Time to Shop! (Also, Happy Friday the 13th)

It’s time for Christmas shopping!

Here are some tips I use when I go shopping:

  1. Coupons! Yes, I sound like a total suburban mom, but coupons are literal wallet lifesavers. If you are members of any catalogs, keep an eye on coupons usually glued on the outside of them. Otherwise, a simple Google search could help you out. And make sure they’re in date.
  2. Reusable bags! Not only are they eco-friendly, but they are opaque so your friends and family can’t see what you bought them.
  3. Honey! This is if you’re buying anything online. There’s an extension for your Google called Honey, and all it does is provide promo and coupon codes for your online purchases. Costs nothing and saves you money, and I use it all the time. (This is not an ad, I just love Honey).
  4. Have! A! Budget! This is the biggest BIGGEST thing about shopping. Know how much you have and how much you can spend. Be frugal; don’t go overboard if you don’t have the case. Sit down with yourself before you do any shopping and know what you got.
  5. Go to multiple places! Various places have various prices, so it’s best to go to those various places to get the best prices you can. If that makes sense.
  6. Please, for the love of God, wear deodorant and have mints/gum! Shopping for Christmas is so crowded, and the only thing worse than bumping elbows with strangers is being around smelly ones. Don’t be that one.

I know I’m missing some, but these seem most important at the moment. As you go about your shopping, make sure you’re kind to yourself and those around you, especially the over-worked customer service workers.

Good luck.

AND happy Friday the 13th! Just wanted to say that, so double good luck with your shopping.

Hugs

Alexandra

Finishing a Semester

78741619_10215728516380993_3577122662763200512_oThis past Friday I’ve finished the first semester in my graduate program.

Now, I’ve actually done a graduate program before. I have my Masters. So, yes, I’m going through it all over again. As opposed to my dramaturgy and playwriting degree I’ve gotten before, on campus, I’m pursuing Information Science online. It’s a whole new monster.

I went from an art to a science, essentially. From left brain to right brain. But it’s something I want to do.

The challenge this semester came from three things: time management, IT, and environment.

I love being organized. It’s something I do very well. But I absolutely suck at time management. I didn’t know how to properly do it this semester, and it really kicked my ass. And now I’m hoping I learned something to take into the next semester.

I can work my way around a computer, handling a blog, making videos, etc. But I never expected how much IT I would actually encounter. I knew I would be learning some new IT, but I didn’t expect to learn Greek AND Chinese. (Basically, I didn’t expect how much I would be learning and it really killed my brain for a hot minute).

I’ve always loved being in classes, having an instructor in front of me, taking space as it were. I liked having offices to go to, a library to study in, and peers ready to meet for a drink and a study session. Now that I’m doing everything online, it’s not the same. I get to wait for emails, studying exists almost solely in my own personal library, and the nearest classmate is literal hundreds of miles away. It’s tougher, but, again, I hope I’ve learned something I can take with me into the next semester.

So, my fellow college students, enjoy your winter break. And let’s hope together that we don’t kill ourselves next semester.

Hugs

Alexandra

My Website as My Value

During one of my YouTube binges, I was watching a shit-ton of Anna Akana. I’ve mentioned her before, and I enjoy her work. She made a video not terribly long ago about investing in self…with a website (Video here). And it kind of made me think for a while.

Obviously, I have a website (welcome). But it’s definitely more of a blog than a way to show off my work. Yeah, I have writing and art, but is it enough?

I definitely spent time wondering if I’m doing enough and if the website really represents how I value myself and the investment I spend in me.

Now, these thoughts didn’t come from just Anna’s video. It came from one of my greatest enemies: comparison. When I first created this site, I shared with friends on the ever-loving, not-at-all-mentally-draining Facebook. The very next day, a theatre friend published a site of her own. She had so much traffic to her site while I had none. Obviously, not her fault, not her intention. She’s investing in herself, which is great! It’s just me and my dear old friend Comparison that makes me think maybe I have nothing of value to put on my site.

Turns out, I should just keep going whether Comparison bites my head off or not.

My value doesn’t come from my site. Bringing it back to Anna, it’s simply a way to invest in my future and my talents. Comparison can go somewhere else; the website is about me and my interactions with all of you. Even with that said, I’m thinking about some changes to the site.

What would you like to see more of here? What should I add to make it a better investment?

Anyway, to just bring it all together somehow, know your value does not depend on what anyone else is doing and invest in yourself however you believe is best for you.

Hugs

Alexandra

November (and October) Bookclub

I thought I did October, but looking back through my posts I guess I missed that. So, this month you get a two for one! (Honestly, good thing too. I read one thing in November…and it was a play).

Let’s get into it:

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

*sigh* I didn’t get it. The reason I read it is because an acquaintance had literally TEN copies of it in his home (it’s his favorite book). Maybe I just wasn’t a fan, but I was confused and bored and ugh.

The Omen by David Seltzer

This book is based off the movie (what a twist). It was basically just a deeply worded retelling of the entire movie. I didn’t mind though. I actually appreciated the words more than the visuals in this case. BUT when it comes to my recommendation, I would suggest watching the movie over reading the book. It’s the original, after all.

