I’ve been procrastinating about making soap for weeks now. Tbh, I didn’t want to go in my pocket for supplies while there was a stimulus check on the table. I got mine two weeks ago and ordered more melt and pour soap blocks, liquid color pants and a loaf mold. A loaf mold lets you make ten two inch bars of soap in one go. A loaf mold lets you be creative and make prettier soap. A loaf mold sets you free.
I forgot to take a full photo of the mold, but it’s a silicone rectangle that fits in a wooden box, which holds the sides nice and firm. I decided to remake a Lemon Lavender Sea Salt bar recipe that I developed, but adding lavender colored shea butter soap accents. The first time I made individual bars and it smelled great and was moisturizing, but it didn’t have that artisan soap look. Last night I chopped up the unsold bars, added more lavender buds and rose petals and layered it with colored soap like a layer cake.
I cannot tell you how soothing and satisfying the whole process was. I used to strive towards these massive experiences and now, mixing and coloring soap, I am so happy. It’s such a logical craft. No wasted efforts or movements, no stress, and you get soap at the end.
I almost forgot to blog today! Which is sad because I have a nice little post to share. I went to the Museum of Modern Art here in New York for a vacation day. I haven’t gone anywhere for pleasure in a full year. I go to work, the grocery store and then home. Every so often I vary it up, but it’s a slight variation, like getting off the train to shop at CB2 one day… but then I got right back on the train, so it wasn’t really anything. Just a blip.
I woke upon Wednesday morning and as I was getting ready for work I decided to go to MoMA. I just felt like it. I bought a $25 ticket online and that was it. I went off to a victorious workday where I got everything I wanted and got everything done and then I hustled to the museum. In addition to being the first outside plan that I’ve executed, it’s also the first time in a few years that I’ve desperately wanted to see some art. Especially art that wasn’t on a screen being shared for likes with comments under it.
I spent three hours working my way through galleries full of the self expression of world changing artists and thought about how precious it is to just walk around freely. There were other people, properly masked and there was social distancing and it was extraordinary. It wasn’t a trip to Florida to twerk in the street, but it was something.
This is the best month I’ve had in a year. It was almost pre-COVID stellar. I got a lot of freelance merchandising work, I got a background acting gig, my business was featured three times on different sites, I joined clubhouse, I tested negative for COVID-19 twice. I found a new dentist and a new doctor that take my insurance. I’m ending the first quarter of the year with savings, and my side hustle performed admirably with very little effort from me. My evil ass family is thriving, and I’m happy about it. I am adulting the hell out of 2021. But let me complain about the one thing that’s holding me back; my procrastination problem.
I procrastinate so much that it scares me a little. I don’t even make excuses, I just don’t do things in a timely fashion. I’m always late for work because I don’t want to get out of bed and when I do I dawdle over things like which socks to wear. They are just socks. I don’t finish things because I have no sense of urgency. I still haven’t finished the painting job I started in the living room and bathroom. I clean up, but then leave a pile of papers on the table… even though the filing cabinet is right next to the table. I have items that need to be listed and they are piled on my mini backdrop with the light set up and they have been there all month.
I keep making promises to myself that I’ll fix it, I make lists to fix it, I yell at myself to fix it and then I lie down on the bed and don’t fix it. I tried to exercise every week? The mat is out, the exercise clothes are on the mat and I have very delicately stepped over them for weeks. I sweep the floor and sweep right around the mat like I’m scared to move it. Wtf? It’s not right. I’m putting it on my blog hoping that the magic blogger fairy will see it and sprinkle some magic through the internet to solve my problem. I’m still chugging along, still functioning, but it’s like a cog has slipped somewhere and I don’t work as quickly or efficiently as I used to.
I read that fear of failure can cause procrastination and that sounds about right.
So, I signed with Central Casting awhile back and I finally got a gig this week! But I can’t talk about it. Well, I can’t give details. I’ll just say that it was pretty much what I thought. Surreal. And long.
