Conscious Consumption: January Consumption Report

And just like that, the first month of the year is done! Where did time go? It was back to normal work schedules for both Cody and I, which was a rather hard transition at times. Consumption stayed about the same as the last several months. Clearly that’s the norm for me!

Podcasts

Sex & relationships - 7
Business & creativity - 13
Finance - 3
Health & nutrition - 10
Personal Development - 12
History - 3
Interviews, random & misc. - 20
* Bonus: New Years-related - 24

TOTAL PODCAST EPISODES: 68

I noticed early on in the month that I was naturally adding a lot of spiritual podcasts to my queue. It definitely wasn't conscious, but I decided to run with it! There was a lot of great material that I got to read since I was stretching my usual boundaries a bit.

Later in the month, I was less interested in personal development and learning, and more interested in straight up interviews. I also found myself pushing harder to listen to guests that I wasn't immediately interested in. The two podcasts that I experienced this the most with were Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard and Real Talk Radio. I made an effort to listen to every podcast, in order, not just the ones with guests that I had heard of or that sounded interesting. This resulted in me finding lots of new people that I wanted to follow, or just had a better appreciation of. Doing this also helped me learn about topics I might not have otherwise learned about.

One thing I really struggled with this month was the fact that I just wanted to listen to Armchair Expert and nothing else. The show is interesting and funny and I really enjoy each episode I listen to. After each episode, though, I kept feeling like I should be making a bigger effort to listen to other shows, too. So I tried mixing it up a bit, but I found myself bored with the other shows and wanting to go back to Armchair Expert. At some point, I realized what I was doing. Who cares if I listen to the same show a million times in a row? Maybe I'll binge every episode of Armchair Expert before moving on to other shows. WHO CARES? And so I scheduled about a dozen episodes of Armchair Expert in a row and all was well.

Stand Out Podcasts this Month:

Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard (10 episodes)

  • Kristen Bell. This episode was seriously lovely. Besides the fact that I love how real and honest Dax and Kristen are about their relationship, this episode really gave me a greater insight into Kristen's thoughts and beliefs. She kept coming back to happiness versus suffering and I love how simplistic but perfect that viewpoint is.

Being Boss (4 episodes)

  • #208 - Word of the Year + Having More Fun. This was SUCH a motivational episode. I loved hearing about Emily's paper planners and Kathleen's foray into hiring a financial planner. This episode made me want to refine my systems a bit more, and also commit to having an intention every month, which is something I've wanted to do in past years, but have told myself it's too much.

Raise Your Hand Say Yes (3 episodes)

  • Ep. 224: How to Set Big Goals *and* Chill Out all at the Same Time. This episode spoke to me! Goals should be unrealistic for right now, but the smaller, actionable pieces should be attainable right now. So good!

Other shows I listened to:

  • Real Talk Radio (8 episodes)

  • Wandering Aimfully (4 episodes)

  • Your Kick Ass Life Podcast (2 episodes)

  • Terri Cole's Hello Freedom Podcast (2 episodes)

  • Highest Self Podcast (2 episodes)

  • Grace & Grit Podcast (2 episodes)

  • The Kate & Mike Show (2 episodes)

  • Let's Talk About Myths, Baby! (2 episodes)

  • Let it Out with Katie Dalebout (2 episodes)

  • Safe For Work (1 episode)

  • Goal Digger Podcast (1 episode)

  • Wellness Realness (1 episode)

  • Manifest This! (1 episode)

  • Truth Telling with Elizabeth DiAlto (1 episode)

  • All Up in Your Lady Business (1 episode)

  • RISE Together (1 episode)

  • Journey to Launch (1 episode)

  • Foreplay Radio (1 episode)

  • The Wellness Mama Podcast (1 episode)

  • Strategy Hour (1 episode)

  • Whiskey & Work (1 episode)

  • Her Rules Radio (1 episode)

  • Financial Grownup (1 episode)

  • Creative Biz Rebellion (1 episode)

  • Authentic Sex Podcast (1 episode)

  • Optimal Health Daily (1 episode)

  • Nourishing Women Podcast (1 episode)

  • Spiritualish (1 episode)

  • Work Your Wealth (1 episode)

  • #StayMarried Podcast (1 episode)

  • The Meadow Devor Podcast (1 episode)

  • Timesuck with Dan Cummins (1 episode)

  • She Explores (1 episode)

  • Committed (1 episode)

TV & Movies

Cody finally finished watching all of Survivor. While I enjoyed watching some of it with him, it’s a relief to be done with that particular binge. Finally I can watch my own shows now....

Two shows that I’ve loved in previous years, You're the Worst and Brooklyn 99, came back for new seasons. I’m looking forward to jumping back into both of those stories.

Books

I don't think I read all month. I've been too tired, now that I'm getting up earlier in the morning to work out. I last all of 2 minutes when I climb into bed each night. I need to find a way to read more, because I do miss it.

Games

I spent a lot of this month playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on my Nintendo Switch. I finally beat it right at the end of the month. What a great game! I resisted playing other Switch games, other than some multiplayer games with Cody, while I was working on this one. I'm excited to move on to play Skyrim now.

On my phone, Cody and I both got sucked into the new Futurama game. Futurama has a soft spot in our hearts because our biggest line of patches revolves around this great tv show. I've also been playing Matchington Mansion, which has that mindless element that I crave sometimes.

Conscious Consumption: December Consumption Report

The holidays are finally over and the New Year is here! Crazy how fast this entire year has gone.

I’ve now done these Consumption Reports for six months and I still find them insanely interesting. Not only are they allowing me to see patterns in the things that I watch and read and listen to, but it makes me stay more mindful of the things I’m choosing to consume. So even if I wasn’t writing these reports, I’d probably be keeping track of things just for myself.

Podcasts

Sex & relationships - 6
Business & creativity - 10
Finance - 4
Health & nutrition - 2
Personal Development - 34
Random & misc. - 5
* Bonus: Christmas-related - 18
* Bonus: New Years-related - 18

TOTAL PODCAST EPISODES: 61

Yet another slow month for podcasts… or maybe those really high months in the summer were actually the outliers, not the other way around. Either way, I listened to some great podcasts, quite a few of which were on the longer side. I’ve really been enjoying the longer-style interviews lately.

Stand Out Podcasts this Month:

Real Talk Radio (5 episodes)

  • Cait Flanders on Being a Mindful Consumer and Creator. I loved this episode so much. It was a testament to following the path of what feels good to you, not what you "should" be doing.

  • Laura Hughes on Van Life and What It's Like to Live and Work on the Road. I'm totally not into the van life movement, but this was such an interesting episode!

Wandering Aimfully (5 episodes)

  • Authenticity Isn't Just a Buzzword. I don't think I've laughed so hard at a podcast in a long time. Great episode.

Being Boss (3 episodes)

  • #206 - Company of One with Paul Jarvis. I loved what they had to say about just reaching out to people you admire and talking to them, because it may build a relationship. This is something I'd like to do more of in the future.

  • #207 - Self-Limiting Beliefs and Goal Setting. I loved this conversation and I love the idea of the "Ding!"

The Joy Junkie Show (1 episode)

  • 6 Ways to Manage Holiday Stress [TJJS: EP279]. This episode had some GREAT tips and tricks. I loved Amy's short scripts for saying no, backing out, and adjusting expectations.

Other shows I listened to:

  • Hello Freedom (4 episodes)

  • Marriage is Funny (3 episodes)

  • Chasing Joy Podcast (3 episodes)

  • The Purpose Show (3 episodes)

  • Raise Your Hand Say Yes (3 episodes)

  • Manifest This! (2 episodes)

  • Foreplay (2 episodes)

  • The Wellness Mama Podcast (2 episodes)

  • That's So Maven (2 episodes)

  • The Simple Self-Care Podcast (2 episodes)

  • Grace & Grit Podcast (2 episodes)

  • Power Couples (1 episode)

  • Whiskey & Work (1 episode)

  • Optimal Finance Daily (1 episode)

  • All Up in Your Lady Business (1 episode)

  • Her Rules Radio (1 episode)

  • Money Girl (1 episode)

  • The Bloom & Grow Show (1 episode)

  • Creative Biz Rebellion (1 episode)

  • Let it Out with Katie Dalebout (1 episode)

  • Mo' Money Podcast (1 episode)

  • Spiritualish (1 episode)

  • RISE Together Podcast (1 episode)

  • Goal Digger Podcast (1 episode)

  • The Kate & Mike Show (1 episode)

  • Strategy Hour (1 episode)

  • The Lively Show (1 episode)

  • The Marie Forleo Podcast (1 episode)

TV & Movies

We've been on a big Survivor kick this month. We watched the end of the current season, then started watching some of the old seasons. Cody watched a lot without me, but I got to see quick a few episodes. It’s the perfect thing to have on in the background while I work on other things.

We also got a GIANT new TV for Christmas. We went from 42" to 65", which, as you might expect, is a big jump. Everything looks super great on it... and now Cody refuses to watch ANYTHING in standard definition. Merry Christmas to us, I suppose!

