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To Start a New Blog?

To Start a New Blog?

This post is (14/31) of the Blaugust 2019 event! You can find out more about Blaugust over at Belghast’s blog. I (Chestnut) created a Twitter list of all participants. UltrViolet created an OPML file of all the bloggers to import into your feed reader.

I’ve hit a point in Blaugust where I’m running out of steam. Not only just a lack of time, but a lack of topics (possibly tied to the lack of time, because I’ve tons of draft posts!). Well, I take that back, I have a bunch of topics I’d love to write about, but they’re more NSFW-related (games, comics, etc.). Yes, I swear a bunch here. Yes, I am beyond lewd. But there’s a line. There’s a line between “mature audiences” and “almost or actual pornography”.

I’ve been waffling for a few months on whether I should start another blog for those that cross the line into “almost or actual pornography”. I could work it into my NSFW job (click at your own risk) no problem. But then what about the posts I want to write about modding The Sims 4 to be dirty? Or reviewing an erotic visual novel I’ve been playing? Or what about reading that comic that isn’t quite NSFW but flirts with the line enough that I don’t want to write about it on this blog? (Unnatural. It’s Unnatural by Mirka Andolfo. Though Sunstone by Stjepan Sejic falls into this category as well.)

I don’t feel like there’s an easy answer to what I should do. I have a blog name idea, but I don’t know if I should go with free or a hosted domain for now. Especially since I want to try to figure out a domain where I can add sub-domains to link to things like my content sites.

Normally I’d just make a decision and run with it, but I feel like I’m at an impasse and am being extra cautious for unknown reasons. And I’m aggravated at myself for feeling so dang stuck.

Healing Through Healing

Healing Through Healing

This post is (11/31) of the Blaugust 2019 event! You can find out more about Blaugust over at Belghast’s blog. I (Chestnut) created a Twitter list of all participants. UltrViolet created an OPML file of all the bloggers to import into your feed reader.

Getting to Know All About You

This past week was “Get to Know You” week for Blaugust. Bel’s description proposed,

“Tell us about you and your preferences as a gamer or whatever it is you happen to like doing. This is the time to dip into the well of stories and tell us something interesting that has either happened to you or something about your specific footing in your real or digital life.”

I’m a fairly open book both here on the blog and even moreso on Twitter. So it’s been difficult (not including the depression) to suss out a topic to write for the week. I don’t mind questionnaires, and I know I have another one I’m tagged in by Bel that I have yet to answer, but that didn’t feel fully “right” as a way to talk about myself.

Honestly, I didn’t think I’d have a post for the theme until I was logging off FFXIV and crawling into bed last night. And then it hit me: talk about healing through, well, healing.

A Short History

CW: This section includes brief mention of abuse.

If you’ve been following me on Twitter for a while (even from before I moved Twitter accounts), or have stumbled upon old blog posts, you probably know that I was married, and divorced. I moved down to Georgia in my early 20s for grad school (I’m looking at you, Great Recession) because I couldn’t find a job teaching. In my first year here I ended up meeting a guy, and falling for him.

I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty details. It follows a somewhat predictable story. After three and a half years of dating, we got married.  And about three and a half years later, we separated at my request. Seven months later it was an official divorce. That’s the part most folks know. The part they don’t is that he was abusive.

It’s not easy to see in the moment when you’re being abused. It’s definitely something that you deny, and make excuses for. It’s something that people don’t believe because the abuser is so charming. I was lucky that I was able to recognize and rationalize what was happening to me when he was away on a work trip. I was lucky that I was able to get out the first time I said I was going to leave.

Healing Through Healing

There’s little things people take for granted doing with a partner—watching movies together, going to events together, hanging out with mutual friends together, gaming together—you get the idea. The one that’s hit me the hardest is the number of hours we gamed together.

I still can’t bring myself to log into my old WoW main, for instance, for more than a half hour tops. Enough to do whatever the current event tokens are if I qualify at level. Spending more time on her causes panic attacks because of the memories attached to her that are still so strong.

Final Fantasy XIV was another one. We spent many hours together leveling on our characters on Cactuar. I would tank, he would heal, and two of our mutual friends would dps.

