Thinking about It Thursday

This week, I'm thinking...

(Ice-covered car window from 2016--I haven't taken any winter pics yet this year)

(Ice-covered car window from 2016--I haven't taken any winter pics yet this year)

  • That it's such a Western NY thing to do to start training for a 5k outside in the snow
  • That running on snow-covered sidewalks is akin to running on a sandy beach
    • except for the temperature
    • and the color of the sky
    • and, basically, any color visible anywhere
    • except my neon running clothes
    • because I'm desperate for color by February
  • That "running" may be overstating what we're doing at this point
  • How excited I was when I saw that I don't leave town for vacation until after the Color Run is in Rochester
    • so I get to finally do the Color Run
    • because don't all quilters basically want to take a bath in color?
  • How that means I'm suddenly going from not-a-runner to signed up for two 5ks in a row
    • because the "graduation" event of the running club is the Wegmans Family 5k at the end of April
    • and the Color Run is in the middle of May
    • so I know I'll keep running for at least that long!
  • That I'd really better not blow out my knee this time around or I'll be seriously ticked at myself
  • How that's the reason I joined the 5k training club through Fleet Feet
    • so I would train properly
    • and have people to ask about form and such
    • and not have to run alone
    • because that's creepy
    • even if Fleet Feet did make us all get headlamps to wear for our evening runs until daylight savings time
    • so we'll look like an alien glowing caterpillar when all 50-ish of us are out running two-by-two along city streets
    • which makes me really wish someone could get an aerial shot of that
  • How I've still got a lot of prep to do before Saturday when we're hosting a tea party for DD's 24th birthday
    • because she's big into tea
    • and so am I
    • and its fun to bring out for once the family tea sets we've inherited
  • That I can't wait to make the cranberry orange scones from my friend's recipe because those scones were dang good when she gave some to me as a Christmas gift
  • How I need to save up as many WW weekly points as possible for those scones
    • and clotted cream
    • and homemade preserves from my sister-in-law
    • but at least I drink my tea straight....

OT Tuesday--Color Analysis

Here's another off-topic post for you, although it does very loosely relate to quilting and embroidery as it's all about color. Operative term being "loosely."

Even though I'm good at working with color in quiltmaking, and with my hand-dyeing past I have spent years studying color, color relationships, color schemes, and the like, when it comes to wearing color or putting color on my face in the form of cosmetics...well, somehow that's a completely different thing.

I kinda-sorta know what colors worked for me. And I didn't. All at the same time. It felt like now was the perfect opportunity--as I'm working my way through a few different wardrobes this year--to create a far more strategic closet only including things that look great on me and I feel great wearing. I've mentioned doing Imogen Lamport's Ignite Your Style Genius workshop--that's where I started really thinking about colors and contrast when it comes to my outfits. I know I'm a "high value contrast" person as I have dark hair and eyes but relatively fair skin. Generally that means I'll look and feel best in high contrast outfits. I'd already sussed that one out myself. In Imogen's system, I'm also a "low color contrast" person since my hair and eyes are both brown (as opposed to a redhead with green eyes, for example, who would be a "high color contrast" person.) Technically, that suggests I'd do well in monochromatic outfits, but that's not really my jam. I prefer more color going on than that. But beyond that, I really had problems figuring out what colors and color schemes really worked best on me.

And now I know why. As it turns out, I'm a human bridge! Or, perhaps, I'm deeply complex. A mystery wrapped in an enigma.... Whichever image makes me seem more fascinating, that's the one I'll roll with.

I did a little research but really didn't want to rely on online color analyses working from photos or Skype. Too much margin for error with computer monitors. I wanted to do something in person, so I went to Kerry Jones of IndigoTones. She had rave reviews and she travels all over doing color analysis for people and groups so I thought it was worth a shot, and boy am I glad I did it. It was an extremely educational hour for me!

Not only did we determine my best colors, but we also talked about my style (I'm a "natural" with a splash of "creative" going by the five categories she used) and how I could work to integrate my new color knowledge into my current wardrobe--which has a whole lot of my not-so-best colors in it at the moment. She also had me bring my makeup with me, which could fit in one small bag as I'm terrible at choosing eye shadows and blushes that actually look good on me--and lipstick is a complete loss (don't like to wear it much anyway)--so I've been throwing out a lot of what I'd collected over the years. Once we determined my color "season," she put some different makeup on me and it was a pretty amazing difference. I actually looked awake! 

So--the results are:

I'm a Bright Spring!

Why could I never entirely decide whether I was "cool" or "warm?" Because I'm actually neutral--which means I'm a little of both, but on the flip side, some colors of either tone also look really bad on me. Boy, did that answer a lot of questions!

Additionally, whenever I tried to do my own analysis with online processes, I would tag myself as one of the winters but never felt like it was exactly right. Bright spring (aka "clear spring") shares some elements with "clear winter," hence my confusion there too. IOW, there are some clear winter colors I could get away with wearing and they'd look okay, but not as good as the bright spring/clear spring colors.

I've always loved bright colors but my career has moved me away from them--my felt need to dress fairly conservatively--and because I have dark hair and eyes in my formative years I'd often been steered towards the darker colors. I remember being told once as a teenager I should "always wear brown" because I have brown hair and brown eyes. All I could think was, "how incredibly boring!" (As a point of interest: ever since then, I've rarely worn brown. Don't tell me I "should always" do anything. That's the fastest way to make me never do it.)

Bright Spring color swatch from Indigotones.com

Bright Spring color swatch from Indigotones.com

But guess what? It's time to let my Bright Spring come out and play! I'm far enough along in my career now that I have a much better sense of what I can get away with and where versus where I have to tone it down--plus, well, I gotta be me. My three color words to remember are "Bright" (the highest priority), "Light," and "Warm." Where I was most interested in the nuances was in the neutrals--black actually washes me out a bit, where as the warmer grays make me look brighter. Interesting. Not ditching my host of black cardis quite yet but will probably mostly weed them out over the next year.

After my analysis was done, I immediately stopped in a consignment shop with my color fan and picked up a gorgeous mint green blouse, a coral and purple sleeveless top, and a soft gray casual tunic top that will be great with leggings; plus, because it made me giggle, I picked up a shocking-coral colored funky necklace*. For us bright springs those funky necklaces are all da bomb. I have a penchant for funky jewelry anyway (note the "creative" in my style words above), so that's an easy one. Plus, that's one of the tips for working with my current wardrobe--take a less-than-great-colored top, throw a "bright spring" scarf or necklace with it and it'll make it look a whole lot better on me.

