Chapter 3: The Fast Track

“Alright, I’m gonna get married now.”

Simmy, it’s not that easy. This may take some time, you know.

“Psh. Watch this.”

Continue reading “Chapter 3: The Fast Track”
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Always Take Your Meds

Hi everyone! I hope you’re doing amazingly so far this week!

I had something written but not finished for today and I had planned on sitting down to finish it tonight, but then I started having withdrawal symptoms due to forgetting to take my meds for a few days (I didn’t realize it had been that long). If you’ve never experienced this before, I think it’s different for everyone, but for me it starts off like motion activated dizziness/electric shocks through my body which then turns to jitters and awkward muscle spasms which makes it difficult to function in public or otherwise. I once forgot to take my meds for 6 days and when I went to pick them up I mentioned to my pharmacist I hadn’t been on them and he said, “I can tell.”

I mean, it’s kinda funny but it’s also NOT FUNNY DON’T BE LIKE ME, haha. It’s definitely not good to do this to yourself. This is part of self-care and learning.

I had my refill scheduled to be delivered because it’s been snowy and icy but I missed the email that told me my insurance doesn’t cover delivery. And I can’t find my backups, oops. Tomorrow I’ll get them and all will be well, no worries!

My heart goes out to you if you are someone who often forgets their meds. It’s hard sometimes, no matter how long you’ve been regularly taking medication. We’ll get there!

Until next time, I wish you all the very best. Take care!

Go Flailing, Yelling, and Stumbling in the Direction of Your Dreams

A few hours after my last post I realized it was actually Monday when I posted it so I was technically on schedule, LOL. Welcome to my brain, you guys!

I didn’t play many games this week (aside from Roblox omg lol), so today’s post is going to be about our week’s accomplishments. Those are more important anyway, right? I really hope that the week went well for you, and I’d love to hear if there’s anything that made you especially happy or proud of yourself this week, big or small. Drop a comment!

At some point mid-week I got tired of my hair and chopped it with craft scissors – don’t worry, this is a totally typical thing for me. Last year I bleached my long dark brown hair to platinum blonde, basically annihilating it.

6 months of my hair in 2018

Although I’ve cut and trimmed it a lot since then, the ends were still very scratchy and I was just done with it. I started cutting and my daughter heard, turned around and was like, “Omg, you’re gonna regret that.” So far so good, I think.

The two things I’m most proud of this week are related to graphics. I applied to be a contracted designer for a cute little company and created some samples, which was a little different and a tad more challenging than creating for myself (which is all I’ve ever done) because everything pretty much had to be from scratch. These images are meant to be wrapped around tin cans.

I’m not by any means a graphic designer, but I really enjoy making things so hopefully they like them. I haven’t heard back from them yet.

Then today I made my first cutesy little animation (it’s just a .gif so not a huge production) and I am so in love with how it turned out. It’s an edit of my business logo, which got a brighter, happier makeover for spring this week.

I watched it for a long time earlier and my son just came in as I was typing this and said, “Why are you still watching that?” I am so judged by my spawn, haha. I think next I want to make the necklace a bit bigger so it can be seen when the image is sized down, but I didn’t want to start with anything huge because that’s just overwhelming! Lol.

And that’s all my news this week. Again, I’d love to hear yours. If you didn’t have a good week, I hope that next week brings better things your way, I really do. It always gets better, and I’m living proof.

Thank you for reading <3 Take care.

Roadblox?

I’m a terrible, horrible person who didn’t blog yesterday or follow my PATH TO RIGHTEOUSNESS from the post in which I talked about doing what I plan to do. I don’t know if I’m more embarrassed about that or the fact that one of the reasons I didn’t blog is because I was playing Roblox. Have you guys played Roblox? My kids were playing it one day and as a joke I joined them. But then the joke

got

serious.

Anyway, I think I like it because, much like the sims, it’s a sort of mindless way to spend time. If you haven’t checked the game out for yourself or you want to see some posts about what I’m up to in that, let me know because there are some STORIES I could tell.

To be fair, I did start a post a few days ago, it’s just still sitting in my drafts.

BUT for the sake of future Starla, I just made the rule RIGHT NOW that even if I make my best efforts to post and don’t, I’m not going to dwell on it. This is still more posts than I make when I’m not trying, so it’s okay! It’s Tuesday and I’m posting off schedule, I’m so wild. So crazy.

Here is a picture of some random try-hard doodles I worked on this evening. Imagine me presenting it to you like this:

Welp, here's the art
Doodling helps art, or so I'm told...

