Take Care Tuesday: Planning May 2018

Well hello there, again! I don’t know if anyone is interested in how I plan out my month, but this is my “boring month” before things get hectic for summer, so I wanted to share a “basic month” (because this is most of the time for me, with small variations), before doing one like this for a summer month this year.

I’m wanting to share June’s, as she’ll be a busy AF month, and it’ll make my life seem that much more fun than it really is. I may share September’s as well, if these go well, viewer wise/if that’s what y’all want (because that’s my next good month).

So let’s get into it, shall we?

I have 3 different “levels” of planning, and one way that I always have as a template. The “template” is the Artist of Life workbook. My “levels” of planning, is budgeting (which includes a spreadsheet and marking down due dates on my planner. I won’t be sharing that here though.), then meal planning for at least 80% of the month, then to planning out how I’m spending my free time, on my whiteboard.

Most of what lands up on my whiteboard changes each month, due to what I’m doing socially (like this summer, June will look a lot different than May), and what might be going on that I need to focus on (like elections, major holidays where I want to do themed posts…check out my World Book Day post from last week, if you haven’t already).


So this is the monthly spread that gets my month really started, outside of budgeting. My paychecks vary and come every 2 weeks, so I can’t just say permanently “oh I’ll spend $500 total on groceries for the next 3 weeks” and the like. I do stick to a pretty rigid spending template, and it works pretty well, as I know if I need to sacrifice something, I know where to do it.

May is very basic and is focused on trying to tidy up some of the apartment. I wanted to go full on out, but with recent health issues between babe and I, that’s on hold, and it’s more on just trying to tidy up, donate, and discard things.

Hopefully next year, I can finish off this project, and make it a 2 step process, where this year I tidy up, and next year I organize very well, like I wanted to this year.


Of course I always have my whiteboard outlook. I’m trying some new things out lately, and so this looks so much different than usual for me!

The stars mean I have a blog post I want to have up that morning. I try to come up with the ideas early on in the week, and certain things like my book of the month review, and some series (like the 5 lives series I have going on right now read my first life here and the second one here. My next one will come out this Sunday) have set days that they’re on.


Finally on to food, this was my initial set up for food for May. Then I was watching a Q&A video on YouTube, and during it, the mention of May “Shelftober”, where you clean out your cupboards, and really find savings in your grocery budget because you do a SEVERE meal prep/aim for a $25-$50/week grocery budget (depending on family size and location).

Since pencil sucks on calendars, and I’m more for aesthetics, May got scrapped on the calendar, and I took to a word Document, and made my new May food calendar. I’m sorry May in the calendar!

Screenshot (35)

I know, this is tiny print, and ignore what else is on my screen. But this is the new May, with like a day of April and a few days of June, for sanity reasons (mostly budgeting/shopping day reasons). It’s a lot of noodles and leftovers, to say the least. But hey, food is here, and it’s a perfect time for me to try this challenge, as I need to save all the money I can.

Plus, what good is it to have food sitting around, if you’re never going to touch it? Food does go bad ya know! (haha, funny, I know)

So this is my very basic “plan with me” look. My life is usually like this, so don’t forget that over the next while, as I share with you a few months of intense exploring and fun!

Self Care Sunday: 5 Lives Prompt #2

This is the 2nd of my 5 part series of my 5 imaginary lives prompt. Two weeks ago, I shared my love for wolves. Didn’t read it? Go read it! This one is about my love of a hobby I’ve had since I was a child: photography.

My maternal grandfather had a printing business for “old” film. I believe they sold cameras as well, but I couldn’t tell you for sure. Between my grandfather’s eye on photography, my dad also had his own freelanced style of photography. Both of these men taught me a lot of what I know.

Recently, I’ve gotten back into photography, and got a nice, but starter, camera last summer, to start this old hobby I had started in my childhood. in the last half of last year, I did a good handful of photography endeavors, from a bridal shower, plus a bachelorette album, and a mother-and-infant holiday shoot.

