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29 before 30 – The Second Quarter Ploy

29 before 30 challenge - Plans for quarter two

For my 29 before 30 challenge I wanted to work on a quarterly basis. At the beginning of every quarter (going from the 24th to the 23th) I’ll post a list with goals I want to work on specifically in that quarter and at the end of every quarter I’ll give you an update. My second quarter started a couple of weeks ago, so it’s high time I shared my goals for the second part of my 29 before 30 challenge.

Ok, but before you can peek at my goals for this quarter, please take a second to appreciate the illustration I made! I spend two days in Illustrator for this baby and for once I’m fairly happy with what I created. The illustration is also the reason I’m late with these updates. #scaredtostartbecauseofexpectations #drempelvrees

29 before 30 challenge - Plans for quarter two

Now, let’s have a look at my goals for the next three months. I’ve tried being precise, using exact numbers where I could, because this makes actually reaching (or not reaching) easier. If you forgot what my complete 29 before 30 challenge looked like, you can find it here.

29 before 30 challenge - Plans for quarter two

  1. Ecological footprint: I still don’t feel like I’ve informed myself enough, but it’s also time I start taking action. So in the next three months I want to undertake at least 5 concrete steps to consume less. It might be changing all the light bulbs in my house to LED lamps or finally making the re-usable vegetable bags that have been on my to do list for ages.
  2. Lettering: I started with a #100dayalphabet challenge at the beginning of April, but after 20 days I fell of the boat. It’s time to get on again, because I need the daily practise! I also want to digitise five pieces of the 30 Day of Lettering challenge to sharpen my Illustrator skills.
  3. Illustration: In the illustration department I’m also going to be ambitious. I need to get over myself and make that damned cat family illustration. I also want to make the “29 before 30 – quarter 3” illustration before the start of the third quarter. 😉 Ah and create some more illustrations, although I’m not sure which topics I want to cover. Any ideas?
  4. Travel more: I’m going to visit Warsaw with my boyfriend and afterwards I really want to start planning another trip. It needs to be really low-budget though and I’m dreaming of Marrakesh, not sure we can do this for the real cheap.
  5. Garden: In the last year I think I went maybe twice in our garden. It’s a small, wet patch of mud surrounded by a concrete fence. At the moment, it’s completely overgrown (which I secretly like, because birds & bugs love this), but it would also be nice to be able to put, I don’t know, a hammock in there when the weather is nice. So, I’m going to make a plan, figure out which (native, bee loving) plants I need and start making it happen. Ditto for our balcony.
  6. Sewing: A couple of years ago (you can barely see it in the archives) I was really into sewing. I still have all the dresses, skirts and tops I made back then, because #quality. It’s been age though since I made something new, so I want to make a new dress from scratch
  7. Health: I’ve been doing the 5:2 diet for a while, but took a break for a few weeks. It’s time to get back at it though! I also want to do the 30 Day Shred and start doing yoga regularly. Anndd work on my self-esteem/hermit issues. Or at least start figuring out how I’m going to work on these.
  8. House: I started with a make-over of our entryway, which needs to be finished.  The hardest part is stripping the front door and painting it. Other than that it’s putting up decoration, which sometimes takes ages with us.
  9. Random: Finding a good breakfast spot in Ghent and finally making a video (of at least 3 minutes) are also on my list this quarter. Along with the usual “keeping up with reading, watching new series and seeing new movies”.
  10. Side-hustle: This is going to take a big chunk of my time, because I’m trying to set up a full time hustle. It’s scaring the shit out of me + makes me feel very lost, because this was not The Plan. So I’m going to design a collection for Studio Maddy and make a basic branding for that blog. I intend to release the first collection by the end of the quarter. This is also why I feel I need to be really ambitious with the lettering and illustration goals, because keeping the pressure on makes me more productive.

There you have it, my ambitious planning for this second quarter of my 29 before 30 challenge. I’m all good hopes and optimism at the moment, so we’ll see how this goes. Did you make some ambitious plans lately?