When I decided I wanted to go back to FFXIV to give it another try back in April, I waffled about rolling a new character or going back to the one I’d spent so much time on with him. At the time, I decided to roll a new character. But in the two months I had an active subscription, I didn’t play her much. I had difficulty getting into her, and starting over when my main was sitting there.

I tried logging in once to my main and couldn’t do it. A panic attack ensued and I decided to cancel my subscription, writing it off to, “just not into it right now!”. But as I’ve been playing more ESO, I’ve felt the call for more fantasy gaming, and meandered back to FFXIV, again. I decided to just bite the bullet and play my old main, come July. I only logged in once or twice. Enough to decide on playing CNJ/WHM as my new main class (until I can get Dancer, of course), and get her gear set up.

It wasn’t until the past two weeks that I really dove in head first. It started with feeling bored with any game I opened. So I opened FFXIV. And all I did was one dungeon roulette. But it felt… okay. I couldn’t manage more than that. I could feel a panic attack coming on. But I’d had so much fun in that fifteen minutes I spent in that dungeon. So I logged in again the next night. And the night after that. Playing a bit more every time. Five minutes extra here. Five more there.

And I realized, last night, after I spent almost two hours in game after only, “logging on for a little bit”, that spending the time healing in roulettes was a way of confronting a lot of my fears and triggers and pushing through them… whether that makes sense to anybody but me is another story.

There’s still a lot more healing I need to do for myself. And some might argue some wounds will never fully heal, but bit by bit, reclaiming my character and having her heal her way through leveling has given me a chance to heal IRL a little bit as well.

YouTube Binge: Try Not To Sing

YouTube Binge: Try Not To Sing

This post is (2/31) of the Blaugust 2019 event! You can find out more about Blaugust over at Belghast’s blog. I (Chestnut) created a Twitter list of all participants. UltrViolet created an OPML file of all the bloggers to import into your feed reader.

Today happens to be one of those days (that I mentioned in my prior post) where I’m adjusting what I may normally do to get a post out, but still be a tad interesting (hopefully). When I have rough days, sometimes it’s fun to binge on cute and fun YouTube videos. Most of the time I hit up the Royalty Soaps channel (and her brother’s new channel), because they’re just such peppy positive people, and how can you go wrong with watching some soap making?

Today, however, I found myself needing some music. But not just any music—music that makes you want to sing. I’ve watched some of the FBE channel on YouTube before, but most of the time the “[Age Range] Reacts!” videos don’t do it for me. Today, however, I stumbled on more of their “Try Not To Sing” series, and it was honestly just what I needed. At first it was easy not to sing along, but then all of their reactions and the songs themselves helped with the immediate feels and brought me back up to some semblance of normal. And then I found myself failing along with them, which was just as fun.

I know it’s not prompt week, but here’s a question for y’all: When you have a rough day, what kinds of things do you do to cheer you up?

When Chronic Illness Strikes

When Chronic Illness Strikes

This post is (1/31) of the Blaugust 2019 event! You can find out more about Blaugust over at Belghast’s blog. I (Chestnut) created a Twitter list of all participants. UltrViolet created an OPML file of all the bloggers to import into your feed reader.

Blaugust Has Begun!

Today marks the first day of Blaugust. This week, the theme is “Prep Week”. As explained by Bel, “This is a time for those of us in the community who have sorta figured this blogging thing out to help get you started with some tips and tricks style posts.”

I’m not always great at working within themes, but today inspiration came to me as I tried to work my way through another depressive episode to make this first post. (I’m fairly open about the fact that I have depression and anxiety. It’s something you may see mentioned here often.)

Chronic Illness Is a Thing

It’s a thing that many people deal with day-to-day, whether it be an invisible illness (mental illness, chronic pains, etc.) or a visible illness, it is something that can be especially draining. And some days, you just don’t have enough spoons to get done what needs to get done… so how does one even begin to tackle the “want to do”s, like blogging?

Well, that’s something you need to decide for yourself, but here’s some tips and tricks I use that may prove helpful for others.