Books

I finished reading "Once Upon a Christmas Kiss" by Manda Collins. Cute and festive, but nothing to write home about. Even still, it’s been a very long time since I read a romance novel and it was like coming home.

I also read "When Sparks Fly" by Sabrina Jeffries. Definitely another cutesy Christmas romance.

Games

We both bought Nintendo Switches at the beginning of the month, so we spent a lot of time focusing on Games. I'm loving The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Mario Kart has been great on our new TV. Split screen is still huge for each of us! Mario Party has been great to play together, as well.

Music

I still listened to Christmas music off an on, slowly refining my playlist to be perfect. When I was younger, I really loved Christmas music. I’d listen in July sometimes. But now, I’ve just lost that love. I try to listen a little, however, to make sure that I still get some of that Christmas music. Is this a classic case of “Society says I should do this, so I should do it”? I don’t think so. I think it’s more of a nostalgic attempt to bring a little more Christmas spirit to my every day life. No harm, no foul.

In non-Christmas music, I’ve been loving Bastille's new album with Other People's Heartbreak. A little more on the techno / pop side than they normally are, but great songs.

I bought tickets to a Mae concert in early January, so I made up a setlist playlist to listen to in preparation. I’ll be listening to that as much as possible in the next couple weeks.

My Money Story, the Scarcity Mindset, and Choosing Abundance

I've been really interested in the concept of money mindset lately. Mindset in general is fascinating to me, while money itself has always been a little elusive, stressful, and confusing to me. The two together? Absolutely fascinating in a scary, scary way.

The mindset shift I keep coming back to focuses on scarcity vs abundance. So many money experts have spoken on this subject and until the last few days, it never resonated. It kept coming up but I hadn't figured out where it fit into my own life and my own money story.

But I know now: for my whole life, I've had a scarcity mindset.

It's easy to see when I lay out my money story in a timeline of sorts.

Kid / Preteen years: I earn allowance by completing chores. The only time of the year that I get money is around Christmas and my birthday. I get in the habit of collecting as much as I can and then taking it to the mall and spending every penny. I don't save any, I don't invest any, I don't give any.

Teenage years: No job, not really making money in any way. I’m always trying to earn more allowance, but it's never enough. My parents won't buy me the things I want, so when I do have some money, I spend it quickly. I want a car so badly but they say I have to save. Despite all this, I still don't go out and make money.

February 2007 (age 18): I finally get a job. Part time, minimum wage. I sure don't make much money. But I have SOME, so I'm spending like crazy. Gas so I can drive all over the place, dinners out with friends, groceries so I can eat the things my parents won't buy, anything I want for myself. I finally have a car, but it requires a ton of maintenance. I don't save a penny. I don't know a damn thing about money, except for how to write a check (thank goodness for high school home ec class <insert eye roll here>)

Spring 2008 (age 19): I get laid off from my job because we're feeling the effects of the recession. I start community college using a student loan.... my first foray into debt. I'm heading in a better direction: a graphic design position at the same company I was working for before. I’m learning design skills on the side and I love it, but for now, school is my full-time job.

Winter 2008 (age 19): I get rehired by my first job and I'm finally making (some) money again. I'm getting to design as my job now, which is so amazing.

2010 (age 21): I start my own business for freelance design. I'm not making much money, but a little extra cash here and there is nice.

2012 (age 23): I'm trying to keep up with my friends. Lots of dinners out, trips to expensive places, and silly money spending. I stopped attending school (and didn't earn a degree), but I managed to pay off all my debt. I spend a lot of time at the local coffee shop, building my own education, taking online courses, creating art, reading so many blogs, growing my own skills. I fly to Spokane to visit my best friend and someone else has to buy the ticket for me because I just don't have the money for it.

January 2014 (age 25): I get a fancy new job that pays more. Since it’s further away, gas is more expensive, but it's worth it. I continue working at my old job on the side so they still have a designer. A little extra cash sure helps.

Early April 2014 (age 25): I buy a new (to me) car. It's exactly what I want - a Toyota Tacoma. I spend a little more than I planned, but my dad cosigns so that I get a low interest rate.

Mid-April 2014 (age 25): I get sued by my former employer for something I didn't even do. We eventually end up settling outside of court, but in the meantime, I lose all motivation to design, I get scared to spend any money whatsoever, my parents offer to help pay for my lawyer bills by taking money out of their retirement and I have no choice but to accept, I lose a bunch of friends, I cry a lot, and I question everything. My whole world is rocked.

2015 (age 26): I haven't done freelance design in almost a year now. I can't stand the idea of opening up Illustrator. I've decided to go back to school for psychology so I can head down a different career route. I take out school loans because I don't have any other way of paying it off. I'm still paying back my lawyer every month.

Early 2016 (age 27)I finally finish paying off my lawyer bills. In the meantime, I've turned to credit cards because I don't know what else to do. I haven't done any freelance design in a while because I'm still scared to do so.

April 2016 (age 27): I drop out of school when I realize it's making me miserable. I haven't been creative in who knows how long. I haven't seen my friends or done a single social thing in months. I'm left with $15k of student loans. I realize that I now have student loans AND credit card bills that equal way too much debt. I resolve to change things, but don't make a plan and don't really try that hard.

Early 2017 (age 28): I fall into some expensive hobbies... like target shooting, modding my truck, and camping. I buy too many guns, truck parts I don’t really need, and a full set of camp gear. I charge it all on credit cards. Many credit cards. But these things make me happy and help me forget my debt, so I keep buying and buying and buying.

July 2017 (age 28): I start dating Cody, who is much more financially focused than I've ever been. I'm terrified to tell him about my debt. We talk about it a little on our first date, but I don't give details. The bright side is that he gives me an example of what a healthy money mindset looks like. He definitely has an abundance mindset that I love and I want to lean into. I get motivated to pay off debt and have a healthy financial life.

Present day: I've changed so many of my money habits and I'm finally headed in the right direction. I've paid off quite a bit of debt, but I know I could do better. I read a lot about money and listen to a lot of podcasts about money. I'm doing a lot of work regarding money mindset and abundance. Things will get better.

Looking back at this whole story makes me realize that I've had a scarcity mindset basically since the moment I started handling my own money. Even while I was writing this, I had a hard time coming up with moments of abundance.

I've been letting my moments of scarcity write my money story for me.

A huge part of it has to be attributed to my own language.

"I can't afford that."

"I don't have the money for that right now."

"I'll take care of it when I have more money."

"That can wait until I get paid."

"I'm just waiting for my next paycheck."

"I just can't do that right now."

Those phrases, or some semblance of them, are CONSTANTLY on my lips these days.

But they're not true.

The most recent example I can think of is regarding concert tickets. I very much want to go see Young the Giant on their new tour, hitting Oregon in March of 2019. I made a plan... and then screeched to a halt when I saw the cost of tickets. My first reaction: "I can't afford those. I guess we're not going.”

But that's not actually true at all. I actually DO have the money for that. I just would rather spend it elsewhere. It's allocated for something different. If I REALLY wanted to, I could rearrange my money and pay for the concert with plenty of money leftover. And so I did. I bought them anyway... and made $50 in the next two hours. While it doesn't pay for the entirety of the tickets, it's a start.

The words we say matters. The phrases that I say matter.

So, no, I'm not broke. I really DO have the money for anything I want. I just CHOOSE to not spend it on frivolous, silly, mindless things.

Autumn Check In

Autumn has simply never been my season. It's cold. It's dreary (at least it is in the PNW). Halloween has never interested me. I just never really cared.

This year, though, I was curious about how to increase my mindfulness regarding the changing seasons. In the past, they've always just flown by without too much thought, but for some reason, that just seemed wrong now.

As a kid, I remember my mom decorating the house for each season. There were eggs and bunnies for Easter. There were sunflowers in the summer. There were autumn leaves and spooky witches for fall and Halloween. And of course, we always went all out for Christmas. It was like Santa threw up all over our walls.

But over the years, the decorating dwindled down to nothing. Literally nothing. I remember at least one year without a Christmas tree, without any decorations at all.

I think this is where I lost my passion for the seasons.

So while I might not be all about decorating (I really don't want to go out and buy a ton of decorations if I don't have to!), I still want to rekindle that magic that once happened with the changing of the seasons.

Back in September, I wrote up a list of things I wanted to do for fall. Did I complete everything? No. Did I find other ways to honor fall? I sure did.

My original list:

  1. Dress for the season. Sure enough, I bought my pair of winter boots. They're a lovely pair of Sorel boots that I snagged for a couple reasons. First off, they're on the shorter side so they're perfect for my fat calves. Secondly, they're super cute and will work with just about any pair of pants I own (I'm still figuring out how to pair them with my outfits). I didn't buy any other clothes, though. I'd still like to find a nice vest or a flannel shirt or fleece leggings, but I'll find them when I find them. I did find a nice long, gray sweater that's super cozy. It dresses up and down pretty much effortlessly. I also dug out my puffy blue vest, which adds an extra layer of warmth for the coming winter. I still need to pull out my existing scarves.

