Happy Birthday To ME~~!

27 is a good number I think.

Normally I only like prime numbers. My radio volume must be at 11, 13, 17, or 19. Maybe 21 or 23, but no higher than those, and only for really good songs.

But 27? It’s 3 cubed. Or 3 to the power of 3. I like that.

Each year that passes for me is another victory. I am still amazed that I am here, and that I am well. It’s wonderful and exciting. I used to worry about the future and the terrifying uncertainty, but then it occurred to me a few years ago… Why am I worrying?

[Post continued on 6/20/2017]

I had some time to think about this question. A little too much time, but I’ll blame that on my laziness. I could say I have a busy schedule, but honestly, it’s not that difficult to write. Sure, the Inspiration Fairy and Mr. Motivation need to be cooperating and present, but really, and truly… it’s not that difficult to write. Bad me.

So here I am, writing again. It’s one of my days off, and I’m watching Louis C. K.’s newest Netflix special, some of which is funny (the teacher bit, omg) and some of which makes me cringe (what even was that bit on stereotype voices, it was stupid). I spent the last day off making Pokemon and binge-watching Untold Stories of the E.R. It was magical.

I’ve been wanting to use my time more wisely, more productively, more… usefully. I think it goes along with my New Year’s Resolution? In the sense that I want to streamline my life, I guess… If you can’t tell, I’m reaching. Productivity, I’m hoping, will evolve soon.

But back to the question: “Why am I worrying?

Anxiety is a big struggle with a lot of people, and about half my calls that I take at my job has someone needing help managing anxiety. So… I’m quite knowledgeable in deescalating the debilitating symptoms of anxiety that a person is experiencing in the moment that they call. I’m not claiming that I can help every person, every time; heck no, that’s impossible. I’m certainly not claiming that I have the solution, end-all-be-all cure to anxiety. No. I can only remind a person of their strengths and suggest what may help, encourage the caller that they are already doing great things, and that it is okay to take a moment for themselves, to show kindness that they would normally give to others is okay to also give to themselves, and teach them that self-care is not selfish, but actually healthy and courageous.

Self-care is how I don’t worry anymore. I mean, I worry about some things if I need to, but overall: I no longer have a worry about what other people think of me, what I look like, or what my future is going to be. I work hard, I make educated decisions, and I am thankful for the life I have been given. I struggled getting to this point. I am very aware that I have privilege and not everyone has the opportunities that I had or have, so instead of bringing myself down with this very true fact, I use what opportunities I have to benefit others. I do not have to be at the job I have, but I don’t want to be anywhere else! And, I think, I can commit to this job and be very happy with my decision.

I am lucky, and I got here because I worked HARD. I give myself kindness and I give myself credit with THIS true fact, too.

10 years of college. I volunteered and worked while going to college. I failed, at school, at relationships, and happiness. I spent time sloshing in mud to help others, which paved the way through an extensive domino-ing network, to the job I am so happy at.

Ultimately, my hard work paid off, and my time is not over yet!

So, I don’t worry.

Because I commit to a decision and ADAPT to what comes up, rather than worry about what COULD happen.

There are a lot of what-ifs in the world. LIFE IS UNCERTAIN.

Being in-thenow is the healthiest mindset I have ever entered.

Being 27, is a good age.

🙂

Colored Hair: The Dilemma

Should I?