Rabbit From a Hat

Sometimes it can feel like you’re doing magic tricks to tackle the “want to do”s. But there’s ways I’ve found to help me  manage that. I’m hoping they prove of some use to others.

  • Sometimes, accept that it just can’t be tackled and change your goal. I know the vast majority of us have lofty goals to try and complete all 31 days with no issue. But sometimes, goals need to be adjusted so that you don’t run yourself ragged. While I very much wanted to try to get this post out today (and I succeeded) I also had to accept that maybe it wasn’t a good day to try.
  • Find other avenues if it’s too much. For me, this sometimes means writing it down in my bullet journal until I get to a place where I have the energy to sit at the computer to re-write, tweak, and find images to go with it. On really bad days, it could mean that I use a voice recorder on my phone and just speak my ideas until I get to a place where I can transpose them. Maybe for you that means you just post an audio log and add an edit to a post later transposing it. Or maybe you just leave the audio as-is on your blog. Don’t hold yourself to just writing walls of text.
  • Don’t hold yourself to writing walls of text. Yes, I know I just said this, but don’t feel obligated to hold yourself to writing more than one or two paragraphs. A great example is Aeyvi‘s blog/website Screenographic. Her posts essentially consist of a batch of photos in a gallery format. While not a traditional “blog”, per se, it’s still an amazing resource, and one I love to indulge in. If you’re not feeling walls of text, don’t do it. Post a bunch of screenshots you took and give a sentence or two. Or even just one paragraph is enough. Microblogging is a valid form of blogging.
  • Get ahead on the good days. If you’re lucky enough to have a few days where your spoon management has paid off, you might have some extra energy/time. Use these to your advantage and start putting together draft posts. Then when you have a bad day, pull out these (hopefully at least mostly finished) posts, add a tweak or two, and post it. These will probably have to be something a little more evergreen in topic, but you can always adjust something later (assuming it isn’t about current events).
  • Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up. This is a trap that everyone falls into, and I can attest it can be difficult to practice what you preach. But it goes back to the first point: accept that you just might not be able to tackle it. Sometimes, we just can’t do everything. Chronic illness is tough. And, at least for me, I get in a mindset of, “how can I not even handle this? I must be terrible!”. Luckily I have a wonderful Manthing who reminds me that no, I’m just doing the best I can.

And I want to tell all of you, if you run into this… YOU. ARE. DOING. THE. BEST. YOU. CAN. It won’t necessarily look like someone else’s best-they-can, and that’s okay. You’re on your own journey. Use it to your advantage. Work with it. Find new ways to tackle things. Y’all got this.

Ambition/Apathy

Ambition/Apathy

Ambition

If you haven’t been keeping up with my (admittedly somewhat-dead) Twitter the past six months, you probably think I just fell off the face of the Earth. To some degree, that’s true of my vanilla life. That’s because I’ve been working on some new hustle I’m excited and ambitious about.

For those that have been around for a while, it may not come as a surprise that I’ve taken up online sex work and have started modeling. It’s just a natural extension of finding me (especially over the past almost three years).

I try not to overwhelm folks on my vanilla social, and by extension blog, with this information however, because I respect that many of my followers don’t follow me for that reason (though I greatly appreciate anybody who’s been supportive, regardless of whether they decide to follow and participate in the NSFW side of my life). So I’ve been on the quiet side as I worked on setting myself up for success.

I started up with adult content creation because I needed a way to express myself in ways that just writing couldn’t do it. It’s always been something I’ve been fascinated in, and have had a desire to participate in (to the chagrin of many people no longer in my life). So now that I’m in a spot in my life where I can try it, and I’ve a partner who’s supportive of it (and me), I am.

I’m enjoying it. I appreciate the new people I’ve met through it (especially my lovely mentor, Roxi Adore, who has a pretty awesome blog herself!). I just with that I had more energy. I’m dedicated to continuing (it’s not something I want to give up on for the foreseeable future), but I’ve been stuck in a rut.

Apathy

Photo by Goldframe PhotographyDespite being enthusiastic, and trying my hardest, there’s definitely been feelings of apathy and fatigue in my life, both within and outside of sex work.

I haven’t actually really gamed any outside of WoW raids, or leaving Idle Champions on in the background while I work.

