Limited Spending Challenge Update #2: Acknowledging the splurge

We’re into March–which means that I review how I did for February in terms of my year-long limited spending challenge.

I decided that instead of trying to do ‘no-spend’ challenges (which I usually failed at, since I have a large impulsive spending habit), I would try to a ‘limited-spending’ challenge.

The main difference: I was labeling things ahead of time as either needed/necessary or splurge purchases.

With that being said–February was a splurge month in terms of books.

We had a period of really cold, chilly, and snowy weather where I was only going outside briefly with the dogs. I spent most of the time inside and curled up with my Kindle. So instaed of making headway through the numerous books that I already had on my Kindle–I splurged and bought several more books.

After finishing one of the books that I had pre-ordered: ‘Blackout after Dark’ (Gansett Island #23) by Marie Force, I went back and ordered the last seven books of the Quantum series (I already had the first one), since a character or two made a ‘cross-over’ in the book.

I also bought and read Catalina (The Alders #10) by Avery Gale, and then went and re-ead the first nine books, read the ShadowDance Club series (numerous characters were mentioned throughout the Alder series; and I bought this series back in December), and then bought and read the Masters of the Prairie Winds Club series as well.

The only series that I haven’t finished (that I bought last month) has been the Quantum series–and after I finish the book I’m currently reading, I will probably start that series.

I also bought several items for my pagan/Wicca altar as well this month. Those items included two small statues and crystals (both rough and smooth). While I like the look of the altar, I’m thinking of possibly getting one more statue (just to have it look symmetrical), and possibly another crystal or two.

The altar looks a little ‘cramped’ but that is because I currently have it on a small shelf, and also have basically all the stones out—I haven’t decided which ones I like best, so I have them all out (probably not the best idea–but that is how I roll). Since the area is cramped an d not the best for also trying to do card readings, I will be moving items to where I do my card readings and then back to the shelf/altar when I’m done with them.

So besides buying numerous books, I also had several pre-ordered as well and those were:

Call You Mine (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #4) by Claudia Buroga

Inked Persuasion (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan

Securing Jane (A SEAL of Protection: Legacy Series Novella) by Susan Stoker

Blackout After Dark (Gansett Island #23) by Marie Force

Crew (Anderson Billionaires #5) by Melody Anne

Rocky Mountain Forever (Six Pack Ranch #12) by Vivian Arend

Submission Impossible (Masters & Mercenaries Reloaded #1) by Lexi Blake

Rory (Hope City #7) by Maryann Jordan

I’ve realized that over the past few weeks that sometimes it is better to do a little bit of splurging instead of trying to not spend the money–I usually end up spending way mor later than I initially had planned on.

The other thing I’ve realized over the past month or so–at times my inner critic/imposter syndrome views money and food in the same light–trying to avoid spending or eating something usually ends up with me either overspending or overindulging in something later. I’m slowly working on striking a ‘balance’ in both areas, but I also realize that I’m an impulsive shopper (especially online) and that is a habit I also need to work on curbing.

As I head into March, I know that there will be at least one additional ‘needed’ purchase (a birthday present for my niece), and then my large Amazon order (which will have Chaos’ flaxseed and omega-3 pills in it)–but no e-book splurges.

Looking at the list of books that I have on pre-order for both this month and next month–I can safely say that I probably won’t be splurging on books. After I finish reading my current book, then the Quantum series, plus a few others that are pre-ordered this month, I will be rereading the Fatal series by Marie Force to be ready to read the first book in the spinoff series: State of Affairs that comes out on April 20th next month.

So–while there were splurges in February, I’ve splurged worse last year and therefore I’m not going to ‘beat’ myself up over the fact. This is a year-long challenge and there will always be slight setbacks in any challenge. The ‘winning’ aspect is acknowledging that you slipped, and trying a little harder next month not to continue slipping backyards–but start sliding forward.

No Comments financesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentReflections

Recognizing my inner critic/imposter syndrome: February in Review

So we’ve made it through the first two months of 2021–we’re a sixth of the way through the year. I also have a feeling that while 2021 won’t be the total ‘WTF’ year that 2020 was, it will possibly be close.

I mean in January, we saw a bunch of supports of the orange blob storm the capital and try to stop the finalization of the election vote. We also saw the orange blog getting impeached for the second time in two years, plus the inauguration of a new president and vice-president.

This past month saw the senate trial–where only six republican senators chose country over party, so the orange blob was acquitted (for the second time). Hopefully various states will be able to throw the books at him and his family and they’ll be carted away to prison. February also saw a polar vortex push down into the US, and then several winter storms blow across the country.