I would love to make it a freelance job. I have done some Skillshare classes, to help with my editing skills, and making it easier on me, as I am in the middle of the actual photo shoots themselves. (I have a link to get 2 months for free on Skillshare. You’re welcome!). I also love looking at others’ pictures, as I can get ideas as well.

My favorite thing about photography, is that I can totally suck at drawing, and STILL be an artist. It’s one of my favorite creative outlets, and I’m so happy that I’m dusting off my skills. I’ll talk about another creative outlet in another 5 imaginary lives.

I’ve been continuing my skills, by taking pictures on both my phone and my camera, when I went to Pittsburgh with my dad over Easter weekend (shameless blog post insert here). All the pictures are my own on that header, plus from that same time on insta.

During this summer, I’ll be doing a bunch of traveling, so it’ll be a perfect excuse to whip out my camera and get on the photography scene. Especially since my first big trip includes Yosemite, VidCon, and Disney.

One of these days, I’ll start my journey of video-film, and I’ll definitely take you all (who want to watch) along with me. That’ll be my next formal move.

I am so glad that I started this series, and am sharing it with you all. This exercise is such a good way to get back into yourself, plus remind yourself to be creative, and imagine what other things you can do either in your free time for fun, or turn something into a side hustle, or something you might be able to work up to a full job with. What is another (or a few) of your imaginary lives?

Does anyone know of any good websites I can keep/upload my work, by album? I would like something more professional than Insta and Facebook. Speaking of, follow my insta though (shameless plug).

Waking Up to the Second Quarter of 2018

So yesterday, I gave you a recap on the first three months of 2018. Now I’ll be sharing my general plans and goals for the second quarter!

If you didn’t already know, I’m in the second year of THE Artist of Life Workbook program, created none other by Aileen Xu at Lavendaire. I’m apart of the OG from last year, as 2017 was her first year of the program. It’s a workbook, which can be done digitally (and printed, if desired…that’s what I did this year), or mailed to you, in a very cute smaller paged book (I did that last year). There’s also a private Facebook mastermind group that runs in junction with the workbook. You don’t need the workbook per se, but it is a huge influence into what goes on in the group.

Anyway, now that I’ve explained a little more of what that is, let’s jump into what I have going on, what I want to do, and where I want to see myself in three months time. Since it’s Wednesday as well, so I’m going to share my “wine Wednesday” choice, which is a chilled brut sparkling wine from California.


What are you sipping on today (or looking forward to, since we’ve made it through half the week?)


This is the quarter overview page, and as you can tell, I did the print version and typed up all that I could, then printed it out so that I could physically write down my progress during each month. The pictures I shared in yesterday’s post display the monthly outlook, as well as the quarter review. This is the other end of the quarter, since I haven’t share this end of it yet.

To give you some big goals for the overall year, my goal was to explore and learn. I wanted to read a book a month (or 12 books) at least. I’ve done 2.5 books so far. I want to read more, if I can manage, as I have a book given to me by my maternal grandma, but it is a heafty read, so I’m leaving that book for the months where I travel a lot, or when I have spare time at the end of the month, where I’ve finished the book that I have planned for said month.

The exploring end is my travel bug, that has been a general thing since I was younger. I traveled across the two US coasts near all of my childhood, and I want to actually travel. My grandparents asked me last fall if I wanted to join them on a trip, and I couldn’t say no, so hence this year is all about exploring and experiences, of all sorts.

My travels started over Easter weekend, with going to more properly explore Pittsburgh, as it’s one of a handful of close larger cities to me. I’ll be experiencing more come summer, but this was a nice introduction.

Going back to the “smaller picture”, this quarter is a strange one, at best. I have some self care and home care I’m taking care of, but in the same time, come June (the last month of the quarter, let alone the last month of the first half of the year), I’ll be traveling. To me, it’s a reward to both “adulting”, because what fun is it (and what good is it really, to your health) if you don’t have something to look forward to, and it’s also a reward for working on myself and the place I live in.