Something in me is very excited to let my Fuschia out.

*Consignment stores are my new best friend. I've scouted out a handful of excellent ones in the area with quality clothes aimed at me as a target audience rather than at teenagers. Gotta love getting a great pair of gray suede booties for $18. And bonus: They're already broken in and incredibly comfortable! My favorite "chain" consignment store is Clothes Mentor. Check to see if there's one near you.

Planner Progress

Today's post is about planners; I thought you might like an update (for those of you who are actually curious about this--the rest can close this post and move on).

I'm back to the bullet journal again. I lasted about a day and a half in the Passion Planner. Really, I do love the way that Passion Planner is set up and the way it feels in my hands and everything...it's just not right for what I need right now. It felt too cramped for everything I was trying to get into it. Most of what I really loved about it, though, was the process of it. The Passion Planner includes weekly and monthly reflection questions that I might poach into my bullet journaling system--or, perhaps more accurately, "be inspired by." 

In any case, here's where things stand with my current bullet journal. I'm still testing spreads out and trying different techniques (I refuse to call them "hacks" even though everyone else does, since how can you "hack" something that's basically an individualized, free-flowing, "open-source technology" anyway? Sheesh). 

I like having a monthly, weekly, and a daily spread. A lot of bujoers (look at me, using the lingo and everything) do only weeklies, or only dailies, and monthlies are hit and miss depending on the bujoer. I like all three, though I use them for slightly different things. My monthly is just a one-glance overview with dates, calendar events, travel, etc. When I move into a larger bujo I'll also include monthly goals in the spread (those currently live on a separate page in my cramped current book). I do also do a monthly mindmap/goal brainstorming page that gets translated into the weeklies/dailies accordingly. My weekly includes scheduled events again, but it's also primarily for meal and workout planning. I've messed around with trying to include weekly "MITs" (Most Important Tasks) but honestly, for tasks, I mostly go to my dailies. I've also tried keeping a "look ahead" kind of spot for things that occur to me during the current week that I need to remember for the following week but, again, my current book is so tight on space that's been a tricky one.

Here's the weekly spread I've been using with a few tweaks here and there the last few weeks. (It's intentionally pixellated to maintain at least some semblance of privacy!)

Note--I didn't make it to that cardio kickboxing class on Monday as that was the day I was in bed with a stomach flu. The meal planning was also ignored. I got to the Greek Chicken (From SkinnyTaste Fast and Slow cookbook) on Wednesday night instead--very good, even with a still-somewhat-unhappy-digestive system.

In any case--the weekly gets translated into the series of dailies, a two-page spread for each day.

As you can see, my bullet journal is a combo of schedule, tasks, and journaling. I keep moments of gratitude, things I'm proud of myself for doing health-wise and my "why" for doing those things (and I credit these two daily entries for a large part of why I've been so much more successful in my health goals this time around, but that's a different post), and then some random notes as needed. 

That's worked pretty well for me, although for a lot of days the tasks and schedule parts are fairly blank because I still keep all my work-related and school-related things digital. My bujo is strictly for personal goals and home-related tasks. Additionally, rewriting my meal plan every day did help me keep it in my head, but I don't always take the time to do it. (I track what I've actually eaten in the WW app.)

So this week I'm experimenting with a different type of spread I'd seen on Pinterest and found intriguing: It's called the Dutch Door. There's a few variations on this but I liked the horizontal one best. In this, you cut away the tops of some of the pages to create one larger spread with a series of smaller spreads underneath. It takes a little planning, and it depends on your notebook how easy those in-between pages are to cut out, but I managed to make it work pretty well. 

My weekly spread is now along the top, with a "dashboard" of sorts on the first left page where I keep everything related to the whole week. Then each day has one of the smaller pages in the middle. I liked someone's idea of folding a strip of washi tape across the top of the smaller pages to help delineate the separation better--plus it keeps those smaller pages a little stiffer and easier to turn without grabbing the whole week at once. It's nice to be able to see the week all the time without having to re-write schedule and meal stuff every day. I have high hopes for this spread.

You'll also see I'm playing around with color/decoration again. I don't know. I struggle with visual clutter, but I think once I start writing in the boxes it will be helpful to keep the headings visually separate from my writing. We'll see. 

I'm not sure how many more weeks I'll get in this notebook--I suspect only one full week. I'm looking forward to moving into the new notebook because it has significantly more real estate, plannerly-speaking. And you can see I've already installed my nifty pen holder! 

 

Fight the Funk Friday

It was the best of times...it was the worst of times...

This week started out in a hole but it got better!

As you already know (if you've read any posts or my twitter feed earlier this week), I started out with the stomach flu Sunday evening into Monday. Most of Monday was spent in bed, and by afternoon I was on saltine and apple juice rations. Tuesday I was back at work--mostly because I work from home because I'm not sure I'd have been able to get myself out the door--but my energy levels weren't great and food was still an iffy proposition. By Wednesday, I was eating pretty normally again, although keeping it in the easily-digestible category. I took a shot at going to the gym for some cardio Wednesday afternoon, which I'm proud of myself for doing (not letting a slip become a slide, as they say). However, even though I'd intended to keep it "low and slow"--low resistance, no incline, not worrying about speed--I still only managed about 25 minutes of the 45 I'd hoped to get in. Still, 25 was better than none!

Thursday was a banner day, though.

First, I got my 25lb charm at my Weight Watchers meeting--woo! Even though I was tempted to think, "Yeah, but I had a stomach virus," the fact of the matter was I had been eating normally for a couple of days so that should've balanced out by then. And besides, I didn't have a virus for that entire 25 pounds. So I choose to be proud of myself, and just keep myself on track as I have been. Viruses happen. It's the overall picture I'm staying focused on.

Second, I had my first session with my new trainer, Lore, yesterday afternoon. I enjoyed her, and she clearly knows what she's doing. Her background is in competitive power lifting and she's certified in Russian Kettlebell training, so we all know what my future looks like! Yesterday's session was primarily a movement assessment so it was a bit lighter on the workout itself than it will be in the future--but that was fine with me given I still wasn't feeling 100%. But the stuff she had me doing was almost all new to me and I could feel it. So here we go!

Third, I got my log-in information last night for my 5k training program through FleetFeet sports, so that feels real now! My husband signed up to do it with me, so it'll be a good way for us to spend time together while being healthy. I go to pick up the registration information after work today and, while I'm there, I'm going to do a fitting for a new sports bra. I have YET to find one I love--only ones I can mostly tolerate--but I've also never actually been fitted for one so we'll see if this works better. (Sorry if that's TMI, and sorry, non-female-identifying-readers!) The first group workout session/launch party is tomorrow morning. The schedule is two group trainings a week (Wed/Sat), and two trainings on our own. 

