Tag Archives: hobbies

Hobbies to Try If You’re a Creative Soul

There is no denying that life is busy. And as we get older, the hobbies that we used to have can fall by the wayside. But isn’t it so wonderful when we can carve out a few hours here and there that can be used to explore hobbies and find fun creative outlets? 

Hobbies are therapeutic and great for happiness too. So here are a few creative hobbies that you can try. 

hobbies to try if you're a creative soul

Card Making

Handmade cards, with all their layers and personal touches, are really special. Using glue dots, you can build whole beautiful scenes. You can make a card whenever the mood takes you, or create a stash ready for Christmas or other significant events. If you really enjoy it, you might even be able to make a business out of it by selling your creations to friends for a few dollars or even setting up your own Etsy shop.

Writing

You might choose to start a blog, or you might just really want to keep a diary. Writing can be so therapeutic. You can write fiction and let your imagination run wild, or you might want to write about your daily life — talking about things you have enjoyed, what makes you happy, things you are grateful for and so much more. 

Calligraphy

There are tons of books out there centered around teaching yourself hand lettering. Not only does calligraphy look beautiful, but it is a skill that can grow over time. If you aren’t sold on the idea, you should take a look at some hand lettering videos. If you have decided to keep a journal, then you can use this skill to embellish it. Grab a pack of watercolor pens and see what happens!

Photography

Everyone has their own unique point of view. When you get to let loose with a camera, you might be surprised what you come up with. And it isn’t just DSLR. You can experiment with film, plates, instant and more. Picking up camera magazines will give you hints and tips about how to improve your style. You can work with the style that suits you best — some people love portraits, others black and white landscape. The joy of photography is being able to tell a story through images. There are many free courses online that can help you get to grips with some of the finer points of using your DLSR manually. But the main thing is to have fun. 

Soap

Soap making is a lovely and practical hobby. You can choose different scents and textures, and use molds too. There are so many tutorials on how to create natural soaps – which is excellent if you have sensitive skin or have family members who do. They make a great gift and can be infused with a lot of skin-loving ingredients. 

Baking

Baking for fun is fantastic. Not everyone can bake with ease, for some, it takes a lot of time to find out what they enjoy making. But if you enjoy eating scones and fresh bread, then learning to make it brings a new element of joy. Another bonus to learning to bake is having the smell of fresh bread wafting around your home. It is so cozy, and once you master a basic loaf, you can move on to more exciting bakes. 

Knitting

This is a real skill. Many people have tried and given up, but with a little persistence, you can knit tiny booties or scarves. You don’t need too much more than a set of knitting needles and some yarn to get started. If you’ve never knitted before, you are going to want to either pick up a knitting magazine with some basic patterns in or find some free online courses. Just think, by the time winter comes around, you will be able to gift everyone with something cozy and warm. 

Cross-stitch

You can buy mini kits that have everything in it. Or if you want to create something without a guide, you can pick up some cloth, cotton thread and get started. You can affix these to cards, or frame them and put them up as art. Because of the slow, repetitive motions, it is very therapeutic. 

Coloring

If you want to color in a Peppa Pig coloring book, then go for it, but if you want something more adult, check out this swear word coloring book (LOL) or coloring books featuring really intricate patterns. Coloring is something that millions of people are now including in their mindfulness and self-care routines. If you are a perfectionist, then you are going to take even longer – which is ideal if you want to while away the hours indulging in your hobbies. 

Quilting

Using clothing that you no longer wear, kids clothing that is too small, or even quilting squares, you can create a quilt for your bed, or give it as a gift when you are done. There is some mental work involved when you are piecing it together or deciding on what you want it to look like once it is done. There is something quite lovely about giving people a handmade quilt as the winter rolls around. 

Floral Crowns

Making floral crowns aren’t as tricky as they might look. You can buy plain headbands and hot-glue flowers all over it, or you might choose to use fake flowers with thin wires and twist them around to create a full crown. Have a chat with the local florist and see if you can collect flower heads that have fallen off and won’t be sold. You can offer to pay, but you might end up with a few bags at a time. 

 Letting your mind unwind and your hands work for a few hours a week is a great way to lower stress levels and have time for yourself. What do you think? Which one is your creative soul itching to try?!

For Your Enjoyment

What are the things you do purely for your own enjoyment? Not the things you are supposed to do, or should, but things you do just because you can?

Here are a few of mine — 

1. Reading fiction

I’m currently reading The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant.

2. Taking walks in my neighborhood

I walk to the library to pick up and return books. I walk whenever I’m on the phone. I walk when I want to listen to podcasts or music or my thoughts.

