2014 Fall Bucket List

As much as I hate to be a bandwagon jumper, the idea of making a fall bucket list is just too perfect for me to pass up. I mean, you already know I love lists. And by now you should also already know that I adore fall. So combining the two seems like an inevitable act that will bring joy to my heart, regardless of how many people have already beat me to it! Sorry not sorry ‘bout it—and so here it is:

Fall 2014 bucket list.

My Fall Bucket List

  1. Find the best vantage point and watch the Balloon Fiesta Special Shapes Rodeo.
  2. Bake pumpkin zucchini bread.
  3. Make my own perfect #PSL.
  4. Bake this pumpkin cake.
  5. Bake the best pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
  6. Carve jack-o-lanterns.
  7. Toast the pumpkin seeds.
  8. Roast marshmallows with friends.
  9. Go to McCall’s Haunted Farm.
  10. Go shooting with Ryan.
  11. Go to White Sands & photograph the full moon rising.
  12. Hike the Sandias when the leaves start changing.
  13. Walk through the Bosque, also when the leaves are changing.
  14. Take a notebook, and maybe a picnic, and sit outside to write.
  15. Jump in a huge pile of leaves.
  16. Do something crafty for the apartment.
  17. Fall-themed photo shoot.
  18. Celebrate my best friends’ birthdays and my own birthday.
  19. Update my wardrobe.
  20. Listen to Taylor Swift’s new album 800 times.
  21. Charlie Brown & Lucy photos with Wally (Snoopy).
  22. THE BLACK KEYS CONCERT IN DENVER.
  23. Throw Friendsgiving celebration again.
  24. Give 30 days of thanks.
  25. Start Christmas shopping early.
  26. DON’T get sucked into Black Friday shopping.

5 Ways to Make Progress Towards Your Goals

5 ways to make progress on your goals

I don’t pretend to be any kind of expert on life or even achieving your dreams. While I’ve read and heard the opinions of the masses regarding finding happiness and success in life, and I’ve seen a lot of inspirational quotes on Pinterest, the truth is that I’m only 23, and I have a lot to learn before I can deem myself a successful adult or become any sort of expert on anything.

That said, in the past few weeks I have made a few personal discoveries that have demonstrated to be beneficial to my achievement of my goals. I often find myself overwhelmed by all of the things I want to do and hope to accomplish. I want to keep up with this blog, but also keep up with my creative writing. I want to grow my photography business, but also remain invested in my day job now. I want to live a healthy lifestyle complete with a well-balanced diet and a regular exercise regimen, but I also want to bake all the sweets in the world. I want to try new recipes, keep a clean house, and still have time to watch TV with my husband. I want to host parties and go out with friends, but I also want to stay home and veg after a long week. I want to travel the world, but also save money to invest in a home.

It’s enough to make you just want to bury your head in your pillow and never come out of bed. And I know I’m not alone in this dilemma. But over the weekend I came to a sort of sense of peace. I realized in which ways I can change to make myself more productive towards achieving my goals, and I also realized that it’s okay to not be able to work towards them all at once—because, well, that would just be impossible.

Thus, the five things I, the total non-expert, suggest for anyone who hopes to strengthen their progress to their own goals:

  1. Ask for what you want. If you don’t let your desires be known, then no one will have any reason to grant them to you. I have always had a hard time with this. I am a naturally quiet, people-pleasing person. I don’t like to raise a fuss. But I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone on this a few times lately. When I found out there would be an editorial position at the press opening, I went straight to our editor-in-chief and asked him what he’d suggest I do to best be considered for it. I turned down another opportunity at the press in hopes that the editorial job would pan out, and it did. If I had just sat around and taken what was first offered to me, I would not be in the job I’m in now. Similarly, I would not be shooting my first wedding in a couple weeks if I had not reached out to my friend who was searching for a photographer. Putting myself out there with my desires known was terrifying, but it has paid off time and time again.
  2. Start the day off right. Sometimes, my favorite thing to do on a Saturday or Sunday morning is to park myself right in front of the TV for a lazy couple of hours. While there is nothing wrong with that, it can get me started on a lazy streak throughout the rest of the day. Last Saturday, I woke up at 9, got myself a bowl of cereal and some coffee, and delved into my writing project all morning. Starting off the day with doing something productive actually made me feel ready to tackle the other things on my to-do list, like doing the dishes and adding to my photography website. Then I got some relaxing time in later, and felt better about taking it.
  3. Balance your time between your tasks and pursuits. If you have several things you NEED to get done during the week, don’t overestimate your time and energy and expect to get them all done at once. I get much less stressed if I divide each day during the week by tasks. For example: Monday I’ll catch up on blogging; Tuesday I’ll take care of photography business; etc. This doesn’t always work out, especially since there are other things that do have to be every day, but it helps me feel better when I reach the end of a day and realize I had no time for blogging after I worked, went to the grocery store, worked out, made dinner, and did creative writing for half an hour.
  4. Come up with realistic short-term and long-term goals. Strive for something you know you could achieve in the short term, if you put your mind to it. And keep all your short-term goals in mind when you think of your big, long-term goal. It’s okay if it seems unattainable at first. It’s not going to happen overnight. You’re going to have to go through a lot of short-term goals before you’ll reach your long-term one. It’s okay. Your goals will keep you focused.
  5. Pray and/or meditate. Whether you’re religious or not, taking five minutes out of your day to recount your blessings, ask for your wants, and free your mind of all preoccupations has such an effect on your zen. It’s freeing.

