Tag Archives: National Blog Posting Month ’12

7 Friday Quick Takes (vol 114)


The last week of the month means it’s free topic week at Totes Awesome Channel!

Youtube Link


Last night I left my keys in the door and discovered them dangling later. This morning after I vlogged, I grabbed my keys and realized my car key was missing. For a few seconds I was panicked. I cannot have my car stolen TWICE in just a few short months. I quickly realized how unlikely someone would just grab the car key from my key chain if he or she stumbled on them in the door. My car was still there this morning and I went back to the dog park and found my car key underneath a park bench.



I was talking to Treavor for the first time in a while last night. We were marveling over how much we’ve each accomplished in 2012. In January of this year during one of our phone dates, he told me he had a feeling everyone we know will have a “big 2012”. Sure enough we started to do a quick inventory of our own years and the years of our dearest and it truly has been a big year! I cannot wait to officially write my yearly review in a month and recount all that has taken place.


My third National Blog Posting Month is complete with this post! It was difficult when I was in Houston and I am thankful for the WordPress App making blogging remotely easier!


Speaking of yearly challenges, I’m also on my third Sketchbook Project. My 2013 Sketchbook Project is due out in the mail mid January 2013. I haven’t sketched one page yet. Each time I sign up for this project I promise myself I wouldn’t wait til December or January to start the project but I’ve failed that goal each year. I guess I’ve always enjoyed the adrenaline rush of a deadline.


This past week I left my phone overnight at work. The next morning, I had a text bomb from Cindy telling me 28 things she likes about me. I can say with confidence that her batch of texts were the best I’ve ever received in my life. How come the most romantic moments I have are with my girl friends and gay guy friends?


This week’s moments of bliss: ♥ grabbing casual dinner with the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance’s philanthropy committee ♥ guest post from Ashley ♥ a week long break from cooking ♥ Magical Day 2 ♥ finding car keys ♥ tiring out Bob so he is reduced to a cuddling machine ♥ noodle take out for lunch three times this week ♥ pop rocks ♥ replenishing the emergency chocolate fund at work ♥ family time ♥ phone dates with Treavor and Naz

Question: What is your favorite romantic memory?

Guest Post: On Life Lists

My friend and Totes Awesome Channel cohort, Ashley is doing a series of guest posts again. I love the other guest post of hers I hosted so much that I requested another. This time I suggested that she write about bucket lists. I myself, really believe in writing these ambitious lists down because I find that even if I don’t revisit what I wrote in the lists, writing the goals down in the first place somehow subconsciously leads me to fulfill them. I’m such a proponent for these lists that I had a bucket list making station at a dinner party I hosted once. Ashley and I have touched on this topic before in our conversations so I know she has her own thoughts to share. Without further ramblings from me, here is Ashley’s take on life lists.

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My name is Ashley and I blog at Writing To Reach You. I’m here today, because Linda asked me to write about bucket lists and life lists. This is secretly one of those things I’m always hoping someone will ask my opinion on, because it has become a heavily-debated topic in the blogging community, and I have never had a legitimate reason to say what I think about it.

I don’t have a bucket list or a life list, but I’m pretty sure I have every other kind of list. I keep them on Evernote, in a black Moleskine, on Post-Its, in old Word documents, on my phone, in Google Docs, and on random scraps of paper. I wouldn’t know how to function in the world without lists. I like to know what to do next and where things are going. I like finishing one thing, crossing it off, and moving on to the next thing. I’m all feelings and intuition inside, and I deal with that by organizing everything obsessively in my external world.

The reason I don’t have a life list is because there aren’t a bunch of random things I want to do in my life. There are only four or five REALLY BIG THINGS, and I try to focus on those instead of distracting myself with other things. If you knew anything about me, this would make perfect sense. I’m a big-picture person. I’m not very interested in the details. I study theology, which is all about asking the biggest questions there are. I have a natural tendency toward minimalism, so I look for meaning in a few things instead of a collection of things. I have always been the type to have a couple super close friends instead of a bunch of acquaintances. My point is that I don’t have a life list, because life lists are not for me, and not because there is anything wrong with them.

I guess the big criticism of life lists is that you focus on collecting experiences rather than just living your life. If you create a life list as if happiness is what will be waiting for you after you cross everything off of it, then this is a fair criticism. No one thing will ever make you happy and no one thing will ever make you a completely different person. I spent many years pursuing perfection, thinking that I would be happy once I accomplished this, this, or this, but I only ever succeeded in making myself miserable. It’s easy to think that if you just had this one person in your life or you got that job or you paid off all of your debt, then everything would be perfect, but you’re always you and you’re never perfect. If you’re not happy where you are, then you’re probably not going to be happy anywhere else either.

I’m sure that some people can pull off just living, but I don’t even know what that means. I have fallen into the life list trap of crossing things off of lists with no satisfaction, but I have also gone to the other extreme of having no plan at all and falling deep into apathy. Now I don’t look to each accomplishment to make me happy. I am happy and there’s stuff I want to do!