3. Doing face masks

Do you have a favorite I should check out? Always looking for new ones to try!

4. Photographing my cat

My camera roll is literally 98% pictures of Wink. (Only a fraction end up on Instagram.)

5. Watching YouTube videos

Here are a few channels I’ve written about (and still love!): Latasha James, Kara and Nate, and SuperHolly.

Share yours below! xoxo

P.S. If listening to podcasts is something you do for enjoyment, I’d love if you’d check out mine! RIGHT THIS WAY. 🙂

Creating a Job Around What You Love

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Many of us have a desk we spend time at, with a computer on top of it and everything we enjoy using in the drawers below. While some folks may consider their desk a sanctuary, others may count down the hours until they get to clock-off. No matter the position you’re in, there’s something you love to do. Whether that’s a bit of knitting after a stressful day, or taking beautiful photographs in your spare time, there’s a lot you can get out of your passions. So make sure you do! It’s time to capitalize on your hobby and start creating a job around what you love. Let’s chat about how…

Dedicate a Website to Your Passion

Websites are getting easier and easier to make because of all the wonderful information you can access (for free!) out there. There are entire free programs dedicated to teaching the world about coding, so you’re in for a win when it comes to designing your own website. And you’re going to need one!

Websites make sure all of your information, content, and products are kept in one neat place for people to find. If a customer has to chase you over multiple media channels, they’re going to give up at the first hurdle. It also presents your business as a little less legitimate at the end of the day; having to follow a digital trail does not instill a sense of security for people’s payment details!

Write Up Some Goals

Your goals are what will keep you churning out quality content and products you enjoy making for months and years to come. Set a short term goal and a long term goal for your business and put systems in place to achieve them. Keeping sight of how you want your life to look in six months, 3 years…even ten years(!) will keep you from stagnating, and your passion will stay your passion.

So maybe you want to reach $500 by the end of the month. If so, make sure you work as much as you can towards that one goal. I’m talking laser focus! While it may feel like a drop in the bucket towards the annual salary you’re used to, when you’re first starting out it’s a milestone. And it’s absolutely achievable. AND it will give you a lot more motivation to keep going and start bringing in an amount with a few more zeros.

Always Look to Expand

At the end of the day, expansion is simply another goal to reach towards. If you’re making enough money to support yourself in the field of your passions, perhaps it’s time to set your sights higher. But what if you don’t have the funds? What if you’re not sure whether you can make the right amount of money to hire on someone else or pay for a marketing campaign?

Don’t worry, there’s plenty of funding sources out there that pay out and pay off. Ladies, consider taking out a women’s small business loan with a trusted company; it’ll keep you motivated to keep earning, and can give you the leg up you’re looking for. Sometimes a small amount of debt is worth it to keep the headaches of financial uncertainty from straining your passions!

Creating a business around your passion is a fun step forward in total self employment. Would you try it? Have you? Tell us about it!

6 Ways to Find More Free Time

6434 (9003179) Natalie WOOD (re., *20.07.1938 - 29.11.1981), amerikanische Schauspielerin, mit einem Pudel springend, vermutlich während Dreharbeiten. Links ein Crewmitglied des Drehteams. Ort unbekannt, undatiert ca. Ende der 60er Jahre. [SPERRVERMERKE BEACHTEN | PLEASE CHECK RESTRICTIONS! Nutzung nur mit Genehmigung und gegen Honorar, Beleg, Namensnennung und zu unseren AGB. Nur zur redaktionellen Verwendung. Honorare an: KEYSTONE Pressedienst, HASPA, BLZ 20050550, Kto. 1235130877];, Außenaufnahme, color, 20. Jahrhundert, 1960er Jahre, Personen, Schauspielerin, brünett, Brünette, rot, rotes, Kleid, Sommerkleid, Schuhe, rote, Kopftuch, Pudel, Hund, weißer, springen, springend, springt, lacht, lachen, lachend, Dreharbeiten, Stagehand, Crew, Crewmitglied, Name= Wood, Natalie, a00669

A few months ago I conducted a reader survey to find out more about the folks dropping by. I asked a myriad of questions but the one which garnered answers I found the most illuminating was, “What challenges are you currently facing in your life?” There were certainly some trends. Overwhelmingly, answers discussed difficulties with carving out spaces for self-care, new interests/passions, and hobbies. This is a tough one. It’s tough to create time for yourself amidst a busy schedule.

A couple weeks ago I talked about how and why to invest in yourself, but how do we create those little pockets of time in our day to do so? How do we make time to do it all? While my answers to these difficult questions are certainly a matter of “practice what you preach,” I hope they’ll still prove helpful.

