Savepoint: Midyear review

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I’ve been diligently using my Passion Planner to keep track of my life, my goals and my progress. I chose a word at the beginning of the year to embody my intentions. What have I been able to manifest so far?

Art – I’ve kept up my goal of writing here at a regular cadence. I learned some lettering techniques and doodle in my bujo instead of just writing down ideas and appointments. Now I have a guitar so I’m slowly making music too!

Plans – Well here’s a big one. I’m currently making WEDDING plans. I had no idea that would be a thing at the start of the year. Additionally, I planned time with my sister to get tattoos. Time with friends by planning regular DnD sessions, starting a new skeeball team, and returning to a monthly Nintendo MeetUp cadence.

Intention

Memories – I post to Instagram a lot less, and when I do, it’s after the fact. At concerts, I don’t record. I take a few photos to post later, but spend the vast majority of my time in the moment.

Friends – By prioritizing time with the awesome friends I’ve got, my social circle has expanded a little. At work, I invite colleagues for a post-work drink to get to know them as people.

Money – My little Rover business has really taken off! Last year, I had 2 new clients total. In just the first half of this year, I’ve gotten EIGHT new clients, as well as my regulars. Money is flowing to me easily this year.

How do you feel about your year so far?

 

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#REBIRTHday

A Very MerryRebirthdayto Me!

This is the actual cake I ordered from Butter Lane

On Sunday, I enter my 34th year of this kick ass life. I’ve been going through some shit lately and decided my word for April would be RECALIBRATE. April tends to be a cozy month where I settle into old patterns and lose all the good new habits I’ve formed. Glux came up with the brilliant idea of a Rebirthday – looking at our birthdays (which are one day apart) as our personal New Year.

So in the spirit of my Rebirthday and recalibration, I’ve set some intentions.

In 34 I will:
Do more magic!
I miss having more rituals in my life. Lately I feel like I had more rituals in high school than I do now and back then I was in the broom closet! Aside from a handful of rituals, I haven’t practiced much. AND I want to share more spells here.

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Breathe and meditate.
I feel stronger when my intuition is on point. Lately I’ve been feeling unbalanced. My goal is to set a regular time and space where I can take at least 5 minutes to center myself.

Stop letting anger win.
I’m genetically predisposed to explosive anger. I hold things in as long as I can and then when I finally snap, I burn the whole damn place to ashes. Sometimes I can’t forgive myself for the things I do and say. It feels like relationships are permanently damaged and there’s no way to fix them. Regrets like that don’t have a place in my life. I’m determined to talk it out, or journal it out and not light the fuse.

Take better care of my body
It’s not just about working out. My gym time always makes me feel fantastic. But along with my vitamin habit, I need to eat more greens and less sugar (after birthday cake, of course!). Cutting back on the alcohol wouldn’t hurt either, though Sunday Sips might need to stay a thing.

How to Have a Panic Attack

I struggle with anxiety and depression. I would like to be able to say that with the same lightness and social acceptance as “I’m suffering from a cold.” No one judges a cold because everyone gets them. Yet mental conditions, which can also happen to everyone whether temporarily or more lasting, are severely stigmatized.

My closest friends and family have told me I’m one of the strongest people they know. I’m proud of that. I’m a little afraid that if they know about my conditions, they won’t look at me that way anymore. But I’ve realized that having these conditions doesn’t make me weak, hiding from them does. Not talking about them does. Talking about them is giving myself the power to make a change and help others. So when mental health issues do come up in conversations, I talk about them casually and from my own experience.

If you’ve never suffered from a mental health condition, lucky you! You probably want to know how you can help a friend who is battling a condition. The honest answer is that I don’t know. Ask them. Sometimes I want to be left alone. Sometimes I want to be alone together. Sometimes I want a hug. It’s always different, but if you ask me in the moment how you can help, I will tell you what I need.

A public panic attack is pretty much the worst, but sometimes I have a severe panic attack on the street (writing this and thinking about it has my heart pounding and my breath shortening). The first thing I do when I feel it coming is find an alcove or non-busy doorway to scrunch myself up in. Then the hyperventilating starts. I try to stay low to the ground until I can get back in control so if I pass out, I don’t fall. Luckily, this is NYC and mostly, people pass you by. Sometimes people stop and stay with me, talking to me and offering help. They ask questions that help me get the shitty energy out by venting or they help me focus on something else. Most of the time, I have to pull myself together.