Our aparment isn’t messy or needs too much work done, but since babe was here long before me, and with the Universe granting it, we’ll be together a long time, I want to add a more personal touch that I like as well. Most of it’s just organizing and tiding up, as we’ve accumulated things. I’ve become more simplistic in material goods, and I want it to show throughout our apartment.

Organizing the house, is something that both Aileen targets in the goal setting and planning sections of the workbook, and she has a whole section devoted to the home. After reading Jordan B Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life (read my review), it solidified that I did need to get my house in order as well. He always says start with your room, and that’s always a work in progress. Then your house? That’s even more always a work in progress. Yet as long as you sort out and plan and try to expect things (like plan for when you need a new garage door, or if you have pluming issues), you’re doing pretty good.

So April is covering what I want or should get for the start of organizing the living room and attic, while May is the living room, and after that and into June, before my 2 week trip (yes half the month!), will be the attic. I have no idea what I’m getting into, but I hope I have enough time and stamina!

I have 3 books planned out, and already have two of them. I should get the third on audio book, so that I can listen to it while I’m organizing…or maybe I should just re-listen to 12 rules for life? I’d probably fall asleep on the couch if I did that!

During June, I’m letting myself enjoy things, and my biggest goal is to explore and work on photography while I’m on my trip. I have 10 busy days out of 14, which includes flying. I’ll be able to get some reading done, as well as some prep work for here.

Do you think I’m doing enough? Or do you need another drink to process all of that (haha)?

As you can tell, I’m planning to get some housework done before the trip, so that I can fully enjoy the summer, all the way through my birthday events, in September. After September, it’s all hustle and bustle to pay it off, and start saving for next year!

The fun is only starting to begin, and I can’t wait to share it with you all! Share what you have planned for summer, down below, or repost this blog and do it there!

Artist of Life: Quarter 1 of 2018 in Review

Okay, now that we’re finally done with the first QUARTER of 2018 (ahh!) I probably share with y’all what I did, what I didn’t do (but should’ve), and how I want to take (or adjust) that into the second quarter. So if you’re ready, let’s go! And if not, oh 🐋.


So January, oh January, this was over all my best month out of the three for habits. You would’ve thought with my detox from mid February to the end of March would have made March better, but hey, what can you say?!

The biggest thing I struggle with, is getting on that yoga train, hence why I have it on my tracker, to attempt to make me realize how infrequently I do yoga. I love doing yoga shortly before bed, and doing the easier rounds of it. Sometimes I’ll do a guided session from an app on my Amazon firestick, and other times, I’ll do those moves on my own, but allow my body dictate how long I should be in those positions.

Some successes I had during January, was the fact that I did my taxes right away, had one of my newer credit cards raise the limit, since I’ve been paying at least the minimum each month, and got some needed travel things for this summer and whenever else I travel, like a hard-cased suitcase (that isn’t black!), and luggage tags.


So February was a little different. February was better for yoga, and I started a month and a half long social media (minus YouTube) detox.

From the social media detox, I noticed a lot. I have been gradually editing my social media accounts to be a lot more organized, adult-like, and more tailored to my interests now, instead of 5-8 years ago (like Facebook). I didn’t miss some parts of it, like the amount of notifications you’d get. I don’t have to deal with drama all too often, so that’s a blessing. The main thing I missed, and where I think some of what happened, did happen, was because I enjoy the connectiveness of what social media has created, and I love the accountability of friends and the groups I’m in, without getting too exhausted by others, as introverts like myself get exhausted easier.

I got this blog up and started, I did some bookings for a concert in August, as well as my hair appointment that just happened. I paid off some debt, and was approved for a credit card.

I treated myself to both of Jordan Peterson’s programs, which I really need to finish the one. I should work on it tonight.

February was a handful, as you can see, but wait till you see March!


March was a weird one. I totally dropped the ball, hence me not even finishing my book for the month! I went and saw the dentist, and found out that I need my wisdom teeth pulled out (the only 2 I have).

I did Easter weekend, Palm Sunday, and St Patrick’s day with my dad. I know Easter was technically April Fool’s, but we did church on Holy Saturday, and it was very nice, even for someone who isn’t that into religion. It’s an experience to go and do, if you’re open minded like myself, and like to learn.

