Monthly Mood: July 2017

Monthly Mood
*Feature image by The Sorry Girls

The Monthly Mood has switched from the beginning of the month to the end because well…. how can I really get a pulse on my monthly mood before it even begins?!

If you have been following along, this month I have been prepping for the big move out of the Richmond District and into the Tenderloin with my boyfriend! #goodtimes

Here are some things I have been obsessing over:

Currently Watching: The Sorry Girls 

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Get ready for some major creative inspiration with The Sorry Girls…

Since I have been fantasizing about decorating my new place, I have been watching SO MANY “Studio Makeovers” and “DIY” videos. I’ve subscribed to a handful of channels- Mr. Kate , Home Made ModernLive Your Style, Engineer Your Space, & Ikea Home Makeovers – just to name a few. But my favorite duo would have to be The Sorry Girls. They are straight to the point, resourceful and always make sure they have the cheapest, easiest option. I haven’t tried any of tutorials yet… but I am definitely looking forward to doing one soon! Here’s a little blurb from their About page:

Becky Wright and Kelsey MacDermaid started their creative journey together in 2010 when they met in University and dubbed themselves as The Sorry Girls for their new YouTube channel. They called themselves The Sorry Girls because they knew that a play on the stereotype that Canadian’s say sorry way too often would always be true of themselves and Canada. Kelsey and Becky started their YouTube channel to teach young women just like themselves how to make a cute and unique Halloween costumes on a budget. They didn’t know what their channel would be or where it would go when they started but it has turned into a creative, inspiring, and money saving lifestyle that they are thrilled to be apart of every day. The Sorry Girls look at everything from home décor and fashion to Halloween and Christmas and put their heads together to figure out how to DIY (do it yourself) this season’s trends using materials that are easy to access and instructions that are easy to follow. Since starting their YouTube channel together their following on YouTube has grown to over half a million subscribers and they have inspired many to pick up a hammer, get some paint on their hands and #doitforthediy.

Currently Drinking: The Buzz by David’s Tea

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I started drinking this tea in the afternoons and it really does get you “buzzing”! Since it’s a Yerba Mate blend, it really curbs your appetite – just FYI. But this is a great Pick-Me-Up! Check out the description below:

Lately, everyone seems to be buzzing about this tea. But who can blame them? With so many super-energizing ingredients, it’ll probably get you buzzing, too. It’s got the stimulating kick of guarana, matcha and yerba mate, plus a hint of white ginseng – Chinese medicine’s key to vital energy. Add super-healthy green tea, zesty citrus and a spicy hint of ginger, and you’ve got an energizing blend you can feel great about drinking.

#Urbanliving- Shoes I’m Currently Loving: The Hartford Pump by Franco Sarto

I can wear these all day from work to happy hour, or just on the weekend running errands in a cute summer dress. This is the ultimate “city girl” shoe. Living in San Francisco, you need to be prepared for any type of scenario. Comfort is key and these shoes get a HUGE 5 stars. check them out at DSW. #yourwelcome

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This weekend I move into my new studio!

Thanks for stopping by ❤

July Creative: Deep Space Traveler, Adam Villanueva

Monthly Creatives

Discover My Favorite Creatives!

This segment is dedicated to all my creative muses. Each one of them on the daily hustle, working hard to support what they love the most. Whether it’s music, art, personalities, jewelry, or clothing, I support it all. I hope you take the time to check out their pages, like their socials, and show them some love.


Please introduce yourself:

Hi, I’m Adam Villanueva. I am from Highland Park, Los Angeles California. I started doing art for my band SEASONS (see video at the end)  in 2006 and over the years it got better and I started making money off of it. Now I make art, stickers and shirts for other bands. I had a few successful art shows as well, you can check out my etsy shop where I sell some of my paintings and jewelry.

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How would you describe your art?

Colorfully twisted spacey clever and unique..

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What is your creative process? Does your art tell a story?

My paintings are influenced by camping trips but with a space vibe to it. I like using pyramids and other shapes to create a optical illusion. My cat painting tells a story of house cats that party when the owners are gone. You can see them drinking, dancing and swimming in the after hours.

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After hours Pool Party

Who and what are your influences?

