Comfort Zones: Bloganuary Entry #2

Black woman standing in front of a city window.

I am an introvert. I used to think I was shy. And maybe in some ways I am shy. But I’m by definition, also an introvert.

I love spending time alone, I recharge by being by myself, and dealing with crowds, even people that I know well, exhausts me. Simple things like sending an email to more than two people, or attending a group outing with more than two attendees…stress me out and cause me a great deal of anxiety. I make myself small and quiet to detract attention from myself. Even at my own wedding, I did not want people to focus on me.

But my mother taught me at a young age that I had to push through situations like these, and over the years I have learned tricks to get me through. Even when I feel dizzy. Even when I want to vomit. Even when my blood pressure shoots through the roof. I push through and apparently many people don’t even notice exactly how miserable I am in the spotlight.

So most people laugh when I tell them I’m an introvert or that I hate non-intimate groups or that I truly do not enjoy being around people that I don’t know well. In their eyes, they see a person who adapts to crowds effortlessly.

With that said, becoming a blogger and wrangling social media requires stepping outside of my comfort zone each and every time I hit publish. I agonize over every single picture and every single post. I inspect every miniscule pixel and weighing every pro and con of posting. Many times, after hours of adjusting and editing and filtering, I just delete the post entirely. I have hundreds of pics from 2021 alone that never made it to an IG post or story, because I just could not calm my nerves enough to push the post button.

And don’t get me started on being a business owner that suffers from Imposter Syndrome. A business owner that has to exude a certain confidence, that has to make the ask every day for people to buy my products. A business owner that has to generate captions and ads, and constantly engage in the world of social media, because that is the way of business nowdays. There’s not any room for an introvert in a world where reels and stories and lives and tik toks are the way to find your potential customer, engage with them without being pushy, promote your product and keep your business relevant.

My comfort zones are close and tight. Self-promotion is hard. Asking for someone’s attention is anxiety-inducing. So every time I post a blog post or story or picture or reel, I am an introvert that has stepped far outside of my comfort zone.

Are you an introvert? How do you step outside of your comfort zone?

A month of writing prompts: Bloganuary Entry #1

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

What is a road trip you would love to take?

I’m being a little bit of a Johnny-come-lately these days. I’ve spent the last week recovering from a medical procedure, so I’ve had some hours to kill. And what better way to kill time than by watching cheesy Christmas movies that I didn’t watch before the holiday? I managed to avoid them all holiday season but for the past week, I just can’t seem to get enough.

You know the movies. They all have a very similar formula. An overworked woman in a less-than-satisfying relationship somehow finds herself in a cute little town just in time for Christmas, where she encounters an eligible bachelor or single dad who isn’t looking for love, but can’t resist falling in love with said aforementioned, overworked woman. Or some variation thereof. Mishaps and glances ensue, love is found, and somehow by the end, Christmas spirit is restored everywhere. **cue the jingle bells**

Not that I’m looking for love or that I’m in a bad relationship, but the road trip itself always seems super adorable. The cute little town, the shops, the friendly locals, the mayor that always seems to hang out in the local coffee shop, I love it all. I feel like I’ve always been on a search for the idyllic friendly small town complete with an apothecary, a bakery, and a local inn. The weather always seems perfect, even when it snows. The town folk always seem so kind and there always seems to be the best spot on earth for viewing the stars.

Everyone knows everyone, you can easily bike everywhere…I know places like this rarely exist but idk…the fantasy of it all just makes me so happy. Aside from the one person in the movie who lacks the Christmas spirit, most people are good-hearted and generous. And I think that’s what I truly enjoy so much about these super cheesy road trip Christmas movies. It’s nice to imagine places where the biggest conflict is how they will manage to rescue the old light house. The town’s oldest citizen is best friends with the kid with the paper route. If you forget your wallet, the cashier just puts it on your tab because they know you’re good for it. Kindness, simplicity, and people who care about each other…that’s what I love best about these Christmas road trip movies.

So really, it doesn’t matter where the road trip goes to, it’s more about the general destination…the friendly and quaint town that encourages love and throws an awesome Christmas. This is my cup of tea.

What is your ideal road trip? And do you love cheesy Christmas movies? I gotta know. lol.

Non-Artists Can Still Appreciate Art Museums

“Feed your soul with art.”

