Summer Photo Diary

My Summer hasn’t been a memorable one. Three unbelievable heat waves, exams until the end of July, my cat having health issues (along with myself) and other personal stuff, made me wish to see Autumn very soon. But I don’t want to only complain, I have to be grateful for what I have and for the things I managed to do, so I decided to put together a photo diary of my Summer. Mostly for myself since many photos have already been shared on Instagram during the last few months.

My mother and I managed to see the Titanic Artifact Exhibition in my hometown! I’ve been such a huge fan of the movie since it came out when I was only 7 years old and being able to see the exhibition was a dream came true, another thing crossed off my bucket list. That day, there was also a car exhibition. I’m not into that, to be honest, but some designs were incredible and we ended up having lunch in the park nearby.

June ended pretty quickly because of the exams and my days spent studying.

The highlight of July was definitely a night spent at the Palace of Venaria with my friends. We got tickets for the special evening openings and attended water and light games in the park of the palace. We really enjoyed it and the place is so beautiful, it feels like to be inside a mini Versailles.

After finishing my exams, I wanted to enjoy my free week, but we experienced the worst heat wave ever and so I ended up spending all the time at home with the AC. Such a boring way to spend my few days of vacation!

Finally, the second half of August I went back to work at the library where I volunteer. The photos above were taken just outside the National Library (not where I work), they always show amazing flower arrangements and I love to sit there reading my book before going to work.

I’m looking forward to my favorite time of the year and I really hope things are going to be better before the end of the year. In the meantime, I journal journal journal to calm my nerves. It’s such a helpful practice that doesn’t require any special knowledge nor money. Just open the notebook and write down all the words in your head.

How was your Summer, friends? I’d love to catch up with you! I feel like I’ve been a bit too much absent lately.

Do-A-Thon: Intentional Living for One Week (May 1 – 7, 2017)

Better later than never they say. I finally decided to join Mollie’s Do-A-Thon for the next week. I never joined a Read-A-Thon before, because I can’t finish a book in 7 days with my schedule and not even think about 3 books in 5 days or things like that, but when I saw Mollie’s challenge I thought I could at least try participating. In Mollie’s words:

What if we applied intentional “marathoning” to our lives outside of books? […] I want to devote a week of my time to doing the things I always say I’m going to do or want to do. […] This isn’t bucket-list-athon (though it absolutely can be about those bucket list items). 

The DO-A-THON is meant to be broad, because we all have different tasks, dreams, goals, fears to overcome, and desires. However, to choose intentional goals, the following may serve as a great guide for you:

  • Do one thing that scares you or do something that challenges the story you tell yourself.
  • Complete a project (creative or otherwise) that you’ve been putting off.
  • Do something that involves someone else or do something for someone else.
  • Learn something new.
  • Do something to foster a calm or welcoming environment.
More info can be found on the original blog post and this introductory video.
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Well, I don’t have a task for every single point of the list, but I had to make actionable plans, since I’ll have classes from Tuesday to Friday next week. Here are my Do-A-Thon goals:
  • go to the dentist: I already scheduled an appointment, but it was something I kept postponing, since it’s always super expensive.
  • contact 2 professors of mine for exam programs: again, another thing I kept postponing, this time only because I’m afraid of the amount of stuff I’ll have to study, ugh.
  • finish reading The Fellowship of the Ring: I started rereading LOTR in March and I still have to finish the first book, because I lost my focus and I read 2 other books at the same time this month, but I’m very close to the end so I want to finish it!
  • write another article for Middle-earth News: nothing crazy, but I have tons of ideas and I keep procrastinating, I really want to get better and publish, at least, an article per week.
That’s it! Here are my super simple goals for the next week. I never did a challenge like this before, so I don’t know what to expect from myself, I don’t even know how I’ll keep you updated (since I’m supposed to be on a self-imposed Twitter ban, haha), but I hope that writing this down will motivate me to complete this tasks.

A New Addition to My Tolkien Collection

Last Thursday, I finally made myself a little gift. After checking out my Amazon wishlist very single day for 4 months (no kidding) to track the price, this Extended Edition of The Lord of the Rings finally reached 29,90 € and I placed my order. You know, I alredy bought this set back in December for the same price, but it was a gift for a friend, then I received some Christmas money and I wanted to purchase it for myself, but the price was increased around 50 € and I couldn’t afford it. I was hoping it would return around 30 € sooner or later, but I had to wait 4 entire months for that!

However I’m so happy I finally got it (for a good price, yay perseverance!), because as unbelieavable as it might sound, I never watched the Extended Edition BTS of The Lord of the Rings, just a couple from The Two Towers at my friend’s home. Some people might say I wasn’t an actual fan, because I only owned the theatrical cut edition and my shelves aren’t full of memorabilia (I got my own replica of the One Ring in my early 20s), but believe me when I say that Peter Jackson’s movies have been everything to me during my teens and deeply shaped my life. It’s just that DVDs were incredibly expensive at that time!

