Spring is all about fresh starts and new beginnings. With everything going on in the world and so much additional time on our hands, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to challenge ourselves to try something new. Sounds great, right? Let’s just say some things are easier said than done. At the beginning of the month, each member of the LIY Team chose a new hobby or pastime to try throughout the following weeks. The project started out a little bit rocky as it took us all about a week to simply land on which activity we would commit to. Talk about indecisive. Fast forward a few weeks and I think we all realized truly how difficult it can be to incorporate some time to yourself into your day to day life– and actually stick with it. We hope you leave feeling inspired to try something new of your own, or if nothing else, encouraged to make the time to do something you love in this new season. Here’s how our experience went…
Erin: Creative Writing
As I started brainstorming ideas for what I could try during this 30 day experiment, the hobby that kept coming to the forefront of my mind was creative writing. The entire reason I started my blog and kept on with this hobby for years was because I loved and enjoyed the practice of writing about whatever was on my mind, sometimes with a purpose and most of the time, without. However, over the years as my blog has transitioned from a hobby into a business, I found myself telling myself subconsciously that I should only be doing work related / income producing tasks and “writing for fun” no longer felt like either of those things. Whenever I’d find myself with extra time, I’d try and fill the gap with one more task that I could cross off my to-do list so that I could feel productive. Now I know my “trigger” or prompt that it’s time to write for fun is when I find myself uncomfortably looking for something to fill my time. Rather than doing what I did previously, I’ve embraced the openness and availability to simply write. The times that I have over the past 30 days have been some of my most joy-filled [and quite honestly, productive feeling] moments. I love tapping back into this side of blogging and I don’t want to let it go. Whether you have a blog or simply want to write to yourself, I highly encourage letting your thoughts fly as it feels so good to just share whatever is on your mind, regardless if there is anybody on the other end reading it or not!
I have been needing a creative outlet lately, and decided to try out a new art form, linocut! For those of you who might not know what that is, it is basically carving an image out of a block of linoleum, rolling it up with ink and pressing paper into it to create a fun art print! As adults it is so easy for us to stick to what we know and are good at. But it feels good to do something new and it can be so freeing to give yourself permission to do something that you might not be good at! I found this to be liberating to do something just for fun or the sake of trying it out! I am just getting started, but so far this new little hobby has been super enjoyable! Hoping the print turns out beautifully — but even if it doesn’t, it was certainly fun!
Steph: Nighttime Routine
For essentially my entire life I’ve had this terrible habit of staying awake as long as I possibly can, then stumbling into my room, brushing my teeth and falling into bed. More often than I should admit, this includes sleeping in my contacts [and if we’re being really transparent here, also my jeans. Don’t ask how that’s possible, the only answer I have is pure exhaustion]. As we have been blessed with [LOTS] more time together as family, I haven’t found myself feeling like I need to stay up quite as late to soak in all the time I can. During this time I’ve made a conscious effort to go into my room 15-30 minutes before I’m ready to go to bed and take the time to turn on my favorite podcast, wash my face, jade role my favorite Argon Oil and apply an ends treatment to my hair. This process of slowly unwinding from the day and spend a little time taking care of myself has made such a difference in how restful my sleep is and rested I feel in the morning.
Hannah: Self Care
True life I am TERRIBLE at taking time for myself… Taking care of kids, working, working around my husband’s schedule [police officer’s wife], helping others any way I can and just trying to do all the things I always put myself last. It’s something I have done for years and struggle with. Since being quarantined it’s become even more difficult to just take a breath and do something for myself, even if it’s 15 mins of scrolling my phone. I tend to feel guilty for taking time for myself when I could be spending it with my family or just taking a personal time out. For the last couple of weeks I have been trying SO hard to take that time for me. Some days are much better than others and sometimes it’s anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour and anything from painting my nails, a quick face mask, reading a devotional or scrolling social media! I strive for 30 minutes but life happens and I’m not always guaranteed that amount. I will say, when I have been taking time for me it’s a huge mood and mental booster!
If you know me, you know that I have always struggled with baking, mainly because I am terrible at measuring things out and following directions, ha! I have always been so impatient when it comes to baking but with this unexpected amount of free time, I decided to slow down and really try to perfect the art! So let me be honest, the first week did not start out well, I attempted to make a vegan chocolate cake and it actually turned out pretty well but I ended up dropping the ENTIRE thing on the floor, yup you read that right… please see the image above! After nearly giving up, I attempted to make peanut butter sugar cookies, which started out well until I somehow managed to burn the bottoms of them, again see the image above! BUT finally I had some successes, I managed to perfect my vegan brownies, pumpkin cookies, and vegan chocolate chip cookies! I learned a lot throughout this process and really had so much fun doing it. I feel so much more confident in the kitchen and my husband and I are really enjoying all of the extra goodies around the house!
Lauren: New Recipes
Between this stack of cookbooks and a digital stack that would be twice as tall, I’ve been cooking up a storm over the past month or two. Typically, once I find a recipe that I like [and my husband does too] we repeat it a lot, which can definitely get us in a meal rut. I started incorporating at least a new recipe per week into my routine, and I’ll say, it’s been educational, but a little stressful. My mom is a wonderful cook. Me however? Not so much. Cooking and baking is not something that comes naturally to me although going out to eat comes VERY naturally ;). While it’s been a bit stressful, I’ve learned that making the meal for the first time is the hardest [understanding timing, prep work, etc], there are many side dishes that I can whip together in no time, and that HelloFresh is my BFF. I’m planning to continue adding in new recipes each week, but I’m not going to lie, I’m ready to add my favorite restaurants back into the rotation soon!
I’ve always enjoyed writing and it’s always been something that comes somewhat naturally to me [shout-out to my English teaching Mama]. Unfortunately, after college, the times of writing “just for fun” were few and far between. With so much extra time at home recently, I figured there’s no better opportunity to get back to the old school pen and paper. I’ve received several of these weekly list-style journals as gifts and decided now was the time to fully commit myself to them. Throughout this process, I’ve loved the quick and easy excuse to not only take a step back and reflect on my week, but also a chance focus on the positivity it brought. As a “list person”, physically putting my thoughts on paper has been a game changer. If you are too, I’d highly recommend making time to write things down in one way or another. There really is something to be said about getting thoughts out of your head and onto paper. If nothing else, I’d encourage you to spend some time focusing on weekly gratitudes. Even in strange [and unsettling] times, there’s always a silver lining and something to be grateful for. My glass of vino is half-full, friends!
For your Pinning pleasure…
Founder and creator of LIY, Erin turned her dream of a hobby blog into a full-time career which she now runs alongside the LIY team! When not in front of her computer screen [with a La Croix or wine in hand] or in front of a mirror taking mirror selfies, you can find Erin spending time on the water, cuddled up with her two pups and husband most likely watching the latest Shark Tank episode, or getting lost in an easy beach read.