We go somewhere between 8 and 12 inches (or more depending on what part of the state you are in) of snow in three days (which for Oklahoma is a lot–especially since majority of teh drivers in the state have no idea how to drive in winter weather). Luckily all the snow has melted and we’re back to the ‘normal’ winter temperatures and weather.

I figured out that for the vaccine against the SARS-CoV2 virus, I’m in the last group–so basically the ‘general’ public (phase 1-3 are for essential workers, teachers, and others). Therefore, I’m hoping that by late summer/early fall I will be able to get my first shot and then hopefully no later than October get the second shot. It is looking like this virus is going to be sticking around now, and one problem that has been pointed out–in terms of the vaccine roll out (distribution), there are possibly 100 countries that haven’t gotten any yet for their citizens. Unless we’re able to vaccinate basically everyone on the planet–if the virus continues to mutate (and it will since it is an RNA virus), it could mutate enough to where the current vaccines are of no use, and we’re back to another global shutdown.

Luckily, with a new administration that actually listens to science we’re slowly getting the virus under control here in the US. When I published ‘January in Review’, I noted that the total number of cases in the US was a little over 26.7 million, and now we’re at a little over 29.2 million (so basically an increase of 2.5 million cases in a month–which is still a lot, but not nearly as many as we saw for January or December). I’m hoping it’s because people are getting the vaccine and listening to the experts and isn’t due to a downturn in testing.

So as I look to March (with the hopes that it will be a little more mellow than the previous two months), I also need to reflect on the goals I set for February and how I did with each of them.

The goals for February 2021 included:

At least 120-140,000 steps

Finish up Muscle Burns Fat Advance and start Barre Blend

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books from list

Read 3 fiction books

Finish up the MWO (need to do the writing & editing assignments, plus module 6), and then hopefully finish either the Clinical Research Coalition or the Regulatory Affairs Council program

No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited Spending Month

Time outdoors & meditation/sitting quietly

Daily craft time (with hopefully trying something new at least once a week)

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

So how did I do with each of them?

At least 120-140,000 steps; I managed to meet and slightly surpass my step goal for hte month. The total number of steps for February were 146,418 steps. I managed to get in the steps without that many walks (I think I did two or three short walks during the month; onne was with Chaos, and I think the other one or two were up to the corner convenience store to buy the weekend paper).

Finish up Muscle Burns Fat Advance and start Barre Blend; I finished up Muscle Burns Fat Advance on February 7th, and started Barre Blend the next day. While Muscle Burns Fat Advance wasn’t a total favorite, I will probably be repeating the program (along with Muscle Burns Fat) sometime in either 2022 or 2023.

I’ve made it through the first three weeks of Barre Blend (which is two weeks further than I made it last year), and will be finishing up the program in early April (sometime between the 2nd and the 4th). Currently I’d trudging through the program–it isn’t a favorite by a long shot, and truthfully I’m not sure if I’m going to be doing it a second time or not. Though I usually say that about any new program that I’m doing and didn’t fall in love with right away. I will be posting a review of the program when I finish it in early April, and may possibly do another round in 2023.

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books from my 2021 to-be read list

I finished the following books this month:

Burnout: the secret to unlocking the stress cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski

The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less by Tonya Dalton

I still need to write book reviews for these two (plus the two I read back in January), and hopefully post them by mid-March. I’ve realized that one problem I have in trying to write the reviews is that sometimes I don’t highlight anything as I’m reading–so I at times have to literally skim the book again to get something to write on. Otherwise my review would go something like this:

Great book. There was quite a bit of helpful information that I will slowly be trying to incorporate into my day-to-day life. I give this book ‘X’ out of 5 stars. Highly recommended.

That short of a review would be fine for Amazon where I purchased the book-but ont on the blog. For the blog I’m aiming for at least 500-700 words, and for it to also be something taht I could possibly share on Linkedin as well.

Read 3 fiction books

I managed to read quite a few fiction books in February–but only posted one review so far.

The books that I read included:

Call You Mine (Baker Creek Billionaire Brothers #4) by Claudia Buroga

Blackout After Dark (Gansett Island #23) by Marie Force (this is the only one that I also managed to get a review posted on as well).

Catalina (The Alders #10) by Avery Gale

I also re-read the first nine books in the Alder series as well. I also binge read the following two series by Avery Gale (characters were mentioned throughout the Alder series): The ShadowDance Club and Masters of the Prairie Winds Club. These three series by Avery Gale are definitely for adults, and not those who like the typical romance series.

