Blog| The Comparison Game

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If you’re not aware, I’ve been sick for the past few days which would explain the lack of a blog yesterday. Our house is full of sick people and animals at the moment between Demo getting his arm amputated, Almond not feeling good, and me getting knocked out by a severe cold.

How do I spend my sick days?

Mostly by scrolling through Instagram and watching YouTube videos. Like most artists, I follow a ton of other artists as well. My YouTube is filled with speed paint videos, studio vlogs, and all sorts. On Facebook I see video features and articles about other local artists and projects and all of their art.

And then I started to feel bad about myself. I am surrounded by artists so it’s hard not to compare myself to them a bit. I see their amazing works and galleries and projects and my mind goes, “Why can’t I have any of that?”

Comparison is a double edged sword. Most artists do it in some way. They look up to other artists and take the styles and techniques they love and try to emulate them in some way. It can be healthy to do this. A lot of artists learn through emulation and there’s nothing wrong with that (as long as you’re not passing it of as your own and selling it.) We do it all the time, taking qualities we like and inheriting them.

Advice from Facebook:
“You do you. Every artist, regardless of medium, find fault in their own work, so having the balls to put it out there to the world is huge. You are not anyone else, and no one else is you. Be you, do you.”– Emily H

“I would say everyone’s art journey is different. Don’t compare your work or how you approach being artist to other artists. Your story will be unique to you. In addition to that, don’t look down on other artists if they don’t follow what you consider the proper way to go about being an artist.” -Kendra M

The problem gets to be when you do it too much. When it no longer is about growing yourself, but looking at your growth and diminishing it because it’s not as good as someone else’s. Comparison tends to lead to jealousy and envy. It’s a struggle not to do this. Humans are competitive and that permeates the art world, especially with the surge of social media. It’s a battle for followers and likes and shares.

That’s when comparison can become mostly a negative. It’s a fixation of “Why am I not selling pieces? Why can’t I get my own gallery? Why don’t people want to feature my work anywhere?” Artists put so much of themselves into their work that it gets personal when they see another artist they think had an easier time get more of a spotlight; it can lead to resentment and jealousy.

Advice from Facebook: 

“It’s normal to compare your efforts to the works of someone whose talents you admire. The trick is to compare without criticism.” -Billie A

” The world is full of different tastes so even though you might like and admire someone’s art, you shouldn’t push yourself to be too much like someone else because plenty of people will like YOUR stuff.” -Ana H 

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms. ~ Zen Shin” -Lisa M

We’re all not immune to it. I’ve been doing art seriously for 10+ years now. I’ve done small galleries and group shows and now help run one. I am not immune to it at all. I watch these videos of artists being able to work full time in their art studios and create all day while I have an office job and barely get the time and energy to work on my own pieces. You look at everything and wonder what you’re doing wrong.

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Here’s something not a lot of people know.

A year or so ago, my depression was on and off and I seriously considered giving up pursing art as a career and resigned myself to boring office jobs. I hadn’t sold anything after putting hours into my paintings and watched as my friends sold piece after piece and got commissions and invited to do cool events and workshops and everything while I was struggling. I thought there was no point. Everyone said they liked my work but it wasn’t showing.

I had spent years in the art community and had gotten no where and was tired of being passed up. I wasn’t in galleries, no one knew who I was. It was pointless.

Advice from Facebook: 

“Stop that shit!” -Todd G

” Let your light shine.” –Greg F

I love art. I need art to keep myself sane and balanced but comparing myself to everyone else had put me in this dark pit that I couldn’t get out of and I wanted to quit. I was so tired of fighting and climbing uphill. It took Rony to talk me out of it and keep going. Things got better. I stopped focusing so much on everyone else. I took the time and focused on what I wanted to do.

I do both original fine art and fan art, but not solely either or. It puts me in this weird category where since I don’t do constant fan art I don’t get the recognition for that but because I do fan art, I don’t get the recognition for my fine art. I’m in limbo. It was one of the reasons why I’ve been trying to make the Lubbock Artist Collective galleries so diverse. I want to allow room for both fan art and fine art you can be good at both.

The artists I follow online are in the same category as myself, but it’s hard locally. Lubbock is small and the art community is tight. Even surrounded by artists, I feel like an outsider.