Back in real life it was all about jumping over dirty snowbanks to get on the bus and running from Brooklyn to Manhattan for work. The WiFi went out for about an hour and I lost my mind. I haven’t worked on my business because I’ve been working at my job. I had about three fights regarding my personal boundaries because people just try to use me for their own ends then talk down to me. My feeling is, make up your fucking mind; either I’m inferior and useless or you’re going to respect my contributions and treat me accordingly. It’s tiring. Someone told me I wasn’t qualified for something and I was like…. but I already got hired for that.
I had a day where I played with all my makeup and then ended up throwing most of it out. My skin is fine, I don’t need to do anything to it. My eyelashes are perfect, I don’t need extra ones. Plus, I messed with mascara and lashes kept dropping out, so to avoid bald eyes I’m leaving mascara behind. I kept lipgloss, eyeshadow and eyeliner, and a waxy pencil to keep my brows neat. I’m more interested in my hair and skin, anyway. I’m choosing my battle and makeup is not on my radar anymore.
That’s it. I set a schedule for Saturday blogging, but at the moment I don’t have a clear agenda. Doing interviews is too time consuming, I don’t feel like selling anything, I’m not doing brand work (except for my Amazon influencer page) and I’m not interested in talking about my job. I’m just posting to fulfill my personal schedule until I figure out what direction I’m going in.
It snowed mightily and stopped absolutely nothing here. After a night of listening to snow plows and the supers of my building scraping snow from the sidewalk, I woke up to more snow drifting from the sky and massive piles of snow to trudge through on the way to work. I had hoped that work would get canceled, even though I’m not rich and I wasn’t desperately looking for time to do other things. I just didn’t want to have leave my nice little hides hole of an apartment to go wade through snow.
I’ma not crazy about snow. I’m just not into it. Remember that time I went skiing and slid down a mountain on my back? It’s on this blog somewhere, you can go read it and come back. If the world ends in a blizzard, I’ll just die.
im feeling stressed because everything in my work and career path is just… making me tired. I’m tired of being overlooked and I want more. More money, better work assignments, more meaning, more praise. MORE. I’m tired of one step forward and two steps back. I’m not getting fired, apparently I’m ‘good at my job’ but I’m also not moving forward to anything. Yes, pandemic and I’m in a retail field and am lucky to live in a city where people shop to feel like they’re worth something, so luxury stores are still open. But that doesn’t change how I feel.
It’s the last day of the first month of 2021 and I’ve got my mind on my money (….). I didn’t make resolutions, but I did add up all the money that came in, how much of that money is still with me and how I used the money that’s gone. I finally put that box of receipts in order and filed them. I finally put tabs on the folders, a task I managed to put off for months.
After an exhausting two days I figured out where the money resides and it’s not at my house. I spent money on bills (WiFi, utilities, phone, rent), kept up credit card payments ( but have only recently started paying accounts down to zero), and bought supplies for paper and soap making. I bought a sewing machine. I bought paint and cleaning supplies. I bought a mattress and furniture. I bought a teapot. I bought a clock. I bought two towels that cost more than all my other towels put together.
I bought a bike. I bought a jump rope and ankle weights. I bought clothes. I bought sneakers and a pair of calf high boots. I bought a puffer jacket. I bought gloves. I went to sample sales. I bought clearance items on line. I bought a new iPhone (SE) and an iPad. I bought an iPad cover and a matching stylus. I bought a new stamp pad, and printer ink and paper. I bought containers for things. I bought sheets and pillowcases.
I bought nail polish base, little funnels and scoops and mixing beads and bottles. I bought a nail polish shaker. I bought tissue paper and custom poly mailers and ribbon and holiday themed treat bags. I bought a stepstool. I bought a shit ton of food. Lobster, crab legs, wine, takeout from pizza to tapas to New Orleans haute cuisine (so good). I bought stocks, which hopefully won’t flatline now that the stock market is under attack.
