18. It's Never Too Late To Start Over

 
Photo courtesy of Pixistock

Photo courtesy of Pixistock

 

Yay, it’s the weekend! How’d your week go?

If you go back into my archives, you see they stop at 2015. That’s because this week I deleted everything that was published prior to mid-2015. When I originally set up JTM Writes, I imported all the posts from my previous blog, which went all the way back to 2007! In those 8 years, a lot of life happened to me - I moved, I changed careers, I met my husband and got married. Those old posts were part journal, part time capsule, but I felt them like a weight around my neck. I wanted to be free of that history and embrace the future, not be bogged down with the past. And so after a quick Google search on “how to mass delete blog posts in Squarespace”, I deleted all my old posts.

Sometimes it can be hard to let go of things that you worked on for so long, but its also freeing to just drop everything and start over. Most of us get caught up in the fallacy of sunken costs, and it holds us hostage to situations that aren’t serving us, because we feel we “wasted” the time we spent already. I choose to look at life as a continuous learning opportunity, and therefore none of my time is ever wasted, because I’m always learning. My early blogging years gave me the confidence to apply for a writing fellowship and to become a freelance writer, and I’m forever grateful. And now its time to retire that part of my journey.

I’m also reminding myself that it’s not too late to start over as I embark on my third career, starting a consulting firm. Learn about how you can work with me at JareesaTuckerMcClure.com.

Things I Read This Week:

The best $16 I ever spent: Old Navy pajamas after my husband left (Vox)

Why is framing a picture so expensive? (Vox)

Reviewers Wanted (Smart Bitches, Trashy Books)

Twitter Could Ban the Nazis Whenever It Wants, but It'd Rather Blow Trump All Day, Everyday (Pajiba)

How In Living Color Tricked Fox’s Censors to Get Jokes on Air (Vanity Fair)

The Underlying Messages That Screen-Time Recommendations Send Parents (The Atlantic)

When Did Celebrities Get So Bad At Taking Criticism? (Buzzfeed)

How to Find Band-Aids That Match Your Skin Tone (Lifehacker)

Halima Aden Is The First To Model A Burkini In Sports Illustrated (Refinery 29)

How to Help a Friend Facing Infertility (A Cup of Jo)

The Best Money-Saving Beauty Dupes (The Everygirl)

From Defendant to Defender: Theo Shaw, Once Almost Railroaded by the Justice System as One of the Jena 6, Is Now Officially a Lawyer (The Root)

In Defense of Fashion Criticism (Pajiba)

'We Would Not Have All Been White': Cynthia Nixon Reflects on Sex and the City's White Feminism Problem (The Root)

People on Twitter Are Sharing Their Fake Cookbook Names and It's Hilarious (The Kitchn)

More than 100 LuLaRoe sellers have filed for bankruptcy (Vox)

Two HIV Cases Linked to Spa That Gave Trendy 'Vampire Facials' (Jezebel)

The Conversation We Need to Have About Mental Health and Women of Color (The Everygirl)

Avengers: Endgame's Women Deserved More (Gizmodo)

She was the “queen of the mommy bloggers.” Then her life fell apart. (Vox)

What It's Like to Pay 50% of Your Income in Taxes (Lifehacker)

Other Stuff:

It’s wedding season! This weekend I’m attending the wedding of a dear friend, and I’m legit extremely excited. I know it’s going to be an epic party and I’m also really excited to celebrate their union. Plus I just love weddings!

I haven’t baked in awhile - I just haven’t felt the urge - but I want to try this olive oil cake recipe.

For the past month or so, I’ve been taking the time to do my face in the morning, and I’m actually enjoying it. It takes 5-10 minutes in the morning and my routine is pretty simple: foundation, fill in brows, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, blush and lip gloss. I’m also skipping setting powder and using setting spray instead, because of my dry skin. I’ve gotten several compliments (yay!) and it makes me feel more put together.

Have a great weekend!

17. Switching It Up

 
Photo by  Tembela Bohle  from  Pexels

Photo by Tembela Bohle from Pexels

 

Happy Friday friends - we made it to the weekend!

