Currently | October

Kelsey, Especially

LOVING | the globe lights I strung across the ceiling in my bedroom last night.

DREAMING | up a thousand new possibilities for this space.

DROWNING | in homework, but…

ENJOYING | the material being covered in my classes.

EATING | an ice cream cone packed with mint chocolate chip ice cream every night before bed.

DRINKING | mug after mug of hot chocolate each morning at my desk at work. My office is seriously the coldest. It’s like the Arctic Tundra in here.

HOPING | to accomplish my goal of having all the kids’ Christmas shopping done BEFORE Thanksgiving.

SLEEPING | with the windows open.

SQUEEZING | in as many workouts outside as possible before the weather disallows it.

BINGING | on episodes of Homeland and the Newsroom, but…

STRUGGLING | to get back into Homeland now that *SPOILER ALERT * Brody’s dead. It just isn’t the same.

STUDYING | my ass off for the GRE. November 20th is right around the corner.

THINKING | a lot about 30th birthday. It’s still a year and a half-ish away, but I’m dreaming up something awesome for it. More to come in a few weeks.

PLANNING | my approach to December Daily and Project Life for 2015. I’ve never participated in DD; I’m a little nervous about where to take it but also excited for a new creative challenge. And I’m hashing out a ideas for new approaches to PL in 2015.

PREPPING | memory cards and camera batteries for something fun that I have planned for the kids for this weekend.

KEEPING | said “something fun” a secret from you guys for now, but planning to share it on the blog soon.

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Happy Weekend everyone. Catch you back here next week.

…if my brain is still functioning after all the papers I have to write over the next 48 hours.

Just do it

Remember a hundred years ago when I asked you guys if you’d be interested in reading fitness-y posts and a bunch of you were like “HELL YEAH!” and then you never heard from me on the topic again? Oops. I had every intention of dishing out information, advice, and tips right away but then I managed to sneak back into school this semester at the last second and life got in the way. WOMP. Good news is: if you’re looking for some workout tips from yours truly, today’s your day.

Get off your ass // Kelsey, Especially

For the past few months I’ve had a billion workout-related post ideas floating around my head. How to establish a workout routine. My thoughts on the FitBit. A peek inside my gym bag. Equipment and clothing recommendations. Workouts that I do at home (and that you can, too!). Blah blah blah. I keep meaning to write these posts, but I keep getting caught up with homework and work-work and four episodes of Homeland in a row. I’M SORRY, OKAY?!

A big part of working out is making it a priority (so that it becomes habit). And if I’m telling all of you to make exercise a priority then I have to make writing these posts for you a priority. Right? Right. I have no idea where to start with them, though, so I guess I’m going to just start? Which is fitting, considering that’s my first tip for y’all.

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JUST DO IT | Seriously. Just start. Take a lap around your neighborhood. Break out a jump rope and challenge yourself to complete 100 revolutions unbroken(or 50 or 250, depending on your jump rope skils). Keep trying until you get it. Bust out 5 sit-ups every time you mess up. It’ll add a little extra oomph to your workout and motivate you to complete those revolutions unbroken. Do 25 burpees for time. Tomorrow, do 30. Knock out 10 pushups every hour on the hour. Whatever you do, make sure you’re doing it properly (form and technique are key) but do something. Get yourself in the habit. We can work on tweaking and fine-tuning an exact regimen later.

WORKOUT IN THE MORNING | I have a more in-depth post on this topic on deck for next week so stay tuned. But in the mean time, start figuring out how you can make time for fitness in the morning. Start going to bed a little earlier so you can wake up a little earlier. Break out your old running shoes from the back of the closet. Get yo’ mind right.

NEVER TAKE MORE THAN 2 DAYS OFF | This is especially important in the beginning while you’re still establishing exercise as a habit, but it’s a good rule of thumb to follow even after working out has become routine. I’ve been working out for years and I still follow this rule religiously. I usually only take one day off at a time because if I take more than two days in a row off, I’m mentally disconnected from the routine of working out and it’s really, really hard to get started again, even though I love working out. No bullshit.

