Ulta Beauty posted this to their facebook page a couple of weeks ago and I got a good laugh out of it. I showed it to a few of my friends and they could relate. I really do this. Sometimes, you just aren’t up for the full routine, so you find short cuts. My go-to short cut is to use Yes to Blueberries brightening wipes to clean my face. I cut two or three steps out of my routine. I try not to do it too often, because as nice as the wipes are, they do not have the cleaning power of double-cleansing with a facial brush, but they do a good job. And, I love the smell. The blueberry products from the yes to line are brightening and they have other products if you have other issues you are targeting (if you need something gentle, try to the yes to cotton!)
When you skincare is part of your self-care, it can feel indulgent and unnecessary. But, your skin is your biggest organ and it needs some looking after and TLC. It’s nice to have a backup plan, then, for when you’re feeling tired so that you still take care of yourself.
I’m one of those people that has trouble blocking out sound. Most days, it doesn’t matter how focused I am or excited I am about the work I’m doing, ambient noise easily distracts me. I’ve found, though, that if I can get the noise down (usually with earplugs) or if I can play a little white noise, I can stay focused even when there is stuff going on around me.
One of my favorite things to listen to are sounds from Space. Voyagers I and II recorded electromagnetic waves from planets as they toured the solar system and those waves were released as part of a five volume collection. (You can read more about it here.) So, you can work while listening to Jupiter. It’s so cool.
Below is a spotify play list containing 3 hours worth of space sounds. Let the Cosmos sing to you while you work!
It’s amazing how fast something can be finished once you have it organized. So, here they are, my mitts. I used self-striping yarn. Few things are as great as self-striping yarn. You get a pattern and you don’t have to do any work. I cast on 60 stitches for each mitt using this sock weight yarn. I used size 4 circular needles. I did about an inch of ribbing on both ends, but other than that, I did a simple knit stitch. I did these without a pattern because, knitting in the round, I could try them on as a went and I make adjustments if I needed to.
Mitts with Kitts
I am celebrating this small victory. It feels so good to finish something. I’m now on the look out for my next project. I would like to do something summery, but at the rate I’m knitting these days, I should probably start something wintry so it’ll be ready for the Fall.
I’ve been trying two different productivity/team management apps to manage my to-do list after I’ve done my planning for the week. As a mentioned earlier this week, I don’t like to carry my physical planner around with me, so I keep a digital backup. The two apps I’ve been working with have been trello and asana.
They both have similar features. I can invite other people to be part of my team on projects or boards, depending on the app. This can allow us to manage a list and assign tasks to specific individuals and give things due dates. I started using trello, but I found that I wasn’t keeping it up to date, so I decided to give asana a try.
Asana is my go-to for the weekly checklist because it created a “my tasks” list in which I could see, on one screen, everything that had been assigned to me and the dates that they were due. the app works on my phone so I can see that list in my home screen. It’s nice that it can be on the home screen because then I don’t have to unlock my phone and possibly mess up a tree I am growing in the forest app, which, as you know, is important to me.
Trello just introduced a new feature called the home screen which is similar to the “my tasks” list. So, I’m going to try that out for a few weeks and see how it works for me.
Since mentioning my skincare routine, I’ve wanted to talk about it a little more. It brings me joy to go through the routine. Calmly and simply washing one’s face wouldn’t seem like something that could make someone happy, but I am so pleased to have found that it does.
One of the things that I have started doing on Sunday afternoons is something I call Spot-treatment Sundays. It’s fun to do targeted masks. I have some blackheads I’m trying to get rid of, and it started with that. I use Mario Badescu’s silver powder on my nose and chin. After doing that for awhile, my routine has grown. I now also do an eye mask, a lip mask and starting tonight a hair mask (my hair has been so dry this winter and spring!).
I’ve been trying these hydrogel eye patches for twenty minutes and this Yes to Coconuts lip mask. I think the lip mask really makes a difference but I’m still not sold on the eye masks. I think I’m going to need to try them a few more times.
The hair mask that I am trying today was a total impulse purchase. The hip chic sleeping hair mask goes on dry hair and is washed off in the morning. I hope that it works. I found a few online reviews that were positive, so I am excited to try it.
Two and a half years ago I got into weekly planning. I needed to get better at time management and I wanted to have a way to see goals and track my progress, so I found a planner that was organized around breaking jobs down and getting them done. The first year using it was a mess. Like with meditation, there was a steep learning curve and I stumbled a lot at the beginning. Last year was better and this year has been pretty good. At first I was writing down everything I thought I could get done in a week, but I’ve transitioned to setting 3 or 4 big goals for the week (that often have multi-step parts).