Finish up the MWO and possibly the Clinical Research Coalition or the Regulatory Affairs Council programs

Actually I don’t think that I did any e-course work, with the exception of watching a couple more videos in the first module of the Regulatory Affairs council program.

No spend days/No spend weeks/Limited Spending Month

It was a limited spending month–though I did splurge on books this month. In addition I decided to try to order what I needed to finish up creating my own Wiccan/pagan altar (and I’m also done with that). While it was a ‘limited’ spending month–I know I can do better at controlling my splurges.

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Well it was rather chilly and cold (not to mention snowy) this month. Therefore most of the time outdoors was brief in the evenings with the dogs. There was one afternoon walk with Chaos through the neighborhood (the one day it got into the 60s). I think i have my evening meditation routine down now–I turn off the fans, light some candles, and turn off the lights. I’m getting better at trying to meditate by candlelight, and if I can’t seem to quiet my mind–I will stare at the flames and work on my breathing for awhile.

Daily craft time

Well I did ‘crafts’ daily–if you count doing color-by-number as a ‘craft’. I’ve found the app to be quite addictive and fun to do, and usually end up coloring at least two or more pictures a day. I did start teaching myself cross-stitching and am working on my ‘test’ piece (where I try to see what will work and what will need work).

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

Nope–the only part of an e-courses that I managed to get done was watching another two ro three videos from the first module of the Regulatory Affairs Council program.

So this month did bring about a large ‘aha’ moment–I realized that I’ve been letting my inner critic/imposter syndrome reel me back into my comfort zone on an almost daily basisi. For whatever reason, when I have productive months (basically meeting all of my goals), the next month or two are not nearly as productive–and I will basically state it was anything and everything other than myself that led to the downturn in productivity.

I actually have a couple of drafts going on that topic (roughly titled: self-reflection and stretching/expanding the comfort zone and recognizing the antics of my inner critic/imposter syndrome) and will hopefully have them posted within the next two weeks.

So while I may have not met all my goals (especially for the e-course work and new crafts), I did have the breakthrough on what is holding me back at times. Now that I have ‘recognized’ at least one set of actions, I can slowly start reworking my ‘reactions’ to where I stay in the stretch zone instead of popping back into the comfort zone (at least until I’ve stretched the comfort zone out).

Heading into March, the goals are basically staying the same (though the number of steps will increase), as they are also helping me step into the ‘stretch zone’ and expand the ‘comfort zone’.

March 2021 goals will include:

A minimum of 135-155,000 steps, the temperatures are starting to warm up, so hopefully I can get at least one or two walks in at Boomer Lake

Finish Barre Blend (should be done within the first four days of April)

Read (or finish) 2 non-fiction books from list. Currently I’ve finished 4 out of the 89 books on the list, with the goal being a minimum of 30. Though I still need to write reviews over each of them

Read 3 fiction books. Currently (not counting any re-reads) I’ve managed to read 24 fiction books–with the goal being a minimum of 50. I think I will be surpassing the goal–though I’ve only written one review.

Finish up the MWO (power through the writing & editing assignments), plus finish up the Clinical Research Coalition and Regulatory Affairs Council programs

No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month

Time outdoors and meditation/sitting quietly

Daily craft time

Finish at least two other e-courses from list

While continuing to remind myself: “progress over perfection”, “you can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

And finally keeping focused on how 2021 will be the year of growth, creativity, and curiosity which will lead to happiness and prosperity.

No Comments BooksCraftsfinancesfitnessMonth in ReviewPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

February’s Virgo Full Moon: ‘brain dumps’ plus mental & spiritual health goals

So the moon will be entering its full stage tonight as it enters the Virgo constellation. Unlike last year–there isn’t a triple whammy this year (last year was a full moon, setting the clocks ahead an hour, and Friday the 13th all within the same week). Luckily we still have two weeks before we have to set the clocks ahead (that will be followed by a new moon this year), plus we only have one Friday the 13th and that is in November.

If you’re one who tries to understand how your mood changes or is affected by the moon–the Virgo full moon usually has people feeling finicky and anxious. Personally–I don’t need any extra anxiety in my life; I manage to manifest enough of it on my own. Though no matter what I sign I go with (star, rising, or moon)–all three are able to handle the Virgo energy.

My star is Virgo, my rising is Scorpio, and my moon is Pisces; two water signs and an earth sign.

