Watercolor Paints - The Arrive Hotel - Palm Springs, CA - Processed through VSCO

Learning to Relax on Vacation

The idea of mindfulness is great. It makes complete sense to be in the moment and not worry about something that already happened or may or may not happen in the future. My logical brain knows this. But in terms of my own practice, mindfulness is way easier said than done.

My thoughts are tethered to rumination and worry. I am constantly bouncing between wondering if I should have acted differently in a scenario that has already happened or thinking of what I should do if a certain scenario happens tomorrow. So when we went on our vacation to Palm Springs to “relax”, I had a difficult time at first. I wanted to pick out what we were going to eat for dinner the next day, find out what time check-out was and I hoped work was going smoothly without me there. Dennis’ mission was to make sure I relaxed for three consecutive days. We had only been there for a day and my mind was running all over the place.

We decided to hang out in a cabana by the pool for a couple hours to wind down and hopefully get me into the vacation mindset. The weather was perfect for lounging around, but I still found myself feeling antsy. I looked around and loved that our hotel (The Arrive Hotel) had such a beautiful, asymmetric design. I loved that the modern architecture was in this valley, surrounded by desert mountains and plants. Then I remembered I brought my watercolor travel paint set and my bullet journal! I went up to the room to get my supplies and came back as quickly as I could. I decided to stare straight ahead at my favorite part of the hotel and started painting.

This was a game changer for me. It was probably cheating in terms of mindfulness because I was physically doing something instead of just taking in the scenery. But it allowed me to focus on what was around me. It gave me a reason to look at the clouds in the sky and how the shadows played on the buildings.

By the time I finished painting, I felt at ease and, at the same time, I captured a wonderful memory of our time in Palm Springs. I am definitely going to try this practice again when Dennis and I go to Mexico in a couple weeks. If it makes me feel as calm as it did for this trip, I think I’ve finally found my own way of “relaxing” on vacation.

Paints:Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Sketchers Pocket Box

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Bullet Journal: October Spread

The number one reason why I love bullet journaling is because you can adapt and change your layouts whenever you need to. It really feeds into my personal needs for efficiency, aesthetic and novelty. Each month I identify what really worked for me previously and what I can get rid of for the upcoming spread. I’ve been bullet journaling for a year and a half now and I still alter my layouts each month!

The only page I’ve honed to my liking is the first page of the month. I usually take some time to color or paint something fitting for the month. Then, I list out my bills, birthdays, important dates and monthly goals. I posted my first page for October on my twitter (@caro_marcella) when I finished it last week.

Game Plan For October

  • Daily gratitude and spark joy entries. These are coming back from my August spread. I didn’t do it in September and I feel like I missed out on that opportunity for emotional self-care for an entire month. I have a list for gratitude numbered 1-31. A “spark joy” entry is simply this: What did I do today to spark joy?
  • Condensing my handwriting. In September, I took up too many pages by spreading it out too wide and writing too unnecessarily big. I use a 0.38 pen, so there is really no reason for me to take up so much space!
  • A real monthly spread. My entire bujo journey I have only done weeklies. The problem is similar to above where I feel like I’m wasting space! I’m going to see if a monthly spread works for me.
  • Symbols/Shorthand. A heart for self-care, a box for twitter, “SPARK” for my spark joy entry. It’s like using emoticons, but drawn out!
  • Meal Plan For Work. When Dennis and I try to meal prep for every meal of every day, it is too overwhelming for me. But I spend money at my work for lunch every day, so I am going to try to prepare lunches ahead of time this month.

I am excited to see what works for October and what I’ll have to alter for November. But until then, lets have a great month!

Paints: Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Sketchers Pocket Box
Journal: Moleskine Watercolor Album Sketchbook – 5″x8″ (Spanish Edition)

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Face Masks Mindfulness Tool - Lush Soo Ae Pure Body Natural

Face Masks: A Mindfulness Tool

Imagine cool mud painted on your face with sliced cucumbers on your eyes as you are snuggled comfortably in a white robe with a glass of white wine in hand. The pinnacle of relaxation.

