Thursday, March 12, 2015

25 Before 26

While last year's list was pretty much a bust, I decided it was worth it to try again this year with a new set of goals. I'm starting out 25 in a much better place than 24 -- in pretty much every way possible -- so I feel like I can actually focus my time on doing things I enjoy and want to do. My goals for this year aren't really monumental or major for the most part, they're really just about getting me to make time for myself and experience more in life.

1. Apply to Mortuary School // At my school, you have to complete all general prerequisites before formally applying to the mortuary program. The nerve-wracking thing is, there's no guarantee you'll be accepted, so there is the very real and terrifying possibility that all of the hard work I'm putting in now will be for nothing.It's a really popular program and only 60 people are accepted each year, and I'll be applying next February. I'm trying not to let that psyche me out, but it's a little daunting. In the meantime, I'm just trying to stay positive and keep my grades up to improve my chance of acceptance.

2. Go on 24 dates with Zack // Now that we live together, it's so easy to just pick up some takeout and watch Netflix every Saturday then it is to you know, date. We've gotten so bad at making time for going out that we've only been on one real date since October :( This year, I really want to make it a priority to go on two dates every month, and I'm having Z help me put together a list of all the things we want to do.

3. Open an Etsy Shop // This has been a dream of mine for a minute, and I'd love to finally get my shop up and running once my craft room is in order. I have all sorts of ideas and have already picked out all my supplies and designs, and I'm hoping to have everything together by this fall. It would be great to make a little bit of extra money off my crafts to go toward my tuition next school year.

4. Read 25 books // I made it a goal to read 52 last year, which proved to be a bit too ambitious. This year, I'm being more realistic with a goal of 25. I ordered myself a bunch of new ones for my birthday and I know I'll read at least 12 for book club, so I think 25 is a totally obtainable goal.

5. Stress Less // I honestly don't want to know how much cortisol is chilling in my blood stream on any given day, because holy hell, do I know how to stress. We're currently doing some major restructuring at work so I'm taking on about twice as many responsibilities, making it harder and harder to leave my work at the office when I go home for the day. Then there's the never ending stream of essays, lab reports and textbook readings I have to squeeze in for school, leaving me beyond frazzled to the point my physical and mental health are both suffering. This year, I really want to develop some de-stressing routines to help me chill the fuck out and enjoy life more. Z bought me a bunch of LUSH bath bombs for my birthday, and while I'm not a psychic, I definitely see a lot of bubble baths, blunts and bottles of cheap champagne in my future.

6. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter // Here's a goal that screams "I'm a super mature adult, I swear!" for you ;) Harry Potter has been one of my absolute favorite things since I was 11 years old and read "The Sorcerer's Stone" for the first time, setting off a love affair I doubt will ever end for me. I'm so ridiculously fangurrly and excited at the prospect of visiting Olivander's and drinking butterbeer in Hogsmeade! Meg and I are planning to go next January for the Annual Harry Potter Celebration, and I'm racing to set aside as much money as possible for souveniers.

7. Photograph 7 New Cemeteries // This was a goal I had last year that I didn't come close to completing, so I'm giving it another shot this year!

8. Finish My Craft Room and Organize my Stash // We've been settled in for four months and my craft room is still full of boxes and half-built furniture. *le sigh* I have so many crafty pursuits I want to tackle and I can't until I get this room put together, so one of these weekends I just need to suck it up and do it. I have so much fabric, yarn and miscellaneous craft things that need to be organized as well, so it's going to be a pretty time consuming endeavor.

9. Get Matching Friend Tattoos With Meg // I'm cheating a little by adding this one, because I kinda sorta already did it! Pics soon, I promise!

10. Get a Bicycle // Z has a bike, but I don't, so we can't really go on rides together. I really want to get one so we can start riding around this summer, and since I live so close to work I'd love to be able to just take that to work instead of driving. Especially because my next goal is:

11. Fix My Car // Pete Doherty, my poor 2001 Ford Focus, is falling apart, and I'm too broke and sentimental to trade him in for something nicer. He needs new tires, new shocks, a new battery, a new water pump and a new time belt :( It's going to be extremely expensive and annoying to get him back to where I can drive more than 6 blocks to work in him, but I want him in top shape before the summer.

