Random Musings

@arcadiapage

Writer | Artist | Creative Life

4,254 words

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Robust and Forgiving Perishable Food Items

Fresh items that take more than a week to go bad when stored properly:

  • Citrus (lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges, etc)
  • Avocados
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots (Root veggies in general seem to have a longer life span)
  • Onions
  • Garlic (Fresh garlic and onions last longer unpeeled)
  • Spinach
  • Spring mix

When fresh spinach starts to wither, just cook it!

Dairy Products that last:

  • Cheddar
  • Parmesan
  • Yogurt

Blocks of hard cheeses can last for quite awhile.

Not as robust, be super reusable...

Bananas, Apples, and Berries

When they start becoming overripe, these items are easy to freeze. Use in smoothies or in a simple baked fruit crumble. Apples can be made into apple sauce as well.

Tomatoes and Cilanto

Both can find new life as pasta sauces. Use tomatoes for a more traditional pasta sauce. Cilantro makes a very nice pesto style sauce, even if there are no pinenuts on hand.

Older tomatoes can also be used for homemade salsa.

Shopping at the Thrift Store

When it comes to living a life of small adventures, the thrift store is a prime opportunity. An active thrift store is always changing with new stuff to discover. Plus pre-owned items have history and character.

Although in a past post I wrote about getting paid to create, the truth is that I don't make nearly enough to earn a living from what I create. I work part-time, and my husband works part time too. Then by living frugally, we make ends meet while still having the time to be creative.

It's tough reaching that place where being frugal meets quality. Yes, buying that more expensive item may give a better return on investment for the long run, but often the money to make that investment isn't in the bank yet. I have to save up to buy quality, and unfortunately, I don't always have the time (or ability, due to bills) to save up.

However, I've found that cultivating good taste is more important. With good taste, it's possible to see the full potential in an inexpensive item, which allows me to get as much out of it as if it was a more expensive product.

The other day I bought a dress at the thrift store for $5.00. It was love at first sight for me, and this dress looked brand new! The fabric was fresh. There was no pilling or unraveled seams. It was in black.

I bought it with no regrets.

On multiple occasions when my mom has come to visit me, she'll compliment me on a piece of clothing I'm wearing and ask me, "Where did you get that?"

Every time I say, "The thrift store," she is blown away. "How can you find such nice clothes at the thrift store? When I go there, I can't find anything," she exclaims.

When I was a teen, my mom and I were mall shopping buddies, so her shock is understandable. But it all goes back to what I mentioned before: good taste. From spending plenty of time looking at new clothes, I know what a good quality used garment looks like.

When thrifting for clothes, I look for:

  • Newness. Does this item look new or barely worn?
  • Fabric pilling, undesirable color fading, lack of shape, and stains. If a piece of clothing has any of these problems, I don't buy it.
  • Unraveling seams. If the seams are coming loose, I don't buy it. Hems though, are an easy fix.

Also when I go to the thrift store, I have a specific item in mind. The day I discovered my black dress, I entered the store mainly to buy a black dress. This reduces the overwhelm that seeing so many random items can cause. On top of that, finding what you're hunting for adds to the excitement.

When shopping for inexpensive items from the thrift store to the dollar store, I also try to focus on natural materials because they last longer.

Glass, wood, metal, and ceramics are good materials. Also things made of silicone are good. However, I avoid plastic. Cheap plastic is just low quality all the time. And old plastic isn't much better.

So if you want to get the best out of low cost items:

  1. Learn what quality looks like. Plan a fun day trip to visit a store known for good quality and design. Take pictures of what inspires you.

  2. Get clear on what it is that you need to buy. Knowing the item and general color is enough. Don't get too specific. You want to leave room for unexpected possibilities.

  3. Then hit the cheap and used stuff stores. Look for natural materials and used items that look almost new or are in good shape.

I used to be uncomfortable with thrifting, but by following these little guidelines, I've become more confident.

Living a Life of Small Adventures

Not too long ago I published my book,Idealist Dreams: How I Learned to Plan as an INFP. In response to my book, I received a fascinating comment. Someone noticed that in my writings, I brought up the concept of "small adventures." They mentioned that they found this idea inspiring and wanted to know more about it.

Sometimes when someone points out something to me, the little light bulb goes off in my head, and I'm like ah-ha. Other times when someone points out something to me, it's like someone flicked a switch in my head and the light bulb, overwhelmed with energy, explodes.

This was a light bulb exploding moment. My brain was like, "WHOA!"

The idea of small adventures has been a deep part of my everyday life since childhood. However, I didn't notice that this concept could be meaningful until someone brought it to my attention.

It will take a lot of writing to express what it means to live a life of small adventures in detail, but below are the basics.

