2015 Year In Review

I really only started taking my blog really seriously in September/October of this year. So I thought I would fill in some gaps in time by letting you know what happened to me throughout the year in 2015. I’m including links to related posts, but you’ll see that there aren’t many in the early part of the year.

All links lead to related blog posts.

January

In January, I got into a car accident when I was sideswiped by another car. Totally his fault, no injuries and the car was repaired. I moved in with Mom part way through the month to work on my mental health. I worked at a call center and was starting to dislike it. I was also teaching class at the university though, and loved that as always.

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February

In February, I went to Visioncon and had a booth there for Quirky Mugs. We didn’t make any money in the booth, I think we were lucky to maybe break even. I also ate a lot of ramen noodles and bought shoes that were outside my comfort zone on a shopping trip with my friend Chrystal.

 

 

March

In March, I was still staying with Mom but I spent a decent amount of time at my house repainting the walls with Nicole and watching Twin Peaks by myself. I watched the whole series. I continued to teach and work at the call center.

April

April is a tough month to talk about. I spent the first week and a half of the month in the hospital after a suicide attempt. I took too many pills, my antidepressant specifically. Nicole moved me back into the house when I was released from the hospital. I felt so much better being home. We planted flowers in the front yard and an herb garden for me in the backyard. I took a few weeks off work but went right back to teaching.

May

In May, Tunechi helped me go through all the clothes in my closet. I also hit my one-year mark at my job and was able to request FMLA, which was approved. I started working less. Classes ended. I visited my dad & stepmom at the end of the month. I had a depressive episode, noted in my journal, followed by a hypomanic episode where I decided I wanted to quit my job and be a reseller full time. I started doing Amazon FBA with a fury.

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June

I never set foot back into my call center job after I took that weekend to visit my dad & stepmom. I officially quit at the beginning of July. I kept up with Amazon FBA, my Etsy shop and started selling on Ebay.

July

From halfway through July to halfway through August I was off my meds due to a lapse in insurance from quitting my job. I also started designing my own coffee mugs and tending the garden in our backyard. I tried to start vlogging again.

 

August

I had a depressive episode at the beginning of August and stayed in bed for two weeks due to the lack of medicine. I started teaching again, this time Electronic Music which I had a lot of anxiety about. I thought about going to support group but didn’t. Once I was out of that depression, I started a cooking journal and did meal planning. It didn’t last long.

September

In September, Dolly & I spent all our time outside blogging and I tried to have a sugar-free month. Nicole & I refinished furniture on the weekends. I had basically stopped doing reselling but was still teaching. I reorganized my office to the way it is now. I got sick with some sinus stuff and spent a week watching Doctor Who. Nicole also had a week off of work this month, which is really rare for her. We spent it driving around.

October

In October, I spent lots of time with my camera, learned how to use manual mode and we started throwing around the idea of starting a photography business. We found our first abandoned building to photograph on our first trip out to look for one. Teaching got more stressful and I looked forward to when I would be finished with the semester. I went to my first support group at NAMI in a very long time. I posted my first Driving Through Depression post, which turned into my favorite blog post to create (the driving!).

November

In November I wrote a novel about zombies for NaNoWriMo. We went on more drives. I bought a remote for my camera and did my Self Portrait Project. I baked some pies. We had fun at Thanksgiving with both my family & Nicole’s. I kept on blogging and teaching. Nicole gave me her FitBit and Dolly chewed it up. I started videoblogging again and went off one of my medications because I ran out of refills.

December

I turned 31 on the 3rd. Off my medication, I went into a depressive episode that sent me to the hospital for a few days. I didn’t take as many photos as October & November but I kept making videoblogs and blogging. I had my first sewing lesson and started art journaling. After my trip to the hospital, I got a regular schedule in order for myself and that has been going super well.

 

 

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Frivolous Wants | Gold Edition

With New Year’s Eve just around the corner and since I’ve been loving all things gold lately, I thought this week’s frivolous wants post would include stuff that’s gold and glittery.