Some ways I cope are:
Focus on my breath, count each one
Put on my Songs for Survival Spotify playlist
Visualize my calmest memory
Text my therapist
Whisper a reassuring mantra to myself
Call my sister

If I’m home:
Aromatherapy – citrus or lavender are favorites
Focus on candlelight
Make some calming tea
Scream into a pillow
Draw a simple repetitive pattern
Lie in the cool, empty bathtub
Call my sister

Different things work for different people. And sometimes certain methods don’t work at all. But please don’t be afraid to communicate what you need and seek help. You’ll get through it. You will get through it.

Lessons from #NoSpendFeb

As a result of some uncontrolled spending in January, I put myself on a strict financial diet for February. I tracked my daily spending to the last cent and resolved to not make purchases unless I really needed to. My strategy looked like this:

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I wasn’t always perfect. Concert tickets for the summer all seem to go on sale in February and there were some opportunities I couldn’t miss. But I learned so much about myself and my habits in the last month.

1) I’m very impulsive with money. On the night of the Super Bowl, I tried to buy a case of Tastykakes while drunk. Luckily my card wouldn’t go through and I (also luckily) didn’t have my credit with me because I hid it from myself (also while drunk) and I can’t find it.

2) Wishlists work. I created two lists – Wants and Needs. Needs are obviously prioritized and include things like new sheets. The Wants are things I’d typically buy myself in the moment, and maybe regret later. By adding it to the list, I can let some time pass and see if it’s still something important to me. Maybe someone needs a gift idea for me? Maybe I don’t want that thing anymore? Do I want this $300 water bottle filled with diamonds? Yup. Do I need it right now? Probably not.

3) Make your wallet inconvenient to access. This was so simple and SO unexpectedly effective! I switched from a messenger bag to a backpack recently. To access my wallet, I need to take the backpack off, unzip the compartments, and dig it out. It’s kind of a pain. When my wallet was easy to access in a side pocket, I could whip it out all too often. Now when I stroll through The Strand, I have to really think about if I want to hold up the line to excavate my wallet to buy a new book. I keep daily essentials like my work badge and MTA card on the back of my phone, but not my debit card.

4) Don’t autosave card numbers into websites. One-click purchases are just too convenient… and often thoughtless! I took my numbers off Amazon. Seamless. Paypal. Modcloth. Pretty much everywhere. Ticketmaster got to keep my card info. That’s it.

4a) DO automate saving! I had an ambitious savings goal of $1,000 for the month. Granted, tax returns helped with that quite a bit, but my bank also lets me set goals based on timing and then automatically moves money into those goals every day.

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5) There’s a lot of free stuff to do around the city. I kind of knew this already. But I rededicated myself to finding free or cheap things to do. There’s lots of free music. Free tastings. Cheap performances at the PIT. One of the reasons I LOVE living in NYC is that i consider my crazy rent part of my membership

6) I appreciated my paid activities more. Like lunch with Tony. And Galentine’s Day festivities. Likewise I felt bad about money events I can’t control – like a “team lunch” that we had to pay for ourselves where I ended up with a $21 appetizer-sized crab cake after splitting the bill 😑 It was really a lesson in value over cost and how to balance the two.

7) Rethinking gift giving. I tend to throw money at spoiling the people I love. It’s a Taurus thing reinforced by my Dad’s specific way of expressing love. For Valentine’s day, instead of a fancy night out and big gifts, I got Ryan a Movie Pass subscription and a poem I wrote about him when I was SIXTEEN. So now we can have a cheap date night at the movies whenever we want!

8) I didn’t check my bank account as much. Because I wasn’t worried about money! Usually in the week leading up to payday, I’m anxious about my account. I check it at least once a day. I always pay all the bills first, but when I’m frivolous with money I don’t feel secure. Since I was very closely tracking my spending, I always knew what was in my account without even having to check. It was a much better feeling!

9) My friends are awesome. Not a new lesson, but it really helped to have friends who understood my experiment and were supportive of the mission. No one was offended if I said no to a spendy hang out. I really appreciated their company instead of worrying about how to keep everyone entertained.

10) I have a mild shopping addiction. It gives me a RUSH to pull out my credit card and punch in the numbers… and then guilt. I feel out of control when I buy things sometimes. I don’t want to feel like that. I channeled that energy into working out or discovering an amazing piece at one of the museums I have memberships with.

I highly recommend trying a No Spend month! The daily spending tracking habits I’ve developed will continue forward, help me save more than I ever imagined, and force me to prioritize my needs over impulsive wants. If you try this experiment, let me know how it goes!

Favorite Places: Coney Island Brewery

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Since we’ve reached peak craft brewing in this country there aren’t many breweries left where you can feel like a regular or enjoy truly exciting beers. But in a world of IPAs akin to kiddie rides, Coney Island Brewery has earned their hashtags #TakeTheRide and #ThrillYourTastebuds.