By the way, living a life of small adventures is not tied to location. It can be experienced while being out and about or while sitting on the couch. It's mainly about mindset.

Spirit of Curiosity

Having the spirit of curiosity involves being aware of what catches your interest, no matter how small. Then it involves asking "Why? Who? What? When? Where? How?"

Think of scientists who study natural phenomena. Why do rainbows occur? Why do stars twinkle? Why do I love this brand of coffee so much?

Using my tea addiction as an example, if I come across a blend of tea that I like, I often ask myself, "What is it made of? What process could have gone into making this blend?"

Spirit of Discovery & Inspiration

Curiosity is the act of being intensely interested. Discovery and inspiration involves taking action based on that interest.

Dig until you find answers that are personally meaningful and satisfying.

Continuing with the tea example, this could involve me looking up how to make a DIY tea blend, being inspired by my curiosity.

Spirit of Experimentation

This involves taking the answers found and putting them to work in the real world. Just try it!

Sometimes potential answers come from an external source. Sometimes they come from an inner hunch. Regardless, just try applying what you discovered. Does it work? Does it not work?

This is where I would try that DIY tea blend I found online or test out making my own.

Intuition

In a life of small adventures, intuition is like a sign pointing to where to dig and which caves to explore. The hunches can tell you where the most interesting stuff might be found. Intuition can show itself as an unexpected pull or attraction towards an object or idea. Often whatever you are attracted to comes to mind over and over again. Follow that hunch.

Finding Uniqueness in the Everyday

The reason why I used tea as an example is because it's a small, everyday thing that I find interesting.

What small details in your daily life do you find interesting? Is it the clothes you wear? What you eat? What you read?

I enjoy looking for obscure places in the area I live or on the Internet. And not just any random obscure place--obscure places that I find interesting.

Adventure is all about the act of discovery and experimenting with the unknown.

Small Adventures are about everyday acts of discovery.

The Quirks of Being a Female Highly Sensitive Person

The description "highly sensitive person" (HSP) is obviously a blanket term for men and women.

However, I've been thinking about one thing that makes the experience of being a HSP woman different from the experience of a HSP man.

The difference is that the HSP woman has a uterus. We have cycles. And for the first time I'm realizing that difference could also be impacting my HSP traits.

A few months ago, I came off the pill. It was causing hair loss, and I didn't like how I was starting to feel overall. So I got off the pill and started training with the Sympto-thermal method instead.

I didn't realize how much of an impact not having natural cycles was having on me. I thought I was sensitive when I was on the pill, but when I got off of it, my experience of the world changed more than I expected.

Ovulation and Over-stimulation

The follicular phase and ovulatory phase are the parts of the cycle when a woman has the most energy. When on the pill, ovulation doesn't happen, and the follicular phase is also absent.

When I came off the pill and my body started ovulating again, insomnia became a problem. Lack of sleep is rough on HSPs because it makes us more susceptible to over-stimulation. Just the fact that ovulation is a time of more energy is a reason to be extra aware of falling into over-stimulation.

During this phase of the cycle, it's more important for me to take naps and create other kinds of breaks throughout the day. However, sticking to it is tough because I just want to keep going!

I find I'm more sensitive to smells and temperature. I tend to eat less and irregularly which isn't good because I tend to get "hangry." Also I try my best to avoid caffeine because I'm already sleeping way less than normal.

The upside to the extra energy is that it's a great time for me to engage in what I enjoy. My energy combined with my sensitivity allows me to appreciate positive experiences more deeply and reach out for them.

On the other hand, I have to make sure I don't reach out too much and take a break from being on the go.

PMS and Emotional Distress

After ovulation is the luteal phase, which is known for those infamous PMS symptoms due to the drop in estrogen.

As I was coming off the pill, I read Take Control of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. I think that every woman, regardless of where she is in life on the pill or not should read it. And men should read it too.

Her explanation of how a woman's body actually works puts sex-ed programs to shame.

One of my favorite chapters in her book is about PMS. I like how she brings out that mood swings are not illogical reactions. Basically, this phase of the cycle is a time of increased emotional intensity for some women.

So when a woman experiences something upsetting during PMS, those feelings often make sense in the context. The problem is that she is more likely to react to that situation with way more intensity than at other phases of her cycle.

HSPs are emotionally sensitive in general. So I think it's important for the HSP woman to be aware that her emotional sensitivity can be more intense than usual during this phase of her cycle.

This is definitely a time to load up on those comforting, self-care routines. Honestly, I used to have a reputation of lashing out in anger before my period, especially when I was in my teens and early twenties.