As usual, I am not affiliated with any of the merchants listed, I just like to share stuff that I like.

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I almost bought a scarf and hat set like this one, but the scarf was a regular scarf, not a circle one. I couldn’t find the hat online. From Old Navy.

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Make your own letter charm necklace. I want this yesterday. From Forever21.

 

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These shoes are the best. From Keds.

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I love my coffee mugs. From Sweet Elodie Grace.

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Those sequins, though. From Forever21.

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Yes, I am a member of the RBF club. That’s resting bitch face, if you weren’t sure. From Fresh Baked Paper Goods.

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Loving mint & gold right now. From So Gloss.

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Still on the hunt for the perfect wallet. I almost posted this one last week, but I couldn’t choose between this and lavender. I’ve also been on a pastel kick lately. But if I get a gold wallet, my purse/wallet combo will be mint & gold. Perfect. From Target.

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Some journal love. From Barnes and Noble.

 

The Documented Life Project | The unPlanner

I found the coolest thing this week researching art journaling – the Documented Life Project unPlanner. It’s like an art journal, planner, list-making, life-documenting thing all in one that you create yourself throughout the year with printables and prompts. If you would like more info or are interested in participating you should check out their site here.

To get the prompts and participate it costs just a dollar a month, so twelve dollars total and you get all the printables and prompts and access to a fun community on Facebook that has already started gearing up for this life documenting journey. I’m in no way affiliated, I paid for my membership and will be buying a few supplies in the next few days. I’ll be mostly, though, working with stuff I already have since I don’t have a lot of money to spend, which is something you can do too. I can’t wait to get started when this thing kicks off on January 2nd with the first prompt!

I’m a little worried about myself and the amount of projects I’m starting here at the beginning of the year. I’m in a good place right now, a really great place actually, and I’m hoping it will stick with me for at least a month as I get the ball rolling on my Vlog365 (daily videoblog), the unPlanner and all my recovery & treatment goals. I know there is a downward slide in my future, that’s just the nature of bipolar disorder, but I’m hoping that all these great projects I’m starting will act as good coping skills to keep me busy. But if in a month I start talking about spending all my time in bed rewatching The Walking Dead for hours on end, you’ll know what happened.

The unPlanner isn’t really a daily activity, so that does put my mind at ease. The prompts are weekly, so it’s something I can do in one day out of my week if I want to. The list of my daily activities, though, is becoming long. Videoblog, chores, journaling, art journaling, support group and blogging. But I’m looking at all these as positive things that will keep me busy. I just hope against hope I won’t have to get a proper job so I can keep up this super fun schedule I’ve created for myself. It really has been great having so many things to do during my long days alone. And the other thing about the unPlanner that’s cool is  there’s a community of people sharing and being creative on social media so although I’ll be working at home alone, I’ll be part of that community. It’s the same with the blog and videoblogging – I’m sharing online and being part of a community of bloggers and videobloggers so it makes me feel less isolated and alone.

One more time, if you want to participate in the Documented Life Project click over and check them out!

 

 

Workout Goals Step One | Workout Gear

In the past, it always seemed silly to buy clothes just for working out. I have my wife’s old basketball shorts and lots of tank tops and t-shirts, and that’s what I used to wear. But why not make it fun and get new clothes that will make me feel better when I’m there looking like a fool on the treadmill. At least I’ll be a stylish fool. And all my workout tanks were less than five dollars. So why not?

Also, I didn’t realize how pink everything was until I went to take the photos. Pink was always a color I hated when I was a kid, but I’m really feeling it right now.

And since writing this post way at the beginning of the month, I have already made it to the gym one time. It’s not a lot, but it’s something, and it gets me over that initial anxiety of going. I’m really proud of myself. Go me!

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Details: Rest Lat#r Tank, Old Navy. Workout pants, Old Navy, similar here. Shoes, Reebok, similar here. Pink earbuds, similar here.