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There are times where I still get bouts of jealousy and self-deprecation. It’s hard not to, but I’m working on it. Now when I see others succeed, I have to remind myself it doesn’t affect my own journey and I should be excited for them. I look at my Instagram feed and the Youtube videos and use these glimpses into other artists worlds to inspire me rather than put me down. I use it as motivation.

Seattle will have more opportunities. I’m growing my own opportunities here for now.

It’s not easy and it’s never going to be easy. Paintings don’t sell and pile up, you email galleries constantly looking for a place that will accept your art. Opportunities go by while you see your friends get more and more. It happens. But you have to keep going. The hard work pays off eventually.

Advice from Facebook: 

“I know art is cathartic for a lot, including me, but remember it’s fun and that it’s okay to just make stuff that isn’t great sometimes, so long as you enjoy it.” -David P

“We’re our biggest critics. Focus on your work and what you want to do. Don’t compare to others, because they’re on their own journey and see things through different eyes than you. We’re all human and have a tendency to be too hard on ourselves and think the next person is better. More often than not, that person you think is better, is probably thinking the same thing about someone else.” – Natasia M

So remember, no two people are alike. Each person grows differently. Some fast, some slow. It’s okay to look up to other people, but don’t diminish your own growth and put yourself down. Comparison can be good in small doses to motivate and inspire but you are one of a kind and can’t be anyone else. You’ll get there. Just keep going.

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What advice would you give someone? Have you struggled with comparing yourself?

-Sam <3

Blog| I went Vegan for a Week

My sister and I like to give each other challenges to do. One, it’s a way for us to bond and do fun things and two, we like to brag when the other starts losing.

I challenged her to do the 365 Project and she challenged me to do a week of being vegan.

Guess what I’m doing now?

Goal: Eat vegan from July 24th to Ladies Night on July 29th and see what the effects are on my body and if I won’t die of hunger.


Day 1:

I was not prepared. At all. We got back from Ruidoso Sunday evening and I went straight to a dinner party then passed out. In the morning, I was tired and exhausted and went to grab something for breakfast only to find nothing I could eat.

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I drink my coffee with cream and sugar so I couldn’t have it and had to drink sweet tea instead. I was starving. Went home for lunch. Finally found some rice and a bag of steam-able veggies to eat. It was the saddest little meal I’ve had. After desperately searching the house some more, I realized the garden veggie Pringles chips we just bought were vegan.

I think I downed half the can.

After work I went to the grocery store and got some fruit, salad stuff, fake vegan meat, chips and salsa, and almond milk so I could eat cereal. I forgot pasta sauce since the sauce we had already was four cheese, to my dismay.

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I ate a salad for dinner, snacked on chips and salsa, ate a cup of Special K cereal with almond milk, and drank V8 fruit blend. I had a headache, was tired, cranky, and couldn’t seem to feel full. Day 1 was awful.


Day 2:

I was exhausted! Seriously, I slept through my alarm then had to run and throw on clothes and eat some more Special K for breakfast. My stomach felt like a black void and I had the worst headache. It’s the kind that feels like your head is split open and makes you nauseous.

For lunch I went crazy because I was starving. Tomato soup, slices of bread, chips and salsa, and the veggie Pringle chips. I gorged myself because I was so hungry and just wanted everything in sight to get into my stomach.

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After work, I was still starving. I snacked on baby tomatoes and homemade pickles. Ate another cup of cereal. I was also exhausted and the headaches were persisting. I spent a good amount of time just laying on the couch with my phone, trying not to take a whole bottle of pain medicine.

For dinner, I wanted to try something beyond rice and veggies. I had bought some meatless vegan chicken strips and googled how to make your own teriyaki sauce. With some modifications (because I didn’t have everything and I was too lazy to go to the store), I made the sauce with some steamed stir-fry veggies and added the chicken. All of it went on top of some white rice and boom, dinner.

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Surprisingly, it was very delicious. The chicken didn’t taste just like chicken, but close enough and the texture was kinda similar. But the sauce was good and I even ate the vegetables I usually hate.

I passed out early for bed and dreamed of cakes and cream cheese and everything I couldn’t eat.


Day 3:

I was less tired in the morning but did wake up starving again. I realized the food I was eating just wasn’t lasting that long. I made the effort to get up, fix my hair, eat a big bowl of cereal, and take some fruit to work. Since I’ve had to forgo coffee and I forgot to make more sweet tea, I drank water at work.

