Sunday Stats

Sunday Stats

*Since my family first got an NES, I’ve had a controller in my hands. Exploring new worlds, meeting new characters and experiencing stories… in some ways, I’ve just connected better with the world through games. However, it’s also very important to me to be present in my life, to improve myself, to go out and MEET the people I’ve connected with online and to expand my knowledge. I spend hours in games; how do I level myself up?

In this weekly series, I’ll chronicle how I’ve improved my “stats” with completely arbitrary scoring.*

+2 Intelligence – How did I make myself a little smarter?
I’ve been watching the Netflix docuseries Rotten on my work-from-home days. Each episode is a fascinating tale of true-crime or controversy in various areas of the food industry. I’ve always been somewhat food-conscious. Growing up at the beach, I’m a seafood snob and never buy farmed fish or seafood at all if I’m not within an hour of a coastline. But it’s fascinating to learn about how deceitful the food industry is. All business is about making a buck, above all common good and decency.
The honey episode was particularly interesting since I use a lot of it and always trusted it came straight from bees. Now I know that’s not the case with store bought honey. Whenever I can, I buy local honey because dosing myself with local pollen via a spoonful of honey keeps my seasonal/locational allergies in check. I’ll definitely be making more trips to the farmer’s market now.

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+2 Charisma – How was I less awkward or more beautiful?
It was a terribly awkward week. One of these week’s I’ll have a “less awkward” update, but this is not that week. I’ve been slowly adding habits to my beauty and wellness routines. Typically, I can shower, dry my hair and do my minimal makeup in about 20 minutes because I kind of see makeup and beauty as a waste of time. It takes Ryan three times as long to get ready because he loves to preen himself. Lately I’ve changed my thinking that it’s not about being beautiful; it’s about feeling clean and confident. After showering all week, I slathered myself in a healthy palmful of Kiehl’s Creme de Corps. I love it because it smells nice and hydrates the fuck out of my skin and also sounds like Corpse Cream.

+2 Strength – New workouts, breakthroughs, challenges.
I hit my longest streak closing all my Apple Watch rings, which means taking stand/walking breaks each hour for 12 hours out of the day, doing at least 30 minutes of exercise, and burning at minimum 500 calories. On gym days, this is easy. On work from home days, I sometimes have to jog around the block with Muldoon at 11:30pm until I hit 500 calories. The little fireworks show I get on my wrist when I hit all three goals is maddeningly motivating. And sometimes I’ll win badges for streaks or doubling my goals. Some people are food driven; I’m motivated by tchotchkes.

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Pretty, shiny achievements!

12 day streak complete as of Friday night.

+2 Defense – Where did I consciously avoid or deflect negative energy?
I typically spend Saturdays at home by myself while Ryan works. Sometimes this is an amazing luxury. Sometimes it’s sad and boring and I spend too much time sleeping. Because my apartment is so small, I often forget that I enjoy having people over OR that it’s even an option! This week, I had one of my best friends over to play Splatoon, do chocolate face masks and make an olive oil cake like the glam bitches we are.

+1 Luck – Something good that happened this week
One of my good friends got a bonus at work and celebrated by taking me on a lady date! We hit The Nugget Spot and then had a couple drinks at The Belfry and Beauty Bar.

+1 Wealth – How did I save towards my goals?
On average, I spend $12 on lunch PER DAY. With shifting schedules, Sundays have become more about adventure than bumming around so meal prep hasn’t been on the menu (HAHAHA zing!). Ryan bought groceries this week, so I used that budget to sign up for Mealpal. Several friends have recommended it and it cuts my lunch spending in HALF. At least. Sometimes I can get 2 lunches out of one pickup. As a bonus, it’s introduced me to a lot of new lunch spots in my work nabe.

However, I spent FAR too much money on other things this week (two new subscription boxes, books, adventures…). This will be severely curbed in the coming weeks.

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Golden Thread Tarot Interview

Now that I’ve amassed a healthy collection of tarot decks, I figured it’s about time I really get to know their personalities and differences at a deeper level. I’ve been using some of them for years, but others are still fairly new to me. Through an interview spread, I asked my newest deck, The Golden Thread Tarot, to tell me more about itself.