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Details: Blue 94 Tank, Old Navy. Workout pants, Old Navy, similar here. Shoes, Reebok, old.

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Details: Tank, Old Navy, similar here. Workout pants, Old Navy, similar here. Shoes, Reebok, similar here.

 

 

 

Meditation

Meditation is something that’s always been a little scary for me. I don’t know why. But I know there are countless studies that talk about the numerous health benefits of meditation so I thought now that I have a set schedule for my days, it was the perfect time to add in some meditation.

I feel like Goldilocks in regards to my meditation, the first one I did was too long, the second couple I did were too short, but the ones I’m doing now are just right. I’m embedding the playlist for the 30 Day Meditation Challenge I’m doing below. I’m not necessarily doing it as a challenge, but more to have an easy way to find my meditation every day and as a way to do a lot of different things to find what works best for me.

In the short week that I’ve been doing meditation, I’m already seeing the benefits. I look at the world a little differently and feel more present. I’ve also been able to just breathe and clear my mind when I’m feeling anxious, something that was really helpful during Christmas.

If you’ve never done meditation but you’d like to try, I recommend the videos below. The woman’s name is Faith Hunter and her voice is very pleasant and calm. I had a little trouble with some of the others I found because the voice of the person talking is important to me. But Faith is great. Also, these videos are a good length, like I said before, each is around 8-10 minutes long, which is an easy amount of time to take from your day just to relax and do something good for yourself.

Namaste.

Videoblog | Beginner Art Journaling Page

I mentioned this briefly, but I have started the most fun new hobby: art journaling! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time but I always felt really intimidated by it. All the art journaling pages I see are always lovely and intricate and use all these techniques and supplies I’ve never even heard of. But the cool thing about art journaling that I’ve just found out is it doesn’t matter what kind of supplies or techniques you use, it’s your journal so you can do what you want. And this struck me the most – it doesn’t matter if you end up with a beautiful perfect page; the point is the process. So I’ve been chugging away in the new journal Nicole got me for Christmas, filling the pages up with markers and magazine pages – until today, when I upped my game and decided to throw down some paint.

The video below is a timelapse of me doing my very first art journaling page with paint. It also includes magazine clippings and some writing with sharpie.

It’s all really simple stuff, the entirety of the supplies I used are as follows:

  • Regular lined journal
  • Masking tape*
  • Craft paint
  • Sponge brush*
  • Magazine clippings & scissors
  • Tacky glue
  • Fine & regular sharpies
  • Hair dryer

*These were the only supplies I had to buy, all the rest I had at home already. And the sponge brushes I didn’t really need, I just got them because they were super cheap.

If you want to art journal too, here are some things I found out about using paint. There are no right or wrong ways to do anything, though, which is what I found very cool about art journaling. But here are some tips I found anyway. The first thing is to tape with masking tape between the two pages in your book or journal so the paint doesn’t seep through. I thought this sounded like a pretty important step and masking tape is only a dollar so I did it. If you’re using a book with regular paper, you can also glue together the pages to make them thicker, which I didn’t do with just collage stuff but I did with the paint. And the last thing is everyone says everywhere that it is very important to gesso your page before you start so you have a good base. Gesso is some sort of paint primer. I found someone say somewhere though that you can also just use white craft paint if you’re just starting out and you don’t want to spend a bunch of money (gesso isn’t the cheapest thing). I did that and it seemed to me like it worked fine.

So that’s what I’ve been doing furiously all day long today. Do you art journal or are you picking up new hobbies for the new year? Comment below. And don’t forget, if you like my videos you can subscribe on YouTube. I will uploading one video every day starting on January 1st!

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Sounds of Sunday | We The Kings

This week’s Sounds of Sunday features We The Kings, a pop-punk band from around 2010-2011 that I used to listen to. I just started listening to these few songs again and I really enjoy them. They’re still around, but I haven’t heard anything of theirs that’s newer. I’m just sharing the older stuff. Enjoy.

Featured image from MetroLyrics.com.