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Maybe not this ^ hairstyle per say, it is a bit too bold for me, but damn if I’m not super jealous when I see someone with colorful hair.

~~~

For years I have debated whether or not I should dye my hair. As far back as 5th grade, I can recall drawing myself with a light green streak in my hair. In later years I drew myself with a full head of blue curly hair.

That was my early years: dreaming of colors and boldness and being unique, searching for my identity so that I could fit in. My second year of college, I chopped off a ton of my hair, straightened it into an asymmetrical bob that would make anime fans proud, and added a clip on blue hair extension that did not match the texture of my hair at all. I don’t know why I thought that was a good idea, but we all do dumb things when we are young.

I never got around to dying my hair for some reason. SO many friends were doing it. I wanted to jump on the bandwagon, but never did. Ah, peer pressure, you couldn’t keep up with my need for professionalism… and laziness.

I figure other reasons I never dyed my hair when I was young was because at the time of my high school years, the administration forbade unnatural hair colors, so that nixed high school. In college I was too busy with homework, working multiple jobs, and surviving various relationships; I barely had time to take care of myself let alone cared what I looked like.

At some point I was living on my own. I moved past the flurry and chaos of my first years of college, and decided to take time to focus on myself. Independence fostered, I began working at a job that paid the bills enough, and my managers at that job did not care if their employees had crazy colored hair. The desire to be bold came back.

That’s when the “mermaid” trend was introduced.

Welp, those are some of my favorite colors. So I looked into getting my hair done up like a damn turquoise fish lady.

I’m terrified of big commitments like that (which explains a lot of my life, but let’s not open that can of worms!!) I was mostly fearful of going to bright and it making my face redder than it already is. Some days are better than others, where the flush of my face isn’t so discernible.

To compromise with my fear, I thought, why not so bright, but go for a more muted or darker dye?

Perfect!

10-year-old Chelsea would be happy, adult Chelsea would be happy, colors all around!

And then I found out that no matter what, I would have to bleach my hair.

That prompted a very quick and very loud “NO!” while I smacked the chemicals out of the hair stylist’s hands. (That last part didn’t actually happen.)

So no awesome turquoise magic mermaid locks for Chell-bell.

I don’t like having long hair anyway. Too sweaty.

Years have passed since that time. I have “matured,” I guess… Well at least so far in hair care. I’m much more lax about styling my hair. I have embraced my wavy hair and prefer to not have to do a lot of maintenance. I hardly ever blow dry, never straighten, and maybe once in a while I’ll throw in some curl-boosting mousse. I don’t own a hair straightener, and have to borrow a hair dryer from my sisters if I care to blow-dry my hair; and I don’t care to blow-dry my hair.

I’m very lazy.

All this, and I still haven’t taken the plunge to dye my hair.

Despite this reality, I have made a pact to myself that when I’m old and gone silver-haired, I will become RAINBOW-HAIRED GRANNY and will be known throughout all the lands as the “eccentric” lady who uses a T-Rex grabber claw to menace and reach for soup, and frolic about the neighborhood with colorful locks on her head singing vintage Disney songs. I want to change my hair color whenever I want and I figured by that time, I’ll have a great base to do so. I’d just let my hair grow out a bit, close my eyes and pick a color at random, and tada! RAINBOW-HAIRED GRANNY. And when I want a new doo, I just shave it off to make room for a new hue.

This is a fact. It’s happening. You’ll see. In 40 to 50 years. Be on the lookout for Rainbow-Haired Granny, coming soon to your ‘hood.

In the meantime, the urge to dye my hair a crazy color still persists, with all the doubts ringing in my head as strong as ever.

Why not neutral or more natural colors though, Chelsea? Why go for color at all if you are so fearful?

Because, dear random person I made up in my head to talk to: if I’m going to dye my hair, causing unavoidable damage in the process–those chemicals fry your hair–as well as investing a lot of time and upkeep that requires special shampoos and touch-up treatments for fading and roots, then I might as well do something bold and daring to make me feel like the physical and fiscal torture was all worth it.

So I’ve found a middle-ground.

OIL SLICK HAIR

 

I’ve always wanted to go darker, maybe not black, but at least darker browns. Because I have a pink-toned face with some yellows, I know that if I go lighter, my face will look redder, which I do not like. I once stopped going to a particular hair stylist because they suggested I go blonde.

Never again. >:l

Darker sounds better because I believe that it will draw out a natural contrast with my light blue eyes. (Yes, I have really light blue eyes, go look at my About Me page for proof. That’s an untouched photo.) I’m not one to wear makeup as I have combination skin that feels like it’s drowning under a single layer of face mousse foundation, hence the desire to draw away from the days that I have a pinker face.

With oil slick hair, there is less emphasis on big areas of bright colors, so dying the hair requires less bleach. Less bleach means less damaged hair. The Tricoci University of Beauty Culture gave these pointers about oil slick hair dying, and it was definitely promising. (Be warned, their site has an automatic live chat function, I was not expecting that to pop up, but hey, it was first on the Google list and I can’t argue with credentials of beauty schools because I know nothing about them, whatevs.)

I like the idea that the base of an oil slick hair dye is the requirement for a cool brown or cool black. This will combat my warm-colored face! Also, cool colors recede while warm colors advance, that’s why reds, yellows, and oranges all pop out first in a picture, and why red cars get pulled over more often. Because we can see them. Fun fact: red is the first color we perceive after we are born, assuming the baby is not born with a diagnosis of protanomaly colorblindness.