So what are some questions that one can ask during this full moon?

Have I been too picky, pedantic, or critical of myself or anyone else?

Have I been humble to the point of underrating myself?

Have i been of service to others enough this month?

Have I been worrying and complaining too much, and thus attracting negativity?

Have I paid enough attention to the details that I need to this month?

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

  1. I don’t think that I’ve been too picky, pedantic, or critical of others (I haven’t been around anyone other than family for a year). Though my overall critical views/thoughts of the world really haven’t changed all that much (though I’m calmer now that adults have been elected and sworn in for the US). In terms of how I see myself? I probably have been a little too pedantic and critical of myself lately. I’ve realized that I’m still allowing my inner critic/imposter syndrome to get the better of me quite frequently. This is something that I have to be watching for on a day-to-day basic and correct it as I catch it (in addition to trying to figure out why I’m slowly self-sabotaging myself).
  2. Another things that I’ve realized over the past year or so is that I have a terrible habit of trying to be a people pleaser (in a way that tries to downplay or mitigate any conflicts), and therefore I haven’t been protecting my time or space. How does that tie in with humbleness–I prefer being in the background and not center stage. Moving forward (either working for myself or going into industry) I need to start tooting my own horn and showing/highlighting my own worth.
  3. I have been doing more of the house chores, and am slowly also taking on more of the cooking chores as well at home. Hopefully with the fact that there are now several vaccines for the coronavirus, I may try to find a part time job later this fall/winter if I haven’t already transitioned into industry or started working for myself full-time.
  4. I’ve realized that at times I do worry/complain about the state of the world. This is something I’ve been trying to work on–worrying only about the things that are actually within my control (namely how I react to everything). I also realized that the negative self-thoughts are a litte harder to catch at times–but it is something that I’m working on daily. Also, it isn’t all negative self-thoughts, but at times actions as well that need to be caught and corrected.
  5. Well this depends on the situation. If we’re talking about the overall details of what I would like to accomplish in a given month–no I haven’t been giving enough attention to details. One of the things that I’m going to start doing is a monthly ‘brain dump’–getting all the ideas of what I would like to accomplish for the month on to paper, and then sorting that list into weekly and daily to-do lists. That way hopefully I will be spending time on all aspects of life and not just zeroing in on one thing and ignoring everything else (like I’ve been known to do).

So, one other thing that people should do is look at what house the moon is moving thorugh as well. For me (using my rising sign), the Virgo full moon is moving through my 11th house or my friend zone. Therefore, the period of the Virgo full moon is also a time to try to focus on the other people in my life, in addition to building and nurturing one’s personal and professional networks as well.

I really haven’t been doing nearly as much networking/connecting as I should be doing since I’m trying to transition into a new position. The reason may seem silly to some people–since I’m not 100% certain of what I want to be doing, I also don’t want to be ‘wasting’ other peoples’ time in informational interviews if I don’t feel like that is the direction I want to go in–but I also know that having informational interviews will help me decide on the direction. Like I said–not logical, but there you have it (one of the many ways my inner critic/imposter syndrome manages to trip me up).

While I have some ideas of what I would like to do moving forward, I am also in that ‘daily struggle’ with my inner critic/imposter syndrome to start dabbling in the stretch zone and start expanding the ‘comfort zone’. Therefore networking is going to be getting done, but at a slower pace than what I was doing this time last year.

So what goals can I set for the Virgo full moon?

Meditating nightly, journaling in the morning, and slowly figuring out how to find balance with the inner critic/imposter syndrome

Try doing a ‘monthly brain dump’–getting all the ideas of what I would like to get accomplished during the month (say for March), and then selecting ideas from the list to put on a weekly and daily to-do lists. Have it such that it is a mix of various things instead of focusing only on one area.

Continue working on the transition plan–figuring out which industry directions are of interest and start trying to network again.

But keeping in mind: that 2021 will be the year of growth, creativity, and curiosity, the combination of which will lead to happiness and prosperity.

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

Recapping Leo Full Moon Goals: health, craft, & spiritual goals

So we’re going to be heading into the second full moon of 2021 this weekend. That means that before I look ahead to the next full moon, I need to take a look back at the goals that I set for the Leo full moon and see how I did with them.

So what were my goals for the Leo full moon? They included:

Continuing with my fitness schedule–to finish up with Muscle Burns Fat Advance and then move on to Barre Blend.