I’ve been overworked at my day job (and quite honestly pretty burned out), and have been having a difficult time focusing and coping with life events. My chronic health problems have, if not worsened, held in a position where everything is uncomfortable both physically and mentally. My memory is pretty spotty at best.

And it all cycles into a spiral where I’m continually angry at myself and nothing improves, thus affecting everything else in my life.

I’m trying very hard to get out of the cycle (gods bless therapy), and to come up with small achievable goals and schedules for myself.

My plan is to be much more active come June on the vanilla side, and work hard on an achievable schedule (around day job) for the adult content creation.

I have a goal to post at least once a week here, and stream twice a week, pursuant to my day job and offline schedule.

I have goals for my adult content creation—post two clips a week, post in the NSFW blog (that I’m creating later this week) at least once a week, spend time recording clips and creating photo sets weekly.

I want to start reading more. I want to spend more time actively engaging in whatever non-print media I choose to consume rather than using it as a way to just “zone out” and end up scrolling through social feeds ignoring it.

I want to spend more time exploring my spirituality weekly, even if it’s just an hour a week. I want to push through the physical mess in my apartment that my depressive episodes result in.

And I might just write a little bit more about real-life here instead of just strictly gaming, because I have a feeling that’ll help me be better with the accountability of trying, rather than cloistering it away in my journal for maybe one or two pairs of eyes to see outside my own.

Battle of the Mold

Battle of the Mold

This post (14/31) is part of the Blaugust Reborn event! You can find out more about the event at Belghast’s blog. I (Chestnut) created a Twitter list of all participants. Armagon created an OPML file of all the bloggers to import into your feed reader.

I’ve been a bit preoccupied as of late, which has put me behind with Blaugust (if you hadn’t noticed). And I just needed to do a bit of, well, bitching. So please feel free to skip this post!

It all started on July 20th, when this happened…

Which then resulted in this starting on August 2nd, which still hadn’t fully been taken care of as of August 21. Which, y’know. Is totally healthy.

So I’ve spent close to a month fighting with the complex to try to get someone to come and take care of the mold. I did get fed up with everything, and put in my 60 day notice to cancel (just before the mold appeared) as per my contract, but then when the mold appeared, and it hadn’t been taken care of, I went down to change the terms of cancelling my lease. Luckily, things went in my favor with the manager, and I’ll be moving into a new place on September 14th.

I finalized everything with the manager today, and paid my prorated rent for September. We also signed a page I came up with so that laid out everything we agreed upon (so if things go south, I have that in my corner, too)—prorated September rent, no termination charges (typically charged per leasing contract and early cancellation), and no charges for any damages, repairs, or cleanup to prepare the unit for the next tenant (good luck, next tenant!).

Thus…

Depression and Streaming

Depression and Streaming

When Depression Hits

I’ve never shied away from talking about how I suffer from depression and anxiety. I may not always get into full-blown details, but it has never been something that I hide. It has, however, been very intense the past month or so. Which in turn has been making it difficult to do even basic things. You may have seen me talk about “spoons” on Twitter (relating back to Spoon Theory). I honestly prefer “Spell Theory”, though, if I’m explaining it to my nerdier friends.

Well, on a typical weekday basis, I have a lot to do—get up for work, prep food for work, take care of the pets, get ready for work, go to work (possibly have multiple meetings), go home, take care of the pets… and then depending on the day, my evenings differ. I could have a LARP ST meeting, or pole class, or date night, or WoW raid (currently on hiatus, which helps). Then add in any chores that need to be taken care of, or a shower… you get the idea.

On a day when my depression is good (manageable), and I’ve filled my spell slots because I was able to sleep the night before, I can manage pretty much everything (maybe taking out some chores, or a shower), and then add in some streaming because I feel good, and enjoy streaming and interacting with folks.

But life has been stressful (car accident, multiple chronic health concerns, apartment flooding), and thus my already limited spell slots (I haven’t been sleeping well due to the other chronic health stuff) have been used up lickity-split on things from managing contact between car insurance and car loan, to just getting out of bed in the morning and getting to work. It’s to the point where I come home, take care of the pets, and take a nap so that I can try to function and tackle minor things.