So that means my workout schedule next week will be: 

  • Sunday: 5k training "homework"
  • Monday: Cardio kickboxing (which will help strengthen me for the running)
  • Tuesday: 5k training "homework"
  • Wednesday: 5k group run
  • Thursday: Strength-training session with Lore (no cardio)
  • Friday: rest day
  • Saturday: 5k group run

Good thing I got that stomach virus out of the way this week (knock on wood).

By the way, Fitbitters, I currently have no idea where my FitBit is. I took it off when I was sick and it has yet to surface. I remember putting it somewhere that made sense at the time. Umm...

Thinkin' about It Thursday (and retreat report)

This week, I'm thinking...

  • that I can't post pictures of most of what I did on retreat this past weekend because they're going to be gifts
  • that it's unlikely that the recipients actually read my blog
  • how it's sometimes a pain that I have this blog linked to Facebook
    • because then the pics may show up on FB
    • and they might actually see them
    • and it'll be pretty darn clear what's going on
    • because how many people in my family are expecting right now, anyway?
  • how I can at least post a pic of this finish.
  • that it's nice to have it done
    • but I don't know how often I'll wear it
    • because it wrinkles like the dickens
    • and I hate ironing clothes
  • how I'm lucky it actually fits because I measured it to myself 25 pounds ago
    • and it fits now, so it probably wouldn't have if I'd finished it then. Go figure.
  • how my friend taking the picture said "strike a pose" and so I did
  • that it's obvious I'm not a runway model.

 

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  • how I used my last hour on Sunday morning of the retreat to get some random non-sewing stuff done
  • like filling in my next week's layout in my bullet journal
    • because yes, I'm back to bullet journaling
    • because going back to the planner lasted about a day and a half
    • because I just felt too cramped to breathe in a pre-printed layout
  • how I actually used colored pens
    • and a ruler
    • and planned a layout ahead of time
    • so I could fill it in fast "on the go" during the week
    • and then I got a stomach flu almost as soon as I got home
    • so the first couple of days remained blank because I couldn't deal
    • so, so much for pretty layouts
  • how this is a handy little gadget for any book that you need a writing utensil for.
  • that I can now add a pen holder to any journal I use (it's got an adhesive back so you can just adhere it to the inside back cover).
  • how everything I get involved in has its own world of fun little supplies.

(This post includes Amazon affiliate links--thank you!)

Caution! Problems with a Best Press Scent

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One of my quilty friends on our retreat just showed us a problem she had with the Winter Magic type of Mary Ellen's Best Press. This may have been a one-off (maybe one bad bottle) but still--be careful! I've used other types of Best Press for years and have never seen this happen with other types--we suspect it's the green coloring in this one. (Yes--she's contacting the company.) 

It sprayed on fine, but when she pressed it, the heat from the iron made the Best Press darken and stain the fabric.  

I apologize that this blog post doesn't look pretty but the Internet and cell coverage at our retreat center is sketchy at best so my iPad is struggling to do even this much! 

 

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Fight the Funk Friday--More Recommendations

My primary way of fighting the funk this week is by being on a quilt retreat with my peeps as you're reading this! If you follow me on Instagram and/or Twitter, I'll be posting pics along the way. 

Meanwhile...

  • The Weight Watchers Coaching that I'd mentioned a few weeks ago is now complete. I only needed a couple of sessions with her to get myself back on my mental game (it was all mental, in this particular instance). I found her helpful for a shot in the arm but nothing I need long-term. However, I'll have the name of the coach I had in case I need to get another shot in the arm at some point down the road.
  • I decided I needed new sneakers this week when I had yet another session of painful feet during my cardio kickboxing class earlier this week. I know foot cramps can also be due to dehydration but I really don't think that was the problem in this case--it's a different kind of all-over soreness. I'd bought the Reeboks I've been wearing maybe only three months ago, but my feet have never been comfortable in them when I'm in a class. They were on sale when I bought them so I'm fine with transitioning them to a "bop around town" sneaker--they're fine when I'm just walking in them--and replacing them as my primary gym sneaker. I know some of it is just needing to strengthen my foot muscles (sitting behind a computer for years on end really does do a number on your entire body), but the right shoes can make a world of difference. Rather than going back to the minimal brand selection of my local mall, I ordered a pair of Rykas online. I love Rykas--I've had them in the past and they fit my foot beautifully. I don't know why I ever left them. They're not cheap but being able to get through a cardio class of any kind without gritting my teeth because my feet are whining is seriously worth it. 
  • I also had to buy new workout pants this week. Not only were my feet whining during cardio kickboxing, but my pants kept wandering downwards and, as they were long yoga-style pants, they kept getting caught under the heel of my sneaker. Not only annoying, but just a little dangerous! In the grand scheme of going down in size and what that would do to my wardrobe, I'd never given much thought to workout pants. But yay--I need new workout pants now!
  • While I'm on retreat, I'm going to focus on trying to move every hour. My BFF/BQF Lori will also be on the retreat, and she plans to take a 20 minute walk every day, so I'll probably join her for that. That largely depends on the weather, however. It's supposed to be in the 20s this weekend and the retreat center is on a lake so we could get more snow. We'll see.
  • Finally, can I recommend a couple of cookbooks to you? These have quickly become my primary sources every week when I'm doing meal planning. 

The Skinnytaste blog is well known and she does post a bunch of recipes there, but the cookbooks are well worth having. My particular favorite is Skinnytaste Fast and Slow (link at left). "Fast" are recipes that take 30 minutes or less--primarily skillet or stovetop types of meals. "Slow" are slow-cooker meals. I do a lot of slow cooking this time of year, particularly now that I'm going to the gym several times a week. When I get home from my trainer I can't handle standing at the stove. I've done a bunch of recipes from this one--including this week the Slow Cooker Pollo con Potacchio which got a 10 from both me and my husband. She provides nutritional info for each of her recipes and, if you're a Weight Watchers person, she also gives the SmartPoints, although they're on her website rather than in the cookbook itself. (The nutritional info is in the book.) I just wrote the SmartPoints in for every recipe when I first got the cookbooks so I had it all in one place.

Her other cookbook, self-titled, is also very good. My favorite go-to recipe in here is the Buttermilk "Oven Fried" Chicken. It's fantastic. 