  2. Clear out summer and welcome a new season. I did about half of this. I reorganized my closets and found a new place for my summer clothes. They're easily accessible, but put away until I’m ready to taken them out again. When we get closer to next summer, I'll put away the winter clothes and take those summer clothes back out. We also cleaned up the house quite a bit. Camping equipment stayed out most of the fall, but we finally got it put away when we took out the winter decorations... last week. Air vents and air filters haven't been cleaned or changed, but I did manage to get a humidifier in the house to make things a little less dry now that the heat is on.

  3. Bake an apple pie. Take to work. Share with friends. I actually ended up baking my favorite boozy apple pie for our family Thanksgiving last month. Mmmm. More than half ended up coming back home with me (too many pies for too few people!), so the rest came to work. We had coffee and apple pie during our morning break. Seriously the best breakfast ever.

  4. Make a plan for holiday items / sales in my Etsy shop and begin working on the items. While I don't know that I made an actual PLAN, I did make several holiday items. I made five art prints for Halloween and 10 for Christmas. Unfortunately, as of right now, none of them have sold, but that's okay. I also didn't really do any promotions, so it's really my fault. The fact that I finally made them is really the important part!

  5. Make an effort to do some fall-themed activities, or attend some fall-themed events. These plans totally fell through. I didn't end up doing ANYTHING fall-themed, other than go to Thanksgiving dinner at Cody's parents' house. We actually made plans to go to an apple farm, but ended up cancelling in order to save a bit of money and gas and time. We'll try again next year.

  6. Decorate my home for fall. While I didn't have much in the way of decorations, I did do a bit. I nabbed a couple fall-scented candles from Target (orange clove is amaaaazing!), as well as a few decorative pumpkins. Cody found me a cute owl Halloween sculpture, as well. After fall was over, I ended up finding some good discounts on decorations on Target, so I'll have a bit more for next year.

  7. Begin planning for Christmas. I did absolutely no early planning for Christmas. Fail in a big way! I’m sure I’m going to pay for that here soon….

  8. Enjoy the sounds and scents of the season. I did indeed take the dog on a couple walks with Cody. I also discovered that I love stomping on crunchy leaves.

  9. Make some fall-themed things. Make some crafts by hand. Design some art on the computer. I didn't do so well in this category, either. Other than the Halloween Etsy prints, I didn't create any fall-themed art.

  10. Eat more seasonally. This, I managed to do, however maybe not as much as I could have. Favorite fall dishes included white chicken chili, lasagna soup, chicken pot pie, and boozy apply pie.

  11. Be more grateful. I didn't do anything revolving around gratitude, so this was a fail for me, as well.

All in all, I did okay with fall this year. I noticed that I only did the "easy" fall things. I shied away from the items that were "hard" or took a little more effort. Taking the time to make some crafts is definitely harder than throwing up a couple decorations and then sit back down on the couch. Next year, I'd like to approach the season a little differently. I want to pre-choose the fall crafts. I want to continue to curate my Pinterest board with more items like food, outfits, crafts, etc. relating to each season.

Conscious Consumption: November Consumption Report

November was a busy month for me. It included training for a new job, which took up a lot of my podcast time. It also ended with some nice long weekends, which were wonderful. Despite all that, I got to read and listen to some really great things.

I also decided to make a big blog change this month - I’m no longer putting links to every stinking podcast I listen to, movie I watch, etc. It takes way too much time for me and the results aren’t enough to make me keep going. The way I figure it, if my readers are really that interested, they’ll do a quick Google search and find it quickly!

Podcasts

Sex & relationships - 7
Business & creativity - 22
Finance - 5
Health & nutrition - 5
Personal Development - 9
Random & misc. - 13
* Bonus: Holiday-related episodes - 5

TOTAL PODCAST EPISODES: 61

My podcast consumption went waaaay down again this month! Either I'm listening to longer podcasts (which is definitely possible--I'm looking at you, Nicole Antoinette!) or I really have just slowed way down. Another possibility is that I've taken quite a bit of time off this month (and it'll be the same situation next month!) that results in way less podcast listening at work.

Stand Out Podcasts this Month:

Being Boss (5 episodes)

  • #195 - Branding for Business. Great episode that really explains branding in a way I've never heard before. Saved for future listens.

  • #197 - Modern Mystic Kelley Knight. I was a bit skeptical about this one, but I really loved Kelley's story. She had some great things to say about manifesting (Everyone is good at manifesting!) and the Law of Attraction.

  • #204 - Your Brightest Life with Caroline Kelso Zook. This is the podcast I didn't even know I was waiting for.

The Kate & Mike Show (2 episodes)

  • Episode 75: Terri Cole: Your Love Questions Answered! I really liked this episode. Terri had some great tidbits. Her thoughts on our responsibility to say no was so refreshing.

Marriage is Funny (4 episodes)

  • Rule 077 | Things Fall Apart When Priorities Get Out of Place. Such a real, difficult conversation that is all too familiar. Cody and I have similar struggles at times and it's reassuring to know we're not the only ones.

Wandering Aimfully (5 episodes)

  • A Conversation Over Tequila & Wine (WAIM After Dark #1). Probably the funniest podcast conversation I've heard yet.

The Lively Show (2 episodes)

  • TlS #296: Detroit Update: My New Partner, New Community Projects, & New Home. I haven't gushed about Jess's show in a while, but this episode was SO SWEET. You could tell she's just so happy and I loved hearing about the way the universe has brought her and Chris together. So cute!

Health Fuels Hustle (1 episode)

  • Episode 13 - Supplements for Winter Immune Health. I always forget how much I love this show. Amy explains things so well and I feel like I learn so much more than if I started Googling the topic. I need to listen to more episodes in the future.

Stay Married Podcast (2 episodes)

  • S4 Ep9 | Managing Money as a Team. I loved this conversation! Very relevant to recent conversations I've been having with my partner.

Don't Keep Your Day Job (1 episode)

  • How to be a Badass with Jen Sincero. Every interview with Jen Sincero that I listen to is just SO GOOD. She's confident, motivating, and so so funny. I need more Jen in my life.

Other shows I listened to:

  • Committed (5 episodes)

  • Making a Business (3 episodes)

  • Raise Your Hand. Say Yes with Tiffany Han (3 episodes)

  • The Purpose Show (2 episodes)

  • Hurry Slowly (2 episodes)

  • You Kick-Ass Life Podcast (2 episodes)

  • Action Army (2 episodes)

  • The Goal Digger Podcast (2 episodes)

  • 10 Minutes to Being Boss (1 episode)

  • Profit Boss (1 episode)

  • Office Talk with Annette Stepanian (1 episode)

  • Grace & Grit (1 episode)

  • On Air with Ella (1 episode)

  • Invisible Office Hours (1 episode)

  • Real Talk Radio (1 episode)

  • Optimal Relationships Daily (1 episode)

  • Art of Doing (1 episode)

  • I Do Podcast (1 episode)

  • Optimal Finance Daily (1 episode)

  • The Minimalists (1 episode)

  • Let it Out with Katie Dalebout (1 episode)

  • Forever 35 (1 episode)

  • Wellness Realness (1 episode)

  • Whiskey & Work (1 episode)

  • Afford Anything (1 episode)

  • One Part Podcast (1 episode)

TV & Movies

We did something we rarely do.... we saw a movie in theaters! Bohemian Rhapsody was the one that finally convinced us to make the drive to the nice theater a couple towns over. And it was SO GOOD. I loved the music, the acting, the story. Definitely a movie I'll watch again and again when it finally comes out.

Cody then decided he wanted to go to the theaters AGAIN, this time to see Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald. This prompted me to watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them first. Of course, these two movies inspired me to watch the rest of the Harry Potter movies. I've now binged the entire series, over the course of about two weeks.

Cody also got me stuck on Survivor again (notice a trend of these things being his fault??). It's a bit of drama for us boring people, I suppose. He binged the first 6 episodes, then we binged the first 6 episodes again so I could see them, and since then we've been watching them on-time, while they're finally airing. We literally don't do this with a single other show.

Doctor Who has stayed absolutely phenomenal. The new doctor is just such a fun character to watch and I love many of the things she stands for. The writers definitely gave her a solid personality, maybe more so than the previous doctor. This continues to be a bright spot in television each week.

Books

I actually picked up a Christmas romance novel to read this month! It's good! I'm reading again, just about every night! I'll mention more when I finish it in December.

Music

Best new album of the month goes to Imagine Dragons for sure. Their new album is great from front to back. Cody has had it on repeat constantly since it came out... so it's definitely a good thing that it's so good or else I'd be going crazy!

I finally broke down and started listening to Christmas music a couple days after Thanksgiving. I've compiled two playlists - one of classic (at least to me) Christmas songs that I know and love and one of new Christmas songs that I've never listened to before. I've been making a point to listen to new songs and once I find one I like, I save it on my classic Christmas list. I'm determined to listen to some of my Christmas music this year. Last year, I don't think I listened at all.

Conscious Consumption: October Consumption Report

Yet another month has flown by! It was by far my busiest month yet with a promotion followed by some travel for work, family and social obligations, tons of work on Station707, and more. There are definitely some interesting tidbits below so let’s jump in!