If all else fails, I can just go for sectional hair color. The 10-year-old me from 5th grade, drawing herself with a stripe of green hair is a little more possible.

I really am going to do something, soon. Hopefully for my birthday. How often do we get to fulfill a childhood fantasy??

Spotlight: Koyamari/Maruti-Bitamin

Koyamari and Maruti-Bitamin are the same amazing artist, those are just two Internet names I have come to know them as.

Their artwork is easily recognizable by the watercolor, patterns, and subject matter. I tend to see works that emulate a single word or concept, such as atmosphere, water, or sun.

I personally own two prints of their work, and absolutely adore and cherish them. I wish to own more one day! And I am saving up for all of the art books. The coolest thing I received from them was that the artist customized the shipping package by drawing an adorable fat whale on the outside and added a cute little tag thanking me for my purchase. I still have the tag!

All credit goes to the artist, and links are provided below for more info and where to buy prints and work from them!

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Crystal

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Terrarium Poster

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Reality, Intention, Action

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Grow

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I tried finding all the correct names for the works through Instagram and Tumblr, but many of the art pieces are emoji names!

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The “Spooky Look Book” and some keychains!

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Can’t go wrong with a plant-themed sweatshirt

These are only a FRACTION of all the artworks that the artist has shared on the web. Check out the pieces below!

Instagram

Tumblr

Twitter

DeviantArt

Store

 

 

Fragrant Jewels Review

You’ve probably seen those ads all over Facebook about Fragrant Jewels or some other advertisement for a similar product.

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I requested from my S.O. the Wicked set by Fragrant Jewels. Why? Because it’s got a black candle, a black bathbomb, and an onyx stone with rose-gold rings in each! I love black. It’s my main staple!

Both the candle and bath bomb smelled fantastic. The candle took over three days and some digging to get the ring out. The bath bomb was used up with one bath, but it was a very nice bath!

I still have the candle, it’s mangled on the inside, but the label on the glass is too pretty to discard so I kept it.

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This was my favorite ring of the two that I got in the set. Both were priced at $25 each, the minimum value for rings in the Wicked set. I just love that this ring has little hearts on the sides, perfect as a gift from my man.

The downside was that they required a monthly subscription to order just one set, and my boyfriend did not realize that going into the purchase, and neither did I. I thought that people could order one set and be done. They essentially suckered my boyfriend into monthly subscriptions and he ended up getting charged for the next month when we only wanted the Wicked set. Not to worry, we used that month’s candle and bath bomb together. We soaked our feet and the candle smelled nice. The rings from that month were not even close to being as pretty as the one’s from the Wicked set. It took a lot of back-and-forth to cancel the monthly subscriptions. I think the customer service could be better if there was a more efficient option to contact the company than just email. It was a tad bit frustrating if you ask me.

All-in-all, I was very satisfied with the products and would rate it an 7.5/10. Good, edging on great, had it not been for the monthly subscription debacle. If you are looking to get a candle and bath bomb and two rings frequently, like you burn through candles like no tomorrow, then the monthly subscription is a great deal for you.

DIY Rainbow Accent Wall — A Beautiful Mess

You guys know I love my white walls. Almost our ENTIRE home is painted white. And I love it. I even recently went BACK to white on a couple spaces I haven’t shown you because I couldn’t handle the darker tones. With that said, today I am branching out… WAY OUT. Today I’m so excited…

via DIY Rainbow Accent Wall — A Beautiful Mess

Accent walls can really make a room. BUT! There are few people daring enough to take a plunge such as this rainbow wall.

A round of applause for the rainbow room! I’m so glad it exists!!

A Beautiful Mess is by far one of my most favorite blogs out there on the Internet, and this is but one of the kazillion ideas shared on their site.

If you can’t tell already: 10/10 recommends the blog A Beautiful Mess, and creating a bold accent wall. In the words of Shia, “JUST DO IT!”

If you’re too chicken to go for a rainbow, here are a some other amazing wall ideas I love (all found on Pinterest):

Go for a daring painted mural–let it take over the room

A giant floral painting can act as an accent wall all on its own

If you have a monochromatic space, a textured detailed headboard will pull focus without being a distraction

Ombré a wall in the color scheme as the room, or add wood planks the same tone as the walls

Plants a plenty can be the accent on the focus wall for a more organic or fantasy look

See my Pinterest “Walls & Shelves” board for more wall inspiration!

 

Minimizing My Life

Consider this my New Year’s Resolution (I’m a month late, I KNOW). I cannot recall my previous New Year resolutions, but I think I can remember this year’s:

I want to declutter and minimize the stuff in my life.

My S.O. is a minimalist–and let’s face it, I am drawn to minimalism blogs, art, and spaces; so it’s only appropriate to incorporate the life style into my own life.

This is a feat for me because I hold a lot of sentimental value on things, a trait I learned from my mother.

But success is possible, even with New Year’s resolutions, when broken down into small manageable steps. I’m sure we’ve all heard of many task management techniques, including the aforementioned technique, and the rolling of our eyes commences with the common phrase: “It’s easier said than done.”