I think that life lists and goals in general are about more than just the stuff you do. They’re about taking yourself seriously and committing to things and taking control and finding a direction. All of those things are really important to my sense of self. They help to locate me in a world that moves way too quickly. Finishing something I put on a list is not just about that thing in itself–it’s about making a promise to myself and keeping it. The worst is feeling like you can’t trust yourself to do what you said you were going to do. And I think that’s why a lot of people swear off resolutions and life lists.

I’ve been there. I took some time and then started over with smaller goals–things I actually wanted to do and not just things I thought sounded impressive. I did it because I’m a list kind of person! Not everyone is and I understand that. Linda and I are both list kind of people, and yet we do it very differently. So I guess this is a defense of life lists, but I don’t see that they really need defending. I would never criticize someone for trying to do something. I would never criticize myself for trying either. Try, fail, get off track, get back on track, keep going.

Question: What do you want to do before you die?

The Curly-Haired Girl

In first grade, there was a curly-haired girl who always had the sniffles. We played group games during recess but always on opposite teams. I didn’t know her name because although she was in the same grade, she was not in the same first grade class. She left our school after first grade and I quickly forgot about her.

In sixth grade, I was still in the same school. My friend and I were both at a Catholic high school competing in an academic contest. I think I was in a math competition. Before the test was passed out, my friend turned to a curly-haired girl and asked, “Did you go to St. Jeromes’s?” The girl surprised, blinked and confirmed. It was then that I recognized her as the sniffling girl from first grade.

I forgot about her again. Three years later, our paths crossed again as freshmen in a new high school. It took us a couple of years there but we grew to be each other’s best friend. I like to call her my brain. Whatever thought I have, it’s almost instinctual to share with her. Alan knows that when he swears me to secrecy, she is an exception. Luck was on my side when our paths cross three times before we got it right.

Happiest 30th to my BFF! I cannot wait to see her this Christmas!

Related: Last year’s post

Balloon Renegade Street Art

Last year during Thanksgiving weekend, I had a Magical Day with Thomas and Kim and a few others. It consisted of good food, sparkly tattoos, and learning how to make paper cranes. Exactly a year later, we reunited for Magical Day 2.

This time around, we met up for brunch, sipped on cinnamon coffee, and finished our meals with buttery croissants filled with chocolate and almond cream.

We then convened at a playground where we blew up dozens of pink balloons, after we monkeyed around on swings of course. (Kim and I have had a long standing affair with balloons.) We then took the balloons to one of the two red telephone booths we knew of in Houston. The other one was locked and occupied by a mannequin.

This one though, happily, was open and empty! We filled up the booth with balloons and then had a mini photo shoot. I’ll show you the official photos on Wednesday. We left the balloons there for passersby to enjoy.

It was so much fun. We took turns gingerly getting into the booth and shrieked in surprise when a balloon popped. I loved how well we played together. One person would squeeze herself or himself into the booth, while the remaining three stuck their hands into the booth and fluffed up the balloons.

It was a beautiful and joyful start of our Magical Day 2. We followed up the Balloon Renegade Street Art with a craft show, board games, and a fancy dinner. I’ll post the photographs from Thomas on Wednesday for Wordless Wednesday. In case you missed these two from my last post and Twitter, here are two sneak peeks.

Leave a comment and tell me about an awesome day you had recently.

7 Friday Quick Takes (vol 113)


This week on Totes Awesome Channel, we talk about Thanksgiving!

Youtube Link


The fact that I can still wear my summer dresses and tank tops at this time of year worries me greatly. #globalwarming


World Domination Summit: 2012 Recap from Chris Guillebeau on Vimeo.

Anita and I booked our hotel for World Domination Summit which is in July 2013. Next thing on our WDS list is flights! I’m excited not only to be in attendance but also because it’ll be in Oregon and I haven’t been to Oregon!


Today is Thanksgiving Potluck Picnic Day. This is us from last year.

Photo from today:


I just noticed I have an instagram internet profile now! What a pretty layout. Well done, Instagram/Facebook!

You can follow me on Instagram under “curiousnotions”.


Weekend To Do List

Saturday Fun Day with Kim and Thomas
Light shopping
Blog (Damn you, National Blog Posting Month!)
Drive back to Austin from Houston
Eat a ton

What’s on your weekend to do list?


This week’s moments of bliss: ♥ puff pastry ♥ Thanksgiving texts from sister ♥ 3 day work week ♥ HOUSTON ♥ doggy play date with Brittney and her pup ♥ slow cooker cooking ♥ friend dates with Davey, Aishah, and Naz ♥ long weekend and short work day on Wednesday ♥ reading party ♥ family time ♥ momma’s food

Question: What was your favorite thing you put in your mouth this weekend?

