Lifestyle

Episode #185: Finding Joy in Hobbies (Deep Dive)


This week, we are talking about hobbies and how they have brought joy into our lives. Plus, we are also sharing how make time for them with everything else going on in our lives.

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Show Notes:

Hobbies and Why They Bring You Joy:

Emma – Cooking, jewelry making, painting, and sewing.

Elsie – Painting, baking, decorating, collecting vintage, and reading.

How You Find Time for Your Hobbies:

Emma

  • Break your hobby into small steps
  • Find a hobby you can do while watching TV
  • Limit your screentime and do your hobby instead

Elsie

  • Schedule it in
  • Work it into your job
  • Become a professional multi-tasker
  • Visualize what you want your future self to be doing

Check out our blog post about 15 Crafts You Can Do While Watching TV

Here is the link for the hypnotist that Emma saw.

Voicemail Question: How did you best keep in touch with each other as sisters when you lived long distance?

  • Sibling group text chat
  • Facetime
  • Take vacations together

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Episode 185 Transcript:

Elsie: You’re listening to The Beautiful Mess Podcast, your cozy comfort listen. This week we’re talking about our hobbies and how they have brought joy into our lives. Plus, we’re also sharing how we find time for hobbies with everything else going on in our lives. Yeah, there are a few other things going on besides the hobbies, so I think this will be a great episode. We have a mega pep talk, it’s definitely one of our most asked questions. People always wanna know, how do you do it all? And we’re like we don’t.

Emma: Yeah and I just love hobbies generally. I feel like our whole life has just been doing hobbies and it just grew into our jobs at a certain point, which is really cool and lucky. But also just makes sense to me because I’m like, yeah, I don’t know what else there is, it’s just hobbies. Let’s just make stuff. Anyway. 

Elsie: Yeah. I feel like you can always have room for another hobby that’s for sure a theme of our lives. Before we jump into it, Emma has seen a hypnotist. She has undergone hypnosis and she wants to tell us about it. So I like have won induced my entire life. I’m dying of FOMO and I wanna hear every detail. 

Emma: I went to a hypnotist to try to work on changing my habit of biting my nails. If you’ve read our blog for a long time or been a listener you probably know I’ve been a long-time nail-biter. I don’t even remember a time in my life when I wasn’t a nail-biter. I started biting my nails when I was a kid, at some point, I don’t even remember, I just always bitten my nails. And I did stop for like a year and a half or something while I was pregnant. And the first little while that we had Oscar. And I think it was because it was 2020, I was pregnant and I was living in a pandemic as we all were, and learning about it on the fly like we all were. And I think I was just scared to put my hands in my mouth because I was like, I’m scared I was staying home, but I was still like, I’m just kind of scared, and I don’t wanna put my hands in my mouth. I’m pregnant, I’m nervous, I was very nervous about my pregnancy because I was doing it during that time. Anyway, sometime after Oscar was born, maybe around six months or nine months, I really don’t remember but I kind of fell back into the habit. And for me, once I get back in, it’s like I’ll be hardcore biting my nails for a while, and then I’ll usually have a little time where I get better and then I fall back into it again, and that’s just like what the habit’s like for me. And I think I’ve always kind of struggled with me why, like, why I wanna stop biting my nails or like putting a lot of effort towards it. And even talking about it just feels kind of silly to me at times. It makes me feel like it’s this very vapid thing. Like I’m just only caring about the way my nails look, and that’s so silly. I shouldn’t care how I look, you know. 

Elsie: Or you’re like responding to bully comments because people sometimes leave Emma mean comments when she has like her hand in a picture. I think that that’s hard too because we’ve sort of trained ourselves to ignore people like that. 