The headaches were still ongoing but I looked it up and it’s apparently my body detoxing from dairy and meat. I chewed some gummy vitamins for good measure and drank more water.

I started to dislike Almond milk less, though I wouldn’t drink it straight. It was a weird tan color I just couldn’t get passed. In cereal it wasn’t bad, I’ll give it that.

Lunch was tomato soup again since we ate all the leftovers and I didn’t feel like salad. After lunch I was fading fast. I could not. stop. yawning. I drank even more water and finished off my Pringles to keep myself awake.

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Marisa was supposed to make a vegan dinner, but ended up losing her debit card (RIP debit card) so I settled for a spinach and tomato salad with Italian dressing. I’m starting to notice that certain flavors are starting to be overpowering. Certain things are too sweet, the Italian dressing was overpowering and too much. It’s strange.


Day 4:

Today was the first day that I didn’t get awful headaches and didn’t feel like I needed a nap every other hour. I ran out of cereal but found out the “butter” we had was actually vegetable oil spread and I could eat it. So I made toast with jam.

I’m drinking more water and more fruit. A lot of bananas and peaches from the store, snacking on tomatoes. Vegetables I hated and would pick out of my food I’m just shoving into my mouth because I’m hungry and don’t wanna hassle myself with picking them out.

Lunch was a dull affair of leftover tomato soup with bread and veggies. Most of my lunch break was spent cleaning up the dogs’ kennels since Almond had an accident due to an upset tummy.

I snacked on salsa and chips, finished my tomatoes, cried over my forbidden donuts and Lunchables.

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For dinner I decided to cook again. There was some gnocchi in the cabinets and we had another bag of meatless chicken. I cooked them up, threw some steam-able veggies into the microwave and then mixed it all together and made vegetable and chicken gnocchi with plain pasta sauce. It was pretty good and very filling! I actually liked it a lot and say of all the vegan stuff I bought, I liked the meatless chicken the most.


Day 5:

No headaches! It was a miracle! I ate toast again for breakfast and had some tea and found I was less tired for once. My sleep schedule was still all crazy and I ended up staying up too late coloring my coloring book, but I wasn’t dead on my feet so that was good.

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I ate leftover gnocchi for lunch and decided to cook meatless ground beef tacos for dinner. Honestly, it didn’t taste that much different from regular meat. I seasoned it like normal and topped it with tomatoes and spinach instead of lettuce and put a little salsa on it. Rony and I both ate them all and agreed that the meatless beef was pretty A+. 10/10 would buy again. I think next time I’ll try and incorporate it into other dishes and see how it holds up.


Day 6:

Saturday was the last day of the challenge. I had to get all the way through Ladies Night and then I could stuff myself with pizza and donuts and anything I wanted.

We were crazy busy so I ate cereal for breakfast in between running around. Around 2, it finally settled down enough that we decided to go out and eat. I wanted to try and see how easy or hard it is to order vegan food at a restaurant so we went to one of our favorite Thai restaurants. All I could think was that I was pretty sure most of the noodles are made with egg and I’d have to suck it up and get a fully vegetable plate and this was going to suck.

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I got lucky. My favorite dish, Lard Na, was made with rice noodles and they had a tofu option so it was all vegan. I’ve never had tofu but Rony recently got won over by it so I figured I would try it to.

During the whole week, I was surprised by how less picky I was getting. Usually I pick out cabbage and any weird vegetables I don’t like. Sometimes I was too hungry to care and shoved everything into my mouth, everything tasting like pure gold in my mouth from starvation. I was less anxious about the tofu at that point. And it was actually not bad. The gravy had soaked in and it didn’t really taste like anything and the texture reminded me of a less chewy version of tripe in menudo which I love. I was pleasantly surprised.

Rony got tofu as well but it was fried. I tried his and it tasted like weird egg but I’d eat it. It wasn’t bad. I ate my whole plate and felt full and happy. I was proud. It was my last vegan meal and I had expected the worst, but the whole week was better than I thought.

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Ladies Night came and I survived. I did ALMOST ate a cookie on accident though. Tabby had picked all the M&M’s off hers and I didn’t want it to go to waste and had put it in my mouth right as I realized it wasn’t vegan. So I spit it out and almost cried. I would have been so mad if I ruined my whole week in the last hour.

