Author: jessimatts

Reflecting on 2022, planning for 2023: Sagittarius New Moon Goals

So the moon entered the Sagittarius constellation yesterday, marking the eleventh new moon for 2022. That means there is a week left in November (today is Thanksgiving), and then it’s December…and then 2023.

The SARS-CoV2 virus isn’t going to be going away…it is here to stay (unfortunately)—but there are vaccines, and booster shots—so folks, go get your vaccine (or booster), try to continue practicing social distancing where you can—and wear a damn mask in the store, it’s also flu season.

So what are some of the things that one can do during the time of Sagittarius new moon?

Looking at the book “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, you can:

  1. Get away–travel
  2. Study
  3. Search for meaning
  4. Laugh
  5. Be grateful

Well, I’m slowly starting to research/plan a trip for sometime in either mid-to-late 2023 or 2024. Since the SARS-CoV2 virus isn’t going away—I’ll just wear my mask when traveling…

In terms of ‘searching for meaning’—I’m viewing that as figuring out what I want to be doing with my life and where I would like to be in say fifteen to twenty years. This is a slow work in progress…hopefully making a little headway this coming week.

I’m starting to ‘study’ again—I have numerous different e-courses that I need to be working through. I just need to buy a couple of notebooks—I’m ‘old-fashion’ and I learn better when I actually writing things down.

With the moon entering into Sagittarius, this is also my second house or the “cash, property, and values” zone. I’m totally not in the holiday mood this year—I mean today is ‘turkey’ day, and then we’re just over a month from Christmas…and I’m in a totally bah-humbug type of mood currently.

This year has currently been a year of ‘whiplash’ with various things going on—and I’m heading back towards burnout. I’m realizing this and will be putting together a plan to hopefully stop the backwards slide in its ‘tracks’.

One thing I’m aiming for in 2023—starting to live a much more minimalistic life. I have three boxes of shirts (so far) that I need to donate, numerous DVDs to sell back, and crafts to create/gift/sell. Anyway, back to the second house—the cash, property, and value zone.

So some of the things that you can do during this time include (again, according to “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles”):

  1. Start a savings account
  2. Pay your bills, taxes, debt, etc
  3. Hire an accountant if it’s all too much
  4. Showcase your talents
  5. Get a neck and shoulder massage
  6. Invest in an expensive neck cream

My savings account is there—just not as ‘large’ as I would like (but hey—I’ve been on a reboot break for the past few years and surviving off of it), and I’m working on getting the bills/debt paid off. There is still no reason to hire an accountant—since I’m still currently unemployed.

In terms of ‘showcasing’ my talents—I’m in the process of starting the second blog/website (dedicated to science/medical/health education/communications), in addition to brainstorming ideas on how to showcase the various crafts that I’ve been working on as well.

  1. Develop a ‘fluid’ daily/weekly/monthly schedule for getting various things done
  2. Reflect on 2022 (to-date), and determine what went well, what didn’t go so well, and start planning for 2023 (and beyond)
  3. Put in the order for the numerous journals and notebooks needed for 2023
  4. Finish setting up the dedicated work station, craft station, and semi-dedicated meditation area in the bedroom

While I managed to accomplish numerous goals over the past few months—I also realize that my inner critic/imposter syndrome has also derailed me several times as well (not to mention life in general)…but I need to just keep reminding myself: ‘progress over perfection’. In addition to not taking to heart the negative opinions of others.

While 2022 hasn’t been going the way I wanted, hopefully the last week of November will be mellower than the previous months have been.

What are you doing to ensure that 2023 starts on the right foot?

No Comments Astrologybullet journalscareerfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Scorpio Goals in Review: slow, steady, & continuous progress on all fronts

So the moon is going to be transitioning through the Sagittarius constellation in a day or two—which means it’s time to look back at the goals that I set for the Scorpio new moon and to see how I did with each of them.

The goals that I had set for the Scorpio new moon included:

  1. Working on healing my relationship with food and movement. This includes having random dance parties in the living room on a 15-minute break between task, or getting out of the house with my dog for a quick 20-minute walk through the neighborhood.
  2. Work on getting the second website up and going (focusing on science/medical/health communications), in addition to also focusing on trying to get a remote communications position as well.
  3. Start working through various finance e-courses that I’ve bought over the years
  4. Continue to unplug at night (putting the computer to ‘sleep’ by 8pm)
  5. Continue figuring out my personal/professional brand

So how did I do with each of them?

Healing my relationship with food and movement:

Well, healing one’s relationship with food and movement is an ongoing process. Since colder weather is slowly settling in—I’m mixing up breakfast by also having oatmeal (with fruit) or waffles (not the healthiest—but hey, progress); and I’m thinking it could be more solo random dance parties in the living room this winter than walks…

I’ve always been more of a fair weather person—though I will go for nature walks in the winter with my camera (to try to get pictures the winter birds that are around), so I do find it difficult at times to get in a workout in the winter. Though there is always yard work that needs to be done—though we’re going to be leaving more of the leaves on the ground this year instead of mulching them (mainly because we’re in the middle of a drought—so currently no reason to try to put down grass or clover seeds).