People say I’m creative. Idk. I guess maybe. But I do not feel like I’m an “art” person. Not in its traditional sense. At least I don’t feel like I am. There’s some art that I can appreciate, I like color combinations, I can appreciate some objects, I like textures and photography, and I like things that tell a story. But for me to get it, it needs to be pretty straight forward.

So for that reason, I feel as though I am not an art person.

I try to get something out of each art piece that I look at, but sometimes I just don’t get it. And if something is abstract AND called “Untitled” AND there’s no explanation for the piece…that’s really tough for me. When it comes to art, I either like it or don’t like it, and though I occasionally do feel something emotional about a piece for whatever reason, there really are a lot of things that I just don’t understand.

But that didn’t stop me from looking up local things to do and visiting the contemporary art museum just a few miles away.

I’ve always enjoyed being a tourist in my own town. Having wanderlust is great and all, but no matter where you are, there are usually plenty of things to see and do without going far. And now that I’m staying put in Maryland for a bit, it’s even more important to figure out ways to entertain myself locally. So the art museum it was!

On the way to the museum, we drove through some absolutely amazing neighborhoods. We passed multi-million dollar homes, and pulled into the museum parking lot. From there, we were directed to the Arrival Hall, where we were given a map of the property and a brief rundown of the art path, the pavilions, and the overall gist of the space.

Glenstone is a place that seamlessly integrates art, architecture, and nature into a serene and contemplative environment.

The art installations were both indoors and outdoors, which was really cool. There was a walking path that was maybe about a mile around with some outdoor sculptures and exhibits along the way.

Then there were five indoor pavilions that also housed artwork. We visited on a day that was personally very intense, and being in such a serene and peaceful environment on an unseasonably warm winter day was exactly what I needed. The walking, the fresh air, the views, the calm…for me, that was the highlight of the experience. And though I’m not an art person, there were a couple of pieces that sparked discussions between my boyfriend and me. But overall, I enjoyed the calm, the nature, the serenity, and just holding my boyfriend’s hand as we took in the ambiance.

The website for the museum really didn’t tell me a lot. I had no idea what to really expect, and I guess that’s by design. When we arrived, we were told that there was also minimal descriptive information about each piece because they want you to interpret the art in your own way. Some pieces I could interpret pretty easily, or I could find something interesting about it, or the shock factor that I believed the artist was striving for was well achieved.

As a “non-art” person, I may not have had the takeaway that the artists wanted me to have, but I still enjoyed the art museum experience and here’s why:

  • Everyone’s experience with art is not supposed to be the same, and I loved my experience
  • I was having a really stressful week and the nature, minimalism, and serenity brought me peace and calmed me down
  • The museum created a platform for me to use my imagination
  • Some exhibits were thought provoking and stirring
  • Some exhibits were confusing and puzzling, and that’s ok
  • Some exhibits made me more curious about the installation logistics than the art, which made me realize I use a different side of my brain, and I found that actually quite humorous
  • The hours spent there were a wonderful escape from the day-to-day
  • It has been a couple of weeks, and I still think back to some of the exhibits and contemplate their meanings

So maybe I didn’t have the types of thoughts that the artist intended, but I enjoyed my visit and I plan to return.

Are you an art person? When was the last time you visited an art museum?

art museum, things to do in Maryland, Glenstone Art Museum

Easy DIY Winter Hat Holiday Garland

diy holiday garland

Anyone that knows me knows that I love a good DIY project. Something simple that I can make with dollar tree items or, even better, items that I already have in my home, is an absolute winner for me. When I stumbled across this DIY on pinterest, I HAD to make it.

I am still digital nomadding, so my boyfriend and I decided that spending a bunch on holiday decor just wasn’t on our list of priorities. We wanted to be festive, but didn’t want to throw money down the drain on disposable items that we wouldn’t keep, and definitely did not want more items to haul around. So this project really felt like something that fit the bill.

I already had everything in my home, and I thought this was a great way to do something easy while I’m zoned out in front of the telly. So let’s get into it.

Materials:

  • String/yarn
  • Cotton balls
  • Paper towel roll
  • Scissors
  • A board or book that you can wrap the string around

Steps:

  • Snip off small sections of the paper towel roll
  • Wrap your string around the board or book about 25 times
  • Cut the end, then cut the bottom section of your string, so that you have 25 independent sections of string
  • Loop and tie the string around one of your paper towel roll sections
  • Continue until the entire roll is covered
  • Push the yarn through the paper towel roll so that it dangles out the other side
  • Grab the string with one hand, and put two cotton balls into the space to form the hat
  • Wrap string around the part of the string that you grabbed and tie in a knot
  • Cut off excess string and form into a pom on the top of the hat

I used eight hats for my space. I hung a piece of string across my fireplace and then tied the hats to the string. I loved how it came out. It’s just entirely too cute!