Personal, Projects

29 before 30 – Looking back on quarter one

For my 29 before 30 list I wanted to work on a quarterly basis. At the beginning of every quarter (going from the 24th to the 23th) I’ll post a list with goals I want to work on specifically in that quarter and at the end of every quarter I’ll give you an update. Which makes this post ridiculously late.

If you’re unsure what I’m talking about, check my original 29 before 30 birthday list. You’ll find all my goals for this year in that blog post.

Looking back on quarter one

Those first three months of the year flew by! I can’t even, when I realise it’s already May (or worse: halfway May. Eep!). I didn’t get to all the things on my quarterly goal list, but I still made some good progress.

Ecological footprint

Shrinking my ecological footprint isn’t something I’ve been blogging about. I really wanted to a couple of times, but I always felt like I’m not doing enough yet and I’ve just been gathering knowledge on the topic. I did read De Groene Meisjes book, which didn’t really go into depth about anything, but did provide a couple of interesting sources I need to check out.

I also noticed I’m getting very conscious about the amount of waste we’re producing. Last time we went to Ikea we only picked up a couple of items, but the amount of plastic waste this created really made me cringe. So did the image of a turtle with a straw jammed up its nose when it popped into my mind the last time I wanted a straw in my drink. They’re not really reusable, so I’m never buying plastic straws again. I guess baby steps is the way to go here.

400+ pages book

I finished A Court of Thorns and Roses which is 421 pages long. Goal reached. I also started (but still need to finish, although I’m over the 400 pages point at this moment) A Court of Mist and Fury. I’m not sure about this series though. I was hooked, but then discovered this was going to be an 8 book series instead of a trilogy. I’m not sure there is enough world building for that.

Pull-ups

I did started weight lifting (got to 8kg) and then it fell flat. I always forgot about it when I’m at my desk, although actually doing a couple of lifts costs me no time at all. I’m also trying to get into the 30 Day Shred again, because all the muscle building exercises in there will surely help (and it’s something I actually need to do to keep my knees from hurting).

Illustration & hand lettering skills

I started a 100 Day Alphabet challenge for my lettering (+ did a 30 Day of Lettering Challenge in February) and made a couple of illustrations for drawing school. Not as many illustrations as I had hoped though.

Bookstagram

I started the bookstagram account, but getting into regularly publishing content is harder than I thought. I’m still buying books and I’m reading, so I’ve got content to share.

Yoga Revolution

I didn’t get into the Yoga Revolution. Yoga is one of those things I actually like doing, but never make time for. Booh.

Draw a family portrait

Didn’t draw the cat family portrait. Booh.

Radical Self Love

Didn’t start the Radical Self Love course. Also boo. I still reallllly want to do this as soon as possible though.

Make a video

I did make a video. It was quite short, but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere. It’s in my 30 Days of Lettering wrap-up post.

30 posts on Plutomeisje.be // 16 posts on Studio Maddy

I just got to 30 posts on Plutomeisje (because April has been one big blogging slump, otherwise it would’ve been a breeze). I didn’t get to the 16 posts I wanted to write for Maddy. Seriously overshot myself there. I do have ideas, but actually writing them down seems to be hard for some reason.

More Instagram pictures

For a short while I did post more often on Instagram, but I’ve slumped again. Although I am taking way more pictures than before, thanks to my new(ish) point and shoot camera.  I always carry it in my bag and I love that I can make really decent pictures at any time. Only posting them online is something I find hard, especially coming up with decent captions. I did start using Instagram Stories a lot more. I find this more fun, because there’s little pressure about perfect shots and how your feed looks. You can post crappy shots, but still tell your story on the go.

More fun adventures

Yes to small adventures! I went on a blogger date with Kathleen in Brussels and asked an old school mate to go to Let’s Talk Design with me. Those are both things that are somewhat out of my comfort zone, but it was fun!

I also read one book from my unread shelves (I went to the library too many times), made my playlist for random dance parties and I finally watched Moana and Nocturnal Animals. And I just finished watching Stranger Things. Oh. Em. Gee. I can’t wait for season two to air!