Write down the current ideas I have for going freelance/independent/remote work in addition to also seeing what other industry direction is of interest. Plus figure out other ways of earning a little extra money

Spend time working on crafts (start trying to learn cross-stitching, patch up the afghans, doodle, make jewelry, color, and if the weather warms up–photography time up at Boomer Lake)

Meditate, tarot/oracle card readings, and finally setting up my altar for doing card readings

So how did I do with each one?

I finished up Muscle Burns Fat Advance on Feb 7th and started in with Barre Blend on the 8th. Barre Blend is an eight-week program that I will be finishing up by the beginning of April. I actually tried to do the program last year when it first came out but I wasn’t a) in the right mindset, and b) hadn’t figured out the best time of day for working out. Now I have the time of day more or less figured out (I try to ensure that i have my workout done by no later than 10am), and the mindset is getting there.

Barre Blend isn’t going to be my favorite Beachbody program–but I told myself that I needed to give it an honest try and complete the program. There will be a review of it come early April when I finish my first (and possibly only) round.

In terms of work ideas: currently I’m leaning towards writing, data analysis, project management, photography, and possibly tutoring (or online teaching). I’m also still looking at other positions as well (clinical data analysis, educational consulting, and possibly going back to the bench). Though there will be more on this in upcoming blog post.

I started to teach myself cross-stitching this past month. It is something that is going to take time–mainly in terms of trying to get the design sketched onto the fabric. I’m currently working on my ‘trial’ or hit-and-miss piece right now. This is where I try to sketch different things (such as numbers or words) onto the fabric and try to then fill in with colored thread. I also did a little iPhone photography as well over the past month, though most of the craft time was doing color by number on the kindle. The weather never did really warm up to be able to get up to Boomer Lake–the one really nice day we had this week, the ground was so muddy that I didn’t feel like dealing with walking through it up at the lake. I realized that I’m going on almost a little over two months since I took at a walk at Boomer Lake.

My evening routine lately had been doing an oracle card reading followed by a couple minutes of meditation. I then decided to try to meditate by candlelight, and have been able to do almost five+ minutes of meditation. This usually means though that if I do a card reading, I usually forget to sketch it out in the journal. What I’m going to start doing is drawing a card (or three) in the morning and have them near my meditation mat so that I can meditate on the message again in the evening.

I have created an altar of sorts–but it is on a low shelf, and therefore still not in the best location for doing a card reading. I will probably just move certain items (such as stones or rocks) back and forth from where I meditate at night (and will be doing the card readings in the morning) and the shelf/altar.

I actually managed to meet the minimum of each goal during the past full moon. I feel like I’m on a more even footing in terms of working out–I don’t freak out if I have to move a rest day around, and I know that if I actually take the weekend for rest I will still be able to push play come Monday. I’m slowly working my way out of my comfort zone (more on this hopefully in another post this weekend or early next week). I’m also slowly branching out in terms of crafts (though I do need to commit to working on different crafts daily), and I’m spending more time also focusing on my spiritual and mental health as well.

All in all, a good start to 2021–a year that I stated was going to be focusing growth, creativity, and curiosity leading to happiness and prosperity.

No Comments AstrologycareerCraftsfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

New World Vulture Pages are Live: Turkey & Black Vultures

So I realized that I probably didn’t get anything posted last week here on the blog.

I could blame it on the weather–we had the polar vortex and about a foot of snow to deal with from I think the 4th/5th (cold temps) up through this last week (the almost foot of snow came down from the 14-16).

The weather was partially to blame–because when it is super cold, I usually fall to my ‘default’ which is to curl up under a blanket and binge read series (more on that later). But truthfully, I was just having a little trouble focusing on things–something that I’m working on.

Today I managed to get caught up on the ‘raptor’ pages under the bird, birds, & birds tab.

Turkey vulture stretching it wings

There was one more group of ‘raptors’ that I had pictures of and that group was the New World vultures in the order Cathartiformes.

As mentioned on the pages–there is a single family (Cathartidae) that makes up the order, and then only seven species within that family.

Of the seven species, I’ve managed to get pictures of only two: the turkey vulture and the black vulture.

I find the turkey vultures to be unique–depending on the area of Oklahoma they can either be year round residents, or migratory visitors. Where I live–they’re migratory visitors who really enjoy soaring over Boomer Lake.

Turkey Vulture soaring over the house

I’ve only spotted the black vulture while on vacation in Arkansas a couple of times–it’s range in Oklahoma is just the far southeast corner of the state.

