2021 Wrap-Up

Hello, Ladies and Gents!

Aaaaand we made it! As I am writing this, 2022 is merely hours away and soon, people will be cheering as they usher in a new year. 2021 has been rough for everyone I think but I wanted to take a moment and reflect on last years resolutions and my former self’s goal’s that she wished to achieve over the course of her freshman and sophomore year of college.

Last year I divided my goals into categories, much like this year’s. These categories were writing, photography, blogging, art, personal, and school.

So let’s see how I did, shall we?

Starting off with the writing category….

Finish 5 short stories – check! I finished this one quite early actually. I now see the goal as rather small but at the time of setting it I was doing significantly less writing by large.

Finish the rough draft of “SNOW” – Snow is the title of my full length, fairytale themed mystery novel based on the events of Snow White. I finished the first rough draft of Snow in the summer and was quite proud of myself. This year I hope to finish the second and get the third underway.

Create a new plot book – This one requires some explaining. Every year, I write down many plots that I cannot write so I print the ideas out and collect them in various “plot books” to keep track of them as well as flip through for inspiration. I finished two the year prior and wished to make a third this year. I completed this task as well.

All of these goals were met much to my satisfaction. This next year I hope to set a few more as well as more challenging ones as I feel I’ve gotten an idea of how much writing I tend to do throughout a year.

Next up is the photography category…

Have a photoshoot with my bestfriend – Did this in the summer along with most of these other shoots with the exception of the Medieval shoot which was done in the snow.

Have a Medieval themed photshoot – Check! Did this in February I believe.

Have a photoshoot in a ballgown – Double check! Did this one twice.

Have a superhero themed photoshoot – Check as well! Me and my friend wanted to have a photoshoot in our marvel costumes for comic con which made for some fun pictures!

Next, let’s review my blogging goals…

Achieve 200 posts – I am surprised at how quickly I was able to complete this one! I got into blogging quite a bit more than I expected to this year which is awesome!

Try and post at least once a week – Mostly completed this one. There were a couple gaps during the year but overall I would say this goal was mostly met.

Feature/interact with other bloggers more – Mostly completed this one as well! I’m slowing trying to get involved in the wordpress sphere of blogging and am slowly making some blogging friends as well!

Make some new graphics – Did this twice actually. Once mid-year and again just today. I wanted a new, clean look for my blog to usher in the new year with!

Next up are my art goals…

Paint at least 5 paintings – Finished this during the spring semester of college. I was enormously stressed out and painting helped me relieve such stress.

Finish a sketchbook – Check! I have moved onto a new one and its also already half finished!

Try and draw a realistic person – I usually draw cartoon-y styled people so this one was challenging but I completed it a few times for good measure over the course of the year. Drawing realistic people is unbelievably hard.

Illustrate a story – I illustrated a fairytale I wrote.

Make concept art for my novel – Done! I also made a map for the world of my novel as well.

Create 100 digital art pieces – Completed this one as well.

Make a self portrait – Check! Did this twice over the summer and once during the fall semester.

Next we’ll be moving onto the personal goals category…

Read at least 5 books – This might seem like a tiny goal to most people but at this time in my life, I had a huge reader’s block that persisted until the summer of this last year. Thankfully I was not only able to read 5 but 10 books this year.

Do a devotional daily –  Didn’t quite make this one. Slacked off during my fall semester where I would do my devotional on and off. Habits are hard man.

Drink more water – Mostly completed this one? I should have made this goal more specific but overall I drank more water this year than the year before (where I was regularly dehydrated) so let’s hear it for progress. I did way better at this after my freshman spring semester for sure.

Complain less – I’m still making progress on this one. I don’t know if I exactly failed this one, but progress is much slower than I’d like with this one. Complaining is a bad habit that has plagued me since high school (heck, my blog is even called LOW EXPECTATIONS). I’d love to stop whining so much but I just love letting the world know when I’m unhappy.

Eat 3 meals a day – This was a goal I added later on the year mid spring. I was in horrible health both mentally and physically during this time which was made worse by my response to stress which was not eating. I started not feeling hungry without even thinking about it. In fact, I only noticed this was becoming an issue when I started shedding weight like crazy which is pretty bad when you’re an already scrawny 5’1 college girl. So I made this goal.

And I’m happy to report that I’m in a much better place. While I didn’t achieve this goal perfectly, by large, I’ve been good at eating 3 meals every day. The habit was hard to form and I struggled through the summer but overall, the hard work has paid off.

And now, the school related goals I made…

Don’t fail a class – I was worried about this goal for awhile. In the spring, I all but flunked my midterms. I thought for sure I was going to fail Bio 1 (THE CLASS THAT IS MY MAJOR). But things really did end up working out and I ended up not only passing Biology but did so with a B. Hang in there, fellow students.