Picasso, Dali, Okuda and friends. Instagram is a great source for inspiration and ideas.

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What are your current projects?

At the moment I am working on a stop motion music video for my band.

* Adam is in two bands: SEASONS and VETERANS OF FUTURE WARS – see Spotify link below

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What are you currently listening to right now?

Vanishing Twin.

Are there Any Artists on Instagram or Etsy that you are obsessing over?

Okuda 

As an LA resident, what are some of your favorite places to hangout and get some inspiration?

Downtown LA Arts District.

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Who are some of your musical influences?

Beatles, Tame Impala, John Coltrane, Chet Baker, Anchorsong, Charles Bradley, Black Moth, Super Rainbow, and many more.

Any secret artist you embarrassed to say you enjoy?

Not that I can think of right now.

Do you have any pre-show/recording rituals?

I like to make videos or drawings related to the event the day of to help promote that show. Does that count?

Has politics changed your creativity?

Yes and no. I have been wanting to do a political painting but I haven’t. Maybe I’ll do a stop motion of Trump’s head launching missiles out of his mouth into his ass. I don’t know yet.


Adam’s latest video project with his band Seasons:

Please visit Adam & his Band’s socials and show them some love!

Adam’s INSTAGRAM

Adam’s ETSY SHOP 

SEASONS BAND FACEBOOK

SEASONS INSTAGRAM

VETERANS OF FUTURE WARS on SPOTIFY

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more unique creatives ❤

 

Picture Story: Santa Cruz, CA

Picture Diaries

We decided to do a spontaneous trip to Santa Cruz for the 4th of July weekend.

Here is a quick list of the things we did:

The Mystery Spot – Gravitational Anomaly

**RESERVATIONS NEEDED**

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Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

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Hiking at Wilder Ranch State Park

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Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Co.

I always love a good cider =)

Also a really great place to sit in the sun and hang out..

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❤ Next up on the traveling list: Maui, HI.

Peace Easy,

D. Marie

June 2017 Layouts

Illusions of Productivity, Picture Diaries

A little late on this one, but I’ve had a pretty busy month.

A lot of big things happened in June :

I had a performance, which always takes a lot of time and energy to prepare. But then once that performance was over, it cleared up my weeknight commitments allowing a lot of time to sit and think about my life, which can be a very overwhelming for a Virgo!

Learning how to be still is difficult .

I was apartment hunting with my boyfriend. Then I was looking for someone to fill my current apartment because – Hooray! We found a place.

There were a lot of little things in between: Friends in town, SF Pride, brunches, coffee dates, and consulting projects.

Motivation and inspiration was sparse, especially in a sudden bout of change. Here are some blogs/websites that really helped me remember my goals and focus:

https://tinybuddha.com/ – Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives

The Orange Dot – Headspace: Meditation Made Simple

John WestenBerg on Medium – Productivity, Motivation, and Failure

What are some blogs you enjoy reading?


Alas…. my June 2017 planner layouts ❤

 

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Happy Planning!

-D. Marie

An Ode the The Richmond District- San Francisco

Creative Writing
*feature photo by Andrew Nassih

I have been slowly packing up my room of six years in San Francisco. When I think back on the past two times I have moved in my adult life, it’s been an interesting experience to meet this unsettling, unsure, excited, anxious feeling that seems all so familiar but so foreign and complex at the same time. I’ve been here before, but my spectacles held a different shade.

These familiar, yet unfamiliar feelings- They’re like walking through the same dream, same scenario, same lines, but in different themed costumes… Being trapped in a sort of deja vu, that you just can’t get a grasp of. Life is funny in that way; I guess feelings, emotions- they orbit like the planets. Some pulled closer than others, occurring and reoccurring more frequently. Some having more obvious effects on how we live and dissect life.

Now at this stage in my life, I am face to face again with this feeling of uncertainty, and resurrecting insecurities covered with uncontrollable excitement as I try to see what it looks like on the other side of the tunnel.  Then there are the occasional waves of retrospective sadness as you realize your attachments to your nest, your nest that has nourished your soul for so long.


An Ode to the Richmond District, SF

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An Ode to the past six years of my life.