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We all went to my house and ordered pizza and played games and drank to celebrate Ladies Night and me ending my veganism. The taste of cheese pizza had never tasted so good. I ate chips and bread sticks and dip and hung out with my friends. I even drank the cold brew coffee that had been sitting in the fridge.

We laughed and listened to music and stayed up until almost 3am. It was a good end.


Final thoughts:

I will tell you, I threw a fit when my sister gave me the challenge. I couldn’t survive without dairy. It was gonna be awful. I was gonna die. This was too much work. Even Rony was like “hell no” and didn’t want to do it.

But I genuinely surprised. Yes, the first few days were hard as I figured out what I could or could not eat, figured out my intake, and suffered through dairy detox. I was miserable and tired and grumpy and just wanted to shove donuts into my face. After I got groceries, tried to cook and got things I could eat then it actually wasn’t bad.

I noticed I started to crave dairy and cheese less, I ate less sugar and caffeine, and cooked a lot more. I started looking at labels and taking vitamins and eating less processed food. The few times I seriously craved foods was in places like the mall and when everyone but me had junk food.

Were there downsides? Yes. I’m going to be honest. I had gas all damn week. It was crazy. Everything gave me gas and I hated it. I was also hungry all the time, ranging from “maybe I should snack” to “holy shit I’m going to eat paper if I do not get food.” I would have to eat very filling lunches to last me from breakfast until after work when I would eat fruit or something small to relieve the hunger pains before dinner.

I was tired, fast food was almost completely out of the question, and the groceries were slightly more expensive for less items. Lubbock is a small town and does not have that many vegan/vegetarian options and I hated spending so much on groceries.

But at the end of the week, I was super proud and it’s made me think a lot about my diet currently. I gave up red meat, but all of the meatless options were just as good as actual meat. So now I think I may be giving up poultry eventually and just eat fish. When we go to Seattle, we’ll be able to get fresh, local fish and that way I don’t have to feel guilty about the meat/poultry industry.

It’s weird to be making all these dietary changes but I have to admit that I did feel good at the end. I didn’t change weight, but my body felt healthier and I had to consume so much food that was plant based that I wouldn’t really have to worry about overeating. If I had worked out this week, I’m sure I would have saw some changes.

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So how have things changed almost a week later?

Monday I drank two sips of coffee and felt like my heart was going to explode from caffeine. I hate some chips and a cookie and felt sick all day. Cheese is almost unappetizing to me and I can’t go back to regular dairy milk. So far turkey meat doesn’t make me queasy but I essentially can’t go back to a regular diet without feeling nauseous and worse than I did at the beginning of the vegan challenge.

I won’t keep being a vegan, but unless I want to feel like crap for a whole week, I can’t go back to eating how I did. So I’ve cut out coffee and soda and a lot of sweets and dairy. If I do eat junk food, I can only eat a tiny bit or else I feel awful.

But I’m kinda okay with it. Yes, I would like to go back to eating whatever I wanted but in the end, I understand that it’s my body telling me it does not like it. So I’ll be like a weird lenient vegetarian.

In a month or so, I’ll let you know how it goes :)

-Sam <3

Blog| August Goals

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I like that every time I’m like “oh this month won’t be busy,” I end up eating my words. This month was hectic and I know I did awful, but I really did try.

Let’s recap July and see what happened.


July Goals

Personal:

  • Restrict non-essential spending to $50 for the whole month– I failed this spectacularly. I was doing so good and then we decided to buy a $50 skull and taxidermy bugs and it went downhill
  • Swim in the pool once a week- I really wanted to do this one, but unfortunately we did not get a pool cover, it rained, and now we’ve had to drain and completely scrub and repair the pool because the dogs started to trash it
  • Get back into using the planner-  I’ve tried to add a lot more and update plans and events to help me keep track
  • Take the dogs on a walk once a week- Nope.
  • Drink more water- I’m going to give myself this one. I have been drinking more water, just not as much as I’d like. But my water intake has gone up

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Work:

  • Paint one thing not for an event- I did a few fluid art paintings and did an ink drawing!
  • Finish Wonder Woman Read Through- I just got too busy to dedicate 30-40 minutes to that trash. I’m going to try again later
  • Do a painting process blog/livestream– Yep! Did a process blog on my Alien painting here
  • Plan out blogs ahead of time- Did this too! I have a lot of blogs planned so I’m not struggling to produce content!
  • Update resume and portfolio- I did not do this, but I want to get really good scans and photos of my paintings first.