This one doesn't separate out slow-cooker recipes--it's just a normal cookbook--but it does still have some in it. There are a wide range of recipes to suit most tastes, though, including vegetarian. I pay attention to that because my daughter is a vegetarian but my husband is a meat-and-potatoes guy--so when she's over for dinner and he's gone for the evening, I get to play with the vegetarian recipes.

Having these two cookbooks on my shelf has really helped me in my endeavor to eat healthier!

(This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links--by using them you're helping to support this podcast and blog. Thank you!)

Thinking about it Thursday

This week, I'm thinking...

  • that I'm back to using my Passion Planner again
    • for awhile at least
    • just to make a more complete comparison with bullet journaling
  • that part of the problem was visual clutter
  • that apparently not a cute-sticker-kind-of-girl
  • that they ended up just annoying me and getting in the way
  • that color coding even feels like it takes too long
    • even though I know it's a helpful tool
    • but I need to streamline or I won't use anything
  • how much better I felt when I ripped all the added note pages and financial trackers out of my Passion Planner
  • how I apparently like a clean and minimalist interface
  • that I'm not keen on always having to draw my own monthly and weekly calendars
  • how the Passion Planner provides all that for me
    • which is very handy
    • because I'm basically lazy
    • and I'm not someone who needs my planner to be a work of art
  • how I keep waffling, though, because I can really see the use of a bullet journal
  • that you're probably all getting really sick of reading about my waffling
    • so I should just keep it to myself from now on
    • until I finally commit one way or the other
    • and then I can let you know the end of the story
  • how much I'm getting out of Imogene Lamport's Ignite Your Style Genius workshops
  • how I took four big bags of clothes to Goodwill this week
    • because 3/4 of them are now too big to wear (yay)
    • and the other 1/4 are not good colors for me, good shapes, or good at playing in the sandbox with the rest of my clothes so why give them real estate in my closet anymore?
  • how I like having an emptier closet because I know everything in it actually works
  • that I can't wait to hear back from the person I've contacted to set up a color analysis
    • because that will really help me shop smarter when it comes time to fill some of that empty space again
From Feb 2016 but it'll look about the same this year--my "Squares of Chocolat" quilt is my retreat quilt. (No "e" is intentional: Chocolat was a line by Moda that most of the quilt was made from, and it's the Square in a Square technique by Jodi Barrows)

From Feb 2016 but it'll look about the same this year--my "Squares of Chocolat" quilt is my retreat quilt. (No "e" is intentional: Chocolat was a line by Moda that most of the quilt was made from, and it's the Square in a Square technique by Jodi Barrows)

  • that by the time you read this I'll be on a quilt retreat
  • how exciting it is to be touching my sewing machine again
  • how I'm trying to keep myself reasonable in what I want to get done
  • that I'm looking forward to the weekend with my peeps!

OT: January StitchFix

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So, perhaps I really ought to be calling this the February StitchFix as that's what it really is: each month's box comes towards the end of the month before. But that'll eventually get too confusing, so I'll just consider myself as having gotten two Januarys and we'll move on from there. 

Once again, I ended up keeping all five items they sent. There were a couple I was debating but--again--with the full-box discount and a couple of credits (thank you, kind reader!), it ended up being cheaper to keep all of them than it would have been to send two back. I suspect I see a theme developing. However, "debating" means I liked both of the questionable items at some level and could see how I could integrate them into the rest of my wardrobe--they just weren't my favorites. So I'm going to challenge myself to wear them both a few times over the next couple of weeks to allow them time to work their ways into my wardrobe-heart. 

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Yes, that's a bag you see on the bottom of that box. Yay! They clearly are looking at my Pinterest board because I've probably pinned about 40 versions of this same bag.  

The one they sent is reversible, which makes it a little extra fun.  It also comes with the little zippered pouch that has pockets inside, because the bag itself has no pockets (understandable given the reversibility). I like the idea of the little pouch because it would actually fit in a few other bags I own so I could feasibly just start moving that bag to change purses. Kind of handy. I've also found that the pouch acts as a purse organizer--in other words, it's a lot faster for me to find my chapstick and reading glasses than when I'm digging through a pile in the bottom of my purse. Nice, unexpected benefit!

 
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I like the lighter side out a little better; I think that's because of the little bit of contrast with the handles and tassel. But practically speaking, that would get beat up looking pretty quickly. It's not real leather, though, so it may be easy to wipe off. 

The only knock on this bag is there's no closure; it's just an open bag. So security-wise, not so hot. I've used it the last couple of days just bopping around town, but it's not coming on airplanes or on vacations with me. 

 
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This was one of the two I was debating. One thing I've learned about myself by looking at all my pins and my reactions to things in StitchFix boxes is that I prefer organic, curvy prints to geometrics. This print is not one I'd ever have picked off a rack to try on. However, it's wonderfully comfortable, a great seasonal-transition piece, and can dress up or dress down. So it's an excellent addition to my wardrobe from all those perspectives. And I don't hate it. I have a lot of this burgundy in my wardrobe, as well, so I've already found one dressier outfit I can make with it; wearing it with jeans is easy. I know I'll find others. 

 
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Can't go wrong with basic black. This is another wonderfully soft, lightweight short-sleeve sweater that will be great for work, no worries. It's just a hair on the sheer side so I need to be a little careful what I wear foundationally, shall we say. You can't tell easily in this picture but it's a hi-lo sweater (cut lower in back than in the front), so I think it could look a little more interesting with dress pants than your usual black top. 

 

 
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So you may be surprised to find out this was the second item I was seriously debating--or maybe not, since you don't have the benefit of seeing the rest of my closet. But I have a couple other duster-length cardigans that I wear frequently. In a lot of ways, this one should be right in my wheelhouse. It looks darker here than it is in real life;  it's sort of a dark gray-blue (or gray-teal: it really is a bit of an odd color). It fits me really well, and I like the style of it, but the color feels like it'll be a tricky one to work with, and the hood automatically makes it a titch more casual and less flexible between work and play.

I'll definitely be able to wear it and I imagine the color will grow on me as I do. It's wonderfully comfortable!

 
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And last...when I pulled this one out of the box, my first reaction was "ugh." It looked completely shapeless and unappealing all folded up. But when I tried it on...it immediately became my favorite. My husband and daughter (who had come to mooch a few meals off us on a broke weekend) immediately said, "that's great!" I wore it running errands today and got a couple of compliments on it too. Definitely a keeper.

