Friday, March 20, 2015

Springtime Magic: A Spell for the Equinox

     Hello my fine young friends. If you haven't heard, today is the vernal equinox! Waddup, springtime? We missed you! In light of this fabulous time of change and renewal, I wanted to share with you all a little spell I am planning on casting this evening. It's also worth noting that as well as being the vernal equinox, today is also the day of a total solar eclipse and super moon. This is a very magical time indeed! 

     The spell I'm sharing with you today has less to do with any formal pagan or Wiccan sect of practice, and more so to do with my own inventions and dabblings. Without further ado:

What You Will Need: 
- A piece of paper
- A flame or fire
- A glass of water
- A delicious food

1. Tear the piece of paper in half. On one half, write down three things you would like to cast off. These may be negative thoughts or beliefs, unhealthy relationships, or bad habits that no longer serve you. 
2. Hold the paper over the flame or toss it in the fire and watch it burn. While you watch, allow your mind to cleanse itself of the things you wrote down. 
3. Allow your mind a short healing break after the paper has completely burnt. Drink a glass of water and allow your mind to rest and wander. 
4. After you finish the glass of water, take the second piece of paper and write down three things you want to create, renew, or manifest. These may be relationships, healthy beliefs or habits, success in work or school. Really think about these things and get specific. 
5. Place the paper where you can see it and eat your yummy food. With each bite, enjoy the taste of the food, and then imagine enjoying one of the things you wrote on the paper. With each bite, focus on a different thing. Imagine how happy and grateful you feel to have whatever that thing is. 
6. After you finish your dessert, put the paper somewhere you will see it and focus on your desires whenever you see it. 

        Spring is a great time for this kind of spell because of the renewing and creative energy at this time. The equinox is also a good time to request and enact change, since the seasons are changing as well. 
       It is important to note the setting you cast your spell in. Try to do it somewhere you feel safe and happy. I like to do spells in my room or a friend's room with candles burning, or in a place in the woods  that I feel particularly connected to. I hope you enjoy the spell! Have a magical springtime!
photos: 1, 2

Monday, March 16, 2015

How to Smash the Capitalist Patriarchy: Love Yourself!!

          Hey everybody! Let's talk about how to smash the capitalist patriarchy! The capitalist patriarchy, as many well know, is an oppressive force that each of us is living under and being oppressed by each and every day. And it sucks. So, let's liberate ourselves, shall we?

 (Disclaimer: I am in no way a certified economist or sociologist or anything-ist, these are just my ideas based on my life experiences and observations as well as books I've read, classes I've taken, and other sources. My explanations are somewhat simplistic, so I encourage you to look for more information on the topics discussed below if you so choose).

         First, a little context: capitalism and our consumer culture here in the Western world are constantly trying to persuade us to buy, buy, buy. Advertising is specifically targeted to our insecurities, convincing us that although we're not that great now, we can be if we buy this jacket/that motorcycle/ that stand mixer, etc… and our life will be so much better and we will be so much happier, yay! Sounds familiar, right? It's bullshit. First of all, having stuff doesn't make you happy. In fact, it's been proven that buying more stuff actually makes you miserable. Second, the fact that advertising constantly feeds off our insecurities and tells us we're not good enough is not only scary and cruel, but a voice we must block out in order to liberate ourselves. Western culture convinces each of us that we are not good enough for a very specific reason. To turn a profit. Because capitalism, especially the way it's applied now, dictates that money, and gain, are more important than people, than human wellbeing! And that is crap! We must realize that every industry is whispering in every ear, realize that our insecurity is their profit.

        So, that's how capitalism screws with your self-esteem, but what about the patriarchy? What could possibly be harmful about hetero-normativity and rules and gender roles? Well, today I'm really only touching on the tip of the iceberg, but basically, the patriarchy dictates certain roles and characteristics that belong to each gender, which means this system oppresses women, men, and non-binary people and other individuals. This system demands conformity and punishes any exceptions to the rule. This systemic oppression and devaluation negatively affects pretty much everybody, though the negative effects are more heavily concentrated on some groups than others (i.e. white heterosexual males vs. black homosexual females). While we're talking about the patriarchy, we could bring in all those factors of race, class, and gender to really stir things up, but let's just keep it simple and say this: the patriarchy sucks. It's keeping you down and forcibly lowering your self-esteem by devaluing your individual identity.