I’m trying to find that ‘sweet point’ between not working out and overdoing the workout. I find I do sleep better after doing some type of workout—but if I overdo it, my sleep cycle is crap…so yeah—I’m still working on this as well…

Working on getting the second website up and going:

I’m still working on the second blog/website. For whatever reason—my inner critic/imposter syndrome has been derailing me (especially when it comes to writing the about me page)…but I managed to write my functional resume two weeks ago—so I’ll be using my professional summary as a jumping off point for the about me page.

Working through various finance e-courses:

I still need to start some of the finance courses that I’ve bought over the years—currently I’m focusing on the writing courses that I’ve bought.

‘Unplugging’ at night (by 8pm):

I’ve been fairly consistent at putting the computer to ‘sleep’ by 8pm—and usually it’s by 7 or 7:30pm. There may be one or two nights when I put it to ‘sleep’ past 8pm.

Figuring out my personal/professional brand:

In terms of the personal/professional brand—I’m still working on this as well.

I’ve been told that I shouldn’t be too much of a generalist, as I won’t get as much organic traffic to the blog(s), so I’m still working on figuring out both the ‘niche’ and the ‘generalized’ topic(s) that I want each blog to focus on. Then I need to work on posting to both sites (and other social sites) in a more consistent manner.

Then I will need to figure out my logo, fonts, colors, and all those other fun things.

The temperatures are bouncing all over the place—last week we were in the 30s, and this week we’re going to be in the 50s/60s—which means I can try to get outside to do something (aiming for at least a partial walk at Boomer Lake this week), without having to bundle up due to the weather.

I did okay with these open-ended goals…while I didn’t start a finance related e-course—I did start watching a business writing/editing one. Progress currently is coming down to trying to silence my inner critic/imposter syndrome daily so that I can get some work done.

There is less than 40 days now in 2022—which means I also need to start looking ahead to 2023 (and beyond) and figuring out the different personal/professional goals that I would like to accomplish over the next 365+ days.

Slow and steady wins more races than pushing to the point of burning out.

Curious question for the week—are you a fall or winter person?

No Comments AstrologycareerfitnessHealthNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Focusing on what I can control: Goals for the Taurus Full Moon

So the moon will have entered its latest full moon stage sometime tonight—and will also be a lunar eclipse as well (actually this was early morning—and we were overcast, so even if I’d gotten up early I wouldn’t have seen it). This full moon is also referred to as the Beaver Full moon, and since it’s an eclipse—it’s a ‘beaver blood full moon’.

There are twenty-two days left in November, and a total fifty-three days left in 2022. Looking further ahead to the start of 2023—I’m going to send up a wish/happy thought that it will be a little mellower, and not quite as bumpy as 2022 has been.

Depending on our schedule for the weekend, I’m going to try to get in at least a partial walk at Boomer Lake this weekend, with the camera (might not carry all the gear though).

In terms of some self-reflection during this time, there are some questions one can ask themselves (taken from “Moonology: working with the magic of the lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland), and they are:

Have I been lazy or overly self indulgent this month?

Have I been too obsessed with money or status symbols?

Have I been stubborn, jealous, or possessive?

Have I been doing too much comfort eating?

Have I done enough exercise?

If I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would be:

  1. I think it depends on what aspect of life we’re talking about…In terms of having a set fitness routine—yes, I’ve been semi-lazy over the past month (and if I’m totally honest it’s been longer than that), I just haven’t been in the mood to try to get the dog and cats out of the room so that I could a workout. In terms of being overly self-indulgent, I’m trying to curb the spending (again). I have deleted various games off the kindle, and the only splurges at times now are more e-books.
  2. No—I’m not obsessed with status symbols or money. Money is necessary for survival in today’s society. Therefore, I’m going to make sure that I’m earning enough money to survive, thrive, and be happy—nothing more and nothing less.
  3. Any and everyone would tell you that I’m stubborn. I freely admit to being stubborn—I think it is the one thing that got me through school (public and college) and all four positions after grad school as well. I’m trying to avoid the comparison trap of jealousy—everyone is on his or her own journeys/paths and no two are the same. I’m also trying to strengthen my personal boundaries—so I am slightly ‘possessive’ of my time alone and my winding down time. I’ve noticed that if I don’t ‘unplug’ by a certain time I start to get agitated and that won’t do in the evenings (or really at any time).
  4. I’m sticking semi with last year’s answer of yes/no. I really don’t like the phrase ‘comfort food’ as (to me) it screams of the diet culture industry. Food is meant to both comfort us and fuel us; and hearing the phrase ‘comfort food’ makes me think of counting calories, containers, and wondering what type of exercise I need to do to burn off the calories. Therefore—yes, I’m eating food that comforts me (including sweets and chips) but for the most part those are limited to the weekends. I’m still working on healing my relationship with food—which includes trying to listen to my body’s signs of when I need to be fueling it.
  5. As I mentioned in my summary of the Aries full moon—I’ve figured out what types of movement I’d be happy doing—just haven’t set a schedule yet. I’m trying to make sure that I’m not sitting on my butt all day—but I also cancelled my BeachbodyOnDemand subscription back in September since I seldom made use of it. Now I’m more of the mindset of turning on music and lifting weights or having a impromptu solo dance party.

Then I should also look to see what house it is passing through as well—and for me, Taurus passes through my seventh house—or my “love zone”. This is the time that we spend a little energy on other people, instead of making everything about ourselves.

