Happy Music

Do you have go-to happy music that you turn to when you are blue? The type of songs that immediately make you feel upbeat. Playing a happy track can easily boost my mood and I desperately need help in that arena these days.

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I really want to revamp my playlist and clean up my digital files… a personal project that have been triggered by a lot of deep thinking lately. My life has changed so much this past year and I’ve lost so much of myself in the process of trying to learn how to be a regular ‘ole mom (let’s not even get into how to be the best mom possible). No matter how much I try to balance things out, I feel consumed by this new role I must play. Suffice to say I feel insufficient a lot of the times.

A friend of mine suggested perhaps it’s all hormonal. That is why I feel out of sorts. I can’t be in control of everything. True dat! Today I decided to delete music from my library and keep only the happy music. I used to scour the web for up and coming indie bands because I love discovering new music. I used to have a blog specifically for music! But I’ve lost the time for that hobby and want to somehow bring music back into my daily life. I need happy music… like this…

Have any other suggestions for me?


Never Worry Alone

A little while ago I saw this video from Marie Forleo and the one thing that hit home to me was to never worry alone.

A wave of heat rushed through me… whoa.

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How is it that I have not realized and practiced that before now? When left to my own devices, my mind just goes on a rollercoaster ride of doom and gloom. These past weeks, months, year… has been really hard for me.

Learning to be a mom, trying to get things done and failing a whole lot, most of the time. Being disappointed, lost and just plain tired physically and mentally. It happens to all us at some point in our lives, but I let myself worry alone. I struggled alone.

Silly me. Even just opening up to my support network, helped to open up a new perspective. Whew.

It will all be okay. 

Are you struggling alone when you have so many people around you that care and would give you a shoulder to cry on? Cry on that shoulder, I say. You’ll feel better for sure.


Fridays + A Few Sketches

When Friday rolls around, we usually breath a sigh of relief and look forward to a fun and relaxing weekend. Oddly enough, I no longer feel that same delight nowadays. Weekends mean more work and time to catchup, even though in the end, I never am able to catch up anyway. It’s like a false hope of having more time, only to be disappointed again when Monday rolls around. Depressing, eh!?

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I finally got to thinking that most work-at-home folks probably have a completely different schedule than the mass population out there. So maybe my Fridays are really Mondays. With clients and the time zone difference, Mondays are usually slower and more relaxing for me. A new start, you know?

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Anyway, I wanted to share some quick sketches I’ve done here and there for the 29 faces challenge. I’m obviously out of practice and not making enough time for it all… these are just quick scrawls. But that is better than nothing for a Friday round-up.

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How do you feel about Fridays?


Live Authentic | Live Proud | Blog On

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My first venture into the online digital world was when I was only 14 years old. I think it was a local library class that taught HTML, so I created my very first web page and declared my existence online. Do you remember those flashing marquees and gaudy web colors?

The online world has definitely changed since then. Don’t you think we are all so darn sophisticated these days? With just a few clicks, you can make yourself a beautiful blog. Although I know, ultimately it’s always easier said than done.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog and how to move forward. I know that we all curate what we post, more or less. But the more I planned, the more I felt it was too mapped out. There are a lot of tips and tricks out there about blogging successfully, but the heart of the matter is figuring out what blogging means to you personally.

I’ve been blogging since my teenagers years, on and off, from platform to platform and I must admit that ultimately, I write because I need to express my thoughts. Something about getting them out and published, as if I was chatting to a friend about my life. Now that I live abroad, more than ever I feel so detached at times and often miss the company of just hangin’ with my girls, you know?

I also like to create and experiment with DIY crafts and my design and illustration. And I’m not ashamed to admit that having an audience gives me motivation. Perhaps it’s simply the act of documentation that really does it, no matter how many or few people read this blog.

Finally, there’s this thing with community and being a part of a larger whole. I’ve always loved being online and involved in the digital sphere of life. Although commenting was much more common in the beginning days of blogging, now the conversation has simply moved to the various social media outlets. But I think it still all starts with the content on a blog.

So, I will continue to blog. I’m just readjusting my focus and ultimately going to get a bit more selfish about this space. I’m not a professionally blogger, so there’s no need to follow editorial rules or business tricks. That’s not what this space is for.