        Ultimately we come to see that our own individual insecurities, at least in part, all stem from the same source. The Capitalist Patriarchy. Which is why it's time to smash it.

      "But how?!!?", I hear you cry. By loving yourself! Loving yourself is not only a good idea that feels nice, it is an act of subversion! One of my favorite quotes reads thus: 

“The greatest radical move that any person can make in this present world is to be themselves and not assimilate.”

                                                                     - Cathy Cooper

       I didn't truly understand the wisdom behind that quote until I realized that our culture is trying so hard to make each of us hate ourselves, both for economic gain and cultural conformity. The most powerful way to take action against these systems of oppression is to love yourself, fully, deeply, and completely. That means that you express yourself fully, despite the opinions of others. That means you ignore advertising and form your own ideas of what a good life, good wealth, and good health look like, and you pursue those ideas, because you deserve them. That means you also accept and embrace your appearance, your personality, and your behaviors as being awesome and perfect, as long as you think so, and no matter what the media/other people/outside pressures might say. 

      While you are doing this, an even greater way to increase your radicalness is through promotion the wellbeing of others as well. Encourage others to love themselves, encourage others to resist the capitalist patriarchy and see their own beauty. If we can all do this, we will not only have a society more devoid of systemic oppression, but also more full of happy people! We will also be less consumptive, since people will be able to resist their urge to buy things to fill the internal emptiness thanks to their newfound self-esteem! 

       So, my friends, this is just one of a myriad of great reasons to love, love, love, LOVE yourself!! If you'd like some tips on how to do so, look at my articles, and make use of a nice google search! Always remember: Self-love is a subversive act! Fuck the system, fight the power, and rock on! 

photos: 1, 2

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Show Yourself Some Love: Make A De-Stresser List

          Hello friends! Lately I've been feeling stressed and sad, between upcoming finals and all my extracurriculars, and I've realized that I really need to become more mindful of how to manage and dissolve this stress and sadness. I started thinking about self-love strategies, and one that I thought of was making a list of simple things to do to uplift yourself. So today, I sat down for a little while and banged this list out, with a little help from this article by Gala Darling. I've provided my list to you below, so that you can get ideas for making your own de-stressed list.
  1. call a friend or family member
  2. dance
  3. work out
  4. make plans to do something fun
  5. turn off your cellphone for as long as you can
  6. turn off your laptop for as long as you can
  7. read a book
  8. read a book outside
  9. put together/try on new outfits
  10. put on an outfit you look nice in and do your makeup
  11. do an assignment ahead of time
  12. leave a day in the future unscheduled so you can look forward to it
  13. go to a quiet place and do your work for as long as you can
  14. try a Pinterest project
  15. go for a long walk by yourself
  16. go to the beach alone
  17. go to the beach with a friend
  18. talk to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while
  19. watch an episode of  a TV show that relaxes you and makes you feel good (my absolute favorite for this is Gilmore Girls!)
  20. ask one of your friends to come over and give you a hug, or go to their house
  21. think of all the things and possibilities you are grateful for
  22. go over your calendar and make sure it’s up to date, then reward yourself with reading or a video (or whatever you like)
  23. go through your email and delete stuff for 30 minutes, then reward yourself with reading or a video
  24. go downtown by yourself and hang out in a cafe or a bookshop
  25. do something you’ve been procrastinating on
  26. do something you’re afraid of doing but also want to do
  27. write notes to ten of your friends telling them how much you love them
  28. clean your space
  29. review your goals and see if your can work on something
  30. write in your ideas journal for 20 minutes. if you don't have one, start one!
  31. stretch for 20 minutes
  32. moisturize your whole body
  33. do a yoga or zumba class on youtube
  34. try meditating for 5 minutes
  35. try a guided meditation
  36. write multiple lists of everything you want. Material possessions, relationships, work, lifestyle, everything. Pin them up by your door so you see them all the time. - Gala Darling
  37. get something nice for yourself on Etsy 
  38. write a letter to your future self
  39. journal for 30 minutes
  40. make a patch.
  41. make a drawing
  42. write a blog post
  43. cast a spell for self love and good fortune
  44. give someone a compliment that is not about physical appearance 
  45. make a list of the things you want to do to celebrate the upcoming season. - Gala Darling
  46. write down a dream you had, and look up its supposed meaning. 
  47. listen to music you don’t normally
  48. go to a place people walk their dogs and hang out with fuzzy friends
  49. watch funny videos of Bill Hader and Chris Farley
  50. do the inversion method to see if it works!!
  51. do a journal prompt
  52. list all the good things that have happened to you in the past week
  53. do something nice for someone else. 
  54. work on an individual wellness plan