I then set goals for everyday. I write it all out in a physical planner, but since I don’t like to carry a planner around with me, I’ve also been keeping, or trying to keep, a digital to-do list. But, that’s difficult, too, because I’m easily distracted and electronic devices are the biggest distraction of them all. I don’t like to carry around a planner, but I do carry around a calendar in my everything notebook, so I’ve started copying the to-do list there. I set goals for every day there and I check things off my digital checklist every night.
I’ve started to realize how complicated this all is and I have been thinking about how to cut down on some of it. I am Spring Cleaning, after all.
I like to knit socks two at a time. It sounds crazy. I know. But, it has its benefits. I can’t lose the pattern between sock 1 and sock 2. I don’t have to remember if I added a row here or there on sock 1 when I’m making sock 2. I don’t have to wait for a second sock to wear my first sock. It takes a little getting used to and you have to spend some time on set up, but once you get going its not any harder than knitting socks one at a time.
Here’s a tutorial, if you are interested in the technique.
So, two weeks ago when I talked about knitting I mentioned that I had started a pair of mitts last year. After writing that post, I dug them out to look into why they had been abandoned. and, it turns out, I put them aside because I was trying to do mitts two-at-a-time but I hadn’t got the setup right.
So, I tried to fix the set up. Then, I tried to fix it again. I finally decided it wasn’t worth it to keep trying and that I would just do them one-at-a-time. Since then, I’ve gotten in at least 20 rounds on each mitt. I’m happy to say that both of them now have thumb holes. It feels very good to have gotten them out and gotten back to knitting a bit. And, I couldn’t have picked a better time to pick them back up. There’s playoffs basketball and hockey and baseball on, so there’s plenty of excuses to sit and knit.
I used to knit about twelve projects a year. I liked knitted socks and shawls. Occasionally I’d toss in a hat or a pair of gloves, maybe a scarf. But, for the past three years or so first the number of projects I finished went down and then the number of projects I started went down. Last year I finished two things (a pussy hat in time for the Women’s march and a shawl that I started in late 2015) and I think I started three things (the pussy hat, a pair of mitts, and a cowl made on massive needles with massive yarn).
I miss knitting.
There is something to be said for a little social time that involves crafting. I no longer have a knitting group and maybe that is why I now make fewer projects. But, even just unwinding at the end of the day, listening to a chapter of an audiobook, getting in a few rows by yourself can be nice. Or, watching an episode of something and getting in a few rows. I dug one of the projects I started last year out and I put it by the chair I sit in when I watch TV with my family. Perhaps I can get back into it.
I have become one of those people with an obsessive and lengthy skin care regime. It started simply enough. I had a daily set up on habitica to moisturize and use some of the treatment products that I already bought. I mean, I had the stuff, right? So I might as well use it.
Then, as I ran out of stuff and went to replace it, I discovered some of the products I had been using (because I am kind of a skincare and makeup hoarder) were no longer being made. Or, that the stuff that had once been ideal for my skin was now too strong or not strong enough. So, I started looking for new products. I started reading some blogs and watching some youtube channels. I tried new things. I liked them or I didn’t like them. I started getting samples of things. I introduced Mud Mask Monday. I change up my dailies on once a quarter and when I’ve started changing up my skincare then, too. You have to try new things for awhile to see how you like them.
And, what started as something to do every day to use stuff I already bought started to become part of a routine for how I structured my day. Days don’t really feel like days without it. It’s become part of how I mark time.
Routines are things that can get us stuck in a rut, they can be the comfortable space that we stay in and that doesn’t allow us to grow. But, they can also create the safe zone for the parts of our lives where we are growing and doing things that make us uncomfortable.
Sometimes, it is hard to get stuff done for yourself. Sometimes, you need to know that your actions really do have tangible effects on others. It is for those days that I keep my to-do list in the app Habitica.
Habitica is role-playing app and website for your to-do list. You create a character. You can join a party and a guild. You can go on quests and all of your roles and hit points are gotten through checking things off your list. So, if you can’t get stuff done for yourself, you can get stuff done for the party. Or, to keep your little guy from dying. I’m a level 55 rogue. Look at me, aren’t I cute?
The website has three different ways you can earn points and level 1. There are habits that you can up or down as you do them. There are dailies that you refresh everyday (and that you can set to weeklies, monthlies, etc. They are great for things you want to remember, like bills.) And, there are one-off to-dos. I put my goals for the week in the one-offs and I have dailies/weeklies/monthlies for things that I want to do regularly. As an example, my dailies include meditation and the water I want to drink every day.
The website/app helps me keep on track, even when things in my life are actively derailing me. Plus, it is sometimes fun to think about riding into battle (like, grocery shopping, for example) on a butterfly while wearing vampire armor.