I got tickets for 2 solo dates while I’m out in California, one to Kevin Hart, and the other to Disneyland the next day. I also got tickets to go see Panic! in July, with friends.

Just because I booked and did a lot of fun stuff, doesn’t mean that I didn’t do just those and work my “day” job. I did babe’s taxes for him (pampered much?! haha), and like I said earlier, went to the dentist. I went 10 years or so without going to the dentist! That’s forever in teeth time lol. I also paid off a medical bill.

As you can see, I do better with accountability outside of myself, and the more people I have (sort of), the better I can do.


To recap what all has gone on during the first quarter of 2018, I’ll be generalizing what I wrote in my review book, and the 2 pages for the quarterly review.

I’m proud of the fact that I did both babe and I’s taxes long before they were due (didn’t do them last minute, and not even in April!), as well as going to the dentist. I rewarded myself by getting my hair done, and treating myself to a second solo date in June.

I’m proud of keeping up at my job, and getting a raise. With that, I of course am treating myself with the 2 week vacation in June, and the concerts I’m attending.

I’m proud of myself for keeping the job I’ve had for the past almost 5 years, and budgeting well, as well as working on my credit, and because of that, I could also take time off to spend with my dad, for all of the Easter holidays, and St Patrick’s day.

Over the last 3 months, I’ve learned that if I truly want something, I have to truly go after it, and make sure it happens, because no one else will do the work for you. The whole experience needs to be mine, if I want it. Even down to the planning, and making things as easy as possible, if I want it, I have to take the chance.

During the next 3 months, I’m looking forward to so much, which will be my post tomorrow! Check back tomorrow, to see what I have planned through the end of June, and to join me on my journey, and keep me accountable to all my goals!

Done is Better than Perfect

Insert some backstory: I’ve been following Aileen Xu for just about 2 years now. I learned of her work on YouTube from a friend I met on Twitter. Sadly, I don’t talk with her anymore, just of natural fall out over time. Aileen’s brand/Channel is Lavendaire. You can check out her work on YouTube, here on her website, and her podcast (which is on break right now) on SoundCloud (her podcast is also on Apple Podcast and Google Music’s podcast section).

Aileen created a workbook for both 2017 and 2018, out of all of the journaling prompts, creative worksheets, and broadly used other tactics, that she uses, to help her followers (including myself), create our best year yet, and in return, become artists of life. And that’s what she called her reflection-based workbooks- the Artist of Life Workbook. It’s similar to what Bullet Journals do, where there’s open for interpretation on what the monthly pages have, but it’s goal-oriented, and already is printed for you, like a planner.

Throughout the year, I’ll share more of what it’s like, so stick around for that!

Any who, Aileen’s latest video reminded me of staying consistent, as a creator of content, and that “Done is better than perfect”, something that she said last year during one of the mastermind conversation-like reviews that we have each month, that stuck with me since then. I don’t know if she’s said it before, but it really hit me then, and I haven’t forgotten that.

Over my last 20 months or so of making conscious decisions on self love, self criticism of anything I create, whether it be writing (journaling, poems, or “what would be” blogs), my photography, or whatever else, Aileen has been one of my top go-to for inspiration, and being nicer to myself.

I wanted to share this with you (her, let alone her video, and my thoughts, for transparency sake, during this part of my journey). I hope that this blog helps me grow, as much as it helps all of those who come through and read here.

I also want to share one of my favorite ways to learn: Skillshare. I read and listen to podcasts a LOT, and love learning on my own accord. During my social media detoxes especially, never mind when I want to actually learn, I go to Skillshare. I know everyone and their brother recommends it, but that’s because it’s SO WORTH IT. Do you really see ads for it? (Now you will, because YOU DON’T HAVE IT haha).

Take my code, for 2 months for $1, and explore even just one class on something that you’re even mildly interested in. As someone who hasn’t gone into higher education (as in college, outside of dual enroll classes in high school), this is such a handy way to even get ahead for those in college, let alone in the workforce already, regardless of education.