Emma: You have to. So I’m like, do I even care about this? I feel like I’ve struggled with even knowing that I definitely did wanna change this habit. So anyway, I’ve tried lots of things over the years, especially when I was growing up in like high school and college. There were lots of different kinds of products on the market, just little different methods. So most things that you can think of, I have probably tried, so some basic things, some kind of ridiculous things, and I was like, you know what? I feel like I’ve tried it all and I still wanna keep working on this I’m still optimistic that I can change and that things can change, but I think I need to try something new. And I was like, you know what, why did I get hypnotized? So I had heard of people doing this for like smoking or weight loss and I don’t know, I just thought, why not, it’s not gonna hurt. So that was pretty much my motivation. So I started looking up hypnotists in my city, and I found a few, and I connected with one. He seemed to get along, although he is in Springfield, Missouri where I live. We did everything over Zoom, so he could connect with you. If you’re interested I’ll put it in the show notes, but he could connect with you anywhere. Before my session, he gave me this worksheet that I filled out and gave back to him before the session. That was essentially, five to seven reasons why I wanted to do this, my goal, which for me was nail biting. So five to seven reasons why I wanna stop biting my nails and then it also had me fill out these sections that were like, one month from now, here’s what my life will look like. One year from now, here’s what my life will look like, five years from now and so I filled out that whole thing. I was actually getting my oil changed and I had time. I was sitting there and I was like filling this out about to get hypnotized while I was getting my oil changed. And I think that honestly just that in and of itself before even doing the hypnosis session was really helpful because I don’t think I’d really made myself sit down and really think through all the reasons I really did wanna stop biting my nails. At first, was like, oh, this is just gonna be like, I just want pretty nails. I just want people to not make fun of me on the internet. And then as I started writing more reasons, not all of them, I feel like sharing on this podcast, but I was like, you know what? Actually, some of these are a lot deeper than that, this actually is important to me. That even just gave me more like, hey, this is important to you and it’s okay that you want to make a change and it’s cool that you want to make a change. And even if you have a hard time with it, it’s okay, this isn’t just a vapid goal. This isn’t just a vanity thing, there’s actually some deeper things here. So that was cool. And then the reason he has you follow that out is kind of for the reasons I just said, it helps you, but then also he uses a lot of your language back to you during the hypnosis. Especially the goal section where I was like, a year from now it’ll look like this. So it was really a part during the hypnosis when he was like, and you can go to the nail salon with your niece and you can get your nails done and you won’t have to feel, he was using my language because I would like to take Goldie to get our nails done some time and I don’t really wanna do it while my nails are like tiny, tiny, short because it’s just embarrassing, and Goldie’s a girly girl, and I would like to get our nails done together. So generally, my review of being hypnotized is, it felt a lot like a guided meditation. I feel like most people have seen a movie before where you’re in a trance and then they give you a command and you just do it blindly, like bawk like a chicken.

Elsie: So there was nothing about it that felt different from meditation. 

Emma: No, I felt definitely awake the whole time, I remember the entire session. He also takes a video of the session, he tells you ahead of time, but he takes a video of it. It’s a screen recording type video and the reason is because then you can play it again like a guided meditation and you could do the hypnosis again. You just close your eyes and listen to it again because it’s really just him talking the whole time, you don’t really respond at all. He is watching you to kind of see what resonates and what doesn’t and he’ll kind of change the session based on that. I could definitely listen to it again right now and it would be helpful. So, yeah, it was really cool, it felt like a guided meditation. It felt very positive. It felt just like, I have more tools now for reframing this habit that I’m looking to change. For example, one of the things that he said during the hypnosis was, you don’t have to do anything to achieve this, just do less. So when you wanna put your hands to your mouth, just do nothing because to bite your nails is actually to take an action, I have to lift my hand to my mouth. I have to bite on my nail, whereas if I wanna stop biting nails, I literally just have to do less, do nothing and so it was just reframing something really. But I’d never thought of it in that way and it felt very powerful to me at the time, and still, because I’ve always thought, I’m gonna have to have all this willpower and to muscle my way out of this bad habit that I have, but it’s like, no, actually I just need to do less. So since then, every time I’ve gone to bite my nails, I just say, oh, just do nothing. And I just kind of relax and let myself calm and then I just don’t bite my nails. Yeah. It’s been about a month since I haven’t bit my nails. 

Elsie: I’m curious to hear a little more about how it’s been since you did the hypnosis. Has anything changed? How do you feel now? 