Black vulture spotted in Devil’s Den State Park

I’ve also come to respect the difference in camera types–the pictures of the black vulture were taken with my small hand-held Olympus digital camera that only has a moderate zoom function. The turkey vulture (and majority of the other birds) pictures were taken with my canon camera that I have several different lens for, which gives me greater range for picture taking.

Since this particular group of birds are only found in the New World–I’ve managed to see two out of seven or 28.5% of the species. If I can manage to get a picture of the California condor in the wild–that would take me to three out of seven or 42.9% of the species.

The one big birding goal–get a picture of each species in this particular order, with the huge goal of each picture being taken in the wild (which could be a little problematic for the California and Andean condors since they’re both endangered and the number in the wild is quite low).

Have you seen a California condor in the wild? If so where?

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotographyState Parkstravel

The Great Horned Owl: Currently the only Owl member with pictures is live

So the trio of owl pages (Order Strigiformes, Family Strigidae, and currently the only member that I have pictures of–the great horned owl) are live under the bird tab.

As I mentioned on the great horned owl page–while they may not be the best pictures of a great horned owl, I’m extremely proud of them for a couple of reasons:

Great-horned owl roosting at Boomer Lake

  1. I wasn’t expecting to see an owl (even roosting) in the middle of the day. I always thought that they retreated to their nests and stayed ‘hidden’ until nightfall.
  2. I felt like seeing the owl helped reinforce the notion that I needed a ‘reboot break’. Because if I was at work–I wouldn’t have seen one, and it would still be on my ‘birding’ bucket-list.

They also reinforced my notion of going birding or walking with no particular goal in mind. I know that some people go out birding with a certain goal (of either hoping to spot a certain bird or a specific number of birds)–I just go out with the hopes of getting at least one good picture of a bird (and it doesn’t matter which bird).

We live close to a wooded area of town, so I do occasionally hear the calls of great horned owls, plus the occasional screech of a screech owl–now the goal will be to get a picture of a screech owl, possibly roosting during the day on a tree branch, or in its nest.

The next series of pages possibly will be the New World Vultures (turkey and black), and those will finish up the raptors (both diurnal and nocturnal), and then I will continue working my way down the list of birds I have.

Have you seen a great horned owl (or another owl) in the wild? If so–where?

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotographyScience

Aquarius New Moon Goals. Brainstorming ideas, setting goals, and drafting the plans to achieve them

So the moon entered the Aquarius constellation either last night or tonight (depending on where you are in the world). I think the new moon was last night for me–though we’ve been so cloudy and cold, I haven’t seen any stars for the past couple of nights. The enterance into the Aquarius constellation marks the second new moon of 2021. We’ve made it through teh first 42 days of 2021, and some have been chaotic, some calm, but the rest have been somewhere in between.

Looking at ‘Moonology: Working with the magic of lunar cycles’ by Yasmin Boland, there are several things that one can do during this period:

Detach ourselves from things that no longer serve us

Be true to ourselves

Be inventive

Be charitable

Be social

Looking at the above list–it is difficult to try to be social as we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. I’m working on being true to myself (starting with physical and spiritual health), and slowly detaching myself from things that no longer serve me (mainly the diet mentality and the baggage associated with it).

Then there is the aspect of what zone (or house) the moon is moving into with regards to everything. There are three different ways that you can go about figuring out the house/zone: by your star sign, your rising sign, or your moon sign. I usually go with my rising sign which is Scorpio, though I could do my star (Virgo) or moon (Pisces).

By using Scorpio, this means that the moon is entering my fourth house, or the home and family zone. This then means it is a time to spend cleaning, possibly moving, or spending more time with family. Again, there are several suggestions from ‘Moonology’ on what one can do during this time (for the fourth house):

Have a garage sale

Hug your parents

Sort through your photo albums/digital photo files

Invite friends over

Renovate or redecorate so you’re more comfortable at home

Sell your home and/or change locations, or even countries

Ask your grandparents about your family’s history.

Looking at that list, there are some things that aren’t happening (or don’t happen that often)–hugging my parents (we’re not the overly affectionate type of family), having friends over (everyone is busy, plus we’re still in the middle of a pandemic). Since both sets of grandparents are deceased, I can’t really inquire about family history. Though my grandfather did write me a letter about growing up in the Depression and serving in WWII–one of these days I may share the transcribed letter.

I also won’t be having a garage sale (again–pandemic, and too much work to only get ride of a little bit of stuff), renovate (my parents own the house not me). Though I may redocrate my room a little. As much as I would like to move/change locations–again, pandemic and I currently don’t have a steady income (which would be necessary for said move or change in location).

