My Perception of Time

As I’ve gotten older, time has felt like it’s gone by so much faster. From what I’ve gathered from conversations over text, coffee and seen on Facebook posts, it’s a pretty normal feeling.

Dat 2018 tho? Time is flying at light speed, and it’s also stood completely still.

2018 is almost half over, and I feel like everything about my life has completely halted.

Every Friday (weekend, woooo!) I find myself thinking, wellp, there’s another one. Not much about it feels gratifying, other than the made-it-through-another-week thought. Pile these together, and I find myself with what feels like a lot of wasted time.

It’s not entirely true though. I’ve been to a handful of baseball games, seen some sunshine, made little changes to the apartment, went to Portland and Vancouver, made some stuff. *Shrug* Those were fun :)

I also know it’s all on me to work my perspective.

It’s now been over a month since writing about how I am (was supposed to be) working on developing my new day-to-day. Hahahaha, I still haven’t. I do what I’m supposed to, some stuff I feel like doing and drudge through some of the stuff I need to be doing. *Shrug* At least I’m being present!

Awareness is the first step in changing just about anything.

Time is the one thing we can never, ever get back. Appreciate it and use it wisely.

Hashtag goals.

Re-Prioritizing

I’ve backdated two blog entries from December.

In my journey of discovery, life (and death) happened, taking a major toll on my day-to-day life. Forward movement and growth were no longer a priority, but learning how to restabilize as well as find the space to properly grieve.

In writing this, it’s made its way up the list, albeit not yet to the top. So yay, progress!

I am alive, I am fine, I am in a good place, and I am grateful.

However, I’m still processing a lot of things, including what I want my “normal” day-to-day to look like. Additionally, reminding myself that IT’S OKAY to take the time to build myself this foundation first.

But I’m here! And that is great.

Prologue

One of my goals for 2017 was to read more nonfiction. I was inspired by some people I know to try out historical nonfiction. I figured I’d get the action and excitement that I look for in books (because I’m an escapist reader) and learn more about historical events.

However, I didn’t do that. I stuck with nonfiction, but it was all personal development. Sorry, again, history. I follow a few PD writers via email and Medium, and I don’t even remember if the books I read were recommended by them or not. At least some were. Oh well; that’s not my point. Maybe I’ll compile a list of articles, authors and resources, but not quite yet.

All of my PD reading, whether it be articles, emails, books, seminars, meetups, what have you, shows me someone else’s completed journey. Or at least further along. I don’t believe our journey is over until we expire.

Point is, these authors and coaches are -already- doing what they love, have found their purpose and/or passion, or at least a part of it. I can feel it in their writing. I want that for myself, and I know I can have that, someday.

Everything I’ve come across is helpful in its own way. Authors cover the same topic in their own ways. They do well describing where they were, what they were feeling and how they overcame. Each example is another great tool to have in my PD toolbox.

But it’s all past tense. They’ve already implemented it.

Me? Nah. I’m still sitting here and the only place I’m going is where this the bus I’m on is taking me.

I feel that my journey hasn’t even started. I mean, I know it has because I’m thinking, pondering and now I’m at least documenting it.

This time in my life is the longest prologue ever.

Right Now (Sort of.. Back-dated post)

It’s been almost a year since I’ve written. Life has been weird. It was weird before that, and it’s still weird now. That’s that, and that’s why I’m here now.

For a handful of years, I’ve stumbled through life questioning just about everything, as is my nature. While curiosity is generally seen as a valuable attribute, it’s a double-edged sword when I get too curious about myself and my life.

My most recent years have been extra full of introspection due to a few key life situations. Again, introspective by nature, and introspection is a good thing, blah blah blah. But it sometimes gets to a point where I drive myself mad if I let it go too far. I end up feeling even more powerless, very alone, selfish and greedy, misunderstood, stupid, different, never good enough, that I didn’t take the right path earlier in life, helpless.

