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How to Unlock Your Best Life: Move The Fuck Out!

If you've been reading any of my recent blog posts, a consistent theme has surely cropped up and that has been the desire for me to have my own place to live. A few weeks ago, I actually signed a lease on a new studio apartment - for real.

Nestled in a lovely Stepford-esque neighborhood just south of where I work in Lowertown, this ground level unit is running me less than $700 a month and has freshly painted white walls, newly refinished floors, surround sound speakers and well....excellent water pressure. Because that's important.

Last weekend, I started moving in and it was an adventure:

One member of my moving party cancelled on me the morning of - due to a hangover - and while I was initially bummed at not having her large SUV at my disposal, I made the best of the situation in order to move 80% of my personal belongings via two car trips. A huge shout-out to my cousin and her boy for the assist. And a special thank you to Angie who was battling a hangover of her own and …

52 Self Discovery Questions - Question #6

6. How do I feel about my personality type?
First things first. What is my personality type?

I've taken a good number of the free versions of the Myers-Briggs Type assessment, but it wasn't until I had the opportunity to take the full version at my old workplace that I was able to really unlock just how my brain works. See, I'd always clocked in as INTJ - and that felt pretty on the mark.

I'm definitely the most introverted of all the introvert types, I am definitely on the analytical side, I prefer dealing with logic over emotion, and I need to have all the pieces of a puzzle in place before I can make an informed decision.

Lo and behold, the full assessment pegged me as INTP. Okay, a little off the mark, but they can't be that different, right?

Turns out, they are - but mostly in their dominant and secondary functions - and I'm not going to bore you with those details. You can read all about INTJ versus INTP if you're interested. As I read more deeply abo…

52 Self Discovery Questions - Question #5

5. What is my life’s purpose?

How does anyone answer this question?

Better still, does my life need to have a purpose? Can't I simply exist, taking it all in, with no greater aim? But then, that would become my purpose in life, wouldn't it? Ahhhh the paradox!

No, but truthfully I've always kind of envied those individuals who knew exactly what they wanted to do with their life and what they were all about. They moved with purpose...every action taken was a step towards something meaningful to them.

I've never had that. I used to flit from dream career to dream career, but never really put any effort into working on achieving any of them. I guess I knew all along that most of my "passions" were fleeting. I've never been truly driven to accomplish anything...

Until quite recently, actually.

You see, I had this novel idea (quite literally) that had been stewing in my brain for years, and it wasn't until I made the commitment to participate seriously in la…

52 Self Discovery Questions - Question #4

4. What are the operating principles of my life?
I had to think about what this question was really asking for a moment... and I've concluded that it's about my personal operating system. What are the principles that guide my life and my behavior, what are the values that I live consistently, etc.

There are a lot of principles I like to think I'm abiding by consistently, but let's be real - I'm probably not. So after careful examination, here are the key components to the operating system of my life:

Autonomy

I am my own person. I wasn't always though - I spent a good number of years living in the shadow of others, in service to their goals and dreams instead of my own. I turned 30 a few years ago and it sort of woke me up to how much time I've been wasting living other people's lives. I needed to make some changes and start pursuing what *I* wanted and live how I want to live.

It's still scary, for someone like me who has always had social anxiety a…

Subscription Boxes I Want To Try

I'm a subscription box enthusiast - I've used both Ipsy and Birchbox - and there's no greater feeling in the world than seeing a nicely bundled care package waiting on your doorstep after work! Sadly, I had to cancel all my subscription boxes a while back because finances were too tight to justify them.

With a new job(s) and a new apartment where rent is significantly cheaper, I may be able to indulge one more, but I'm limiting myself to just ONE. The boxes below are the ones I'm most interested in trying - maybe one will strike your fancy too!

Inspire Me Korea

Inspire Me Korea is a Korean Cultural Box that ships worldwide for just $31 a month and features a variety of Korean goods - like skincare products, snack items, and Kpop memorabilia. It's perfect for the Korean enthusiast who is already hooked on K-dramas (like me!) and wants to delve just a bit deeper without buying an expensive plane ticket just yet.



Tokyo Treat

Tokyo Treat is the box for you if you want …

52 Self Discovery Questions - Question #3

3. What are my most important needs and desires? Does my present life fulfill them?

At my core, I am a very internal being. I live in my head a lot - and to be fair, there's a lot happening in there. From the crafting of entire worlds and characters and story arcs to the simple calculations of how many hours I need to work in a week to make sure I can pay rent, my mind is a very busy place to exist within.

Sometimes I need an escape from that. It's critical to prevent mental burnout. One of my most important needs is having a safe space to exist outside of my head and a way to truly connect to my body in real time. Pilates and yoga are great for that, but there's also a need to find a green space in an otherwise concrete jungle. I need to have ready access to quiet parks - for walking, for reading, for meditating, etc.

Socializing with like-minded individuals and those who don't drain my energy is vital to keeping me firmly rooted in the real world, too.