So--StitchFix #2 gets a 7 out of 10 for me. StitchFix #1 was a 9 out of 10, I think--although I suspect when I first got it I would've said 7 or 8 out of 10 due to a couple of pieces I wasn't sure about, but I've worn the heck out of them so they went up in my rating system after the fact. The same is quite likely to happen with this box too!

Interested in StitchFix? Here's my referral link: https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/10141355, or just go to www.stitchfix.com.  

And now, back to our regularly-scheduled programming....

 

Fight the Funk Friday--Another App Review

App girl here, with yet another app to tell you about.

As I've been working on fighting my funk, there are several habits I've been trying to get into before work and before bedtime. I've been using habit tracker apps* to keep me mindful of the good things I want to be doing, but those haven't helped in terms of figuring out, for example, what time I need to get up in the morning in order to get everything done that I want to get done before starting work. Also, it's way too easy to drop into the time-suck of reading blogs while I'm waiting for the caffeine to kick in, and suddenly it's time to hit the shower to get ready for work.

I was complaining about this to my daughter one afternoon. I said, "I need something that will give me an electric shock to say, 'Hey! Stop reading blogs now and start doing your school reading! I mean it!'" She told me about an app named Routinist

No, there's no electric shocks involved. And yes, you have to remember to actually open the app to get things rolling. But other than that, it is actually a helpful little app. You start out by giving Routinist your "go time." Everything works backwards from the time you need to leave the house and/or start work in the morning, or whatever "go time" you need to have everything done by.

You plug in the things you want to include in your morning routine, how much time you want to allot for each of them, the number of hours of sleep you want to get, and the things you want to include in your pre-bedtime routine...and it then tells you what time you need to start your bedtime routine in order to get to bed in time to get your desired hours of sleep so you can get up at the right time in order to accomplish your morning routine before you have to go to work. Clear as mud, right? But really, it works!

As you complete each element of the routine, you check that element off and it starts counting down the next element. You can set up notifications so it goes off to remind you to start things rolling. I've found it pretty helpful...that is, when I've remembered to turn it on. (Somehow I've missed the "Turn me on!" notifications a few mornings.) 

*And a word about habit tracking apps...

I've been using the app Productive (iOS only, I think) for a long time. I chose that one after testing a bunch of different ones out, and I really did like the way it worked.

 

However, every now and then, when I start falling out of the habit of keeping up habits, I try to instill newness in some way so it'll feel fresh again. I've recently switched to using the habit-tracking app Today (also iOS only--sorry, everyone else!). 

It's just prettier, really. It's taking me a little while to get used to using it as the swipes are different than in Productive. I may end up going back to Productive because a lot of times simpler is more useful and pretty is usually anything but simple. But still, I needed a change, and an app is an easy thing to change, so why not? 

Just for a quick catch-up on health: No weight change this week, although I view that as a win after my husband's birthday weekend. I balanced out the extra calories with a lot of extra calorie-burn. I consider it "learning to maintain," which will be a critical skill once I do reach my goal weight. I did the cardio kickboxing and cardio step classes again this week--still love them--plus a few other serious cardio sessions at various times through the week. I've finally connected with my new trainer--for some reason, my email was dumping her emails. Anyway, here she is. I think I'm going to love her. I'll definitely be getting my Inner Tough Chick on. (Due to conflicting schedules, I can't start with her until Feb 9.)

Thinking about It Thursday

This week, I'm thinking...

  • that it's finally decided to be winter again.
  • how I'm back to running space heaters and wearing fingerless gloves in my office.
  • that apparently I'm leaning into the bullet journal thing.
  • that I was ridiculously excited to get the email that my next StichFix has shipped.
  • how it's almost like Christmas to open that box and see what they've sent.
  • that I've got to keep myself from checking out front every day to see if my package has arrived yet.
  • how it'll probably be early next week when it finally comes. (Tapping fingers on desk.)

 

  • how it was almost as fun to get my husband subscribed to StitchFix for Men
    • because he absolutely hates going shopping
    • and his wardrobe decreased by at least 50% when he changed jobs last spring and donated all the free logo shirts he owned from the former company
    • and we joked that there would be some very well-dressed homeless men downtown doing some free advertising for said former company.
  • that I was right to convince him that setting up delivery from StitchFix every couple of months would help him update his now-mostly-empty-closet without the grief of having to go to the mall
  • how he whined even just filling out the stupid questionnaire (sigh)
  • how right I was
    • because he actually liked a lot of what was in the first box
    • and he's keeping three shirts (the two button-downs and the flannel)
    • and he grudgingly admitted it was probably a good idea for him. I win.
  • how it's like pulling teeth to get my draft thesis proposal done 
  • that I'm trying not to stress because I'm supposed to be turning it in within the next week
  • how I'll be spending some heads-down time this weekend because I just need to get the monkey off my back.

(The StitchFix link above is a referral link--you'd be helping to support my husband's wardrobe, LOL. If you prefer, just go to www.stitchfix.com and click on the StitchFix for Men tab. This link is not a referral link.)

Making It Monday (Scrapbook and Fashion Week Edition)--Jan 23 2017

Again, nothing in the quilting or embroidery world going on here. Still working on my class assignment. But this weekend was also my husband's birthday as well as the first year anniversary of his father's passing, so one of his brothers flew in from out of town and there were a couple of family gatherings, as well as my husband and I on our own celebrating his birthday. So I didn't get either classwork or creative stuff done over the weekend, but lots of good family memories were made.

Speaking of memories, what I can report on is that I have successfully completed my first page of a Project Life scrapbook using their new app. I believe I already blogged awhile back about how Sandi of Quilt Cabana Patterns and I have sort of a "soft challenge" going to complete some scrapbook pages--basically, we're encouraging each other forward. Since I'd never used PL before, I did a quick test page using some photos one of my D.Min. friends had shared with us from our January intensive. It took me all of about 15 minutes to create this page--can't beat that! I put a big black box over the names--the actual page looks much friendlier than this. Now that I know it works well, I'll finish the other pages I want to do in this particular album--at least, all the pages until graduation, which will have to wait until May 2018. I can complete this album quickly because, frankly, I don't have that many pictures: just enough for one page per intensive. At the same time, I'm working on the album from our 25th anniversary, but that's going to take a lot longer--hundreds of photos to sort through. I'm also thinking this would be a great way to do a quilt documentation album, which I've really slacked off on. Maybe once I'm done writing my thesis next fall...

