The funny thing about boundaries is…

…people test them!

Once you begin living in your truth, a flame is born that attracts all sorts of people. A light will shine in you that some can’t resist. For me, there have been are echoes of my past; chapters of my life I haven’t and do not want to re-visit, as well as personality-types I’ve moved away from.

The characteristics portrayed below are simply not right for me due to my past experiences.

My boundary: Not wanting to spend a lot of time on my phone and/or engaging in conversations that do not add to my life.

What I’ve experienced: People who require constant contact, people who send me numerous Tik Toks/Instagram reels, and people who feel that a daily “How are you?” is meaningful conversation.

[Can we all agree that the sharing of videos is not a substitute for connection?]

My boundary: I am not going to fix you. I will support, but it is not my job to make someone else’s life amazing.

What I’ve experienced: Somber, emotionally slumbering individuals resistant to seeking help for themselves. It is taxing.

My boundary: I do not discuss sex with someone unless we are headed in the direction of becoming partners. Not everyone is entitled to this information. It is okay to have some mystery.

What I’ve experienced: People expressing their kinks without being asked. If you post about about sexual acts on social media*, I’m going to assume you are tacky. While I would I would have found that entertaining and edgy in my 20’s, and would have ignored or played off my discomfort because I wanted so desperately to be liked – I’m approaching 40 years old. Hard pass.

*And it isn’t your line of work.

My boundary: My feelings are not up for debate. I say what I mean.

What I’ve experienced: Passive-aggressive comments and social media posts because my feelings were not in line with someone else’s desires. I said what I said. We can discuss it to understand more, but no one should be trying to change someone else’s mind when they have said no.

I have granted others too much access to me for years and was not discriminating over who I gave my free time and energy to. While I can’t specifically pinpoint why I allowed that for so long, I know it is not realistic or healthy for me. My boundaries are relatively new and they feel good. They feel like a step in the right direction of not settling for what I could easily get and readying myself for people and experiences that will enrich my life.


Expect the Unexpected.

Since my first batch of Bad Bitch Magic candles, I’ve settled into my new life with minimal (and, at times, zero) grace.

I felt compelled to use obsidian for my this batch, which makes sense because I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot this holiday season and have been struggling with feeling connected with the world and those around me.

There are a couple of things I do not do when I’m creating. One is follow a trend; I want them to be authentic. Two, I do not typically make more than two sets with a certain message. However, these candles seem to really resonate with people for different reasons and for that, I’m grateful. I finished batch number 3 – a total of 6 themed candles.

I don’t really expect anything when I’m working on a set. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll have a series that nobody will like – that they’ll sit at the the Grounded Goddess unnoticed and unloved. So far, that hasn’t happened. Instead, complete strangers have supported me time and time again. The funds I make from selling candles allows me to indulge in more candle-making, which keeps me occupied and brings me so much joy. Who would’ve known?

But that’s a part of the idea of “expect the unexpected”. I’d like to think that if we allow ourselves to simply be real – whether it’s put-together, messy, needy, strong, depressed, anxious or joyful – that amazing things will happen because we’ll connect ourselves with those who truly see us. I think, deep down, all of us do wish to be seen. Seen, loved, appreciated, missed, treasured, taken care of.

So, this is what I’m carrying over into 2023 – the fact that even when I’m down like I have been – I am seen and loved. A reminder that no one is really alone and that we’re all just one weird or quirky interaction away from connecting.

Cheers…to myself.

We are coming up on the end of 2022 and all I can really say is that I survived it. I didn’t thrive, nor wow. I didn’t succeed or fail. I just…hung in here.

I’ve been single since my separation at the end of July. I’ve talked to a few people and recently went on a couple of dates, although nothing has panned out beyond that. It isn’t because of any one common reason except that each experience brought a lesson to light for me; something about the interactions reminded me of an event or feeling in my past, forcing me to acknowledge that I wasn’t going to get anywhere by participating in “old Stacey” habits.

