Head & Heart – June 2014

Published Categorized as Life

June flashed by so quickly in the usual blur of short, rainy days and many many cups of tea. Here’s what I’ve been up to the past month, in the Head & Heart series. Head on over to helarious if you’d like to join us!

“A monthly capture of my feelings and doings, in the raw.”

What I’ve been grateful for

My lovely friends, a fair few of whom celebrated their birthdays in June. Sometimes it’s hard to believe I’ve known some of these girls for over fifteen years; I guess some friendships were meant to last! Despite all of us working in our own pursuits and sometimes in different cities or countries, we’ve managed to always pick up where we left off.

Getting an excuse to do some hand lettering at work, for a little printed booklet about digital marketing (a quick photo here; full writeup coming soon). I’ve never had any of my lettering work in print before, and have never designed and typeset a muti-page booklet either – I’m so grateful that everything printed okay!

What I’ve been thinking about

As my birthday is in early July (today actually!), I’ve been thinking about getting older and where I am in my life. I think that on the whole, being 29 suits me a lot better than my early twenties did – I didn’t completely feel comfortable in my own skin or particularly confident until my mid twenties. Dinner parties, decorating my house, and cups of tea are just so much more my thing than late nights clubbing, and now I’m confident enough to not care if someone thinks that makes me a boring person. I don’t have it all figured out, but I have figured out that no one really does anyway. We’re all just making it up as we go along.

As I wrote recently, I’ve been thinking about the best way to invest my time in my various pursuits without becoming a jack of all trades, master of none. Part of me wants to do ALL THE THINGS, all at the same time, but that isn’t really the most efficient way to get better at something. I think I need to reel it all back and try and focus on just a couple of things at a time.

What I’m excited for

A trip to South Africa at the end of the year, for a friend’s wedding and a safari! We’ve only booked flights so far, so this next month will involve a lot of research and decisions to lock in what we need to in advance. I can feel myself getting itchy to do more travelling; I’ll have to be satisfied with planning for the moment.

After walking past the design studio of CIT every day and peeking in the window at the beautiful old printing press, I’ve signed up for a letterpress course starting at the end of July. I’ve never had a good excuse to get something letterpressed, so getting the opportunity to actually do it myself will be awesome! I wonder if after the course they’ll let me hire out the studio to make more prints…

What I’ve been doing

Always more calligraphy and hand lettering practice. Trying to wake up early. Sketch Dailies illustrations on my iPad, not quite daily. A big wardrobe decluttering, which has left me with the most pared down yet functional wardrobe I’ve ever had. Marathoning Call the Midwife and Orphan Black. Gingerly trying to get back into jogging and exercise after some bad back flareups. Marathoning SeanWes podcasts. Trying to stay out of the rain as much as possible.

What I’ve been reading

I received and just finished reading my first issue of Offscreen, a magazine for digital designers, developers and creatives, and I’m so impressed. I really appreciate the effort put into finding people doing exciting things beyond the stereotypical white, male, San Francisco characters that tend to dominate the media in my industry, with some great interviews with both men and women from around the world.

Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (via Sandy) – good food for thought. I’ve found myself becoming more relaxed or even careless with my spending now that both The Boy and I are working full time, and that worries me. I can see how the 9-5 working day creates a lot of needs that would be otherwise unnecessary. But our society and culture is so entrenched in this way of thinking that I’m not sure it’s completely escapable long-term. Honestly I’m not sure I’d even know how to live long-term without the kind of structure that a job gives – even in  my freelancing days I chose to keep roughly the same business hours.

Spurred on by the above article, I finally got around to buying Walden by Henry David Thoreau, a classic memoir about living simply in natural surroundings. It is very dense and more than a little preachy so I’m only making it through a few pages each night, but there are a lot of interesting ideas so far. Don’t worry, I’m not about to run off and live in the bush, but the general themes of simplicity are very appealing to me.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

- Henry David Thoreau

What I’ve been spending money on

These days all my money is going to learning new things, food, and travel. Oh and a nice bottle of whiskey. I feel this is how it should be.

Check out Helen’s Head & Heart post over on helarious for more details if you’d like to join us, or read others’ posts for this series.

Pictured above: a Melbourne laneway from our trip in March.


    1. I hadn’t heard of Upstream Color, how interesting! So far Walden is very heavy on metaphors and I think I’m going to have to read an analysis of it afterwards to really get it, but I’m find it puts words to my feelings about work and wants vs needs, consumerism etc. It’s a bit of a hard slog but I’m sure it will be worth it, which is how I generally feel about classics! Once I’m done I think it will be interesting to see how it gels with the rest of Thoreau’s life, since he only spent two years at Walden Pond and it sounds like more of an experiment or philosophical sabbatical to step back and look at society from a distance.

  1. Happy birthday for yesterday Chisa! Loved reading your post and so cool that you’re going to South Africa later this year. I’ll be sure to send some tips your way after I get back in August. Where are you going? Also, so with you on being boring and loving it. And not caring about what people think. x

    1. Thank you Erika! I’d absolutely appreciate any tips – are you going on a safari at all? We are still trying to choose one, in the Kruger Park region. After that we’re flying to Port Elizabeth, then driving along the coast to Cape Town where we’re attending a wedding. I can’t wait!

  2. duuuuuude! can’t believe i missed this. it’s okay it’s technically still july so totally still valid :)
    ive literally opened up all these links to things you’ve mentioned as they all sound awesome. offscreen? never heard of it. walden? no idea what that is…. can’t wait to check it all out! i’m excited about your letterpress course – like SUPER excited. can’t wait for you to talk about it!! x

    1. Haha whoops, missed an important step there and forgot to add it to the list =_= Sorry!

      I think you would love Offscreen! I particularly liked the articles about people creating apps or other tools to help the world, it’s very inspiring.

      I forgot to mention that Walden is public domain, so it’s freee (for e-readers). It’s sort of a philosophical manifesto that I’ve seen referred to so many times in self-sufficiency and minimalism related stuff I’ve been reading that I had to check it out. Tough read but very interesting. I’m planning to read more analysis of the book after it, because I think a lot of it is going over my head.

      I am SO excited about letterpress! There are only 3 other people in my class, so I’m hoping that translates to plenty of time on the tools for me!

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