Although I am not moving far away from you, I’ll still feel like I’ll be worlds away.

I write to you now from the comfortable, creaky, IKEA framed bed, nestled in the quiet back corner of my Victorian flat.  I’ll be leaving my three lovely, quirky roommates, who have shared the ebb and flow of all the particles that have made me me.

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You have housed a great chunk of my life and provided a safe haven of park life, coffee shops, and Genki crepes.

You have opened my eyes to a hidden world of Burmese food and Szechuan cuisine; you’ve made this LA girl miss the fog when it’s gone – The fog, whose name is Karl by the way…

Gone will be the ocean breeze awaiting me after a long day across town. Gone will be the foggy haze, Muni delays, and the conditioned inconveniences of carting half my life downtown in my backpack.

I will miss your peaceful laundromats and friendly neighbors who leave great pieces of furniture out on the street.

And to my room, I leave you now like a shell to a cocoon. Your walls may be thin, so thin that at night I can here my neighbor snoring; and the paint on your walls may be a little chipped- but to me there couldn’t have been a more perfect place to grow in San Francisco, than in this back room with the bay window overlooking the smashed gardens.

In this new moon, this resurrected orbit of emotions, confidence shines through in knowing that the time spent here has been tried, TOUGH, and true. I’ve cried, cursed, laughed, and strummed the guitar super loud while singing at the top of my lungs when no one was home. I’ve re-arranged you about a million times, each time bringing me new inspiration. I miss you everyday when I go to work. I’ll miss you even more when I’m gone.

Now take me to the sunny side- The Tenderloin, where the walls will be even thinner, the air less ocean breezy, and the Indian food a-plenty; the views a bit more gritty and the commute (time) a bit less shitty.

Cheers to you Richmond District and to this place I’ve called my home. I’m really, really gonna miss you.

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* The 5 Fulton bus connecting you from Ocean Beach to Downtown, Howard and Main Street.

Monthly Mood: New Moon, New Skin, New Fire.

Monthly Mood

Finally a four day weekend! Can I get an Amen?!? This monthly mood is more of a recap of all the craziness that happened in June and the final culmination of which I am about to drop in 3..2..1..

Yesterday, my boyfriend and I just signed our first lease to a tiny little studio downtown.

I still have to take a moment and let that all settle in when I say it out loud (or type it out loud?). In the six years I’ve lived in San Francisco, I’ve been fortunate enough to live in one house, with people I get along with, and in a wonderful neighborhood – the Richmond District. Now I’m packing up my beautiful spacious bedroom and moving into the Tenderloin! In Defense of the Tenderloin, Here is the view from our new balcony:

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I’m really excited about this move. So many craft projects to try, so much space to organize (I am a Virgo, I just can’t help myself..)  and a whole new chapter to create in this city.  I look forward to sharing some new inspiration with you all.

I’ve been obsessing  over studio layouts, DIY home decor, and balcony gardens on Pinterest. If you’re on there, follow my boards!

This month my good friend Andrew Nassih  was in town from Los Angeles and we did a quick photo shoot rendezvous in my new hood 😉 We didn’t plan it this way, I actually had no idea I would be moving  at the point these pictures were taken; I also had no idea this photo shoot was going to happen! But the timing couldn’t have been better. Check out his work – I love the grit to his style and I’m stoked that I get to be a part of the collection.

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As the last bits of June unfolded, especially after the new moon, I’ve felt a need to purge and recenter my inspiration. Now with this new move, July will be about shedding my old skin, and rebuilding the fire. I look forward to seeing you all on the other side!

Thanks for stopping by, more to come! I  Just wanted to drop a line.

D. Marie

Keeping Goals Realistic-Life is too short, and so is the weekend.

Illusions of Productivity
Reflections on being a #PlannerAddict

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Illusions of Productivity
*This post is written with my happy planner peeps in mind. BUTTTT, the same practice can apply to anyone who journals, plans, or just loves being productive on the weekends* 

As many of you Happy Planner Babes know, it’s hard to put the breaks on when it comes to buying the Happy Planner accessories. Last time I went to Michael’s, I splurged on a bunch of sticker books and inserts, one of them being the Daily Layout. I thought I would use them a lot being the avid list maker that I am, but they ended up sitting in my drawer for the longest time. I had a major case of buyers remorse.

