Just Keep Working

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We are approximately a month and a half away from the start of a new year. This election has stirred up many things over the past week. I have received so many emails from individuals that I look up to as a writer and as an artist with the same message: Stay united and keep working hard every single day.

With just under 50 days until the New Year, this is what I am doing to get prepared:

Reintroducing myself…to me.

Who am I? What am I about? I have dedicated myself to daily journal writing for the remainder of 2016 so that I can re-plot myself on the map of Taalor. There is absolutely no way you can determine where you are going, if you’re not even quite sure where you are. Sure you can start to head in a general direction, but at the end of the day you will be no closer to reaching your goals. If you only have a feeling about what you want to do then it is impossible to feel accomplished in your life. Be firm about where you are and what you want, and then go exactly where you want to go. That doesn’t mean you can’t take a detour. Or a pitstop. Or reevaluate and evolve. But that comes later. First just plot yourself on the map.

Thinking ahead to 2017. I hate resolutions.

They don’t work and they’re not practical. Why? Because of the mindset around resolutions. They’re wishy-washy. Instead, I was listening to Susannah Conway and she was talking about her word for the New Year. A word that embodies what you want your year to be. Maybe in 2016 you launched your business and branded yourself, and 2017 is your year for growth. Maybe you just graduated and it is your year for self-knowledge or exploration. Take a word that you’re thinking about focusing your year on, and then get out the thesaurus, and find an even better word. Write that word down on a sticky note and post it on your bathroom mirror. Take a picture of the word and set it as the background picture of your phone. Test it out. Embody your word. I have been thinking about my word for 3 or 4 weeks, now. Just when I thought I had a really good one – then I was afraid the universe would take me too literally. So it was back to square one. You might have a feeling of what you want your word to be, so this will be really good practice to build your vocabulary as well. Feelings into concrete, singular words. Go.

I also have a Passion Project that I am getting ready to launch on January 1, 2017.

This passion project will be daily. I find if yours doesn’t scare you, then it probably isn’t the right project. Mine currently terrifies me. There are MANY reasons why you should look into a yearly passion project:

  • It pushes you to create consistently and share your content.
  • It is something that you should do for fun – not to make money or get famous – but just to do because you think you can better yourself by it.
  • It should be a little out of your comfort zone. Think of this project as pushing your current boundaries. Maybe you’re comfortable painting abstractly, but you have never delved into calligraphy. So your passion project is to copy a passage out of your favorite books and push your letter writing techniques…EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. FOR. A. YEAR. I guarantee that on December 31st, when you step back to look at the last passage you copied and compare it to January 1st, you will feel pride and astonishment for how far you have come.
  • You become accountable to yourself and to your work. In the past I have felt so guilty for being unable to choose a career path and to stick with things. I wasn’t kind with myself. I didn’t think, “Oh Taalor…that’s just because you were trying all of the wrong things. You’ve got this.” It was: “You’re so lazy and a quitter.” We are SO hard on ourselves. So find something you love to do, and stick with it for an entire year.

 

Congratulate yourself on the milestones. Be kind to yourself on the days where you just want to give up, but you do it anyways.

 

 

Planning for the Year Ahead

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Creating something or doing something only for the pure reason that it is joyful needs to be implemented into our lives more often. When has the last time you’ve done something just because? Too often we get swept up with the hustle of life – housework, paychecks, errands…

Remember when you were a teenager and you just hung out? Just because it was fun and you didn’t have anything else better to do that day. That carefree feeling. And then that whole adult thing happened. (Side note: my favorite new verb of the last 2 years has been adulting – “I need to go do some adulting now” as I step away from the candy jar and drag my feet back to my desk.)

My point is, when is the last time you just hung out without a care in the world and did something fun that made you happy?

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I decided to start planning a Passion Project for 2017. Something with ZERO endgame, that genuinely sounded like a fun challenge. I first of this from Lisa Congdon (kick ass painter) who did this project where she photographed a collection every day for an entire year. Cool, right? All you have to do is checkout her website and you’ll immediately realize it was probably really fucking cool.