And then there is the issue of establishing and maintaining the routine. Too often do I find myself promising a change, accomplishing that change for one, or even two, months, only to fall back into the stasis I was before the change.

Good habits are hard to keep, bad habits are hard to end. Why is that? Why is what is good for us so difficult versus what is bad for us?

Despite my brain being full of these slightly existential philosophical questions, I needed to ignore the thoughts and push on through to my plan: Minimizing My Life.

So I scoured the Internets for tips on decluttering. Lists popped up most often; not that I have anything against lists! I love lists and lists love me!

POPSUGAR Smart Living published a short, sweet, to-the-point 8 questions to ask yourself that I have found to be quite handy for future purchases.

1. Have I used this in the last year?

If your answer is no, it’s time to toss. For reals though, this is especially effective for clothes. I went through my t-shirt drawer and jewelry and got rid of so much stuff. I will admit, I held onto a few shirts because I vowed to myself that I will now immediately change into one of those tops in order to be comfy and shed the mental and physical burdens of work off with the ceremonialesque removal of my work uniform. Worked so far, I’ve gone through several shirts and felt so much better after work too!

2. If I were shopping right now, would I buy this?

If the current you wouldn’t buy this item now, why would you even keep it? Again, super effective for clothes. But I found myself using this question for craft supplies as well. I’ve lost interest in many a project for one reason or another. I just don’t see myself sitting down and trying to do a paper-dot mandala artwork. That’s a lot of glue on my fingers and a lot of glue fingerprints on my canvas; too much work for a lot of mess. Same goes for a miniature heart-shaped topiary I was going to make for a Valentine’s themed table setting. I don’t have a table to decorate, nor a Valentine party to host, so that’s a lost cause right then and there!

3. Is the only thing that’s keeping me from disposing this item that I don’t want to waste money?

Think of it this way: you wasted money when you bought an item you don’t use. This one made me cringe; that logic has flaws. Doesn’t really help the then-and-now, but the way I see it, this statement helps you get into a more fiscally responsible mindset for the next temptation at the store.  If you want a better feeling for the now, try to find use for it within the week, give it to a friend, or donate it! You get an immediate satisfaction that your item served a purpose in the end and your money never went to waste.

4. Am I holding on to this for sentimental value?

Be strict and keep only a few of the items in a small memorabilia box. Then take a photo of items you are throwing away so you can keep them forever. Taking a photo of the items doesn’t make sense to me honestly. Just sounds like digital clutter on your phone or computer, which also drives me crazy. If you look on my computer, there are few tabs open at a time, few folders on my desktop, and every folder is organized by subject matter. Sentimental value is the hardest thing to muster past. It’s often the reason behind hording issues, and collections. But it can get to a point where it’s excessive. I have this issue with decorations. I now do not allow myself to buy any sort of decoration, I already have fully styled shelves. The only things I collect now are artwork, books, and metal souvenir pins from the places I’ve visited (I use them as push pins on my bulletin boards!).

5. Do I have a similar item that serves the same purpose?

If yes, then get rid of one of them. This is where the kitchen comes in. You know how there is a gadget for every single dish out there. Yeah. Now your kitchen cabinets are filled to the brim with mixers, pots, knives, and those crazy As Seen On TV wonder gadgets. GET RID OF THEM! You only need a few pots and pans, one mixer or blender, a good knife, and maybe a garlic press, because dammit I hate the way my fingers get all sticky and smelly after cutting up garlic. You most certainly do not need a quesadilla maker or a jerky oven. *looks at family* We have not ONCE used that quesadilla maker!!

6. Do I have a realistic plan to use this?

Remember, don’t lie to yourself about how perfect an item would be for Halloween. Make sure you have a concrete plan to use the item, and if you don’t use it within the time frame you set for yourself to use it, then toss it. You may love it, but do you have space for the item or does it even suit you now? Think hard on what to keep — your space is sacred.

The fact that it uses Halloween as the example future occasion singles me out. Halloween is super fun with all the clever spooky decorations and the funny costumes, but it takes up a lot of space. I do have a few Halloween decorations in the attic, and I am working on clearing out the supplies I haven’t used in the last year. If I used it two years ago, out it goes. If I find myself at the store thinking, “OH! This [insert generic piece of garbage] will be a great repurposed-whatever-decoration,” I pinch myself and say, “Stop crazy lady. You are not going to sit down and make that when Halloween comes around. The only way you are doing this project is if you are making it THIS WEEK.”  So, I’ve actually done this recently, where I found a bunch of leftover orange and green burlap purchased for my boyfriend’s Halloween costume, and I thought I could use the rest to make a burlap pumpkin wreath for the future Halloween and Thanksgiving seasons. So, I did it, right then and there. In the middle of January. Yep. I made a pumpkin wreath in January. Now it’s in my closet ready for the appropriate holidays and I have less stuff in my craft storage.

8. Am I holding on to the broken item to fix in the future?

Fix it now, or if you don’t get around to fixing in the next two weeks, then toss it. My family comes to me with clothing and items that need repair, and sometimes I fix it right away, and other times (sorry, Ashley, and your adorable scalloped shorts), they get shoved into the fabric bin. I bought discount damaged canvas in the past with the hopes to patch it and paint on it, but I don’t paint on canvas much anymore, I opt for paper and watercolors instead of acrylic or oils on canvas; so that had to go. In regards to the fabric bin collecting dust… I really should fix those pants for my sister, I promised her over a year ago….