Golden thread tarot cards interview spread

Tell me about yourself.
IX of Pentacles
I’m all about leisurely indulging in life’s pleasures. Let’s make it rain and swim in a glittering Moroccan pool of liquid gold. I’m confident and free. That confidence and my patience mean I always persevere through the work knowing I’ll get to revel in the wealth of accomplishment later.

What are your strengths?
The Moon
I specialize in psychology and can tap into your deep subconscious to both reflect on what has been and illuminate the path forward. You can’t hide from me. I can see through your darkness and shadows to reveal the light. Get ready to get real, girl!

What are your limits
III of Cups
It will take a while to get to know me fully, but we will share a strong and unbreakable bond. I’m stubborn and introverted. Don’t share me; I won’t read for anyone else. I’m your private consultant.

Golden Thread Tarot and Rose Gold Passion Planner

What are you here to teach me?
Queen of Pentacles
Think of me as your Earth Mother, Taurus. I want to help you build a cozy life of balance, independence and stability. I’ll shower you with love and support as we work toward prosperity.

How can we best collaborate?
Queen of Wands
We’re both strong and independent in our views and we can both be stubborn. Be authentic. Be bold. Express yourself with conviction with me and expect the same in return. No BS.

What’s the potential outcome of our relationship?
X of Pentacles
We’re working toward a sense of earned accomplishment. A wealth of knowledge and contentment. A strong foundation for future success.

I’m blown away by the feminine energy of this deck. Most of my decks feel so masculine, despite many of them having a more feminine aesthetic. It’s nice to have this nurturing, but tough presence in a deck. I feel confident I’m going to develop a deep bond with this deck over time. It even feels like a fellow Taurus based on its answers! I’m super excited to work with The Golden Thread Tarot closely this year and beyond.

How To Taste and Judge Grilled Cheese

Adapted from a previous version I wrote after the 2012 Big Cheesy (I miss the Big Cheesy).

Much has been written about the arts of wine and chocolate tasting. However, the most refined palates simply must learn the required method of sampling an exquisite fromage grillé. Please, allow me to guide you into the world of toasted cheese as you’ve never experienced it before.

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Tasting always begins with the eyes. Note the color of the bread. Is it golden or a deep bronze? Is it completely burnt? Does the butter give the bread a wet sheen, a just-kissed gloss or a saturated spongy soppiness? What of the cheese? Is it peeking from the edges, bubbling softly or is it rolling like magma onto the plate? Lastly, pay attention to the cut. Whether your sample is a square, triangle, circle or star, it has been specifically crafted that way for a reason.

Aroma. Get your nose right between the slices and into the sandwich. What do you notice? (Did you burn your nose? Too close. Wipe that cheese off.)

Texture. Sink your teeth into it. A good toasted cheese sandwich should have a signature crunch. A great sandwich boasts a thin, yet substantial topical crust with soft bread and cheese blending in the center. Some prefer a harder crunch throughout the bread juxtaposed by the soft meltiness of the cheese center.

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Cold ales and ambers pair well with grilled cheese and cleanse the palate

Meltiness. This is a crucial factor in tasting grilled cheese. Is the cheese melted properly? There’s nothing worse than partially melted or still-solid chunks of cheese interrupting an otherwise enjoyable experience. Keep in mind, different cheeses and/or combinations of cheese melt differently.

Bread to Cheese Ratio. There should not be too much bread. Likewise, there should not be too much cheese. This is a delicate balance. In the case of stronger cheeses, toasted-cheesemongers may use less cheese with a combination of fillers like spinach, ham, mushrooms or other additions that will compliment the cheese without overpowering the sandwich.

Little Muenster Tasty Trio

A Toasty Trio by Little Muenster

Flavor. You should already know your cheeses, of course, so pay attention to the notes in cheese combinations. If there are any additional ingredients like vegetables, sauces or meats, identify them and ruminate on what they bring to the overall experience as well as how they blend individually.

Pairings. If your sample comes with a accoutrements, try them. With wine, sip after each bite. If it’s a shot of soup, try both dipping the grilled cheese into the soup and sipping the soup after a clean bite. If the sandwich is topped with a relish or drizzled with chocolate, do not brush it off. When in doubt, ask the toasted-cheesemonger for their recommendation for consumption.