Old Stacey habits:

  1. Tolerating less than I deserve. Read my texts but disappear, only to come back when it is convenient? I’m not going to give people my attention who cannot and do not reciprocate. Entertaining all attention thrown my way was something for my 20’s – definitely not for me approaching 40.
  2. Latching on to someone who makes me feel sexy and desirable. I’m worth more than what my body can provide and I want the whole package, not just the part of it. I want the whole thing!
  3. Making excuses for people. Can’t make intentions known, even when I ask directly? I’m not interested in potentially starting a relationship with anyone who can’t articulate their wants and needs and respect mine.
  4. Taking on “project people”. I will need my next partner to be a whole person on their own, not someone I need to fix, take care of, lift up, provide what they need to succeed, motivate or inspire. It isn’t my job to make life happen to you, especially as we are just getting to know one another. Piggy-backing off of this, I should not have to carry the entire conversation. Conversation is give and take – questions and answers. Funny anecdotes and random insights. It is a two-lane street.
  5. Jumping from one relationship to another, even if the new one doesn’t quite fit and/or is full of red flags.
  6. Not speaking up for what I need (which ties into #3). Historically I’ve taken whatever I was given and have not, until my separation, spoken out loud what it is that I need. Acknowledged my love language. Thought about my attachment style. Reconciled what I did and didn’t receive throughout my childhood and formative relationships. If I can consider someone else’s needs I definitely need to be conscious of my own – always.

I’ve been in relationships much of my adult life. Perhaps this should be #6 – because perhaps that’s a problem. Maybe I need to just date myself; focus on myself, my goals, and treat myself the way I want to and need to be treated. My identity and value as a person has always been attached to another and, at this point in my life, the bottomless well I’ve seemingly kept for others is empty. It’s time to pull buckets of fulfillment up for myself.

Words of Advice for a Younger Me

Me at around 4 years old with my mother and Bonkers, my Dalmatian

This blog post has been circling my brain for about a month now ~ perhaps it’s the fact that later this month I’m turning 39. I’ve been thinking about what I would tell my younger self and some of it is serious, some of it isn’t.

Here’s a free-flow of my immediate thoughts:

  1. Stacey, you aren’t responsible for anyone else’s feelings except for your own. Stop worrying about who you will hurt with your honesty; if you love them, they deserve your truth and it’s up to them how they process it.
  2. Stacey, life isn’t a list of boxes to check off with a prize at the end for completion. You don’t need to be married with 2.5 kids, a picket fence around a home in surburbia with a Golden Retriever and a 9-5. It won’t make you more or less happy ~ happiness comes from within and the enjoyment of what you have already.
  3. Stacey, don’t put the dreams of other people before your own. You deserve your own energy and to work toward your goals. Don’t put shit off because other people’s shit is in the way.
  4. Stacey, buy the boobs earlier. You’ve wanted them since you were a teenager and should’ve done it earlier…re-read #3 above.
  5. Stacey, there’s so much value in renting. No maintenance, no entanglements, more freedom – there’s nothing wrong with not owning a home or wanting to buy another home.
  6. Stacey, there’s also nothing wrong with not being super career-oriented; for wanting a life that’s full time with a job that’s part-time. Re-read #3 above.
  7. Stacey, don’t let other people influence your financial goals. You may not think it can happen but it does ~ even if we think we aren’t, we are influenced by those we spend the most time with. We are products of who we are around, what we listen to, what we read and watch.
  8. Stacey, don’t stress shop for clothing and other items that you may not need. Instead, book trips and see new places. Seek experiences – not things.
  9. Stacey, don’t give up on your interest in ceramics and pottery! (What I’d give to have gotten more into that in high school and carry that interest through adulthood. Taking a pottery class is something on my adult bucket-list.)
  10. Stacey, don’t entertain attention from those you aren’t seeking it from. It’s a huge time waste and all it does is create chaos and drama. (Looking at you directly, Stacey in her mid-20’s.)
  11. Stacey, harass your mother to teach you how to crochet so when she’s gone from the world you can keep up her habit of making afghans for those she loves. (This is also on my adult bucket-list for the winter.)
  12. Stacey, don’t ever be afraid of the word “no”. It won’t hurt you and it’s better than a question mark.
  13. Stacey, always choose kindness over being right. You don’t have to fight every battle to win ~ you will not be able to change everyone’s mind and it isn’t even your job to. You also do not need to attend every argument you’re invited to or provide a comment in response to every comment received. Silence can be such a powerful answer – do not be afraid to use that.
  14. Stacey, you’re going to have so many different chapters of your life and one will not be like the other. Look back at the previous chapter with kind and forgiving eyes; look back and pick out what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown from then. Heal that trauma and don’t carry it around with you.
  15. Stacey, don’t be afraid to love. Don’t be afraid of other’s love. Don’t be afraid.

**I’m comin’ with the Bad Bitch Magic** Going with the flow for the rest of 2022.

I’ve had a lot of time to sit and reflect since my last blog. Basically, the past few years have been “doing too much”. There has been too much turmoil, change, and activities.