ALWAYS WORKOUT ON MONDAY & FRIDAY | When I start my week with a workout, it’s easier for me to keep up the routine consistently throughout the week. And when I start the weekend with a Friday workout, it helps keep my mind focused on it. Not to mention, working out floods your body with feel-good endorphins – how could you not want to start and end the week on a high note?! Also, if you follow the “never take more than 2 days off” rule, working out on a Friday means you can take both weekend days off from exercise without feeling guilty…as long as you turn around a get your ass into gear for Monday.

DON’T EXPECT IT TO BE EASY | If you’re not a fan of fitness, or if you’ve been out of the game for a while, making fitness a habitual priority isn’t going to be easy. Know that going in and you’re already ahead of the curve. Having a motivator to start working out is great, but figure out what motivates you to keep going (maybe it’s the same thing) and you’ll have a hard time failing.

DON’T REWARD YOURSELF WITH (SHITTY) FOOD | Figure out what works for you as long as it isn’t all the food with the ingredients you can’t pronounce that you just threw out. Seriously. I’ve never understood this concept. I think it’s completely counterintuitive and a horrible “tip” that’s given way too frequently. If you have the money for it, schedule a sports massage at the end of your first full month of working out. Or splurge on a new pair of tennis shoes to replace your old pair that has the soles that are falling off. Buy yourself an adult-sized jump rope so you can stop using your kid’s super short rope and finally get those 100 revolutions unbroken. Honestly though, the way working out makes your body and mind feel will probably be enough. It should be enoughIf it’s not and you find that you need to constantly motivate yourself with a bag of Cheetos or a Big Mac – that you’re consistently justifying shitty eating habits by telling yourself it’s okay because you worked out today – then you’re not ready to do this yet. Come back when your head is in the right place.

The struggle is real

The scent of a lit cigarette is unmistakable. Thick, hot, dominating, offensive. It envelops whoever – whatever – is nearby, turning stale as it lingers in the air; within the threads of your clothes and the strands of your hair; on the surface of your skin and breath.

But the scent of a lit cigarette before it stales is also comforting and enticing; satisfying and good. I have a love/hate relationship with the scent of a lit cigarette. I hate it so much precisely because I love it so much.

Kelsey, Especially

Once upon a time I used to be a smoker. An a-pack-a-day-plus-some smoker. And that’s when I wasn’t drinking (or fucked up on something else), an occasion that increased my need to smoke, and the rate at which I did so, tenfold. I picked up the habit quite on purpose when I was 15 and then dropped it rather suddenly, but with the same intention and determination with which I began it, a decade later.

Shannon asks me all the time if I miss it or not. If I ever get the urge to light up. If I would ever start again.

I tell her: Once upon a time I used to be a smoker. And once upon all the time, I still think about it; crave it; miss it.

I tell her: I live with a smoker and I share an office with a smoker. I’m surrounded by the smell of cigarette smoke all. the. time. I’m tempted to light up every. single. day.

She asks: But what was it that made it so great?

I tell her: Smoking was a way to make new friends. To pass the time. To calm down. And sometimes I feel like if I still smoked I’d be more fun. I’d have more friends. I wouldn’t ever be bored. Nothing would ever stress me out so much that a cigarette couldn’t fix it.

She asks: Do you think the urges will ever go away?

I tell her, definitively: No. I will never not want a cigarette. The habit will continue to tempt and nag me.

She asks: Do you think you’ll ever start again?

I tell her, definitively: No.

She asks: But how do you know?

I tell her:  Because I do.

And she smiles and says: Okay.

And then you read this and maybe you wonder: So why not just give up and give in?

And if you had actually asked I’d say: Because giving up and giving in are not in my nature.

And then maybe you wonder: Well, then why not just one?

And if you had actually asked I’d say: Because it’s never just one.

And then maybe you wonder: So then why not only while drinking?

And if you had actually asked I’d say: Because drinking would turn into a habit, too. Again. Been there. Done that. And I want nothing to do with that more than I ever wanted a single cigarette.

And then maybe you think: Eh. You’ll give in one day.

And if you had actually said that I’d say: Wrong. Temptation is a bitch, but I’m a bigger one.

IMAGE | via

Project Life 2014 | Week 39

Slowly but surely I’m catching up with this project. School is in full swing, and while it’s made me fall behind, it’s also forced me to pull layouts together quickly when I do have the time to sit down and dedicate a few minutes to something non-homework related. Basically, it’s forced me to use all of my time wisely.