Hungry? If you’re ready to put your newly acquired tasting skills to the test (you’re welcome, by the way), try some of the best grilled cheese sandwiches in New York at the Atwood’s Winter Grilled Cheese Festival.

Sunday Stats

*Since my family first got an NES, I’ve had a controller in my hands. Exploring new worlds, meeting new characters and experiencing stories… in some ways, I’ve just connected better with the world through games. However, it’s also very important to me to be present in my life, to improve myself, to go out and MEET the people I’ve connected with online and to expand my knowledge. I spend hours in games; how do I level myself up?

In this weekly series, I’ll chronicle how I’ve improved my “stats” with completely arbitrary scoring.*

+2 Intelligence – How did I make myself a little smarter?
I read Jurassic Park. If you know me, this does not surprise you. I know every line to every film by heart. What will surprise you: this was my first time reading the novel. I can’t even explain why it took me this long. I think I was a little bit afraid. The book proved VERY different. Characters I expected to die lived. Characters I was sure were safe, died. Robert Muldoon survived, which made me very happy considering my dog- Muldoon- is named after the notorious Game Warden and Velociraptor hunter. It was like reading deleted scenes and there were so many I’d love to see played out on the big screen. The scene where Muldoon tries to tranquilize the T-Rex saw me nervously gnawing my cuticles into actual pulp. Was it the most intellectual read? No. But it counts!

JP

+3 Charisma – How was I less awkward or more beautiful?
To put into perspective how stumped I am by girly things: when my sister gave me these Sugar Bear Hair Vitamins for Christmas, I looked at them in confusion and tried to figure out how I’d get them into my hair. Did they foam up in the shower? Did I need to burst them open for some kind of oil? Yeah. I’m a beautidiot. [Spoiler: they’re vitamins. You fucking EAT them] A big goal for me is to start getting vitamins in every day. After trying multivitamins in the past and getting sick immediately, I’ve become averse to them. I have seen more gummy options lately though. I picked up a gummy multivitamin and calcium chews on top of my hair bears. So far, I’ve noticed my hair does feel a lot softer and looks shinier, which is not something curly hair does. 

+2 Strength – New workouts, breakthroughs, challenges.
Guess who made it to spin class? THREE TIMES. I wasn’t the best about getting up for my regular workouts, but I made it up with an extra spin class on Saturday. So I’m making progress towards my goals.

+2 Defense – Where did I consciously avoid or deflect negative energy?
I had some stressful moments at work this week. But, I recognized a lot of that stress was a response to my previous toxic work environment, where panic and frantic were the default. So instead of letting those old anxieties take control, I took a walk to get some water or found a private phone booth and told myself this role is a different situation, office, team, job and fear does not apply here. Fear does NOT apply here.

+3 Luck – Something good that happened this week
One of my life goals is to own a Skee-ball machine. The problem is that they’re 10-13 feet long, which is about the length of my entire NYC apartment. But, I’ve been putting it out into the universe anyway. On Tuesday, I found a Skee-ball machine that will fit! Destiny.

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Totally counts

-1 Wealth – How did I save towards my goals?
I overspent this week. Technically, I overspent last week and that snowballed into this week. I’ve noticed this becoming a trend in the last couple of months- most notably since my boyfriend started working a very physical job and I’ve had to take on all the household responsibilities again. I usually don’t budget for groceries or laundry or household necessities like paper towels and toothpaste. This week, I started tracking these spends. This will give me a better idea of what I can budget for. It will also make me look at these items and figure out where I can cut back. I can probably get the toothpaste to stretch a little further if Ryan would learn to SQUEEZE FROM THE BOTTOM.

Do Tarot Cards Get Jealous?

Since 2009, I’ve been working with a deliciously dark, Tim Burton-esque tarot deck known as the Deviant Moon Tarot. I don’t remember how I discovered it or where I got it, but it was the beginning of my tarot practice and study for a series of poems I’m eternally writing. This deck has always connected with me. It’s become an extension of myself to the point that cards will literally leap out of the deck to give me messages. I trust it and I’ve bonded with it, but I wanted more options.