So what kind of project did I want to do? When I heard about her passion projects I actually didn’t want to do anything. They sounded cool, but I didn’t have the capacity or commitment to complete something like that for myself.  Then BAM I was reading this article about letter writing and it hit me:

I am going to write a letter every single day for 2017. I was going to make each letter unique. And just to clarify, I mean letter as in Dear John, my name is Taalor. I love you.  Sincerely, Taalor P.S. you’re cute. Not Chicka Chicka Boom Boom letters.

And here’s the kicker, each letter has be be sent. Somehow. Someway. Maybe not in the mail. Maybe left on someones car. Or at a table. Or in a book. Or in the mail. Probably the majority of them will go there.  The creativity is not only going to be in the words and whom they are meant for, but also the materials that are used to create them. SO MANY OPTIONS. I want to pee my pants I am so excited for this project.

And that my friends is the best fucking part. “I want to pee my pants I am so excited for this project.”  There is no end game. I am not doing this to make money (good joke even if I wanted to), and I am not doing this to copy someone else getting famous. I am sure someone else has done this before, but I’ve personally never heard of them. That isn’t the point. The point is that I had this kickass idea pop into my brain and it has dopamine having a dance parting in my frickin head.

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Action is the only thing you can do to find your purpose and your path. You don’t have to know where you are going. You just have to take a step. In any direction. Just do something. And if you don’t know what it is, put your phone down and go take a walk. Or read a book. I don’t care. Just do something.

What is going to be your 2017 Passion Project? Also now accepting application/addresses for anyone who wants a letter for me! haha – 365 unique letters are going to kill me. Help a lady out! (Sarcasm intended…sort of)

How to Take Your First Step

 

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A few weeks ago, I had really started refocusing back on myself. My daughter is now 9 months old and for the first time ever, all of my energy wasn’t worried about keeping a small human alive. For the first time ever, I was really starting to come into my own as a mother and had gained confidence in my new role. I suddenly had energy (not much!) to something else. I was feeling creatively drained. So drained that I could not even attempt words to a page.

For days I tried to fight that.

Trying desperately to put words to a page, yet failing every single day.

I felt defeated.

Rather than give up (per usual), I tried something for me that I could do. I just started listening to podcasts. While I was getting ready in the morning for work and every time I was in the car. Tiffany Han of Raise Your Hand Say Yes literally saved me. That was my first step.

I might not have been ready to jump back on the horse and write my heart out (for a million different reasons no one has time to read about today), BUT I was ready to listen about creative women rocking it. Women who had been in the same spot I was in now. Just listening was my first step. Listening to this podcast. Listening to my thoughts and feelings. Just tuning back into myself. That was all my first step was.

Slowly I was able to write a little bit more in my journal each day. Throw some thoughts down on paper, and try really hard to not feel ashamed by how horrible it all was. Not super polished and Instagram perfect.

It is important to listen to your inner voice. If something doesn’t feel good or if you are struggling to do it-STOP. Just don’t do it.

It doesn’t mean don’t do it forever. It just means not right now.

Find something that does make you feel good. Listening to Tiffany Han interview women who resonated with my core made me feel good every day. I wasn’t letting myself get down about not producing any work right now. Or the fact that I haven’t been in the last year. Nope.

I was just feeling good. And listening to myself.

Doing What You Love and Owning It

Being honest with myself and finally consciously admitting that I wanted to be a writer has been one of the most rewarding things that has ever happened to me. Through out my entire life, the biggest decisions were mainly based off of what I thought my parents would approve of–the standard 9 to 5 with salary and benefits, making a positive impact on society. They grew up in a world where unless something is black and white, it is too risky. They automatically visualize the worst because unfortunately it has happened in our family…several times. The failed business ventures. The 30-year-old still living in the basement. They know the reality of life that comes in the form of over due bills and vanquishing the wants when needs have to be met.

Growing up, I always had these seemingly crazy dreams. Dreams that now as an adult I see others living and how much I crave for that. Creating this blog was a big step for me. In a very personal way. It was putting the doubts of reality and chasing a dream regardless of anything besides “YES, I’M PUTTING MYSELF OUT THERE!”