12. Fill a Sketchbook // Zack has really been pushing me to get back into drawing and painting lately, and I've done a few doodles in the past few weeks that have rekindled my love for art. After not touching a brush or pen in almost 5 years, it feels good to be back in the game. I don't really plan to do anything serious art-wise, but if I could fill up my new sketchbook that'd be pretty swell.

13. Put Together a Recipe Box // I picked up the cutest little box at an antique shop last month, and I really want to fix it up and fill it with family recipes. Of course, this means I'll actually need to cook more this year as well.

14. Become a Museum Member // Since we got together, Zack and I have been talking about getting memberships to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and going at least once a month. The museum is one of my favorite places, and I would love to be able to go all the time!

15. Go to a Convention // I planned to go to 3 last year, but again, trying to be realistic here. The Mile High Horror Film Festival is my number one pick, but I'm also looking at Repticon, the Colorado Burlesque Festival the Myths and Legends convention.

16. Take a Burlesque Class // Speaking of burlesque, it's something I've really wanted to do for awhile, and since I started waist training I want to try it more than ever! There's a fancy burlesque club downtown that offers classes a few times a year with a live performance as the finale, and I definitely want to push myself to sign up and try it!

17. Post a Monthly Photo an Hour // I've always really enjoyed seeing Photo an Hour posts on other blogs, so I'd like to try something like that here.

18. Start a Night Garden // We have a huge yard at our house with tons of space for starting a garden! I'd love to plant a bunch of night blooming flowers. All of the ones on this list look good to me :D

19. Season a New Corset // I've got my eye on the gorgeous mesh CS-201 from Orchard Corset as my next one ;)

20. Complete 10 DIYs for the House // We have a huge garage filled with more tools than I know what to do with, and once the garage and my completed craft room join forces, I have a feeling I can whip up some really cool stuff for the our place.

21. Knit a Blanket // Another repeat from last year!

22. Host an Epic Halloween Party // We had a great time throwing our first Halloween/house warming party last year, but I want this year's shindig to be legendary amongst our friends. I want to go all out with a theme and tons of handmade decorations. The Embalming Fluid cocktail I made last year will definitely be making a reappearance.

23. Record at Least One Ukulele Cover Per Month // I learn new songs all the time, but I'm terrible at getting around to record and upload them. I want to finally post all of the songs I've been working on throughout this year.

24. Participate in NANWRIMO // I've always thought this challenge sounded like a lot of fun! I'm really hoping my school schedule will allow enough time for me to give this a shot.

25. Go Camping // I haven't been since Z and I took a trip to Yellowstone 3 years ago! Since I live in a state with some of the best mountain campgrounds around, I have no excuse not to go at least once.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Adventures in Waist Training Part II

This post has been delayed and sitting in my drafts a lot longer than I'd hoped (a few months longer, ughh), mostly because I was absolutely terrible at keeping up with my waist training back in November/December with the holidays and such. By the time I finally took out my CS411 again, I'd gained and then lost a few pounds, my natural waist was about an inch off from where it had been and I basically had to completely season the corset all over again to get it to fit properly. After about two weeks of wearing it daily for two hours at a time, I was able to start wearing it in public, and I've pretty much been trying to find reasons to wear it out any chance I get!

I've become pretty active in the online waist-training community over the past month or so, and I've found that most ladies are big fans of "stealthing" -- or wearing their corsets under loose clothes so no one can tell they're wearing them. I'm not sure why it hasn't really grown on me. Maybe I'm just still such a newb that I feel like I need to show it off. I still can't lace down all that small in proportion to my size, but I feel oddly empowered and awesome when I'm wearing it over my clothes for people to see. I currently lace to about 23.5" when I want to be really comfortable (when I went to Manson and wore it for 7 hours straight, for example), and to about 22.25" when I want to lace up tightly for short periods of time. I'll admit I'm really lazy about wearing it for extended periods of time still, mostly because of my aversion to stealthing, which is definitely impeding on my goal of getting this sucker closed. Over the next few weeks, I really want to push myself to wear it more -- including to work, which will force me to go stealth giving that I work in an environment that's far more professional than I am. I notice that my back tends to hurt less while wearing it since it forces me to break my terrible habit of slouching, and since I sit at a desk all day, I figure it's probably not too shabby an idea to wear it to work. I doubt I'll ever become one of those hardcore lacers who wear their corsets 23 hours a day, but if I can get up to 8-10 hours at a time, that would be swell.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Wishlist // Sweet Scents