For me, currently there are no romantic relationships (I’m still trying to get my life in some semblance of order), I’m still not working, therefore that means focusing on other relationships—(family, and friends).

In terms of trying to spend time with friends—while everyone has claimed that we’ve moved out the ‘pandemic’ stage and into the ‘epidemic’ stage—there is now the flu to worry about (since majority of people aren’t wearing a mask)—I have been trying to get back into the routine of meeting a friend for lunch once a month.

It will be the turkey holiday soon—my older brother and his family are suppose to be in state that week—so there may be a small family get together at some point (if nothing else hopefully see the elder sibling).

It seems since we’ve hit the ‘20s’—each year tries to out do the previous. The world is tumbling in a downwards spiral—though I hope that at least in the US we can stem it for a while by having a blue wave on election night.

So if I were to pick a couple of things to work on during the Taurus full moon period they would be:

  1. Change up my breakfast routine (to continue to work on mending my relationship with food)–try adding in oatmeal with fruits/nuts, or yogurt with fruits/nuts at least twice a week. Both to get away from the usual blueberry muffin, but to also try adding in a little more protein, fiber, and fruit to my diet.
  2. Work on the second blog–getting the about me and home pages written and functional.
  3. Brainstorm ideas: blog posts (both blogs), portfolio pieces, and featured pieces (for LinkedIn profile)
  4. Get the damn functional resume written and ready to be optimized for different job applications
  5. Work on fleshing out my definition of ‘success’ and creating a digital vision board to go with it

There are a little over seven weeks left in 2022—so while I’m focusing on finishing the year strong (resume, LI profile, updated websites, and so forth), I also need to start fleshing out the goals for 2023 and beyond. I know that 2023 isn’t going to start nice and easy (slim possibility of the family medical issue being resolved by then)—so I need to really focus on making sure that I’m controlling what is in the realm of my control—emotions, thoughts, and my day-to-day schedule.

Anxiety, stress, and depression aren’t going to be fading quickly—but I can really start trying to manage, control, and possibly even avoid prolong episodes of each—by protecting my time, and improving my self-care routine/schedule.

What are some of your favorite stress and/or anxiety relief methods/practices?

No Comments AstrologycareerfoodFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

To summarize the Aries Full Moon Goals: Progress not Perfection

So the moon will be entering its next full moon cycle for the year tomorrow night—which means that I should look back at the goals that I had set for the Aries full moon.

So what were my goals for the Aries full moon?

Well, they included:

  1. Making a list of things I would enjoy doing in terms of intentional movement–and then trying to devise a schedule.
  2. Have at least two mini-book reviews written and published on various sites
  3. Work through at least part of a personal/professional development course
  4. Continue reading (and possibly finishing) at least one non-fiction book that I’ve started

So how did I do with each of them?

List of things I enjoy doing in terms of intentional movement:

Those things include:

  1. Walking (nature walks, taking Chaos for a walk, walks with friends, and ‘window’ shopping)
  2. Weight lifting (as long as I stay away from lunges and push-ups)
  3. Cardio (can be a DVD workout, impromptu solo dance parties, riding my bike, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and ebing outside)
  4. Yoga, Pilates, and stretching

Have I designed a schedule yet? Nope—this is in large part due to both the ongoing family medical issue and then dealing with the pets (most want to be in the same room all the time—and trying to lift weights when you have cats and dogs wanting in your personal space—not fun or easy).

Two mini-book reviews written and published on various sites:

The two books that I’ve gotten around to writing mini-book reviews over were:

  1. Bittersweet Promises (Montgomery Ink Legacy #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  2. Always the One for Me (Wilder Brothers #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan

I’m hoping to finish reading Hunted in Darkness and getting that book review posted by the end of the weekend.

Watch/work through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course:

I managed to watch a couple of short courses on Skillshare and they were:

  1. 3X your productivity with this weekly planning guide
  2. Content Calendar made easy: Save time and develop a personal brand
  3. Blogging rituals and routines: 10 secrets for increased blogging productivity.

I briefly reviewed each of the courses in my ‘October in Review‘ post.

Finish at least one non-fiction book:

Well, I’ve started a couple more non-fiction books—but haven’t finished any of them yet. As I mentioned in my ‘October in Review’ post—I go in cycles when it comes to reading non-fiction.

The best way to illustrate what I mean—oscillation waves, these waves can vary in both height and width:

That is how I view my reading cycles (regardless if it’s non-fiction or fiction).

Currently my non-fiction trend is more of the top—it’s taking more time to finish a book, and then I start numerous books, and it’s a ‘uphill’ battle to finish one (or more).

Whereas my fiction reading trend (and non-fiction trends in certain months)—resembles the bottom oscillation wave, I can read several books within a short period and have no problems moving on to another book (or going back and re-reading books).

So—I know that I need to try to decrease the ‘height’ of the non-fiction oscillation wave to have it match the height of the non-fiction oscillation wave over the next few weeks/months.

Well—I managed to accomplish about seventy percent of my goals for the Aries full moon. The only one that I didn’t get ‘accomplished’ was the non-fiction reading—which based on how October went, I wasn’t shocked to see that I didn’t accomplish it.

Seventy percent works well with the motto that I’m using for the final quarter of 2022—‘Progress over Perfection’.