Project Life 2014 Week 39 // Kelsey, Especially

WEEK OF | September 22 – 28

Project Life 2014 Week 39 // Kelsey, Especially

WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK | During the week? Not much. Shannon and I had an extra fun weeknight date early in the week. We hit up Bahama Breeze and did more drinking of tropical alcoholic drinks OUT OF A HOLLOWED-OUT PINEAPPLE (!!!) than eating. Which, obviously, is a perfect date night.

Project Life 2014 Week 39 // Kelsey, Especially

ANYTHING SPECIAL THIS WEEK | Um. That photo of all three kids up there. LOL, right? Whatever. I TRIED!

Project Life 2014 Week 39 // Kelsey, Especially

I guess Sunday was special in the sense that we planned a last-minute surprise trip to the zoo that day. When we woke up Sunday morning the weather was just way too nice to hang out at home all day, so we decided early on that we’d hit up the zoo since we hadn’t made it over the summer. It was a big hit.

Project Life 2014 Week 39 // Kelsey, Especially

Madden had been to the zoo once before, but he wasn’t even walking yet. This time around all of the kids were at great ages to fully appreciate it. Also, I was really happy to finally be in some of the photos with the kids. That doesn’t happen often enough.

Project Life 2014 Week 39 // Kelsey, Especially

TECHNIQUES USED THIS WEEK |  Um? Nothing special. Just that “smile” circle card from this freebie set I designed.

Project Life 2014 Week 39 // Kelsey, Especially

OVERALL THOUGHTS | Another “late”/catch-up layout that came together pretty seamlessly – definitely a fan of that.

Project Life 2014 Week 39 // Kelsey, Especially

SUPPLIES USED | PL Photo Pocket Pages Design APaislee Press Week In Review CardsPaislee Press Pictures & Words No. 9Caylee Grey handwritten weekly title cardBig City Quiet B&W Striped card (re-colored and rotated to a diagonal); “smile” circle punch card.

 

MORE PROJECT LIFE

:: 2013
:: 2014

Take note

If you’ve been following along lately, you know that I basically have negative free time. If you haven’t been following along lately, well, now you know that I basically have negative free time. That’s what taking a more-than-full-time course load + work + the rest of life means. Fact of life. I really enjoy school (because I’m a nerd), but I haven’t been particularly excited about it taking over my entire life and leaving me with next to no time for, among other things, creativity (nerd alert, again). So I decided to combine the two. Welcome to my hybrid art journal/homework notes notebook.

Art journaling my homework // Kelsey, Especially

Turns out I’ve been “art journaling” since middle school. I just didn’t know there was an actual term for hybrid notebooks full of handwriting + journaling, sketching + drawing + painting, and collages. The more you know, yeah? (Yeah. Get ready to know more, because this post doubles as a neuroscience lesson…)

Art journaling my homework // Kelsey, Especially

On the first page (above) I used washi tape from a past Studio Calico kit to affix a gorgeous rendition of the brain to the page. The brain, which I printed on vellum, is part of artist Angela Willetts‘s “Inhabited” collection.  It’s really amazing.

Art journaling my homework // Kelsey, Especially

Pages 2 and 3, the first full bleed spread, hold a detailed print-out of the nervous system (for reference) and the phrase “the nervous system” in kraft alpha letters. I left the two “sets” of pages after these blank, and when I have more time I plan to fill the four pages that follow these with details about the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system, and its four subdivisions.

Art journaling my homework // Kelsey, Especially

For now, though, I moved onto the section of the notebook documenting neurons. The title pages for this section are shown above. I splattered black paint on a kraft tag, which I then affixed to the page with washi tap, and the right side page. I used hot pink glitter alpha stickers to spell out “neurons” on the kraft tag, then wrote “the foundation of the nervous system” below the stickers. I really love the look of the splattered paint. It’s not really representative of neurons, but it kind of is and I really think that it just works.

Art journaling my homework // Kelsey, Especially

Next I included a hand-drawn sketch of a neuron. Its basic anatomical features are labeled. The page across from this sketch hold two blocks. The top block holds notes about the different structural features of neurons (unipolar v. bipolar v. multipolar), while the bottom box holds notes about the different functional features of neurons (sensory/efferent neurons, motor/afferent neurons, and interneurons).