         Now that you've seen my list, I hope it can help you generate your own ideas for taking care of yourself and making yourself feel better. For a little more help, google self-care tips or something similar. There are plenty of ideas out there. 

         Once you've created your de-stressed list, you must implement it. This can be done in several ways. One idea I like is writing all these suggestions down on pieces of paper and putting them in a box or jar. When you feel really sad or stressed, get the jar and pull out a slip of paper, then perform the action the piece of paper suggests. Another good idea is to implement a 30 Day Challenge, which is what I've decided to do. Doing a 30 day challenge is a good option if you're feeling super stressed and really want to implement some goodness into you everyday life. The way I built my 30 day challenge was by plugging this list into a random number generator until I had 30 choices picked out. So, here is my 30 day challenge:

Day 1: dance

Day 2: go downtown by yourself and hang out in a cafe or a bookshop

Day 3: make a list of the things you want to do to celebrate the upcoming season

Day 4: go to a place people walk their dogs and hang out with fuzzy friends

Day 5: write a letter to your future self

Day 6: go over your calendar and make sure it’s up to date, then reward yourself with reading or a video (or whatever you like)

Day 7: go through your email and delete stuff for 30 minutes, then reward yourself with reading or a video

Day 8: write multiple lists of everything you want. Material possessions, relationships, work, lifestyle, everything. Pin them up by your door so you see them all the time.

Day 9: watch an episode of  a TV show that relaxes you and makes you feel good (my absolute favorite for this is Gilmore Girls!)

Day 10: cast a spell for self love and good fortune

Day 11: do something you’re afraid of doing but also want to do

Day 12: write down a dream you had, and look up its supposed meaning

Day 13: put on an outfit you look nice in and do your makeup

Day 14: do an assignment ahead of time

Day 15: make a patch

Day 16: work on a piece for Rookie

Day 17: leave a day in the future unscheduled so you can look forward to it

Day 18: Do the inversion method to see if it works!!

Day 19: ask one of your friends to come over and give you a hug, or go to their house

Day 20: go to the beach alone

Day 21: write a blog post

Day 22: turn off your cellphone for as long as you can

Day 23: put together/try on new outfits

Day 24: try meditating for 5 minutes

Day 25: read a book outside

Day 26: make a drawing

Day 27: list all the good things that have happened to you in the past week

Day 28: work on an individual wellness plan

Day 29: clean your space

Day 30: try a Pinterest project

     I'll let you guys know how it goes in an upcoming post! Hopefully you all find this helpful :)

Images from tumblr

Monday, February 23, 2015

Guest Post: DIY Crystal Circlet from Viva La DIY!!!

Hey everyone! Today I am so so excited to feature this awesome guest post tutorial on how to make a crystal circlet, made by Jazmin from Viva La DIY! Read on and create awesomeness with her!

Hello all, it’s me Jazmin of Viva La DIY!
If you’re anything like me, you are constantly finding inspiration for DIY projects everywhere! One thing I have been really marveled by recently are crowns and circlets. These beauts are exquisite yet pricey. So when I discovered just how expensive they are, I knew that I would DIY my own version.
I really enjoyed how my circlet turned out. I can really feel the female energy from the stones!
Amazonite (also known as green feldspar) is considered to have many healing properties, such as relieving headaches, has a calming effect and helps with mood swings. Amazonite is also believed to possess a female energy.
Rose quartz is believed to help relieve pain and considered to strengthen friendships and relationships because it opens the mind to beautiful things.
First, explore various types of styles and designs to consider. While preparing I looked at many different styles including Elvin, Medieval, Bohemian, and Steampunk. I wanted it to look nature inspired but, not too avant-garde. So I finally decided I wanted something simplistic with an Elvin/Bohemian aesthetic.
This is just what I choose. You are free to follow these techniques along with your own design. It is completely up to you, choose what is best for you and your budget.
  • Measuring tape
  • 20 gauge wire
  • 12 gauge wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Other jewelry pliers are a plus (My husband wraps stones so I used some of his tools.)
  • Crystal beads and stones (I used real amazonite and rose quartz, but plastic ones are fine.)