My brain knows that none of those things are true. At the same time, it can be so hard to shake the feelings. I am not a woe-is-me person, even though I can evaluate a situation as negative, I can still (and do) find the positive perspective. I do that with my life as a whole, situations I observe, and situations I have to work through. No, it’s not easy. It’s habit, and I’m grateful for that. Thanks, earlier-in-life trauma, for pushing me to work through that.

Those things continually led me to the age old question. What is my purpose and/or passion?

I’d love to tell you that this past year was so eye-opening, I’m in love with my life and I know what it is I’m meant to love and do.

Wellp, I’m not. I have no idea.

I’m an average girl with your average adult responsibilities, I’m good at some stuff/not expert at any, my weight is average, my height is below average (can’t help that one), I have a couple good friends, I’m average at video games and sports, I don’t eat *too* terribly.

I’m just normal.

But I know there’s something more.

I’m capable of so much more.

I WANT to be doing so much more.

These things, I DO know.

This desire has burned within me for a really long time.

This is exactly where I am at right now. Wanna hang out?

My 2016 in (Unspecific) Review

So.. About that 2016, huh?

Here’s a basic, completely honest guide to what was inside my head during 2013 as categorized by five(ish) values that I chose before the end of 2015.

(Writing an annual review was inspired by James Clear, an author whose works help make me better)

I didn’t go into very much detail about “things” and “stuff” as it’s meant to be more of a general overview. During 2017, I’ve already got it down as a goal to document these things specifically ;)

Note: This post pertains only to myself and not much outside of that.

Wellp, here goes!

Life in General

The things that happened and feelings I had in 2016 were pretty unfortunate towards the first half of the year, yet have seen improvements in just about all areas throughout the second half.

The main events that have had the biggest effect on me, in no particular order, are:

  • Family
  • Relationship
  • Work
  • Creativity and its drive

I’ve only really spoken friends about the hardships my family has gone through this year and my reactions to it, the impact of my relationship on me as a human being, and my own internal hardships. All of which I’m really hesitant to post on the internet, even on my fairly private Facebook, as opposed to a public blog. These will stay in my personal journal for now.

Overall, I’m glad for the upward swing of the last few months of 2016. My desire is to take hold and make flourish these good feelings. It’s refreshing after years of… Not.

Happy 2017!

Learning/growth

What went well?

My mind has started to break down the tight walls I’ve subconsciously built over the few years prior. I’m talking about in the realm of learning new job skills, new For a good while, “no idea” really meant “I don’t have any ideas and I’m so numb that I don’t care to find any.” Now, “no idea” has become “I have so many ideas and don’t know how to narrow them down to just choose and/or focus on one right now”. This an immense improvement!

As the year progressed, the stationary, lack of knowledge flow finally started to get to me and things that I’d been interested in learning before had begun to surface.

I’ve taken a few one-day courses and read up on a few fields. It’s been fun.

What didn’t go well?

For the first third of the year, I had little desire to add anything big to my brain. I’d learn new sewing, knit and crochet techniques when I needed them, but that was the extent of it.

I learned that the community colleges here have a much higher per-unit cost than I had imagined, and I am not in a position to go into debt. Investing in education pays itself off? Maybe. I still haven’t used my Bachelors degree. I also cannot justify the dollars and debt for something I’m not head over heels passionate about.

The one-day courses and reading for knowledge that I mentioned above was really great, but I still haven’t wrapped my heart around anything to further professionally pursue yet.

What are you working towards?

Overall, my learning focal point has been on career skills. I’m really great at my current job, I’m glad that my skills are of a great use and more than anyone had expected, that my work is valuable to the company and most individuals. However, the nature of the work doesn’t lend itself well to fulfilling my need to be creative.

I’m working towards skills I can use in side work, and if I love them enough, maybe make an entire career pivot.

Creativity

What went well?

I’ve made a lot of stuff this year. Learned new techniques, made wearable clothing, sold some stuff, and have ideas for more things I want to make.

I’ve started implementing thumbnail sketching for digital designs. Okay, one design. But it’s worked out well, and I intend to keep doing this!

What didn’t go well?