This week I stood in my closet, looked at everything in my section, and declared that I have nothing to wear. Of course that isn’t literally true, but it feels that way. During this long winter I’ve worn the pieces over…and over…and over. I don’t even want to look at another sweater again! The chances of any more snow storms are low (knock on wood) so I’m going to switch over my closet this week. BTW, is that not a thing that people do? I mentioned I was going to do this on Twitter, and someone asked me what it meant! Unfortunately we don’t have the space for my entire wardrobe to live in my closet all-year round, so I have to switch things out based on the season.

I also need to pick up some new items and I’m approaching it thoughtfully this time around. Normally I’ll just go to the mall/browse websites and order whatever is on sale and cute (cause we don’t do full price ever). Last year I read Rachel Miller’s awesome Buzzfeed piece about how she gave herself a dress code, and it immediately struck me as a genius move. When I thought about my own closet, I realized that I actually wear a lot of the same stuff over and over, and some things in my closet are never touched. So as I switch over my closet and incorporate some new pieces, I’m doing it thoughtfully based on what items I actually need (either a staple piece or replacing something I wear regularly) and my personal style/what I enjoy wearing.

My preferred style is classic, almost borderline preppy. I don’t do a lot of prints but I love stripes. For spring and summer, I plan to wear lots of dresses, skirts and slim ankle pants with cute tops and maybe a cardigan as needed (cause yall know I stay freezing). For my shoe collection, invested in a pair of Rothy’s because everyone has raved about how awesome they are, and I picked up some cute flat sandals from J Crew. To round out my wardrobe I’m on the hunt for cute, delicate jewelry, and my look will be complete.

As I pack away my winter stuff I’ll donate my winter things that I didn’t wear this winter, so that I don’t make the same mistake next year.

Things I read this week:

A Troll's Alleged Attempt to Purge Porn Performers from Instagram (Jezebel)

Inside The World Of Stay-At-Home Moms Who Blog For Profit (Buzzfeed News)

Ancestry.com romanticizes slavery to sell you a DNA kit (MPR News)

The Mystery of Business Casual (The Atlantic)

How A Popular Women's Website Became A Pay-To-Play Nightmare (Buzzfeed News)

This Was Supposed to Be a Story About a Bizarre Anti-Vaccine Rally and a Sedated Bear. Then It Got Weird. (Gizmodo)

Is This the Millennial Parent Book? (The Cut)

Earth Day Conundrums (Design Mom)

Oh Uh-Huh, You Need To Wash Your Makeup Brushes. Here's How. (Jezebel)

Abigail Disney Scorches Wage Inequality at Disney: “Reward All of Your Workers Fairly” (Vanity Fair)

I Spent $17K to Freeze My Eggs—and I Regret Every Penny (Glamour)

What Does Being Basic Look Like in 2019? (Man Repeller)

You Can Opt Out of Facial Recognition Screening at an Airport (Lifehacker)

Reply All’s Brilliant Roman Mars Episode Messes With the Podcasting Industry (Vulture)

How airport scanners discriminate against passengers of color (Vox)

The Disciplines Where No Black People Earn Ph.D.s (The Atlantic)

In Defense of Hating Popular Things (MEL Magazine)

Amazon created the expectation of 2-day shipping. Now it needs to scale back. (Vox)

Your Debt Isn't a Personal Failure (Jezebel)

How Did Megan Thee Stallion Become the Next Hottest Rapper Out of Houston? (Vulture)

Other Stuff:

As this post publishes, I’ll be seeing Avengers: Endgame - I truly hope it’s as good as everyone says it will be! I’m actually seeing it twice on Friday so I hope it’s worth sitting through twice in one day.

I’m also volunteering for a few hours at the Yarnover, which is a conference hosted by the MN Knitters Guild. I recently joined and I thought this would be a good way to get involved with the Guild. I also expected to do some shopping but I realized that I have too projects on my to-do list, so I’m going to try to refrain from buying more yarn (but no guarantees!)

Need something to watch on Netflix? I really enjoyed Love Death & Robots.