Happy pursuits, my friends. Did I miss anything on my list? What do you do to increase your productivity?

love always, Delia

Spouseless for a Week: Lessons Learned

Last week, Ryan was out of town, vacationing with his parents as they got settled with a new home in Seattle. Thus, I was on my own for the week, something I have never quite experienced. I mean, I lived alone in a single dorm room for the latter half of college, but I feel like that doesn’t completely count. How can it count when I had a meal plan on campus, communal bathrooms, and friends living within a 30 second to 2 minute walk away? This was an entirely different beast. I was going from sharing my little apartment with my husband to cooking, eating, watching tv, and sleeping alone. There are definitely lessons to be learned when this type of thing comes your way.

concerned-texts-because-spouseless

Texts from friends, clearly thinking of me in my time of need.

Thus, I bring you the list of…

Top 12 Things You’ll Learn When You’re Spouseless for a Week
  1. Cooking will feel pointless, and getting takeout alone conspicuous.
  2. Going to sleep without a kiss good night and waking up without worrying about waking your spouse up will mess with your sleep patterns a little bit.
  3. Even with the banging and yelling of your obnoxious neighbors, your apartment will feel too still and too quiet to think.
  4. You’ll need the tv or music on pretty consistently to drown out the stillness and the quiet.
  5. You’ll spend the entire week watching 80s dance movies and catching up on the current season of The Voice.
  6. You’ll play a lot of country music. Because you can.
  7. For a while, you’ll dread the flashbacks to the era of long distance. After a couple of days, you’ll think how silly that was; he’s coming home in four days, after all. Then Friday will come and you’ll remember how lame you are when you hole up completely alone at home instead of holing up alone with your spouse.
  8. You’ll appreciate your spouse that much more, because you’ll realize how lucky you are to find someone to be lame and anti-social with.
  9. The mess of one person is half the mess of two people. (I know, so obvious. But whatever, it’s astonishing to come home to the exact same amount of dirty dishes as there were before you left.)
  10. There will not be someone to come home to and complain about the busy workday and rush hour traffic with.
  11. There will not be someone to baby you when you get a headache. You’ll have to get the ibuprofen yourself, and put yourself to bed.
  12. Alone time can be pretty cool, and getting to play Couch Commando and head DJ for a week straight can go to your head, but the little everyday moments you get to experience with your spouse are priceless.

Bonus points if you can spot the Clueless reference. Have you been caught spouseless? What has alone time taught you?

love always, Delia

Welcome to the scatter of my brain…

Recently, my cell phone ran out of memory space for my notepad. It’s not that surprising. I jot down random thoughts, ideas, lists…I am obsessed with making lists…basically all forms of notes for Future Me to see and remember why it was so important to merit the digital space in my phone.

As I went through several of these old notes, I realized that, though the advantage of having them saved to my phone meant I could look through them and use them wherever I went, I never actually went through all of them when I truly needed their information. For instance, sometimes when I am still groggy in the morning, before I even get out of bed, I scribble down (metaphorically, of course) any interesting dreams that I remember from the few minutes before my alarm goes off. Sometimes when a plot idea for a new story strikes me, I note the basic elements so that I won’t forget my own brilliance ten minutes later. My notes rarely make complete sense, even to me. So I doubt that they would make much sense to any outsider.

