Renegade Craft Fair Chicago 2016 – Wish List

All weekend, the Renegade Craft Fair filled Division Street here in Chicago. Lucky for me, it was only a half block from my apartment! I spent a few hours browsing (and, yes, buying) things from some of the coolest makers, designers, and artists from around the world. While I managed to snag some sweet ceramics and awesome art prints for our apartment, there were plenty of pieces that stole my heart!

Here’s a quick round-up of me wish list from the Fair. Links to the artist sites are below. A big thanks to all the vendors for inspiring me with your work!

renegade-craft-fair-chicago-wish-list-2016

PRINTS: 1 – Giraffe Print // 2 – Playing Card Quote Print // 3 – Mars Planet Print // 4 – Chickens Print // 5 – Totoro Print

HOME GOODS: 6 – Dino Pentomino Tile Puzzle // 7 – Leather Coasters // 8 – Kitchen Hand Towel // 9 – Wood Board // 10 – Geometric Dishes

The Funny Thing is…

(a few of the things filling my life this past month)

I know what it looks like. It looks like I’ve neglected writing in this space for quite some time (almost a month…how can that be?!), just as I’ve done in years past with previous blogs. The one difference this time, though, is that I’m not neglecting writing. In fact, I may be writing more now than I ever have previously. You just don’t see it here…yet.

Right now, there are eight saved drafts in my queue all lined up and ready to post. They are nearly finished, but I’m not comfortable posting them quite yet. They look good, but they’re not perfect. They’re not what I want to share with the world. I promise you that when they’re ready, you’ll see them.

One of Sam’s biggest pet peeves is when people complain about not having enough time. As someone who’s always felt like I’ve never had enough time, I used to take offense to this statement. I shrugged it off as Sam not being ambitious enough, or involved enough, or motivated enough to feel the pressure of needing more time. How could he possibly understand when he didn’t have a gazillion extracurricular activities occupying all his minutes like I did? 

The reason my perspective was so flawed back then is because my husband works harder than anyone I know. I knew it back then, when he rolled his eyes every time I said I didn’t have enough time, and I know it more than ever these days. He’s incredibly dedicated to his career, and he’s been a better employee at all his jobs than I’ve ever been at any of mine. And, yet, he never complains about not having enough time like I do.

“There’s always enough time,” he says. “It’s about prioritizing what’s important. You have the time to do what you want: you actively choose not to do certain things because you’re doing others. Having the time isn’t the problem, prioritizing what matters is the problem.”

(Did I mention my husband is also smarter and more observant than I am? Because he totally is.)

Since moving to Chicago, I have yet to volunteer, join a club, or do essentially any of the “experience-building-network-things” I buried myself under in Traverse City. This is, honestly, a huge surprise to me. I thought I’d be bustling around, making connections, going a billion places, carrying the torch of my previous life here in the city.

Instead, I’ve turned inwards. I ask myself what I want to do, and then I do that. Last night, for instance, I wanted to make a planter for my new plants so I stayed after work and played in the shop. This past weekend, I could’ve scheduled some blog entries but instead I made dozens of cookies and homemade breakfast pizza. I jump into bed at 9 pm on Friday nights so we can crank out 15-18 mile runs at 5 a.m. on Saturday morning. These are the things that I’m prioritizing right now, and I’m enjoying them so much more because I’m focusing my efforts instead of spreading myself too thin. 

I’m working on embracing a quote I heard a few years ago:

You can do anything, but not everything. 

Until moving to Chicago, I didn’t realize how much I needed those words in my life. I should’ve known Sam was right all along (he usually is), but I’m stubborn and need to figure it out for myself sometimes. Through a series of lazy evenings, self-reflection, and learning that I really can read a book before falling asleep, I’ve found that my mental health has positively flourished since arriving here.

And yet.

There are all sorts of new stressors in our lives these days that keep us from fully settling. Moving into our new apartment (which we love!) has made a big difference in adjusting to this city, but we’ve barely been in this apartment for three weeks. Plus, we spent the last five days up in the suburbs dog-sitting for my cousin’s family. Oh, and I went to the emergency room for the first time in my life. It’s a miracle we’ve managed to unpack most of our belongings at this point, let alone sit down and finalize a blog post.

So, this post is not an excuse. It’s recognition that I’ve prioritized other things in my life instead of spending every night clicking away on a computer or trying to find the right words that will make people read my blog. Instead, I am watching Mad Men or reading a book or cooking something new or heading out with friends or enjoying these last beautiful days of summer walking the city streets or dreaming travel plans with Sam or writing things out by hand because I miss paper or simply sitting outside and watching the world around me. Somehow, right now, these are the things that matter to me. These are the things I want to fill my time, because they fill my heart.