I’m currently taking clients for both Career Mentoring as well as Ace the Interview Prep Sessions!

Enjoy your weekend!

My Chrome Bookmarks Are Like My Own Personal Time Capsule

Confession - I am a collector of things, especially information. I have a wealth of (sometimes) useless information which I hope will one day get me a slot on Jeopardy. My love of knowledge leads me to read lots of things on the Internet, and when I discover something that use useful or informative in some way, I save it. My two means of saving things are my Feedly and my Chrome bookmarks.

You’d think that I save things with a purpose, but no, I don’t. I read something and I think, “this is useful in some way, or it could be, so I better save it!” So click the little flag button in Feedly, or I hit the star on Chrome, and I file it away to a place where I can find it again later, in case I need it.

The number of times i’ve actually gone back to things is woefully low.

In the course of my reading of things on the Internets, I came across a blog post that said you should clean up your Chrome bookmarks. Apparently other people are just like me, and they never clean up their bookmarks. After reading that piece, I immediately set out to clean up everything in my bookmarks, and get rid of the stuff I didn’t need. I expected to find a lot of links that were broken or outdated, but what surprised me what those bookmarks signaled about my life and the transitions I’ve made over the years.

My bookmarks are organized into folders, and I had complete folders devoted to specific times in my life - planning my wedding, preparing for the arrival of #BabyPi, buying a house. My wedding planning folder was full of research into venues and vendors, DIY tutorials for projects I never attempted, and tons of wedding gown designs that I loved before I went shopping. Scrolling through those links, i was reminded of the hours I spent on my laptop, looking at site after site for pricing information on flowers, or a venue that was both cool and cost effective. Similarly, my Baby folder had gems like reviews of car seats, and products like baby wraps that I was considering.

My “Resources” folder is the most eclectic, as it’s a collection of websites with really useful information that I don’t know how to categorize any other way. Where do I put all those Buzzfeed lists of lifehacks that I’ll never implement in my life, or services that I should use but never remember until it’s too late? And then there are my links to things I thought about buying, from companies that either don’t sell that product anymore, or have gone out of business entirely.

It was fascinating to me to see the transitions my life has gone through, all laid out in what I’ve saved over the years. And I’ve rediscovered some cool stuff! Now I just need to figure out how to visit some of these sites more often…

Do This One Thing If You're Starting A New Routine

carissa-weiser-1364555-unsplash.jpg

Establishing a routine is one of the hardest things to do - trust me, I’m an expert at this. I’ve started so many routines over the years, and I’ve found that some have stuck while others have failed no matter how hard I’ve tried. I started thinking about some of the routines that I have, especially the ones that involve specific products, and I realized that they all had one thing in common, that helped me stick to my routine.

The biggest thing you can do to help your routine is to start a journal and document the process.

I know you’re skeptical but it works. Trust me! Think of it as applying a bit of the scientific method to your life. You’re collecting data and then using it to figure out what works and doesn’t work.

The first time I kept a routine journal…

I transitioned to natural hair in 2008/2009 and I was addicted to hair forums like LHCF, and one of the tips that I read there was to document the products that I was using through my transition and after I big chopped (aka cut all my relaxed hair off). Documenting what your’re using and what works or doesn’t work is key to avoiding the dreaded product junkie status, and helped you narrow down your regimen. Figuring out your regimen is (to me) the Holy Grail of a hair or beauty routine - you’ve figured out what products work for you and you use them consistently.

Through my transition and the first ~18 months of my natural hair journey, I’d faithful note each product and technique that I used, in order, and at the end noted how my hair looked at felt. I’d review my previous entries before the next wash day. Regularly reviewing my journal helped me eliminate the products that didn’t work, and the techniques that didn’t yield good results. Over time, I narrowed my routine down to the products and techniques that yielded great results and took the least amount of time.

Other areas you can use this

Trying to get your skin together? Get a little journal from Target and start documenting your products,and also how your skin looks! Take pics and save them somewhere so you can go back and look at them.

Working on your diet and/or fitness? A journal is perfect for this. You can document your meals and also workouts, plus take your measurements at the start and at regular intervals. Looking back over time to see your progress will help keep you motivated and stay consistent.

