Life Lessons

thursday thoughts: keep holding on

Strive to make each day better than the last.

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(image source)

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12 ways to recharge your creativity

12 ways to recharge your creativity - Vim & Vintage Blog

Do you find yourself drained, uninspired, or unable to think? If you said yes, you’re not the only one.  I’ve been in Strugglesville in terms of my creativity for some time now.   I feel burned out, like the spark just isn’t there to create anything.  This is very strange for the girl who used to sketch all through class, scrapbook and craft for fun, and spend hours writing.  In light of my recent creativity crisis, I identified what I feel like has been blocking my creative flow.  Things I took for granted that seemed to have slipped away quietly through the years.  So here’s 12 ways to get back that creative spark.

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1 . Walk away.  Get away from your desk right now (okay, well after you’re done reading this 🙂 ).   Creative types are always thinking, so even taking 5-10 minutes to yourself will refresh your mind and help prevent a burnout.

2. Go out into the wild.  Experience nature. Do something spontaneous.  Live in the moment.

Emerald Lake, Canada

3.  Watch a funny movie.  You probably are not laughing nearly enough.  Smiling and laughing release feel-good endorphins into our system.  These free us, and allow thoughts to free flow too. I heard some crazy stat the other day – how an average kid smiles over 400 times a day, but adults only smile about 20 times a day! I think we can learn something from the kiddos.

4. Sketch.  You don’t have to be an artist. But getting those pretty pictures in your head on paper will help you to visualize your goals and bring those ideas to life.

5. Get lots of sleep.  How do you expect your brain to come up with amazing things if it is overworked and tired?  Try getting at least 7 hours of shut-eye every night.

sleeping puppy

6. Surround yourself with people who inspire you. There’s a study out that says you are a mixture of the 5 people you spend the most time with.  Spending time with great people will bring out the best in you. If you can’t spend time with someone who motivates you, create a list of what inspires you about them, and try incorporate those traits and values in your life.

7. Reflect and remember.  Devote some time just to stop and think.  Take the pressure off yourself and clear your head.  This will allow thoughts to just come to you.  Analyze what worked for you and what didn’t.  Remember times when you succeeded and failed, and learn from both.

8. Try something new.  New experiences bring on unique reactions.  Stimulate your emotions.

when was the last time you did something for the first time

9. Do something you absolutely love.  Whether its listening to music, reading a book, playing on Pinterest, or going to your favorite restaurant.  You must treat yourself every once in a while to keep your spirits up.  If you are neglecting yourself, you will become miserable.  And an unhappy mind is a sure-fire way to kill creativity.

10.  Travel.  A flight halfway around the world would be perfect, but if that’s not possible, even hitting the road to explore a neighboring town could provide you with new insight and inspiration.

vintage suitcases

11.  Keep track of your ideas and thoughts. Keep a journal.  It could just be a simple notebook. Log your dreams, ideas, goals, and feelings.

12. Believe.  In yourself. In your work.  In where you’re headed.  Attitude is everything.  You must believe you can create if you truly want to be creative.

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I want to know – what do you do to help spark your creativity when you’re caught in a creative rut??

thursday thoughts: the greatest gift you can give

Warning: This isn’t your conventional Thursday Thoughts post from me.  It’s a little personal,  but from the heart.

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I woke up yesterday morning thinking of my Grandma in the last few years of her life.  (A little back story:  I was raised by my Grandparents.  My Grandpa passed away when I was 18, and my Grandma passed away 3 years ago when I was 25.  I miss them dearly, but I’ve taken so many life lessons away from them.  In my memories, they still continue to teach me so much.)  Flashbacks of visiting her in her independent living apartment (or senior dorm as we jokingly called it) ran through my head.  I’d stop over for lunch on my days off, come by every Sunday to take her to church and fill her pill-box up, and other various times out of the week to help with laundry, doctor’s appts, and other household tasks.  As her primary caretaker, it was very hard at times to balance my  life and hers, but I thought of how happy she always was to see me.  Each time I walked through the door, it was like the best day of her life.  Although she never wanted me to leave, she was always so appreciative of the time I did spend with her.

In a blog post on my 28th birthday, I came up with a list of 28 things I had learned in life thus far.   One of the things on that list was “Take your time and give it to others.  It is the best gift you can give”.  Remembering all my Grandma’s joy has just solidified how true that statement is.  Is there a greater gift?  I really don’t think so.  In time, there are memories made, relationships founded, love shared.  I think in the end this is greater than any amount of money or any material possession.

It seems like as life goes on we are always having a time struggle.  When you’re a kid, you have so much time you are bored.  When you’re in school (if you were like me) you procrastinate and you’re up at the last second trying to finish a 5 page paper.  When you hit the real world, there isn’t enough time in the day to do things around the house AND work your 8 hour job.  But then at some point after retirement, I’ve watched some older people feel like they have so much time on their hands alone, they get so lonely.