Projects:

  • Start 365 Photo Challenge July 1st- Done!
  • Give up red meat July 5th- Done!
  • Do Vegan Challenge for a week July 20th-27th- Done though we had to change the dates! You can read about that this week!

So 8/13 is more than 60% met! Not the best but then again, I just got slammed with event to trip to event and I feel like I’m barely catching my breath now. One of these days I’ll actually have a slow month.

I do need to get my budget under control and get serious about saving money and not spending. I want to get my online shop straightened up, the house clean, and have a good routine for myself to follow and stick to.

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So let’s look at August Goals!


August Goals

Personal:

  • Restrict non-essential spending to $100 for the whole month
  • Pay attention to what I eat and allow myself only some treats
  • Go to sleep by 11-1130
  • Take the dogs on a walk once a week or take them somewhere
  • Take care of your dishes every day

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Work:

  • Paint TWO things not for an event
  • Finish Wonder Woman Read Through
  • Update Etsy shop and list items on Society6
  • Try to nail down a location for the 24 hour lock in
  • Update resume and portfolio

Projects:

  • Art Coffee Night
  • Garage Sale

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I think by getting down a routine it’ll help me focus on my projects and that way things don’t pile up, the house and animals are getting taken care of, and it’ll be less stress for everyone. I need to clean up the business and get things organized and ready to start focusing seriously on it. I want to do more original content, put on more art events, and focus on the art community.

And I really need to start trying to do my personal goals rather than just my work ones. I put myself last to mostly everything and don’t take care of myself like I should because if I’m not okay then I can’t help others and get things done.

It’s all gonna happen! I just have to stay determined and focused!

I’m linking up with Nicole from Writes Like a Goal so go read her small goals for August and the other link ups!

-Sam <3

Blog| A is for…

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Personal territory here. Be advised.

Self-discovery is an ongoing thing. You never really finish learning but sometimes you don’t question enough things that seem concrete and settled. I’m learning that. Things I thought about myself aren’t as permanent as I thought. The things I want change and the things I like as well.

I never thought I’d change my diet, be in charge of big things, drop out of college, etc. But I did. I’m not the same person I was ten years ago, a year ago, a few months ago.

Self-discovery is weird but good and can come at unexpected times.

IMG_0606IMG_0602During a discussion, Rony joked a while back and asked if I was sure I wasn’t Asexual. I laughed but before I could think I said, “Maybe???”

Maybe I was. I’d never thought about it, but it kinda made sense.

Asexuality is the lack of or complete non-existence of a sex drive. You just aren’t interested in sex. There are different types of asexuals like graysexuals and demisexuals where sometimes you have to be in a specific circumstance to feel those urges or where you feel them, you just have no desire to act on them. Sexuality is a crazy wide spectrum of differences and nuances and not everything has a name, but it exists.

And no, it’s not that they just haven’t had a good experience, aren’t doing it right, or haven’t found the right person. Asexuals just don’t desire sex and that’s okay.

I’ve never questioned my sexuality. I’m a straight, cisgendered woman of color. That’s it. Nothing more. Permanent fact. But I don’t think that’s so anymore. I fell into a hole of research and Googling and questioning. Was I actually Asexual or just someone with a low sex-drive?

 

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I’m not new to the LGBTQIA community. My grandmother is a lesbian. I grew up never realizing it was anything different. It wasn’t until I was a bit older and got weird looks when I talked about my grandma and her girlfriend that I realized it wasn’t the usual. But that didn’t matter to me.

Most of my friends growing up were queer. Lesbian, gay, bi. They were wonderful people and why shouldn’t they love who they wanted to.

I just never thought to question MY sexuality. But then again, this whole relationship stuff is still new to me. Rony is only my second long term boyfriend and the first was an awful on and off relationship in high school that ended after less than a year and we had never had sex. How was I suppose to know if I was Asexual? Sex was never a priority for either of us and I was new enough to dating that I wasn’t going to throw it out there.

I attributed my lack of interest to uncertainty and never thought twice.

 

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There’s a heteronormative expectation on people. Most people are straight and cisgendered. it’s the “default” to a lot of people. I didn’t question it, never thought I could be queer or something was different with me. But as soon as the question was proposed, the straight label didn’t fit.

So what am I?