I already feel this method is working better than the way I tried completing my goals last year. I only need to focus on a couple of small things at a time. And the list is right above my computer monitor. There is no escaping! Did you make a list of goals for this year? How are you faring?

Blogging, Personal

Four blogposts that didn’t happen today

I’ve been sitting in front of my computer for the biggest part of my evening. Since I started surfing the net I’ve had four ideas for blog posts. (“plans for decorating my balcony and garden”, “how I’m setting up my new notebook/bullet journal”, “plans for the month of April” and “favourites of March”) None of those ideas made it so far. And none of them will. (insert dramatic pause)

At least not this evening because I’m starting to feel overwhelmed and a little bit stressed because it’s 9 o’clock and I still have nothing! So before I snap shut and go sit in a corner, moping about how much of a sucky adult I am, let’s make a list about why these posts are not happening today. Because I love list making.

Four blog posts that didn’t happen

  • I really wanted to do a post about decorating my balcony and my garden. I’m just not sure a post filled with Pinterest images and Ikea product shots is going to be that interesting. I’d rather show you the work in progress and the final result. Which may take a couple of weeks or months to finish. And in the meanwhile, I still need to research how I want everything to look and stick a feasible budget to it. All things that I can’t do on one evening whilst writing a quality post about it. + the Ikea site gives me shopping stress, I want half of the outdoor collection from this year.
  • Ah, the bullet journaling thing. Still seems like a fun post, but with the lack of light and a desk that is completely covered in piles of an enormous mess (growing for a couple of weeks now) quickly filming something was no option.
  • As much as I love list making, I didn’t write a “plans for April” post this evening. I did make the list in my lovely planner. And I had the amazingly depressing idea to go take a look at the earlier “plans for” post I wrote in the not so distant past. Reading those lists made me realise I did about 0,1% (scientifically calculated by dramatic guessing) of the things on those lists. Instant bummer. Instant “I”m too ashamed to write another list with plans because I never stick to them and I suck at planning and I want to mope in a corner”. Bye, post!
  • The “favourites of March” post could’ve happened. You know, if I kept better track of the things I loved in March (spring weather,… err…. an anime series I only got 4 episodes far in!… err….). And then I had to draw and paint everything on the aforementioned dumping ground of a desk. Not going to happen.

The post that did happen

No instead, I decided to pour my frustrations and insecurities in a blog post (a much better idea than the four others, I’m sure) and it’s way faster to write. Also, this helps my mental health. I already feel more relaxed and I think I didn’t do too bad of a job. #win. Yes, I am one of those people who used the phrase “hashtag whatever” in actual conversations. Don’t hate me now.

Heads up guys, because this week will be a bumpy one. I have seas of time in the evening (always a bad thing with me, I need pressure) and I feel distraught because Things Are Changing. And I’m nervous and scared and excited and happy. No, I’m not pregnant, I know the symptoms sound similar (and I’ve been nauseous and I used the word bumpy. But no. Not ever). So there might not be that many posts this week or there might be one every day. Not sure yet. You’ll see. 🙂

Personal

Sunday Scribbles, N°6

Hello & welcome to a new instalment of Sunday Scribbles. In this post, I talk about what I’ve been up to this week, why my 40 Days of Blogging aren’t going really well (again :p) and how I’m spending more and more time out of my comfort zone.

This past week was very busy for me. Somehow I scheduled a social activity every single evening, which left me completely drained at the end of the week. Since I don’t schedule my blog posts, this meant this week was very quiet. That doesn’t mean I’m quitting 40 Days of Blogging, though! I’m only now getting my writing flow back and I’d love to keep it. I’ll just have to lengthen this 40 Days thing a bit, to make up for lost days.