Emma: Yeah, I feel like I use the tools from the hypnosis when I’m feeling a moment of wanting to bite my nails. He also had this thing where he was like, you’re gonna notice the color red a lot, and that’s just gonna help you recenter on this goal and why you want it. And so now anytime I see the color red, he probably could have picked any color because it’s like I see all sorts of colors all the time, but when I see red it really does. I don’t know, it just reminds me, you’re not a nail-biter, you don’t wanna bite your nails anymore, and you need to do nothing in order to achieve that, it’s already happening right now because you’re not biting your nails right now. And it just kind of recenters me, which is nice. And I think using color for me really worked because I’m a very visual person, but yeah, it’s only been like a month, but I haven’t bitten my nails since then. I’m not really expecting that I will never bite my nails again after getting hypnotized one time. I don’t know, but I thought it was very helpful and very positive and I really liked it. It felt a little embarrassing in a way too, like hearing him say back my goals to me. I don’t really like a lot of attention. I don’t even like it when people sing Happy Birthday to me. So to have that hour and a half of someone focused on you. It was a little bit uncomfortable for me and my personality, but it was a very professional experience, and felt good and positive. I would also say for anyone who’s interested at all, It’s definitely one of those things, like most things in life where you probably get out of it as much as you want. You know, If I was gonna go to church, but I show up and I’m like, this is bull and I hate this and guess what, you’re not gonna get anything out of it. So in the same way, I would say, if you wanna get something out of it, you probably can, and if you think it’s bull you think it’s dumb, then you probably won’t. There you go. 

Elsie: Yeah, I think most things in life are exactly like that. I think it’s a glowing review of hypnosis and I definitely wanna try it. I’m definitely gonna check out the link that you put in the show notes. That’s exciting, I’ve always thought it sounded cool, probably. I thought it would be a little more mysterious than how you’re describing it, but still sounds helpful. So fun. 

Emma: I think there were more woo-woo parts and I think I just didn’t gravitate toward them as much because I was really in the mood to focus on the habit thing. But there is a part of the hypnosis where he had me revisit like little girl Emma, young Emma, and talk to her and tell her inside, not out loud, but that she’s worthy and it doesn’t matter that she bites her nails and it’s fine. Just different things and just basically go back to your childhood self and say that you love them and you love yourself, and that felt really powerful. Also, this was my own personal thing, I had nothing to do with anything he was saying, but I just had this moment where I was talking to my little girl self Emma. I don’t know why I keep calling her little girl self, it’s kind of a weird way to put it young Emma. So anyway, I’m talking to 12-year-old Emma, and all of a sudden I felt I was under the ocean and it was scary, and I felt like a shark was coming towards me. And then what I did was I turned myself into a shark and then I felt really powerful and I was just a part of what was happening, not like I was scared of what was happening. And sometimes I go back to that in my mind when I’m having a moment of feeling anxious or overwhelmed as I’m like, I’m a shark. 

Elsie: Hell yeah. Well, that’s kind of fun. I like that. 

Emma: I don’t even know what that means. I don’t know what has to do with the nail-biting but, there you go.

Elsie: Overcoming fears, maybe overcoming insecurities. I mean, I think with anything in life that you’ve tried to change before and failed at repeatedly, there’s a barrier there. Like a path of failure, it’s so much harder than trying for the first time. We’re all giving you the biggest cheer, Emma. I know everyone’s so proud right now, and I’m so proud. I just think it’s cool that you were open to trying something weird that you had never tried before. You have no idea if it’ll work, you just were open. I think it’s very cool. 

Emma: Thanks. That’s what I was going for. Love it. I was like, maybe it’ll help, can’t hurt. What have I got to lose, nothing. 