Sometimes it is difficult to catch all the little negative stories/thoughts that run through our heads—so when I don’t catch them right away, it means I’ve accidentally let the inner critic/imposter syndrome out to play.

But, I’m getting better at catching them…I think they only ‘played’ for a few days during the Aries full moon.

So now, I’m going to celebrate this win—and then look ahead to the Taurus full moon.

How did you do with your personal/professional goals last month?

No Comments AstrologyBook ReviewsBooksfitnessFull Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Time & project management improving–time to focus on the second blog

So, we’re in November…that means there are only two months, 61 days, roughly nine weeks, or 1,464 hours left in 2022. It’s the final sixth of 2022, and I’m trying to figure out what and how much stuff I can get accomplished before both the end of November and the end of 2022.

As I mentioned last month—I’m tired, burnt out (more on life overall than career), and really ready for this year, and the decade to basically be over.

October was even a bigger mess than September—which is saying something. So how was it a bigger mess than September?

Well—the ongoing family medical issue that I mentioned having started in my August in Review (and touched upon in my September in Review)—it’s still ongoing, and there was a point where it wasn’t looking very good. Currently we’re back to the fifty-fifty chance of it going either way.

I’m also trying to stay off the news (I know that this is showing my privilege—but with my current mental health state—I need to stay off of it). But I will just say—Russia should be kicked off the UN Security Council and kicked out of the UN in general.

By the time the family medical issue is resolved, I won’t be surprised if in addition to the moderate cases of depression and anxiety, I don’t also have a moderate case of PTSD as well.

Elections are coming up next week for the US—and this is where I’m going to share my two-cents.

Basic human rights are on the ballot this year. Women’s rights (voting and health care), sensible gun laws, the environment, education—all of it are on the line. For whatever reason there is a major dichotomy between the two major political parties within the US—and I don’t mind debating how each view finances, the budget, and those topics—but I won’t debate my stance on women’s rights, education, gun control, the environment, or issues I consider to be general ‘moral’/’common sense’ issues.

Therefore, if we elect more common sense and/or liberal individuals to Congress—we can end the filibuster, expand the Supreme Court, enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress, and finally codify women’s health care and gun control into law.

And I’ll end my political/social/economical ‘rant’ here, before it takes over the post.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘September in Review’ on October 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 98.2 million cases and now as of November 1st —we have reached just a little over 99.3 million cases (an increase of a little over 1.1 million cases). So, numbers are staying ‘steady’—though I’d like to see the number actually start going down again. But there are the various omicron subs-strains running amok.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

I thought I’d manage to get my booster shot in October—but with the way the beginning of the month went…this task fell by the wayside. Hopefully I can get around to scheduling it for sometime in November (and possibly the flu shot—if its free as well).

While trying to keep the mental health on an even keel—I’m still trying to lean more into my strengths and values: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths). Though sometimes it doesn’t help having the background/understanding of medical issues…ignorance is bliss at times.

So before setting goals for November, its time to look back at the goals I set for October and see how I did with each of them. The goals for October included:

  1. 125-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Getting the second blog/website up and running
  9. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  10. Writing, writing, and writing

So how did I do with each goal?

125-155K steps:

I managed to get 134,240 steps in during the month of October—basically right in the middle between hitting a little over 4K steps a day and the ‘goal’ of 5K steps a day. I managed two walks at Boomer—a partial and a full, plus took Chaos through the neighborhood once. Hopefully I will be able to get Chaos out on more walks in November, plus have an late morning/early afternoon walk at Boomer Lake at least once or twice in November.

At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day:

I managed to get in one partial walk and one full walk at Boomer Lake, plus a walk through the neighborhood with Chaos. I probably managed about five minutes or so each day of ‘intentional’ movement (which for me means helping our elderly, arthritic dog in and out of the house).

Finish at least one non-fiction book:

I’m still reading Trilobite: Eyewitness to evolution; and I’m about thirty percent of the way through the book. I’m almost finished with INNERCISE; and I’m about eighty percent of the way done with that book–so I should possibly finish it sometime in November.

I’ve realized that I have cycles when it comes to reading non-fiction books—I can read several in a month (or over a period of say two months), then I go for a month (or longer) where I only end up reading a little bit of different non-fiction books (as none really grab my full attention).

Read at least two-to-four fiction books:

I’m pretty certain that I read more than four books during October (but didn’t track how many were re-reads). But teh four fiction books that I know I read during October were:

  1. Give Me Love (Rose Canyon #2) by Corinne Michaels
  2. Bittersweet Promises (Montgomery Legacy #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review was posted last week)
  3. Fractured Sky (Tattered & Torn #5) by Catherine Cowles
  4. My Favorite Mistake (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #4) by Claudia Buroga

In addition, I also finally got around to writing and posting the book review for Always the One for Me (Wilder Brothers #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan.

Commit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge

My goal for October was a minimum of 22 days but aiming for 29.

Well, I managed seventeen days (just a little over half the month) without buying any extra e-books, or other stuff. But since how bad the beginning of the month was (in terms of the family medical issue)–managing seventeen days isn’t too shabby.

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings:

There was time outdoors—possibly not as much as I would have liked—but we’re heading into the cooler months, and unless the sun is directly overhead, it can get chilly sitting outside (even in a sweatshirt).