It’s definitely nice to have some clarity, even if there are still a lot of questions and fuzziness all around. A single point of clarity is something I can hold onto. In trying to unknot all the issues in my head regarding this blog, first I had to identify the issues. I’ve run into problems of trying to create content just for the sake of blogging, thus losing my passion. I’ve also run into censorship issues, wondering if I should share this or not that… whether it “fits” the focus of the blog or not. I’ve always had trouble keeping up with posts as well and being a new mom, time will only become more and more scarce.

My blog problems aren’t really that dramatic – many of us run into these issues every so often. I’m shifting my perspective and realizing they can be easily resolved. First, I must have my heart into this space, so I will blog only what I want to. There’s no need to fit into any kind of box… this is MY blog after all. Everything fits in the category of me (duh!). And the easiest way to keep up is to lower expectations and commit to a realistic schedule.

Sounds pretty straightforward and non-dramatic, huh? Should have realized all this sooner, I know.

All those words above lead me to my real point (see how I like to write?) – that I should be living more authentically and proudly. Enough of feeling inadequate or not up to par or outside the popular crowd. Who cares! There’s no need to make pretense and seem a certain way just for the blog. Living abroad in Italy is exciting and amazing, so I need to embrace it.  And we can never do it all, but we can do a whole lot with the time we are given nevertheless.

So this blog is about documenting my sort of normal, yet not so normal wondrous life. From living as an expat in the beautiful Tuscan hills to designing and illustrating the cuteness that I adore to motherhood to DIY crafty goodness that just makes me happy!

Now, I feel so much better about moving forward and doing what’s real and true to my heart. Yay! The guiding principle is to  remember that it’s about living my authentic life and making sure it’s something I can be proud of.

I’ve created a printable of inspirational hearts (since it’s Valentine week as well) to remind myself of these principles.

LTieu-live-printableFeel free to download the PDF for your personal use.

I hope you are inspired to just be yourself and do what is best for you. Thanks for reading and sharing in my story. I really do appreciate you bloggie friends out there – much love to you. If you have any thoughts, suggestions or words of wisdom, I very much welcome them. Although I’ll be doing my own thing, I still would love to hear what you are looking for in this blog – it might strike my fancy afterall. Ciao ciao!


Italian Life Update + Thank You

Wowsers! My lack of blogging probably speaks for itself and I wonder how obvious it might be to others when they see my disheveled appearance. Motherhood is obviously kicking me in the butt and thoroughly turning my life upside down. I’m so amazed at how others like Elise and Amy are able to do so much with a little one in their lives. Granted, any kind of help would probably be… duh… helpful!

LIFE IS A ROLLERCOASTER
I’ve certainly been having a lot of trouble nailing down any kind of daily routine. You would think that days are pretty much the same – the stereotypical image of living in a rural small Tuscan town. But life happens and every week there is something that throws me for a loop. I’ve had my share of mom meltdowns for the silliest of things as well. Now that I seem to have gotten myself emotionally stable, there are external factors that are in movement. It doesn’t seem like there is ever a free weekend to just be, you know? Motherhood has definitely taught me to lower my standards a bit and to accept wholeheartedly any help that is offered to me. You cannot imagine how wonderful it is when someone does an errand for you or watches the kiddo for even a little bit. I’m reminded quite often now to cut people some slack in general. I used to scoff at those who seemed totally out of it – I mean – how long do they need to get themselves together, right? Oh, how naive I was. My boy is 9 months old now and I’m still trying to figure it out. Oops. How I would like to slap some sense and compassion into my annoying younger-self, full of attitude. Now, I totally get it. Time has been flying by and although it’s slow moving, I’ve been able to do a little something here and there. I was able to grow my little avocado seed… LTieu-avocado …repaint the wall canvases with some song lyrics…

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I also got a haircut, finally – although while typing this I realize I probably need another haircut again… hah, it never ends!

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WORK
So I’ve been so darn busy with freelance work that my side projects have all been put on hold. Funny thing is that now the requests are flooding in but I find myself with less time. Yet again, I’m realizing that my business goals and needs are changing in order to mesh with my new lifestyle. I want to spend my time with my boy afterall. It’s funny how work-at-home-mom is really two things in one. You need to work but you also have to take care of your child – that’s seriously two jobs people! Why did I think that it would be easy? Or that I would be able to easily get into some comfortable routine? When it comes to kids… there doesn’t seem to be any kind of normal routine. Especially in the beginning months of life, they are changing so quickly.

So it’s been difficult to work in general and I’ve only concentrated on the big things – as they pay the bills. I’ve got so many projects in the backlog and I must admit that my online presence is a bit in shambles. I’ve definitely consolidated though – you might have noticed that I combined my blogs, so this is where I’m at now. No use in separating things out – there’s just one me after all!

