Sunday Self-Love: Sept-Oct 2016

I told myself I would be doing these and I AM DOING THESE! I wanted to make them a once-a-month thing but I forgot to do it for a while, so here are some self-proclaimed Nikita Excellence™ and various ways I’ve been showing myself kindness.

  1. Cleaning my space. My head has been feeling cluttered and unclear so I took a couple of days to really clean and organize my space so I can feel like a grown woman in charge of my own life. I played “The Desired Effect” by Brandon Flowers on vinyl twice. It’s so happy and 80s-sounding and makes me feel like dancing and making my life better. I realize I put this on my last SSL post but at least you know I clean my room once a month.
  2. Forgiving myself for being imperfect in an imperfect body. You may have seen my previous post My Internal Monologue of Weight Gain (and Loss) that I’ve been fluctuating in my weight because FEELINGS. My body image and sense of comfort in my body has suffered but I’ve made the decision to let myself feel the feelings and cope with feelings. I shouldn’t beat myself up over something to temporary.
  3. I started using my agenda again to get shit done. I also bought a Passion Planner to REALLY get shit done.
  4. Attending Queen’s 2016 Homecoming! It has been 5 years since I graduated and I have a lot of feelings about Queen’s University, my growth, and the people I’ve crossed paths with. It was really great going back! (Longer post about this pending.)
  5. I listened to the Hamilton soundtrack and it has healed me.
  6. I made an active real effort to read more. I haven’t finished a book yet because I haven’t fallen into any that I love, but it feels sooooo nice to curl up in a blanket and read something for a few hours. I began Daughters Who Walk This Path by Yejide Kilanko and I’ve been sitting halfway through Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for a while now. Mostly it’s been listening to M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman on audiobook as I drift off to sleep.

Trying Out Audiobooks

 

I’m a slow reader. Don’t try to assuage me with sweet sweet lies about how I save money on books (I don’t) or that I get to savour my books (really??). It just kinda sucks. It takes forever to get through a book, unless it’s “Harry Potter” type good, then maybe a day or two. Now it takes me even longer because I just don’t sit down and read anymore.

A friend of mine who is an avid reader told me she just doesn’t have time for books anymore, so she listens to audiobooks. I thought that was a great idea, and she suggested I try my local library’s website. If you have a library card you can download audiobooks for free. So I went to my library for a card and downloaded my first audiobook: The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami*. It’s a short novel so I finished listening to it in an hour.

I don’t remember the last time I read a book in an hour.

However, the feeling of an audiobook isn’t the same. I’m a very tactile reader; I like to feel the pages, and turn the back cover over when I’m finished. The audiobook experience lacked this kind of satisfaction that I usually get with a paper book. However I was still able to enjoy the book, as well as do something with my hands (I was drawing at the time, but I can see myself doing lots of knitting with an audiobook going).

Having finished my first audiobook, I wanted to try another one — a longer one. My next download was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. It always seemed interesting to me but I couldn’t quite get my head into the world. The audiobook helped with that! It was easier, for some reason, to situate myself in the novel’s story which is in the future in between a virtual reality game and real life.

Furthermore, with this second book I realized that the narrator is key to the enjoyment of the book. The narrator of The Strange Library was alright but nothing special. I’m really enjoying Ready Player One because Wil Wheaton is narrating and brings a lot of character and emotion.

I think as audiobooks become more popular (thank you, Audible, for sponsoring all my favourite YouTubers!) the narrators will be better and better, making the overall experience of an audiobook that much more enjoyable. I have already adjusted to not having a paper book when I tried ebooks, so this next step into audiobooks isn’t too difficult for me. I’m still having trouble calling it “reading,” but that’s just semantics. Here’s to absorbing more stories!

 

* I somewhat regret making this an audiobook choice because once I finished reading it I learned that the hard copy is full of illustrations. It would have been an entirely different experience to read the story the way it was published on paper.

November Favourites

I could only squeeze in a few of my favourites this month into the video, but there’s so much more I wanted to share!! Here’s a more extensive list of my November favourites:

Skinny Knit Pant

As I mentioned in the video, these are the most comfortable things to wear to the office. Dress pants are so constricting and really unforgiving if you fluctuate in weight. Not to mention certain materials give you an awkward panty-line. I’ve got two of these kinds of pants — the grey ones from Dynamite and a grey/charcoal houndstooth pair from Suzy Shier. Neither cost more than $30 CDN. There’s also a great variety available from Maurices in a similar price range!

skinny-knit-pant

Blackhead Out from The Face Shop

I’ve fallen in love with Korean beauty products. This is the culture that brought us BB Cream! And after trying some products from other Korean brands I think I definitely trust the cosmetics that come out of that country. The Face Shop is a Korean franchise store so it was really interesting to see all these beauty products that aren’t sold at your regular North American drug store. Oh and also the packaging is kawaii as fuck!!