Elsie: Well, I think that’s an amazing story. I definitely wanna try it in the future and I’m sure we’ll probably get lots of emails from other people who try it because you’re review is very convincing. Okay, so this episode is about finding joy and hobbies. So, little teeny tiny backstory about our careers. So we did grow up, obviously, we’re sisters, occasionally people don’t know that. So we did grow up together in the same house. We were very like best friends in the junior high and high school era of our growing up phase, and we got a lot of the same hobbies. We went together to our little punk rock music festivals and the thrift stores and we made our own clothing. We had art shows where we just would go to a local coffee shop or a place that I don’t know, we thought would say yes and be like, can I have a gallery show of my art, and they would be like, sure. We just did a lot of stuff like that. Just like creative, and joyful, sometimes it was a big success. Sometimes it led to something, sometimes it was nothing. Sometimes it’s just something we look back and we’re like a little bit cringed out by it, it’s all over the map and I think that that’s a wonderful way to live, a wonderful way to grow up. It’s what I want for my kids and so in this podcast, we will try to sell you on the idea of it as well, that it’s something that could be good for you because my strongest belief in life, my strongest, I don’t know if you would call it like philosophy or a core belief that I have is that the most important thing in life is to never stop learning. And I think that if you decide that you’re done, you are. And if you decide that you’re never gonna be done, you never will be. And I just think there’s such a difference in people. I’m very, very inspired by older people who start new things. It’s something we’ve talked about on the podcast a lot of times. I would say that one of my biggest goals in life is that I want to keep trying and starting new things forever until I die. I read last week that David Bowie released an album the week before he died, and it was kind of random, it was not the music that you know him for, but just doing it up until the end, just being creative, not really caring about the result like that. I think that that’s a beautiful, beautiful way for the beginning, middle, and end of every single phase of life. 

Emma: Yeah, that sounds like a full life to me. Sounds like the good life. Probably when we talk about specific hobbies, Elsie and I are gonna talk about a lot of visual hobbies and craft-type things and reading because that’s what I’m into. But hobbies are also great, you might be musical, you might be really into fitness. There are all sorts of things and I just wanna put that out there, even though we might not mention some of your hobbies. Those are really valid and awesome too. Yeah. I think it’s obvious, but every now and then, I just think it’s nice to tell people like, Hey, we might not have your hobby, but if you’re like, I play piano every day, I’m like, that is so cool, and I know nothing about it, but that’s awesome. 

Elsie: That’s true. I think that we’ve only tried so many things, but obviously, the list is endless of things you can try like my brother-in-law is super, super into coffee and he knows like every single boutique coffee roaster in the US, he can talk about it for hours. He gets really into the things he buys and it’s just so fun to me and I always learn something new. And a lot of times I just do what he does. So I just think that being an enthusiastic person is such a beautiful thing. So the other thing I wanted to talk about before we fully dive in is the mom-specific part of it because I know a lot of people who listen to our podcast are moms or maybe you’re going to be a mom, maybe you’re a grandma. It’s mostly women who listen to our podcast, although I have heard of lots of men, which is exciting too. 

Emma: Mostly John. 

Elsie: There are some, my realtor, Daniel, shout out to my two friends who are men who listen to the podcast. But anyway, I guess this applies to being a parent in general and not just a mom, but the years of your life when you have little kids are so exhausting. The correct word is exhausting. It can feel like the energy is drained out of you every single day. They’re just so hard, and I completely understand now how people feel like they lose themselves, in those years, I get it. I think that it was a thing before I had kids, I looked at it as like, why are you making such a big deal? Or like, why don’t you just do something for yourself? I didn’t understand, but it’s just so extremely exhausting for so many, it’s not just days or weeks, months, and years at a time. The compounding effect is sometimes to go into like sort of a permanent survival mode. And so, in this episode, I wanna encourage you that if you keep even just the tiniest shred of your hobbies alive during these years, they will still be there for you later, and even if that ship is sailed and you feel like your plant completely died, you can still also start over. I just think that that’s something to acknowledge because it is so intense. 