 

Podcasts

 Sex & relationships - 12
Business & creativity - 22
Finance - 16
Health & nutrition - 3
Personal development - 18
Random & misc. - 7

TOTAL PODCAST EPISODES: 78

 

The first thing I noticed was that I listened to WAY fewer podcasts than I had in previous months. I’ll chalk this up to being busy at work (my prime time to listen to podcasts) and taking a handful of days off.

As I'm starting to find more new podcasts that interest me, I've found myself insisting on listing to episodes that bore me. This happened to me recently where I was doing my best to listen to all of a newer podcast. I liked the hosts and the topic, so I was sure that I was going to love it. This particular episode was over 2 hours long and about a quarter of the way through it, I realized that I wasn't listening. Nothing they were talking about was resonating. It just didn't land with me the way it should. I considered skipping the rest of the episode, but told myself I'd miss out on something and that I had to finish it. About five minutes later I realized what I'd done. I realized I'd let FOMO get the best of me. In reality, I had absolutely no reason to keep listening to the episode. Even some of my favorite shows have at least a handful of episodes that I don't care about and that I don't want to listen to. And that's totally okay. So I skipped the rest of the episode and listened to one that interested me instead. Much better.

I ended up unsubscribing from that particular podcast entirely because the same thing happened with each episode. I just didn’t care for them, even the episodes about money and relationships, which are two of my favorite topics. I may revisit them sometime in the future to see if the show has gotten any better, but I’m not putting any pressure on myself to listen to their podcast.

 

Stand Out Podcasts this Month:

 Wandering Aimfully (5 episodes)

The Kate & Mike Show (4 episodes)

Real Talk Radio (4 episodes)

  • Tiffany Han on Truth-Telling, Sobriety, and Actively Changing Your Own Life. This episode was everything I needed to hear today. I respect both of these women SO MUCH and I loved every single word.

  • Bonus episode with Gent (Patreon exclusive). I literally stopped what I was listening to previously and downloaded this immediately. So. Good. For those of you that don’t follow Nicole, she recently hiked (almost) the entire PCT with a handful of friends she met on-trail. Gent is one of these friends. Their story is a wild ride that you can read more about over on Nicole’s IG. This episode was such a testament to community. Can't wait for more sneak peeks into The Royal Family.

Committed (4 episodes)

  • Jerry. This episode was one of my favorites from this show. Definitely different, definitely more heartbreaking than their usual style of episode. But it was interesting and one line at the end really struck me. I don't remember what it was exactly, but the gist of it was that the person you marry should be the one you absolutely would want to go through all the hard things with.

Being Boss (3 episodes)

  • #194 - Money Planning with Farnoosh Torabi. Great conversation about money mindset and how to shift your thinking for more abundance. This is something I've really been working on lately and this episode totally resonated with me.

Raise Your Hand Say Yes with Tiffany Han (2 episodes)

  • Ep 71: Resolutions Series: Amy Robles on Money. I LOVE the concept of Tiffany's Money Love Day. She blocks out 1 entire day a month where she sits down, looks at her money, makes plans and goals and such, takes herself out to lunch, and basically makes love to her money.

Highest Self Podcast (1 episode)

 

Other shows I listened to:

 

TV & Movies

With fall TV finally going, we definitely started watching TV more. Notably, we watched the entire first season of The Good Cop and it was surprisingly… good. We both enjoyed it for sure. Doctor Who started up again and it’s the best season they’ve had in several years. I’m really excited about where it’s going.

Movie-wise, I actually watched quite a few. I’m not a bit movie watcher, but we did have some lazy days at home where we just had movies on all day. I finally saw Hotel Transylvania 2, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. I still haven’t seen Part 2, but it’s on my list to watch soon.

 

Books

I slowed down a bit on the reading front this month. My only thought on this is that maybe the fact that it’s dark so early means I’m going to bed earlier? Because I definitely am, leaving less reading time. Bedtime has always been prime reading time for me, but lately, it’s just not interesting me.

I read a bit more of Come as You Are (aff. link). It’s a great book, very interesting and scientific, but I found myself losing interest rapidly. I finally ended up putting it down, only partially done.

I went back to reading You Are a Badass at Making Money (aff. link) by Jen Sincero and I’m loving it.

Cleaning Out my Follow List on Instagram for More Conscious Consumption

Do you guys ever find yourself just mindlessly swiping, swiping, swiping through Instagram? Or Facebook, or Twitter?

This is exactly what I noticed myself doing the last couple weeks. There was just so much content in front of me that it was all blurring and I wasn't truly reading or consuming any of it, even the good stuff.

When I started my journey to more conscious consumption, social media came up OF COURSE, but I decided not to focus on it right away. We all spend so much of our lives on social media, and while I don't think I'm as bad as some people, I do spend a fair amount of time on these silly little apps.

So when I decided to start changing some of the social media habits, Instagram seemed like an obvious first choice to me. It's my favorite social media platform, and I've actually been spending LESS time on it lately than I'd like to, but that time is not productive. That time feels wasted because quite a bit of what I'm scrolling through does not interest me.

Once I finally considered this, I realized that my biggest issue was that I was following SO MANY PEOPLE. My feed was all over the place. It became harder and harder to see the people that I really DID want to see. Instead, I was scrolling past a thousand posts that I didn't care about at all.

And so I began UNFOLLOWING ALL THE PEOPLE.

When I opened Instagram to take a look, I was following 1,219 people. When I finished, I was down to 524.

Over half of the profiles I was following didn't interest me!

How does this affect my consumption, you ask? Well, if I was spending 10 minutes scrolling through Instagram, I think it's safe to say that more than 5 of those minutes are wasted scrolling past people I don't care about. That's a savings of at least 5 minutes to get the same amount of content that I truly care about!

The first part of my unfollowing process was figuring out WHO to unfollow. And so I came up with a list of profiles that I was getting rid of:

  • People who only post pics of their kids

  • Artists whose subjects just don't interest me

  • People who only post selfies

  • People I don't even know

  • People who post things I'm just not interested in

  • People who post primarily in industries or hobbies that I used to be involved in

  • Athletes that I saw compete in the Olympics once

  • People I used to be friends with

  • People I was only following so I could get some gossip about the drama in their lives

  • Accounts that are overly political (in any direction)

  • People who post primarily negative things

  • People whose values that directly go against my own

  • Spammers and scammers

  • Stores, shops, and businesses who sell things I don't actually need, and I will probably never buy from

  • Entrepreneurs who only sell, sell, sell, but never actually share anything

  • Family that I'm more likely to see on FB

  • Anyone who hasn't posted in 6+ months

  • Celebrities that I was following only because they're famous

I would say that the most profiles came from one category: people who post primarily in industries or hobbies that I used to be involved in. Specifically, I no longer want to see as many trucks on my feed (though I did choose to leave anyone in that industry that I actually created a friendship with), and I cut a ton of graphic designers that I used to follow very carefully. As my career has pivoted, I no longer need (or want) to see as many designers. Plus, most designers don't actually post their work, but rather their lives--which I don't care about.

But while I was unfollowing all of these people and profiles, I also created a list of the types of profiles I wanted to continue following:

Maybe it's silly to make a list of who I do want to follow, or maybe it's sort of like having a list of values. The people I'm following reflect my values, goals, and dreams. By seeing more positivity in my feed, I think I'll be more creative, have better ideas, and just feel happier overall.

I encourage all of you to take a close look at who you're following, and to really consider WHY you're following them. With a few unfollow clicks, you may find yourself more mindfully consuming Instagram posts in no time.

Conscious Consumption: September Consumption Report

Another month down! The last couple months have flown by and things have been good on the consumption front. I've done a lot of podcast listening and we also picked up on our tv watching, not necessarily on purpose.  

Here's what I watched and listened to this month.

 

Podcasts 

Sex & relationships - 69
Business & creativity - 16
Finance - 5
Health & nutrition - 8
Personal Development - 13
Random & misc. - 8

TOTAL PODCAST EPISODES: 119

 

This month was a little different than previous months. I was super determined to binge listen to ALL of Marriage is Funny in order to catch up before the new season comes out in early October. So easily, the majority of the podcasts I listened to were from this show. This skewed my numbers and topics a bit for sure. BUT I loved listening to all of it in a short amount of time because I felt like I was really building a relationship with the hosts, Jessie and Gerard. Despite how much I loved this show, I was also really relieved to finish it up and move on to other shows that I'd been missing. More on this show below.

I also found myself breaking up with one podcast this month (read: unsubscribing). It'll remain nameless because it's not BAD, but it had become frustrating to me. I didn't resonate with the host, no matter how much I loved the subject matter. The host also rarely backed up supposed facts with actual sources. Several times during the episode, I'd question things, then head to the show notes hoping to find some sources... but nothing. And so... I unsubscribed and I'm not going to listen any longer. As a society, we’ve created this expectation that we finish reading every book, we finish watching every movie, and we finish listening to every podcast. But that’s NOT TRUE. I don’t want to waste my time pushing through movies and podcasts and books that just don’t interest me. I have better things to learn elsewhere.