We The Kings – Say You Like Me from the album Sunshine State of Mind

We The Kings – Skyway Avenue from the album We The Kings

Recovery & Treatment Goals

In my December goals post, where I outlined my new year’s resolutions, I decided I should make a post dedicated just to my recovery and treatment goals. I think this is especially important now that I’ve been in the hospital. I know I need to take better care of myself. And in the week since I’ve been out, I really have been being much more mindful of my mental and overall health. I know I need to make some big adjustments and I have been.

These may sound like the type of goals that would just be regular lifestyle change goals, but I prefer to think of them as part of my recovery and treatment, because that’s the biggest reason I’m doing them. Also, things like cutting back on caffeine and sugar are much easier to wrap my head around around when presented as something that’s going to potentially help my mental health.

So here’s my list:

  • No caffeine after 12pm. (Decaf coffee, you’re my friend.)
  • No soda.
  • Sugary snacks and drinks very sparingly. (Those milkshakes though!)
  • No salt in foods that’s added by me. (I used to be so bad about this.)
  • Support group daily. (The doctor said to stop isolating.)
  • Reach out to family and friends once a week.
  • Counseling every other week or as needed.
  • Take medications daily and on time.
  • Get moving daily. (Walking, yoga, dancing… just move!)
  • Daily meditation.
  • Utilize coping skills more often, as needed.

 

Christmastime

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My Christmas was really great. On Wednesday night Nicole & I exchanged (the rest of) our gifts, since we would be leaving straight after she got off work on Christmas Eve to go to Kansas City. She got me the perfect gifts, a ton of coloring books (which she intended for me to use as a coping skill, very thoughtful), markers and crayons and a new journal. The journal is now my brand new art journal! I did a bunch of research on art journaling on the drive home from KC that I started doing it last night and I’ve already done some today too. I plan on talking more about it in a future post.

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Christmas Eve we made the trek to Nicole’s grandma’s house once Nicole was home from work. The drive was okay, I got in a terrible angry mood about 3/4 of the way there and we almost had to stop for me to just get out of the truck and walk around. Nicole talked to me and I did some deep breathing and I was able to push through it. Once we were there I actually felt good, I participated in conversation and we even went to the casino with Nicole’s mom and I had a good time there too, although I got tired pretty quickly. Throughout all this driving and being out and about I stuck to my rule of no caffeine after noon and no sugary snacks or drinks. Thank you Diet A&W Root Beer.

Christmas Day I stuck to my schedule in the morning, I showered right away and did my journaling, meditating and motivational video-watching. It really was a great start to what could have been a stressful day. I only got anxious a little about two hours before people were going to get there for lunch just because I was out of things to keep me busy and I was anticipating lunch and conversations and all of that. But all of Nicole’s family showed up and I chatted with them and felt very comfortable. The pictures below are from there.

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Our drive home was pretty low key, I researched art journaling, like I said earlier, and made a bunch of notes about what I wanted to use from some tutorials I read. When we got home we turned right back around and headed to my sister & brother-in-law’s house for Nacho Christmas, my family’s yearly holiday festivities. We had nachos and ice cream sundaes and exchanged gifts. I got an awesome present, something I didn’t even know existed but I definitely needed in my life – it’s a yarn bowl that holds your ball of yarn when you’re crocheting or knitting or whatever. It has a T-Rex on it. It’s the neatest little thing. I also got a hoodie with Daryl Dixon wings embroidered on the back. If you watch Walking Dead you’ll know how cool this is. I felt really proud of our gift giving for my family this year, I think we did a good job and everyone liked what we got them. We’ve done a lot of gift card giving in the past so this year I wanted to be more personal. After dinner we played some ridiculous dance game on the XBox and Nicole fell asleep. lol.

I’m looking forward in the next few days to lots of coloring and art journaling, crocheting using my yarn bowl and getting prepped for Vlog365. It’s only five days away!

I hope everyone else had a good holiday, and if you didn’t, then I’m happy for you that it’s over and you made it through!