As my planner evolved into a personal memory journal, I started to find other uses for it. First of all, I would plan my days by the hour in my work planner (of course, makes sense); but I never really planned out the day on the weekends except for the occasional dinner date, or hanging out with friends. Every Friday would roll around and I would have a list of things I wanted to accomplish over the weekend running in my head. By the time Monday came, I would be so bummed out and hard on myself for not accomplishing everything I wanted to do.

Then I started to realize that I wasn’t being realistic; it’s only two days off for crying out loud, that’s hardly enough time to recharge. In order for me to adult on Monday, I really need time to leisurely do chores, be social, and sit on my ass.

The US really needs to adopt the three day weekend. Am I right, or am I right!??!??!?

So I decided to try mapping out my weekend using the Daily Inserts for my Happy Planner. Once I laid out my actual commitments and made potential time blocks for all things I wanted to do, I was able to enjoy my two days off a lot more and give myself a break when I didn’t accomplish X,Y, or Z. Once Monday hit, I was ready.

The Brain Dump side on the back was also another great addition to have so that I could have more space to scrapbook the week’s highlights!

Below you can see the daily layout with both Saturday and Sunday, and on the back I have the highlights from the week. Hope this opens up some creativity for you! I know it has for me =)

Thanks for reading! Happy Planning =)

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June Creative: AvocadaMamma

Monthly Creatives

Discover My Favorite Creatives!

This segment is dedicated to all my creative muses. Each one of them on the daily hustle, working hard to support what they love the most. Whether it’s music, art, personalities, jewelry, or clothing, I support it all. I hope you take the time to check out their pages, like their socials, and show them some love.


Taylor & Nathaniel

Creators of AvocadaMamma: A multi-platform resource for recipes, travel/meal prep help, guides to eating and products to shop for.

Meet my beautiful friends Taylor and Nathaniel! Aren’t they cute? 😉 I met these two while I was living in LA. Both of them have such a unique, pure glow, that once you meet them it’s no wonder these two souls were meant to connect and CREATE!

Nathaniel is a photographer, currently attending film school. You can check out his photography and latest projects at nathanielperales.com. Taylor is currently pursuing acting, and was recently in the Hollywood Fringe Festival production “Confessions of an Arab Woman” .

When I first saw their AvocadaMamma Youtube video pop up on my Facebook feed, I was so excited for them because it just made so much sense! I enjoyed catching up with them on their latest projects and hope you enjoy this interview! As creative people, it’s always refreshing to connect with other creative minds, who also have a razor focused, business mindset! These two are killin’ it and they’ve given me a new wave of inspiration, so thank you Taylor and Nathaniel!

Don’t forget to (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE) subscribe and like them on YOUTUBE and INSTAGRAM! ❤


How would you describe your art?

We believe in creating a better world through educating people to change their dieting/lifestyles. We want people to understand that it’s possible to live longer, feel better and sustain yourself longer by eating healthier. So we are using Taylor’s background in acting for the front of the camera and Nathaniel’s skills as a photographer/director to create Avocadamama. A multi-platform resource for recipes, travel/meal prep help, guides to eating and products to shop for.

How long have you been working on your craft, how do you feel about where you are right now and what are you excited about for the future as an artist?

T: We started this in January. We began with making simple recipes in my kitchen, and now we’ve expanded a little further. We’re now making travel videos, reviewing products, reviewing restaurants, and we’re using our knowledge to create small videos for others to use for guidance on the vegan lifestyle. Eventually, we’d like to create an easy vegan 1 month guide to follow for our followers to have a way to understand what is the easiest, healthiest way to loose weight and change their eating habits for a long period of time, not just until they lose weight.

N: I feel like we’re in a perfect place. At this point, this is just really fun for us. I get to learn how to cook and teach others how to cook while practicing my craft. And Taylor gets to think about food in a way she hasn’t before because this is about educating people. I’m excited for our future episodes as I continue to practice and play with different ways of presenting the information. There’s definitely a craft with “How to” do something.