I’ve been making use of the soothing pod mediation app at night—and managing to sit and focus on the mediation for at least five minutes (some of the meditations are upwards of ten to fifteen minutes).

I’ve been on track doing my daily gratitude journal entries, and doing daily oracle card drawings. For October I was using the Oracle of the Shapeshifters deck:

Thursdays–I share the oracle spread on LinkedIn as part of my Thoughtful Thursday series

Craft time:

In addition to creating graphics and other multimedia items on Canva—I’ve also been spending quite a bit of time working on a new cross-stitch project (that I’ll hopefully have completed sometime during the month of November).

My current cross-stitch project: An abstract ‘microbiology’ petri dish showing different bacterial, fungal, and viral growth.

Getting the second blog up and running:

Still working on this….

Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course:

I watched three short courses on Skillshare during October, and they were:

3x your productivity with this weekly planning guide

I liked the course–though I didn’t print off the planning guide. Basically you’re given ten tips on how to improve your week (and those tips could also be applied to one’s monthly or even yearly calendars).

The tips that the instructor gave were:

  1. Visualize your goals
  2. Schedule self-care
  3. Celebrate and appreciate small and big wins
  4. Just say No (to things you don’t want to be doing)
  5. Major lessons and inspirations (from the previous week/month)
  6. Failure is feedback
  7. Who can I help? Who would I benefit from?
  8. Feed your soul
  9. Focus (top three priorities for the week)
  10. Daily goals and review (break the three top priorities down into actionable steps for each day)

Needless to say—I’m still working on incorporating some of these tips into my schedule/life.

Content Calendar Made Easy: Save Time and Develop a Personal Brand

This was a decent course—it talked about taking your top traits (but traits in terms of what works best for content development) and mixing them with different types of content prompts (such as FAQs, behind the scene, future plans, and so forth).

I know my strengths/values—but am still working on how to meld those into my brand, but also realize I should be thinking of traits as well (would be having to brainstorm with others on this one).

Blogging Rituals and Routines: 10 secrets for increasing blogging productivity

This was a good course, and similar to the other productivity course gave ten different tips on how to improve one’s productivity.

The ten tips this instructor gave were:

  1. Clean up your office/desk space
  2. Organize drawers and files
  3. Clean up your computer files
  4. Remove things that don’t belong in the office (ties in with #1)
  5. Write at the same time everyday
  6. Have a daily, weekly, or monthly word count goal
  7. Have a daily time goal for writing (say fifteen minutes each day)
  8. Go on a ‘blogging retreat’
  9. Go on a weekly solo artist date
  10. Put on your ‘writing’ clothes each day

In addition, there were the suggestions of going for a morning walk, and changing your scenery (going somewhere other than your home ‘office’) to help improve your productivity.

There are several things that I need to do to help improve my productivity—and the big one is to create a couple of functional (but fun) work spaces in the house. One in my bedroom (which will be the biggest challenge), and then another in either the living room or dining room (since I split the time I spend working in different areas of the house).

Writing, writing, and writing:

I managed to get quite a bit of writing done overall during the month of October. I think I managed to do all three of my weekly post series on LinkedIn (Science Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursday, and the Oncology Friday), plus several posts for the creative/reflective blog.

I still need to work on drafting more blog posts (especially for the medical/science/health blog) in addition to starting to build out a portfolio of different communication style projects (mini-reviews; clinical trial summaries, slide decks, posters, and infographics).

What other lessons did I learn in October?

Trust your gut. I almost landed a freelance client for a writing project—but the payment method that they wanted to use was extremely phishy—so I politely declined (after having drafted an contract), and two days later—they’d blocked me on LinkedIn and the conversation thread disappeared as well (I wonder if I try to send another email if it would go through???).

Slowly dip your toe outside your comfort zone—but be completely honest and transparent with the other party.

A recruiter reached out to me on LinkedIn about a potential remote writing position focusing on oncology—great, I’m dipping my toes into the field, but was honest that I didn’t have the post-doc or publication experience that their client wanted. The recruiter thanked me, and basically then terminated the conversation (in all it was less than a five minute phone call).

In addition last week, I reached out to someone who was looking for a freelance science/medical writer—and while they aren’t sure if they’re going to be taking on that particular project—they gave me the idea/suggestion of possibly doing consulting work for training/on-boarding science/medical writers.

So, while I may not have made progress with all the goals (still need to carve out time to focus on the other blog/website)—overall progress was made during the month of October. There should always be room for improvement (if nothing else—extending the ‘goal’ line [in terms of steps for fitness, or words/time for writing).

So looking further into November, what are my goals going to be? Well, they’re going to include:

  1. 120-150K steps
  2. Hopefully at least one partial walk at Boomer Lake and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement each day
  3. Finish at least one of the many non-fiction books I’ve started
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  5. Commit to the no-spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month challenge (aiming for at leat 22 days; goal is 27)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily oracle card drawings, and daily gratitude journal entries
  7. Craft time (finish the one cross-stitch project, start a new one, and/or possibly create some jewelry)
  8. Working through at least part of one personal/professional development e-course
  9. Getting the second blog/website up and running
  10. Writing, writing, and writing

So the goals for November are basically identical to the goals for October; and technically are identical to the goals for September.

The only goal in October that I really ‘fell’ down on was getting the second blog/website up and running. It is technically ‘live’—I just need to write the copy for the various pages, get the blog up and going, and start developing the portfolio.