One of these days I’m going to forget about my comfort zone

So, like Kathleen, I left my comfort zone a bit last week. I think this is the third time I talk about leaving my comfort zone in these Sunday Scribbles. (If I step outside my comfort zone this easily maybe those boundaries aren’t my true borders, but something I’ve talked myself into? Or that my zone got very small?) I send a message to someone I didn’t know well (an old classmate) and asked if she wanted to go with me to Creative Talk (Let’s Talk Design).

Let’s Talk Design is one of those events that have been on my radar for a while, but I never went, because I never knew who to ask and didn’t want to go alone. Obviously, I had a really nice evening. Since this was an industry event I learned a lot about graphic design and visual development and left feeling so inspired.

Hearing people talk about their job, their passion for their craft really works on me. I always let myself be swept away and afterwards I can feel the urge to create course through my veins. It’s really a physical sensation for me, but the feeling never stays long. I haven’t found a way to capture it or to call upon it when I need it. Maybe you have a tip for this? One thing I do know is that this feeling always helps me realise that I am in the right industry because I never feel this with anything other than design, illustration or art.

Sunday Scribbles - handwritten scribbles in my notebookl

Random Sunday Scribbles

Things that made me happy

  • Spring! Seeing all the green pop-up, the birds whistling, the cycling without a jacket,… Best time of the year!
  • Hanging out with lots of different people. So tiring, but also pretty awesome.
  • Smoked salmon + leek Quiche. Best. Thing. Ever.
  • Days without a stomach ache. Because for the last couple of weeks the stomach thing, whatever it is, has been acting up. And unless you’re in a similar position, you have no idea how happy you feel when things go back to normal for a while.

Things I enjoyed

  • Women Who Draw, a website for female illustrators. So fun to see all the different drawing styles.
  • The post Holly wrote on why blogs are still important in 2017 on Decor8. As she put it: “Blogging is NO different than having email or a website. It may not be the ONLY way that we can transfer our ideas and opinions to the world, but it’s still how we can present our work in the most personalized and creative way. And the best part is, it’s our own content and we run the show.
  • Viktorija from And Smile has an ongoing series about inspiration on her blog and she talked about the importance of play. Something I def need to take at heart (+ look at how cute her paintings look!).
  • Focus on one thing (or die trying ;))
  • Fenne’s 7 lessons from her solitude experiment. A cabin by a lake always sounded good to me, but now even more than ever.

So, that’s it for this week’s Sunday Scribbles. Did you come across anything worth sharing this week (you can be cheeky and link to something you put online)? Or did you cross the border of your comfort zone? Tell me about it in the comments.

Hope you’re having a great day!

Personal

My week in pictures

Hello guys, welcome to another Week in Pictures. I didn’t do much at the beginning of the week, but had a very well filled weekend. Plus I added a little cat bonus at the end. 🙂

The first pictures is from last weekend though, when I went to the gallery opening of the Musketon art show. During the weekend nothing much happened, until Friday, when I had the day off. I spent it blogging and figuring out what to do with my life. I also found my blog-planning list again, which I lost somewhere last week. >.<

My Week in Pictures My Week in PicturesMy Week in Pictures

On Saturday, I went to Brussels on a bloggerdate with Kathleen. We went to Waterstones and couldn’t stop ourselves from buying some books. Afterwards went for lunch and spent the afternoon talking about blogging, social media and life. There were a lot of laughs and I had a blast. 😀

My Week in PicturesMy Week in PicturesMy Week in Pictures

Sunday was for long walks in the park where I had to run during gym class in my teens. We also enjoyed the ridiculously nice weather we had this weekend. I think I even have a little sunburn.

My Week in PicturesMy Week in Pictures

All of the pictures in this post (except for the first one) I took with my new Sony RX100 M3, which I tried testing this week. I also took some pictures of my cats, which seems to work better with the small camera. They feel less intimidated, I think.

My Week in PicturesMy Week in PicturesMy Week in Pictures

So, that was it for this Week in Pictures. I hope you also had a nice weekend and could enjoy the weather a bit. See you tomorrow! 🙂

Personal

Sometimes a little goes a long way

I don’t think anyone reading this blog is surprised when I say I have a low self-esteem. I try to be open about this so that people at least know why I sometimes have a hard time with seemingly simple things. It’s also because, at one point in life, I got tired of pretending I didn’t have a low-self esteem.