1. Track your time

Spend a few days with a pen and paper (or the Notes app on your phone) by your side and keep tabs on yourself. This is a great way to visualize your day from a new perspective and find moments that went unused, under-used, or used in a way that didn’t necessarily serve you. Pockets of time may rise to the surface once you actually have to write down “Scrolled through Instagram feed from 7:46pm-8:17pm” or when you notice you cooked really elaborate meals 5 days in a row instead of eating up the multitude of leftovers in your fridge (and you don’t even like cooking!)

2. Find things that fill you up

It’s a lot easier to make time for or prioritize your passions. If you’re having trouble identifying things you’re passionate about then definitely check out this post. Still at a loss? Pay attention to what others are passionate about and see if it sparks a little joy in you, too. When a friend beams when discussing a dance class, and you love to dance, see if you can tag along. Once you’ve identified a few loves, schedule them! Pencil them into your planner each week and stick to it.

3. Stop making comparisons

One of the quickest ways to guarantee a “full plate” is by looking to other’s lives and drawing comparisons. We see someone else doing x, y, and z and suddenly we feel the need to pile those things on our To Do list along with a, b, and c. I find this especially prevalent in the social media age. Friends who post about jet-setting to another country, keeping up a fabulously decorated house, and doing wonderfully creative things litter my newsfeed. And that’s fantastic! But as soon as my feelings go from “How awesome for them!” to “Shouldn’t I be doing these things too?!?” — I need to click that unfollow button. You can’t compare what someone else is doing if it’s their passion and not yours. Don’t pile a bunch of unnecessary crap onto your life for the sake of keeping up with the Jones’s.

6. Multi-task!

On average a person spends 45 to 62 minutes waiting every single day. Waiting in traffic, waiting in line at the grocery, waiting on hold, etc., etc. Add to that some of the more mindless activities we have to do to live our lives (Think: walking from Point A to Point B, blowdrying hair, chopping vegetables, folding laundry.) and you’ve just stumbled upon a whole bunch of untapped potential. Are there things you could be doing in these extra minutes that might bring you some joy? Could you multi-task in a more fruitful way than just pulling out your phone? How about bringing a podcast along for that morning commute or how about always having a book on hand in case you have to wait in line!

7. Say “No!”

I talked about saying “no” in this post but there are more than just financial reasons for doing so. Doing it all and saying “yes” to all sorts of invitations and obligations can cut into much needed free time, too. The same principles apply though. If you’re worried that saying no means you’ll never get asked to do anything EVER again!!! I think the best way to combat this is with honesty. Tell whomever extended the invite what circumstances are causing you to pass on this particular invitation. Giving them context lets them know that your answer is “No, not right now.” and not “No, NEVER!”

8. Ask for help from loved ones

Let those you hold near and dear know that you’re working toward a more balanced, joy-filled life. They can help hold you accountable by encouraging you to take time for the things you love once and awhile instead of just holing up with your work for hours on end. When someone else is asking you to go for a walk with them or encouraging you to spend some time scrapbooking instead of scraping dishes, these things will feel a lot more like a luxury than an item on a To Do list. An item that can easily get pushed to the bottom of the page or even eliminated completely.

Have any tips for carving out some free time in a full-to-bursting schedule? What’s your favorite way to spend your hard-earned, well-deserved time? Share below!

(Photo of Natalie Wood and her dog, circa 1950s)

The Reading Habits Tag

the reading habits tag

I definitely found reading to take first prize in “happy places” for the month of January. I’m always an avid reader but recently I’ve just found nuzzling up with my cat and a book to be a brilliant evening occurrence. So, when I stumbled upon a reading tag which I bookmarked AGES ago, I thought I’d finally fill it out.

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

My bed. I have one of those pillows with arms (boyfriend pillows?) that’s been going strong since my freshman year of college and it’s usually what I’m propped up on. I also weirdly prefer to read on the side of the bed that I don’t sleep on. I’m sure that’s not what all those articles that encourage you to only SLEEP in your bed if you want to have restful slumber actually mean but hey! Sometimes I read on the couch but I’ll get distracted easily. And I love, love, LOVE reading at the kitchen table while something cooks (or someone is cooking FOR me).

2. Bookmark or random pieces of paper?

I’m currently using a Christmas-y bookmark my mom tucked into our stockings. However, the ribbon that was on the end of it is long gone after the bookmark became an impromptu cat toy.

3. Can you stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter or certain amount of pages?

I can stop at the end of a paragraph though the end of a chapter is preferable. I also like setting a timer when I read so that I don’t have to keep looking at my phone or a clock to check and see if I should be moving on to the next activity. This allows me to unwind and just enjoy as much of the book as I can get through in that time and then I stop wherever that is.