There are three large changes happening in my life right now: My father is getting re-married. I am moving two weeks before the wedding date. This is due an amicable decision between my wife and I to separate. All three have their happy and sad parts.

My focus has been the continuation of the decluttering I started earlier this year, locating a place that would allow me to keep my dogs (one of which being on the “restricted breed” list), packing, getting my finances in order, and purchasing things I will need to start my own household.

However, I’ve still made the time to continue to create art. My latest series of candles that are now at the Grounded Goddess in Schenectady speak to me reaching inside myself to pull my spirit up and out of the funk and chaos my life has been in over the past few years.

Also influenced by “Abracadabra” by Qveen Herby

It’s a grasp to retain power and a good attitude to move forward because not all change is bad. It’s me taking back my life and making conscious decisions of what I will, won’t, and want to do. I hope these resonate with people.

While I never would have expected my father to remarry 14 months after my mother’s death, his fiancée is lovely and she’s a great fit for him. Not only that, he is more alive now than he has been in a long time. I am genuinely happy for them and their future together and am looking forward to their wedding day.

I suppose I saw my separation coming at some point, but I continued to think if we worked on it, it’d all be okay. I also had convinced myself that much of the issues stemmed from me being a solitary, selfish person. However, once we decided to separate and live in different households, a weight lifted. We went back to being friends and having some fun together. This makes the heartache of a separation and a move worth it.

I would not have guessed that 2022 would be so transformative. I would only cause myself suffering to resist the upcoming changes so I decided to just go with it a few weeks ago. Embrace the different. Embrace the weird. Embrace the idea that I’m in my late 30’s, soon to be twice-divorced and single, living in an apartment complex, and having a new step-mother and 5 step-siblings.

How my “viral” Instagram reel changed my perspective of notoriety.

Around March or April, I posted a reel using a filter that would “show” the world what I’d look like as a man. I had seen a few other girls do this and figured it was fun and harmless. The filter gave a few different choices of facial hair and other attributes. I chose a full, but nicely maintained, beard and a facial scar through an eyebrow. It felt very Pirates of the Caribbean and I clicked “SHARE” and off my reel went into Instagram-land!

I did not expect the video to take off the way that it did! When it caught attention (and it didn’t immediately; it took a few days), it LIT UP and within 48 hours of that, it had surpassed 500K views. A day or two after that, it was over a million. When it hit 1,014,401 views, I deleted it…and here’s why:

The comments.

A handful eluded to the fact that these filters made them feel bad about themselves. No one should ever be comparing themselves to a filter. The people that use filters (and sometimes that includes me!) don’t even look like their filters.

Other comments were from people affirming the attractiveness of the filter. That’s fine; but it is still fantasy.

Then came the rude ones. I didn’t try interact with everyone because I quickly learned I couldn’t reason with people when they’re determined to be negative energy. With a video I meant as silly and light-hearted, I had granted access to myself for people to criticize. It was apparent that they didn’t know, or care, that they were talking to another human online. A 38 year old woman who is comfortable in her skin and who’s likely old enough to be their mother.

Deleting it before it could garner more attention felt like the best choice. Not only did I get to avoid the potential of further negativity toward myself, others, and even themselves, but I also got my notification feed back and could see where my friends and family were interacting to my content. Those notifications had been buried underneath the reel interactions for the duration the video was active.

So, I don’t truly know if there’s a magic number that determines whether a reel is “viral”, but this occurrence has changed my perspective on the type of content I post online and how I talk about it in the description. I don’t want to further people’s insecurities about themselves, especially when they are comparing it to something fake. I don’t want to give unhappy strangers an open platform to air their assumptions about me and my life.

My experience was small compared to popular influencers and celebrities whose comment sections are often peppered – if not outright drenched – with criticisms. Because they’re in the public eye, the dregs of the public seem to think it’s acceptable to leave whatever negative thought-diarrhea comes to mind on reels, posts, and news/media/gossip articles. It seems oppressive and its complete unnecessary. Imagine would could be done if these people shifted the bad energy into good.

Since my reel, I pay closer attention to the comments I leave. I do not leave negativity on anyone’s posts, which if you knew me around 10-15 years ago, you’d never believe it! I was an online shit-talker with the best (a/k/a the worst) of them. I was extremely unhappy, insecure, and mad at the world that nothing ever seemed to work out for me. I was unable to see that the true problem was me; I was too full of piss and vitriol.

But I’m too old for that now and I have better things to do.

Hey, you! Sometimes I see here that my posts have been ‘shared’ on Facebook. If you do share, would you mind leaving a comment below? I’m genuinely curious who I’m connecting with and who is sharing my content! Thank you – go forth and be a kick-ass human.

