Listing Out my Creative Projects to Give You Inspiration to Work on The Things You Always Dreamed Possible … #inthistogether

It has been almost 6 weeks since my last flight….

6 WEEKS!!!

It actually feels kind of strange to be on the ground this long. When all this chaos first start I volunteered for a leave of absence. That 2 month period is quickly coming to an end. On May 8th, 2020 I got officially furloughed starting June 1st – not that I was not expecting this, I was. I knew it was going to happen but seeing it there in the email – “my services are not longer needed” due to this crazy Pandemic was a feeling I wasn’t prepared for.  I have come to the realization that very likely I wont be flying for the remainder of this year.

For me – the only way to deal with all of this stuff is to just stay kind of busy.  There are many lessons I have learned in this life and one of them is that sitting around doing nothing on unemployment is literally THE WORST THING I can do for my mental health. The problem I have been having is discipline and focus. Literally if you saw my journal, planning book, day book, bullet journal and online course note taking book – you would know that I think up more ideas than I can even handle. But executing those ideas is a whole different thing.

I know – Everything is insane right now. But I also can’t help but feel like this is a gift from the universe. A gift of time to work on anything I ever thought would be a fun creative job – while I am getting paid and have endless time. I therefore can only see this as almost wasted time if I don’t pursue these passions.

Here is a little catch up of how I am keeping myself busy while being grounded from flying but also a list of ideas of things that you could do to keep yourself busy:

  • I started making a vegan cookbook. This is a project I have been wanting to do for YEARS. I was really excited from the get go but writing out recipes is kind of boring and I definitely waiver in what kind of things I want to include. I also sometimes feel I need to test the recipe – which means a lot of the same foods for me to eat and a WHOLE lot of cooking.  I really need to invest in the equipment for the next stages of the creative process and that equals daunting. I often get lost in the idea of how I would present the book. Then I decided to needed to start posting Meatless Monday recipes to garner interest and then the entire project just got really overwhelming. When things feel overwhelming I have a tendency to quit.
  • I started an outline draft for a book I want to write and for the first time this idea seems like the winner or more so it seems like I finally figured out a way to organize my thoughts. I will continue to map that out as social isolation drags on – and soon will start my chapter breakdowns. This is going to be a long process but something that will be so validating.
  • I have committed to a few knitting projects for some friends – they are in the works but not completed. I do that while I am watching Netflix as part of my evening routine. Knitting socks is complex.
  • I have started brainstorming ideas for YouTube because for the last 5 years I have been telling people I want to do this (imagine where I would be had I just started) – I have actually tried to create videos but I rarely get the gumption to post the video for anyone to see – which I need to do if I want to get some viewers. I think it is a really cool creative platform that I want to explore more. Plus filming is fun.
  • I started the MLM experiment where I thought I would join Arbonne and actually try and make money that way – but that is just sitting there and I have a series of blog posts half started that I never finished. The thing is now I just mostly order products for myself because I quite like them and then I don’t even mention it to anyone.
  • I started a blog series called #grounded (this series that you are reading) that I have essentially not written a post in a month because I thought my days weren’t interesting enough – because lets face it – what are we all really doing at home. Pressuring myself to write posts about doing nothing all day got slightly daunting.
  • I have bought many, many random things online that I don’t actually need. And now I am wondering if I will need to return most of them.
  • I spent a lot of time in my car with a backpack, my laptop, a handful of journals and a couple of books thinking I am going to pull off some sort of creative miracle in terms of creating content but I never actually do anything but drink coffee and stare into the park  – kind of planning but not doing.
  • I have reorganized my space to try and un-stifle my creative energy. It has kind of worked.
  • I start working on a vlogging – travel videography course – still plugging away at it – one lesson every few days. It is actually why I want to start filming YouTube Videos because I can – inspiration for travel video isn’t really my top priority during social isolation times.
  • I have been to a couple webinars on artists at the Glenbow Museum which quiet frankly is really cool and I can’t wait till the gallery can open up so I can by a membership.

 

Well that is it – that is what has been keeping me busy. I feel like while I am sad that I am not flying I am really trying to use this time to work on things I always wanted to work on but never, ever, ever made time. I think it is pretty cool to have this time to really explore my creative energy. It is really exciting.

What kind of creative projects are you working on while cooped up at home?

I am absolutely looking to build my creative community so if you are doing any of the above ideas please message me so we can create together.