Here’s to tomorrow’s post! Take care, everyone <3

Additional Note:

This post sat here for a minute while I went downstairs and while I was down there I realized that my desire to read Harry Potter started off as a joke too. I was grounded for, like, an entire summer and as a joke I asked my mom to get me the Harry Potter books to pass the time. This brilliant woman went to the store that week and brought home all 4 (that were out at the time). Then, well, I’m sure you can guess what happened.

I’m sensing a pattern here… I should joke less 😂

Planning VS Doing: My Struggles with Schedule Management

A wise man once said, “Don’t plan the plan if you can’t follow through.”

This wise man was Dr. Horrible, and he doesn’t even know my life, why is he judging me?!

I bought a planner with some of my Christmas money at the beginning of this year. It was actually intended as more of a practice planner because it was less expensive than the one I really wanted (some of them are so gosh darn gorgeous). I didn’t want to spend the money if I didn’t actually benefit from the thing, you know?

This planner is cutesy and comes with inspirational stickers, with fantastic motivational quotes scattered throughout.

You’re wondering if I’ve used it, right? I have. I really have. I’ve made an honest effort to utilize it in a way that helps me manage things in life, and I’ve written my to-do list in it every single day. But what I’ve learned so far is that a planner isn’t going to help you actually, uh, accomplish things for some reason?

There have of course been days where I’ve crossed off everything and have felt extremely good about it, but then there are others where one item on the list gets pushed from Monday to Tuesday to Wednesday to Thursday and so on. It’s usually something fun, too, like updating this blog or making a YouTube video.

My original plan going into the year was to post here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and post on YouTube every Tuesday and Thursday, as well as write at least 150 words for my book each day. While planning this and coming up with content is easy enough for me, it just hasn’t played out that way. I can’t help but wonder if it’s my fault?

Haha, no, yeah, it is my fault. But I do have a theory about why.

One thing I think I need to work on, and I think everyone could benefit from thinking about, is prioritizing in a way that doesn’t just get things done, but that actually makes us happy. As a society, we have definitely become very production based, so our brains are almost wired to feel useless if we are spending time on what most would consider unnecessary or frivolous tasks. If we aren’t working on things that generate “real life” results, are we even working?

The truth is, I haven’t been strict on myself when it comes to these more enjoyable things because something in the back of my head says I don’t have to do them. It is not necessary that I work on my blog or channel or writing, so if it doesn’t happen, that’s not a loss. But at the end of the day, if working on my blog, channel, or writing generates happiness and a sense of accomplishment for me, it is a loss if I don’t do it. Because I genuinely want to do those things, that’s why they’re on the list.

My therapist mentioned this as well in regards to exercise. Oftentimes we are so busy throughout the day that exercise is an expendable activity. We make excuses about not doing it, push it back to another hour or another day. But if we treat it like an important appointment, same as we would a date or a trip to the doctor, something that shouldn’t be skipped, we could potentially train ourselves to never miss a day. It sounds weird to be scheduling (and following that schedule) hobbies or activities, but desperate times…

So Starla’s wise old advice to everyone today is to not just plan to do things you love. Planning is fun and sure looks pretty, but it’s not enough. Do the things you love. This weekend I challenge you to make time for yourself. Don’t push back the things you want to do and only do the things you have to. Do all of it! Make a plan for your happiness, your health, your mind, and follow through.

As the sweet little planner stickers say: Make it Happen!

Much love to all <3 Let me know if you’re able to accomplish this this weekend!

How I Became Disenchanted by Harry Potter

I went back and forth about whether I want to share this little story or not, mostly because it’s something I still feel a bit of bitterness about and I want to inform more than rant, but ultimately I decided it’s a nice learning experience for those of us who create things. A cautionary tale, if you will.

As I’ve mentioned, I started my own company in October 2018. Initially, I set out to create jewelry inspired by fandoms (gaming, books, movies, etc.) because I’ve had tons of ideas stashed in my mind for a very long time and this was an excellent opportunity to get them out. I’m sure many of you can relate: our ideas never end.

Excited to get started, I jumped in (admittedly without doing much research beforehand), starting an Etsy shop and creating my first five pieces. Each piece was inspired by my favorite franchise of all time: Harry Potter, of course.

There were some pieces that were pretty literal in their interpretations, like a pendant with a quote by Ron Weasley on it, Hedwig in her cage, or this keychain:

Originally called “The Dark Mark”

Then there were some that were more abstract or loosely based, such as a piece featuring pink ombre floral beads inspired by Hermione’s Yule Ball gown in Goblet of Fire, or the necklace below – this is important, and you’ll see why in a second.

Originally called “The Invisibility Cloak”

The Invisibility Cloak was immediately my favorite piece, and also my first two sales (because my friends are awesome and supportive).