Therefore if I were to make a list of goals for the Aquarius new moon to cover both areas (things for the new moon plus the family/friends zone) they would be:

Sorting through the large amount of digital photos on the computer

Sorting through the clothes in the closet and figuring out what fits and what doesn’t (box up the second and possibly donate)

Set up my wiccan/pagan altar

Continue working on my evolving vision of my future–try to project it say two to four years forward.

Finally remembering that no matter how slowly I need to go, this year will be a year of growth, creativity, and curiosity, which will lead to happiness and prosperity.

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Creating a ‘evolving’ vision and personalized self-care routine: looking back at Capricorn New Moon Goals

So the moon will be transitioning into Aquarius this week, and marking the second new moon of 2021. While the year may not be totally mellow (the second impeachment trial of the orange waffle started this week), I’m hoping that it may start mellowing out more and be more tranquil than 2020 was.

So before I look ahead to the Aquarius new moon, it is time to look back at the goals that I set for the Capricorn new moon and determine how well I did with each of them.

So what were my goals for the Capricorn new moon?

Work on developing my vision of where I would like to be in say 3-5 years and what I would be doing. In the same note, write out very specific goals/milestones that will help me achieve said vision.

Read (or finish) at least two non-fiction books that I have on my curated 2021 to-read list.

Finish at least one e-course from my curated 2021 e-courses to-complete/watch list

Work on getting better at self-compassion.

So how did I do with each of them?

In terms of my vision–I decided that to have an evolving vision for two reasons: 1) I’m still working my way out of my ‘burnout’ hole, and 2) I’m still not ‘locked in/on’ an path for my industry transition. Currently my long-term vision moving forward is:

I’m moving forward in life with vitality, inner harmony, and openness. I am achieving those goals through curiosity in spirituality, creativity in learning, and knowledge that I’m embracing growth and transformation in both personal and professional aspects of my life. While I know that I still have more ‘stairs’ to climb to totally get out of my ‘burnout’ hole, I’m making progress and steadily climbing upwards (sitting to catch my ‘breath’ as needed so I don’t go tumbling back down).

To project a vision further than the next staircase is to almost undo the work I’ve put into the journey from the bottom of the ‘burnout’ hole to my current position–resting after making up the first staircase.

When I shared this vision in an group, I was asked what I would write/construct for a vision for the present, and after thinking on it I came up with the following:

If I had to think of a vision for the present, it would be knowing that I’m making my way up the staircase, but taking a ‘rest’.

The ‘rest’ is sitting at a table, surrounded with books, paper, pens, and a laptop. I know that to continue going up the staircase, I need a direction as I see several different staircases around me. I’m researching my options, and leaning towards one of the two that look to both converge at the next ‘rest’ area.

As I’m thinking of what I would like to do with my life–I’m leaning more towards the remote/freelance aspect, but as more of a generalist with a slightly touch of specialist sprinkled in. Therefore I’m pondering the different things I like and attempting to see what type of puzzle or picture I can make out of them that will keep me learning, engaged, but at the same time bring in money to pay the bills.

In terms of the reading, I managed to finish 3 non-fiction books from my curated 2021 to-read list and they were:

Burnout: The secret to unlocking the stress cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski

Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising strategies to up your earnings and change your life by Barbara Stanny

Badass Habits: cultivate the awareness, boundaries, and daily upgrades you need to make them stick by Jen Sincero

I should hopefully be getting small book reviews of all three up on the blog within the next two weeks.

I also managed to watch 3 short e-courses off of Skillshare and they were:

Powerful Storytelling today: strategies for crafting great content

3 ways often overlooked to get traffic to your blog

Finding your inner creative

Reviews for these three can be found here: on December 2020’s review of Cancer Full Moon goals.

Improving/increasing my self-compassion is something that is always ongoing and evolving. There is never a one-and-done with any aspect of self-care. I’ve been trying to catch and reword/rephrase any negative self-talk. This has been difficult (as I’ve realized that most of my negative self-talk is on such a quiet loop), that unless I actively pay attention–I miss most of it. I have been trying to be more understanding with myself, and once I realize that I am doing something that is not helpful (such as looking for split-ends constantly), I start figuring out a way to reduce doing that habit/mannerism (such as braiding my hair).

So in terms of the goals–the quantitative ones were the easiest to keep track of, since I have a list of both books and e-courses that I would like to finish this year. The other two were a little harder to measure and keep track of.