LOVELY-MEEX

Those are some hand creams I saw in-store and regret not buying. Nothing was overly expensive! But I was in the market for a new blackhead solution and the pack of seven strips cost $6 CDN. Plus I’ve been wanting to try charcoal products on my skin!

blackhead-out-pore-strip

It works so well I’m not even going to show you the absolutely gross results after pulling the strip away. If you’d like to look into other Korean beauty products, I’d suggest Atomy.

Sexy Peel soap from LUSH

I’m always trying new soaps from LUSH and I love the ones that give me a little bit of exfoliation too. This one is fabulous for shaving because unlike the Sandstone soap, it doesn’t leave behind anything but lather so it keeps your razor free of debris. I’ve (obviously) been using it for quite a while. I love using it in the mornings, the citrus smell really wakes me up and makes me feel fresh and clean.

lush-sexy-peel-soap

Ro’s Argan body conditioner from LUSH

I bought this to bribe myself into running more often. I told myself I can only use this with my post-run shower and it had been working really well until I stopped running due to it being cold as balls and my knees giving me problems. It’s so moisturizing and when you use it in the shower it feels like pure luxury. The soft smooth feeling you get lasts for a really long time after use. The scent is really light and floral — very inoffensive if you’re sensitive to scents.

ros-argan-body-conditioner-lush

ros-argan-how-to

Revlon Just Bitten Lip Stain Balm

This is not a new product. This is a case of “you took it away from me and this is all I want.” I’ve tried a variety of lip stains or stain balms and none of them stay as well as the Revlon ones. They always go on like lipstick and wipe off like lipstick. Maybe sometimes it will stain my lips but not very well. So after finding these still available at a local Shopper’s Drug Mart, I bought five more.

revlon-lip-balm-stainrevlon-lip-stain-balm-swatches

I’d say the only downside of the Revlon Just Bitten lip stain balms is that the cap for the balm isn’t very tight so I’ve had a couple of instances where it came off in my on-the-go makeup bag, broke the balm, and made my whole bag greasy. Yeesh! Beware if you’re gonna keep it in your purse!

Extras: Apps!

Due to some time constraints, I had to cut my non-fashion/beauty items from the video — but I still want to share them with you all! So here are some apps that I’ve found particularly useful:

Evernote

Yeah, it’s not a new thing. But I never knew how handy this little app could be when you’re jumping around different computers — plus you’ve got it on the go! I’ve got endless lists going and I’ve been using it to outline my YouTube videos so I can add or change things whenever it comes to me. I have it on my phone, personal computer, and work computer. I wish I had this when I was in university, I could have kept all my notes in one spot and sharing notes would have been a cinch.

evernote-logo-design-center

Pocket

This is the perfect app for the “I’ll read/watch you later” type of internet user. That’s me. I’m stingy with my data. Sometimes I’ll come across and article or video that seems cool but I don’t really want to load it on my phone. I’ll save it to my pocket and I can access it again when I’m connected to WiFi. It’s cross-platform so you can look up what you saved on any device. Pocket integrates itself into lots of aspects of your phone so if I’m on Pinterest or Tumblr, I can easily save something to my pocket.

pocket-app-logo

CeltX

Maurizio shared this with me early November and I loved it. He asked me about how I write my novels (since November was NaNoWriMo) and I told him I used Microsoft Word. He suggested I try CeltX. It was designed for script writers but they’ve integrated novel-writing needs into the programming as well. You can divide your work into chapters so you can jump around the novel quite easily by clicking around your chapter guide. You can also make notes onto your work, much like the Track Changes in Word. What I like about CeltX is that it’s a desktop program that also has an app so you can work on your writing on the go. Additionally, you can share your work via email to other people and determine their capabilities on the work (ie: if the can edit). That way your work stays in one place.

You can also share your work with the CeltX community to gather opinions and readers from within the site. Likewise, you can access other peoples’ works. There are resources available to you, like guides and tips on different types of writing.

celtx-logo-TSFF

Speed Reader

I admit it: I am a slow reader. It sucks. Don’t try to convince me otherwise. I’ve dedicated myself to learning to read faster and this app has been helping immensely! It cost somewhere in the ballpark of $2.99 CDN from the Google Play Store. There is a free version with limited exercises but of all the speed reading trainer apps I’ve tried, this one has the most effective exercises and I found myself using it more with the free version so I decided to put the money in for the full version. You can train yourself in the app and it also has books you can practice with. I’ve been reading teen novels to get my practice in before I try to read more sophisticated work. I’ve been really enjoying the games in the app and would definitely recommend it to anyone trying to work on their reading skills!

speed-reader-app

And that exhausts my favourites list for November! I hope I’ve given you something helpful. Much love darlings. ♥