Ironically now I find myself complaining more and more that I don’t have time to blog, time for myself, volunteering, working out – the list goes on forever.  As we get older, our priorities change.  Truthfully, there aren’t more hours in the day then there were back then.  We gain responsibilities, and sadly the things we should make time for get pushed to the side.  I think we forget that we aren’t promised tomorrow.  So really we should me making the most of today, right?

The little moments I spent with Grandma I can never get back, and I’m so happy and thankful I made the time for her when she was around.  I encourage everyone to give time to someone you love today, or this weekend.  Whether it’s a phone call to friend,  dinner with a family member, volunteering in the community.  I think we should all pay it forward because one day we will be 83 and be hoping someone walks through that door to see us.

hello october.

Well, I’m glad to say that the test that has consumed my life for the last couple months (aka the interior design licensing exam, NCIDQ) is now officially OVER!!

This past Friday, I took the first half of what could potentially be the most important knowledge based test of my life!  A couple of tidbits: #1) That sucker was hard as F.  #2)  I went to bed at 8pm on Friday if that gives you any idea how exhausted/brain-dead/studied out I was.

That being said, I’m glad its over.

( In 12 weeks I’ll find out if I passed or not…and then it may be another studyfest for me.  Plus, I still have the other half to take. )

For those of you that may take the test in the future, here’s a quick summary:  (Please feel free to message me if you have any questions about it!!)  They only offer it twice a year, and you become eligible to take it after receiving your Bachelors from an accredited school + 3,520 hours working under a licensed professional (UNLESS you began any of your design experience prior to 2008, then you can count your hours under any design professional).  The exam is broken into 3 sections that span 2 full days.  The first day is 2 multiple choice exams.  The 2nd day is what they call the practicum, which is putting all your knowledge and experience together into a full 8 hour hand drafted project.  Since I’m beyond rusty at hand drafting, I figured I would just knock out the first 2 sections and go from there.  Wellllll….. they pretty much knocked me out! haha.  Think 300 questions about building construction/structure, fire codes, architectural drafting, etc etc etc.  (So to anyone that thinks all an interior designer does is play with paint swatches – please, do your homework.)

On the drive home, I thought about all the things I could have done differently.  I even started frantically looking through my notes trying to see if I could figure out what ones I got right and wrong. (I can’t begin to imagine what kind of road hazard I was)  As soon as I began to get frustrated, I brought myself back down to reality: this is only a test.  Life will go on.  If I fail, it doesn’t mean I suck – I can retake it!

Then I came home to this beautiful orchid and a nice card – which totally made my night/weekend/life! (thanks Hunny!)

The rest of this weekend was very relaxing.  We celebrated Nate’s birthday- as best as we could since he has a stomach bug.  We sat around and watched football and I made him homemade Mac & Cheese and Asparagus Cheddar soup.  🙂  Overall, life is good.  I’m excited to start blogging again more.  Not sure where September went, but I’m ready for October – and to start enjoying this lovely fall weather!

2012: focusing on the “little things”

I can’t believe it’s the beginning of another year!

It seems like, as soon as we hit Jan 1, we begin reflecting on the up’s, down’s, and in-betweens of the last year.  Also, we start looking toward this fresh new year, and all the opportunities that may come with it.   Let’s be real:  It can be an emotional time.   It takes a range of emotions to look back and look forward at the same time.

Instead of wishing you did more in 2011, focus on the next 12 months that lie ahead.   We all make mistakes, miss opportunities, and sometimes focus on the “should haves” – but learning from this is key to our growth.

That being said, of course around this time of year, I make a huge list of goals and things I want to accomplish.  I won’t even bore you with the details… but there is one thing I will tell you:  This year for me is all about the little things.  Staying in touch with friends and family.  Taking a bubble bath.   Driving for no reason until I end up somewhere I haven’t been before.  Giving back.  Taking what free time I have and making it worthwhile.

One thing I’ve realized this past year is how easy it is to overlook these things….and they are some of the best things in life!   I find myself thinking more and more about how our society is always “working”.  We are slaves to our laptops, iphones, etc.  No matter where we go, we take all of our to-do’s, responsibilities, and commitments with us.   And if you crack a smile, then you must not be on task.   (Why so serious????)  Don’t get me wrong – it’s great to be a productive person.  It just seems like people don’t take enough time for themselves anymore to truly enjoy life.   Also, as we get caught up in the day-to-day routine, we forget we each have a purpose.  And it’s not how much money we make or how “successful” we are.  Remember, true success is not just what we do with our lives, but the difference we can make in others’.