Make at least a B in Chem 1 – Again, I was worried about this one. Chemistry was incredibly hard for me and I’d spend literally 4+ hours on the subject daily, trying to teach myself the material as everything was online. It was horrible but I had an amazing course lay out which made it feel more manageable. I came out of the class with an A+.

Shoot for a B in Pre-cal – And a B is what I got. I test badly in math so I spent the entire semester cushioning my grade for when I took the final. I got a 54% or something like that on the final but came out with a B as I worked so hard on all other assignments because I knew I wasn’t the best at math tests, especially when they’re timed.

Test out of my Chem 1 final – In my Chem 1 class, if you were happy with your grade, you could choose to opt out of the final. And since you already know what grade I got in the class, you bet your buttons that I was NOT take that final. No, thank you.

Create a solid 4 year graduation plan – Completed this one during the summer. I sat down with my sister who had already graduated college and made an excel document with all my classes and when I need to take them. Incredibly helpful during registration week.

Take finals in a healthier mindset than in the spring – Another goal that I added mid year. So, taking my finals in the spring, I was kind of dead inside. I was shaken up after doing so poorly on my midterms a few months earlier that I almost expected to do badly. I ended up doing fine on almost all of them (except for the pre-cal but we’ve talked about this). Really, I was just in a pretty toxic head space at the time and a part of me knew it. I equated my grades and performance to my worth without even realizing it so when I flunked my first big tests of the year, I really struggled.

So I made a goal to take my next finals in a much better head space the following semester. And so I did.

Completing this goal was a product of an astounding amount of work I’d done on myself after the void of doom that was the spring semester. These last finals I got sick with the flu during the week but to my surprise, this didn’t exactly stress me out. Moving all my finals back and missing out on precious study time while I was sick was annoying but I wasn’t falling apart at the seams like I was during last finals season.

I took every test with a sense of finality and pride. I’d done it. I’d made it through the fall semester of my sophomore year and regardless of whatever grade came back, I knew I was going to be okay.

And that feeling was a victory I don’t think can compare to anything else I have achieved during this last year.

Next year mostly certainly come with some downs. That’s kind of life. But it will come with some ups too. And I’m so excited to see not only what the ups are exactly, but how I will grow this next year. I’m a little nervous, granted, but that’s alright. Because regardless, I’m going to be okay.

Happy New Year & Take Care!

How to Make Mornings feel less cruddy

Ladies and Gents, I have a confession to make- I am not a morning person. This early bird finds no joy in catching the worm. I may be up, but I am very rarely at ’em. My carpe diem is a little rusty.

What I’m trying to say is mornings are sort of a hard time for me. My soul is really that of night owl if I’m being honest. Its quiet and dark out with the exception of crickets and maybe a few frogs chirping. I’m all cozy in bed reading or doing whatever else I want to before I drift off to sleep. The day is over and I am very okay with that.

And then there are mornings.

I got a weighted blanket for Christmas and let me tell you, I thought it was hard to get out of bed before. I feel like the blankets are all but pulling me back into my warm little burrow and that fact that it is now winter and its getting cold out makes it even worse.

All that being said, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve that help improve my mornings even though they shall never truly replace my first love (being the evening). Because even though getting out of bed is something I rarely revel in, once I get going, things are significantly less hard and a few fun little morning habits will do nothing but make that part of the morning a little less hard.

★ Start your morning off with a little splash of water

In more way than one. I recommend washing your face and moisturizing before you start your day. It always helps to feel clean and refreshed. But I also mean this in the sense that you should definitely try and drink at least one glass of water before you start your day. For me personally, this tends to prevent me from sucking down a cup of coffee as soon as my eyes pop open. Coffee is terrible for me straightaway in the morning as it suppresses my appetite (so I’m tempted to have a small breakfast or skimp out on the meal entirely) as well as my desire to drink water for the next few hours which leaves me feeling shaky by 10 AM. This could just be a me thing but I figured I put the recommendation out there.

★Skip glancing at your phone first thing

This is a bad habit of mine that I want to improve as I find myself way more sluggish when getting out of bed. I also feel a little spacey or groggy for a bit longer than normal throughout the morning, as if I still haven’t fully woken up. Not to mention checking the news a bit too often can depress anyone. I just find my mind to be much more clearer when I wait about a half hour before checking my phone after waking up.

★Make a breakfast you like

It doesn’t have to be a feast but if you like boiled eggs, try and make one. If you like avocado toast, maybe have a slice with fruit. You don’t have to make a whole spread (as I’m sure few people have time for that), but something is always better than nothing and why not make it enjoyable as well?

★If you can, jot down what you need to do that day

This helps gets you brain into the zone to complete tasks and be productive. It also helps organize your thoughts and gives you a clear list of tasks to complete throughout the day.