As a relatively new seller on Etsy and as someone who has only ever used or had any connection with Etsy when I’m looking for handcrafted fandom-style items, I didn’t think much about what I was calling these items or how I was tagging them, except that I tagged them to ensure they would be found on the site by those who would enjoy them. If you do a search on Etsy for “Harry Potter” you get hundreds of thousands of items as a result, and I wanted to make sure I was one of them. Because Potterheads unite! Or something.

Once I had my Etsy shop up and running, I set out to talk about my stuff and let people know it exists, as many sellers do. Because The Invisibility Cloak was my favorite, it was the main piece I excitedly threw around all over the place. I was so thrilled for this new adventure and I needed EVERYONE to know it.

One night, in giddiness-fueled impulse, I decided I wanted J.K. Rowling to see the necklace, so I tweeted at her (because Twitter is her favorite haunt and all). It said something along the lines of, “I made this necklace, loosely based on Harry’s invisibility cloak! What do you think?” It included a picture and a link to its Etsy listing.

But, uh, I guess that’s where I made a mistake.

I had heard things – not so great things – about JKR and her team, and how they’re pretty crazy about copyrights (and $$$). Disney as well. But I never really took it too seriously. People like to exaggerate, right? JKR is a creator; she understands inspiration. Literally shit-tons of things have been inspired by her work, just as she was inspired by others when she created it. But, haha… this is where my opinion changed.

A week after this tweet was sent, I got an email from Etsy saying the Invisibility Cloak necklace was taken down due to copyright claims by Warner Bros and was not to be put back up.

It would help if they responded to emails.

You guys. My very abstract interpretation of a magical object in a book series, a necklace which sat amongst other more literal Harry Potter listings, was totally ripping off the franchise.

Now, I understand the basics of copyright and ownership, intellectual property and the like. I would never intentionally rip off someone else’s work, and I fully support and respect creators in that regard. But this felt so ridiculous. It felt petty, in a way? And I didn’t understand, especially when it seemed as if they’d only targeted it because of the tweet. They didn’t even take the time to look at the rest of my shop and see all the other Harry Potter themed items. It felt like I’d said, “Hey, JKR, what do you think of my work?!” and she’d responded with, “That’s mine. Goodbye.” Except with less words and through a legal team.

Etsy gave me the option to email Warner Bros. I’ll be honest, initially I was really hurt, so I didn’t email them right away. I wanted to do my best to figure out how to fix the situation and not make it worse by getting all emotional because I’d only had my shop for a week and felt like it was already doomed. When I did email them, I politely asked what I needed to change and expressed my apologies for being mistaken in thinking what I was doing was fine. It was very much a tail-between-the-legs email that Starla From The Past, who had serious pride issues, would have scoffed at.

They didn’t reply, so I did my own research in the meantime and found that, essentially, it’s expected that creators who have made products inspired by specific fandoms should not use tags or titles specific to that fandom unless they have license to do so. You can use tags and titles that hint at what it’s supposed to represent, like a generic cereal meant to be similar to Cap’n Crunch. A notebook featuring Hermione Granger, for example, cannot depict a Hogwarts crest or her name, but a notebook featuring a bushy haired girl in a witch hat and a school uniform can be titled Brightest Witch Notebook. Something like that. Maybe they’d still get you for using “Brightest Witch.” I really don’t know.

After another week of silence on their end, I decided this wasn’t even worth it. My shop was meant to be fun, and a place where I can try to make myself feel useful after the year I’d been through, so – pardon me, but – fuck them. I sent another email to Warner Bros, and this time I wasn’t as nice. I mentioned that, number one, instead of shutting down an item completely, they could have sent a warning or some sort of message to indicate it wasn’t appropriate. Number two, they should shift their focus to shops under the “Harry Potter” search on Etsy that are making thousands of sales off of images, fonts, and characters literally ripped from the books or movies before targeting a very new and small shop. Number three, I don’t think JKR owns exclusive rights to the term “invisibility cloak” anyway. And I probably added more sarcasm to finish off with a flourish. As respectfully as possible.

Having said what I felt I needed to, I removed all associations with Harry Potter from my shop and started fresh. To this date, I still haven’t heard from Warner Bros and the necklace still sits deactivated in my shop. The Invisibility Cloak necklace has moved to my new site and is now called Multicolored Hematite Arrow Bib Statement Necklace, which, yes, is utterly boring, but I find now that it’s worth it to represent myself and not what I thought something else was.

All in all, I’m thankful that I learned this lesson early on from a creator/business perspective, but as a fan it still gets to me sometimes. The one thing that really changed throughout this process is that when I see Harry Potter merchandise now, I keep walking. I think that’s what disappoints me the most. The magic is gone.