 

Stand Out Podcasts this Month:  

Being Boss / 10 Minutes to Being Boss (6 episodes)

  • #120 - Nurture Your Land (and Yourself) with Mary Reynolds. This was such a lovely episode. I could've listened to her beautiful accent all day. I love the things she talked about and can't wait to read her book. I'll save this one to relisten to next spring to inspire me to do some gardening. 

The Perfect Wife (5 episodes)

  • 6.0 | Monica Swanson, The Hard-Working Wife. I loved this episode! This woman is more of the family-oriented, home-schooling kind of wife, quite different from most of her previous guests, but there was so much to learn from this one.

  • 7.0 | Krizia Liquid, The Kuma Wife. A lot of focus on parenting while in a relationship, moving all over the place during your marriage, and making friends as an adult in new places.

Marriage is Funny (56 episodes)

This month was ALL about the Marriage is Funny podcast. My original motivation for binging was that I wanted to finish up all the episodes before the new season started… and then I realized how much I absolutely loved it and I simply wanted to catch up. Their conversations are just so real and relatable. I felt like I learned a ton about relationships, communication, and growing together. I found myself actually using techniques that I'd learned in various episodes, particularly revolving around communication. 

Most quotable lines:

  • "I am not a victim of my busy-ness" - Michelle Dlux

  • "The measurement of a successful marriage is not the fact that we built a business, that we became famous, or that we look good as a couple. The measurement of our success  is how well we are able to love each other." - Kelly Dlux

Best episodes of the month:

Hurry Slowly (1 episode)

The Chasing Joy Podcast (3 episodes)

Wandering Aimfully: The Show (3 episodes)

Recovering Workaholics (1 episode)

The Kate & Mike Show (1 episode)

Action Army (1 episode)

  • AA045: Emotional Rollercoasters. This was such an important episode to listen to, as we're currently experiencing this tough selling phenomenon that's a giant emotional rollercoaster. Totally relevant, great to listen to.

Pivot Podcast (1 episode)

 

Other shows I listened to:  

 

TV & Movies

  

Books

  • Finished The Year of Less (affiliate link). Definitely kept my attention more in the beginning. All in all, though, it made me love Cait Flanders a little bit more. I'm absolutely in love with the idea of experiments in my life and I hope to do more of the same in the future.

  • Started reading You Are a Badass at Making Money (affiliate link). Made it through the intro. Excited to jump into this one.'

  • Started reading Come as You Are (affiliate link) because it was Nicole Antoinette's Patreon-only book club pick of the month. Very interesting and informative. I like knowing the science behind things.

Games

I spent most of September playing Harry Potter, Tinker Island, and Trade Island. I go through phases where I play them a lot, then drop way way down, then circle back around.

 

 Music

Very little music listening this month. Maybe a total of 5 to 6 days. Most notably was toward the end of the month when it started to feel like fall that I pulled up my Fall playlist on Spotify and soaked it all in. It’s the best soundtrack for those foggy, cool, damp, and quiet autumn mornings.

How I Will be Embracing Autumn This Year

I've always been a summer girl.

Fall has simply never been my favorite season. Sure, some of the decorations are cute, and my fall playlist on Spotify is on point, and I DO really love my sweaters and tall boots. But it's just never been my favorite.

So as summer was quickly fading into fall in the last month or so, I got to thinking about living seasonally.

I love the concept of truly embracing the seasons and really living it up as they change. I want to really welcome the snow in the winter, the falling leaves in the autumn, the growing flowers in the spring, and the bright sunshine in the summer. So I decided to do everything I could to embrace this glorious season!

Welcome to my Guide to Embracing Autumn!

My first step? Making a list of the things that make me think of fall:

  • Eating lots of fall veggies. Warm, freshly baked scones and muffins. Crisp apples. Baking in a warm kitchen. Apple cider. Chicken pot pie. Big bowls of spaghetti with a loaf of fresh, garlic bread. Pumpkin and squash. Pumpkin pie.

  • Cozy mornings with coffee, blankets, and doggo. Condensation on the windows. Autumn leaves falling outside. Rain falling quietly. Fog rolling in off the trees.

  • Tall boots and dark jeans. Thick, cozy sweaters. Flannel. Blood red nails and lipstick. Rain boots and rain jackets. Warm, puffy vests.

  • Halloween. Myth & magic. Spooky. Darkness. Purple, green, orange, and black. Pumpkin carving. Costume making. Laughter and trickery. Bowls full of colorful candy.

  • Trips to the pumpkin patch. Corn mazes. Caramel apples. Apple cider donuts. Tall wheat. Hay bales.

  • Celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends. Decorating my home for the harvest. A table decked out with a feast. Bustling around the kitchen and pulling a huge turkey out of the oven. Cute aprons and laughter.

  • Hibernation, domesticity, warmth, family, slowing down, gratitude, harvest.

  • Warm, earthy smells. Candles and cozy oils. Cinnamon and cloves. Apples and vanilla.

That all creates such a nice mental picture, right?

My next step was to bring my mental image of that lovely, idyllic autumn to life. I do love a good mood board, so I crafted a magical autumn Pinterest board that helps evoke those images. I could spend hours scrolling through this board for sure.

Head over to Pinterest to see my Autumn board!

Once I finished up that Pinterest board, I was pretty sure that I was starting to warm up to fall. The only thing left...was to make a master list of the things I want to actually DO this fall to embrace the season as a whole!

My list is a combination of practical and fun things that will make my fall complete.

  1. Dress for the season. Buy a pair of rubber boots and a pair of fleece leggings. Find a nice vest to wear, and maybe a flannel shirt. Dig out my scarves and see if any should "fall!" It's been a long time since I've owned a good pair of rubber boots and I've NEVER owned a pair of fleece leggings. I want to find some warm, cozy things to wear around the house, at work, or around the town. Layers are great, particularly in the early fall when it can still be very warm out during the day, but cool in the mornings and night.

  2. Clear out summer and welcome a new season. Put away summer clothes (shorts, flip flops, sandals, etc.). Declutter the house. Store summer items like lawn chairs and camping equipment away for the winter. Seasonal clothes can be moved in the guest room to keep everything organized and separate. I want to clean up the garage to get rid of the clutter that has collected over the summer. I'd like to clean out all the vents and change air filters in preparation for the heat to kick on again.

  3. Bake an apple pie. Take to work. Share with friends. Cody doesn't like apple pies, so it'll be shared with either his family or my coworkers.

  4. Make a plan for holiday items / sales in my Etsy shop and begin working on them. Actually make holiday themed items for Halloween and Christmas. I've never planned ahead for the holidays like this, so this is kind of exciting! I want to finally have some seasonal offerings in my shop.

  5. Make an effort to do some fall-themed activities, or attend some fall-themed events. Go to the Halloween Town event in St. Helens. Head to an apple farm for apple cider slushies and donuts. Bring a dish to Thanksgiving dinner at Cody's parents' house.

  6. Decorate my home for fall. I'm picturing fall-scented candles, some nice autumn prints, a few Halloween and harvest / Thanksgiving decorations around the house. Probably from Target. Because, duh. I'd also like to achieve this without spending a bunch of money.

  7. Begin planning for Christmas. Make a list of people to buy gifts for for Christmas. Gather some ideas. Save some money. I'm determined to start early this year, and maybe be able to incorporate more handmade items.

  8. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and scents of the season. Take the dog on a couple walks in the cool autumn air with leaves falling all around us. Stomp on piles of crunchy leaves.

  9. Make some fall-themed things. Make some crafts by hand. Design some art on the computer. It's time to jump on Pinterest again and find some crafts that I can do for the season!

  10. Eat more seasonally. Make some soups, pot pies, casseroles, and other warm food. Work in sweet potatoes and spaghetti squash, two of my favorites. Use lots of apples once they drop in price of the season. Bake cookies with cinnamon, my famous boozy apple pie, and glazed pumpkin scones.

  11. Be more grateful. Be mindful of the things I am thankful for. Write these things down and reflect.

And that's it! I encourage you to also pick some things you want to do or achieve this fall. I'll check back in after the fall to let you know how things have gone!

Conscious Consumption: August Consumption Report

Month two is of Conscious Consumption done!

This month, it got SO much easier to record my media consumption... except for on the weekends. To be fair, I don't think I really listen / watch / read much on the weekends. I often found myself forgetting until Monday morning, when I'd do my best to recreate whatever I did over the last few days.

The most exciting thing this month was that I finally had two different months that I could compare. Not quite enough to notice patterns yet, but it's a start! I loved being able to compare and contrast July and August to see what was done differently.

Podcasts

Podcasts by Topic:

  • Sex & relationships – 37

  • Business & creativity – 31

  • Finance – 9

  • Health & nutrition – 6

  • Personal Development – 10

  • Random & misc. – 10

TOTAL PODCAST EPISODES: 103

I listened to SO many more podcasts this month! There was also a big jump in episodes about sex and relationships. That and business and creativity were definitely my highest this month, by far. I really enjoy being able to take a look at what topics are on my mind the most throughout the month.