I usually only make things when I need something, and then figure out what to make to fill that gap. I still don’t really make anything that doesn’t have an immediate purpose. This is something I should do, but, as I’ve always said, I’m not good at making something from nothing, including ideas. I should, though, just to practice and get experience. Knowing myself, making a thing will trigger more ways to manipulate the pattern and give it new meaning and generate more idea for me to play with.

There were a couple of things that I had picked up supplies for but haven’t begun..

What are you working on?

Working on fixing what didn’t go well.. I’d like to start making things that I don’t necessarily need to fill a gap in order to hone in on whichever crafting skill, and then put them up on Etsy so they can get some use (and not clutter up my apartment!) more info on this later :)

Wholeheartedness/Authenticity

What went well?

Looking around the internet these days, we find encouragement to just be our own selves and not conform to whatever standards. There are still limitations I put on myself, but that’s just me.

In a staying true to myself and feelings, I’ve made it a point to express myself more thoroughly. When something makes me happy, when something makes me unhappy. There’s something liberating about it, but…

What didn’t go well?

People are generally happy to hear what good they bring, but less so when they’ve brought something less than that. For the less made me feel like I’m turning into a complainer, I feel like I sound whiny and/or bitchy, and I don’t always feel like I’m being taken seriously.

What are you working on?

Probably just not expecting to be listened to. It’s either that or keep my mouth shut..

This is a tough one.

Optimism/positivity

What went well?

I’m pretty good at looking on the bright side of things :) I feel like I give people the benefit of the doubt and allow myself to trust what they say. Even if I have a little skepticism, it helps to keep this in mind, and face the fears of being let down by either myself or others.

What didn’t go well?

Being let down a few times. But that’s my fault for attaching expectation to optimism.

What are you working on?

Separating that expectation from general optimism. 

Compassion/gratitude

What went well?

I feel like I’ve done well expressing my gratitude for the people in my life and the things they do for me.

Showing compassion and gratitude towards the people around me is something that never fails to fill my heart, so I make it a point to let them know how much they mean to me.

What didn’t go well?

I’ve been having trouble balancing the gratitude I have for something, even when it’s not exactly what I want it to be.

For instance, work. I’m really happy knowing that I’m great at my job and that my work is important, and I’m definitely grateful for having my job and the people I’m lucky enough to work with. At the same time, the work isn’t as fulfilling as I want it to be, I don’t feel like I’m contributing to the greater good and my position certainly doesn’t lend itself well to the creativity I want to bring to my working life.

What are you working towards?

I’m working on being happy and grateful for what I have, as well as telling myself IT’S OKAY to want more, without feeling guilty, greedy or ungrateful.

I’m still continuing to come up with more and more ways to remind people that I am grateful for them <3

Sonata Arctica + Bryan Adams

Today, I listened to Sonata Arctica‘s new album, The Ninth Hour, for the second time.

Maybe I didn’t get to finish the album the first time through because I was taken by complete surprise when this happened.

Side note: Somehow, a Bryan Adams song was appended to another band’s album’s playlist. I’m not sure how it ended up there, but it did. I just kind of left it for a while.

So when I heard the opening riff to Bryan Adams’ Run to You, I opened up Spotify to investigate why this was happening again.

It wasn’t.

I had a mini-freak-out in the group chat with my music BFFs. Sonata Arctica REALLY DID cover Bryan Adams’ Run to You!

JukkaKhan was a meanie head about it, too. But I forgive.

Yes, You CAN Bake Cookies in a Toaster Oven

Yes! It IS possible to bake cookies in a toaster oven! Here’s a systematic guide to find the baking time difference between the regular oven and a toaster oven.

Have you ever wanted to make a small batch of cookies and not turn on the big regular oven?

Or perhaps pick up some cookie dough and bake it in the toaster oven at work (and subsequently make all of your coworkers jealous by wafting the sweet smell of fresh baked cookies as you walk out of the break room enjoying a fresh-out-of-the-(toaster)-oven cookie?

The latter is why I bake cookies in a toaster oven. Mostly. I just love cookies, but you knew that.

