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  1. Hey y'all! I'm Sparkle, a 24-year-old lady in the final months of her master's degree eager to join the Nerd Fitness party. Long time lurker, first time poster, as some people would say. My class/leveling system is a trifecta of broad categories. First, there's the badass fitness stuff (Assassin class). Then there's learning creative talents and indulging my need to Make Cool Stuff (Magelet class, aka Fledgling Magic Maker). Last but not least is gaining independence and the skills needed to jump into new situations gracefully, skills like learning new languages and traveling solo (Princess class). Because I'm a fantasy-obsessed nerd of the first water, I couldn't resist creating a "best version of myself" character and writing a fantastical story to mirror my real-life challenge adventures -- read the results in the spoiler below! As a first-time challenger, my goals are going to be pretty simple this time around. Assassin Quest: The Adventure Begins Go for a run at least 1X per week The weather is finally nice in the midwest, so that means I can get back into running! Huzzah! I've missed it over the winters. Nothing far or fast, just a mile and a smidge, but one day I'd like to get a mile time of 8:20 or below, so this is a good start. Magelet Quest: Come Away, Come Away Take (at least) 10 minutes each day to do something actively creative - turn creative wishes into action and bring them to life I have lots of projects I'd like to do in future, so rather than waiting for the ideal long, uninterrupted chunk of time to start them, I can work on them incrementally now. For this challenge, that means tracing out the line work for a series of Arendelle-inspired skirts and a Cinderella-inspired dress and skirt, so the visuals are ready to be printed and cut into stencils when the time comes. In the depths of business school, at a time when I'm deeply missing the work I used to do day in and day out as a design major, these "daily design snacks" will help keep me from going bonkers over Econ and Finance. Princess Quest: Into the Unknown Apply to three design positions per week The job hunt begins in earnest! Looking for design positions in my home city of Seattle means I have to balance school and job-searching, which is a little weird -- it's been tough to make time for job stuff when I feel like school stuff always has to come first. Making job stuff part of this challenge means I have a solid goal and accountability. If you've made it to the end of the Great Wall of Text, well done you! Get yourself a cookie or something, you've earned it.
  2. Rolling Stoney changes her shape This challenge is all about change for me. 2017 was going to be a big year, but it happened in a way I didn't quite expect. My plan was to cross-train hard, eat well, do the derby, work hard, buy a house... but literally none of those things happened. I broke my ankle. Derby, cross training, working, and being able to cook my own food all went out the window. My partner got made redundant so our house loan got canned. And my boss is selling her cafe so I may not even have a job in a few months. But as of last month I can walk without a limp again and I'm so close to getting back to derby training that I can at least throw most of my focus that way and still feel like I am moving forwards in life. My long term goals look like this; Walk again sans limp. completed 23/3 Be cleared to skate again. (planned 19/4) Skate a whole 3hr training session. (planned early May) Re-Pass my Minimum Skills. (planned June) Play a full Roller Derby Bout. (planned August) Find a new job. My goals this challenge are focussed on adapting to the change that I'm currently experiencing in many parts of life while still trying to complete my current long-term goals. I need to prepare my physical form for my triumphant return to roller derby by cross-training what I can and eating well to fuel said training increase. So going to the gym is a thing. Between working and training I burn energy like a wildfire so I need to prep food accordingly so I don't eat like shit at work when I can't be fucked getting something rounded and healthy. I need to prepare my resume and a portfolio for if or when my job goes kaput so I am ready to attempt to jump into a new job. As a teenager and an adult I've always been a design oriented person and I loved jewellery design. There are two in-house jewellery studios in town that I aim to approach for training and hopefully a job, but I can't do that without a portfolio. And finally I need to keep myself accountable and organised so I'm trying out this whole bullet journal thingo. It's working good, even if mine aren't pretty like the ones on instagram. Change of Body Gym 3x week. (Lower body, Upper body, Core, Cardio & Yoga) I had great plans at the start of the year to continue the cross-training I had been doing in my derby off-season, but that plan got de-railed after I broke my ankle. After 3 months of being immobile I have to start back at the start, but that's okay. I have a gym membership and a plan. I had to split my workouts into upper, lower and core because I was spending too long at once at the gym and it made me reluctant to go more