I don’t know. I’m new to this whole thing and still learning. I think I’m Graysexual which means I get urges but never feel like acting on them. Am I straight? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. I always attributed my lack of sexual attraction to anyone not a man as me being straight but maybe it was just being asexual. I was expected to like men so I equated romantic attraction as sexual desire. It wasn’t though. I’m attracted to a lot of women, I just don’t want to have sex with anyone and I equated that with not being interested in women period.

It’s weird and confusing but that’s another thought and conversation.

Am I LGBTQIA? Yes, I think. There’s the whole argument if Asexuals should be part of the LGBT and it’s confusing and I’m just trying to adjust to one thing at a time.

It seems to be the hardest thing to wrap my brain around. I’ve always associated being queer with my friends and family but never myself. I was an Ally, that’s mostly it. Now I may actually be asexual and bi or pan romantic? Who knows. I certainly don’t. Not yet at least.

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What does that mean for me? It’s an adjustment. I feel more settled into my own skin but talking about it is still weird because it has nothing to do with my romantic inclinations, just my sexual and that’s a weird conversation to talk about with other people besides my partner. Luckily, Rony has been very understanding and supportive. It’s not that big a deal to him and he’s learning. I’m learning. We’re learning together.

Is this me coming out? I think so? I’ve never had to come out before. Yes, I think.

In one part of my brain, this whole thing is just not a big deal. I’m asexual. Cool. It doesn’t affect my life and my goals and art all that much. On the other hand, it does. Something that I thought was wrong with me isn’t and this guilt and confusion I’ve had is gone. It’s an understanding that hey, something isn’t wrong with you. You’re just wired differently. It’s a part of me so I should tell people. But it’s still weird.

I have a lot to learn still. I want to learn more. There’s a lot of adjusting in my brain and I’m still wrapping my head around it. Permanent facts are no longer as permanent and the foundation is shook, but I’m settling in now.

If you’d like any information on Asexuality feel free to read these!

http://www.whatisasexuality.com/intro/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asexuality
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_asexuality
http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/02/what-is-graysexuality/

And look up more if you’d like! We can all learn together :)

Thanks for taking the time and reading about me having an existential crisis!

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-Sam <3

Blog| July Goals

Processed with MOLDIVOkay, I’m gonna be perfectly honest. I did horrible this month at my goals. Everything was getting derailed, I didn’t feel motivated, I got sick at one point, and I got fixated on all the wrong things.

But I’m aiming to do better in July. I need to do better. There’s a lot of events and things coming up and I have a few projects and challenges I want to do as well so I’ll include them.

First, let’s recap.


June Goals

Personal:

  • Rearrange bedroom-  I got this done and we’re actually starting to hang stuff up on the wall! Leon got a new kennel and we got a new mattress and frame, courtesy of my dad!
  • Clean a bit of the house every day- Every day did not happen and it turned into a disaster at one point, but it’s back in shape!
  • Drink at least a bottle of water every day- lol. no. I failed at this miserably.
  • Yoga/workout once a week- failed this one too. But now with the pool, I’m gonna try and use it to work out.
  • Get Leon fixed-  He is officially fixed! And is getting his stitches out so yay!

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Work:

  • A pic a day on Instagram-  Nope. The process of getting my photos to my computer and then to my phone to upload is long and sometimes I just didn’t want to deal with it. But I’m working on another solution!
  • Sketch or paint a non-gallery piece once a week- Nope. Got too busy and the office needs to be cleaned first before I feel comfortable painting
  • Restock jewelry- Thaaaaaat’s a nope.
  • Order 6×9 & 8×10 prints- Money got tight so that’s getting pushed back.
  • Scan and make print copies of all paintings- aaaaaaaand another nope.

I have this weird thing where if the space I want to work in isn’t clean, I can’t do work until it’s back in shape. And that has been my office. The cats took it over and I just haven’t straightened it back out. So like no art work got done this month.

But that’s enough about last month. We’re gonna get back into gear because a lot of exciting stuff is going on next month and I want it to be a good month!

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We found a very lovable black cat at the community garden that liked to follow me around

July Goals

Personal:

  • Restrict non-essential spending to $50 for the whole month 
  • Swim in the pool once a week
  • Get back into using the planner
  • Take the dogs on a walk once a week
  • Drink more water

Work:

  • Paint one thing not for an event
  • Finish Wonder Woman Read Through
  • Do a painting process blog/livestream
  • Plan out blogs ahead of time
  • Update resume and portfolio

Projects:

  • Start 365 Photo Challenge July 1st
  • Give up red meat July 5th
  • Do Vegan Challenge for a week July 20th-27th

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I am bad at budgeting and sticking to it and I need to put my foot down and be better about it with moving and a Disney trip planned. So I’m going to put a limit on myself and try not to get on Amazon so much. If it’s not gas, groceries, or essentials then it gets put into savings.