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9

Perfumes and bath products have always been things I really enjoy, but can never really justify spending money on. I usually just buy a cheap spray from Bath & Body Works to tie me over every few months while secretly lusting over luxe perfumes in dreamy bottles. But, hey, that's what these wishlist posts are all about right? Fancy things I can really only dream of owning, yeah?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tutorial: Matte Black Kaleidoscope Nails

For my birthday party this past weekend, I wanted to do something a little fab and a little flashy with my nails, and I figured glitter was the way to go. I'm not normally a huge fan of shiny, sparkly things, so I wanted to keep the glitter to a minimum while still using just enough to keep my nails from looking boring and blah. Since I was celebrating at a shadow-cast screening of Rocky Horror, I decided to do a design inspired by Columbia, my favorite character from the film. The glitter polish I used was "Rainbow in the S-Kylie" from Nicole by OPI, and with all the different colors it reminded me of the sequined bustier top she wears for the majority of the movie.

This tutorial again uses the stiletto-shaped press-ons from Nails Gaga that I used in my last nail tutorial. To obtain this look, you'll either need to purchase a set (or a similar one), or shape your natural nails accordingly. I have written the tutorial assuming you'll be using press-ons like I did, so if you're going au naturale you can just skip the first few steps. 

Press-on Nails
Nail Polish: Black, Dense Multi-Color Glitter, Matte Top Coat
Scotch tape
Nail stickers (I used these ones)
5 pens, pencils or nail dotting tools
Nail glue (I recommend this one)
Nail file
Cuticle stick

1. Pick out the nails you need in the appropriate size for each finger (duh). 

2. Roll 10 small pieces of Scotch tape so that they are sticky on both sides and press one onto each end of a curved object, such as a nail dotting tool, pencil or pen. Stick one nail to each piece of Scotch tape, as shown, and press down firmly to make sure they stay in place. This will make painting the nails a lot easier and you won't have to sit around waiting for your nails to dry after each coat -- and there's a lot of coats involved in this tutorial!

3. Paint two coats of black onto each of the nails, allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second.

4. Apply matte top coat to all but the ring finger nails. Allow it to dry completely.

5. While waiting for the matte coat to dry, start loading up your ring fingers with the glitter polish. It took me about four coats to get mine nice and opaque, and I let each dry all the way through before adding another. You want the glitter to be so dense you can barely see the black through it. Depending on the brand you use, you may need to use more or less than I did.

6. Once your matte coat is fully dry, apply a rounded nail sticker just above the moons of each of the remaining nails, as shown.

7. Apply a thick goat of the glitter below the stickers, and immediately peel the stickers off. This will give you a clean, crisp line where the glitter is settled at the moons of your nails while leaving the rest nice and matte. (Sorry I didn't get a photo of this step!)

8. While your press-ons are drying, trim your natural nails and clean up your cuticles. 

9. Rough up your nails a little using the nail file. Be careful not to be too aggressive in filing, you just need a little bit of texture for the glue to adhere to. Trust me, it will make your nails stay a lot longer!

10. Apply a small amount of glue onto one of your pinkie nails. Apply the matching press-on and slide it down so it presses back against your cuticle at the base of your nail. Hold it down for a few seconds to make sure it sticks. Repeat on your other pinkie. 

11. Repeat step 10 until all of your nails are applied, working from your pinkies inward toward your thumbs. Congratulations, you're all done!

I apologize for the shit photo quality in most of this post. I did my nails the night before my birthday, and the lighting in my house is abysmal at night! 

I know it probably sounds like I'm totally shilling these stiletto press-ons by Nails Gaga at this point, but guys, they are seriously the best. I've now given myself three manicures using them, and each has lasted just under two weeks without a single nail breaking! I can honestly think of very few other things I've spent $10 or less on and been so pleased with!