And now it’s the last day of the first month of the new year. I’m not broke, but I’m not as together as I’d like. I’m not making any resolutions, I’m just focusing my energy on the ebb and flow of the money. Keeping my eye on the money. I saved. Not a ton, but I paid $2200 for a root canal and there’s money and credit left. I paid off three little cards and in the next week I’ll knock down two more so I can concentrate on the big cards. I am not debt free but I can be if I work towards that goal.
I am conscious of my money. I take care of my money. I am the conservator and steward of my money. I have love and respect for my money.
New York is slowly opening up and I’ve been working kind of regularly for the past month. Not full time hours, far from that, but keeping my toe in the water while I try and build up my online businesses. Sales picked up while people were locked in the house with an extra $600 a week from unemployment (I mean, who wasn’t shopping?) but that extra benefit is gone and we’re all back on a budget again. Possibly with nicer clothing and a red wine habit to kick, but back on a budget So let’s talk about that right now.
Buy staples and stock up for winter: I’m sure you have toilet paper, but now that people have relaxed a bit, stock up on flour, yeast, dried or canned milk, beans, dried salted fish (it can be delicious), canned goods (I love canned potatoes) dried fruit, etc. If you know how and have room , make some preserves and pickles, and cook ahead and freeze it. You may not need it… but then again, you just might.
Save: hopefully you put away some money ever week while it was pouring in. I get that you may have kids and bills, but a piece should have been put away every week. If you didn’t save then, well try to scrape your pennies together now because winter is coming and all your grasshopper friends will have is an empty fridge and a lot of liquor bottles to share (if they even have a place to stay anymore).
Cook at home: you’re not rich anymore and there are too many cooking websites for you to keep pretending that you’re too good to even try to learn how to feed yourself. There are even meal kits (but really, you should just make a list of foods you like and then google recipes on how to prepare them).
Wear the clothes you have: yesterday I was out in Manhattan for work and suddenly realized how nice everyone looked. Months of online shopping got people looking right for the summer. If you don’t have a ton of money coming in then you need to stop shopping. Cut it out. Learn to sew up holes (sashiko mending looks cool and makes garments last longer), turn stuff inside out or upside down. Go thrifting, a lot of places are open and practically giving their inventory away.
Double up: if you and your friends are realizing that you can’t keep paying individual rents and mortgages then pick a place and move in together. Create a food budget and chore schedule, decide on which bills to split. Go home to your parents and help out. Don’t be ashamed, just get on with it.
Start a business: tbh, you should have been started a side hustle but if you just hung out and ate lobster (I did, too, so no judgement and I also developed a crab leg addiction to kick) then try to make something out of the discarded shells. Maybe you can recycle the wine and liquor bottles you have around the house. Sell some of the clothes you can’t fit anymore. Give lessons! I paid $150 for some guy to come help me learn to ride a bike and I’m waiting for swimming classes to open up. I took a zoom dance class (never again, I felt like she was looking around my apartment and it freaked me out). If you have knowledge, charge other people to learn it from you. I invested money in crafting supplies and spend hours making soap, paper and cement soap dishes. This is in addition to selling new, used, vintage and upcycled items on various retail platforms. Make a list of things that you think you’d be happy doing, google about how to do those things and then do them. Try. Then try again. Then try some more.
It’s been a crazy year, and since we’re about to have another election, the crazy is only going to get ratcheted up (at least on twitter where it’s a trash fire free for all) just remember that no matter who wins you still have bills to pay, kids to raise, food to forage for. Regardless of what your political preference (I am and have always been a republican) you are going to be on the hook for credit card debt and utilitities no matter how much you protested and marched and instagrammed for justice. Wake up right now. Winter is coming and you need to get it together. Stop bullshitting yourself.
When quarantine hit in March, I had to recognize that everything that I was procrastinating about was related to transportation. I had put off renewing my passport, learning to swim, learning to drive and buying a bike. The cold reality of my situation as that I could not outrun a zombie with my little fat self and I had no wheels to ride on and if someone said swim to the vaccine I was gonna be assed out.
That’s some harsh shit to realize.