This month is gonna be all about getting into a routine which is good for me. I think too much chaos makes me feel drained and getting into a rhythm will help me from falling into laziness. I need to focus on my health and being healthy and I think my person goals are small steps towards that while my work goals are things I can do in my spare time.

My solution for not being able to do Instagram every day is to instead take a photo a day but just do a blog post with the whole week’s recapped kind of how The Dainty Squid does her 365 Photo Project. Me and my sister will both be doing it so we’ll see if we can really do a photo a day. In return, she’s making me try and do a week of being Vegan the week before she comes to visit. And I already talked about giving up red meat.

Nothing too hard, but lots of focusing and getting back to it. I have at least 4 events this month, I think, plus my sister visiting and mine and Rony’s anniversary so it’s gonna be busy.

We’ll see how I do though!

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This month I’m linking up with Nicole at Writes Like a Girl so be sure to read her goals and check out the other lovely people linking up with her!

-Sam <3

Blog| Backyard Dreams

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With the air conditioner having gone out this past weekend, I spent a lot of time outside because it was cooler there than in my own house. I got a lot of yard work done!

I’m gonna warn you, I’m obsessed with DIY’s. I like seeing how things work and I like making them myself. This has resulted in years of me re-purposing ill-fitting clothes into something wearable, making weird furniture, attempting to fix the house with cheap solutions, and watching way too many videos on Facebook.

Our backyard is huge and I love it for the most part, but the fence is falling apart and there is a huge dirt patch next to the door because sun doesn’t shine there. The dogs always track in mud and if it rains then say goodbye to a clean house. I tried to throw mulch on it before but Almond threw it all over the yard when she runs at full speed and rain has washed most of it away.

So I thought of new ideas.

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I got some sand and move around the dirt to make it more level. I had previous fashioned a splash block for our gutter since there’s no downspout and figured I could use those cement tiles to make a sort of patio area. The sand helped to cover the mud and hold the tiles in place and I made a checkerboard pattern with them. I filled the empty areas with pebbles and left an area around our huge tree to add plants or something later. A few more tiles and bags of rocks and it’ll be completely covered.

I fixed out leaky hose and put a few more tiles under it to keep it from making a water hole. The dogs love to dig in the water leaking from it and I’d rather not clean up any more muddy face mask dogs.

Next, I took some cinder blocks and stacked them a few feet high. I left a few near the base to brace it and I’ll fill the holes with dirt and plants later. I inserted four 2×4’s into the holes to fashion the arms of the table and then got some wide wood sheets and hammered them into the 2×4’s to fashion the tabletop. We went with 2 sheets after realizing the first sheet was a little flimsy.

It still needs paint and stain, but we got a nice outdoor tablecloth from Target for now!

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I’ve always wanted a hammock and found one with a stand on Amazon and then we broke down and got this baby pool as well because we always wanted a pool and it was cheap. So basically everything I’ve ever wanted for my backyard we finally got and I am so happy with that decision.

We picked a corner with no trees and with mostly dead grass. The set up was actually super easy, but the sun didn’t make it wonderful. It was hot. We started filling it up (which was a 4 hour process) and worked on setting up the hammock in the shade.

We lined the fence with string lights that we found on sale and I love it so much. Our yard is so big that it’s hard to see the dogs along the back fence at night and I get super paranoid. Now I can see them all the time and it makes out yard seem magical. It was a moderately cheap solution to light up a giant area and makes the area more friendly to hang out in at night.

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We have a Target problem. Most of our things come from Target because it’s a magical place, including all the string lights, inflatables, table cloth, and my bikini bottoms (actual).

This is also the first year I’ve ever worn a bikini. I have a tumultuous with swim suits. I usually always wear shorts and a shirt or if I can find a decent one then a one piece. It’s too hard to find something that fits me and I hate showing my body which has led to a hate-hate relationship with bikinis.