To add to the list, I have also have made mental notes of items that are off-limits. For if I purchased even a single item from this list… I would never ever stop buying them. 

Seriously, I’d never stop, I’ve gone so far as to warn friends and my S.O. to not allow me to purchase any of the off-limit items. Those items are:

Miniatures – everything and anything miniature, dollhouse furniture, tiny food, Christmas or Spooky town sets like Lemax; I am so obsessed with miniatures I watch DIY videos on how to build and make furniture, especially plants and nerdy themed sets.

Polaroid cameras –  those things are expensive. So are the accessories! Actually, especially the accessories! Film is part of the accessories and they never make enough film in a pack so you have to buy more, and more, and more. That’s how they get ya. But damn, how I love the candidness of a Polaroid picture.

Scrapbook supplies – paper, stickers, punches, the works. I will not in a million years, ever get around to scrapbooking all my pictures. I don’t even have all the pictures I like developed! The most I will allow myself now is to print my favorite family photos from big trips and put those into a legitimate photo album. I’d make some awesome artsy-fartsy scrapbook albums I’m sure, I just really, really, REALLY do not need to start for fear of my bank account overdrawing.

Canvas – I am never purchasing canvas, or sketchbooks, until I have used up the current caches. Since I was a child, I have been gifted art sets, the ones with both colored pencils, markers, sketchbook, paint, erasers, all that junk in one box set. I donated every single one of them to elementary schools because they are not of high quality and schools need drawing supplies. Teachers often have to buy supplies out of their own pockets, and they don’t get paid enough, y’all!

Jewelry/Beading supplies – Strings, crystals, wire, charms, chains, all of it. I will not allow myself to buy a single strand of beads until I have used up more of my jewelry making supplies! I’ve managed to find a neighbor who makes jewelry for a living to donate my unused jewelry stuffs, hopefully she finds them helpful. I get inspired all the time for new ideas so I write them down in detail and even sketch out the idea for later. When Mr. Motivation and the Inspiration Fairy get along, then I’ll pull an idea from the list and break out the supplies.

A few other lists that have helped me are the following:

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I particularly like this list because it is a CHALLENGE, meaning, it gives me set perimeters of commitment and provides time periods. Challenges are great for starting a new good habit!

I also appreciate that they made the format of this 30-day Minimalism Challenge minimalist style. From Anuschka Rees, this blog is all about “curating the perfect wardrobe, a wardrobe that reflects your personal style (instead of the latest trends).” I can get behind that!

With this post in mind, I too am going through my wardrobe and ridding myself of low-quality items, and replacing costume-quality jewelry and flimsy fabrics with more durable items that will last longer and feel better. She also wrote a book title “The Curated Closet.” I’m definitely checking it out.

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This list was created by Katherine Hurst from The Law of Attraction.com. The fanatic list-maker in me is bonkers over this massive list! And it’s all organized by sections!

I also love the almost-sarcasm voice emanating from the list. It’s calling me out on my habits while being completely relatable.

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Another great list, not as lengthy so it’s not as overwhelming as the other list I provided. From Monogrammed Magnolias, this list has some repeats from the other list, but also makes use of digital decluttering.

But seriously! We live in societies that promote constant purchasing. Things are just things, and they make us feel crowded. There’s never enough, so put value on the things that matter most and have the most function for your life!

You would be surprised how nice it feels after clearing out your old garbage around the house and computer! And who knows, maybe after getting rid of all the thing-junk around you, it could lead to something better for you in other aspects of your life!

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Y’all, I’m tired.

Really tired.

Can’t seem to shake it.

Ever since I graduated, I’ve felt exhausted. Too tired for creativity, too tired for goals, just stinking too tired.

Right now my eyes are burning, things are blurry (and that’s weird because I have 20/20 vision), and all I want is to curl up in bed. I’m having daydreams about my bed, seriously.

First thing people ask me when I say that I feel tired is, “OH, are you pregnant?”

The answer is no.

Always no.

My reaction, EVERY TIME

Stop saying that. I am a responsible adult, dammit. I use two kinds of contraceptives, thank you very much! I have a plan of when I want to try for kids, and that time is not for another 5 years, and that’s only after a career, house, and trip to Japan.

So STOP jumping to that conclusion.

The other annoying response I hear is, “OH, that’s a normal part of adulthood.”

Well, I say THAT’S STUPID.

A “normal” part of adulthood is a load of crap. There’s such a thing as working too hard, or over-compensating, or being sick–all valid reasons for being tired.

AND THAT’S NOT NORMAL.

Stop brushing off chronic fatigue as normal. It’s a freaking battle! Support a person’s struggle, don’t brush it off; you’re telling that person you don’t care about them or that their pain is not valid.

And I’m sure I’ve just been overdoing my sleep schedule, or my body is boomeranging from my school schedule to make up for lost time. SOMETHING TO EXPLAIN WHY I’M SO BITTERLY TIRED.

It just sucks.

And whining about it doesn’t really help, but it kinda does, too.

There is something very cathartic about complaining. Sharing an experience is an emotional relief for a person, no matter the struggle. We are allowed to voice our aches, pains, concerns, and ailments.

There is a disease called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It’s a real thing. Buzzfeed does a great little info list on it that sums it up fairly well while also providing links to professionals and studies.

This article also introduced me to the “Spoon Theory,” which has greatly aided my understanding of the people I work for at my current job.