I do think this week is starting to be a turn-around week, however, due to laying out some short-term future plans (planning moving to a new apartment, car accident management is almost done, doctor appointments have been made), and being able to manage my spoons a little bit better (sleep is starting to get better, slightly, slowly increasing my spoon count).

Schedule Going Forward


So what does that mean for streaming? Well, that means my schedule for the next few weeks will be up in the air. I will not be streaming this week (July 22-28). I do want to slowly get back on the wagon with streaming, however. So I’m going to be working at this by looking to stream one day a week to begin. The downside is that this day will be up in the air, and the game I’ll be playing will also be up in the air depending on where I’m at, and what I can manage.

Once I’ve conquered more real-world shenanigans (the car being settled, getting set to move and break my lease, going to doctor appointments), I’ll be able to do more of the follower giveaways, etc. that I’ve set up and haven’t gotten to due to the depression. I am going to wait, however, on setting up my web cam for streams, because I’ve already started packing some things up, and it was one of those things. That’ll finally get used in late-September, early-October (after moving).

I originally wanted to try a birthday stream (my birthday is next week) sometime in early-August, but there is no guarantees on anything, anymore. I will probably nix a birthday stream, and just do a long Halloween-themed stream instead, because it seems much more manageable after moving.

So, TL;DR? Keep an eye on Twitter, or join the Caticorn Palace Discord to keep up to date on streams, and just chat in general.

My Bujo Journey, Part 2

My Bujo Journey, Part 2

The “before”.

This is the second part of my post on bullet journaling. To get a background on what I’ll be covering in this post, head on over to the first part!

A look at my system before Bullet Journaling was pretty revealing. I was spending way too much time and energy trying to stay organized, rather than actually being organized. So I decided to try the bujo method after hearing about it from Jaedia.

The Bullet Journal Method


You can watch this nifty video on Bullet Journaling to get an idea on what it’s all about. But the TL;DR is—”[it] is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above…”.

And it’s true. My bujo has become all these things. It might seem confusing at first, but once you sit down and do it, it really does become second nature. And keeping it up to date is simple. It takes me five minutes at night to update tasks, notes, write my gratitudes, track my habits, and set myself up for the following day. Maybe it takes me ten or fifteen minutes if I decide I need to journal on top of it.

It took me about an hour to set up January because I was learning how to bullet journal, and I was setting up the yearly items (Index, Future Log, Yearly Gaming Log, etc.). It took me about a half hour to set up February, even with all the lines and boxes I drew out for the various logs I decided I wanted.

My Bullet Journal

I’m not going to be showing pictures of my bujo, as some of it is kind of personal, but I use it as a replacement for most of the items I covered in my first post, and I’ll talk about it.

Getting the supplies was the easy part. I just purchased the cheapest dot grid notebook I could find on Amazon that had a decent rating. You don’t need anything fancy. In fact, when I was waiting on this to come in, I just used one of my lined journals (which, admittedly, I didn’t enjoy as much, but it was something).

I also have a set of erasable pens that I absolutely adore made by Pilot. I like being able to erase (I hate scribbling thing out—it drives me crazy), but I also like the flow and feel of writing with a pen. These pens have been a godsend for me in that regard. Especially since they come in different colors. Unfortunately, I’ve only been able to find refills in Black, but that’s okay, because they’re the pens I use the most often out of the pack.

I decorated my journal a bit with some scrapbooking supplies, and I used sharpies (lesson learned for next time: Don’t. Use colored pencils instead.) to color code the edges of my pages as a secondary index (for instance, January is red and in a specific spot every time it’s a page relating to January). But all this isn’t necessary to bujo. There are plenty of people who use a minimalist approach, and honestly on a day-to-day basis, I use a minimalist approach. There’s barely anything decorated, and I only use cursive because I write faster in cursive than I do in print.