When and how did you meet?

T: We actually met on the streets of Pasadena, CA. It was this back and forth of seeing each other for a few months, waving, smiling at each other and wanting to say “hi” but never stopping to talk. We’d be so close too, seeing each other where Nathaniel worked, one time he chased after me on the streets of Old Town Pasadena from a cafe to invite me to his art show but I wasn’t able to go. I eventually came to terms that I would never see him again and then we saw each other a couple weeks later and finally exchanged numbers! That was 5 years ago in October.

N: It was good times. 😍

Tell me about the Ah-ha moment you and Nathaniel had when the first fruition of AvocadaMama came about?

T: We’d actually talked about it for a while now. Nathaniel would tell me all the time how he thought my talent in the kitchen would make a great Youtube channel and he could do the filming. It’s funny because we put it off for so long until finally one night it happened by chance because we were planning to grill the Beyond Burger from Beyond Meat and Nathaniel said “lets film it and see what happens”. Then we got such a great response from our peers so we decided to just go for it.

N: When we decided to film that first episode about the Beyond Meat Burgers I looked at it as a challenge and to use my skills as a film editor to make something interesting that people might want to watch. Taylor’s quirky personality is so addicting to watch, and I think my editing style matches her weirdness hahaha so after watching the footage we had, and the edit that came from it, I knew there was something special here.

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Both of you have a professional mindset when talking about your powers combined, What is the creative process when it comes to hashing out business plans? Is it a fluid conversation or is it something you set limits and boundaries to? What are the benefits of dating your business partner?

N: It’s actually really awesome. We always talk about our passions and dreams together so there’s not really any boundaries. The coolest part about this, is we love food anyway. We love eating together and talking together and going out to restaurants. So if anything, it’s just brought us closer because it gives us more reasons to hang out and create stuff. As far as like a formal business plan, we mainly use this app called Quip http://quip.com to write and share our ideas with each other. It has all our ideas spread out and organized in folders. Whenever one of us updates a file, the other person gets updated. It’s really easy to use. We have many plans for our future and the hardest challenge so far is time and the fact that we don’t live together. I think as we continue to organize our workflow we will have to set specific hours a side to just do Avocadamama. Because when we’re together we definitely do like to lolligag and just spend time together haha.

What is the creative process when it comes to making a video? (do you have a script, improv, etc.)

T: We use a joint project folder app quip as Nathaniel mentioned, and we have a list of foods we want to make. We usually pick a recipe based on the weather / time of year / holiday coming up.

N: We don’t really have a script but we do talk about what we want to accomplish, in what order the episode will go and what steps are in the recipe. We do a lot of talking and working together to figure out what we want. Usually we’ll make mistakes and have to re-shoot certain lines because Taylor says “umm” and pauses in between thoughts a lot. She’s a little spacey sometimes. LOL. We’re still optimizing this aspect of our channel, as any business continues to morph and define their strategy. Even though we’re like 13 episodes in, we’re definitely still defining ourselves. I don’t think you ever stop growing and every new episode is a new discovery in this awesome process.

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What is your mission statement? What is your ultimate goal?

N: I would say our mission statement is to educate people about a vegan, plant-based lifestyle in a fun and endearing way. A lot of people in my life look at a plant-based lifestyle as something difficult, snobby or too restricting and what we’re trying to show people is that it is definitely not difficult and can actually open you up to a lot of foods you wouldn’t really try with the normal American diet. I think you can tell from our personalities in our videos that this isn’t a snobby thing, we’re not talking down to anybody and we’re not begging for people to not eat meat. We’re just saying, hey if you’re having health problems or your trying to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle we have some really good recommendations and recipes that can help you try something new that tastes good and is really good for you.

What project(s) for AvocadaMama are you working on right now that you’re excited about?

T: Taking Avocadamama further with our reach. Right now we get a ton of traffic from family and friends, but we really want to go beyond that and influence people all over the world. But for now we’re traveling a lot so we’ll be visiting some awesome vegan restaurants that we’ll get to blog about spread the word about their food.