In terms of how I’m hoping November will go—I’m going to be pessimistically optimistic, and just try to take things a day/week at a time. This means that I might have to scrap the weekly to-do list if something goes south—or I might get more accomplished, because I’ll be hyper-focused on something other than the family medical issue.

I’m still going to be aiming to become more consistent—especially in terms of posting to the different blogs (I have a editorial/content calendar created [more or less] for LinkedIn, and semi-created for this blog—just need to work on one for the other blog).

Becoming more consistent will really let me lean into my strengths and values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/growth, and intellection.

In addition—they all give me great practice at time and project management as I’m aiming for at least 85% overall completion (I’m fully acknowledging that I may not hit the step goal, and that I may also not have that much time outside—but I can work towards all the other ones).

Time/project management goes hand in hand with consistency and productivity. I’m going to be making more use of airtable (for content/project management—it’s a calendar and spreadsheet in one space), an old fashion timer, and pen/paper to manage my time and projects.

Curious to know what is your favorite time, project, or productivity tracker/manager?

Namaste….

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Finding their way back to each other: Review of Always the One for Me–Evan & Kendall’s story.

Welcome back to Texas and the Wilder brothers…

‘Always the One for Me’ takes place shortly after ‘One Way Back to Me’ and features Evan and Kendall.

Evan and Kendall have a history and past—they met on a plane to Vegas, had a whirlwind romance and got married.

Then things fell apart…or more specifically—Evan had a hair-brain idea on how to keep Kendall safe…

Now Evan is out of the military and trying to run a resort/winery combo with his brothers in the middle of Texas.

One position that needs to get filled—head chef

The top candidate happens to be Kendall, Evan’s ex-wife.

Promising to be civil to each other, she’s hired as the head chef for the Wilder Resort and Winery.

Well, they still have chemistry through the roof…

Can they have the discussion—that they should have had years ago, and find their way back to each other?

What types of trouble will the Dodge family try this time?

The answers to these, and a wonderfully written enemies-to-lovers story can be found within the pages of ‘Always the One for Me’.

I absolutely love this series and am waiting for the other brothers to get their happily-ever-afters before I try to pick a favorite.

I’m also hoping for more guest appearances by their in-laws up in Colorado as well.

While this review is late (Always the One for Me has been available on-line for a few months now)—I give it a solid five out of five stars and highly recommend it to anyone who love the Montgomery Ink world, or who wants to give Carrie Ann Ryan’s books a try.

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What ties the Montgomery generations together? Cheese, ink, & family

Welcome back to Colorado, and the next generation of Montgomerys.

Bittersweet Promises is the ‘kick-off’ book for Montgomery Ink Legacy series—which will be following all the ‘kids’ of the original Montgomerys as they navigate adulthood—honoring their parents’ legacy—but at the same time carving their own paths.

Bittersweet Promises is Leif and Brooke’s story.

Leif is all grown up, and while he’s opened another tattoo shop—he’s still figuring out life…

Like will he find the type of connection he had years ago in Paris??

Brooke is now a single mother, who packed everything up and moved back to Denver—taking a professor position at the local university.

As they start to unpack, a neighbor offers to rope her cousin into helping them unpack—and who is the cousin—none other than Leif Montgomery…

Their paths haven’t crossed in years…since Paris…can they talk and find their way back to each other?

They both have issues to work through…

Leif still struggles with early childhood memories, and trying to figure out who is sending him ‘odd messages’.

Brooke is trying to her son settled, and get a lab up and running…and not everyone is happy to see her…

Will they overcome their obstacles and find their way back to each other?

The answers…plus guest appearances by numerous Montgomerys can be found within the pages of Bittersweet Promises—which is now available for purchase everywhere.

I absolutely loved this book and the premise for the series—the next generation of Montgomery kids all grown up and making their own paths. What I really love—is the glimpse of the original Montgomerys—because lets face it, I don’t see any of the Montgomerys just sitting back and letting their kids face the unknown and possible dangers.

Of course, there is cheese, snarkiness, and just a feeling of coming home when you start reading any book within the Montgomery Ink World.

I’m looking forward to the next several books in the series, and can’t wait to read Lake’s story.

Bittersweet Promises, Montgomery Ink Legacy #1 is a five out five star book

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Scorpio New Moon Goals: emphasis on personal/professional development

So the moon is going to be transitioning through it’s new phase tonight, and moving through the Scorpio constellation. It was also a partial eclipse today as well. That means there are only six days left in October, and then sixty-one days left in 2022.

Looking back at what I wrote the past two years for the Scorpio new moon (in terms of SARS-CoV2 cases):

2020—the world had over 54 million cases, the US was topping 11 million, and there were over 1.3 million dead.

2021—the world had almost 248.5 million cases, the US was almost at 47 million cases, and there were over 5 million dead.

2022—the world has almost 632.8 million cases, the US has over 99 million cases, and there are over 6.5 million dead.

I don’t know if we’re ever really going to be out of the pandemic/epidemic roller-coaster for this virus—but that is a post in and of itself.