Written by Christine Miserandino, who has a diagnosis of Lupus, the Spoon Theory is both a personal account and an analogy of what it is like to live with a chronic disease; it can also be applied or interpreted as an analogy of someone living with a disability as well.

It was Ms. Christine’s story that truly opened my mind:

“Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.

As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try.

At that moment, the spoon theory was born. I quickly grabbed every spoon on the table; hell I grabbed spoons off of the other tables. I looked at her in the eyes and said “Here you go, you have Lupus”. She looked at me slightly confused, as anyone would when they are being handed a bouquet of spoons. The cold metal spoons clanked in my hands, as I grouped them together and shoved them into her hands.

I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.

Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point. I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.

I asked her to count her spoons. She asked why, and I explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a never-ending supply of “spoons”. But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with. It doesn’t guarantee that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting. She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. I said no, and I knew right away that this little game would work, when she looked disappointed, and we hadn’t even started yet. I’ve wanted more “spoons” for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she? I also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus.

She had tears in her eyes and asked quietly “Christine, How do you do it? Do you really do this everyday?” I explained that some days were worse then others; some days I have more spoons then most. But I can never make it go away and I can’t forget about it, I always have to think about it. I handed her a spoon I had been holding in reserve. I said simply, “I have learned to live life with an extra spoon in my pocket, in reserve. You need to always be prepared.”

Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day’s plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war. It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy. It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do. I miss that freedom. I miss never having to count “spoons”.”

I work in a nursing home where a 100 people live. Three out of the four halls are for long-term residents, and one hall is for temporary residents. In the short nine months I have been employed there, I have seen many people come and go through the doors of the facility, and sometimes, when they go, they are no longer with us.

The spoon theory has most certainly helped me understand an inkling of what a possible day is in the life of one of my residents.

Each and every one of them is a wonderful person, who makes me laugh, who makes me grateful, who makes me feel love and hope and appreciation. I have had to say goodbye to several people already, some where I wished them good luck in their endeavors–and others, as a whisper, alone in my office where a tear is the only reminder that they existed for the time in my life.

Chronic fatigue, disabilities, disease, is a part of adulthood, but that doesn’t mean it is normal, nor should it be treated that way.

Check out the full story of Ms. Christine’s Spoon Theory here.

My First IKEA Trip

Alternate title: Chelsea looses her shit in a store over bookshelves and pokeable cabinets

 

Sooo, I’ve never been to Ikea before.

Yep. Never.

I have heard many things. Good things. And strange things.

It’s a magical place…

You’ll want to buy everything…

The journey requires a day…

You’ll get lost for hours…

Eat the meatballs…

My best friend, Daniella, took me to Ikea. She knew I was an Ikea virgin, and we have a special bond over shopping together. I make her laugh, we encourage excess spending, and root out the weird and tacky, while making jokes. We are a diabolical team, as far as shopping goes.

Some things were beautiful and amazing.

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Library goals!

I probably hung around the shelving section longer than I care to admit. Daniella dragged me away.

I discovered amazing cabinetry details. 

Yes, that’s tattoo on my finger. It’s glasses.

Poking every cabinet from there on was immensely entertaining.

Some things were… odd. 

Why was that rug corn? Why did that deer have testicles on his face? Why does Ikea sell turf?

So many questions.

Other stuff was interesting!

Pixel anything speaks to me. So do optical illusions.

I told myself not to buy things.

But I did anyway.

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That succulent is already very, very dead.

The cactus is still kicking around, and I painted the terra cotta pot to be reminiscent of Monet’s water lilies. The large box was a white and copper geometric metal lamp shade. NOOOO idea what I’m going to do with it. I don’t have anywhere to put it, so it’s been in my car trunk since the trip to Ikea.

Which was in July. 

I’m really bad about cleaning out my car.

And yet, my room is spic-and-span…?

I have weird priorities.

Daniella purchased a cute spice rack and this clearanced mobile shelf cart.

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I completely accidentally slightly intentionally creeped on this family having an argument while I was trying to document my love for this huge beveled mirror. I needed to remember the mirror’s name  with all the nonsensical letters in it so I could look it up later!

Sorry random huge family with kids chilling in the bed. Off camera the mom was rounding up more kids. Seriously, there were so many kids. Like six. That’s so many. I come from a family of four–or five, depending on technicalities. More than three is so many kids, take it from me and my experience of being the oldest of four or five kids.

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Totally not creeping.

That’s Daniella’s spice rack, which is called “BEKVÄM,” on the bed behind me. She got it so she could paint it the same color as the adorable cart, which was called “RÅSKOG.” The turquoise color is no longer available, sadness! That particular day I was having a fabulous curly hair day. I also love that sweater shirt I was wearing. That might be my favorite shirt… Insert other random comment that references this picture. I’m just being ornery now.