N: We got a couple of ideas up our sleeves. Our website is almost finished which will act as a larger resource for people looking for more information than our videos. We are going to be writing articles about places we eat, different ingredients we use and general plant-based lifestyle advice. We’ll also have opinion pieces about vegan culture as well. We are also beginning to think about products. Taylor wore these awesome pants that she made at the Eat Drink Vegan fest and she’s thinking about making them into a product we sell. We also want to recycle old clothes and put our logo or vegan text that people can buy. Taylor mentioned earlier a “getting started being vegan 30 day guide” that we’re in the process of outlining and designing. A lot of stuff in the pipeline that we’re both very excited for.

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As LA residents, what are your favorite vegan restaurants?

T: Oh there are so many delicious spots in LA. I love raw food and there’s a place called Sun Cafe that has really good food. For go-to delicious fast vegan food I love Veggie Grill. There’s a vegan sushi place that I love so much called Shojin, located in a mall in Little Tokyo. It’s so random but I love the food, they use mushrooms to make the scallops on a “baked scallop roll”! I’m drooling just thinking about it!

N: One of my favorite spots is Kitchen Mouse. Another great one is called Gracias Madre by the same people that own Cafe Gratitiude and Sage. I also love the Munch Truck in Highland Park on Fridays. Also, Organix is super bomb.

Where are some places on your vegan destination wish list?

T: Well actually I’ve always been interested in the vegan food in New Orleans, and low and behold, we just got tickets to go out there for my birthday in October! So we’ll be checking out the spots out there. I’m also really interested in exploring vegan food in middle America and checking out the places where people with less options could find meals and ways to modify local eats to be vegan. Maybe we’ll have to do a road trip some day!

N: Road trip would be super awesome. Avocadamama a la Anthony Bourdain style.

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Thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned for more unique creatives ❤

On Diets vs. Lifestyle

Illusions of Productivity

I was having a wonderful conversation with friends over the weekend over some sweet treats and wine about healthy habits (ironic, I know). As I happily indulged in a glazed Krispy Kreme donut, I found that I wasn’t engaging in the normal internal dialogue and guilt of “oh it’s OK, I’ll start eating healthy tomorrow” which would then usually give me permission to indulge even more. Instead, I was enjoying every last morsel of that donut and after I was done, I was done. There wasn’t this crazy ravenous sugar monster inside me wanting to eat as much as I could before my “cleanse day“. It was in this moment of donut bliss that I realized I had finally broken through years of unhealthy eating habits and perceptions.

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“Even my conditioning has been conditioned…”

For starters, my sister and I weren’t allowed to eat any sweets when we were young. It’s funny now to think about how I would hustle hard on the playground- I’d persuade my classmates to swap my pretzels for their Twinkies, or my cheese-its for some gushers. Then, when I’d go to a friend’s house, I would eat as much sugar as possible.

In addition to the binge habits that I developed through deprivation of sweet foods early on, I’m half Filipino, so grazing all day over rice and meat during family gatherings was something I just grew up with. Eating everything and a lot is sort of mandatory in my culture. When family gatherings rolled around, it was a given that I would eat until I was uncomfortable and in pain, and just stuff myself until I felt like I was ready to pop!

Now, let’s throw in the fact that I played competitive soccer all my life… playing it so much made working out a chore at times. I remember during my off season, my teammates and I would just binge and binge on junk food, sit around, and just wait until training season started before we “got back into shape”. Saying that it was “seasonal” is even being a little gracious to tell you the truth… all we needed was ONE day off from practice and we would be stuffing our faces with burritos and cupcakes and all the heavy stuff we couldn’t eat before practice or a game. This cycle continued through college and it wasn’t until I was 25, and started dating a vegetarian (who is now vegan) that I realized I had it all wrong. The perception of the words cleansingdiets, and getting into shape were just making it harder and holding me back from being my healthiest self. I’ve wiped all these words out of my vocabulary and replaced it with just one: Lifestyle. 

Whether you have chosen a vegan diet or not, erasing those words from your mind body and soul, will help you achieve the health goals you want.

I always knew that I should be working out a little everyday (I would always curse myself on the field my first week back from a break); I always knew I should eat everything in moderation, and I always knew I should make my own meals to ensure the best quality goes into my body. But as we all know, it’s easier said then done. So what I hope to give you here is some insight and tips that I’ve gained and learned through my crafty planner journey and how it’s helped me improve my healthy lifestyle.