How to Host a Reading Party

I’ve mentioned that I’m desperately trying to finish up my reading resolution. I currently have 9 more books to read before the end of the year. So I was really excited when I received an invite to a reading party! I have never heard of a reading party before and it’s no surprise that Neville, a college friend of mine, came up with the idea. He’s full of very unique ideas that are more or less documented on his blog.

I was so excited about this event that I talked it up to a few of my friends and most of them kind of look at me bewilderedly. The reaction that made me laugh belonged to a friend from work. “Oh my god, Linda, no.” It reminded me of Mean Girls and joining the Mathletes. However, the most popular reaction I got was, “how would that even work?”

Well let me tell you how Neville did it!

First, he invited people using Facebook events.

Then, he moved his bed out into the living room to make more comfortable reading space. An idea he entertained but didn’t implement was pitching a tent in his apartment to serve as a reading nook.

He then bought some light snacks and drinks.

He set rules and limitations. Arrive promptly at 8 pm so that you can meet his other friends and mingle for an hour. At 9 pm reading time starts for a full hour. No talking. No computers. Just reading! He actually told a friend of his to put the computer away! These rules were disclosed in his Facebook invite so they surprised no one.

At ten, he released us from quiet time! Unfortunately, it’s a work night and I still needed to run home and blog for today’s National Blog Posting Month. I want to thank Neville for hosting a fun event, helping me carve out some reading time, introducing me to his interesting friends, and also giving me blog fodder for tonight!

More photos of his party will be posted tomorrow for Worrdless Wednesday!


I stumbled on this video on the Internet today. I loved it so much and would like to show my 13 year old little from Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Youtube Link

This video also got me thinking about questions in general. They’re so powerful.

A friend of mine called recently because she was witnessing someone close to her do something very harmful. She told me she yelled at her friend and cannot believe that this person is so self-destructive. I reminded her that most people don’t like being told what to do. Especially if it’s something that is already inherently scary. Change is scary, even if it’s good change. Compound that with someone telling you what you should do, resistance to change will probably grow. She asked me how I would try to influence this person toward a healthier life style. I told her I would probably ask a lot of questions. When someone answers a tough question honestly, he or she has to actually be introspective. It’s hard to hide when you answer a question.

“Why are you doing this?” “Does it make you feel good?” “What are you scared of?” “Is this helping you?” “What’s keeping you from stopping a certain behavior?” “How would you feel if someone close to you were doing this?”

Questions is a form of therapy! Asking yourself really hard questions and then looking inward for the answers. Questions is also an essential step in knowledge. If you don’t understand something at work or in school, you ask questions. Questions is how you make friends. People like to feel like you’re interested in them and their lives. You show interest by asking questions. You gain a friend when people share parts of themselves.

I dig questions.

Questions: If you could ask anyone anything, whom would you ask and what would you ask?

Happiness Project Survey

I have been a fan of Gretchen Rubin‘s blog for quite some time and read her book, Happiness Project this year. She often interviews well known people and ask them the same questions about happiness. I thought I’d answer the questions for myself.

What’s a simple activity that consistently makes you happier?

Emailing happy three things with Kim.

What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?

I am responsible for my happiness. I don’t think I really understood that I had a responsibility towards myself to be happy and take care of myself. I often put other people’s well being over mine.

Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your happiness?

I think a lot of my peers do this. Whenever I compare myself to others, I can easily get sucked into a black spiral of gloom.

Is there a happiness mantra or motto that you’ve found very helpful?

I don’t have a specific mantra or motto but I do have a specific way of living. I try very hard to see the small and great things in my life. “Small and great” sounds like an oxymoron but what I mean is the simple things that occur every day that are easy to overlook but are awesome. While Kim and I were driving to the Midland airport from Marfa, we left before the sunrise. Subsequently, we were able to see the sky change its colors as the sun rose. We excitedly narrated the color schemes to each other as new colors were unveiled. If you were to listen in our conversations, you’d think we were children intellectually witnessing a sunrise for the first time. Sunrises are everyday things but when you remember to look at them with fresh eyes, they’re pretty great.

If you’re feeling blue, how do you give yourself a happiness boost? Or, like a “comfort food,” do you have a comfort activity?

I like going to the movies by myself when I’m feeling blue. It’s my way of taking a break from my mind chatter. When my mind chatter isn’t tormenting me, journaling can also give me a happiness boost. Oddly, I really enjoy being by myself when I’m feeling upset. My extroverted tendencies subside when I’m not well.

Is there some aspect of your home that makes you particularly happy?

I have a small collage of photos of a few of my favorite cities. I love seeing it because it conjures up some fond memories.

Have you ever been surprised that something you expected would make you very happy, didn’t – or vice versa?

As a teen, I was enrolled in a private all girl school for high school. I really thought my life was going to end as I was separated from kids I went to school with for eight years. I’m not sure what would have happened if I went to the high school I wanted, but I had a pretty awesome high school experience and the friendships I’ve managed to take away from the experience are my oldest friendships.

Questions: Pick a few questions and answer them!