I decided that it was easier to create an evolving vision currently, since I don’t have a job position (or even title) that I’m currently leaning towards. I wanted something that showed I was moving forward, but at the same time acknowledging that I am still a little uncertain of the path forward.

I have also realized over the past year that self-compassion and self-care are two things/areas that I’ve always slightly ignored growing up, going to school, and trying to set out on my career path. I also realized that once I decided on graduate school–I started ignoring different aspects of my life (the parts where I enjoyed doing various things and learning about various topics), to focus on an single aspect–getting my advance degree and trying to set out on the academic path.

Everyone’s idea of self-care/love is different. I’m trying to incorporate typical ideas (such as reading a good book, taking a bubble bath, and working out) with some of my own ideas (such as meditating by candle light, reflecting on oracle cards, deep breathing/stretches before bed). While some of these I do daily–they’re not done with the idea of taking care of mental/emotional or spiritual health–they’re just something I did. Now I’m trying to be purposeful in doing them–honoring my health (in all aspects).

Now I’ve realized that I can’t ignore those parts of my personality–that I actually do focus better when I can make the choice to put one project down and pick up another-or just pause one while working on the other. This is what I’m going to be focusing on moving forward in 2021–growth, creativity, curiosity, which will lead to happiness and hopefully prosperity.

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Hopped the ferry to Gansett Island: The latest edition was a hot read for a cold day

Blackout After Dark (image (c) amazon.com)

So the latest book in the Gansett Island series by Marie Force came out yesterday (February 9, 2021).

If you follow Marie on social media, you will know that she referred to this book as the ‘Frankenstein book’ because it has 45 chapters.

I decided yesterday, that I was going to binge and try to finish the book–and I did finish it, at roughly 10pm last night.

Blackout after Dark takes place roughly towards the end of summer–think late July/early August. The whole premise of the book is that there is a massive island wide power failure.

Since it’s a really hot summer–it wasn’t surprising for the power to go out (and if you’ve either lived or visited the east coast–not that many places have central air), since everyone was running their air conditioning.

What I really loved about this book was that it included all the couples from the previous 22 books, and also introduced new people who will hopefully be getting their own stories in the future.

So without too many spoilers, ‘Blackout after Dark’, allowed us to check-in with all the members of the McCarthy family (and I did guess right with one of the story lines–but you have to figure out which one), and all their friends.

While one would think that having 22+ couples weaving in and out of the chapters would be hard to follow, the stories actually flow quite nicely together. A little background is woven in for each couple, then Marie seamlessly weaves in the next couple as we move about the island (and even the US). There were several surprises for various people on the island, and now I’m impatiently waiting for the next several books.

If you haven’t read the series, you can start with any book–there are no cliffhangers, but to get the most out of the series–I suggest you start at the beginning with ‘Maid for Love’ featuring Mac McCarthy and Maddie Chester.

Since we’re still in the middle of the cold front being pushed down from the Arctic, I actually plan on binge reading the entire series again this weekend. Because if it’s cold outside I might as well mentally transport myself to an island during summer time.

I give this book (and the entire series) 5 stars. Kudos again to a great book and continuation of a great series.

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Muscle Burns Fat Advance finished: Second workout program of 2021 in the books

So yesterday marked the end of Muscle Burns Fat Advanced and I’ve completed my second program for 2021.

As I mentioned in the review page for the program, this was a continuation of the first three week program (Muscle Burns Fat) that I completed basically mid-January.

While I’m not a fan of certain parts of the program (looking at you BOD ropes and Saturday workouts), I did enjoy these programs overall.

Decline alternating press with hip lift. Managed these–barely. MBFA (c) beachbody

I did get stronger–several exercises I managed to lift 20 pounds, when looking back at weight trackers for other programs, I maxed out at 14 pounds.

I managed to beat my AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) score each week with this program. In part because I was getting stronger and faster, and in part because there were fewer lunges (a move I still need to go slow on to have proper form).

I also managed to hold other positions, that again months ago I struggled with. So while I may not have made it through every burnout minute (otherwise known as the Megan Minute) after each round–I lasted at least thirty to forty-five seconds.

When doing muscle burns fat I was hesitant on whether or not I’d be doing another round of the two programs. I can now state that I will be doing a second round of the programs, but probably sometime in 2022 or 2023, as I already have the rest of this year’s workout calendar scheduled.

No Comments 101 GoalsfitnessFitness ChallengesHealthReflectionsUpdates