Step 1:
Measure your head and add 2 inches.
(My head measures 22 inches, plus 2 for total length of 24 inches.)
Step 2:
Cut your 12 gauge wire equal to the total length of this measurement. Repeat for a total of 4 pieces.
Step 3:
Take 2 pieces of wire and intertwine them together by holding the ends and twist like a candy wrapper. Repeat for a second strand.

Step 4:
Take both strands and twist them 2 inches from the end.

Step 5:
Make your first loop approximately 1 inch from where you left off. Use your thumb to hold between the loop and twist twice to secure in place.

Step 6:
Similarly, make second loop approximately 2 inches in length.

Step 7:
Continue to make a third loop approximately 3/4 of an inch in length.

Step 8:
Now make a fourth loop of about 3 inches in length.

Note: To preserve symmetry, subsequently repeat the loop sequence.
Step 9:
Respectively repeat step 7, 6, and  5. Then twist the remaining wire and fold  over the ends so that no sharp wire sticks out.

Step 10:
Twine the largest center front loop strands around themselves until taut.
Again, I used my thumb to twist the wire like a candy wrapper.

Note: Reference Make a Tiara, Threadbanger Project to learn how to play with the beads and make interesting shapes.
Step 11:
Thread your bead(s) with 12 gauge wire.

Step 12:
Wrap any loose stones with 20 gauge wire.
Note: Since rough cut stones are easier to wrap than polished stones, I recommend using rough cut stones for beginners.

Step 13:
Secure your bead(s) and stones in place as you find aesthetically pleasing.

Step 14: Add any final touches and you are finished.

Have fun, hope you have a blast making your own!
Thanks again to Dulce and Jazmin for this awesome DIY tutorial. I really encourage you guys to peruse their links above and check them out; they are truly inspiring!
Happy circlet-making!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New Year's Resolutions 2015

      Hello my beautiful friends, today I am sharing something long overdue: my New Year's resolutions! In truth, it always takes me a while to put them together as well as to really test them out, so as to ensure that they truly reflect my needs, desires, and dreams for the coming year. With each passing  year my resolutions also become more of a living document, since the year often brings changes, and my resolutions need to adapt to those. For more of my own advice on writing New Year's resolutions and really just on forming goals in general, see my article How to Set Cool Goals!
     Now, without further ado, here are my resolutions for 2015:

Self Love
  • Speak up for myself more often (communicate my needs)
  • Listen to myself and discover my needs and wants (work on this once a week)
  • Live by the Four Agreements
  • Be dessert free unless I bake it or it’s a special occasion
  • Exercise everyday in a proactive way (running, dancing for over 45 minutes, a PE class, workouts, or a hike)

Time Management (an addition to the Self Love Category)
  • Work on my own personal development and have more me time (an hour and a half every day)
  • Do homework (including all reading) and Take Back the Tap stuff everyday 
  • Use my planner and schedule every day 
  • Consider summer travel and internship options

Fun Stuff
  • Get involved with the Kresge Garden (take Garden Internship)
  • Figure out my major
  • Do 12 things on the bucket list: 1 a month
  • Go to Maui for spring break!


  • Save $2,500 
  • Keep track of my budget every month
  • Make $300 from my Etsy shop in profit by the end of the year (keep track of expenses and gains on a spreadsheet)(that’s $25 a month)
    Nothing terribly interesting or exciting (although I am pretty stoked to go to Maui, I found out I'm going for sure yesterday!). Mostly I'm just focusing on promoting and developing habits that are more conducive to a good and productive life. This, as it turns out, is an integral part of the mini-adult stage of life I currently find myself in. As you can see, I broke things up into categories, something that really helps me organize my thoughts when I'm setting goals. Try it! It may help you as well! 
    As I mentioned before, these resolutions are ultimately a draft, growing and changing with me as the year progresses. I will be chronicling the adventures and outcomes of these resolutions, so stay tuned! Good luck to you in the New Year!