Art journaling my homework // Kelsey, Especially

Ah, the Action Potential. A process that I spent years thinking was incredibly difficult and incomprehensible until something this semester just clicked. I won’t bore you with the details, but the analogy using the iPod (representative of a neuron) to describe the process of an Action Potential is what did it for me.

Okayfine, I’ll bore you with the details. But only because I think this analogy is REALLY COOL. If you’re interested, read the two paragraphs below. If not, skip to the next photo.

Action Potentials are necessary in order for neurons to communicate with each other. The Action Potential begins in a neuron’s dendrite, travels along the cell’s axon into the axon terminal, and passes to the receiving neuron. It’s an incredibly quick processes, whereby the electrical charge of the neuron’s membrane changes in order to allow for the transmission of an electrical impulse along its membrane.

…wait, what?

Think of it like this: the body of the iPod – the rectangular portion – is like the soma of the neuron. It is where the ‘brains’ of the system are encased. In this case, the body of the iPod is also representative of the dendrites of a neuron, as it is the portion of the device that receives input. Specifically, the round button on the bottom half of the device (because this is an early generation iPod, duh) is where input is received. In order to select a song, the round button must be pressed hard enough to generate an electrical signal within the device. That is, a predetermined and constant threshold must be exceeded; in this case, it is caused by pressure from your thumb or finger.

Once the threshold has been reached, an electrical signal is generated. In the case of the iPod, the signal travels from the device itself (soma), along the plastic-coated (myelin sheath) earbuds cord (the axon) and into the earbuds (terminal buttons within the axon terminal). The selected song then “synapses” from the earbuds into your auditory system. Badass analogy, amirite?!

Art journaling my homework // Kelsey, Especially

The next spread breaks the Action Potential down a bit. Phases 1 and 2 are documented here: depolarization and repolarization. Again, these are concepts that I was really struggling with “getting” until I wracked my brain for a  good analogy, and had an “AH HA!” moment. Just because I’m really proud of my analogy, I’m sharing it below. Again, read it if you want. Or skip it if you don’t.

In order for an Action Potential to occur, a few things must happen:

  • A stimulus must be strong enough to surpass the threshold level (-55 mV)
  • Voltage-gated Na+ channels that sit along the neuron’s membrane must open
  • Extracellular Na+ ions must rush into the axon via the open voltage-gated Na+ channels along the membrane

HUH?

The occurrence of these factors happen in rapid succession as part of a domino effect: as soon as a stimulus strong enough to surpass the threshold has been generated, the voltage-gated Na+ channels lining the axonal membrane respond to the change in voltage by opening. Once open, the extracellular Na+ ions rush through, flooding into the axon. Remember that the interior of the axon was more negative before positively charged Na+ ions rushed in. Once the positively charged Na+ ions rush in, the intracellular state of the neuron becomes less negative, or more positive. The intracellular voltage increases sharply and exponentially (known as ‘overshooting’). This process is known as depolarization, or the process of reducing the neuron’s polarization (the state of polarity mentioned in the beginning), and can be easily visualized by imagining shoppers on Black Friday.

Imagine sitting outside of Target in the middle of the night on Thanksgiving (Black Friday Eve). Outside of the store is the big crowd that you’re a part of (Na+), waiting for the doors (voltage-gated Na+ channels) to be unlocked so that you can all rush in a try to score the best deal possible on any given product. Inside of the store there are, by comparison to the crowd outside, only a few employees on hand (K+). This dichotomy of less workers inside the store/more shoppers outside the store represents the difference between the less positive charge of the inside of the neuron and the more positive charge of the outside of it.

When the clock hits a predetermined time – the threshold – an employee unlocks the doors and the big crowd of people rush into the store. This is representative of the cell’s threshold being reach and the resulting rushing in of Na+ ions in response to the voltage-gated Na+ channels being unlocked, which itself is a response to the exceeding of the threshold.

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Well. That’s it this time around. I’m kind of jumping into this “Get Messy” thing as a very casual, infrequent participant. Not because I don’t want to participate/contribute regularly, but because I don’t want to commit to doing so when I know I can’t uphold that promise. So. Whenever I have some new pages of notes ready to share – and the time to photograph them and write a post about them – I will. I PROMISE.

And who knows? Y’all might just learn something else new next time! ;)

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