So, what can one do during the Scorpio new moon? Well according to ‘Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles’ by Yasmin Boland, you can:

  1. Get sexy
  2. Invest wisely
  3. Make inner peace
  4. B-r-e-a-t-h-e
  5. Drop grudges

In terms of the above items—the only one that I’m uncomfortable trying to do—is the first. Though, it can also refer to doing something to boost your self-confidence—which is how I’m going to be looking at it.

This moon is also moving through my first house or my image zone (how one presents themselves to the world). While the Aries new moon is the start of the zodiac calendar—when the new moon passes through your first house, it can also seem as the start of a “new year” (we can have a “new start” twice a year if necessary).

So what are some things that one can do in reference to their first house during this time? They can:

  1. Surprise friends with the ‘new you’
  2. Throw out all your old make-up and start again
  3. Get married or meet someone new
  4. Good time to move
  5. Splurge on something in a vibrant color
  6. Have a facial
  7. Get your sight checked

Looking at the above list—there are a few things that can still be automatically crossed off—throwing out make-up (currently I don’t wear any make-up, since I really haven’t left the house in like two years, and currently all the chats I’ve been doing have been virtual); getting married or meeting someone new (with the various things that are going on right now—literally don’t have the time for this); getting a facial (can do it at home for a fraction of the cost); and moving (on-hold for quite awhile currently).

I’d love to surprise people with the ‘new me’—I just have to figure out who she is—though I know this can be a simple as getting a new hairstyle.

So what are the two to five things I’m going to try to focus on for the Scorpio New Moon? Well, they are:

  1. Working on healing my relationship with food and movement. This includes having random dance parties in the living room on a 15-minute break between task, or getting out of the house with my dog for a quick 20-minute walk through the neighborhood
  2. Work on getting the second website up and going (focusing on science/medical/health communications), in addition to also focusing on trying to get a remote communications position as well
  3. Start working through various finance e-courses that I’ve bought over the years
  4. Continue to unplug at night (putting the computer to ‘sleep’ by 8pm)
  5. Continue figuring out my personal/professional brand

All in all—focus on progress and not perfection. All of the goals are ‘open-ended’—including the e-course goal (mainly because I’ve forgotten the exact number of finance related courses I’ve bought over the past three or four years).

That means—even if I only manage a few days (or even a just a week) focusing on each one—that is progress, baby steps forward is progress—and that is what I’m aiming for—the slow steady progress that would result in finishing a marathon.

Though there are some that are more ‘internal’ work than other–such as figuring out the personal/professional brand, and healing my relationship with food and movement.

But we’re also getting into cooler weather–which means hot chocolate, apple pies, apple cider, and all things fall. This is one of my favorite seasons–if we could just somehow take the cooler temps of spring and fall and meld them with the longer days of summer I’d be extremely happy.

Curious to know: what is one of your favorite things about fall?

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Progress…Not Perfection: Review of Libra New Moon Goals

So we’re heading towards the next new moon—which means there is a week left in October, and then only sixty-one days left in 2022. The end of this year is going to be turbid, up-and-down, and I just need to figure out the time blocks that will work best for research/note-taking, writing/editing, reading, crafts, and everything else in life.

But before I fall down that rabbit-hole, I should look back at the goals I set for the Libra new moon and see how I did with each of them—before looking ahead to the Scorpio New Moon.

So what were the goals that I set for the Libra new moon? Well, they included:

  1. Unplug at night
  2. Continue working at both regaining my identity and developing my personal/professional brand
  3. Facing a fear–specifically work at getting my freelance/remote/contract science/medical/health communications/consulting business up and running

So how did I do with each of them?

Unplug at night:

I managed to do this one fairly consistently. There were some nights that I didn’t ‘unplug’ right at eight, and then there were other nights that I unplugged earlier than eight.

I actually started a new cross-stitch project a couple of weeks ago–and when I unplug at night, this is what I’ve been working on:

Latest cross-stitch project

The cross-stitch project is turning out to be an abstract microbiology project…or just a bunch of shapes. Should hopefully have it finished in a couple of weeks.

Regaining my identity and developing my personal/professional brand:

This dual ‘project’ is still in the early ‘stages’.

I know who I’m ‘not’—I not the bench scientist anymore, I’m not the person counting calories, containers, or the person who’d mentally beat herself up if she didn’t push play on a workout.

I’m a science/medical/health communicator who is still looking for her group of people.

I’m that multipotentialite individual that needs to have at least two projects going to be happy—but at the same time I’m that anxious individual who is worried that she isn’t giving full attention to anyone project.

I’m working on giving myself grace and catching the negative stories that I tell myself—and also reminding myself that life currently is going every which way—so it’s perfectly fine that I’m not getting in a huge workout—if I can manage at least 4k steps a day—I’ll be happy.

So–yeah, now it is a matter of still trying to define my ‘brand’ and then merge everything into something ‘cohesive’.

Facing a fear:

Fear: getting my freelance science/medical/health communications/consulting business up and running.

Status: Ongoing.

I’m still working on getting the website up and functioning (it is ‘live’—just currently as a skeleton website). I’m figuring out the direction of possibly niching (cancer biology) in terms of the portfolio, while contemplating keeping the ‘blog’ portion more eclectic (different science/medical/health topics).

I’m also working on the always dreaded editorial calendar for both blogs and LinkedIn (because that is part of my online portfolio after all)—which would mean actually looking at something other than my to-do list—as I told someone the other day, I’m more of a paper and pen kind of person in terms of organization—I can use the computer versions—I just don’t like them.