★Fill Up a Water Bottle

I feel like this list is just me yelling at myself to remember these things, but really this is important (and something I sometimes neglect on hectic mornings). A water bottle that you can have on hand can really help keeping you drinking water through the day which, in turn, can help you concentrate better.

★If going somewhere, make sure you have everything you need

If you have devices, check and make sure they’re charged and that you have their charging chords on hand. Don’t forget deodorant or whatever else you’ll need throughout your day. This may seem like an obvious thing to do but its also good to have another reminder.

★Listen to Music that makes you happy to be alive

Music is the best medicine sometimes. And a playlist that helps me feel pumped for the day works wonders.

★Move around a little if you have the time

A quick 5 or 10 minutes exercise definitely helps me get going in the morning. Sometimes I have time for a quick walk , other times only a few stretches. But again, something is always better than nothing. Exercising a little also helps kickstart your brain and prepares you for the day to come.

And that’s all for now! Seize the day, lovelies!

23 Things I Want to Do Before 2023

Hey there! I just wanted to share a few of my New Year’s goals and resolutions before December 31st so people can draw inspiration from it if they so desire for their own goals. Most of it is writing related though some of it addresses other areas of my life such as my photography hobby or health related goals. Really, this is a pretty condensed version of more specific goals that I have for myself as I divided a lot of my goals into specific “areas of improvement”. (e.x. lifestyle, art, writing, photography, mindset, fashion, etc.)

1. Finishing my book’s second (and possibly third) rough draft.

Its slow work with school but I still want to keep plugging away at the task in hopes that ONE DAY I’ll finally be done. Someday.

2. Attempting to work my way through The Writer Games

Not sure what I’m talking about here? Click here for more information on The Writer Games Challenge.

3. Getting better at Digital Art

I got an art tablet for Christmas and currently I feel awkward at it. I really want to make pretty things but I must first try and figure out how to manage the many layers and tools available to me courtesy of my new art program.

4. Keeping a Bullet Journal

Not daily, but just a little notebook where I can pen my thoughts every now and then and keep track of things.

5. Creating a Cover Letter

I need to create a cover letter that I can attach to any submissions I wish to make to literary journals.

6. Submitting to 10 fiction/poetry journals

I hope to get SOME sort of publishing experience under my belt while also creating a sort of repertoire for myself as a writer before I go about tackling the enormous task of publishing a novel. Many literary journals are free to submit to so that’s nice as well.

7. Creating a Writing Portfolio

If not only to have on hand, to also get some sort of professional writing practice in.

8. Achieving 450 collective blog posts

A lofty goal but I’m already at 284 posts so I think we can get there.

9. Sketching AT LEAST weekly

Practice makes perfect.

10. Reading at least 10 books not related to school

I used to devour books when I wasn’t in college but now I read so many biology textbooks that I often find myself burnt out on reading most evenings. Still, I want to at least reward myself with 10 non-school related books if not during the semester, during the breaks (especially summer).

11. Not Failing a Class

Fingers crossed. Hasn’t happened yet.

12. Drinking at least (1) full glass of water daily.

This may sound small and easy but I am the type of girl who can become severely dehydrated without even realizing it. I’m busy enough that sometimes I’ll go about my day and realize I haven’t had a drop of H2O at 6PM and an embarrassing amount of coffee.

13. Participating in at least 10 Photo Projects/Shoots

If Writing is my first love, Photography is my second.

14. Creating a Character Creation Master list

I want to create a giant reference sheet that can help me create all sorts of characters for my stories. Lists of possible jobs (fantasy and modern alike), examples of various names, lists of strengths and weaknesses, and so on.

15. Finishing up at least (3) unfinished writing projects

I have an embarrassing amount of WIP’s. The goal is to finish a little bit at a time.

16. Promoting other bloggers

I want to get more involved with the WordPress writing community and promoting more bloggers and doing more tags/community activities seems to be a good way to do that.

17. Writing more letters

Because letters are still cool and should never go out of fashion.

18. Experimenting more with my wardrobe

I tend to play it safe (and warm) when it comes to my wardrobe but these days I really want to push myself to try out some new styles and combinations of clothing.

19. Exploring more music

Because I have a bad habit of listening to the same song on loop.

20. Not checking my phone as soon as I wake up

Generally just not the best way to start the day. I want to replace the habit with a devotional.

21. Experimenting with a new hobby

Because trying new things are good.

22. Creating or participating in at least (3) new/collaborative projects

Again, because trying new things are good.

23. Spending more time outside

Because I am vitamin D deficient. Also trees are pretty cool too I guess.

And that’s all! Hope you feel inspired to maybe set some goals for yourself! I know it’s a few days away but happy early New Year!