 

My Favorite Show this Month:

Marriage is Funny - 16 episodes I looooove this show. Jessie and Gerard are adorable and I want to be their friend. Their topics cover a wide range, including last names, silence, money, families, body image in marriage, ministry, travel, nagging, and so much more. A couple of my favorites so far have been "Rule 007 | Putting on a Bikini is the Best Way to Cheer Up a Crying Husband" and "Rule 012 | Always Act Impressed When Your Partner Flexes Their Muscles."

 

My Favorite Episode this Month:

Real Talk Radio - 2 episodes Let's just talk about how amazing Nicole Antoinette is for a minute. Her shows are always great, she makes me question everything (in the best way possible), and I love her guests. I adore her shows so much that I actually signed up for her Patreon this month! This gave me access to her patron-exclusive podcast, Real Talk Reflections With Julia Hanlon. Her August episode was by far my favorite of the entire month. It revolved around Nicole's trip from the Canadian border to the Mexican border along the Pacific Coast Trail... solo (well, sort of). This was fascinating to listen to, especially since I've been paying close attention to Nicole's PCT posts on IG. And this conversation was so insanely real and deep and full of all the feelings. So good. (Real Talk Radio's new season came out in August, as well, and the episode, "Amy E. Smith on Finding Your Voice, People Pleasing, and Better Communication in Romantic Relationships" was so great, too.)

 

Other Stand Outs this Month:

The Perfect Wife (6 episodes). I discovered this show through Marriage is Funny and I'm having such a good time with these episodes. They're so good and make me want to be a better partner to Cody, even if we aren't actually married. I loved episodes 1.0, 3.0, and 5.0 the best.

The Lively Show (3 episodes). Really enjoyed the episode, "How to Get the Most Out of Your 'Fringe' Hours with Jessica Turner (The Mom Creative)". Their talk really revolved about comparison and allowing yourself to do your own thing. I genuinely enjoyed this episode.

Your Kick Ass Life Podcast (3 episodes). "Episode R7: Interview with Nicole Antoinette" was great. It focused on Nicole's recovery from drinking too much, but not being an actual alcoholic. I absolutely love listening to Nicole speak. She's one of the most insightful humans I've ever listened to.

Committed (6 episodes). Still digging this show. Nora McInerny's 2 episodes, "He Was the Brave One" and "When Lightning Strikes Twice," were so darn good.

She Means Business Podcast with Carrie Green (1 episode). Tried out this show by listening to the episode, "How Michelle Rohr Generates Thousands a Month in Passive Income." I'm not sure about the show itself, but this episode was SO GOOD. THIS is what I want. Mega inspiring. I loved listening to Michelle Rohr talk about how she grew a completely passive income-based business.

Being Boss (13 episodes). So much goodness from Being Boss this month. Started with "Say What You Want," which was all about making a list of things you want and by putting it into the universe and potentially working toward it, you may manifest it. Next was episode #185 - "Spend Less Money and Make More Time with Cait Flanders." I'm a big Cait Flanders fan so I was super excited to see her on one of my favorite podcasts. I loved this episode because Cait really took charge and did most of the talking, rather than Kathleen and Emily. I'm moving her book up my list. The episode titled, "Digital Boundaries" was everything I needed to listen to. My favorite portion was about CONSUMPTION! Totally relevant in my life and in this experiment. I love the idea that they are very critical about what they actually watch or read or listen to, or how much screen time they have each day. Their thought was that they needed to place boundaries around the content they were consuming, like the news or social media. It's about what you want to say yes to in your life. Also interviewed this month was Amber Rae in, "Choose Wonder Over Worry with Amber Rae," which was just a delightful podcast. It was very joyful and thought-provoking. I loved her thoughts about using envy to your advantage. I listened to the final few episodes of the Being Boss spinoff, Making a Business. The last episode, "How the Life-Hustle Affects Your Business" was the best. It focused on seasons and intentions. I literally listened to this episode twice in a row because it just resonated with me. I love the idea of living seasonally, in a really intentional way and this episode just spoke to me. I hope they do some check in episodes, because I really enjoyed this miniseries.

Creative Biz Rebellion (1 episode). "Being Productive with Jenna Murillo of Workspacery" was sooo good. All about organization, productivity, and streamlining your workspace.

Her Rules Radio (1 episode). Previous attempts to listen to this show have been less than great. This time, however, I listed to, "193 Eat to Balance Your Hormones." I was really curious about this topic and lucky for me, this was a great episode with lots of tips for resetting your hormones and gut.

Raise Your Hand Say Yes (1 episode). I loved, loved, LOVED episode "204: Can Values be Sexy? Yes. And Let's Talk about Changing Stories." Great dialogue about why values are important to our work and the stories we tell ourselves and those around us. Really sparked some good conversations for me personally.

The Purpose Show (2 episodes). I really do enjoy this show. This month, I was really inspired by, "How I Simplified Meal Planning + Grocery Shopping." I was nothing revolutionary, but I still thought it was a valuable episode. Inspired me to revamp my meal planning process.

The Recovering Workaholics (2 episodes). New podcast! Literally new! It starts today! I'm a big fan of Kristen Wong, so I was pretty excited for this one. I totally loved episode 2 with Cait Flanders. I'm really all about Cait right now. I'm reading her book, so their references about it really resonated.

Afford Anything (1 episode). The episode, "Don't Feel Guilty - Buy a Coke Zero and Pay Somebody to Mow Your Lawn" was super interesting! I loved the debate about whether saving more or earning more is ultimately more important. I like Paula's shows, but they're 1000x better with J. Money involved.

 

Other shows I listened to:

TV & Movies

I started watching Making It. It made me so happy and I really enjoyed every minute of the episode. The show is currently only a few episodes away from the finale and I'm totally caught up. We tend to watch in the evenings, on weekend mornings, and during lunch on weekends. We definitely binged it a few times, but more often than not, watched while working on other things.

We also started Orange is the New Black and made it all the way to the final season this month. So. Good. We've both really enjoyed it.

I only watched a couple movies this month, including Deadpool 2, which I stopped watching halfway through and read instead.

I also watched the entire first season of Life Sentence. Mostly just something to have on in the background. It was cancelled after the first season, so I don't have to worry about watching a second season.

Cody and I devoured the entire first season of Disenchantment on Netflix. Loved it! It's like the medieval fantasy version of Futurama and The Simpsons.

Books

This month, I totally rediscovered my love of downloading ebooks from the local library. So fun!

I started Eat Pray Love, but I wasn't into reading it at the time. ended up starting The Year of Less by Cait Flanders toward the end of the month. I've really loved reading about her journey with minimalism. I mostly have the chance to read a half of a chapter around bedtime.

Games

I deleted most of the games on my phone early on in the month, but ended up downloading a few new games shortly thereafter.

I found myself stuck on Harry Potter and Tinker Island for most of the month. The thing I really like is that I can play them for a few minutes, then they need to load on their own, so I go back to doing my own thing.

Toward the end of the month, I downloaded Trade Island, as well, which is the same sort of game.

Music

I actually only listened to music 6 days this month, while working around the house, driving with Cody, or occasionally on a weekday afternoon when I can't fit anymore podcasts into my brain. Most notable was one late August afternoon where I jammed to some music on my way home. Windows down, sunroof open, sunglasses on, music up. Simply the best.

Consumption Hack: Hide Those Salesy Emails

I get a lot of emails every day.

Since starting the Creative Consumption experiment, I started noticing, that SO many of them were actually salesy emails from restaurants and clothing stores and Etsy and tons of other websites that I might use occasionally, but not often enough to see them in my inbox every day. Not only did it clog up my inbox, but it also made me want to buy MORE that I don't actually need.

My initial instinct was to unsubscribe from everything.

That was great... except sometimes I DID want those emails. I wanted coupon codes and sales notifications... on my own terms.

So I did a little brainstorming and came up with an alternative that has worked SO well. It feels so good to finally get all those junky salesy emails out of my inbox.

That's the key right there: "out of my INBOX."

I realized that instead of unsubscribing or deleting them, I could simply MOVE them to a different location.

And so I set up some filters.

Now, all my salesy emails are sent directly to a "Sales and Coupons" folder, completely skipping the inbox all together. They're also Marked as Read so I never even know they're there.

So now, if I know I want to buy some new pants, I check the folder to see who's having sales. If we're going out to eat, I check to see if I have any good coupons. If I need to buy just about anything, I check there first.

And other than that, I never see them.

Not only is this saving my sanity, but it's also saving us money at the same time.

So. Freaking. Awesome.

Conscious Consumption: July Consumption Report

Month one is DONE!

It's still too early to see any long-term patterns, but it was kind of nice to really be mindful about what I was watching and listening to. It was really difficult to remember to record things on the weekend, though, mostly because I'm less attached to my technology on Saturday and Sunday. I'm constantly losing my phone somewhere in the house or purposely leaving my computer off and locked away in the office until I actually need it.

Podcasts

Podcasts by Topic: 

  • Sex & relationships - 19

  • Business & creativity - 15

  • Finance - 4

  • Health & nutrition - 10

  • Personal Development - 5

  • Random & misc. - 3

  • Straight up Interviews - 9

TOTAL PODCAST EPISODES: 65

 

Stand Outs This Month:

Invisible Office Hours (8 episodes). Binged an entire season in a week. Always a great conversation, no matter the topic. This is one of the shows that I will ALWAYS listen to every episode, even if it's about a topics that I don't care about at all.