then once a week. My lower body workout it pretty short right now because of my limited ankle strength and mobility, but I need the habit to be there. Yoga can be done at home. Change of Job Work on jewellery/design portfolio, post daily My job is on tenterhooks right now. Potentially my boss may sell her business and the new owners may or may not keep me on. With that and my partner's recent redundancy I have found myself needing a change. After having 3 months off work I realise that hospitality is no longer what I want to do. I cannot do the work for so little thanks anymore. Back in school I was really passionate with design and specifically designing and making jewellery. I don't know what it was about melting bits of metal together but I loved it. There are no jobs available right now but I plan on getting together a portfolio of sorts and approaching the two local studios in town and seeing about a job. I figure I can't do that without some substance so I'm going to use this month to work on some designs. I will post the designs as evidence. If I happen to not want to draw jewellery specifically I can draw anything else and it still counts. Change of Food Meal prep 1x weekly Meal prepping healthy meals was another thing I was getting really good at before I broke my ankle, and sticking to the food I planned to eat was also working really well for my energy levels. When I broke I wasn't totally in control of what I could eat and as I didn't have to leave the house I just ate what I could carry with one hand. Going back to exercising and work means I need all the energy I can get and I can't keep grazing on whatever I can find at work because it inevitably ends up being cake or pancakes or just coffee. It makes me sluggish and bloated and I am perfectly capable of prepping food to take with me. Change of Habit Bullet Journal Daily I'm testing out the whole bullet journal thing, and I think so far it's working for me. While I do tend to drool over the beautiful instagram ones, I don't have the handwriting or the patience or the funds to pay for all the beautiful stickers and many pens to make it beautiful. Thankfully it's also a functional thing so I'm going with that. I'll work on my penmanship later. I need to update my journal every day and use it for anything I can think of. Adding in to-do jobs, writing down my gym sessions, planning meal prep... So far it's working really well for everything and I want to continue feeling organised. It's something I've struggled with my whole life.
  3. Right, so here we go. A log of my stay in Cambridge, England. Let's just start explaining how I got here. I study animation at an art academy in the Netherlands. During our study we have a so-called "Minor" to do, which technically means you get to do a different study for half a school-year, as long as you have a logical reason to be studying that. Right? Right. Since I've been studying animation, I've noticed I really like the directing part of making a video, which lead to looking for a minor where I can learn to specialise in film directing. Since my own school doesn't offer directing as a minor or anything that comes close to it, I decided to look at partner schools, in order to be able to do a minor that I want without having to pay extra college fees. And that's where Cambridge comes looking around the corner. Cambridge School of Arts is a partnerschool of our school and they offer Film & Television Production, which is the thing I am here for. My main module is Documentary (not the funnest thing, but hey, I get to learn something new) and my side modules are Directing Studies, and Design for the Screen. So that's all pretty cool! Directing Studies speaks for itself, I suppose. This is what I'm mostly interested in. Design for the Screen will be pretty interesting too, because it focusses on everything visual within a film, going from costumes to backgrounds, from world designs to character design... And that is something I also find interesting, but which isn't my main focus. Still, it's pretty cool to learn about that, right? So far... Saturday the 6th of September I departed at 08:35h from Amsterdam Schiphol to arrive at 08:40h (local time) in Cambridge. It's an hour and 5 minutes flying, but because of the time difference it looks like you only flew for 5 minutes. Haha! My mum went with me, so I could bring 2 suitcases, which I needed badly because there is so much stuff to take with me. Besides, she wanted to see where I'd live and wanted to help me take care of a few basic things, like getting an English SIM card and a map of the city... Things like that. So we went from the airport to the place where I'm staying, with a cab, which was only 10 minutes driving. The land lady is really nice, she's called Claudette and originally comes from Jamaica. She explained that family is very important in Jamaican culture and she's a very warm personality, so I really feel at home, because my own family is very warm as well. After having dumped my suitcases there and having talked a bit, my mum and I continued our way. We went to the bed&breakfast where she was staying, so she could put her bag there in order to go to the city with me. In the city we bought a SIM card and a map and walked