BTW, this is the mirror:
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SOKNEDAL

It’s about six feet tall. I will own a gigantor mirror one day. Need to get my own place first.

In other news, I got me a new boo (hah! boo is a dumb word for boyfriend, haha!) and he’s adorable and sweet and wonderful, and moving to a new place.

He asked me to decorate the new place. Maybe I can stash my white and copper lamp shade there?

But what the hell am I going to do with this??!

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NYMÖ

It’s freaking gorgeous. But I got nothing on ideas. I simply don’t remember what I was planning when I bought it, but I’m not giving up. Sooo….

PINTEREST! HELP ME!!

I’ll think of something. In the meantime, I have less than three weeks until I graduate from Texas State University, MAGNA CUM LAUDE whoo-whoo, ahhh yeeeeah!

My total focus is on school for these next few weeks, and that’s where I’ve been for the past few months. In the midst of all the papers I had to write for the semester, I completely forgot about my blog. Not that many people read it, I appreciate those who do, but let’s be honest, this blog is for me and all the ideas that take up space in my brain.

AKA I do this for fun.

And fun I shall have as soon as I graduate, December 16th! Until then, here are some Future Blog Posts (subject to change):

  • Favorite Thrift Shops of Austin Area, feat. Daniella!
  • Tulle Skirt: the DIY that took me a while
  • Artist Spotlights: Agnes Cecile, Koyamori, Claude Monet, Kris Kuksi, & more
  • Butterfly Wing Pixel Art, inspired by a butterfly book
  • Gold Patterned Magnolia Leaf Wreath
  • Turquoise spike lariat necklace
  • Tackling Clutter
  • Date Night Idea Box
  • Surprising Art Discoveries
  • Eric Carle Inspired Painting & Collage
  • Fabric Hoop Art
  • Gallery Walls, My Way… The Lazy Way
  • Shelf Styling, My Way… The Lazy Way
  • Pinspiration: Graphic Bobby Pins
  • Galaxy Tanks (not the military kind)
  • 1 Scarf Many Ways: A Satire
  • Nail Art??! REeeeaaally?! But you said you don’t do makeup tutorials!!?
  • Driftwood Bracelet Holder
  • Pinwheel Pillow
  • Sprucing Faux Flowers
  • Bleach Pen Quote Shirts
  • Pinspiration: Crystalized Cap
  • Restoring An Antique Taxidermy Peacock (if I can get it)
  • Stacked Abalone Statement Necklace

And many more ideas to come.

IKEA Hackers’ “Nimbus Luminous” DIY Light

Never have I seen a DIY that actively encourages the destruction of children’s toys when making a light, so this one really shines to me. I laughed excessively when I read the dissection instructions; it really is my kind of humor, which is very dark and morbid at times.

It’s a cloud. It’s pendant light. It is Nimbus Luminous! I made this after my wife stared enviously at the cloud light in a dessert restaurant. =) It is an easy, fun sized, and affordable project for a playroom. Let’s get started! Items: Solleftea lantern x1 Hemma lamp x1 Old unused teddies x 2 Glue…

via Nimbus Luminous — IKEA Hackers

I have seen other DIY’s like this one, I just loved this tutorial above the others because I could not not laugh at the dissection part.

Other Cloud Light DIY’s:

943c3ac7d105b48fd5298b931decf8f8 Found on Pinterest

INSTRUCTIONS:

What you will need:- Cotton Batting – Paper Lanterns – Flameless Candles – Hot Glue Gun Be sure that little or no heat is generated by the super cool flameless candles. Don’t leave your beautiful creation unattended. Step by Step instructions: 1. Pull at the cotton batting until it looks fluffy, light, and cloud-like. 2. Hot glue it to the outside of the paper lantern in various places. 3. Light the candles and stick them inside. 4. Hang the lantern wherever you’d like.

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Link to tutorial here

And these aren’t cloud lights, but I still liked the ideas:

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CLOUD art installation at Olympic Plaza. Each string is attached to a light bulb that viewers can turn on and off, creating an interactive and changing light piece.

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Artist Tara Andris starts out her paintings with gold-leaf or silver-leaf to create luminous skyscapes.

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I had to get my Perler craft in.
DeivantArt artist The Playful Perler created this whimsical rainbow coaster set, complete with cloud holder and cork backing. You can make it or purchase from the artist here.

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Travel to the Salar de Uyuni Salt Flat to walk among the clouds!

Make a Sky Album! Start snapping pictures today!

Perler Beads & a Judgmental Corgi

As you may know from previous blog entries, I am a bit obsessed with pixel art, and the best way for me to make my own is with Perler beads.

If you don’t know what Perler beads are, I’ll tell you!

They are these things:

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You arrange them on peg boards.

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And you make things like these!

Super cute, right!?

And it’s so easy to do yourself!

All you have to do is find the patterns, get the beads at a craft store (Michael’sJoAnn’s, Hobby Lobby) or online through the makers (EK Success), and practice, practice, practice.

That’s it.

Get to it!

Oh, okay… I’ll show you how to make one. But which one, which one….

Pixel plant inserts? img_20160503_183243 (1)

A full-sized sword?

20150823_003945 Pokemon?

So. Many. Pokemon.  (I have all the patterns, so if you would like one, just request it and I’ll have it made for $3 each. Or you could do the research and find your own pattern! I got mine from Bulbapedia.)

Or how about a Pixel Winnie!? 20150828_225729 (2)

YES.

This is the original pattern I found on Google.

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There is no shame looking for a pattern and inspiration, search til your heart’s content! I changed details to match my dorky dog, like the eyebrows, fur markings, the length–the vet said she is a little longer than other Pembrokes, what a weird-ling. She has a dark tail and a sable patch on her back, and also she has a white collar that wraps around the back of her neck and ends on one side. Do whatever you like, I’m making my Winnie.