Nowadays, I try to keep an environment of calm. If I'm calm in general, I'm less likely to get swept away by the intensity of my emotions. Plus, when I feel that I'm getting irritated, I refrain from reacting right away. When I pause, I'm able to sort things out and see if my reaction is equal to the offense. Taking a moment to write about how I feel--even for 5 minutes--before coming back to that situation with a response has worked very well.

However, PMS is more than just anger and rampaging. Just think--this is a time of increased emotional sensitivity.

That means as an HSP woman, you are also more open to feelings such as joy, love, excitement, humor, and calm. During the luteal/pre-menstural phase, do all that you can to bring the positive feelings into your life. Relax with your favorite books, food, movies, music, and people.

If you're an HSP woman who's not on the pill, I highly recommend doing cycle tracking. Then you can chart what impact your cycle could be having on your HSP traits.

And menstruation,although uncomfortable, is the perfect time to slow down, shut out the world, sleep, and refill. For HSP women, that time for retreat is built into our biology. Take advantage of it.

Thoughts on Identifying with the Visionary/Magician Archetype

I recently took an online test to find my brand archetypes. I don't have a brand, exactly, but I like creating stuff and putting it out there. I wanted to know what kind of personality the stuff I create gives off.

After taking a few different tests and some time to reflect, it became clear that the Visionary/Magician is my main brand archetype and the Sage is a close second.

I want to focus mainly on the Visionary/Magician archetype. Discovering what kind of role that identity has played in my life and in my creative work has made a permanent impact on me.

Really, being a sage didn't surprise me. I've always read a ton. I enjoy words and knowledge. I have an unending desire to learn. It was obvious. But finding out that I have the magician archetype was like discovering a secret ingredient within myself.

The magician is all about transformation. Going from disorganized to having it to together. From being unhealthy to being reasonably fit. The magician is about transforming into the best version of themselves and as they do so, they also transform the lives of others.

And often the transformation is accomplished in a way that others find--well, amazing and magical.

This makes me think about my childhood. My parents bought me a toy science kit, and I remember being obsessed with making things disappear. Of course it was realistically impossible, but I loved imagining that I could mix up some concoction that could bend the laws of physics and make stuff disappear.

The butterfly, one of the main symbols of transformation, is one of my favorite creatures. I have always loved things with butterflies on them.

Throughout my life, I've been driven to make impossible things happen and to be a better version of me. Please, don't tell me that I lack the ability to do something. Especially something that I really want to do. At hearing the words "You can't...blah, blah, blah" I'm already pulling out books and Googling shortcuts to make what I want to happen a reality.

Learning about the visionary/magician archetype has also helped me to find more ease within myself.

I am a person with over-excitabilities, which basically means that I have intense emotions, physical senses, and drive. I am calm on the surface, but overflowing within. More than once, I've seen it recommended that people with these traits should check out the biography of Elon Musk. For a long time, I just blew that off. I could care less about Tesla and his other companies.

But when I saw that Tesla is considered a visionary/magician brand, I got curious. So I read the biography, and discovered that identifying with the visionary archetype has some important implications as to how I present what I create to the world.

Here's a good example of that.

I enjoy reading Austin Kleon's books on the creative life. Show Your Work was one of my favorites. What I liked about it was that it made the process of sharing the behind the scenes work of creation simple. Anyways, that was the goal of the book.

Over and over again from different sources, I heard the advice, "As a creative in an online world, you need to show your work!" Seemed simple enough, but for some reason, that was something I kept struggling with. Even when the techniques for sharing works in progress were broken down into the most basic steps, I struggled with showing the everyday work of me being creative.

Once I learned my archetype, I understood why. The people who say, "Show every step in your creative process as you go," more than likely fall into the Creative Archetype. The Creative Archetype enjoys teaching others how to create. They are energized by inviting people along for every step of the process. Although I am creative, my power is in using the magician archetype.

When a magician performs a trick, does he or she say while performing the trick, "I am pulling the card off the top of the deck. However, I also have an extra card hidden up my sleeve. So that way when I shuffle everything..."

No way. What makes a magician a magician is that they are able to make things look like they come out of thin air with very little explanation of the work that went into it. It just appears.

And if they feel inclined, they may reveal a little bit of the process. But still they may keep some of it to themselves. Going back to the biography of Elon Musk, the way that both Tesla and SpaceX shrouds the details of the latest and greatest projects in secrecy, even from other employees made me see that this is the way I work as well. Elon Musk also has a reputation of hating the words, "I can't..." Sounds familiar for some reason...

Some authors like sharing their rough drafts online. Every time I've tried this, I have failed--failed as in, abandoning the project as soon as its roughness hits the light of day. That is because my power is in my privacy.

Working and creating in private is my fuel.

And when I let out what I've been toiling on in hiding for so long, people are like, "Where did that come from? How did you do it?"