Some years later, the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn found me. This deck bills itself as a challenge with extra cards (Void cards and 99 cards for each suit, four Fools, etc…) and also presented stunning, colorful, comic book style imagery. I fall in love with it every time I open the box. It’s been the toughest to connect with, but I keep crawling back to it begging for love.

Back in January I was casually feeling up books at The Strand, as I’m prone to do any time I’m in the vicinity. I was poring over Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems when I felt a sort of warm tugging. I looked up and locked eyes with The Wild Unknown sitting randomly atop some stationery. That’s never happened before. I picked it up on the spot.

For Galentine’s Day, I treated myself to a tarot deck based on one of my favorite games- The Binding of Isaac Tarot. It’s not the most functional deck. The suits are non-traditional and it doesn’t come with a booklet to ascribe meaning to the suit of hearts (cups?), keys (wands?), bombs (swords?) and coins (pentacles?) but the art is fantastic and it crosses my love of magic with my video game vice.

I gifted myself the decadent Lioness Oracle Tarot for my birthday in April. Drawn in by the beautiful and surreal collages- particularly Nosferatu on the Nine of Swords and David Bowie on The Star- this has become my regular deck recently. It traveled the country with me last year.

As a bit of retail therapy, after a summer of working nights and weekends non-stop, I splurged on a deck I’ve been pining for on Instagram for a while- the psychedelically divine Tarot and Secret Arcana by Oliver Hibert. With roots and imagery deeply based in the traditional Rider-Waite tarot, this deck is easy to read and learn through. The saturated colors truly make this deck a favorite.

Oliver Hibert Psychedelic Tarot

Finally, for Christmas Ryan got me the ornately minimalistic Golden Thread Tarot. These cards are made of a thin plastic with golden overlays so they feel completely different from any other deck I’ve owned.

So now I have seven decks. Seven personalities. Seven moody mistresses who fall in and out of my favor. If I ask the same questions or if my decks have a message for me outside of what I think I want to understand, they’ll get frustrated and serve up the same card until I’m finally enlightened. But when it comes to sharing a shelf, I like to think they all conspire together for my greater good. With all those personalities in a room, they must have some otherworldly debates and discussions. If cards are jumping out of decks at me or I’m getting the same card, unrelated to my questions, over and over, I believe it’s because they’ve all pooled their energy to give me a cosmic kick in the ass.

I’ll post interviews with each of them in the coming weeks. Stay tuned:

Deviant Moon
The Wild Unknown
Binding of Isaac
The Lioness Tarot
The Tarot of the Silicon Dawn
The Tarot and Secret Arcana by Oliver Hibert
The Golden Thread Tarot

Nintendo Direct Wishlist

I’m pro at getting my hopes up. With an impending Nintendo Direct, I’m holding my breath for these five announcements:

New Smash for Switch – It’s inevitable. It’s too perfect for Switch to not happen. I’m certain they’ll add a Splatoon Stage and Inkling fighters, even if they’re DLC later. But it needs to go further. Nintendo has thrown a lot of support behind indies in the last year, so I’m hoping for the induction of some indie characters. Seeing the number of indie characters voted for in the Smash Ballot, it just makes sense to include some of the more popular indie characters who could have really fun fight moves. I’d love to see Shantae’s hair whip and Shovel Knight’s shovel drop.

Virtual Console – This is a way of sneaking an extra thing into my wishlist: details on Nintendo’s online service. All we know is it’s coming, it’s required for online play and it’s $20 per year. I want to know what kind of archives we’ll have access to. I’d love to see a lot of Gamecube games reworked. I never had a GameCube so Virtual Console would be my first experience with some of the best Mario games in the franchise.

Nintendo switch GameCube virtual console rumor

Splatoon Updates – In the glamor shots of new weapon announcements I’ve seen Arowana Mall in the background, and maybe Mahi-Mahi Resort, so I’m expecting more maps from the original game. Personally, I’d love to see Hammerhead Bridge return. Clam Blitz is still so new, but for me, it opened the door for future ranked modes. Hopefully we’re not done getting new modes. I also hope they nerf some of the rollers’ vertical stats. They should not have both ridiculous range AND power. It’s obscene. Mostly, I REALLY want Nintendo to give us Marina and Pearl amiibos (please oh please oh please!). I don’t even care what they unlock in the game. I just want that adorable duo as little figures!