Palette from Alphonse

Palette from Alphonse

The other thing I played around with had to do with my closet. It was actually very creative! I'm doing Imogene Lamport's 12 month "Ignite Your Style Genius" program, which involves activities every month on different themes to help you develop your personal style and get smarter about shopping. I know, I know. Like I have time for this. But it's something entertaining for me to do in the evenings when I'm feeling a bit fried and y'all know how I'm trying to seriously update my wardrobe. It's a lot of fun and it's already been really helpful! It's got me looking at some of my clothes differently. January has been about color--right up my alley as a quilter, right? So I've been having fun playing with different color schemes. I did one activity last week around finding an image and pulling the color scheme from it--I used an Alphonse Mucha print (he's one of my faves).  I uploaded it to Adobe Color CC and pulled a palette from it, then went to my closet. 

I didn't have much of a problem pulling together outfits with this palette--there's a reason I like that particular Mucha print. (And yes, that's Scrapabonzitude on our bed--thanks to Charlotte!)

Two of the three outfits are composed mostly of clothes I've owned for awhile but hadn't thought to put together before. The camel pants on the left are new due to a sale at Chadwicks of Boston.  But I'm still feeling my way into finding good outfits for them as they're not a color pant I've ever owned before. Seriously comfortable, though, so I'm highly motivated! I'd already worn them as part of another outfit so I'm getting there--my new rule of thumb is that if an item of clothing doesn't work with at least three different outfits, it won't take up space in my closet anymore. Makes getting dressed in the morning a whole lot easier that way!

So those are my creative endeavors of the week, along with still working on finding a planner system that really works for me but doesn't take more time to keep it up than it does getting the stuff done that's written in it! 

Announcing the Winners of the 2017 Quilty Resolutions Giveaway

Woot! Thank you all for leaving your wonderful--and often very thought-provoking--comments on the 2017 Quilty Resolutions Challenge and giveaway. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading everything you've said!

I'm pleased to announce the winners: Ozzypip! aka Philipa from Australia; Darrell; and Mary K, whose third time worked with bells on! I've emailed each of you so be sure to check your email and respond with your mailing addresses (if you haven't already--I'm writing this ahead of time as I'll be away on Saturday). 

I didn't keep a spreadsheet with entries this time around, so you're on your own recognizance. Remember what you've promised yourself to do and if you don't trust your memory, bookmark the page with your comment on it and check back in every few months to see how you're doing.

And so, until next time, go get your balanced quilty on!

Fight the Funk Friday (and some more about planners)--Jan 20, 2017

I'm trying out a couple of new twists to what I've been doing--or, rather, things that I think will work better towards reminding me to do what I've been doing.

First, I'm back to using my lightbox this week. It's been a mild winter and more sunny than usual, so I haven't used it more than once or twice all season, but I don't get out in the sun much even if it's there. Since I realized my motivation for life was starting to flag a bit, I thought it was time to get back into the habit. It is helping.

Apple Watch Series 2 Nike edition

Apple Watch Series 2 Nike edition

Second, I've discovered that the Apple Watch "stand" notifier wrist buzz is far easier to ignore/miss than my FitBit Charge HR wrist buzz had been. The Charge would vibrate for about a second two or three times in a row. The Apple Watch gives me two little taps. If it doesn't register in my consciousness, it's gone. Trust me, I had everything on the watch set as high and loud as it could be set. I just need something that will almost reach out and cuff me upside the head to get my attention when I'm really focused on work. So I've started using either the straight-up timer app on the Watch--which has a much stronger vibration than the stand notification does-- or a web-based Pomodoro timer instead, which makes my computer sing to me. (For more about the Pomodoro technique, click here.) I've been moving more during the day since I made that switch.

Third, I've also started playing around with bullet journaling this week. I'll speak to how that's helping to fight the funk in a minute.

Why am I thinking about switching it up so soon after starting with the Passion Planner? I've now taped so many extra pages and inserts into my Passion Planner to allow me to do everything I want to do with it that I'm close to breaking the binding, and I've only got January and part of February set up. No way will this thing survive a whole year of this. And it still doesn't have room for me to do everything I want to do. Don't get me wrong--I still love the concept of the Passion Planner, but I want a slightly different layout that matches the way I think better. Last week, I ended up buying the Weight Watchers journal tracker so I'd have more room to plan out my eating and such. I do my final tracking digitally using their app, but I like to plan out an entire week of meals ahead of time when I'm doing my grocery list on weekends, and it helps me to write it in every day's schedule ahead of time so I'm not making decisions in the moment but only following my own plan. Unfortunately, my compact Passion Planner wasn't quite big enough to do that. Yes, I could get the full-sized planner but the whole point to switching from my DragonTree planner to the Passion Planner was to have something I could carry in my handbag. However, I don't like having two notebooks I have to keep track of all the time.

The first time I looked into bullet journaling in the fall I got extremely turned-off by how complex everyone seemed to say it "should" be. Some people's keys/legends are--well, I won't be judgmental here, but I'll say "they wouldn't work for me" and leave it at that. I also felt like it wouldn't match the "neat-and-orderly" side of me--you know, that side that has to have all my labels on boxes match or I get twitchy. Having something as free-form as a bullet journal made me worry I'd get equally twitchy.

Earlier this week, though, I stumbled across some videos on YouTube that suddenly made it seem like it would be the perfect system for me. (She has several, I'm only embedding the first one here.)

Basically, I think I'm getting ready to get over myself about the twitchiness. I'm a brave girl: I can handle having everything just appear in my journal in whatever random order it occurs to me and using an index--or dividing each journal up ahead of time in ways that would make me feel more neat-and-orderly. I think.

At the moment, I'm still keeping the Passion Planner going at the same time as the bullet journal. This helps me really compare which one is better for me. There's still a lot of beauty for me in having pre-printed calendar items while still having space for me to go free-style. So I'm also pondering the hybrid possibility of what Sarcasm & Sweet Tea describes on her blog. (Hence looking at Daytimers and such again.) 

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Since I had an unused blank book already in the house, I'm currently using that as my trial bullet journal. Pretty, but it's smaller than what I'd want to use for realsies (smaller than the Passion Planner), and being hard-cover it doesn't lay flat so it's hard to write in. But it's good enough to give me a feel for how well bullet journaling and I will get along.

What does that have to do with Fighting the Funk? Part of what I want a planner to do is help me stay focused on personal goals, most of which have to do with health and wellness. I want to be able to do quick "micro-journal" entries, as it were, about why I did or didn't achieve a daily goal or how I felt about what I did get done, etc. I'm also writing my daily "why"--why I have the goals I do--and a daily "proud moment" to remind myself not to beat up on myself. This is all critical stuff for fighting my particular aroma of funk so I want a planner system that will allow me space for that as well as tracking tasks and schedules.