Emma: Yeah, for sure. And if we’re moving into sort of the first part of our outline, which is let’s do it, hobbies and why they bring you joy. Because I feel like that kind of segues with what you were just saying is I feel like one of the reasons I feel so passionate about hobbies is because, I like all humans and by nature kind of a problem solver, and so I feel like hobbies for me is me solving a problem that I chose and that I want to mess around with. So if I’m working on a recipe, cooking’s definitely a hobby for me, even though I do it for work too. I just really enjoy it, that’s sort of part of it. But I do a lot of jewelry making and painting and sewing, even though I’m terrible at sewing, and a lot of that does not show up on our blog. And for me, it’s kind of like problem-solving. I’m like, oh, I wanna make a necklace that has these three colors and I want it to feel really big and exciting. Or, I want this one to feel calm and chill and you’re like kind of solving a thing. And I think whenever you’re raising young kids and there are other times in life when you’re overwhelmed too, by the way, but that’s one of ’em for both of us that we’re in the phase of. You do a lot of problem-solving when you’re raising a newborn or a baby or a toddler or a little kid. You do a lot of problem-solving all day with them, because it’s like they’re crying, what do they need? Something smells, that one’s pretty easy to solve, diaper time. Making snacks, cleaning things up, figuring out things for them to do that are safe but entertaining but not gonna rot their brain, but is going to challenge them, it’s a lot of problem-solving. I think there are lots of other things in life that are like that too. So sometimes I think we’re using that muscle so much that we need a hobby that’s like chill. It has less problem solving or we might need no hobby for a little bit if it’s like, no, I completely have no brain cells left. I’m in newborn times, so my only hobby is skincare because I don’t think about it. I just put stuff on my face, go to sleep. But for me, most of my life, even though having a newborn and a toddler, I have a certain amount of capacity. Where I wanna solve problems and I want to make that a positive part of my life I actually heard this quote one time and I should have looked it up because now I can’t remember who said it. It was in a book, I think. But they basically said, I’m an artist and if I don’t create, I’ll probably become a hypochondriac because I just want to solve problems. 

Elsie: Oh, that’s funny. 

Emma: And I was like, that’s an interesting perspective, and the more I thought about it, I was like, yeah, I think I get what this person is saying. They’re saying this thing about our humanity, problem solving, we can channel it for good, we can have hobbies, we can build things with our careers, we can care for children. Or I could use it as something that’s kind of like making up problems. I think that’s what they’re trying to say with a hypochondriac comment I can kind of use this to kind of harm myself a little bit or distract myself in a way that’s maybe not positive. I think that’s kind of what they were getting at with it and for me, hobbies are like filling my time with something positive that excites me and challenges me the right amount, and that I just find enjoyment from.

Elsie: That’s a really interesting point. I think that for my personality, it’s like I need to have a lot of projects all the time. So when I’m busy it can go from like very productive to like very self-sabotaging, it can be either one. It just depends. Yeah. That’s something I’ve kind of never really thought about before. Is like keeping life full of healthier, more productive hobbies so that I don’t get too bored basically and have to go to the hobbies that are more self-destructive or the ones, there’s just ones that shouldn’t be done in excess or whatever. 

Emma: When it comes to choosing hobbies, I think about what kind of person you are as far as an introvert, extrovert or visual learner, auditory learner, or things like that. Because Elsie and I, we’ve mentioned this before, we’re both kind of introverts. I like to spend a lot of time alone. So for me, crafts and art projects that I can do by myself as also reading and writing are all things that are very much like I’m in my own head, I’m by myself. I could be sitting by other people, but these almost help me escape. When I’m reading on a plane, I’m trying to handle my boredom and anxiety by escaping and being alone, but I’m not really alone, I’m on a plane, you know? But that’s sort of part of it for me I’m often looking for hobbies where I get to be alone because that’s how I recharge my batteries so that I can then hang out with people and have social interactions and be a mom and all the things I want to do in my life as well, and also bring me joy. But for some people, they might be like, I’m an extrovert. So maybe you should think about joining a theater group or a band or something where you’re gonna be interacting with other people. And that’s part of the hobby is building something together. 

Elsie: People like to work out in groups of people maybe.

Emma: Yeah, things like that. I think there are lots of ways to do hobbies with others and that might be really appealing to you if that’s how you recharge your batteries. 

Elsie: So I wrote down my most joyful hobbies that I have found through the years. The first one is painting. I don’t know if I’m the most productive painter, but it’s something that I’ll always come back to, it always brings me joy and it’s just so relaxing and there are endless ways to do it. So I feel like it would never get boring. The next one is baking and my baking hobby is definitely seasonal. It’s a winter hobby that I love, a seasonal hobby pretty much. It’s pretty much completely gone this time of year. My little five-year-old always wants to bake and I’m like, eh, let’s make a smoothie. I’m just not in the mood to bake right now, it’s definitely a mood thing. As soon as it turns, not even September, like August 20th, I would say is the exact day when my brain turns to cake pops for the rest of the year, and then decorating for sure is my forever hobby, it’s my own space, it’s for myself. I think a lot of people have the misconception that I do it for the internet. There’s no way for me to prove this like off the internet cuz then you just wouldn’t see but when I don’t post things, I’m still doing it at home. Can you vouch for me, Emma? I still do it all the time. Even if it’s something I never show. It’s like my dearest grandpa. 

