Friday Roundup

Hello again! Time for my weekly “things I’m loving” roundup ?

1) Side Hustle School

I started listening to this podcast around Christmas last year, after hearing it mentioned on yet another podcast I listen to! I’m a little addicted to podcasts, I’ll admit. I tend to have one running most of the day. Side Hustle School is short (10-15 minutes), so I’ll save up a week’s worth and listen to them all in one stretch. It’s not difficult to do, because Chris Gillebeau has recorded an episode every. single. day. since January 1, 2017.

For those of you that don’t know, a “side hustle” is an income-generating activity that you do in your “spare time”, without quitting your day job. I love this podcast for a bunch of reasons. I think first and foremost, I like the host’s presentation. I’m a sucker for corny jokes and puns. Plus, he’s a cat person (and he thanks his cat at the end of every episode). Each episode profiles a person who has come up with a unique– and sometimes really weird– side business that earns then at least $500/month. When I say weird, I mean “hand-sewn chicken armor” levels of weird. I love the focus on “lessons learned” in each profile. The idea here isn’t for listeners to go out and replicate the business idea, but to take these lessons– which Chris draws out as part of his own analysis– and implement them in translation, so to speak, in their own original business idea.

Side Hustle School has the added benefit of making me feel even more productive while I’m listening. I’m learning! About how to make extra income! Yay! It’s the perfect thing to listen to while I’m walking or painting.

2) Early Morning Play Time

I am currently responsible for the care and feeding of a 6-week old infant, which means I’m keeping some less than ideal hours. But I’m trying (keyword: trying) to take advantage of the early morning wake-ups to squeeze some more creative time out of the day. I’ve been making an effort to drag myself out of bed after the little one’s last nighttime feeding, rather than roll over and go back to sleep. I do a short yoga practice, and then sit with my morning cuppa to play in my sketchbook for at least 15 minutes. Let’s be real, 15 minutes usually stretches into 30, unless my 3-year-old wakes up early. The 15 minute “limit” is just so I can say “come on, why are you hesitating? it’s just 15 minutes!” and then get my butt in the chair.

This week, I worked on a spread using some scrap paper from my big manila folder o’ collage paper. I was inspired by some images I saw in a magazine recently of simple, eclectic stuffed animal toys. While I was playing with those shapes, I came across the Shanghai skyline that I had printed and cut out years (years!!!) ago after visiting (in 2001!!!!!). On a whim, I glued it to the opposite page. I really loved the color palette I was playing with, and decided to do some triangles in the sky above.

Like I said, playing. No real rhyme or reason, but it was good practice in telling the voice of hesitation (and planning! and over-thinking! and analysis!) in my head to pipe down, and just get to work cutting and gluing. It was quite meditative!

3) Spice Dragon Red Chai

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I went on a bit of a hot cocoa bender during my recent pregnancy (and immediately after, TBH). To wean myself off of excess sugar, I’ve been trying to drink more herbal teas instead of cocoa (bonus points for hydration, right?). Since I drink them without sweetener, they need to be robust and flavorful enough on their own for my tastes. I am sad to say that the pickings for tea in my area are pretty slim. I’ll often stock up on unusual varieties, such as Stash Tea’s Gold Cup Chai, when I’m visiting my parents or mother-in-law in larger metropolitan areas. I recently had a some Amazon points to spend, and decided to try a new flavor of tea. My criteria are pretty strict: in addition to being decaf, the tea can’t contain any added flavors, artificial or natural. My main reason for including natural flavors in that criteria is that I hate the taste of Stevia, and it’s often included under the umbrella of “natural flavors”. And artificial flavors… well, they just taste “fake” to me.

Enter Spice Dragon Red Chai. Let’s get the criticisms out of the way: I know that chai is the Hindi word for “tea”, and the traditional drink is not associated with Chinese dragons, or China at all, for that matter. And rooibos, which is the primary ingredient in this beverage, is from South Africa. Let’s just call it… multiculturalism, okay? Okay. Because I really like this tea.

It’s warm and spicy, and since it’s rooibos there isn’t even a tiny bit of caffeine in it (purists will argue that that’s because there’s not even a tiny bit of tea in it, but who cares about purism?!). The flavoring comes from actual cinnamon and cloves, not “cinnamon flavor” or “clove flavor”, thank goodness. I think it’s the perfect late evening beverage, when I want something that is almost-dessert-but-not-quite. Because let’s be honest. When I want actual dessert, I’m just going to down a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.

Happy weekend, all! Hope you are finding lots of little things to love as well <3