After purchasing this box set, I felt incredibly guilty, because it was 30 € after all, plus I was adding something material to my life once again (if you’ve read my previous post about Minimalism, you’d probably know what I mean). But then I remembered what Minimalism is all about: happiness. This box set is not the next shiny object to me, it’s something I really care about, something I wanted since I was 12. It’s a little piece of personal history added to my collection, not a random movie on a DVD.

Middle-earth and the Wizarding World always made me happy and helped me a lot through my life, plus Harry Potter is the only geeky passion I share with my mom (even if she still refuses to accept her inner fangirl), so it’s okay spending money for that once in a while. I’m not going to become a collector and dedicate a whole room to merchandise, so IT’S OKAY, ALICE. It’s okay. Now breathe.These are the best 30 € I’ve spent in the last couple of years, I watched the LOTR BTS for the entire Easter weekend (while I wasn’t eating) and I still have to start The Two Towers! Clearly the DVDs I would bring with me on a desert island. 🙂

Do you ever feel guilty for your purchases (even if they are super special)?

Minimalism

When I received an email from Netflix saying that the Minimalism documetary was finally available in my country, I thought it was a joke. It was April 1st, after all. I started following the minimalism movement on YouTube a little bit, but I never found it very doable for me until I stumbled upon the Lavendaire channel. Aileen taught me that minimalism is not just about how many items you own, having a house all black and white, wearing the same T-shirt over and over again.

Minimalism is a state of mind, first of all, it’s all about feeling yourself happy.

I’m not going to explain here the whole concept, there are plenty of articles, blogs, channels about it. I, instead, want to recommend you this documentary because it really impressed me, even if I approached Minimalism in a totally skeptical mood at first. While living in such tiny houses with zero decorations or being a nomad with just a suitcase of belongings wouldn’t be doable for me, I loved the things they shared in this film. I learned a lot and I found myself reflecting a lot on my life. When one of the Minimalists shared his sad story about his mom, it totally made me cry, because I know what it means sickness and it totally reasonates with my believe of spending as much time as I can with my beloved ones before it’s too late. I think this documentary is mostly dedicated to those people affected by consumerism, not actually my case.

I lived on a budget for the most part of my life, in an average european house, my parents never spoiled me (on the contrary, they were afraid of that, being an only child, and even overdid the other way). But I always thought that having more money, affording more things would make the difference, would make me happier. I eventually learned it’s not true. The other day, talking with an Instagram (now real life) friend, we noticed we had a pretty similar “hipster” childhood, our moms grew us up in a similar way, valuing homemade things and little pleasures of life, while both of us wanted to be like the others, eating junk food, owning the next shiny toy and so on. Now we know how our families grew us up well, we’re grateful for that. Minimalism was already in our lives without even knowing it.

After watching the documentary, I started listening to their podcast during my commute and I just finished reading one of their books, Essential. Again, while I don’t agree with everything they say (and I’m not going to get rid of my stuff tomorrow), I think it’s such a powerful message and an inspirational lifestyle and we should spend some time learning more about it.

Have you heard of Minimalism? Do you have any thoughs/advice/knowledge to share? I’d love to hear from you! ❤

Two Weeks Away from Twitter

After deciding to stop treating my blog like a job earlier this year, I immediately realized I was mindlessy scrolling my Twitter feed multiple times a day, I stopped scheduling tons of tweets on Buffer to promote my posts and share those I found around the internet. There was nothing wrong with it, if not that I usually found myself reaching the app very frequently and closing it with depressing feelings. After all that happened (and still happens) in the world lately, you can find politics everywhere, even on those accounts you followed solely for their geeky/fictional stuff (even LOTR RP accounts are “compromised” now).

It was too much for me, even if I actually care about it because I live in this world. I already unfollowed and muted several accounts, but those tweets kept coming no matter what. It was very frustrating for me, because Twitter had always been a way to connect with fellow Tolkien fans, the Hobbit actors, book bloggers, productivity coaches and so on. I didn’t want to let it go, but, at the same time, it made me feel angry, frustrated and stressed out, and that’s not what I need in my life right now.

So, after many thoughts, I decided to delete the app from my phone adjusting my settings: email notifications for mentions and direct messages, a handy IFTTT applet to auto-share my blog posts when they go live. I didn’t want to completely quit Twitter, after all.

Despite my late announcement, I can proudly state that today marks two weeks of Twitter detox and I don’t think I’ll change things anytime soon! I feel so GOOD. Staying away from it made me realize how many times I compulsively reached my phone in a day only to scroll a feed that made me feel bad, it also made me spend more quality time interacting on Instagram, which is still my favorite.

I’m not going to quit Twitter, I still plan to use it for Twitter chats, random things I want to share and to interact with others, but not checking it daily has been a life saver for me and I plan to continue this way.

Lesson learned. So, please, delete those apps that make you feel bad, depressed or discouraged. You don’t have to feel that way, sometimes a little detox is what you need.