What can $450 do?

I’ve taken about 75% of the career coaching courses and have reviewed the first draft of my new resume, along with a few paragraphs of notations. (Please see my last post.) My biggest takeaway is that I spent $450 to realize that I am not a career-oriented person.

I don’t understand the trending lingo or the need to prove my productivity using percentages and values I don’t have access to (although my wife says to just make it up). I don’t hold any specialty certifications, nor do I have any accomplishments I can apparently quantify in a resume that will stand out among the masses. However, I’m confident in my ability to speak and relate to people. All I need is a real conversation.

But the thing is ~ I’m not built to be married to a career, nor am I highly motivated to drastically increase the revenue streams of the already well-off. The truth is I’d rather use that energy to build something for myself, like building my Davis Made brand and expanding brick-and-mortar sales locations. Or, engage in an activity that creates a tangible result, such as having our vegetable garden supply all of the veggies we need to eat for the year, or ridding our house of the dust and spiderwebs. It took me $450 to realize how unmotivated I am to fuel the dreams of others when I have my own agenda.

Being as productive as I have been for so many years, it’s a bit of a shock for me to realize that a standard career isn’t what I want. I’m going to continue to work on sharpening my resume, learning about myself and figuring out what it is that I want. I know what I don’t want – and that’s to be caught up in the rat race where all that matters is money.

So I’m chewing on all of this and likely will for a bit. Almost like Facebook is listening to my inner-most thoughts, I ran across this art installation entitled “Can’t Help Myself” while scrolling today:

A more formal take on this piece can be found HERE.

It feels like it was on purpose that I stumbled across this when I did. It’s haunting, beautiful, and so relevant in how I see people managing their lives while trying to find a balance between that life and what needs to be done to afford it. I’ve wasted so much energy in my adulthood chasing things that didn’t matter and giving people who didn’t deserve it access to me, much like this machine spending years trying to keep its shit together, only to not even need any of that shit ~ because it ran on electricity, not on the fluid it was programmed to try and keep pushing into itself to survive.

So, what can one buy with $450? I can tell you what I’m beginning to see I bought – realizations about myself and my goals. Fuel for my journaling. The understanding that, career-wise, I may be a square peg in a world of round holes. Motivation and inspiration to grow and learn more about the things that bring me happiness. The clarity of what my priorities are and the beginnings of brainstorming of how I can preserve them better in a world that is constantly pushing and pulling at my concentration.

“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.” – Marie Kondo

The past couple of weeks have been challenging for me because I fell into a cycle of restlessness and interrupted sleep patterns. As mentioned in my last post, sleep deprivation increases my anxiety and my anxiety increases my sleep deprivation.

In these cycles, I begin to fixate on things. I refer to it as “spinning” because the same handful of thoughts will circulate around until something breaks it. The interruption can be as simple as acknowledging it out loud it or taking action. An example of the latter would be if there’s a project left unfinished…just finish it. Even if that project isn’t a priority or even a part of what is bothering you, sometimes completing that one thing feels like a balm on a rash.

So when I began my spinning, I also began my plan of actions.

Although I can’t attack all of my stressors at once, I pick something I can accomplish. Last weekend I finished the majority of decluttering my closet and drawers. I donated a large tote of clothing, shoes, and miscellaneous household goods to my local Salvation Army and kept a small stash of items to resell. Just like most people tend to do, I accumulate items I don’t really need or obtain joy from. A significant part of the prior weekend was making the decision of what to keep and what to pass on.

The result? A much smaller choice of items in my wardrobe which feels like a breath of fresh air, with plenty of room to get creative with each piece’s versatility.

So, this action took care of a physical need. Now on to a mental one.

At times, these spin cycles make me question if I am leading the life I want to lead. This current cycle is one of those. I have had…what can only be scientific classified as…a metric fuck ton…of work stress. This has me questioning if my current field of work is healthy for me or has it become too much. Has the nature of my job changed or have I? [Answer: it’s likely a bit of both.]

Again, I chose to take action. I’m working with a professional resume-writing and career coaching company to revamp and revive my career goals. While it may be taboo to be sharing this because a co-worker or one of my bosses could read this, I am choosing to take this decision as a positive one. I’ve been in my career for just over 17 years and it seems logical that one could feel a bit stale. If I am to stay in my industry, I need to be re-energized and working with a coach can help me re-evaluate my skills and set career goals. As in, sometimes we need an outside source to remind us of what we bring to the table and what we have the potential to bring.