Photo by Susan Blase

Friday, January 23, 2015

It's Okay to Feel Sad: Thoughts on Dealing with Feels

 Hello there, everyone.  Recently, I've been experiencing some more emotionally difficult times. While on the one hand, it sucks, on the other, it's given me a lot of great insights into myself and my life, and I can happily say that I am steadily recovering. 

       Today I want to discuss how one deals with sadness. It seems as though our culture does not provide many tools for acceptance and understanding of negative feelings, so I hope you will find this post a helpful resource for accomplishing these things. I'm not a psychologist or a therapist, but I can speak from my own experience. 

       One thing I realize that is most helpful when dealing with sadness, or any negative feeling really, is just feeling that feeling, very deeply. In fact, depending on whatever you are dealing with and whatever event or experience, or a combination of a few of those, has made you upset, you may be dealing with a whole wicked range of feeling. These might range from shame to anger to grief to everything in between. That is totally ok. Just let yourself feel those feelings, to the fullest depths that you can. When I am doing this, sometimes I cry for pretty much entire days. If you want to do that too and you think it will help, there is absolutely no shame in that! 

      Try to devote a non-busy day or weekend to this process. Definitely allow yourself time to just feel. You don't have to journal or analyze your feelings or even think about them at all, just let them happen, and let your urges dictate your actions. If you want to scream, cool. If you want to punch something, great. If you want to curl up into a tiny ball on your bed under your covers and whimper like a depressed puppy, go for it. Heck, do all three. Feel your feelings and let them out. 

       After a period of time spent doing this, you may either begin to feel like you no longer feel the feelings you were dealing with, or you may begin to understand that you can feel them without them being overwhelming and dictating your actions, like you were letting them do earlier. This is kind of a coming-down experience from the peak in the emotional roller coaster.

       This is a good time to discuss and observe your feelings. There are many ways you can do this. What I like to do best for this stage is spend equally large amounts of time either talking to others about how I feel, or hanging out by myself, preferably in nature, the place I feel most comfortable. When I am  alone, I spend a lot of time thinking about my feelings and trying to understand them. I sift through all the emotions I am feeling. I try to gather up every one of them, and then I go through them, one by one, and determine all the possible reasons I could feel that particular emotion. Journalling is also often a helpful way to do this, as is talking with others, as I mentioned earlier. Other people who care about you and who are good listeners can be especially helpful in helping you understand and even mitigate your negative feelings. 

       The ultimate reason for most my feelings, and the conclusion I often come to, is the feeling that I am inadequate, that I am not good enough. This belief can manifest itself as an emotional experience in a hundred different ways. 

        For example, let's say a friend insults you, or does something rude. You are surprised and upset. You probably feel angry at the person who did it, and also sad that they would do something like that. Maybe you feel sad because you think you deserved what they did, or because they think you deserved it. Maybe you think that you deserved it because you think that you are not good enough. 

       This is not the best example, but it does show how you can see a connection between each emotion. With each feeling you come across, simply ask why you feel that way. Eventually you will find an answer that you can no longer question, and this will usually be a deep-rooted belief, one such as I am not good enough.

       Well, guess what honey? You are good enough!You are beautiful and perfect and unique in your own special way. You have not been treated the way you truly deserve. What you truly deserve is love, happiness, kindness, and compassion. I promise. 
        Even if you cannot fully grasp the above concept (goodness knows I have trouble with it), just finding the true root of your troubles, the belief that causes your negative feelings, is comforting in itself. Now you know what you must change, in order to feel better. You must work on that belief, and take it from limiting and depressing, to limitlessly positive. 

        These times of clarity are great, and for me, they are definitely the silver lining of sadness. However, often they will slip from our mind as daily life takes over again. Do your best to remember what you have learned about yourself, but also allow yourself to feel negative feelings. It's still okay to be sad. Just know that you can recover. 

        It's perfectly okay to go through this process more than once. I go through it extremely often, sometimes on a daily basis. 

        What I want to leave you with is the understanding that it's ok, and perfectly human, to feel less than 100%, whether something bad happened to you or you just feel lonely or upset, seemingly for no reason. Allow yourself to acknowledge these feelings and address your emotional needs without shame. We are all human. We all cry. So it's okay if you do it too. 