Tip #1. From Diet to Lifestyle – Don’t put a timeline on it.

In talking to friends, and also something I experienced myself, switching to a vegan-ish (more thoughts on that term coming soon 😉 ) lifestyle has helped me make healthy choices everyday instead of seeing it as a punishment for X amount of time. The problem with that, is that once you hit your finish line, you start to #treatyourself, and that one treat turns into a whole pint of ice- cream and a downward spiral back to square one.

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Tip #2. Don’t Lie to Yourself- Log it!

Since March, I’ve been working on the habit of logging my food. I’ve never really been into this and to be honest I only started doing it because I bought a new planner when I wasn’t supposed to! #plannerproblems. At first I had a hard time keeping up with it; but now I’ve realized that seeing all the meals and snacks listed in front of me, has stopped me from my mindless munching.

I make a goal to strictly log my meals Monday-Thursday, the days that I go to the gym. Then over the weekend I loosen up a bit and just enjoy whatever comes my way.

BUT in building up the habit of food logging, I noticed that even when I’m not making a point to log my meals, I’ve developed the habit of eating with awareness. I no longer eat when I’m bored, and I still choose to eat clean.

*side note- you’d be surprised how unhealthy you can still eat as a vegan…I’m totally guilty of being a lazy vegan and eating overly processed food* 

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This is a picture of my fitness journal. It has vertical logging space for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with snack space in between. When I started, I was finding that I was running out of space to fill in all the snack breaks I had. This helped me quit that habit and focus on eating substantial meals instead. On the right, I’ve added a Health Tracker to keep track of my healthy habits that will help me reach my goals: drink tea, take vitamins, stretch at home, and take a walk during my lunch break.

You’re food log doesn’t have to be fancy, you don’t even have to count calories. Getting into the habit of writing down every meal and every little snack is a great way to start. Try it! Challenge yourself for two weeks!

Tip #3. Reflect, Review, and Revise!

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This is the most important! Like I said, I started my habit tracking and food logging in March, I was kinda just doing it for the fun stickers 😉 . It wasn’t until a month in that I realized I should revise a few things. So for April I started the habit tracker, making it a goal to log my food everyday. I also started a weekly reflection every Sunday as a part of my habit regimen. This was a total game changer!

I’ve always been one to journal about my emotions, but never even THOUGHT about writing about my health habits. When you journal about your emotions and experiences, you learn from them. You learn about your thought process, how to better communicate to yourself and others. When you reflect on your weekly health habits, you are able to look back on your strengths and weaknesses and revise a plan to make it work. It also pumps you up for the upcoming week. Goals are no use if you don’t look at them from time to time, and setting time to reflect, review, and revise is the foundation to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

What to write about in your Health Journal:

Every Sunday I reflect on food and fitness. This past week I noticed that I didn’t make grocery shopping a priority, so therefore I bought too many meals, and in doing that, I wasn’t able to keep a balanced vegan diet. I noticed that I ate a lot of carbs and not enough vegetables. So I revised my plan, got my a$$ to Trader Joe’s and meal prepped for the week. Meal prepping is hard! But this is the new challenge that I hope to turn into a lifestyle.

This fitness planner has a spot for a Progress Selfie, but I feel weird flexing for the camera, so I just use that space for more health reflection. And not to mention, Polaroid film is expensive and I’d rather save it for other things ;).

Mood tracking is another great thing to include in your journal and also new goals for the next week that may develop. I definitely develop new goals as I let others slip away… and that’s OK! That’s all part of the revision process. =)

Happy and Healthy!

All in all, adopting a healthy lifestyle perception will help get rid of the guilt and self loathing associated with words such as diets and cleansing.  If you need a scoop of that Ben and Jerry’s, go have some! But know that you can have another scoop tomorrow. Log your food, but don’t just log it and forget about it, go back, review it, take note of what you’re putting in your body. Most importantly, be honest with yourself and make it fun! I started doing this because I love stickers and wanted something else to decorate and feed my #planneraddiction; so find a way to make it fun! Healthy choices should make you happy, not miserable.