The Shining by Stephen King

And then we had a book that has a movie based on it. The movie is fascinating, even if I had a lot of issues with it. It’s not my go-to suspense/horror. The book, on the other hand, seems to make more sense. The characters and the plot, believe it or not, made more sense. Perhaps it was the way of the two artists: how Stephen King approached the story and how Stanley Kubrick approached it. Basically, the book is better. I do think the movie should be watched at least once though.

Postern of Fate by Agatha Christie

My queen. This one deals with another set of recurring characters (like Poirot or Marple) named Tommy and Tuppence. They are an older couple who served as agents in the British Secret Service, and are now retiring in the countryside with their dog. But they are still detectives at heart, much like Miss Marple, so they solve cases when presented. This book, sad to say, is not Christie’s best. It was her very last book written, when she potentially was suffering from undiagnosed Alzheimers. Definitely don’t let this be your first Christie novel.

Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie

And on the other flip side (lot’s of flip sides this month), there’s a pretty brilliant play by my lady. How about a twist? And then another twist? And then another twist? You’ve got this play! A man is arrested for the murder of an older woman, but while he maintains his innocence his wife decides to testify against him. And it’s a race to get the truth. It’s definitely a read it multiple times to get it story. Worth it, though.

And that was it for the last two months. Next month is December, my last opportunity to read the rest of my books: Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay by J.K. Rowling. That’s right, only two books left in my challenge! Hopefully after finals, I can get those out of the way so I can start my ever-growing pile of personal unread books (for next year *wink*).

Let me know if you have thoughts of these books or if you’ve read them.

Hugs

Alexandra

Happy Thanksgiving

aka the one day during the Christmas season we remember there was something else to celebrate.

Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday, but I do enjoy seeing it come around. It reminds me to not only be grateful for the privilege I have, but help others who are less off.

No matter what your situation, I hope you can be reminded of this as well. Be grateful for what you have and help those who do not. And even if you can only do so much (trust me, I get it), I hope you smile with pure happiness at least once tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving

Death Week; Hell Week

Hello, beautiful. I’m late with my post today (sadly not a surprise these days). Let me give a little update.

As I’ve said before, I am a full time grad student. And if you are familiar with how college works, there’s death week and then there’s hell week. Death week is the week before finals, when you’re killing yourself studying and getting assignments/projects done. Hell week, or finals week, is when you’ve died and now are suffering the worst torture.

Today is the first day of death week.

With that said, I’ll be around this week. A Thanksgiving message on Wednesday and November’s bookclub on Friday. But next week, I’ll be gone. I will be suffering through hell week. At least this time I give notice, right?

For those who are also dealing with death week and/or hell week soon, good luck. Remember to rest and drink water and bathe. Also remember that your grades do not define you as a person. But make sure you work hard!

Hugs

Alexandra

When I Didn’t Take My Medication

I take medication.

I have several pills I take a day for physical and mental reasons. And for those who take meds like I do, you can imagine how bad it is when you do not take it. For the lucky ones who do not need to take meds, I’ll let you know how it is.

At first, I was too stressed and simply forgot. Days passed and, finally, I was just ignorant of my own need to take the medication. I think it was a combination of being overwhelmed and the unnecessary need to self-destruct.

I went several weeks without them.

But a recent kick in the booty reminded me that I NEED the medication for health reasons.

Starting small, my body and mental state deteriorated. I was constantly tired (thanks to anemia/an iron deficiency) and needed sleep all the time. I gained weight, becoming much more of a tub than I usually am. But I passed all this off. I was tired because I’m a full time grad student and I work, etc. I’m naturally fat, so whatever, maybe I didn’t gain weight.

It only gets worse, though, guys. The amount of exhaustion I had worsened. I gained more weight and craved a ton of sugar. My skin went to total pot, breaking out and becoming irritated. I was getting sadder and more anxious, having panic attacks over simple problems. Again, I passed it all off as stress from school.

It got worse. Tired, extra weight, bad skin, sadness, and anxiety. Very painful cramping. Bad sleep despite my exhaustion. A spiral of depression that stopped me from taking care of myself, hygiene-wise. Really bad headaches. Some fun organ problems I’d rather not get into. Hooray for withdrawal.

Then came the wake up call.

For reasons, I’m not going to dive into what happened that caused that jolt in me. Some of it is a bit personal. But the point is, I knew I needed to start my medication again.

So I did.

I’m still in the process of getting myself back to a good place, but I am getting better. My skin still sucks, I got that extra tub, and I’m sad. But my limbs aren’t heavy, my organs seem to be functioning correctly, and I don’t have a panic attack when my pen runs out of ink.

The point is, beautiful people, take your medication. If you feel it isn’t working, talk to your doctor. Do NOT quit cold turkey; it does the body harm. And honestly, you should never be so overwhelmed you forget to take your medication. If you are, take a breather (note to my future self).

Stay healthy.