Images: 12

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

An Open Letter to the Universe

    As the year comes to a close, I want to take some time to be thankful for everything the universe and powers that be have given me. 2014 has been an amazing year full of radical changes, and in many ways this year has given me exactly what I have needed to keep growing and changing and healing. I am vastly grateful for everything life has brought to me this year. So, without further ado:

Dear Universe, 

Thank you so much for 2014. This year I was granted many opportunities for change. I was able to get a job, take on a leadership position in a school organization, leave an unhealthy relationship, cut my hair short, and make many new and very valuable friendships. 
I am especially thankful for my friends and family. I am so happy to have the pleasure of knowing so many inspiring and heartwarming people, and I’m very happy to be close to quite a few of them. My friends are all extremely special people and add to my happiness in immeasurable ways. Also, my parents are awesome. They’ve given me everything I have, and I am so glad that two people as good as them are the people that raised me. Thank you for the people in my life!
I’m also very grateful for all the learning opportunities that have been given to me this year. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge about environmental and social issues, and I’ve also had opportunities to get involved with both. I got my first “real” job this year, and have learned a lot about what that means to me (it’s pretty great having money). I learned a lot of new technical skills and got the chance to really deepen and improve my art practice, which has been super fun! I’ve actually produced a lot of art in general this year, which has made me feel really good. I’ve even sold a couple pieces! I’ve also made a lot of mistakes this year, and luckily none have been too harmful, but they have all provided me with learning opportunities that are continuing to help me figure out the guidelines I want my adult life to operate under(more on that in an upcoming post). Thank you so much for all of these opportunities. 
I’ve also done a lot of really cool and fun things this year, including: skinny-dipping in the ocean in the middle of the night, learning how to do cool makeup, finding a tree-swing in the middle of the forest, going to the Catalyst with friends, going on tons of night-walks, hosting dinner parties, learning to make books, getting to know more about Santa Cruz, making friends with adults (older adults), teaching art to a little girl, reading and learning a LOT, getting to know my parents better, hanging out with kids, finding a beach cave, and just getting to know/hanging out with awesome people who I really like. I’m so grateful that I’ve had all these experiences. I’m so happy that I’m able-bodied and outgoing, because those two things have really helped me experience a lot!

Another thing I’m very grateful for is UCSC! I realized today that this is really the only college I would ever want to go to. This place is awesome! There are so many friendly people with so many interests and backgrounds and stories to tell. Additionally, there are so many cool opportunities and things to get involved with. I’m very privileged to be able to receive a college education, and I am even more lucky that I get to do it at a place like UCSC. 
I’m so grateful for the beautiful planet I live on. I’m grateful for all the people that live on it, and all the people I get to meet someday. I’m grateful for all the places I’ll get to visit. I’m so happy that there are beautiful forests and oceans, and animals that no one has ever seen. I’m so glad there are big cities and small towns and all different kinds of cultures. I’m so grateful for ART! Art helps me make sense of everything when nothing makes sense. I’m extremely grateful for music, and I’m really glad I’m a good dancer; dancing is the best thing I can do with my body. 
I’m super grateful for my brain! I’m so glad I’m a (generally) smart person and I’m so happy I have the ability to generate so many creative and interesting ideas and bring new projects to life. 
Lastly, the thing I’m probably most grateful for is the way life continues to unfold for me. I definitely do not feel like things are stagnant, but instead happening at a pace I can keep up with. I feel like the Universe is looking out for me. I’m so happy with the way I’m developing and changing as a person, and I feel like I’m heading in a very good direction with my life. I’m grateful for the realization that continually hits me: I can do anything I want with my life. There is literally nothing stopping me! Which is awesome! I’m so, so grateful for that freedom, and for the fact that so many amazing possibilities are available to me in my life. 
Thank you so much, Universe (or who/whatever is in charge here). You have given me so much to be grateful for. Sometimes I feel upset and small, but knowing how much life has granted me makes me feel so good. Life is really magical if you think about it. Thank you for that. 

Love always, 

Honestly, that letter could have gone on for days, there is so much to be grateful for!! So, a little food for thought: what are you grateful for? I encourage you to reflect back on this year and think about all the good things that you have been granted. 

I wish you all a very happy holiday season. Take care, and let the Universe know you love it!