Baked cookies on toaster oven pan
Finished button cookies!

It is a little bit different, however, and it might take some practice to get it down perfectly for your specific type of cookie, but I’m here to help you determine the bake time difference between the normal oven and the toaster oven

In this example, I’ve used the recipe for my 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies using the confectioner’s sugar method. Now, on to the good stuff.

Preparing Cookies to go in the Toaster Oven

  1. Prepare the cookie dough as normal
  2. Preheat the toaster oven. The one I have available at work has functions for Temperature, Function and Timer.
    • Temperature: Use the same baking temperature as your recipe calls for.
    • Function: Change the function to Bake.
    • Timer: Set it for 10 minutes to begin preheating. If you find you need more time to prepare your pan of cookies, increase this so it doesn’t turn off and begin cooling before you put your cookies in.
  3. Place a sheet of foil onto the toaster oven pan. (Optional. It just makes clean up easier.)
  4. Place your cookies onto the prepared pan, leaving the amount of space between cookies that your recipe calls for. For mine, 3/4″ should be sufficient. Use more than that, of course, when baking drop cookies

Baking the cookies

DO NOT LEAVE COOKIES AND TOASTER OVEN UNATTENDED.

This is where the most variance happens between the regular oven and the toaster oven. The first round will require close attention, but after that, you’ll be totally set for the future!

For the 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies, I have found the total time to be INCREASED from 12 minutes to 18 minutes.

Other cookie types may be different. Here’s an approach to help you find the sweet spot for your particular cookies.

  1. Start by baking the cookies for 3 minutes LESS than the time given on the recipe. For a 12 minute bake time, start with 9 minutes on the timer.
  2. Carefully open the toaster oven and inspect the cookies. If they appear done, turn off the toaster oven and pull them out (carefully).
    • If they clearly need more time, add an additional 3 minutes.
    • If they look almost done, add an additional 1 minute to the timer.
  3. Note the total time the cookies have been in the oven. 9 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 18 for mine.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until cookies are done!

The final total you have in Step 3 is your Toaster Oven Bake Time for that particular cookie type. Now I know that for each batch of shortbread cookies I make in the toaster oven, I can just set it to 18 minutes and not have to go through the whole process again.

Comment with the “regular oven” times and the Toaster Oven Bake Times for the different cookies you make!

Maybe you, too, can become the official office cookie baker! (Yes, I’ve been commissioned to make cookies for the office..In the toaster oven.)

 

Revival – A poem

I wrote this poem as a submission for 2017’s poetryonbuses.org project.

The topic is Your Body of Water. I hope that the metaphor inspires :)

Revival

I am fluid and move with grace,
Eroding the path I follow,
Leaving my mark in this human rat race.

I cleanse what I pass,
Leaving what’s underneath
Revealed to shine like glass.

Rediscover what you’ve hidden
Beneath the dust.

Rise above and seize your days
Before they rust.

Spicy Garlic Hummus Recipe

Carrots and hummus
Carrots n hummus!

Using a small food processor, making homemade hummus is really quick and easy. And completely versatile.

If you haven’t figured out that I like making things that are easy and versatile, hey guess what.. I really love making and sharing things that are easy and versatile.

Actually.. It’s really that I value creating and sharing solid foundational things to grow upon. <– THIS CONCEPT IS EVERYTHING I DO IN MY LIFE.

Aaaaaanyway.. This spicy, garlic hummus is no exception!

This is a good basis for a quick, tasty dip that isn’t terrible for you. Please do mix up your ingredients for different flavors and share with me what you do and how it goes!