On a typical Saturday in summer, you can find me wandering between the brewery and the Freak Bar, sipping beers, emphatically cheering on the sideshow and talking to freaky new friends. Even on winter weekends it’s nice to escape to a place that feels so much like my childhood home in Wildwood, NJ.

Coney Island Brewery Black Lager

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I’m a big fan of their quirky and creative events. In the summer, they host big happenings and can releases at least once a month. My favorite last year was the Cotton Candy Festival. The Cotton Candy Kolsch is one of my favorites so I had to pick up some cans to bring home.. Not too sweet, but perfect for a summer afternoon.

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The Brewery’s Birthday Bash in August was also a total blast. Sideshow performers hung out and did their acts among the crowd Adam Realman, my sideshow professa from Sideshow School 2012, ripped a deck of playing cards in HALF and made my boyfriend bleed trying to replicate that feat of strength.

We spent Super Bowl VII with CIB at Kitchen 21, enjoying our favorite craft beers as the Eagles historically won their first Lombardi. Most recently, we celebrated Valentine’s Day with an excellent beer and chocolate pairing.

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Freak Show Saturdays are a great opportunity to get freaky with flavors. As CIB describes their Randall infusions:

Every Saturday a new, mad, reckless experiment in beer science will be conducted in our taproom as we infuse one of our styles with a new ingredient.

Think NY Honey Stout infused with Cafe Grumpy espresso beans, our Merman NY IPA blasted through two chambers of whole cone Mosaic hops, or perhaps Mermaid Pilsner infused with lemon starburst?

As someone who is routinely drawn to events to try their newest releases and limited editions, this is a kryptonite that guarantees I have plans every Saturday!

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It’s no surprise I’ve been a member of the Beer Freak Club since last year. I’m only one punch away from the mug club and definitely on track to score one of those BEAUTIFUL Beast Stainless Steel Growlers only the freakiest fans earn.

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NYC Beer Week is coming up fast and I’ll be checking out a couple of spots. I’ll definitely be at the kick off party at the brewery next Sunday. Then March 1, I’ll be hanging out for a while at the Brazen Fox. I love when CIB comes to my neighborhood! Who else is coming out?
beer week

Subscription Addiction

Copy of Sunday Stats

Ages ago, I had a Lootcrate subscription. It was fun for a while, but it was also overloading my shelves with junk. Most of the themes were too broad for my interests and I wasn’t getting enough gaming items. Too much of the stuff ended up in the trash because I couldn’t deal with the clutter. I canceled, but they’ve evolved a lot in the last couple of years and have a bunch of more specifically tailored options now. Their sock crate is probably worth it! To be honest, if they did an underwear box for women, I’d totally get that.

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Typical LootCrate

When Lootcrate first came onto the scene, along with a handful of other subscription boxes, I remember thinking that this fad would never catch fire. In our digital era where minimalism is a lifestyle, magazines and mail subscriptions are virtually deceased, I just couldn’t fathom why people would want to amass STUFF on a monthly basis.

Then, in a Twitch stream on Dyscourse in 2015, I discovered Indiebox. Indiebox delivered collector’s edition PC games with amazing collectibles. I still enjoy the Axiom Verge soundtrack! It was an awesome way to discover new games and play new genres. I particularly appreciated the game download codes so my shelves didn’t fill up with jewel cases like the 90’s. Unfortunately, in September they shuttered the subscription service portion of their business model. RIP.

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My Favorite Indiebox

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My first Indiebox

Through the magic of instagram, I met Goddess Provisions where I’ve been a member for almost 2 years. Each month I get candles and aromatherapy oils, a bit of chocolate maybe or other tools to raise my vibration and connect more deeply with the universe.

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January’s awesome Goddess Provisions box

Now almost everyone I know maintains some kind of subscription. But how did this happen? How did something kind of silly and seemingly so off trend explode into a cultural phenomenon?

My theory is twofold:

We’ve forgotten the joy of surprise.
When information and answers are a tap away, the amusement and satisfaction of discovery has dissipated. New memes are old news as soon as they start trending. Through social media, everyone learns about major events at practically the same moment. If you don’t see the hottest new movie on opening night, there’s a massive chance someone is going to spoil it for you.

True, genuine surprise is rare anymore. Sometimes instagram spoils boxes for me!    We know everything before we know it and discovery has gotten boring. So, the arrival of a package packed with mystery goodies tailored to your interests brings back the thrill of surprise. It’s like finding a loot crate in real life! #GamesIRL

Getting physical mail is AWESOME.
Most of the good stuff comes to our email inboxes now, while our mailboxes are filled with disappointment- direct mail marketing pieces (still? REALLY?), local menus and credit card offers. A mission to the mailbox typically ends with a jaunt to garbage can.