To begin, you’re going to need four pegboards. They snap into each other. I recommend these because you can add boards when you need them, and you can make odd-shaped projects. There is an extra large pegboard, but DO NOT use that one. It warps horribly, which makes fusing your project frustrating and sometimes it turns out awful with some beads not melting, and others melting too much.

Start with the outline, always. I usually have a black outline, it makes the pixel art pop. I’d like to point out, if you are going to make your own Pokemon creations, the sprites have a lighter outline on the bottom of the designs; don’t do a lighter outline, make it all black, trust me, it looks so much better. There a few exceptions I’ve found. Like Gastly. He’s a rule-breaker.

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Rebel

Following the pattern takes some practice. You can print out a pattern, but I don’t. I feel guilty enough for wasting paper with my writings and artwork, so I’m making a conscious effort to be more green working with my Perler bead art. Although, if I really think about it, Perler beads are plastic, so…. NOPE, not getting into that debate with myself!

I’ve learned how to recognize groups of pixels: single beads, pairs of beads, groups of 3, 4, and 5. Once I learned how to recognize those commonly grouped pixels, reading a pattern goes much faster. You can also count pixels if you are unsure, just takes a while longer and can be cross-eye inducing.

With the outline done, fill in the design one color at a time. This is so you’re not going back-and-forth switching colors all the time. Use tweezers to move and pick up beads, fingers can work, but you’ll more likely knock over other beads and then it’s all one big frustrating clusterf***. As you do more pixel art, you’ll get better at placing and manipulating the tiny beads.

Now’s the time to fuse the beads.

You’ll need a regular old clothing iron, and the specialty paper that keeps the plastic beads from sticking to your iron. I can’t tell you how many projects I lost because I forgot to lay down the paper.

If you do get plastic on your iron, turn off the appliance immediately, wait for the iron to cool and then you can scrape off the plastic. I’m fast to do this when I realize my mistake, because i don’t know if the beads will catch fire… I don’t think they will, but I’m a worry-wart and I don’t want to ruin my iron–that and irons cost money and I am a poor college student/soon-to-be poor college graduate who’d rather spend her money on food and if we’re being totally honest here, crafting supplies.

The specialty paper comes with kits or is sold separately. It’s some sort of parchment paper, I haven’t quite figured it out, but I’m not willing to experiment, I’d rather just stick to what works for now.

The iron needs to be on a temperature setting for wool, if you have that option. If you don’t have a wool setting, medium-high heat is about the same. You want it hot so it melts the beads quickly and they fuse evenly.

Moving the iron correctly takes practice. Try to move it from one side to the other in one smooth motion without lifting off. Circular motions are also effective, particularly for larger projects. When you come to a partition between pegboards, you may need to press down on the beads here so that they fuse; the boards may bend into the creases and not allow the beads there to heat to optimal temperature with the surrounding areas. Don’t press too hard or the boards my shift or even lift off the ground and all your hard work is a jumbled mess.

And I can’t believe this needs to be clarified but…: When using an iron, be aware that you are working with a heating instrument.

The heating instrument is hot.

….

*takes big breath*

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE BE CAREFUL!

DO NOT LET YOUNGIN’S USE THE HOT IRON!

DO NOT LET THEM USE A WARM IRON!

IN FACT, DON’T LET KIDS USE AN IRON AT ALL!

I’M A LITTLE WEIRDED OUT BY THE FACT I FEEL OBLIGATED TO ISSUE THIS WARNING, BUT MY LOGIC IS THAT IF A COMPANY HAS TO PRINT DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO COOK A FREAKING POPTART, AND ONE OF THOSE DIRECTIONS BEING “REMOVE PACKAGING BEFORE TOASTING,” THEN THIS IS JUST IN CASE.

EXCESSIVE CAPSLOCK IS EXCESSIVE!

RAWR!

I’m done now.

So you’ve ironed your project. Lift it from the pegboard, it may be stuck to the paper, just peel that off. Flip over your project and lay the paper over that side and iron it as well. Fusing both sides will make your project stronger, and sometimes the beads will curl your project, so flipping sides and ironing multiple times might need to occur to get it to lay flat. If you are having a particularly hard time getting your project to lay flat, shove it under a textbook. Textbooks are great flatteners. It’s not like I get to use all these textbooks for anything else after I graduate…. *grumble grumble*

After ironing, the beads will be hot, but it doesn’t take long for them to cool down. Be careful to not bend the project as the beads will snap apart if too much force is applied. Other than that, Perler’s are very hardy, weatherproof, and don’t fade.

And remember, Perler beads were originally designed for kids! (The beads, not the ironing part.) The tiny beads are perfect for strengthening fine-motor skills, and it teaches hand-eye coordination and pattern recognition. EK Success, the makers of Perler beads, recommends for ages 6 and up, but I’m sure younger kids can have a go at it. Parental supervision necessary as the beads can be swallowed. There is another set, too, that is made for younger kids. The beads are bigger and easier to grasp.

I especially love that EK Success’ website features project ideas (link). You can even download and print patterns that fit to the pegboards, so you don’t have to follow along on the computer screen, and that way is easier for a child to make the idea.

Some of my favorite patterns that are featured now are:

Rainbow Spinner

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Pirate Ship

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Wild Ties

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Solar System Mobile

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I just realized this was one big advertisement for EK Success. Can I get some free Perler beads?

Yes?

No?

Okay….

So there you have it. You’ve got your own pixel corgi, or more specifically, The Majestic Winnafred. 

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