My current lif…

So you want to teach yourself Japanese? Part Two

What I love about the Duolingo app is that the first thing you learn when you take Japanese lessons is how to read and pronounce Hiragana - the most basic alphabet in Japanese and one you could conceivably use to write entire sentences in Japanese (excluding foreign-borrowed words that are always in Katakana) if you don't know any Kanji.

There are 46 standard Hiragana characters - and essentially, 46 standard sounds to be found in the Japanese language. We'll discuss modified characters/sounds later.*

The first row of Hiragana characters featured here are the vowels and they're the most important to learn. The good news - there's only five of them.

あ - a (pronounced like ah) い - i (pronounced like ee) う - u (pronounced like ooh) え - e (pronounced like eh) お - o (pronounced like oh)

There are a few Japanese words that are comprised only of vowels, such as お (ah-oh) blue and  え (ee-eh) house. Most, however, are comprised of two or more consonant characters.
The next set of Hi…

52 Self Discovery Questions - Question #2

2. What are my most important values and how am I living in ways that are not aligned with my values?

I really value the spirit of travel. I think it's incredibly important to go to new places, meet new people, and learn new things. Within reason, of course. Push your boundaries but don't traumatize yourself, y'know? Take calculated risks.

I hate stagnation. I don't like languishing in one place too long. I don't like being around the same people doing all the same things for years and years on end either. Everything is transient. Everything is temporary - that's what makes the experience so important and precious. I end up taking things for granted that just...won't...leave. I even end up kind of resenting them.

I am not living my best life and it's killing me.

While I enjoy traveling and seeing new things, I also really enjoy having a place that's all my own to come back to. A place for this low spoons* introvert to recharge. I don't have such …

52 Self Discovery Questions - Question #1

1. What matters to me most?
This is probably the best and worst question to begin with because it's going to set the stage for the following 51, isn't it? And it's a scary question to answer honestly, because I feel like it's one that could incite a lot of unfavorable judgement. What "matters" to us carries moral weight, especially in our own minds. For those who feel that family matters the most to them, my answer might grate on their nerves a bit. For those who insist that adventure and exploration are most important, my take might leave them a bit baffled.

However, in the spirit of getting to know ME and allowing you to see this journey with me, I will strive to be as honest and open as I can. *It's important to note that our values shift and realign a lot in life, so while this may be true for me now it's all prone to change in the future.*

So, what matters the most to me?

The short answer: Freedom.

The long answer: The ability to live my life on m…

What I've Been Watching - Netflix Edition

I promise this is going to throw 90% of you for a loop, but for those 10% who get me - you won't be surprised at anything on this list. Without further ado, these are the five most recent Netflix series I've been bingeing.

1. A Korean Odyssey


Quite possibly the 1,000th retelling of the Chinese novel Journey to the West (or Xiyou Ji), A Korean Odyssey follows monkey king Son O-gong's trials as he attempts regain his rightful place in the heavens. On earth and imprisoned, he comes across Samjang - a human chosen by the gods to save the world. At first he wants to eat her, but with the help of a magic bracelet that makes him fall in love with her, the two slowly agree to team up to deal with the supernatural forces threatening to destroy it all.

I love modern retellings that put their own cultural spin on the story, and this did not disappoint! It honestly had everything - from ancient feuds, k-pop stars that are actually monsters, cute zombies, and a tearjerker ending. 9/10 …

52 Self-Discovery Questions - Blog Challenge

Starting in May, I will embark on a quest to get to know myself a little bit better - using Sandra's 52 Deep Questions from Always Well Within. Each week I will be answering one question, in depth, in order to truly unearth how I feel about that question and what my answer says about me.

I went down quite a rabbit hole to find this new blogging challenge - and I'm glad I did. So a huge thanks to both Always Well Within and The Wonder Forest for leading me to this fun idea.

Are you interested in this blogging challenge? Try it with me! Below are all the questions:

What matters to me most? What are my most important values and how am I living in ways that are not aligned with my values?What are my most important needs and desires? Does my present life fulfill them?What are the operating principles of my life?What is my life’s purpose?How do I feel about my personality type? What are my personal gifts?Which three words describe me best?What's one thing I would like to do more…

I didn't shave my legs for all of April - and the world didn't end.

The sun is shining, temperatures are steadily creeping past 50 degrees each day, and there are (finally) no more snowstorms in the foreseeable forecast - spring has arrived in Minnesota. For real this time.

And with spring comes a whole slew of lifestyle and beauty articles about how to get your legs ready for spring and summer dresses. From dry brushing, shower exfoliation, body oils, and even self-tanning recommendations, there's no shortage in advice on how to make sure your legs are gleaming like the sun.

I'm a contrarian(n.) - so naturally I've decided to shuck all of that advice. I didn't shave my legs for the entirety of April. Nope. Not once.

And the world did not, in fact, end.

From top to bottom:

Outfit #1 - leopard blouse, black jeans, ankle boots
Outfit #2 - cream moto jacket, tie-front t-shirt, striped cropped pant, cheetah flats
Outfit #3 - grey damask turtleneck, chambray dress, black leggings, velvet combat boots
Outfit #4 - mustard yellow sweater, blue…