Remember getting care packages in college? Or any kind of gift in the mail? It turns a trip to the mailbox into your own private holiday. It’s a parade in your honor. Subscription boxes are like a gift each month, and if you pay for several months in advance, it doesn’t even feel like spending money for the duration!

Glux introduced me to Cratejoy (and she talked about her subscription experiences here) where we both went a little wild on the options in January. I’ll review some of the new boxes I’ve subbed with in the coming weeks. Do you have any favorites?

2017 Credits

Let ’em roll!

2017 was the fastest year I think I’ve ever experienced. That’s probably a good thing. I did a lot of great things and fought through a lot of not so great things. Trying to navigate this weird new reality around me and find my center every day. It was a year I spent trying to distract myself FROM everything WITH everything. My depression got REALLY bad as a result. Kind of a mess, but this bull is ready to lock horns with 2018 and make some magic every damn day.

What I did // Got a sneak peak at the Nintendo Switch in January. Became an IBMer and landed my dream job! Ran my 5th 15k. Had a kick ass time in NOLA for my sister’s bachelorette weekend. And then served as Maid of Honor in her gorgeous wedding! Saw Shakespeare in the Park. Lost $200 and felt horribly out of place at the Belmont Stakes. Stuffed my face at Donutfest with Gluxbox. Spent a magical 4th of July at Coney Island with all my freakshow friends. Checked out the INCREDIBLE Jim Henson Exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image. Saw so many concerts I started a new section here dedicated to Live Shows. Was completely underwhelmed by NYCC. Experienced one of the greatest Penn State Football games of all time vs Michigan and was part of a record-breaking crowd over #110kStrong. Went fly fishing and caught the most monstrous brown trout ever. Checked out a lot of cool new breweries.

Most-played albums // Bush*Black and White Rainbows + all the other albums, of course / Gorillaz*Humanz / Band of Skulls*By Default / The Dead Deads*Rainbeau + For Your Obliteration / Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds*Who Built the Moon / The Orwells*Disgraceland + Terrible Human Beings

Most-loved shows & films // Master of None. Game Of Thrones. Rick and Morty. 13 Reasons Why (even though watching it made me relive a lot of horrible shit). GLOW. Blade Runner 2049. American Vandal. Stranger Things 2. The Lure – a horror-musical mermaid Polish film. Love (more like hate-watching this one). Easy. Salem. Black Mirror

Places I Traveled // Austin, TX (not as weird as advertised), NOLA (If you need recommendations, I have them all!), Atlanta, GA to the Coca-Cola HQ. Philly. Monterrey, Mexico.

Live Shows I Attended // Paul Gilbert. Morgan James. The Gin Blossoms (and caught a pick!). Garbage x Blondie. Bush x 3!!! Paul McCartney (and Bruce Springsteen came out for the encore!). Brian Wilson. A Perfect Circle.

Top purchases // Nintendo Switch! Neon Yellow joycons for said Switch. Velociraptor socks at The Strand. Oliver Hibert’s Tarot and Secret Arcana. SNES Classic. Gold boots (they make me feel like a goddess and I get TONS of compliments every time I wear them). Apple Watch Series 3 – lifechanging. Passion Planner so I can make goals and break them down into tasks to ensure I’m staying centered, practicing gratitude and moving forward/upward.

Style obsessions // Gamer bounding (sometimes accidentally). So much black. Bomber jackets. Biker boots. Leopard and suede. Pins (all of the pins). Metallics. Trucker hats (I somehow amassed a collection as if it’s 2002…). Vintage t-shirts. Black and white leggings with psychedelic patterns.

Best things I did for myself // Started a Bullet Journal. Created a daily tarot ritual. Crystal bed therapy- I had some insane visions and left feeling both balanced/relaxed AND more powerful than ever! Ramped up my side hustle on Rover.com – I made over $3,000 to hang out with so many awesome dogs! Got an Equinox membership- it’s sweaty, eucalyptus scented bliss and the most motivating gym I’ve ever been to. Tried a spin class and got addicted to the bike. Stopped being ashamed of my depression and learned to ask for help when I need it.

Top games // The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch). Shantae: Half Genie Hero (PS4). Ever Oasis (3DS). Splatoon 2 (Switch). Stardew Valley (Switch). Super Mario Odyssey (Switch). Night in the Woods (PS4). Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS). Destiny 2 (Xbox). Golf Story (Switch). Oxenfree (PS4). Animal Crossing Pocket Camp (Mobile- I know! Never thought I’d see the day…). Worms W.M.D (Switch). The End is Nigh (Switch).

What were your biggest highlights of the year?