The problem now still is, how to get rid of it? This self-esteem issue, combined with a looming case of anxiety (hello, I’m 29 and I hate driving a car because it still scares the shit out of me) do sometimes stop me from Doing Things. I miss the days when I was more devil-may-care. I also feel like because I acknowledge my self-esteem issues I also keep them alive. I’ve defined myself as someone with this problem, thus I have it.

If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.

The question is, how do I go from here? To be honest, I have no idea. I’ve already talked about doing Radical Self Love, but I never really started on it. And then, I got a pair of shoes in the mail. I spend ages shifting through the pages of the Sasha site, wondering whether I should get more feminine Chelsea boots (and jump the fashion train) or get the semi-combat boots which reminded me of my punk/goth period in high school.

Sometimes a little goes a long way, like receiving a pair of shoes that impact your self-esteem

Maybe it’s a bit embarrassing to say, but I absolutely love these shoes. They’re not that pretty to look at, but they feel 100% completely me. They even make me feel more me. And thus, a seemingly insignificant choice on a shoe-store website, made me feel a bit different.

And maybe it’s the shoes or just realising that picking out things that feel more me actually make me feel happier. Since then I started wearing more clothes in ways that feel more me and done a couple of things that are definitely not what my angsty low-self esteem me would do in a jiffy (cutting my hair short, signing up for events, reaching out to people).  And I think I still have more up my sleeve.

So here’s to picking me. Cheers. 🙂

Big thanks to Sasha Shoes for the awesome pair of boots they send me and for their endless patience in waiting for me to write this post.

Personal

Five habits I want to adopt

Let me start off by excusing me for the quality of the blog post you’re going to read. I still have to write most of it, even though it’s 23:33. I’m tired, I’ve been emotional all day. I don’t have my shit together. But if I don’t post today, I lose my last “skip day” and then it’s basically game over for my 40 Days of Blogging. So, you can all thank the sheer amount of stubbornness I have on days like these for this post. I turn into a bit of weed and stand there. Or in this case, write.

One of the suggested topics for 40 Days of Blogging was: “Which habit are you trying to teach yourself. Or is there a bad habit you want to get rid of?”

I basically never run out of things I want to teach myself of things I want to change about myself (either habits or new skills). I think you can completely shape yourself the way you want to, but it’ll take time and effort. Often I try to make changes, but I run out of willpower before I’m really there. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, better to have tried and learned something about it, than being completely stuck.

At the moment I’m  working on:

  • being kinder to myself – I have low self-esteem and I put the bar for myself quite high. Not an awesome combination, so I’m really trying to be kinder to myself. When I’m thinking about things I’m doing or have done I try to change the way I phrase what I think about myself. Or when I do something stupid, I try not to call myself stupid. The number of times I catch myself being overly harsh is a bit of a shock to me. And if I’m this harsh on myself, I’m probably also to others.
  • get into the habit of doing high-intensity training three times a week (Hello Jillian!) – because I feel like all my muscles melted away. And I need to make my knees work so they stay strong. Cartilage or not, I’m not planning on getting new knees.
  • painting and drawing more – I wish I already had the habit by new of daily drawing, but I still haven’t mastered it. I often feel this call, this urge to grab my pencils or my brushes and paint and I’ve taught myself to ignore it (to my horror). I also want to go to drawing school at least once a week. Since I started the course I’ve had a hard time going regularly There always seems to be a reason not to go.
  • reading more – with some careful planning (such as by not writing my blog post last thing in the day 😉 ) I should be able to get some reading in. Not sure how to cope with falling asleep after only one paragraph, though.
  • spending more time in nature – two year’s ago I put on my birthday list to do more walks & spend more time outdoors. I really loved the hikes we did back then, but it never became a habit. I think going for a long walk in nature should be something I do at least once a month, but preferably more. So, it’s time to get back into this.