Emma: Yeah, you redecorated your room however many times our parents let you like growing up and we didn’t even have the internet. You just like seasonal decorating, but also just Interior design, decorating stuff, you’ve always done that. It really has nothing to do with other people. You’re just like that. 

Elsie: Okay. I have two more. Collecting vintage, the thing I love about collecting vintage is that it can mean nothing. It can be just junk. It can be stuff that you shouldn’t have bought or it can mean everything, it can be the most special thing in your entire home. And I think honing that skill where you learn to tell the difference between the stuff, like leave a lot behind. I go out of stores a lot without buying anything, although not as much lately because I’m on a project right now. I think becoming really, really picky where you’re collecting for a certain aesthetic for a certain like I have a dream house in my mind that is at least half full of antiques. So I know that to achieve that dream house, I have to spend years just popping into stores and looking on Facebook marketplace and I think it’s a joyful thing. It’s definitely a hobby. It’s something that I enjoy like the front end of it, the searching, and then I enjoy the back end of it. Having the special thing like, the swan fireplace that I’m obsessed about. I will keep that till I die probably because it’s kind of like the one way that we get to experience the past, besides reading, I guess. Is like you can live with, you can use the same dishes and I just think that’s really cool. So it’s something that appeals to me is the idea of using a lot of old things that have been used by people a hundred years ago. 

Emma: Yeah. I also think something about it, because I feel this way when I thrift, I just feel a little bit more proud that I picked something out that works for me. Just because I feel like it’s easy to go into a really well-curated store, and pick out a couch or pick out a dress, whatever you’re doing. And it takes a little bit more skill and eye and knowing your own style and taste to go into a flea market or a thrift store and pick out something like that. And also you said, there’s a lot of times you go flea market shopping and you don’t come out with anything. In that sense, you really are hunting for something. It’s not like you’re going to kill a deer. It’s not that kind of hunting, but it’s like you’re not always going to get the thing you’re going for. It’s like you really have to look around. Whereas if you just go to a well-curated, nice store, it’s not really exactly the same. And there’s nothing wrong with buying new things from stores obviously, but there is something about flea markets and thrifting, so I get that. And I also think collecting is just a cool hobby. It’s very interesting. 

Elsie: I think that it’s a love it or hate it. I have lots of friends who have no interest in having a bunch of old stuff, and that is fine. But I think that if you love it, then it’s kind of like nothing’s better than that. So for me, there’s nothing I can buy at I don’t know, a nice store like William Sonoma or Craigen bro. There’s nothing I can buy at that store that’s better than something I could find in a flea market, which I love that feeling, I think it’s cool. 

Emma: Just sparks joy. 

Elsie: Yes. And my last one is reading. So currently I am presently in my audiobook era, and Jeremy had the cutest, dumb thing to say, he said that we should change. So our blog, A Beautiful Mess, we call it ABM sometimes and he said that we should change it to where ABM means audiobook mom. This is perfect because A Beautiful Mess, I’m not so sure even applies. Audiobook, Mom is kind of my whole personality. I am just walking around my house, packing boxes, cleaning dishes, taking walks, and going to Target. There’s no time when the audiobook is not in the ears. 

Emma: I should see if audiobookmom.com is available and just start putting reviews on there. Buy it. 

Elsie: Genius, genius. We need it. We need another website, for sure. So anyway, it brought me a ton of joy. I only started a little more than a year and a half ago reading fiction, and it has been completely life-changing. So if you’re a person who is never, you’re just like, I only like non-fiction. I was you a year and a half ago, and I am telling you you’re wrong. You’re just, you’re straight wrong. There’s a better way. That’s my opinion. 

Emma: It’s true. I tried to tell Elsie this for a decade and she finally listened. 

Elsie: I was like, no, I’ll just listen to Atomic Habits, for pleasure, and it’s like, well, okay, atomic Habits is great. It’s very great, but there’s just a whole nother universe. It’s like If you enjoy movies but you only wanna watch documentaries, it’s kind of sad. 