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So things are slow moving, but they are moving ahead. I just need to get used to an entirely different pace when it comes to work. When inspiration strikes, it doesn’t mean you can drop everything and run with it. There are so many other responsibilities now… oh pooey!

TIME MANAGEMENT WITH THE BOY

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Every baby is different. My little Christopher happens to be a light sleeper, if he sleeps at all. So not only is it challenging to get him to nap during the day, once he’s finally down you can’t really do much without risking to wake him up. He’s vigilant the little bugger. It’s certainly getting better over time and now when I do find myself with a block of time, I suddenly feel totally fatigued! I guess I was running on adrenaline. My original plan of working late nights… well, I didn’t take into consideration that I might be wiped out by the time midnight rolls around. Another shot of espresso, perhaps?

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I have also tried to use the weekend as catch-up time, given that others are home… but it turns out to be quite challenging to get any kind of quiet working time when the house is full of people. Plus, my hubby sometimes needs to be taken care of too (oh, men). Apparently, weekend catch-up is not going to work either.

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I am learning that every single minute needs to be used, if possible. No more waiting for the right time to do xyz… just do it when you can! It’s a hard transition for me, because I’m the kind of person that likes to have a clean desk before I start working or everything organized before I start a project. Now I have to throw away my previous habits and just dive in, because it might be the only chance I get. I find myself running upstairs to do something for 15 minutes before running back downstairs to tend to house duties. It’s a continual battle. I’ve also burned a lot of food. Yikes!

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LIFE IS JUST DIFFERENT
The relief I get is when someone visits and volunteers to take care of the kid. Then I’ve got a few hours to get work done. Whew! Thank goodness for grandma and aunties! Sigh. Ultimately, I really have little to complain about – it’s really all about how my life is changing so much. Even more than I could ever have imagined before. I love my little guy sooooo much and it’s hard to hear him playing downstairs, while I’m trying to get things done upstairs. I miss the little bugger – crazy, huh?

Now that he’s getting better at standing and playing by himself, he’ll stay in the playbox as well. The first time he screamed with protest, but slowly and surely… he’s getting the hang of it. There’s also the walker that he enjoys exploring the house with. Although it requires constant supervision, so he doesn’t get into trouble – at least it’s another activity for him.

Of course, while watching the boy – none of my freelance work can be done. It’s more of the house duties and such. I suppose, my work just takes a different kind of concentration.

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THE DOG + THE BOY
I know many folks wonder how Vash and Christopher are together? Well, they get along pretty good. I mean, Christopher wants to pull Vash’s fur… but Vash is amazingly tolerant and just walks away. Our little Westie has always been such a well behaved pet. Now that Christopher is in the walker, Vash has to dodge getting run over as well. When I was pregnant, I was definitely wondering if dog and baby interaction would be okay. But once we were home together, I realized it was going to be fine. They love each other and co-exist without issue. Vash has never growled at Christopher and usually ignores him or wants to lick him. Actually, Vash is way more interested in Christopher’s stuffed toys.

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MOVING FORWARD
I’ve certainly been rambling away about my own little world and I do realize it’s about time I get moving forward a bit more. I have projects in the works and getting my 2014 planning organized as well. I will actually be on vacation for Xmas and New Years, so it’ll be an interesting time, visiting family in the USA for the first time with Christopher. I’m going to use my vacation to really get more clarity on my future plans as well. For now, it’s about getting through the day, as best as I can and slowly working in a bit more routine – if possible.

I will be structuring up a proper blogging schedule here, sharing updates of my Italian life from an American expat perspective, my scrapbooking, DIY projects and my artwork of course. Please do let me know what you would like to see, any questions you have or comments that come to mind. I really appreciate your input!

THANK YOU
I’m typing this on Thanksgiving – Happy Thanksgiving to all my USA’ers – I’m most definitely reminded to be grateful for all that I have. My family and life craziness – all of it is wonderful and worth it. Not to mention, I am immensely grateful for my bloggie friends like you – who cheer me on and support my creative endeavors. Thank you – Grazie! I’m so grateful for all the positivity and possibility that the future holds. Let’s all go for it! I thought it would be nice to share a little turkey day illustration I made below.

TG_ThanksgivingStickersFreebie_3Feel free to click the image and download the hi-resolution turkey graphic for your personal use!

Thank you again and stay tuned… (sign-up for my newsletter here)


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