I sent off a passport application (finally) but the DMV is closed so I can’t get the permit to drive yet. The place where I want to take swimming lessons is closed until September. So… I bought a bike. It took two months to arrive, but I bought a bike.
I got ripped off on the first bike I chose, then I found this beauty. The Adventurer 6 speed folding bike, $169.99 on the Camping World website. I thought that a folding bike would be better for someone living in a studio apartment, but I found out that that bike was heavy for me to carry folded, so it’s been set up like this since I got it. I did some group bike lessons with Bike New York, but I didn’t take the street riding class because the lady who ran it was nasty. Yes, I will avoid using a free service if I’m treated badly. Surprise. So technically I could ride, but I was very nervous about going out in the street on my own. It took some googling but I finally found someone who would trade money for bike riding lessons.
I stalked their website until they finally posted lessons were available and I pounced. By the power of my enhanced unemployment check I paid $150 to have another human being coach me on how to ride in the street. One misty early summer morning I met my teacher in Prospect Park and for an hour and a half I got tutored on how to feel like I wasn’t going to die the minute I wheeled my bike into the street. I’m not being sarcastic or dramatic. This was the only thing keeping me from riding the bike I had sitting in my apartment, and it was worth every penny to have someone professional to ride with that first time.
I don’t ride every day (yet), but I can go riding with confidence now. My arms are starting to relax and when I go I stay out longer. I went from doing one loop around my block to turning up and down unfamiliar territory, albeit within six blocks of my building. I fell down one morning and got back on the bike. I have to stop and rest because this quarantine weight is kicking my ass. But I love the joy of coasting down the road on two wheels, with the breeze on my face. I love having the choice of walking or riding. It’s a process, but I have wheels and I can finally be out there using them.
PS, don’t forget to wear you’re helmet. This is the free one that I got at a street fair from the D.O.T. a few years ago. If you need a helmet look here.
Hope you guys are getting through quarantine, phased openings and re-lockdowns ok. It’s a wild situation, so do your best.
I promised las week that this would be about nothing, and here it is…nothing.
This week I had a job at Macy’s Herald Square and I was scared that it would be all ruined and busted up because of looting. It was actually normal inside, down to the snotty security guard who always tries to imply that I’m a criminal (no, he’s not that color, he’s African). I basically had to go in with a team of two and supervise sending a company’s merchandise back because it’s all stuff that was on sale while we were in the house on quarantine. So that’s reality; stores getting ready for all of us to go shopping this summer.
I tried making bath bombs, using a kit that I bought from Organically Bath Beauty. I’ve been thinking about making them for a long time, and this list solved all of my issues by having pre-mixed dry ingredients and a decent sized mold. I also got the refill kit, so I’ve have a lot of material to experiment with.
I sold this jacket. I was really proud of it the day I finally finished it, and I was so sure that it would get snapped right up. I even paid for photos because I wanted to make it as appealing as possible. A year later someone plopped down $225 and it was gone. Amazing, right?
This is a chair. I broke off the leg of this chair in February, I think. For some reason I was convinced that I couldn’t fix this chair. I was using a spray can to prop it up instead of fixing the problem. This week I managed to fall off of the chair four times because the cap on the spray can was not meant to bear the weight of a quarantining woman who knows how to cook. So I finally resolved to fix the chair. It took about 15 minutes.
This chair symbolizes my procrastination issue.
I will do anything but the thing I’m supposed to do. Which is why I went into quarantine with an expiring state ID and an expired passport. I had also put off studying to take the driving test and I had put off bike riding lessons (I’m terrified about riding in the street, I just need lessons for reassurance). I had put off fixing up my apartment, buying a new mattress and calling my mom. It was really sad. It’s a terrible thing to know that a pandemic was the best thing to happen to you. I needed this time to get a life.
I’m still putting off exercise, though. As you can see…
I’m not big on combing my hair anymore, either. I take care of it with Fro.ology products, I twist it and then let it out to be free. It’s summer now. My head gets hot really quick, so wigs are out right now. The world is going to get this 4C perfection.