Monday, March 2, 2015

24 Before 25 // Recap

It's a total trip that it's already been a year since I put together this goal list, and I'll admit I didn't use that year nearly as productively as I'd hoped. I never even got started on 95% of these goals! However, I did accomplish the two most important ones, and I'm content with that. I'll be pulling a few of these and adding them to the goal list I'm putting together for 25, because I feel like I'll be able to put more focus on the little ones now that the big obstacles are taken care of. It was kind of hard to make time for things like knitting and growing bonsai trees while struggling to find a place to live and passing math for the first time ever, you know?

Go back to school -- for real this time // Yes yes yes! I did it! I really did it! I am just over a month into my second semester of school, so I'm almost at the halfway point in my general education! Exactly one year from now I'll be formally applying to my school's Mortuary Science program and worrying myself sick over whether or not I'll be accepted. After years of putting off this goal, I finally did it, and there are no words to express how happy I am that I did.

Find and move into a house with Zack // I sure did! It took over three years of dating for us to take the plunge into cohabitation, and today I'm writing this on a gorgeous 1940s sofa in our living room. Our. That's such a weird word I'm still getting used to. Our house, our bills, our dog, our life. Living together has been a strange and exiting experience that's better than I could have ever imagined. 

Stay smoke free and develop healthier habits // Nope. I made it to the three month mark and then I started smoking again like a big stupid. I did recently start a diet plan where I eat clean, whole foods with no dairy 6 days per week and eat tons of pizza the other though, so that's something.  

Get a memorial tattoo for my Nana -- and visit her grave // This is the one goal I feel really bad for not accomplishing. 

Read 52 books // Not even close! With the exception of the two books I read for book club, all I read were textbooks, Facebook updates and Fanfiction.  

Sew 10 skirts or dresses -- and learn how to use my sewing machine // Nope.

Volunteer at a farm animal sanctuary // No, but I will be volunteering at a goat farm one Saturday per month this year!

Hike 100 50 Miles // :Insert maniac laughing: Nope. Unless walking to and from class counts, I didn't hike a single mile. Bummer.

Knit or crochet a blanket // No, but I hand-knit a shit ton of Christmas scarves and hats, so IDGAF

Go on at least one road trip with Meg // Nope, but there are plans to change that this year!

Start a flower and vegetable garden // Z and I didn't move until the fall, so it was way too late to attempt this goal by the time we had the space to make it happen. 

Write a submit a short story for publication in an anthology // I've still got that draft sitting on my hard drive :(

Start learning a second language // Meg and I found an ecourse in Dothraki... does that count?

Grow and tend a Bonsai tree without killing it // Nope.

Collect, copy, print and organize family photos // My friend Caitlin helped me start this one by putting together all of my old photos from Scotland, but she did all the work!

Expand my collections -- oddities, tarantulas, books, etc // Yes! I got two new tarantulas, Lunatone and Nyx! I also got a bunch of new oddities including a prosthetic leg and a Death's Head Moth, as well as a bunch of new books to read this year. 

Spend a day as a tourist in my own city // No.

Attend at least three expos, festivals or conventions // I did not, but I've got plans to attend Frozen Dead Guy Days,Repticon and the Mile High Horror Film Festival for real this year.

Start, keep and complete an art journal // Ain't nobody got time for that.

Visit seven new cemeteries or abandoned places // Only visited 2/7. Boo.

Learn, perfect and record 10 new ukulele covers // I learned tons of new songs and posted a few bits on Instagram, but I did not record any real covers.

Improve and strengthen relationships with everyone I love // Yes! I've always had a great relationship with Zack and Meg, but I've struggled a lot in relationships with everyone else. I can officially say this last year has brought my sister and I closer than we've ever been before, and I'm so grateful for that. For years we've been strained at best, and now she's one of my best friends. It's wonderful.

Make a legitimate effort to blog more // :Slow clap: I still suck at this.

Continue improving my mental health and live a happier, more productive and fulfilling life that I can be proud of // Yes... and no. I am no longer participating in DBT nor am I taking antidepressants. That was my decision and it's been both good and bad since I made it about 9 months ago. I wish I hadn't stopped before we moved, as the house hunt and starting school transitions were extremely hard on my mental health. I really wish I'd had that kind of support while dealing with that stuff, but I feel okay now that it's over. Today I'm proud of how many good days I have without therapy or antidepressants, and I really am proud of all I've accomplished this year all by myself. Bad days are rare and far between, and good days are my new normal for the first time in my life. 
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