How the Systems Compare

  • Trello – I used this to track my media. Now, I have pages in my bujo dedicated to each type of media: games to play (listed), books to read (listed), comics to read (listed), comics to buy to try (listed), movies to watch (listed), and television shows to watch (using a grid-like system). Just to name a few.
  • Google Calendar – I still use this as a backup for when I don’t have my bujo, or when I need to pull up an address to GPS, or when I need an alarm reminder for a specific event.
  • Plum Planner – The bullet journal itself has taken on the job of my old plum planner.
  • Sticky Notes – I still have some laying around, but they’re more for when I’m tanking in raids. For instance, when I have to drag Cenarius around in Emerald Nightmare, I’ll write what marker order to drag him to (shorthand) and put it on my second monitor. They are no longer a to-do list or random thought dump area.
  • Tumblr – This used to be my journal. My journal has since completely moved to my bujo, and I’ll probably save my important posts and delete it.
  • Gratitude Journal – This has completely moved over to my bujo as two pages in the front of the month. I have space to write two shorter items, or one long one every day.
  • Legal pads – Everything I did on these (to-do lists, menu and grocery planning, thought dumps, etc.) have since moved over to my bujo. They’re kind of just sitting and collecting dust, now.
  • Magnetized Memo Pads – I still keep these on the fridge to write down what I’m out of when I notice I’m out of it, but other than that, they don’t get used for anything. Stuff I need to buy gets copied into my menu/grocery page for the week and off I go to the grocery with my bujo.
Overall I’ve seen a vast improvement on my stress/anxiety levels, and my pocketbook is glad to have much less in it on a daily basis.
My Bujo Journey, Part 1

My Bujo Journey, Part 1

Image from PopSugar

I’m a big to do list/day planner person. It’s one of the things that helps me stay organized, and I use it as a way to assist with my depression and anxiety as a part of my cognitive behavioral therapy. In layman’s terms, I use planners and lists to help manage my thoughts and feelings as a way to make healthier and safer choices for myself.

I’m also big on writing things by hand. It helps me stay focused, and keeps me more grounded in what I’m doing. It’s also cathartic when I can just write and write. In a way that’s different than typing. While typing things out can help sometimes, writing it down by hand gives it more meaning and permanence, and helps me work things out a little bit better than typing.

My old system, however, was starting to get a bit overwhelming, and I needed to find an alternative, and found bullet journaling.

A Look At My Old System

  • Trello – I use Trello to keep lists of media to consume. I’m big on media consumption—movies, television, games, visual novels, comic books, etc. Before using Trello, I didn’t really have a system, and I became overwhelmed with things I wanted to try, or where I was in a particular season of a television show, for instance. Thanks to an episode of the Geek to Geek cast, I tried out making a list, and it helped tremendously to keeping me focused on what I wanted to look into, and made me feel not as guilty for possibly putting something to the side because I wasn’t enjoying it.
  • Google Calendar – Google Calendar is what I use day-to-day outside of my Plum Planner (more on that next). I live via my Gmail, and I use it as a way to keep my contacts and calendar organized. It’s a good quick on-the-go tool for me when I need to add an impromptu work meeting, a get-together with a friend, or a therapy session. And it’s easy to pull out my phone rather than my Plum Planner, which can get kind of unwieldy.
  • Plum Planner – I like paper planners, and I liked this one because I could keep (most) everything in one place. It had pockets to keep papers, to do list sections, menu and grocery planning sections. But, the more I used it, the more wasted pages it had because I wouldn’t use a particular section one week, or I’d be using another one of my systems for a few days, etc. There were also the times when my sticky notes would get lost, or papers would fall out, and I wouldn’t know where something went, and it was just too big to carry around casually in my purse.
  • Sticky Notes – Sticky notes are my go-to “I need to jot something down to remember it now.” sort of thing. Especially when I didn’t have my Plum Planner around. But then they would get lost, or fall out of my planner, and it was never a good thing.
  • Tumblr – As a part of my CBT, my therapist likes me to attempt to journal twice a week. About anything I want. It could be extremely personal stuff, or just general things that I would/sometimes did put in the blog. For the extremely personal stuff, however, I have a private Tumblr account where I could just let it all out. But, typing never really did it for me 100%.
  • Gratitude Journal – As another piece of my CBT, I keep a gratitude journal. Just one or two things every day that I’m thankful for. Or that even just made me happy. I keep these in a small notebook by my bedside table.
  • Legal Pads – I use legal pads like nobody’s business. They end up full of to do lists, but then I have a difficult time tracking if it’s a repeat task (things like dishes get done every day, so did I check it off yesterday or am I behind on dishes?!). And then sometimes I end up with random thought dumps, but then if I lose the pad, I lose the thought dump, and a lot of times those were half-written out blog posts.
  • Magnetized Memo Pads – This one feels like a no-brainer for me. I keep magnetized pads and a container with pens (and a few things like coupons and my stamps) on the fridge. If I need to purchase something for groceries or I have a menu idea for next week, I jot it down. These then get torn off the fridge and used as my grocery list and a way to menu plan (which would then be planned out in the legal pads).