Going for what exactly you want is exactly what you need to do right now. It’s so cliché when we hear it, but somehow it is the one thing we never follow through with. Then we continue with the same old patterns. Playing it safe. Even if it is as simple as taking the photography class at the local college or volunteering for a local cause. Something out of your comfort zone or something that’s been on your mind. Start small and take consistent steps towards the bigger picture.

How do you step out of your comfort zone?

Puppy Kisses

The past two weeks have been absolute craziness. Please forgive my absence. Seriously. It started with 3 job interviews, a funeral, and a new puppy. It ended with a full-time job and (still) a new puppy. He’s definitely not going anywhere. We love him too much, but JEESE he is a handful. I just have to keep reminding myself that this phase will end, and there will be a time when I miss his puppy breath and energetic playfulness. We were so lucky that he was so easy to potty train. We are talking like one day people. He’s not perfect, but I would say 95% outside potty rate and at 7.5 weeks, I WILL TAKE IT!!

I am so happy to announce that I have finally found an awesome job! To be able to say that is so stress-relieving. At one point, I was honestly so sure that I would never get to this point. Graduating college and stepping into the real world is definitely a transition. Now that my schedule is normalizing, I am getting back to the same blogging schedule. To be honest, I haven’t even touched my computer since the last post and it will feel so good to continue on this journey now that I have got things under control (aka laundry).

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WE LOVE PUPPY KISSES

It has been so refreshing to finally get some nice(r) weather here in Iowa. All of my friends have been on Spring Break at the beach and their pictures would have been unbearable if not for our 80 degree day last week and the fact that I have the cutest fur-baby at home.

How have you guys gotten through puppy-phase? I will take ALL of the help I can get!!

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Sometimes Life Just Happens

It has been far too long since I have blogged, but sometimes life just happens. An illness, three interviews, and a funeral consumed my life all week. I am so relieved last week is done and over with. Today was also a very long day, but a joyful one at that. We welcomed a new member to our family today:

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His name is Jett. He is a chubby little furball who is so curious about the world, and we are just ecstatic to have him. I am not sure I am ready for the potty training process again, but here we go!

And here is another picture because I just can’t help myself.

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If this doesn’t melt your heart, I don’t know what else will.

Goodnight loves!

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Dollars and Sense: How to Effectively Manage Your Money When You Have None

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Going out into the real world with a college degree taught me one really big life lesson: your bank account does not magically change. It still looks just as pathetic as when you were juggling school with a minimum wage part-timer. The good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just not right away. Here are some quick tips to help you manage that sad bank account like the “adults” we all are…(there may be a time where I stop using the word “adult” like a funny joke. Maybe not. Stay tuned.)

#1. Write out a budget. Stick to it.

There are so many free tools available to make this easy. From apps like Minted to websites dedicated to what should be standard percentages of your income to specific categories like rent or groceries. I used these as a basis to start my own basic budget. I created an Excel sheet with incomes, expenditures, and savings goals that are standard for me each month. Based on that information I was able to see what was left over for the fun things in life. To prevent over-spending, I stayed away from using my debit card for these purchases and instead gave myself a cash allowance. Like I said, “adult” is clearly used loosely in my world. But seriously, try the cash thing. It works. You can physically see in front of you what you have as extra-spending money to buy that new lipstick you’ve been eyeing or grab the Iced Carmel Macchiato (boring, but addicting none the less). When the cash is gone then your fun spending is done for the week or month depending how you set it up, and your grown-up finances are still in tact. No late fees this month.

#2. Pack your lunch.

I am embarrassed to admit the percentage of my income went to eating out in 2014. There are people who spend their careers studying the psychology of our purchases. They can explain it better than me. But basically we don’t give second thought to anything under $20, especially for items like food. We rationalize it because food is a necessity and it makes us feel so good. There is no winning. $10 a day for lunch turns into $200+ a month on a normal work schedule. Do you want Panera today or do you want that super cute pair of pumps you’ve been eyeing in the shop window, Taalor?! Priorities, girl.

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