Ingredients

Jalapeno slices, minced garlic, tbsp of garbanzo bean liquid
Most of the ingredients..
  • 1 15.5oz can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1 tbsp of the liquid from the can (If you forget to do this, you can use a tbsp of olive oil)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (the plastic lemon kind is totally fine)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I’m sure the pre-minced jar version works, too. Try starting with 1 tsp)
  • 4 thin slices of fresh jalapeno depending on how spicy you want it (4 is like a 4/5 spicy)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Making Your Spicy Garlic Hummus

Ingredients in food processor
Blending in 3… 2… 1.. VWRRRRRR
  1. Put all ingredients into food processor
  2. Blend for 30 seconds
  3. Give it a quick mix with a spoon or fork, being very careful while poking around the food processor blades. Do NOT do the mixing while the food processor is on!!! Common sense, people!
  4. Continue blending at 30 second intervals until you’ve reached the desired consistency. I like mine a little smoother rather than course so I repeat these cycles for a good while.

Now, wasn’t that easy-chick-peasy?!

Tutorial – Throw Pillow Cover – 1hr Easy Sewing Project

Tutorial – Throw Pillow Cover – 1hr Easy Sewing Project

After moving to Seattle and inheriting a couch of my very own, I decided it needed some accent throw pillows.

They were a lot more pricey than I wanted them to be so I decided to make my own. But I wanted them to be washable. Maybe with changeable covers. And of course, cost-effective.

I made some super simple 15″ square pillows with some linen blend fabric and polyfill for super cheap. (Hi, I like coupons.)

It was time to make me some easily changeable throw pillow covers! I thought about the logistics of the fold-over pocket kind (I don’t know what they’re actually called) and, well, it’s a ridiculously simple concept!

Super excited for my new accent pillows! Made the pillowforms and the covers! No pattern necessary. #simple #sewing

A photo posted by Melissa Estuesta (@geekmew) on

This time around, it took me an hour to make two simultaneously AND take the photos for this post. Here’s how you can, too! This can be altered to change the size and dimensions of the covers, too. Perhaps one day I’ll make a little pillow cover calculator generator :) YAY MATHING!

Materials/Info

All you need for the covers is the fabric and a means to cut and sew said fabric. These measurements include a 1/4″ seam allowance. For some reason, I just don’t like having to cut extra fabric and I’ve been playing with different edge finishings since I don’t have a serger.

Let’s begin…

Step 1: Cut the fabric

Two fabric cuts at 15.5in x 35.5in
I made two

For a 15″ pillow, start by cutting your fabric down to 35″ x 15.5″

Unless you’re picky about the direction of the pocket seam on the back, it doesn’t matter if your fabric’s pattern is horizontal or vertical. The front, however, will be the CENTER of the cut piece.

Step 2: Hem the pocket edges

Hemmed edge
Hem both of the short (15.5″) sides

Hem up both short edges. Using the 1/4 seam allowance, I did a straight stitch and went back over it with a zig-zag. Roll it under if you’d like, serge it, use only the zig-zag.. However you want, I’m sure will be fine! The first time, I just did a straight stitch, no rolling. It frays a little so I wanted to try something different this time.

Step 3: Fold and pin the long edges

Lay the fabric flat, with the RIGHT side facing up so you can see it. 10″ from the short end, fold the fabric up onto itself like a pocket.

Folded fabric up at 10" from one of the short sides
Fold at 10″ from one of the short sides

From the other short end, do the same, overlapping the pocket you made.

Folded fabric 10" from the opposite side
Fold the other side down at 10″ from the other side

This will make two overlapping pocket things over the 15″ middle. The WRONG side will be all you can see. Pin both sides into place to secure the overlaps for sewing.

Step 4: Sew the sides

Sew up both sides. Yep, the whole side.

Sewn edge
My little lazy hems. No one sees these anyway ;)

Step 5: Turn right-side out

It might seem a little weird at first, but it will turn right side out properly. I found that it helps to do two corners at a time.. Reach into the obvious pocket first and pulling the corners through. Then, repeat for the two in the pocket that’s still inside out.

Pillow pocket in finished pillow cover
Shove pillow here!

You should be able to see the overlapping pocket where to shove your pillow form.

YOU’RE DONE!!

All done!

Put them on your pillow forms and enjoy some cute, custom couch accents!

For your next set, you can get all kinds of creative and add some cabling or frill to the edges, use a cross-stitch pattern on the fabric, use quilted fabric, whatever you want.

May your heads rest on comfy creativity :)