4. Do you eat or drink whilst reading?

Yes, nibbling on a snack is great while reading and of course drinking anything I can get at a coffee shop. I don’t like to eat a full meal while reading.

5. Do you watch TV or listen to music whilst reading?

No, not by choice. If someone else has something on and I want to read, I can tune it out. Chet listens to some very calming instrumental music while he works which I don’t mind but really anything else wouldn’t be my preference. I would love to be the type of person who reads during commercial breaks but let’s be real…I don’t have cable! And Hulu commercials are pretty short.

6. One book at a time or several at once?

One book at a time. I’ve dabbled in multiples–usually going for a diversity of genres, but I had a lot less on my plate in those days. Now I prefer to tuck in to one at a time and get fully immersed before moving on to the next!

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

Either. I’ll read anywhere! Some of my favorite places to read include: airports, cars, Starbucks, parks, and any sort of waiting situation.

8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?

Silently in my head…MOSTLY. My sister will be quick to tell you, I love the sound of my own voice…I didn’t do ELEVEN years of competitive speaking for nothing, ya know? So yes, I like reading out loud to other people. If I’m by myself and a passage is especially poignant or packed with a lot of information that I want to retain, I’ll stop and read it out loud. I’ve also volunteered at a radio reading service and loved every reading-out-loud SECOND of it. Sorry not sorry.

9. Do you ever read ahead or skip pages?

Not on purpose. Unless the book has pictures! Some of those memoirs with glossy photos smack-dab in the middle of the book should really come with spoiler alerts. Any lengthy acknowledgment section is also fair game for flipping to after the first chapter or so.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I like my books to look well-loved. And sometimes they’re not even brand new in the first place. Haven’t you people heard of a library?

11. Do you write in your books?

Sure. I don’t usually have much cause to but I’m certainly not against it. I loved writing in books in college. Cracking open a book you wrote in years later is such a meaningful time capsule.

12. What are you currently reading?

Yes Please by Amy Poehler. Before that, Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker. Up next, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.

What are you reading these days? Have any go-to book recommendations? Please share in the comments below! ❤ 

Hobbies on the cheap: Urban Exploration

As I’ve gotten older, I have found, I’m always on the hunt for cheap hobbies. I think it has something to do with committing so much of my free time to extracurriculars from about age 3 to 23. And now that I’m a (boring) old adult who works 40 hours a week, I don’t want to spend the other 128 hours watching TV, hitting up the occasional happy hour and cleaning my apartment. I want to find new and exciting things to do without draining my bank account of the money I earned during the 40 workin’ hours. It’s a delicate balance.

So, let’s start with something that can range from thrilling to educational at a cost of ZERO dollars. Urban exploration is all about exploring your city and surroundings, seeking out it’s oddities and unique infrastructure. While I can’t condone any law breaking for the sake of a new hobby, any sort of exploration–even legal exploration–can be exhilarating. I’ve always loved going places that feel off limits or hidden to see things I wouldn’t have otherwise seen. I climbed up the belltower of a church the hour before my confirmation. I’ve been in all sorts of nooks and crannies on my college’s campus (and a lot of other college campuses too). I love checking to see if doors are locked and if they’re not, curiosity just gets the better of me! Perhaps I read too much as a child? jk no such thing. Perhaps, at nearly 30, my imagination is still too active? also no such thing.

Now that the weather has warmed up, I have my eye on a few places I’d like to explore! Setting out on an evening walk can take on a whole new level of excitement if you commit to making it an urban exploration adventure–veer off the path, stop for things that strike your eye, look for clues, read signs and historical markers, do research, Nancy Drew the shit out of your town! Take pictures or don’t. Bring a friend or don’t. Just keep your eyes open to the wonders around you.

For some added inspiration, check out the video below! If you don’t have half an hour to commit to watching something right now I HIGHLY recommend you come back to this page when you do…I promise this short docu, called “UNDERCITY”, is worth it. It follows Steve Duncan on a few urban exploration missions in New York City. All his emotions; fear, exhilaration, nerves, EVERYTHING–are just so palpable. You just have to watch it for yourself! What a rush!

Where would you love to explore this Spring? For the next month, I’m gonna make it my mission to hunt down some cool stuff that has otherwise been tucked away. And to hold myself accountable with this new hobby (I told you I spent a lot of time in extracurriculars…I need structure! lol) I’m going to document some of my findings on Instagram with the hashtag #urbanexploration. If you’d like to play along, let us know how to follow YOU on Instagram in the comments below. Happy hunting!