But now I’m on this “loving myself” kick and managed to get the courage to buy a bikini. I originally bought a top from Target that I had liked but kept freaking myself out about it. It was strappy and cool but it was a halter and even their largest in store size fit me a bit small and there was a lot of cleavage. I didn’t feel comfortable in it and I figured that if I was going to try a bikini then I at least wanted to be comfortable.

 

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I got an email that Hot Topic was having a flash sale and swimsuits were included so I thought what the hell and looked through them. I can’t do sweetheart necklines without having a ton of cleavage and most of them fell into that category.

But I hit a gem. There was a gorgeous sun and moon top that wasn’t a halter top and was available in XXL and it was pretty cheap. I had a coupon for free shipping and bought it instantly.

It got to the house in less than a week and fit me! Plus, because I didn’t read before I bought it, it’s reversible! The other side is black and white stripes which I love.

I am not small. In height, yes, but not in size. I have a stomach, like most women, and I don’t love it but I’m trying not to actively hate it. I’ve tried to lose weight, mostly to decrease my bust size, and nothing really works unless I go hardcore and make myself miserable with dieting and working out.

I eat pretty healthy and I’m working on getting active, but I’d rather love the body I have and learn to be okay with it. So yeah, I’m not perfectly thin in these pictures and I have stomach rolls but all well. I’m human.

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The backyard is definitely becoming one of our favorite places to hang out now. We have air conditioning again but it’s still hot as hell and the pool and hammock are quickly becoming are favorite places to hang out. Leon gets his stitches out Monday and he’s been so excited to play in the water while Almond hates all these water activities.

There’s still a few things I’d like to do. I want to add plants everywhere, make a step stone path near the pool, and grow grass in the dirt patches. But I love what we’ve done so far and being able to hang out with the dogs outside is wonderful. I’m more than willing to take a few naps in that hammock under the stars. And we got it done just in time for the BBQ on Saturday.

I love swimming and was probably a mermaid in a previous life so I’m most excited to be able to swim and spend time in the pool. Maybe I can try to do laps or something to keep me active. As long as I’m in the water, I’ll be happy.

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What’s some DIY projects you’ve always wanted to get done?

-Sam <3

Blog| Healthy Choices

IMG_2268My relationship with food is rocky.

I’m a notoriously picky eater. For the longest time, I ate nothing but sandwiches, Chef Boyardee, and cereal every day. In my defense, I made the best sandwiches. When we would go out, I would gorge myself. Even though I am Hispanic, I can’t eat a lot of Mexican foods because of the spices. I actually get sick if I have anything spicy or with too much spices in it.

So most hot foods are out.

I loved steak and ham and those were always staple requests for birthdays or visiting my mom. My mom loves to cook. I cannot. I barely learned how to cook when me and Rony moved in together or else all we ate was junk food and take out.

I started gaining weight and would start working out and counting calories but it was miserable. I gave up soda and if you knew me growing up, that was huge. I would drink almost a liter a day. Chicken and poultry is easy and so is fish for the most part. I mostly only made beef if I was browning it for spaghetti.

Last year, Rony made the decision to slowly give up meat and go vegetarian. He would pick a meat and give it up then a few months later give up another meat. First pork then beef and on July 5th, he gives up poultry. January 1st he’ll give up seafood and be an official vegetarian.

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He’s done a good job and has stuck with it for the most part, only slipping a few times if he didn’t realize an order came with meat or if family made him food and we felt it was impolite to turn it down. We’re doing the goodbye tour of poultry this week, visiting his favorite restaurants one last time.

We’ve talking about being vegetarian before and I don’t think I could do it fully. I have a hard time finding things I like to eat and cutting down my choices just seems like a set up for failure.

But, I’ve finally given in on one thing. I’ve decided I’m giving up red meat when Rony gives up poultry on July 5th.

I watched too many animal videos and videos of cows acting like puppies.

This is a big step for me. I love steak and hamburgers and beef with broccoli is my FAVORITE. But I think it’ll be healthy for me. I have a lot of health issues that it should help with and we’ve haven’t even bought red meat in so long since I couldn’t cook it for Rony.

It’s going to be hard and I’m going to whine, but I think this will be good for me. I still don’t think I could ever be full vegetarian, but I can relent on this. There’s options for me and once we move, there’s a lot healthier alternatives.

But it’s going to suck. Like real bad.

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Now I get to go on my own farewell tour and eat all the things before next week.

-Sam <3