So obviously I’m not back at work. But then again, maybe you’re not either. I had some unemployment weeks left from last year that kick in with the CARES Act, and I qualify for the stimulus so it’s not perfect, but I have some cash coming in for awhile. I’m a little scared about what’s next since I’m a visual merchandiser and shopping irl might not be a thing for awhile. I’m trying not to freak out about the fact that I laboriously worked my ass off to move up to something better only to watch that shut down because a virus started in a place I never even heard of. Within a few short months, life turned upside down and inside out and I have to wear a bandanna on my face to stay safe if I go outside.
But America has been through things like this, like the flu epidemic of 1918, or that time polio tore through the population in 1916. This is the first time I had to live through something like this. At the moment the stores still have food, but you have to stand outside while they make sure that people can shop without being crowded. It felt weird, because we have so much freedom to run around, but… I have a lot of stuff that I’ve had no time to think about. Can’t say I’m too busy now, right?
When I moved into my apartment five years ago, I spread my stuff around and that was it. I found some random stuff and that was me decorating. So now that I have time, I’m realizing that I haven’t really been living here. I’ve been storing my stuff and my body here while hunting high and low for a life. I wanted to put my bedding and probably pajamas in their own space, and I saw this unfinished trunk on home depot, $173 and it just symbolized adulthood and good decisions. I’m not just putting stuff any old where, I am intentionally purchasing a piece of furniture to make my home a better place to be.
Regardless of what’s going on, it’s Spring and I wanted to update my comforter options (I got a great one years ago courtesy of Southern Tides) and get something pretty. I went through the Bed, Bath and Beyond clearance section and found this 9 piece set (including coordinating sheets) for $39.99. I also made tshirt design using my own photos thanks to a video that was floating around on twitter. You can use saran wrap, parchment paper a printed photo or drawing and a regular iron to make a custom piece. Click here to see the google page with different diy videos. I love how this turned out. I love collaging, so I’m definitely going to circle back around to this idea soon.
This is the last week I’m shopping like this. I tried to keep myself to the bare necessities, but I kept thinking of stuff I needed. Like drawer liner sheets from the Laundress, $17.99. Apparently I was up late and ordered stuff from the Container Store, then forgot that I ordered the stuff until I got the shipping notice. Now I have to wait until all of the laundry is clean so that I can plan out the drawers under my bed. A whole project. I got gold paint from Culture Hustle, &11.99, and more fabric squares from Fat Quarter. I got paint brushes when I was grocery shopping at Dollar Tree, the varnish is for my new trunk, and this was the tiny trunk that I got from Bed, Bath and Beyond but it was too small. I gotta stop shopping.
Once I get my apartment organized, then I can settle into being creative again. It’s been a looooong time. For the three years or so I’ve just been coming home and going to bed. No dreams when I sleep and I felt dead. Over the course of the last few weeks, I can feel my blood flowing again.
I will admit to some anxiety, especially because of my job situation. I saw an ad for Ruby’s Happy Farm on Fashion Bomb Daily‘s instagram page and decided to invest in some top quality cbd. These pre-rolls are from hemp plants and have barely any thc. You can get a bundle of five for $10, and they ship fairly quickly and they are legal. I feel calmer, but not paranoid or super hungry. Just calmer and able to focus on the moment, get tasks done and stay out of the fridge. Like vitamins but you smoke them.
So that’s what’s going on in my little quarantine corner. How are you coping? Are you taking care of yourself and eating sensibly? Don’t feel bad if you’re scared or angry, that makes sense. Most people don’t have corona virus. People who are out of work did nothing wrong. It’s a freak thing and we just have to deal with it. Try to make the best out of the time you have to work on stuff that you like doing.
Let’s just try to stay strong and show appreciation for those that have to work as medical staff, grocery store cashiers and security guards. Donate if you can, or make some masks if you have a sewing machine. Whatever you need to do to not feel helpless. And if you want to do nothing, do that until you can deal with everything.