Another cute project that I tried was this snowball garland. So cute, so simple, and I was able to use items right in my home. Just be sure to keep each string completely separated from each other until you have them hung. They can get quite tangled.

That project can be found here: (I didn’t use glue and found that the project held up fine.)

And ICYMI, of course I posted on IG about my holiday salt dough ornaments which were fun and easy to make!

The video for making this can be found on my IG page.

Have you done any easy diy projects this holiday? Let me know what else I need to try!

Let me know!

What Drake Can Teach Us About Knowing Our Worth

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

Rapper/singer/actor/and overall hottie Drake, announced that he was removing himself from consideration for his two Grammy nominations. While he didn’t give a specific reason for the withdrawal, his history with the Grammy’s may provide a little insight.

In the past, Drake has openly criticized the institution of the Grammy’s. He has said that the Grammy’s are an “opinion-based sport, not a factual-based sport.” In essence, winners are determined by someone’s judgment of them. And according to Drake, what does the judging body of the Grammy’s know about a biracial guy from Canada or, for that matter, a Spanish girl from New York? How can they relate to what people of different experiences and backgrounds have to say and the manner in which they say it?

The whole idea of this is intriguing to me. As an introvert who feels some type a way in front of crowds and in front of people I don’t know, and even in front of people that I know very well, feeling judged and fearing judgment is just part of my life. I unfortunately find myself deeply concerned by the opinion of others, even though I know very well that their opinions should not matter and do not pay my bills.

Now, I do realize that a certain IDGAF-ness may come with having millions in the bank and screaming, adoring fans wherever you go. The average person may not have traveling hype-men at their beck and call like Drizzy. But…he did not always have those things. I’m sure he got a lot of flack back during his Degrassi days, and I’m sure he could have let people’s negativity and criticism kill his dreams. He could have easily given up at any point, taken the safe route, gone to college, gotten a desk job, and spent the rest his days talking to his colleagues and friends about all of the “what-if’s” that “if I had only’s”. He could have just settled for the “easy” 9-5 life.

Somewhere along the way, HE decided that HE will not be judged and that the opinion of those that didn’t matter, well…didn’t matter.

At some point, Drake decided to stop acting and focus on rap, and I’m sure somebody somewhere was extremely vocal about what an insane move they felt that was. But yet, here he is– arguably one of the top rappers/musical entertainers of this generation. He knew his worth, he had the confidence to go for it, and he won’t stand by and be judged by people who he feels don’t matter.

“Nobody understood

what it was like to be

black and Jewish…

being different from everyone else

just made me a lot stronger.”

– Drake

I’m not really sure how we should go about getting out of our own way. Our own self-limiting beliefs are damaging enough. But then, for many people, they are compounded by other people’s judgment and limitations of us. And I’m not really sure how we go about ignoring them and powering through.

So while I don’t have answers, I do have mantras, affirmations, and empowering thoughts. So here we go…

  • Rule #1: F*ck what they think.
  • Other people’s opinions of me do not pay a single bill in my household.
  • Other people’s limitations of me are an expression of their limited mindsets and their lack of confidence in themselves.
  • I believe in myself, and I trust my ability to do great things.
  • I am strong in ways I haven’t acknowledged.
  • Don’t give people so much power over you that their silence leaves you questioning your worth
  • Their silence may be a reflection of their own shortcomings and insecurities because they see you doing big things
  • A woman who knows what she brings to the table isn’t afraid to eat alone.
  • You can’t knock a girl off a pedestal she built herself.
  • You will never influence the world by trying to be like it.
  • A girl who is going to do big things cannot let small things or small people get to her.
  • The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet.
  • Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it’s that little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.
  • Hustle until your haters ask if you’re hiring.

And if you want a few motivating quotes from Drizzy himself, here are a few of those…

  • When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen
  • Haters are just confused admirers
  • Kill them with sucess and bury them with a smile
  • I was born to make mistakes, not to fake perfection
  • It’s never too late to realize what you want in life, and it’s never wrong to fight for it

How do you deal with other people’s judgments and opinions? How do you power through and stay focused on your own goals and desires? Do you have any mantras or thoughts that work for you?