The Purpose Show (1 episode). Though we have some religious differences, I'm digging this show. My favorite episode was "Ep. 045: Body Confidence with Jenna Kutcher." It was a fairly short episode where both women really opened up about their body insecurities and how they've overcome so much. In particular, I found Jenna's recounting of feeling judged next to her super fit husband to be inspirational.

Being Boss & 10 Minutes to Being Boss (5 episodes). Still my favorite show. My favorite episode this month was an episode from 10 Minutes to Being Boss simply called "Mantras." I'm such a sucker for mantras. It gave me ideas. I never regret listening to this show.

Committed (9 episodes). Looooove this show! Every interview is fun, well done, and interesting. My favorite episode so far was "I Don't Own Him," which focused on two married porn stars. Crazy interesting!

The Joy Junkie (2 episodes). This show is great! I love Amy & Mr. Smith. My favorite episode this month was "59 Easy Ways to Pay Attention in Your Relationship." What a great variety of different ways to spend time and nourish your relationship.

The Action Army (1 episode). Still hands-down one of my favorite show. I loved episode "AA033: Paying off $124,000 in Debt." Listening to Jason talk about debt is actually super interesting. This was his episode to announce that they were officially debt free. Great suggestions and recommendations.

The Period Party (1 episode). I definitely cherry pick episodes with this show and this month, I enjoyed "How to Meal Plan Like a Badass: A Modern Women's Guide with Sarah Adler." The episode was really great, but I absolutely hate the ads on this show.

#StayMarried Podcast (1 episode). I just started listening to this one, too, and I totally dug the episode with Craig and Rachel Terrill called "Supporting Your Partner's Passions." Loved hearing how Rachel became an NFL wife because that was Craig's passion and then embraced it wholeheartedly.

 

Other Shows I Listened to:

Books

I read and finished Big Magic. Took most of the month. I'm totally late to the game but it's SO GOOD. I love the way that the concept of ideas has been reframed in my mind. They're living, breathing things that are just looking for a human partner to bring them to life. I'm in love with Elizabeth Gilbert's little stories about her personal life that are woven into the tapestry of her creativity theories.

I also bought and started Get Money by Kristin Wong.

TV & Movies

This month, I only watched a couple partial movies. We were rather busy, so I feel like we didn't do too much tv watching.

Music

I really only listened to music 4 days this month. I tend to listen at work on weekday afternoons and all day Friday at work.

Notably, Spotify created a "Last Summer" podcast with my most listened songs from a year ago. Great throwbacks that I'd forgotten I like.

Games

I played Kodiak for most of the month. Was a definite time waster. Had to be very mindful of playing it too often when I could be doing other things.

Played a grid puzzle game which is fun and really makes me think, but it takes a long time to play each level.

Toward the end of the month, I started playing Zombie Castaways. That didn't last very long.

I spent 1 sick day playing The Sims and not being productive at all.

At the very end of the month, I downloaded Evolution. That one because a bit of an obsession. I actually deleted it after only a few days because I was playing way too much.

We Go Good Together

Cody and I finally got out of the house and went camping last weekend. We've both been dying to get this year's camping season started and this trip was much anticipated.

Sullivan sure loves camping trips!

We left Friday evening and made camp by 9:30. A couple of our friends were already there. We set up our tent in the dark and were sitting around the campfire in no time.

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Saturday morning came around and I was so excited to finally see the view I'd been promised! We were basically camped on a cliffside with a trickling creek setting the mood.

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While packing up camp, I started to feel like Cody was being a bit critical of everything I did. I hadn't fed the dog correctly. I hadn't cleaned up breakfast the way he would have. I'd put the clothing bag away before he was done with it. And then my butthurt kicked in. He noticed how quiet I was being and asked. It's always hard for me to really say what's upsetting me, but I was open with him and let him know that I felt he'd been a bit abrasive that morning. In all honesty, I was pretty sure I was making more of it than it really was. We quickly worked through it and we were both determined to get back into the flow of things.

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Saturday was all about seeing the sights. I cooked us up a quick breakfast of scrambled egg and bacon burritos and we were on the road by 8:30am. First, we hit up White River Falls. A quick hike showed us the most beautiful waterfalls with swallows flying all around us. It was like being in a movie.

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Next was a quick lunch along the Deschutes River, a stop in the tiny town of Maupin to replenish the ice in our coolers, and finally, a long and winding off-roading excursion to our final destination: Smock Lake.

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Smock Lake is a tiny, hole-in-the-wall, local hotspot located in Central Oregon. It's in the Smock Prairie area, which is teeming with wildlife and grazing cattle. The wildflowers are blooming like crazy this time of year and the views of Mount Hood made the whole trip worth it.

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We found ourselves a little spot right along the lake. After setting up our tents, we relaxed in our hammocks and chairs along the lakeside. Talk about relaxing!

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This is where I felt the biggest communication breakdown between Cody and I. We weren't doing the best at speaking well to each other and we both got frustrated when the other person did something differently than we would. Despite this, we got camp put together pretty quickly. Once I sat down in my chair, I was determined to let my frustration go.

When dinnertime came, we had Community Night, one of our favorite camping traditions. Everyone cooks something and everyone shares. We started out with Cody cooking brats with grilled onions.

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Next came steaks, freshly-caught trout cooked on the campfire, and roasted corn. Definitely a feast!

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Sunday was all about getting back home. We detoured briefly to check out Badger Lake, but had to turn around due to quite a bit of snow still leftover from winter. We stopped for lunch at the Huckleberry Inn in Government Camp on Mount Hood. It's a cute little diner that served up some great bacon and eggs.

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Cody and I were both so happy to be home. We quickly washed the dog on the front lawn with the hose, unpacked the truck, and we each showered before collapsing on the couch for a nap.

Later that night, he told me that he'd been reflecting on our trip and how much he appreciated that we could both get frustrated and maybe a little butthurt, and then just let it go and work together again. He reminded me that we're pretty damn good together.

And right then, the whole weekend was reframed. It wasn't about the emotions or frustrations. It was about being together, working together, and creating memories. This relationship isn't always going to be perfect or even pretty. It's going to be messy and require a ton of hard work. And that's okay. 

We also discussed our need to improve our communication. We'd tended to snap at each other in annoyance and frustration more than necessary. I think we'll both be focusing more on choosing our words, being patient, and making a concerted effort to work together in a more harmonious way.

It's easy to get caught up in the emotions. When I let stress and emotions get the best of me, I become an absolute mess. Instead, if I work to reframe the moment while I'm still IN the moment, I can enjoy it more by letting the negativity go.

I can't wait for our next trip to see if things improve. All in all, it really wasn't a bad trip. It was pretty great, actually. It just helped us shed light on the things we need to work on.

P.S. Thank you to our great friend Robby Haid for so many of the great photos.

Redefining My Why

In my 29 years, I think I've started at least 10 different blogs. As a teenager, I ran a blog for quite a few years before having my adventures loosely adapted into a book. Later, I discovered graphic design and blogged about it off and on. Next came a joint blog between my mom and I for our ebook design + formatting side hustle. Eventually I broke off of that and had a solo blog again. And here we are.

Maybe it's not quite 10, but it sure feels like it.

Each time I started a new blog, I was in a different place in my life. Finishing up high school, searching for a new career, starting a side hustle, or leaving a side hustle. Each blog marked a new chapter in my life.

So where does this blog come in?

This last year or so has been full of changes. Personally, romantically, professionally, geographically. I grew up a lot, met the love of my life, moved to another state, started a new job, and jumped feet first into a new side hustle. All in less than 365 days.

Crazy.

And lately, I've been itching to start writing again.

But it feels different this time around. Sure, I miss the words, but it's more than that. I miss the authenticity, the honesty, the realism. It's nice to have a place to spill my guts and reflect on all aspects of my life.

Why a blog and not a personal journal? Personal journals have rarely done the trick for me. I like the idea that my blog could grow. That someone could come along and read it and feel a little less alone. You can't do that with a handwritten journal that I keep on my bookshelf. It doesn't seem as daring if I know that I'm the only one reading it.

So what's my goal here?

I have a few things in mind: 
> I want to use this blog as a creative and emotional outlet.
> I want to use this blog as a means to discover and create my own brand.
> I want to improve my writing skills by writing regularly and about varied topics.

So I hope you stay tuned in as things grow and change and shift over here! And more than that, I hope you find something of yourself in these pages and remember that you're not alone.

Encouragement, Support, and Positivity

I've long been a believer in being positive and encouraging to those in my life. It's one of those little things that I truly think can make a huge difference in one's outlook... and my outlook, as well.

My day job consists of project management for about 99% of the day. I delegate tasks to my artists, then wait for them to return the projects so I can pass them on to the correct customer. It's a lot of project juggling and then waiting.

The other day, one of my artists cranked a project out way faster than expected. I told him, "You're a rock star. Thank you so much for knocking out that project so quickly. I appreciate you."