So, those are the habits I want to get into. Which habits do you want to create? Or do you have a bad habit you want to break? I didn’t get into my bad habits, the post would never end. 😉

Personal

Sunday Scribbles, N°5

Hello & welcome to a new instalment of Sunday Scribbles. In this post, I talk about what I’ve been up to this week, why my 40 Days of Blogging aren’t going really well and how I impulsively went to the hairdresser to chop 20cm of my hair.

Falling off the bandwagon

Soooo, yes. The last two days I didn’t manage to finish a new post for this blog. Which bums me out a bit. But I’ve also been spending a lot of time with friends, going to my illustration course, doing team activities with the colleagues and spending a whole Saturday with friends, talking, complaining and laughing our asses off. It’s been a busy week. Which is a good thing, but I’m not that much of a blog post planner, so now I’ve only one skip day left and still 25 days to go.

We’ll see how how things go the following days, I might change the challenge a bit (to just writing everyday, not necessarily publishing every day). We’ll see.

Sorting things out

Some parts of my life are a bit of a mess right now and I’m trying to figure out where to go from here. As in my last Sunday Scribbles update, I did some more stepping out of my comfort zone. Sometimes those outside the comfort zone actions lead to pretty cool things.

Going on a tea date with a person I’m only getting to know led to discovering pastries which reminded me of my grandmother’s pies, tasting chocolate tea for the first time and maybe also making a new friend. Suddenly deciding I wanted to go to the hairdresser asap led me to chopping of 20cm of my hair, which felt awesome.

I really like change, sometimes I think it’s something I thrive on. Other times, it scares the shit of out me, but this week was not one of those times.

Random Sunday Scribbles

Things that made me happy

  • Making new friends
  • Craft parties with old friends
  • Going to the Musketon gallery opening and feeling really inspired/motivated afterwards
  • Cutting my hair short

Things I enjoyed

How was your week guys? Tell me, did you step out of your comfort zone this week? Maybe just in a small way?

Personal

A small step in being kinder to myself

Some days you are dead tired at 6 in the evening. But you still go to your drawing school to spend 4 hours on your illustration skills, knowing nothing decent will appear tonight. You went, you sat through it, you created something, you pushed yourself just by showing up. On some days that is enough. And the result doesn’t actually matter.

Blogging, Personal

Should I talk about this?

Today is one of those days. One of those days where I really want to write about what’s happening in my life, but I can’t. And so, I write a very vague post. 😉 (Don’t say I didn’t warn you)

It’s one of those days that is really good and really bad. And also, somehow, brings me more peace of mind than a lot of days these past weeks. As much as I want to tell you all about it, I feel like I can’t because I fear it’ll ruin my chances, any chances. And this frustrates me, of course. This is my blog, my space on the web and still, sometimes you can’t tell your readers what you want.

I wonder guys, how do you handle this? How do you (or don’t you?) write about your life, when you know certain people might be reading along? How do you voice frustration about colleagues? Or about family? Do you voice it? Or keep it all for yourself? (Or do you talk about it with friends and have no need to talk about it on your blog?)

Obviously, I don’t want this space of the internet to turn into something negative, a place to nag. I know the downwards spiral of negativity and I try to stay away from it. But when you feel like you’re at a critical place in time, do you talk about it? (Which makes this post sound overly dramatic. Don’t worry, everything is fine, I need to figure something out and it’s taking a lot of head space).

So tell me, should a lifestyle blog really be about life? Good and bad? Or should I stick to the curated version and keep away from drama (and clickbait titles 😉 )? Feel free to tell me in the comments.

(Ps: I also have a lot of thoughts and opinions about this, way more complicated than the statement I made above. I don’t want to turn this blog into some soap-story, although if I put enough drama in it, it’ll probably attract some readership. No worries, though, because I’m not planning on doing this, it’s just that, with 40 Days of Blogging, I sometimes wish this could be more of a diary type of thing than a well thought out blog. But I still really like my well thought out overthought blog posts)