An Evaluation

This was my “organization”.

As you can see, that’s three digital forms of keeping memos, and five physical ways of keeping memos, all in different spots at different times of the day, with no semblance of organization. It was annoying to, for instance, need my grocery list because I was going to stop on the way home from work, but I wouldn’t have it because it would be in a legal pad or on the refrigerator sitting at home. Or I’d make a thought-dump at work on my lunch break and forget to bring it home because my Plum Planner was sitting on the counter at home. Or I’d leave my planner at work by accident because it was too big for my purse and I had it out to jot something down.

I think you can see where I’m getting with this. In an effort to simplify and keep myself organized, I wasn’t really doing much of anything. And while it helped for a time, it started to just feel overwhelming. So I started looking for alternatives. That’s when I stumbled onto this thing called Bullet Journaling that I discovered through Jaedia, but have since found a few other bloggers that have made it a habit.
I’ve only been doing it a month, but it’s helped tremendously. I’ll delve deeper into what it is, and how I bujo (bullet journal) in another post, however, or this one will become much too wordy.
The “Gimme” List

The “Gimme” List

You Need a Budget

In an attempt to reorganize my life almost-post-divorce and get expenses under control, I’ve gotten back into hardcore budgeting, which is something I let fall by the wayside for a long time with a two-income household (for many reasons that are really a moot point at this juncture).

A while ago, I saw a blog post go by from Liore about this neat program called You Need a Budget, or YNAB for short. It plays to the “envelope method” (though, complete disclosure, I do “borrow” from envelopes to cover other envelopes, which is supposedly a no-no to the envelope method theory) of budgeting but utilizes a sleek and effective interface that has made budgeting easy and enjoyable. Something that most folks would call an oxymoron, I’m sure.

Something I’ve done in my budget is to add “Gimme” items under the “Just For Fun” section of my budget. What are “Gimme” items? You know, when you make that gesture…

The “Gimme” List is Born

We’ve all been there. That thing catches your interest, and you have to have it… now! However, while I am not too financially strained, things are tougher to manage, and being able to make impulse purchases have become much less, well, impulsive.

That’s where my “Gimme” list comes in. When I get excited about something (a trip, a convention, a game, etc.), I add it as an item in my budget, list the price next to it, and then allow myself to move money around for it.

Sometimes, that means it’s going to take a few checks to cover it. Sometimes it means I can get it right away based on how my priorities change. The nice thing about using YNAB is that I can drag and drop the items to shuffle them around.

For instance, I recently discovered that the International Pole Convention would be in Atlanta this year. Pole dancing has become something that has consumed me. While the topic and how it’s changed me and my outlook on sports/myself/life is something for a different post, it is something that I forsee a great deal of in my future.

A full weekend pass (Thursday night through Sunday) is $175. There are also pay-only panels that are available, and there are two that I desperately want to attend because of the teacher, and the content. While I do not know the cost of the panels themselves, I estimate that they can’t be more than $50 each, so that’s another $100 I need to save up.

This gets bumped up in my budget (because I really want to get into those panels!), replacing other items such as purchasing a pole, purchasing a new couch and papasan chair, purchasing a 3DS and PS4, and more. Having a “Gimme” list helps me prioritize how I want to spend that extra money, without feeling overwhelmed at trying to budget it in. And still allowing me enough freedom to move things around and decide what cool neat thing I want next.