So, all in all it was a good Libra ‘season’—all of the goals were ‘open-ended’, and all were focused on during the past few weeks. While it is nice at times having a cut and dry goal (something that can easily be stamped as ‘finished’)—having the open-ended goals also give you that daily sense of accomplishment and knowing that you’re slowly turning things into a habit (like unplugging from the computer at night).

Therefore—there has been ‘progress over perfection’. Could I have gotten more accomplished? Probably—but I’m granting myself grace and acceptance with acknowledging my inner critic/imposter syndrome did come out to play for awhile this past month—but I’m slowly making that forward progress.

These goals aren’t just going to be fading away—while they may not be ‘front-and-center’ as we move into the next new moon—they’ll still be around.

One big goal for the last two months—getting the website up and running, and hopefully landing either that remote communications position or possibly my first one or two freelance clients.

How are you moving towards accomplishing that one really large ‘fearful’ goal?

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Reading, writing, and planning: Aries Full Moon Goals

So the moon will be entering its next full moon cycle for the year probably tonight (at least for me). This means that we’re not quite a third of the way through October—but time does seem to be going a little quicker. I’m hoping that the last quarter of the year goes a little smoother…but I’m also not going to hold my breath on it either.

So what are some of the questions we can reflect on during this time?

Have I been hotheaded, selfish, or argumentative this month?

Have I been going too fast or been impulsive this month?

           

Have I been brash, blunt, or too competitive?

           

Have I ignored other people’s finer sensibilities?

           

Have I had enough fun?

So before answering the questions, I do need to point out that it is the beginning of the month, so I actually going to answer these questions based on 1) how I want to behave during the coming month, but also 2) how I behaved during the past couple of weeks. So as usually I’m going to number the questions 1 to 5 as I answer them.

  1. I would have to say no—I haven’t been hotheaded, selfish or argumentative this month (a couple months ago—yes I was slightly argumentative then). We’re still dealing with a family medical crisis that may or may not resolve the way we’d like it to—so I could be considered semi-selfish in just wanting the whole ordeal over one way or another.
  2. Considering the month I’m currently having and the past two months, I don’t think I’ve been overly impulsive this month nor do I think I’ve been going too fast (possibly going a tad too slow). I know what I need to do—but currently the other issue is taking majority of my concentration and I’m working on ensuring that I don’t impulsively spend too much money.
  3. No, I haven’t been brash, blunt or too competitive—this month. I was slightly brash and blunt a month or so ago—but that particular circumstance called for me being brash and blunt (and I’m still not going to apologize for it either). While I understand the need for competition (to ensure that the best person is hired)—I truthfully think that there probably is more than enough work for everyone who wants it—so I’m only going to try to be competitive with myself—and only the person I was yesterday.
  4. Well I would say this year it would depend on the situation and the people involved. While I do try to empathize with others—I’m also starting to draw my boundaries and stating what I will and won’t do in particular situations. I also realize that sometimes things can get a little tense and sometimes conversations may need to be put on hold.
  5. What is this word fun? While there are hopes that we’re moving from a ‘pandemic’ to an ‘epidemic’—we’re still stuck dealing with the damn SARS-CoV2 virus, and considering the past nine weeks (and counting)—I really haven’t had much fun, and am still working on ways of adding ‘enjoyment’ into my day-to-day routine.

Aries is moves through my sixth house (or my daily work and health zone). This house is where we can sit and reflect on who we are (both in terms of professional/work and personal/health) and decide to work on those aspects that we don’t like.

For the past two years I’d made various ‘commitments’ such as pushing play daily on streaming workouts or committing to intentional movements each day. Well, I canceled my Beachbody-on-demand (and technically my Beachbody) subscriptions this past month—for whatever reason, I’d prefer to pop in a DVD than trying to log into the website…the DVD player relies on power (and not being overly dusty), while streaming workout relies on power plus a good internet connection and the website not being down.

Therefore I’m still in the process of trying to develop a good mix of things I like to do (weight lifting, walking, hiking, and so forth) and making a ‘schedule’ that I can more or less stick with—because life has been throwing more lemons and limes at me than I can use for making various drinks and dishes.

I have a good idea of what I’m wanting to do career wise—it’s a matter now of making a schedule that will work with everything that is going on in life right now—plus I’m still dealing with the feeling of burnout (but not just in terms of career—currently its in terms of everything).

Since I’m pretty sure that this Aries full moon is going to be a very chaotic time, I’m going to limit the number of goals that I’m going to be setting. The goals for the Aries full moon will include:

  1. Write out a list of things I’d enjoy doing in terms of intentional movement (weight lifting, walking, cardio, yoga, and so forth)—and try to devise a schedule.
  2. Have at least two mini-book reviews written and posted on various sites
  3. Work through at least part of a personal/professional development course
  4. Continue reading (and possibly finishing) at least one non-fiction book that I’ve already started.

The motto for this quarter is ‘Progress over Perfection’

Four goals for the Aries full moon–and hopefully four goals that will get accomplished. I know that I have an extra one or two listed above–those are bonus goals…I’m trying to just remember to take things a day at a time, and even then–remember to take things an hour at a time, and if need be a minute at a time.

What personal/professional goal are you working towards this quarter?

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