Hugs

Alexandra

P.S. Drink water too ^_^

A Recipe Post featuring My Snapchat

This is mostly for comedy’s sake, but if you want to try this as well I got you.

Once in a blue moon, I’ll put my cooking on Snapchat. It’s a fun step-by-step instruction on something super simple to cook (I’m not a chef and kinda suck at making fancy things). So, I thought I’d share one of my favorite meals to cook: teriyaki chicken and fried rice.

Supplies needed:

For chicken (besides the actual chicken), brown sugar, soy sauce, and sesame seeds. Easy.

For fried rice (besides the actual rice), frozen peas and carrots, two eggs, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Simple.

It’s best if the chicken is already thawed and cut up to make this even easier. Also, when you cover it up, make sure you keep it on low so it stays warm but doesn’t burn.

To clarify, it’s three cups of cooked rice (maybe one and a half uncooked since they double in size).

For me, taking the veggies out so I can scramble the eggs is easier. In general, you’re supposed to keep the veggies to the side of the pan while scrambling on the other side. Whatever, it works either way. Once you got the rice and soy sauce in, you mix it all up and it becomes fried rice.

And behold, you have some delicious teriyaki chicken and fried rice.

Via Snapchat.

When You’re Overwhelmed (and a story)

This past weekend, my family and I had a yard sale.

I had just pulled a very late night/very early morning, on top of getting woken up early to do the yard sale. To put it bluntly, I was exhausted. On top of my exhaustion was my stress from being a full time grad student with a lot of assignments due or will be due soon. I had four assignments and a test this week alone. Plus, I work and other regular human stuff.

I’m helping, bringing stuff out, getting a little frustrated that one of the family members wasn’t getting out of bed. They were tired, I get it, but so am I. And we needed help.

The kicker came when I was in the backyard trying to take care of a table. The table would best be handled by two, but I was alone. While trying to get the table, Leroy got out and disappeared out the front yard. I freaked and while I was trying to handle the table and get Leroy to come back, the table knocked into my teeth. Luckily, nothing broke but it still hurt.

Now, I’m overwhelmed. I was trying not to yell at people, I was taking a breather inside the house, and (shamefully) I started to cry.

Another family member came in and asked what I did to myself. I don’t like that question; it suggests I intentionally hurt myself which can be triggering. I was telling them (just to clarify, it was a parent) that I was overwhelmed and angry. Even without the intention of raising my voice, I probably did.

They told me to go to my room.

That’s a child’s punishment. I lost my position as ‘adult’ in their eyes and was sent to my room. In their defence, they might have seen a temper tantrum and thought I needed a break. They came into the room later and said they wanted me to get away and collect my thoughts.

But they could’ve worded it better in the moment. Couldn’t we all, though.

But what makes it worse is that they, in a scolding manner, said ‘go to your room’ and then went about the yard sale business by going back to the front yard.

Of course, I went. Despite being an adult, I listen to my parents. I ended up further crying, ranting to the cat about just wanting to help and getting scolded because I got hurt and am upset. Then I pulled a full emo and just listened to the same song on a loop about how I suck as a person.

Here’s what I did right and here’s what I did wrong:

Right: I took a breather. It would’ve been far more of a blow up if I didn’t even take those 10 seconds before the parent came to see me. When you are overwhelmed, step back, take some time to collect your thoughts, and calm down.

Wrong: I didn’t ask for help. I could’ve avoided a hurt mouth and some tears if I simply asked someone to help me with the table. There are people who care, even if they’re online. Seek help when you’re overwhelmed, whether from your boss or your teacher or a friend online.

Right: Crying. That’s right. It’s not shameful, even if it feels like it at the moment. Your body needs to release those emotions sometimes, so when you need to cry, go ahead and cry.

Wrong: I listened to the worst song possible in those emotional states. When you’re overwhelmed, you don’t feel the best about yourself. Don’t make you feel worse by listening to a song about how much you suck. You don’t suck. I promise. Listen to uplifting songs to put yourself in a better state of mind.

Of course, there was more right and wrong, but this post is quite long. After that debacle, I was able to pull myself together long enough to do the yard sale with my family. After we ended it, I went back to bed and relaxed.

Try not to get overwhelmed with stuff in your life, but when/if those moments come remember that it does not make you or others around you worst people. Remember to breathe.

A question from a busy student

Today is Veterans Day.

First of all, say thanks to your veterans, whether it’s a family member or if you just say it in spirit. Quite a few family members and several friends serve(d), and I appreciate their service. I know I could never do something like that.

Anyway, today is a federal holiday. Post offices are closed, banks are closed, even the local library is closed.

But the schools are not.

So, coming from a busy and exhausted student who could’ve used the day off, why aren’t schools closed for this federal holiday? Thanksgiving gets three days from school for whatever reason (considering the history of Thanksgiving versus the history of Veterans Day). And I know my teacher friends are cursing this as well.

Just a question from someone who could’ve used those three and a half hours working on her assignment that’s due tomorrow.

Happy Veterans Day!