Still, it is useful sometimes to use things like notes from a person’s phone to gain insight on their life and characteristics. Here, I am going to paste a selection of the notes from my phone, for the purpose of 1) anthologizing the majority of my notes to myself in one place where I am guaranteed to look back to for future inspiration, 2) giving my readers an insight on the goings-on of my strange mind, like I’m a character in a work of fiction and the author is listing the items in my character’s purse to demonstrate character traits, and 3) demonstrating how some of my best writing, projects, and thinking develop from ideas as simplistic as what you’re about to see.

Unedited, from the security of my cell phone to the public eye:

30 pages and sheet covers. 192 pictures.

  • Refers to the items I need to buy to complete my scrapbook.

The Summer We Read Gatsby.

Plastic Photoshop Effects.

You Lost Me There by Rosecrans Baldwin.

The Marriage Plot.

  • These previous four refer to books that I need to read/buy.

Stephen Radley Herschenbauk likes s’mores.

  • One of my many strange character ideas that I come up with when in the interstice between slumber and consciousness. I only remember thinking in my daze that I thought this was a really cool name.

Wanting bad things to happen so that I can write.

  • An example of how I write feelings/topic ideas for writing while they’re on my mind.

That girl from the 50s.

Ian.

  • Very vague topic ideas for stories that I promise myself I will write soon. They’re based on people I see around at school.

Girl’s family forgets her birthday, she pictures herself in Sixteen Candles but it’s actually a dimmer family background than she is aware of.

Woman obsessively imagines sex scenarios and thinks she hears people having sex everywhere but really she’s just lonely. “Every day, people feel the need to have sex in my presence.”

  • More strange topic ideas that I get when not fully conscious. These stemmed from my insomnia, though, an opposite problem I have that seems to make the problem of waking up to my alarm in the morning that much worse.

Observe the depressing aspects of the home of an elderly relative. Will I be like this one day? My spouse/soulmate dead, leaving me alone among my thoughts and memories among the world changing all around outside my house. An admirably positive person, interested in everything small and large, even though I don’t understand it all. Yet still depressing, for I’ve reached the point where the simplest pleasures in life are all that are left for me to enjoy. It’s almost over and I’m the only one left.

I had a dream that in Ryan’s dreams he is followed and haunted by monsters or demons and he’s trying to find a way to beat them. He can’t sleep or they’ll come. Why do they come? He remembers a monster from childhood dreams and realizes it’s real. He’s afraid of sleeping with me in case they come after me. He explores people in his dreams trying to learn their secrets. A girl who likes him, a girl who has a strange cut and similar dreams as his.  He figures out that his sister’s something can be used as a charm above his bed to keep the monsters at bay.

Deserted homes. Candle insinuating dead person. Main character rescues animals and wants to be a doctor. Secondary character likes this guy who is strange but still sexy, changes his name every time they meet people, acts all manly to impress her even though he’s not but she thinks he is.

Man’s wife ditches him and doesn’t arrive at bus stop. Cars crash across the street. Guys get out and start fighting. The bad guys have painted faces and are beating into the others really bad. The dad, Harry, tries to step in and help. The men start to torment him. Meanwhile the dogs in their car run out agitated and find Harry’s dog and daughter hiding. They torment them until something big happens and the daughter dies. Movie could begin with something dramatic Harry does afterwards, then lead up to the big event.

  • Needless to say…I have very strange dreams. Sometimes I wonder if my subconscious is outright working for me in giving me new ideas for writing.

Daily Beast internship: Media Production (West Hollywood.)

Hire.jobvite.com

Themillions.com

Therumpus.net ; Book review to marie@therumpus.net

Emerging writers network.

The writers site.

Bookends lit agency.

Bookjobs.com

The Overlook Press

Guide to literary tumblrs by Nick Moran.

  • These last several notes all derive from links that I have found through my recent publishing internship. They are all resources that I plan to use from now on to help my writing and publishing knowledge, support, and network.

Again, I realize that some of these plot ideas make very little sense…but really, they’re not supposed to at this very, very, very early stage in the process. Right?

My phone has documented most of my to-do lists, shopping lists, lists for the far future, and lists for future craft endeavors. (I told you, I like lists.) It has documented my travel itinerary, driving directions and addresses, a recipe for picadillo, and various locker combinations. Now, I have been able to clear much of this from my phone’s memory, but I know that this blank space is meant only to be used up again before long. And I look forward to the next time that I must look through all 40 random thoughts I decided to record on my phone and become re-enlightened. Perhaps readers of this blog may look forward to another compilation like this, too.