What do you think? Should Warner Bros have a system of notifying creators prior to shutting them down? Was I being dramatic? LOL, probably. Feel free to share your honest opinions if you’d like.

Thank you for reading <3

Anxiety, and What Helps

Out of all the things I wanted to write about today, this wasn’t planned. But sometimes we just have to talk about this. In some way I’m hoping this will help me sleep tonight because, omg, it’s been on a rampage in my brain lately.

I wasn’t diagnosed with anxiety officially until last year, but looking back I can see I’ve had it for over two decades, and I could probably even chart its path of devastation over the course of my life. Over 40 million Americans over the age of 18 suffer from anxiety, and there are tons more even younger and all over the world. There are even more who go undiagnosed, and in my opinion, not being aware of it is the most dangerous part.

Anxiety is like a plague, and there isn’t one sure fire way to stop it. It can disguise itself as anger, paranoia, insecurity, confusion, insomnia, jealousy, and essentially any other negative trait that leaves us flailing in life. It has the power to take a perfect day and fill it with dread and tears and arguing. In times when you are most vulnerable, it will give you an unwarranted mental slideshow of all the ways things can go badly with you or your friends or loved ones, or even your pets. It can take someone’s simple statement and warp it into a personal attack on you.

Anxiety is like that one person who responds, “Well, actually…” to everything you say, in that nagging, know-it-all voice.

I remember a few years back talking with a friend who said she wishes we could just get the word “anxiety” out of our vocabulary; that maybe without acknowledging it it won’t have any power over us. Maybe without it, in the back of our minds we wouldn’t hold ourselves back with the idea that maybe we shouldn’t because anxiety. Sometimes when I’m having an attack, I think about that and try. I haven’t had any luck yet, but I’ll let you know if I do.

Sometimes anxiety gives us room to breathe, coming in waves instead of full force. For a long time I had mine under control and I was thankful, but it likes to get me when I’m comfortable again. So here we are. I’ve had insomnia for a week now thanks to all this. After finishing this post I will be popping a Klonopin and going to bed, hoping to get some sleep so I can get work done tomorrow.

Don’t worry: I’m okay. This is tolerable and I’ll get through it, but I’ve found sharing is helpful for me so before I go I’d like to share with you some non-prescription things that have worked in taking the edge off for me.

Talking about it with a friend, loved one, or in a journal – or here.
I don’t know what it is about talking that helps. Maybe it’s sort of like sharing the load, like in the song Lean On Me. Having someone or something in your life who can listen and understand when you say you’re having trouble with anxiety is so important. If you don’t have that person, please never hesitate to reach out to me.


Deep (or simply being conscious of) breathing.
I never believed in this because, like, “ok, wow, you’re breathing – you do that all the time, how could this possibly help?” Well, I was in the ER once with a panic attack and they’d drugged me up and I was on the mend, preparing to get discharged, but one of the machines I was hooked to kept going off. The nurse came in and told me I need to practice deep breathing because, despite having calmed down, my breathing was still shallow and I was triggering the respiratory monitor.
Later, when I thought about it and made a conscious effort to focus on breathing, I realized I have actually gotten into a full habit of shallow breathing, so basically my breathing had been shallow 24/7 for a very long time. After learning that, I now practice breathing at a deeper (or, really, normal) rate, and I’ve found that I do feel more relaxed and calm doing this.


Weighted blankets (or people, if you don’t have one).
Oh man, the mainstream production of weighted blankets is so great, but I wouldn’t have understood the need for them a few years ago. I’ve found, and I don’t even remember how or why, that having weight on me really does help. I don’t have a weighted blanket, but usually when I’m having a bad time, I ask my kids or partner to simply lay on me and it’s like… I don’t even know the science or psychology behind it, but it helps me and it’s amazing.


Going outside and sitting alone (or with animals).
I guess this is about getting fresh air and sunlight, but sometimes when I feel overwhelmed in one way or another, removing myself from within four walls and physical things often aids in getting my mind to stop going all over the place. I am lucky enough to live out in the country so there’s a lot of space for me to get away, but I hope you have a place you can go to as well. Somehow my neighbor’s dog always knows when I’m struggling because he finds me every time I’m outside for this reason – I don’t know how, he lives half a mile away, but I’m not going to question it.

If you suffer from anxiety as well, as I know so many of us do, feel free to tell me about your experiences because everyone handles it differently. What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? If you don’t suffer from anxiety, do you have any questions or comments or experiences with stress you’d like to talk about? I’d love for you to share your story if you feel comfortable. I wish all of you ease of mind tonight and beyond. We’re all in this together <3

Next post will be less of a mess, I promise!