I reveal a little bit, but I also conceal. This is so different from the concept of "Showing Your Work," but this is what comes naturally to me. It's natural for me to send projects out into the world with no warning, and then explain what's going on after the fact. Even when I was working on my webcomic, I didn't share many sketches and works in progress because I thrive working behind the veil.

So if you are a creator who doesn't do well with showing their work, be assured that it's okay. Just put what you make out there, and explain it after the fact. In this world of oversharing, there is so much value in a little bit of mystery.

And if you're struggling with sharing your creative work, try taking a few brand archetype tests. You may learn something new about yourself.

Feeling Too Scared to Write

Have you ever felt too scared to write?

Have you ever felt like the words are too much to carry? They want to come out, but there is fear holding them back.

I've been feeling a lot of that lately. Because of the discomfort, recently I've been laser focused on simplifying the way I approach writing and the way I blog.

There is so much advice out there about how to blog to make money. That is unfortunate. So many blogs that have good information are ruined by intrusive email sign up pop-ups and loudness. By loudness I mean, "SIGN UP FOR MY FREE EMAIL COURSE" emblazoned across the top.

I've seen blogs rendered unreadable by ads, and then they want you to subscribe to the blog for a fee to remove them. Some blogs make me feel attacked the moment I land on them.

Ok. I get that bloggers need to make money. What bothers me is that when looking up advice about blogging, all I get is, "Give away freebies to subscribers. Focus on SEO. Write killer headlines." Blah, blah, blah.

There needs to be more advice about how to create blogs that give readers a pleasant experience.

The truth is, blogging aggressively is not for everyone. And blogging that way is not the only way to be a successful blogger.

I feel that all of the blogging hustle advice can foster fear of writing because it focuses on writing as a means to an end, a way to "grab eyeballs" over self-expression. If what you write isn't "killer" or lacks views, it can make you feel a bit lacking. The truth is, it's not all about the views and reshares.

While I was creating my first webcomic, I decided to create a blog. It didn't have any social media at the start. I added Twitter later, but I didn't need social media to get traffic because people who were into my webcomic would visit my blog. In fact, it was my comic that built my blog audience, not the other way around. My comic help build my Twitter audience too.

I met people by putting what I create out into the world first. Then I used my blog to share the experience of creating.

I think most people who create stuff--stuff like books, pieces of art and projects--should focus on putting their projects out there first, and then use their blog to make people who already like what they do, like them even more.

The projects are the income. Not the blog.

I feel that blogs built mainly for income are for people who

1.Are NOT prolific project makers

When you are prolific, it is way more profitable to focus on the next project than on crafting that perfect, traffic grabbing blog post. I read a lot of blogs, and I've noticed that the ones covered in ads or endorsements, don't have much going on in the project area. They have few or no books published. For them the blog is the project.

Is the blog the main project for you? If so, by all means read up on email lists and SEO tricks. But if you're aiming to be a career fiction writer or artist or maker of some kind, the blog is NOT the main project for you.

Your blog is for those who love your work already. There's no need to hard sell to them and attack them with pop-ups. If you do, they may change their mind about you...

Blogs built for income are also made for people who...

2.Love teaching, coaching, and speaking.

Many successful bloggers fall into this category. Email courses, retreats, mastermind groups...these people are amazing. And the way they blog fits their goal of finding more clients, students, and speaking engagements.

The problem is that these are the same people who try to teach others how to blog. And in doing so, they forget that not everyone needs to blog the way that they do. Not everyone needs to offer freebies to nab clients. I'm a fiction creator and an artist. For me, focusing on the next project is more important than spending time trying to craft a freebie to get people to follow me.

If people like my projects, they will voluntarily come for the ride without any bribes. And as a thank you, I may spin out a free short story or piece of art to share.

However, if you are a writer or artist who loves teaching, then the blogging hustle could be for you.

I wish I would have known this earlier in my blogging journey. After wrapping up my webcomic, I was between projects. Instead of focusing on my next project, I got sucked into crafting immaculate blog posts, an email list I loathed updating, and freebies that no one wanted. And then there was the pressure to take perfect photos for each post...

I learned that no one wanted that stuff. What they wanted was my projects. My work.

So here I am today. I stripped my main blog of a lot of the stuff I was told I needed to be a "good blogger." There is still a privacy notice from my affiliate days I need to remove. My income never came from ads and endorsements. It came from people who enjoy what I create. Currently, I'm having fun designing special notebooks and planners for artists and writers and publishing them on Amazon.

My main website/blog is super peaceful now, because it simply shares with readers instead of demanding their attention.

The last step is feeling free to spill my words as they are, without plotting how to achieve the best SEO. That's why I've started this little blog of musings on Listed.

I've found that the best way for me to get over writing fears is to write.

Just Testing

First post. Yay!