Keep it up!

May 2017 Layouts & Mantras

Illusions of Productivity

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On Mantras

Each month I review my successes, areas of improvements and ways to to tackle those areas. Last month I incorporated a weekly habit tracker in my planner layouts, which turned out to be a great success.

This month I wanted to focus on having a more mindful approach to my day, so I decided to start with a daily mantra. Keeping up with a daily mantra was a lot harder than I thought! With the constant thoughts running around inside my head, it took a lot of focus to really give my undivided attention to the words I set for myself. I wasn’t always successful and I actually dismissed it some days because I felt my mantra wasn’t good enough or it was too similar to the day before; or I just simply avoided it because I felt I just didn’t have time to think about it. I found that I had to be very intentional about my mantra, I really had to be still physically, in a comfortable place, to say it with a few deep breaths so that my whole body could acknowledge it. I will admit, some days this is hard to do when your focused on fitting so much into your day. But on the days I was successful, I remember it having positive effects on my mind, body and soul.

One day, I was leaving a weekly meeting with my team and left feeling very overwhelmed realizing the long list of to-do’s that suddenly multiplied on my plate. I was getting overwhelmed to the point where I was feeling frustrated; it was almost consuming me because I was holding it all in. When I do this, a knot grows in my chest and I can feel my muscles tense up; I know better than to show this hand at work, so I decided to take my lunch break and go for a walk.

I work in a part of town that doesn’t always smell the nicest, isn’t always the cleanest, and the neighbors aren’t always the most polite. So walking outside with all this stimuli added a layer of frustration. The only place I could retreat to was the mall. Once in the mall surrounded by more people, the frustration kept growing. I quickly darted up to the secret office spaces on the top floor that I had access to having worked in the mall while in college. Finally with some space to think, I was able to calm down my anxieties and reassure myself that “Yes you can. Just one thing at a time”.  I was still anxious so I decided to sit for five minutes and just focus on deep breathing. While breathing, I started to focus on that mantra, saying it over and over again in rhythm with my breath. As my heart rate slowed down, and the knot in my throat softened up, I could feel my mind push aside my negative thoughts and self doubt, then I got into this military mode- where I sternly tell myself what I’m going to do- and I told myself, “You’re gonna get up, take some deep breaths, you’re gonna go back to work, and take it one step at a time. But first you’re gonna get a twenty minute massage from the massage guys outside Lucky Brand and THEN it’s game time.” And that’s what I did.

Yes, of course the massage was a big factor in all this ;). BUT I will say, I hardly felt that massage because I was so focused on breathing and repeating my mantra. I said it over and over for twenty minutes straight. I remember looking out of that little face hole in the massage chair, staring at the floor and letting my mind go numb with the hum of my mantra. With each breath, I could feel the masseuse push through the tension more and more. I carried this mantra back to work, inside me like a tribal drum making way for my path. I kept focusing on my breathing using my mantra as the metronome to my breath and could feel all areas of my being relax, and more importantly I was able to focus and finish out the day with some work I was proud of.

Now, even with a few successful days like this (I only had a massage that one day..), the true challenge was initiating this intimate moment with myself. In realizing this, I was reminded of the sad reality that it’s hard to own our waking moments, our downtime, our day, when we have some many things to do to make sure we can pay our rent, and secure our place in this cycle that gives us this “comfortable” lifestyle. Giving yourself a space of vulnerability is difficult, but once done, I find it can do wonders for my state of mind.

For June, I hope to carry on the daily mantra challenge, and hope to utilize the Relax Guided Breathing feature on my fitbit to help center myself and have “mantra time” on my commute to work.

One word that I used in a lot of my mantras was “today”. Saying it makes me feel more grounded in the moment. Today – Today is still today. Today is not over. Today you can. Today I will accomplish x, y, z. What are some mantras that help you get through the day? Do you pair it with a breathing exercise? Do you say it out loud or quietly to yourself over and over? I’d be interested to hear how you incorporate mindfulness into your daily practice.

Planner Layouts

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…and that concludes my monthly report in Illusions of Productivity =)