 

 

Mo’Money #1

Okay since my initial (but actually I bitch about this all the time) post I have realized I want to be one of those crazy fools that power through paying of my loans. It might happen, it might not – but right now I am feeling hopefully as fuck.

This is an update of things that I am doing to propel myself forward:

  1. Bitch about it social media hoping a Sugar Daddy will pay for my student loans – JK’s but actually I just wanted to see if anybody had any suggestions for things they did in order to pay off their own personal loans.  Some suggestions were obvious, some were not, some just not even a thing – but I appreciated some input. (comment below with more ideas!)
  2. Call student Loan and get real with some numbers. How much do I actually fucking owe? What are the hard numbers? What do I think could be a realistic paying off goal for 2017? Can I get any sort of interest relief or paying off of loans in 2017? You guys will be happy to know – I thought I owed 1000’s more than I do, I guess this is a good thing.
  3. Start logging everything I spend my money on. GUYS – THIS HAS ACTUALLY BEEN TERRIFYING BUT SO SO SO SO SO SO USEFUL. I successfully tracked everything I spent last week and kept all my receipts. I used one of my pretty lavender notebooks and started a weekly logging system. I broke it down into categories so I could see where I am spending. I need to do this for a few more weeks before I can start making some serious changes in my spending. But it was a scary eye opener,  a reality check, and something I plan on continuing because when you can’t account for a couple G’s a month – that is a problem.
  4. I fucking crunched some numbers. I looked at what my over-all coming in from both jobs, the mandatory going out and then realized I needed a vacation to India.
  5. Realized that I likely was not being successful at weight loss because of a Diet Coke addiction – it’s my last vice – but its got a death grip – this isn’t a thing but it is … because of a weekly spending habit of the drink it is costing in $100’s/month. Overall picture, People!
  6. Made a no-buy and a to-buy list – I think I have enough shower gels and soaps to last me until Christmas. Unreal, right?! A no-buy is needed to curb my spending and make use of that money in other areas – budgeting perhaps …
  7. Started listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts and instead of watching TV watching YouTube ’til debt do us part – to get some ideas on how budgeting, finances and over all how can I get better with my money
  8. Start reading other financial blogs on how people conquered their Canada Student Loans.
  9. Downloaded a spread sheet to track  debt repayment progress – still need to fill it out. But working on it. Cuz car loan also people
  10. Last but not least I have decided that it is okay to discuss numbers with people and instead of hiding behind my crippling student loan debt see what actually works for people.

 

With that guys –  I am unsure if I want to publish actual numbers on this blog for privacy reasons, that might change later on. But I will share that I currently have 3 student loans: Canada Loan (which is the largest), Nova Scotia Student Loans (Resolve) and Alberta Student Loan (the smallest and the loan I want to pay off first).

My very first debt repayment challenge is simple: Every time I spend money on Diet Coke for the month of February, I must then pay an equivalent payment onto my Alberta Student!

For example – I bought a medium diet coke from McDonald this AM – when I got back to the office I made a $2.40 payment to AB Student Loans. If I bought a diet coke everyday at an average of 30/month, that is $72.00/month and $864.00/year ( Just doing the math now has made me realize the 1000’s a spend a year on soda) – So February challenge launched. Which me luck!

 

And with that people – I will get an update to you next week with the progress of this journey. Till then I will be trying really hard to curb a Diet Coke habit and maybe start spending my free time in the gym.

So many 2017 goals!

All my Love,

C

 

debt debt debt debt debt debt debt debt

It is all consuming!

Student Loan debt.

It’s the bane of my existence.

Have you ever dumped “student loan repayment” or “student loan debt” into Google and seen all the personal bloggers talk about the enormous amounts of student loans that need a monster pay off.  It is crazy the amount of student loan debt that people carry. CRAZY! Some of those blogger around 100k … how does a school, government or country even allow this shit to happen?! It is appalling the price we pay for education which for a lot of people lands them a job teaching English in Asia trying to figure out a way to pay it all off. Or working multiple jobs trying to crush that debt so they can move on with their lives.

I am know different. I have had student loan debt since 2003 when I moved to Nova Scotia to finish my undergraduate degree. I then acquired more debt starting in 2012 when I moved to Alberta to do a diploma in hopes to find work in Canada that paid a decent salary.