What's critical for fighting your funk?

Thinking about It Thursday--January 19, 2017

This week, I'm thinking...

(Bullet Journal from www.bulletjournal.com)

(Bullet Journal from www.bulletjournal.com)

  • that there's way too much pressure to have a pretty planner.
  • that I need to stop looking at them on Instagram and Pinterest.
  • that I am about to burst the binder on my planner with everything I'm adding into it to make it work for me.
  • that maybe I should explore bullet journaling.
  • that bullet journals seem excitingly free-form but a bit scarily too-free-form.
  • how much our personality determines what kind of planner really works best for us.

 

  • that I may go back and look at Daytimers again as well.
    • that I haven't used a Daytimer in probably 20 years, since I got my first Palm Pilot.
      • how old that makes me feel to even say the words "Palm Pilot."
        • how some of you reading this may not even know what those words mean.
  • that I really only have a couple of more weeks to figure out what I want to do more long-term about planners because pretty soon I get super-busy again
    • and a good planner will make a huge difference to how stressed that makes me.
    • and wine.
  • how helpful it was to talk with a Weight Watchers "coach" this week
    • and how proud of myself I am that I sought help
    • because I tend to be cussedly independent
    • and that can sometimes make things worse.
  • that I'm still waiting for a phone call from my hopefully-new-trainer.
  • that my PT appointment this week hurt but helped.
  • that I can't wait for my massage therapy appointment next week.
  • how it takes a village to raise a Sandy.

 

Making It Monday

I'm trying a new weekly "theme" out for this blog. Not sure I'm loving the title but we'll see if it grows on me. In my efforts to blog more frequently, and in my hopes that needing to blog about something will make me get something done, I'm going to try to post every Monday about something creative I'm working on--quilting, embroidery, or whatever. 

My school peeps

My school peeps

I was supposed to be driving to Boston today (Sunday) for my last set of on-campus classes for my D.Min. program. However, (1) our class doesn't actually start until around noon on Monday, (2) I realized that I blipped and never told the coordinator I'd be coming in on Sunday and therefore would need a room in the retreat center for an extra night, and (3) Massachusetts got a boatload of snow this weekend and they're not as on top of the whole snow plowing thing as we are in Western NY. All of those factors combined made me decide to leave stinkin' early (stinkin' early!) Monday morning and drive straight through, giving me a whole unexpected day today. 

Yes, I'm still getting a little laundry done so I can finish packing. And yes, I had a little more school work I could get done. Other than that, though, I'm treating my "found time" like I try to treat "found money"--since I didn't expect to have it, I'm doing something fun with it.

The other half of the story: In looking for stickers I could use in my new Passion Planner, I belatedly realized I could use all my old digital scrapbooking files and make my own stickers. Doh. I've been spending a little too much time having fun with that over the last couple of weeks. However, that led me to exploring some new digital scrapbooking sites and I discovered that Becky Higgins of Project Life now has an iPad (and iPhone) app, allowing you to create Project Life digital scrapbook pages on your iPad. I tweeted Sandi of Quilt Cabana Patterns (@quiltcabana) because I recalled she used to talk about doing Project Life. She affirmed that she'd been doing them but hadn't ever finished her third album. Long story short, we've now challenged each other to make progress on Project Life albums. We'll check in at the end of every month on our blogs with our progress. Care to join us? We could do a linky! 

Since I'll soon be out of town (by the time you're reading this since I'm scheduling it to post Monday), I spent some time today choosing which PL album I'd tackle first and uploading the necessary photos to iCloud so I could have it with me in Boston if I get random downtime and need mental recovery time.

Since we'll be taking our 30th anniversary river cruise this coming May, I decided that finally putting my photos from our 25th anniversary river cruise into an album would be good anticipatory preparation! I took about an hour today to sort through the photos and delete blurry ones, multiples of the same thing, and those that were just plain uninteresting. I won't be using everything that remains in the PL album but I figured I'd just send everything to iCloud and sort further as I go, depending on how I decide to organize my pages. 

Notes to self for 30th anniversary cruise (aka, "What I learned from wading through the 25th anniversary album"):

  1. Fewer pictures of painted ceilings, please. They all start looking the same after picture number 23. 
 

2. Fewer pictures of random statues and fountains. See #1. (Recognize that one, @katisquilting?) 

 

3. More pictures of my husband and I together. We appear together twice in the 25th anniversary set. Let's see if we can beat that record on our 30th, eh? 

Fight the Funk Friday

Not much to say today except:

1. I'm sad because yesterday was my last session with my fun, motivational trainer. I'm working on getting signed up with a new one but I'm out of town all next week for my last session of on-campus classes for the doctoral program so the gym director suggested I call him when I get back. Past experience has taught me that it'll take a couple of weeks to get reconnected with someone. However, when I do, if I like her I'm strongly considering working with my trainer twice a week rather than once a week through the rest of the winter when my motivation is always at very low ebb. All that remains to be seen, of course, as I have to get connected with someone first.

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2. I'm happy because I stopped waffling and decided to go ahead and buy myself a new FitBit. I'm back to the One. I love love love my Apple Watch for everything else...but FitBit and Apple are competitors in the wearables department so FitBit has certain parameters set up that make it impossible to use the step count on my watch for challenges. I'm using a 3rd party app, Sync Solver, to supposedly sync steps from the Apple Health app to FitBit. It's a bit hit and miss--I have to remember to use the Sync Solver app for the sync (it doesn't do it automatically), and when it syncs, it's not 100% and I can't figure out any sort of pattern to it. Even when it does sync, however, FitBit won't allow steps from 3rd party apps to be counted towards challenges. The putzes. Not enough people I know can do challenges through the Apple Health app, either (or, rather, the third-party apps you have to use to do them with your Apple steps). I realized in my few weeks of going without those challenges how motivational they are to me--my step count has definitely dropped now that I don't have that accountability. So I ponied up for a new One so I can be back in that game. 

3. I'm a bit on the fence emotionally because my daughter and I are strongly considering signing up for a beginning running club hosted by a sports store in the area. It trains you for a 5k. I've never actually liked running but doing it in a group may be more fun. And if both my daughter and I stick with it, it could be a nice bonding thing. They aim towards a 5k in the city at the end of April. We're going to the informational session at the end of this month--that's when I'll decide if I'll bite or not. 

