlist made it into the presents, because we couldn’t afford much.
~ Now, my wishlist is still long, but three quarters of it I ignore, and what I really need/want I buy for myself instead of flat-out asking for them. Presents aren’t surprises much anymore, because usually mom asks me if it’s OK to buy me “x”, and I correct her that “y” would be better as I haven’t used up the current “x” yet. Or, she’d call me three times in a row while my phone’s on silent, then immediately text saying “call me urgently!!!” to ask what color PJs I’d like, because she knows I needed to sew mine twice in one month.

We’d have dinner at my grandparent’s.
~ We have dinner at mom’s.

At the end of the night, my mom and I would go back to mom’s house. During school holidays I stayed with her, not with my grandparents as was my living situation during school time.
~ Now, my boyfriend and I go home to our cat to spoil the little fluffball rotten some more while watching a Christmas movie and maybe having a cup of hot chocolate.

On Christmas Day we would all go to church and have lunch at my mom’s place.
~ On Christmas Day, I try as much as I can to get out of the church part, but given I can’t, we all go to church together and have lunch at mom’s place.

~~~

I still like the holidays, and I do get excited. However, I do find this season stressful now, and sometimes I really wish I was a kid again and just enjoy it rather than be the one to do the work…
What do you think? What are your holiday preparations and holidays like? Do you find it more or less stressful now than twenty years ago?

Luckily, twinkle lights and hot chocolate help keep my spirits up!

Here’s wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!!!

2016, December 9

What do You gift writers?

2016 is nearly over and I’d like to thank every single one of my readers for making it such an amazing one, and my bloggy friends who have filled it with so much awesome blogging, flash fiction, poems and even essays to read, each week!

Here’s wishing you all an early Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

tea-book-gift

As for my blog post’s title? I wrote this back in 2011 for FFDO, but wanted to share here on my own blog now since that website closed.

This is the season of gift giving, and more often than not, we end up with gifts we like, but which aren’t too related to our field. When I give a gift I like to really think about what the person would enjoy and use. Shopping for writers is rather easy, in my opinion, as we all have access to the basics.

While I do not personally have the one formula you could use to determine what each of your fellow scribbler and avid reader family members or friends would like to receive, I have put together a short list of things which could tickle their fancy.

  1. Gift baskets. I know what you’re thinking. Gift baskets come in all shapes and sizes, but not one shop or website carries one named “Writer’s gift basket”; right? They don’t, or at least not the ones I looked through around here as research for this article. So why did I include this here? Because, you can make it yourself!
    Grab a pretty basket and fill it up with: pens and pencils, pencil cases, bookmarks, journals, stapler & staples, ink (either for a pen or for a printer), notepads, erasers, post-it notes in any or all shapes and sizes, stationery, note books (maybe something fancier, like a leather note book), day planners, diaries, bookplates, writing-themed magnets (magnetic scrabble fridge tiles), a book light, memory sticks, and chocolate. Every writer loves chocolate.
  2. Books. Kind of obvious, yes. But every writer I know has a never-ending wishlist. Many have books on the craft of writing, technical books, collections of writing prompts or all those wonderful novels and poetry out there which they would love to own, yet simply can’t afford or feel that they shouldn’t indulge.
    See if they are willing to share the wishlist (or they might have one online on Goodreads, Amazon, or BookDepository so you can check it without them even suspecting what you are up to).
  3. I’d like to include Literary Magazines, either Single issues or Subscriptions under this category, too. This is a luxury most poetry or short story writers would appreciate as it’s always nice to hold a magazine in hand while reading rather than the average e-mail subscriptions.
  4. Amazon Prime might be a good idea as well. I think if there weren’t the added benefits like free same-day or two-day delivery, unlimited streaming for movies and series, hundreds of playlists and unlimited photo storage, the single reason a writer would choose Amazon Prime is: borrowing one book per month with no due date from the collection of over 800,000 books of the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library!
  5. Other Software or Updates. In this very tech-y day an age, most writers use a laptop for writing, on a daily basis. The key software for these writers is a word-processing software. Most PC users use Microsoft Office-based Word, however there are other ones out there as well, like Scrivener or White Smoke.
    If you’re feeling fancy, ask if they’d like to switch from their free blogging platform to their own self-hosted domain. They’re not as expensive as eight years ago when I first started blogging.
  6. An editor. Let me rephrase that since editors might not let you tie a pretty red bow around their neck and agree to sit pretty under the Christmas tree: An editing session. Are the writers in your life in need of a second opinion? Are they letting their masterpiece collect dust on a shelf, or putting off writing/sending out query letters because it needs more editing? An editing session could help them out big time.
  7. A creative writing class, workshops or conferences. Either in “real-life” or online, many writers would like to further perfect their craft. Have they got fear of writing, issues with time management, or are in need of fresh creative energy to move out of a rut? There are several websites you can check out, and in case you can not decide on your own, include the writer in the decision making process. They are the ones who best know what they need.
  8. Customized items. Great for stocking fillers. In this area of gifts, there are many things you can customize, like jewelry: cufflinks, pins and badges, pendants, bracelets engraved with their favorite (short) quote, earrings;
    clothing: T-shirst, neck ties, hats, scarves;
    and even kitchen items: mugs, serving trays, bowls, wine bottles, etc. And you can never go wrong with writing-themed Christmas tree ornaments!
  9. High end pens. Quill pens, fountain pens, ballpoint pens. These are good choices for every writer of course, but especially for pen-enthusiasts.
  10. Book ends. They seem underrated, but I think they are worth keeping in mind because they not only keep books from falling off not-yet-filled-up shelves, they allow for building a bookshelf anywhere – on a windowsill, a desk, etc. They also come in all shapes and sizes and are customisable to your writer’s dreams.
  11. Time to write. This can be as simple as arranging play-dates, taking the kids to a movie one day per week, going to visit the grandparents without your spouse on a weekend, taking over some of the chores or cooking dinner yourself so your writer will have a bit of time to themselves, to clear their head from the everyday worries and write without interruptions.
  12. A place to write. If you are in the mood to make over a room in your house, how about giving your writer a cozy space to read and write in? A door to shut would be ideal, but even simply rearranging a shared space to make room for a bookshelf, a comfy chair, or a desk will go a long way. Build them a book lover’s Christmas Tree!
  13. A writer’s retreat or travel for research. If you can afford it, check out a few places close by and send your writer on a short writing retreat. Or if they have a trip coming up, offer to extend it by a few days. Send them on a short trip for research, if for example, they are city-bound yet writing about a beach setting.
    A weekend away from a noisy house, in a cute little bed and breakfast is guaranteed to make their year!

How about you? Would you be happy to receive any of the above listed? How do you shop for the writers (and readers) in your life? Any ideas I could steal?

~~~

As a disclaimer, the above listed are things I use and love, or I would love to receive.

I have personally worked with Karen Schindler in the past, and she has edited my work in such a way that she kept my voice throughout the stories; sometimes sending them back with edits that I didn’t even notice at first were not my own writing. I highly recommend Karen’s services.

In April 2012, I took Milli Thornton’s Ace Your 10K Day online class. She has several classes to choose from, her insight for the issues I had were more than helpful as they were easily applicable; and overall, Milli was a pleasure to work with.

If you’re crafty, a while back I made myself some classy handmade bookmarks, and cute corner bookmarksa writer’s clock, pretty calligraphy ornaments and a travelogue and built a Booklover’s Christmas Tree! With a little imagination, they can easily be transformed to your own needs and even crafted with your children to gift to the writer in their life.

Happy gift giving!

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