Alternatively, if I do begin a different path, I need to see how my experience translates with the current trends and the confidence to take that leap. This is why I feel my decision to work with a professional on this is a win/win situation. No matter the outcome, it should improve my situation. Instead of sitting in that pool of frustration, I’m doing something about it and, as it usually does, it’s gotta start from within.

If you can relate to any of this, please leave me a comment below! If you feel comfortable, share a way you get through your ‘spin’ cycles. One thing I love about blogging is that we never know who is reading. We never know if our one tip or piece of advice can be a saving grace for another.

Sleepy Time Routines & Striving for Peace

For years, I’ve been yearning for a life free of prescriptive and/or addictive substances that act as a substitute for sleep, peace, and calm. I am not convinced that struggle and hardships beget success, that a person’s worth depends on their level of productivity, or that anyone should eat, sleep, breathe their ‘grind’ in order to achieve goals. I used to think those things and they are likely a contributor to depression and anxiety in my adult life.

I occasionally have trouble sleeping which has been a double-edged sword for me. If I don’t sleep enough, my anxiety is worse. If my anxiety is bad, I can’t sleep. I have a hard time functioning.

In the spirit of openness, I have a prescription for anti-anxiety medication and am largely caffeine-free because it has only served to heighten my anxiety over the years. I also believe in examining my lifestyle and seeing where there can be improvement. I’ve read about how I shouldn’t scroll on my phone or watch T.V. before bed – about how I should find myself a sleep routine that trains my body and brain to realize when it should begin shutting off for the night.

So, here I am, fully settled into a sleep routine that I LOVE. Here’s what I do every night:

First, because it’s still chilly at night, I turn my heated blanket on.

Second, I spray my bedsheets and comforter with THIS room spray.

Third, I lather my hands with THIS lotion.

[Do you sense a theme?]

It’s all about the smell! I’ve fallen in love with lavender fragrance. It is peaceful, calm, soothing and it gets me in the mood to snuggle in and relax. There’s nothing like snuggling my head into my pillow with all the good smells. Do I look at my phone after that? Sometimes, but I do prefer to read a book until my eyes become tired and my mind quiet.

This is what inspired my latest works, which are now available on my website. Something as small as a scent can transform a mood – and, if you’re like me, perhaps even some lavender could help ease you into a more relaxed state. All you have to add to each of these reed diffusers is the essential oil fragrance that puts you in the best and most relaxed mindset.

…and from here, I can continue my baby steps toward figuring out how to cultivate more peace in my life.

Untangling feelings about convenience.

Up until recently, I attributed my dislike of anything convenient to my modest upbringing. As I work toward shedding thought patterns that no longer serve me, I have to wonder if that’s true or is it just an attitude I developed to soothe me when I perceived I lacked something.

The thing is – conveniences that ease certain tasks can help reduce stress. I’ve been slow at learning this; however, I’ve made some purchases in the past 6 months that have helped my small business. If time is money (and personally, I feel time is more valuable than money), then upgrading and streamlining processes is worthwhile.

The best purchase I’ve made for my business (besides replacing an old computer) is my thermal label printer.

Jadens BlueTooth Thermal Label [click to see on Amazon.]

Before buying this, it was a struggle to print labels wirelessly from my phone to my standard printer. My old desktop computer was not compatible with the standard printer…so when I couldn’t get my phone to send the info to the printer, I’d have to e-mail the label to my wife and have her print them or I’d print them at work. It was entirely too fussy and annoying. Printing off a shipping label should be the easiest part of online sales.

Jadens BlueTooth Thermal Printer enters the chat and shipping has been an absolutely breeze since then! I downloaded the app on my phone and it automatically connects me to the thermal printer and, within 3 seconds, I have a label ready to go! It has been much more convenient for me and I love the fact that I will never have to buy ink. $159.99 and one of the best decisions I’ve made.

I purchased another item along with this printer and it is a…

Shipping Scale [click link to see on Amazon]

…a real shipping scale! Before this, I would occasionally lose money on shipping because I was using a food scale that was not entirely accurate. I’ve had zero problems in that regard using this $19.99 scale.

I’m learning there is no shame in having things that make tasks more convenient. It doesn’t make me spoiled, entitled, better than anyone else, lazy, or soft. These two items save me frustration, time, stress, and money and I would recommend them to anyone who sells items online – whether it be secondhand or handmade items.

Shying away from items of convenience has been my M.O. in adulthood and I’ve always attributed it to how money was viewed during my adolescent. But I think this is an attitude and mindset that I created and it is certainly one I can abolish.