over the market square where there's a market 7 days a week! Awesome! We were pretty tired and then went back to the house, to unpack my suitcases, put everything neatly in the closet and drawers and everything and then went to do some shopping, so I'd have breakfast the next morning. We had dinner in a pub near my house and her B&B and had a great evening together. We talked a bit about English culture, the people here and everything we'd seen that day. Next day my mum came over to my house (I'll just call it that, because for the coming time it's my home) and we went into the city again. We had lunch on a nice terrace, walked over the market again, met up with a friend of mine who's also staying in Cambridge to study and went to see the university building where I'll be learning all I can the coming months. We also sat in a park for a while (there are so many parks here) and had an ice cream. In the evening we invited my friend to come to dinner with us (we had pizza at an Italian restaurant) because her parents had left that day and we figured she'd probably feel alone, especially knowing my mum was still around. We had a great evening with the 3 of us and after dinner we said goodbye to my friend, who would cycle back to her place. And we went back to my place with the bus, because I didn't have a bike yet. In the evening we sat on my room and talked a lot still, because my mum would be leaving the next morning (which was a Monday). So that Monday morning my mum came over again to my place and we talked and talked a lot, while we sat on the couch, waiting for the taxi to come and pick her up. It took aaaages until the taxi driver was there, because I felt so sad and alone already, while my mum was there and I kind of wanted to get it over with, so I could just go and do something to distract myself. Anyway, eventually the guy came, right on time, minute precise... I found it very hard to say goodbye to my mum and I had tears in my eyes, but managed not to cry. Only when she was gone I burst out in tears. Now that I have been alone these days I actually feel pretty good. I'm used to living on my own (have done so for 2 years) and there's Claudette and her daughter to talk to at home, so that's nice. And I've been meeting up with my friend a few times already. We went into the city centre just to look around and to get to know our way. Today I stayed at home, because I really needed to recharge. In order to do that I've been drawing and animating a bit, I've been Facebooking and I've read a bit in the book I still have to finish before starting uni. Tomorrow I'm meeting up with my friend again and we'll go to the Botanical Gardens and in the afternoon we'll go and see Guardians of the Galaxy, because I haven't seen that one yet and she found it awesome enough to watch it again. Friday I'm meeting up with another friend, whom I've known for 3.5 years but have never met, so that'll be interesting. Saturday I'm meeting up with my classmate/friend again, because there will be Elizabeth Extravaganza in the city centre AND there will be a ghost-walk. So the first week is a lot of fun and very interesting and casual so far. The 18th I'm going to the introduction day at the uni for international students and after that... We'll see. Hopefully I'll be able to update this log frequently, because I tend to forget about (b)logs. Whoops! But you'll definitely hear more from me, here. Cheerio!~ Here's some fancy building in Cambridge, some kind of college of the University of Cambridge, but I forgot which one. Sorry. xD I'm not studying there, though.
  4. Hisme's Fight with the Chimera Monsters come in all shapes and sizes, but despite the challenges I have so far in my life been thankful for the monsters. Even though they are terrible they teach me important lessons. From the Siren of Shyness that I battled growing up to the Workaholic Witch that I struggled with one year in college, I was lashed, I rose up again, and I conquered. I was awesome. Then came the Chimera. The Chimera is a particularly terrifying monster because it's a mismatch of several other beasts. I've had smaller chimera enter my realm before, but once I glimpsed them in their entirety I always figured out a plan of attack that vanquished them. This one, however, is a very long sort of beast and I haven't been able to see in its entirety yet. So far the information I've gathered is the following: The Chimera is made up of a combination of Loneliness, Job Loss, Feelings of Letting Others Down, Unfitness, Loss of Control in My Life, and Self-Insecurity. The worst thing is some of these monsters I've beaten before, but they've now returned with a vengeance as part of this amalgam. To make things worse, for the first time in my life I was poisoned by this monster with the side-effect of Depression which, though minor, has negatively affected every aspect of my life. I've tried two Challenges here previously and the poison of depression that the Chimera forced into my veins caused me to do less than my best. But this time I have more determination than ever. This time I will win this 6-week battle and take a step toward winning this war against this Chimera. I know it may take me a few challenges to do, but I WILL do it. Main