My goal is to be back here, fresh, after Labor Day weekend. I have so many exciting, wonderful, and also terrifying adventures to share from these past few weeks. I want to make sure I’m ready to do them justice before putting them here.

Get ready. They’re coming.

 

 

 

 

 

6 Albums that Changed My Life

6 albums that changed my life // mostych.com

I thought I’d take a little break from my usual writings to share six of my my all-time favorite albums. Aside from the fact that I never tired of listening to these albums, each one of these albums transformed my life in some way.

Curious to know how they’ve influenced me? Read on!

Take Off You Pants and Jacket - Blink 182 // 6 albums that changed my life // mostych.com

When I was 12, a cute boy burned me a copy of Blink-182’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. I already knew the words to every song on Enema of the State and was a huge fan of Blink 182 (I own every album after Enema), but something about this album hit me in the right place at the right time.

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Why I Believe in the Maker Movement

Why I believe in the Maker Movement - Mo Stych Blog

When Sam and I decided to move to Chicago from our small hometown in northern Michigan, I think a lot of people assumed that we accepted jobs with a higher salaries/pay rates. Full disclosure: this couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that we both took pretty significant pay cuts and moved to what most people consider to be a city with higher living expenses. (It turns out, this also isn’t very true. All things considered, the cost of living is pretty equivalent).

Honestly, it was scary for both of us to accept lower salaries when moving to the big city. However, in thinking about what we both wanted out of our future, we knew that we had to make a change to our lives. We had to take some risks and start chasing the other dreams living in our hearts. For Sam, this meant taking a job as a baseball analyst at a sports data company. For me, it meant becoming a part of a community that was totally new and exciting.

But I still had to find work, and it took over six months. My job search was really painful and stressful (more about that some other time). In the end, I found a place at Inventables. I started doing something entirely different than my career path so far, and I had zero experience in the industry.

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Move Update: One Month Later

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

 

Greetings, all!

I am essentially writing this tonight to prove to you all that I’m actually still here and that I care about this space. The past month has been a little crazy—more about that below—but in a way I’m glad that my life in the real world has occupied so much of my time away from the digital world. 

So many things have happened in the past month, and while I’d love to spend time spewing all my thoughts about these various events and things, it’s probably best to keep this in a list format for now.

Living in the Windy City

February 2nd marked my official move date to Chicago, and I’ve been with Sam since then. It’s been a wonderful change of scenery, and it’s nice to be back with my husband full-time instead of driving back and forth between two places.

Working in The Loop

For a long time I wasn’t receiving any interst at the 40-50 different places I applied over the last six months. I had first interviews and even fourth interviews, but never an offer. Then all of a sudden, the first week in February, I found myself juggling two (very, very different) job opportunities and had to make a choice. It wasn’t easy, but I know I made the right choice by accepting a position at Inventables.

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Word of the Year: Create

word-of-the-year-create-mo-stych

 

I’m a big fan of personal challenges. Some are truly beneficial (eliminating refined sugars for two weeks before Christmas) and others are questionable tests of my sanity (not spending any money for an entire month, aside from groceries). I like mixing things up in my life and seeing what I’m capable of achieving, whether short-term or long-term.

But New Year’s resolutions are hard for me. Rather than pinpoint exactly what I want to accomplish, every year I end up with unachievable goals and expect instantaneous results. Back when I was an avid blog-reader, I noticed a lot of bloggers set a “word of intention” going into a new year. Essentially, it was a personal mantra to carry with them for the next 12 months and help guide their life without setting strict boundaries.

The whole “word of intention” thing always seemed kind of hokey to me, but as I think about what I want out of 2016 it seems like the most attainable and motivational way for me to break into a new year. I’ve done some thinking over the past week or two, and I’ve set my word for 2016:

CREATE

In my personal and professional life, I feel like I am on the verge of some big breakthrough. I don’t know what form it takes, or what it means, but I feel something brewing inside my heart. I already know 2016 will be a year filled with big changes (new city, new job, new living space, etc.) but I want to harness this positive energy and get the most out of this year that I possibly can.

For me, I feel best when I am creating. I relish creativity on so many different levels and I like that “create” is a verb that’s versatile and adaptable to a lot of areas in my life. Here are some examples of ways I plan to create in 2016:

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The Creative’s Dilemma

creatives dilemma

The internet is a productivity paradox. While it provides a wealth of information that I can utilize to grow my own ideas (fact-checking when writing, color inspiration when designing, or something new and awesome), the internet is also full of addicting distractions that I find incredibly hard to resist. I’m like everyone else: solid content is impossible to resist, whether it’s educational or just plain awesome.

Lately, I’ve found myself on two big (and entirely separate) addictions: Mad Men and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton.” These two things alone occupy all my free time and essentially put me in a position to not do anything except consume the creative brilliance of others.

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