New Animal Crossing– Sure, this is incredibly unlikely, but a girl can dream. Pocket Camp has gotten so boring so fast. I love the RV concept, though. Maybe in a new full AC we can visit other towns in the RV instead of the dream suite or train. Then we’d have two spaces to decorate as well. Some new features I’d like to see: mounting bugs on the wall (you can’t even see them in the hermit crab cages). Ability to keep a couple villagers forever. A bigger “city” area with stores and the coffee shop, Katrina and some new characters – How about a tattoo parlor? (that was a joke, but now I want it to happen!). More interactions or mini-games with visiting friends – why can’t we have a snowball fight in winter? Or have a cookout on the Island? Or have a bug/fish catching competition against each other?

Something to make the 3DS relevant again. Metroid: Samus Returns was great, but I haven’t touched my 3DS since then. I’m not ready to let it go completely so I’m hoping for some decent support through 2018, even if it’s some new Smash character or some smaller multiplayer games. I still need some time to say goodbye to my little friend (and create a new all-Switch strategy for my MeetUp group).

What are you hoping to hear?

Sunday Stats

Since my family first got an NES, I’ve had a controller in my hands. Exploring new worlds, meeting new characters and experiencing stories… in some ways, I’ve just connected better with the world through games. However, it’s also very important to me to be present in my life, to improve myself, to go out and MEET the people I’ve connected with online and to expand my knowledge. I spend hours in games; how do I level myself up?

So in this weekly series, I’ll chronicle how I’ve improved my “stats” with completely arbitrary scoring.

+2 Intelligence – How did I make myself a little smarter?
Deciding to read more this year, I joined a book club at work (accountability). We’re reading Shoe Dog, Memoir of the Creator of Nike. So far I’m delighted by Phil Knight’s story and his poetic writing style. It’s a true testament to the power of desire, determination and manifestation.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Current read

+3 Charisma – How was I less awkward or more beautiful?
My challenge this week was to wear jewelry every day. I have so many funky, artful pieces and yet I never wear any of them. I upgraded my Apple Watch band to a pretty black chain and relegated the default black sports band for gym use only. I wore a chunky necklace Tuesday and on my snow days, loaded up on vitamins and bubble baths. Delicious.

Apple Watch Series 3 chain band

Chain band = built in jewelry

-2 Strength – New workouts, breakthroughs, challenges.
Coming back from a little over a week off, getting back to the gym is tough. Couple that with not feeling well, jury duty, the influx of Resolutioners booking up all the classes super fast, AND a storm so intense they literally referred to it as a “bomb,” and I completely failed. I barely walked the dog. My 20 min walk to work each way was about all the exercise I got in and that was only Wednesday.

+4 Defense – Where did I consciously avoid or deflect negative energy?
For a couple years now I’ve felt this sort of competitive jealousy toward my old roommate. Even though we are completely different people with different dreams and desires, I felt like I needed to impress her. I felt like I needed to keep up with her glamorous barbie-doll lifestyle, even though that’s pretty much opposite of who I am. This week, I meditated on it and did a little cord cutting ritual to let go of that negative energy. It feels so gross to have that jealous energy in my chest. Jealousy stops you from being who you are and drives you to make choices that aren’t in your best interest, but rather for the benefit of someone else. You’ll never be satisfied living that way.

+1 Luck – Something good that happened this week
I got dismissed from Jury Duty after just 1 day. And I made that day very productive by updating my Passion Planner and prepping for the week ahead.

+5 Wealth – How did I save towards my goals?
I’ve been using the Stash app since June as a way to learn a little about investing and save a little money. I’m kind of obsessed with it. This week my investments hit an all-time high! They were up over 7% and earned me $35 plus paid out $4.84 in dividends for me to reinvest. If you’re interested, use my link above to sign up and we’ll both get 5 bucks.

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Watching my savings work for me