Trying to master a new hobby? Documenting techniques you’ve learned, resources to refer to, and other notes will help a lot!

Try it out and see if it works for you…

Some people just aren’t documentation people and that’s ok! Maybe this method won’t work for you. I found it really helpful, but that’s because I’m a data-driver person and the act of writing it down helps me process and retain information. Maybe you need an app instead of a physical journal to note everything. Maybe you’re visual and you need a chart or whiteboard. Find what works for you and adapt it to help you get to your goal.

My newest challenge is to establish a regular yoga routine, so I’ve turned to this method to me stay on track with my yoga practices and figure out how I can incorporate them consistently into my life. I’ll share in the future on how that looks for me.

Have you ever used this method? How did it work for you? Sound off in the comments!

My Social Media Is About Community, Not Aspiration

I don’t get social media influencers. Maybe because I’m not their target demographic.

I don’t use social media to learn about latest cool thing that the kids are into, which is why I don’t follow influencers, and I rarely buy things that show up in an ad on my feeds. To me, it seems like influencers are trying to be “aspirational”, to get their followers to aspire to achieve a certain lifestyle - a lifestyle that involves looking perfect in the perfect clothes with the perfect house and the perfect family on the perfect vacation. Clearly a lot of people aspire to that cause influencers have never been more popular.

But like I said, I don’t get it.

Because for me, social media is about connection, not aspiration.

Maybe I feel differently because of what social media, and the Internets have meant to me. See I discovered the Internets way back in the old days, before AOL sent you 3 discs a week in your mailbox. This was the days of Netscape and IRC chat, where you really had to be a nerd to use your family’s phone line to dial into the Internets and connect with people you didn’t know, would never see, and would never meet. This is before you even have avi pics, or could Skype with folks. This was back when you asked someone “A/S/L?” and you could never be sure if the response you got back was the truth or not. It was in that world that I made my first Internet friends, way back in high school. That continued when I went to college, where it seemed like all the Black kids on campus first connected on Blackplanet before we crossed paths IRL. We’d swap AIM usernames and send each other IMs instead of picking up the phone to call. I was in grad school when I got my Facebook invite way back in the old days of 2004, where you needed a college email address from a select group of schools before you could join. As our technology got better, we got the ability to use our phones for connection instead of our computers, then our computers turned into tablets and smartphones that we could take with us anywhere. We got Twitter and Instagram and Vine and Snapchat and Pinterest, and a million other different ways for us to connect to each other. And with each one, my primary goal was to create a community, to find other people like me that I found engaging and interesting and fun to talk to.

At every point in my life, from young college kid to middle-aged new mom, I’ve used social media to connect with other people, to “find my tribe”, so to speak, when I was unable to find that community locally. Hell, I found my husband on social media, so it makes sense that I find friends there too, right? Communities on Twitter and Facebook have taught me so much, and helped me when I had a question or needed support. I especially found Facebook groups helpful during my pregnancy and while I breastfed - here was a place where I could ask about my heartburn, or to compare bump pics with other plus size moms, or get confirmation that it was ok that my breastfed baby hadn’t pooped in 3 days. It was ok that I didn’t know many plus size moms IRL, because there was an entire group of thousands of plus size moms from across the globe, all going through the same issues together and providing support. So what I didn’t go to knitting circle locally, because there was a knitting group on FB full of people my age who both loved to curse and loved to knit (and who doesn’t love the combination of the two together?).

So with my history on the Internets, you can see why I’m probably not into influencers all that much. i don’t want to know about some thing that they were paid to tell me that I need to have in my life. I do want to know what tips other moms have picked up about streamlining travel with their kids. Yeah that dress is pretty, but I’m probably not going to be interested in where it came from unless I know you actually bought it yourself and really love it, and not just saying you do because you were paid to say it. I love and appreciate a good tip, but only if it’s authentic, and the authenticity is the piece that I’m missing with the vast majority of influencers, especially on IG. So I stick to my little corners of social media and I focus on connecting with people in ways that are meaningful for me.