4. I'm surprised and perhaps a bit naive about the fact that I haven't really been using my lightbox this winter. Part of that's because we've had more sunshine than usual. However, I'm not getting outside in that sunshine much because it's been dang cold and windy, so I'm sort of waiting for the SAD shoe to drop and for me to suddenly get cranky and completely de-motivated. I probably should be using that box preemptively. I just keep forgetting.

5. I'm a little nervous about the fact that I signed up for personal coaching through Weight Watchers. I have my first call tomorrow and I'm not sure what to expect, nor whether I'll find this useful. However, I wanted to give it a try. You see, I have a pattern in which I get to a certain weight and then start monkeying around back and forth within a couple of pounds for-freaking-ever and eventually (every time in the past) end up just bagging the whole thing. I'm at that weight now. It's tended to take on the appearance of a boogieman in my mind since I've had this happen a few different times now. I had a slight gain this week and all my mental alarm bells went off, so I sat in my car in the parking lot after my meeting and signed up for a coaching session to make sure I successfully get myself over this particular hump. Don't worry--I know this gain is pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things and it's not the first gain I've had on this journey. Don't feel you need to reassure me or give me advice on that point--my head is in a good place. It has more to do with the particular threshold I'm sitting at and years of past history. I'm not beating up on myself in any way. I'm just making use of all the tools at my disposal to make sure I'm successful. If I don't have a good vibe with the coach or feel like she'll actually be able to offer anything different than I'm already getting, I won't pursue it further. But if she does, well, hey--why not?

That's all for this week! I may not get blog posts out next week as we're in lock-down when we're in class. So, if not, I'll see you the week after....

Thinking About it Thursday: Apps, Planners, and Blog Posts, O My! (More New Year Organization)

I think it's time to return to my Thinking About it Thursday posts. This one is more wordy than they usually are but I've got some 'splainin' to do.

I saw this book referenced on someone's blog and thought, "Color me intrigued." I now have one in my reflective little hands: The 52 Lists Project by Moorea Seal. I'm an inveterate list-maker so the idea of using lists to reflect in a meaningful way seemed like it would be right up my alley. I received it on Tuesday, and did the first week's list and can already highly recommend the book. It's a beautifully designed book, the list topics are really interesting--many are pretty unexpected--and each one has a suggested action item at the end that can make even random-seeming lists make sense in your life. It's obviously designed to start in January and go the full year, but if you got it at a different time of year, you'd just start in that section of the book. The weeks aren't dated but they're organized seasonally.

Since I got this the first week of January, I started with the first list, which had to do with goals and dreams. I've done a lot of work on goals over the last few weeks (years, really), so I thought I'd already know what would come out of my pen when I sat down to write. But as I let myself go "stream of consciousness," I discovered I had a lot of other less-obvious goals, dreams, wants, or whatever you'd want to call them, that hadn't been formalized into my mind-maps in my planner. I don't believe in overloading myself with goals, but many of them were simple things, such as the fact that my husband and I have gotten into a bit of a rut with our date nights and always go out to dinner or a movie (or if we're really time-efficient, dinner and a movie). So now I've added into my planner reminders to find area events and check museum hours and such. Little things that are so easy to do but tend to get lost when we're busy!

One of the things that showed up on my list as a goal (I won't call it a resolution) for 2017 is to be a bit more regular in my blogging and podcast than I was able to be last year.

1. I now have a goal of blogging at least once a week, preferably twice, even if I don't have anything of value to say. I also have a goal of posting a podcast episode once a month--and if I don't have much to say, it'll just be a short one!

Looking forward to that? LOL. I'll try to keep it interesting. There will likely be less quilty stuff and more general life stuff than I like to do, but it is what it is. However, I'm hoping the accountability of seeing "write blog post" or "post podcast episode" on my task list will keep me to another of my goals:

2. Embroidery or sewing every week, even if it's only 10 minutes. (That's 10 minutes a week, not 10 minutes a day. I know my limits at the moment.)

I'm more likely to be able to do consistent, short bouts of embroidery as there are some rather obvious moments in my daily schedule that could be more productive than they've been in the past. It's more a matter of making sure I have everything at-hand where I'm most likely to use it, so it's an easy pick-up-put-down kind of thing. I will finish that dang Halloween BOM by next Halloween, dang it.

3. Change up my personal-life task-tracking system to be more readily accessible.

I've been using LifeTopix for years and really like it on a lot of levels, but the developers have focused on making LifeTopix deeper, not broader. In other words, it's an extremely feature-rich program but it hasn't increased in user-friendliness nor in expanding it's platform (it's only on Mac/iPad/iPhone). Since getting an Apple Watch for Christmas, plus looking at how I really work during the day, I decided to test out a bunch of other task-management apps and am now using a combination of Todoist and Google Calendar to replace LifeTopix. I haven't deleted LifeTopix yet as I may ultimate decide Todoist doesn't quite hack it, but so far, so good. Todoist is available on ALL platforms--so I can sit at my computer and throw a bunch of tasks on there as they occur to me, I can be on my phone or iPad, or do fast checks and updates on my watch. It's also a lot faster to enter tasks in with appropriate schedules and priority than it was on LifeTopix, so setting up my reading schedule once I get my syllabi should be a lot faster. There were some workarounds I had to find out in order to get Todoist/Google to be as close a replica to LifeTopix as possible but so far, so good. (If you'd be interested, I could do a post that reviews the apps I tried, pros and cons, and why I ultimately chose the one I did. Let me know.)

4. Using a paper planner. (No, I haven't missed the irony that this comes immediately after talking about apps!)

Studies have shown that writing something by hand really does cement it better in our memories and, somehow, makes things feel more significant an important. As digitally-oriented as I am, I really wanted the more physical experience of working with a paper planner. I'm now using a Passion Planner. Again (you know me) I did a ton of research and downloaded a bunch of sample pages from several options but really liked that the Passion Planner had a lot of ways you could customize it to your own needs. Sure, customization means printing things hard copy, cutting them apart, and taping them into your planner, but that's just a good excuse to use some cute Washi tape, right? My planner and my digital apps work in consort with each other. I sit with my planner last thing at night and first thing in the morning to review my goals for the day. No work stuff is in here--just personal goals. Task items then get added to Todoist but I also have pages in here for reflections, notes to myself, inspirational quotations, habit checker lists, and so forth. Right now I'm finding it super-useful. We'll see how things go when I get back into the full mayhem of school in session.

There are a lot of other little things I'm working on but those are the biggies. On my Fight the Funk Friday post I'll share some things I've added to my healthy-living tools. Or, more appropriately, added back in again. And by then, maybe I'll have done some embroidery to share!