His response?

"You don't have to be so sarcastic."

I was shocked. I didn't mean that sarcastically in the least. I 100% meant every word that came out of my mouth. How could he possibly think I was being sarcastic?

I cleared it up with him quickly and his mood turned around completely. Once he realized that I really meant that encouragement and appreciation, he perked right up. I could tell he loved hearing those words. From then on, he was always quick about projects and I could tell that he genuinely appreciated my words of encouragement and gratitude.

I'm a huge believer in encouraging those around me. I believe it's a small way of injecting positivity into the day and it often makes the biggest impact. People just want to know that they're making a difference, that they're appreciated, that someone is noticing their efforts.

And the best part? It only takes a few words.

I tell my partner, "You're amazing. Thank you for helping me. I appreciate you."

I tell my coworkers, "You're a rock star. Thank you so much for knocking out that project quickly. I appreciate you."

I tell my friends, "You are seriously awesome. I love when we get together. I appreciate you."

I tell my family, "I'm so proud of you. You're kicking ass and taking names. I appreciate you."

It's amazing how much people around you blossom when you offer them a small bit of encouragement.

It's empowering. It makes them feel needed, wanted, and appreciated.

You're awesome.
You're absolutely amazing.
You're amazeballs.
I'm lucky to have you.
I appreciate you.
The helped me more than you realize.
Thank you.
You're a rock star.
You're so talented.
You did amazing.
I love watching you work.
Your work is beautiful.
You kick ass.
I'm proud of you.
You did that so much better than I could have.
I'd be lost without you.

Any one of these phrases works for just about anyone in your life. Your spouse, partner, or significant other. Your child or step-child. Your mom and dad. Your siblings. Your friends. Your coworkers. Your boss or supervisor.

So spread a little bit of encouragement and watch the magic happen.

Learning to be Specific in My Job Search

Back in late summer / early fall of 2017, I was desperate to move to Oregon. My boyfriend was three hours away, just over the border, and wanted me to move in with him. My only roadblock? I needed a job. So I started looking locally in his area.

I wanted a job that was a little better than what I currently had, but I wasn't expecting anything amazing. To help with the job search process, I made a list of my requirements: 

> More money than I made at my current job in Washington
> Good benefits (my current job had no benefits offered, so at that point, any benefits were good benefits!)
> Close to (my new) home

Short and sweet. I applied for dozens of jobs. Some were long shots and some felt like sure bets. I ended up accepting the first offer that came along. It wasn't quite what I really wanted to be doing, but it was close enough. All I knew was that I needed SOMETHING to get me to Oregon.

So all was well and good. I moved down to Oregon. I started my new job. I got into the groove of things... and suddenly remembered that this new job was NOT what I'm trained to do and it was definitely NOT what I wanted to be doing for the foreseeable future.

And so I started the process once more.

The first step was to figure out what I wanted in a new job. The first question is always, "What job title do you want?" That didn't feel quite right, however. I don't know what job title I want. I love graphic design, but I also love writing. I love editing a little more, but I also love working with happy customers.

So maybe it's not so much figuring out WHAT I want to do, but figuring out who I want to work with and what sort of business I want to work for. I'm happy, productive, and valuable in several different roles but I won't be any of those things working with an awful team or for a company that doesn't care about their employees.

That brings us to today. I've realized that my mindset is completely different this time around. My goals are different. And my list of requirements is a bit longer:

> Full-time position
> Remote-only job
> Monday through Friday
> Health insurance is offered for at least me
> More money than I currently make now
> A company I can be passionate about, with good culture and employees that enjoy their work
> Room for growth and opportunities
> A supervisor that trusts his/her employees

I also have some very strong wants: 
> Flexible schedule (if I want to work on a weekend, fine. If I want to work until 9pm, fine. I just want to plan work around my life, not the other way around)
> Unlimited vacation (definitely a want, but I won't take less than 3 weeks per year)
> Monthly wellness stipend
> Up-front Technology / Office stipend
> Monthly/yearly education stipend
> Health insurance 100% paid for, for both myself and my spouse

Through my journey, I've seen a lot of companies with really extravagant benefits and perks, which have definitely contributed to some of those wants. But I've also seen some companies with basic offerings where it's STILL clear that they appreciate their employees and do as much as they can to show them. I think I'd be happy at either location. Sure, it'd be nice to have all the extra stipends and bonuses and whatnot, but in the end, those truly aren't the things that will make me love my job.

By truly defining what I'm looking for in a job, I've been able to narrow down a list of companies I'd REALLY love to work with. I'll share those with you on a later post and tell you a bit about what they did right.

But the point is, your wants and needs may change. I currently have an okay job that pays me well, but I'm not desperate to make the jump yet. That will give me the chance to make good, informed decisions when it comes to a huge career change.

When I made the move to this company, it was exactly what I needed. Now, my needs have changed and I'm ready to make some changes in my life. By being specific, I now know what I need to concentrate on and I can make decisions more quickly about whether or not a potential employer is right for me.. No more applying to literally anyone who might have me. I'm setting my sights on the right job for ME.

Learning to Say "No" to Others in Order to Say "Yes" to Yourself

I love to say "yes." I love to help people. I love to be that friend who is always there. I've definitely been called a people pleaser more than once.

But as a people pleaser, the greatest lesson I've ever learned was to say "no."

It seems silly, but I truly believe that saying "no" is a learned skill. It doesn't come naturally to all of us. My first instinct is always to put everyone else's needs before my own, but I'm not truly taking care of myself if I do that.

Self-care is important, people!

Case in point: I had a scenario come up recently where I had to say "no" in order to take care of myself. One of my close friends was in town and wanted to see me. Normally I'd jump at the chance, but I really just wanted to have a weekend with no social interactions.

So I said "no."

More specifically, I explained that my boyfriend and I had both had too much social time that week and we needed a day to just recharge our batteries. And so we did. We sat on our couch all day. In fact, I'm not sure we left the couch except to grab food. We stayed in our pajamas. We watched mindless movies and tv while playing on the internet. I didn't worry about being productive or working or getting anything done whatsoever. We spent time with one another and no one else. We recharged those batteries.

If I'd have said "yes," I would've likely ended up burned out, stressed, and needing a recharge more than ever. Instead, I took care of myself (and my boyfriend) and didn't regret one moment.

The best part was that my friend totally understood. She's a social butterfly, but she knows me well. She knows that instead of energizing me, social interactions drain me instead. And she was totally cool with it.

So next time your gut says to say "no," just say "no"! You won't regret it. You're worth it.

Reflections on Job Applications

I've been applying for jobs like crazy lately.

Before I started applying, though, I really spent some time narrowing down on what a dreamy day job looks like to me. I know what I must have in a job. I know what would be nice in a job. I know what I DON'T want in a job. I know what I want to do and what I want my team to be like. And so I'm applying to jobs that fit my dreamy day job criteria.

And during this time, I've realized a thing or two about job applications.

Most of them ask questions like, "Tell us about why you'd be good at this job."

I can brag for a thousand years about my skills. I can tell you about past experiences that make me a good fit. I can give you testimonials from clients that love me and my work. I can list my successes. I can write a bad ass cover letter in a fun and quirky voice that make me sound like the ultimate people-person.

But wouldn't the real revealing question be, "Which qualification do you NOT quite meet and how you would you overcome it?"

Now answering THAT question would take a bit of vulnerability.

I think as a recruiter or hiring manager, that question would really be more important in the long run. I know that if someone's applying, they probably can do the job. Are they all going to be the best at it? Probably not. But ultimately, isn't it about whether the applicant can grow and expand with your team?

Asking an applicant what qualification they don't meet is asking them to be a little vulnerability and offer a little bit of transparency. It's asking them to reflect on their weaknesses. And then by asking how they'd overcome it, you're changing a potentially negative thing into a positive. Show me that you can recognize your weaknesses, grow from them, and become a better team member. Tell me where you know you can grow and how you're going to do it. Tell me that you want to make yourself a better person, a better employee, a better team member. Tell me that you WANT to learn new things.

Now THAT is what I'd want to hear.

Making Peace With Wanting a Day Job

It's been said that we live our lives in seasons. I've never felt this more in my life than I have lately.

I've always wanted to be a freelancer. Make my own choices. Take only the clients I want to take. Do what I want to do. Call all the shots. Make all the money.

But lately, I've found myself NOT wanting that.

I don't want to have to call the shots. I don't want to make all the decisions. I don't want to deal with taxes and finances and all the other adulting things.

Instead, I've been thinking more and more about having a day job. I want someone else to pay for the benefits. I want a regular paycheck. I want to have coworkers and a boss. I want to have less stress.

And that's okay.

It doesn't mean that I don't have the capacity to be a business owner. It doesn't mean I can't do it. It doesn't mean that I've failed.

It just feels right at this stage in my life.

I don't feel like I should just take ANY day job, though. To be fair, I already have a day job.

I feel like I can be choosier. I can really define what my dream job looks like. I can be picky. I can expect awesome benefits and an amazing team.

Funny enough, Being Boss JUST released an episode on this and it felt like this divine sign.

"It's okay," the Universe whispered.