Currently, 2017 …. I moved to Edmonton about 18 months ago with a seriously large amount of commercial debt (on top of student loan debt and with an addition of car loan debt). My biggest spiral that caused problems mostly came from NSF charges from my bank accounts. I wouldn’t be able to get a stop payment in or it wouldn’t be possible and then because my credit isn’t good enough for an overdraft I would spiral. Then all of the sudden I am living in a dire situation. Anyway – my point is. I moved to Edmonton, found some cheap housing and I fucking hustled. I paid down all that excess debt with the exception of my car and my student loans. I, like everyone else, experienced fatigue; working 2 jobs is soul sucking. I experienced debt fatigue; I booked some trips abroad to feed my soul. Fell back into a debt routine. But that large debt – it is still looming, 10 years after graduating with my degree and 2 years after SAIT and it is still holding me back.

So here I am on Blue Monday in January of 2017  – the most depressing day of the year – and realize I need to figure out a way to move forward with student loan repayments. So I am on the internet looking for ways I can make this the easiest, quickest, most painless way to get my debt paid down, and feel the freedom and a zero debt balance.

I think I need some accountability for debt repayment. I need a no buy. I need to put my foot down and move forward with full on annihilation of Student loans. So I am starting with asking you, the interwebs, for your best tips and tricks and how you did it? How did you power through 50K of student loan debt?

 

 

 

Iceland Airwaves 2016

For as long as I have known I have Icelandic blood I have wanted to visit the Island. I have always been a music junkie with a pretty wide range of taste. The true addiction began when I bought my 3 cd disk changer stereo back in the day. Then I bought my first CD (which if you are wondering was Annie Lennox – the one with Walking on Broken Glass on it) and the collection and obsession started.  Then when I moved to Antigonish and started hearing amazing local bands every weekend (remember the Trews, anybody, when they played for 5 bucks, or Wintersleep) Then onto a hard core passion for the talent that came out of the East Coast. When I started really festivaling – Somewhere on my festival dream list the Airwaves Festival landed a prime slot. After years of begging people to make the trip with me – this year I booked the damn trip and decided to do it alone.  Finally after years and years of pining over wanting to attend – this was the year, the year I made it to Iceland and ran around Reykjavik with blackberry cider in my Hershel backpack like the rest of the bloody hipsters listening to some of the finest, most unique, often Nordic and airy music I have heard in a long ass time.

If you have been to Airwaves you understand that there are so many bands and so many venues it is really hard to keep track of all the amazingness you are hearing. Part of the journey is running all over downtown Reykjavik and exploring all the weird and wonderful bars. The festival brings in such a variety of music – 2 people attending could see completely different bands and it would be like they are at a different festivals.

Anyway – a few of you have ask for some interesting bands/new music from the festival so in no particular order here are a couple that stood out for me:

Gringlombian – These guys were the right mix of folk and indie for me. Pretty young probably are going to be something amazing AND as you might know – I am a sucker for the banjo. So when they brought that out – I was sold.

Of Monsters & Men – these guys don’t really need any introduction. Although surprisingly not as many people knew who they were. I have been a fan since some random hipster introduced me to these guys way back in my China days. They were on my travel through Croatia play list and they totally didn’t disappoint.  The venue was so tiny – I swear there was maybe 100 of us. A dream.

Milkywhale – I loved loved loved these guys. The right mix of electronic and Indie. Super fun show. Lots of dancing by the people that had space – we were literally by the door of the hostel venue they were playing in. Love. Love. Love.

Glowie –  This was a total random show that happened because I wanted us to be in the Nasa venue right early so we could see another show. But she didn’t disappoint. Not my usual go to but still super good. On my playlist now.

Bjork – This was a wonderfully weird show. She literally sang with the philharmonic orchestra behind her. Her take on music has evolved to a weird eclectic place of the years but was worth every extra penny to get to hear Bjork in Iceland. She also ended the show with on of my favorites  – Pluto  <3!

I also really love the show by Reykjavíkurdætur and my friend Mel raved over the úlfur úlfur show.  The one show I wanted to see and missed was FM Belfast – I guess they will be on the list for next year.

So there you have it friends – some new to me, some not so new, maybe some new to you. A lot of Icelandic artists and a whole lot of lovely. This is not a exhaustive list by any means – just some of the shows that I really liked. If you want to find more – download the Airwaves app on your phone – lets you get into all the great show that were at the festival.

Let me know if you take a listen – what you like, what you didn’t … Did you go to the Airwaves – what was your favorite show?