I used to think that face masks were something you could only get done at a resort spa while you were on vacation, which meant it was an activity completely out of my fingertips 99% of the year. But then I moved to Korea.  While I was learning about this new culture, I was introduced to daily moisturizing face masks. A friend showed me a face mask made of egg whites. It was a white circle with holes cut out for your eyes, nose and mouth and it looked frighteningly close to the Scream mask from the horror films. I tried it on, felt silly and even laughed a bit. But after I got used to the feeling, I enjoyed relaxing. In those 10 minutes, I really tried to feel calm and stay present. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised that I had such a calming experience in my apartment.

Since then, K-Beauty has spread everywhere and face masks are readily accessible. You can find them in whatever price range you can afford at beauty shops, general stores or online. There are even recipes to make your own face masks at home!

Here are some tips for using face masks as a self-care tool:

  1. Schedule it into your routine. Face masks only take 10-15 minutes. My #1 excuse for not practicing self-care is that I am too busy or too tired. But if I can squeeze 10 minutes into my night routine after a rough day at work or in the morning before I get ready for the day, I feel grateful for doing so.
  2. Be still. Try not to get distracted while you have your face mask on. It is easy to try and do other tasks around the house. Instead, have a seat or lie down and focus on how you feel in the moment. What sensations do you feel? What are the sounds going on around you? Take the 10 minutes to wind down and calm any distracting thoughts. If meditation is not your thing, try journaling about your experience for 10 minutes.
  3. Change it up. Once you get into the habit of using your face masks mindfully, try to change up the types of masks. I love trying out new masks with different ingredients and functions. I stay excited to use my face masks, which means I am less likely to push it off “until next time.”
  4. Share the love. Part of my own self-care is relational self-care, which includes maintaining my close relationships. I discovered this practice through a friend and now I love giving them as gifts or even doing face masks as bonding time with my sisters. The Birth of Venus mask by Lush in the photo was a present from a friend and I appreciated it as reminder to take some time for myself!

Face masks were my first form of physical self-care and has found its way into my weekly routine. It changed my first impression of self-care. Instead of pampering yourself as a shallow luxury, I now think of face masks as a way to take care of myself as an enriching experience for mindfulness.

Products in Featured Photo:

Pure Body Naturals’ Pure Body Naturals Purifying Dead Sea Mud Mask Facial Treatment, 8.8 Ounce

Lush’s Birth of Venus $13.95

Soo Ae’s Donkey Milk Skin Gel Mask $2.50

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28 Self-Love Self-Care Moorten Botanical Garden

Twenty-eight – A Milestone

A couple days ago, I turned 28 years old. Nothing too exciting. I mean, it’s not exactly a milestone. It’s not the start of a new decade and it’s been years since I received any “perks” for my age. I tried pumping myself up about being one step closer to 30 years older, but even then I still have two more years. So what does 28 have in store for me that is going to be any different from 27?

This year, my boyfriend Dennis made sure I had a relaxing birthday. We spent the weekend at Palm Springs and the plan was to do absolutely nothing. When we first arrived, it was difficult to be in the moment and not having to worry. But when I began to unwind and took this weekend as an opportunity to reflect, I came to a realization:

The one thing I want from this upcoming year is to be more in tune with myself. I want to take care of myself. Most importantly, what I really want is to love myself.

When said simply, it sounds selfish, doesn’t it?

But there has to be value in loving yourself, especially in relation to loving others or even just your own genuine happiness. I just don’t know exactly how to get there. I have struggled with anxiety and low self-esteem since I was a teenager and in the fifteen years that have passed, my self-confidence has only seen a slow, unsteady rise. I’m not an expert in self-care, I just know that I need to start caring.

So my first step is going to be intention. I will intentionally work on my own self-care and self-love and we will see where that takes me. My hope for this blog is that I can reflect back on my journey of self-love and maybe it will help another person pursue their own love for themselves in the future.

Twenty-eight will be a milestone because this will be the year I learn to love myself.

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