Goal for This Challenge: Win Back the Fields of Confidence (aka gain some of my lost self-respect and awesomeness so I'll have more "umph" in the next challenge) Quest One: Stronger Arms Punch That Chimera in Its Stupid Face (+3 STR) I started out with "do a full workout with pushups, squats, dumbbell rows, etc." my first challenge and quickly realized I could barely even do a pushup. It was discouraging. Challenge two I made a more realistic goal but the Chimera's Depression Poison hit and knocked me off my groove. This time I'm doing a tiny challenge, because if I can do this and then move up just a little but then eventually I'll develop both the physical and mental ability to continue becoming more awesome even if I am having a stinky day. By the end of the six weeks I will be able to do ten real (not knee) pushups in good form with extreme gusto and ease. I will train for this by doing as many pushups as I physically can in good form every other day, increasing by one every two "workout" days. Grading for quest one: A: Don't miss a day of pushups, able to do 10+ pushups as described above. B: Miss 2-3 days of pushups, able to do 8+ pushups as described above. C: Miss 4-5 days of pushups, able to do 6+ pushups as described above. D: Miss 6-7 days of pushups, able to do 4+ pushups as described above. Fail: Miss 8+ days of pushups. ******* Quest Two: Better Stamina Run Rings 'Round that Monster (+ 4 STA) I hate running because I'm so unfit it makes me feel pathetic, but I can walk. I aim to go on a walk (and/or dance) 3x a week. I've been doing this consistently for a couple of weeks now and I can already feel my stamina increasing (I no longer pant by the end of this one particular trail but am completely comfortable) so I want to keep that up. Grading for quest two: A: Miss zero days. B: Miss 2-3 days. C: Miss 4-5 days. D: Miss 6-7 days. Fail: Miss 8+ days. ******* Quest Three: Better Flexibility Able to Roll with the Punches without Hurting Myself (+1 STR, +1STA, +2 CON) I will stretch and/or do yoga for at least 15 minutes EVERY DAY. That's right. I can skip Sundays because I'm usually in a dress for church but besides that... EVERY DAY. This always makes me feel better for the rest of the day and makes me more willing to get up and make good choices while at my sedentary desk job. Grading for quest three: A: Miss fewer than 5 days. B: Miss 5-10 days. C: Miss 10-15 days. D: Miss 15-20 days. Fail: Miss more than 20 days. ******* Side Quest: Seek Another Kingdom (+2 WIS, +2 CHA) I lost my job just after college when the company suffered a huge financial loss and could no longer afford to keep me. It sucked, but at that time the Chimera hadn't entered the picture so I was fairly hopeful. Maybe this was my chance to start my own business, something I'd always wanted to do but had been to afraid to! I started freelancing graphic design and illustration from home and haven't been doing badly, but the poison has been hurting my business by making me too afraid and apathetic to care about getting new clients or marketing like I should. I also have realized that even though I'm an introvert I really like working with and around people and I'm lonely All of my friends live elsewhere. THEREFORE, I've decided to stop freelancing full-time and get a job at a design firm. In the next six weeks I plan to start the job application process. The goal here is to start the process of job searching, not to get a job, because that's not something I can totally control. Week One: rewrite and redesign resume. Week Two: design resume accompaniments (designers have extra stuff for resumes, BOO) and choose portfolio pieces, begin a list of potential jobs by adding 3 companies you intend to apply to Week Three: assemble portfolio, add 3 more companies to the list Week Four: finishing touches on portfolio and resume, apply to the 6 companies on my list Week Five: Apply to 3 more companies Week Six: Apply to 3 more companies Exceptions: If I get a job interview with any of the companies before the challenge is over, I can replace applying to another company with interviewing. Grading for side quest: A: Keep up with weekly tasks. B: Miss the equivalent of one week of work, essentially deleting Week Six. C: Miss the equivalent of two weeks of work, essentially deleting Weeks Five and Six. D: Get resume and portfolio totally done but don't apply to any jobs. Fail: Fail to get resume and portfolio done. ******************************* Skirmishes (these are other mini-goals and desires for my life that I have but that don't count towards my points): 1) Continue eating well and going gluten-free, try to eat less sugar. 2) Read my Bible several times a week, eventually every day. 3) Play with my little brother more often... he's always asking me to and I'm always too busy He won't be this little forever! 4) Call my out-of-town friends more often and stay connected with them. 5) Wake up early every day and don't lay around on the couch for hours - get started with good things immediately. 6) Get on and participate in the NF Forums more often so I can be held accountable and so I can see that other people are going through this journey too. I'm not alone.
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