Emma: Yeah and it’s like, that’s cool, but What about Ever After or something? I don’t know, it’s fun. Try it. You’ll like it. 

Elsie: Yes. Okay, so let’s talk about how to find time for your hobbies, which is definitely an important thing for anyone in the busy mom era. Anyone who is, working and doing family life or whatever else, going to school, maybe. I think most people think they’re busy, even when they’re not, we all feel busy, right? It’s just a thing you say and feel. I think the saddest thing in the world is when people talk about something they wanna do, but then they never do it, it’s heart-wrenching. So how do you go from being someone who has something that you know, you wanna try to being someone who actually is doing it? 

Emma: Yeah. So after you’ve identified your thing, you’ve figured out like, oh, I’m an introvert. And also by the way, sometimes you really need to consider budget when it comes to hobbies, because not everyone can buy a kiln for their house at least maybe not this year. 

Elsie: I knew you were gonna pick on my Kiln. I knew you were gonna call me out.

Emma: I’m always gonna make fun of you, that is my role in life. 

Elsie: My kiln is part of my rich life, okay? 

Emma: I didn’t say you shouldn’t have it. I said not everyone could buy one, that’s fair. 

Elsie: That’s true. 

Emma: It’s not even a dis to you. 

Elsie: I bought it for myself for my 40th birthday, and I definitely couldn’t have afforded it when I was younger.

Emma: You don’t need to justify your kiln to me, I think it’s awesome that you have it. I’m just saying, if an 18-year-old happens to be listening and they have no money, they might be like, I can’t do pottery. But it’s like, hold on, there are other options. So think through those things too. So I would pick something that’s just gonna fit well with your lifestyle and your interests and all of those things. But also, when you do, you can break down your hobby into small, small steps. So this is the same thing as goal setting. So let’s say you have a big career goal or a big life goal, usually what people will tell you is to break it down into small little pieces, small chunks. Same thing with hobbies. So for me, I try to think through like, how can I work on my hobby tonight for one hour after my son goes to sleep or less? Sometimes I work on it for like 20 minutes. For me, I’m into jewelry making right now, I make a lot of necklaces. Last night I started working on this necklace that has seed beads, so it takes a lot longer, they’re really small beads. I probably got like a sixth of a necklace done in 30 minutes, and then I was like, you know what? I just wanna focus on this episode of Succession that we’re watching, so I’m just gonna stop.

Elsie: Oh, a succession night last night?

Emma: It was succession night last night. Yeah, so then I stopped working on my necklace, but I still feel like I got to do my hobby a little bit. I’m working on finishing this one, that’s for a friend I have in mind and I haven’t worked with seed beads in a little bit, so it’s just like fun for me. I’m always trying to do different styles with my jewelry making. That’s my whatever, what I’m interested in. So think through, if you have a really small amount of time, then I would do that. And I also think about how can you store your hobby in a way that you can get it out and put it away. If you don’t have a roommate or any kids, then maybe this won’t matter to you because you can leave your stuff out. But if you have a toddler who’s gonna mess with all your jewelry-making stuff, Yeah. Or a partner who might be like, why is our entire living room your painting studio now? You might need to think through, okay, how can I work on this, but then fold it up and put it away, or have my own little space for it, or whatever it is that you need. I have a caboodle for my jewelry making, and I put everything back and fold it up and tuck it away so that my toddler doesn’t get into it and swallow my beads because that would be tragic for a number of reasons. I personally love hobbies that you can do while watching tv. Not all of my hobbies fit into that I love reading and I cannot be sitting near a TV and reading at the same time. I just don’t have the focus for that. I’m not a person who can do that. So I have hobbies that I cannot watch TV and do them at the same time too. But I do think that’s fun, and we’ll link this in the show notes, but we have a post, oh my gosh, I couldn’t think of that word. Post, I’m a blogger, I couldn’t think of a post, wow. We have a blog post that is a whole bunch of different crafts that you can do while watching TV. So we can link that if you’re interested in crafts, I assume you probably are if you’re listening to this podcast. 

Elsie: Yeah. I do the vast majority of my decor planning while we’re watching TV and also sourcing for weird stuff like art or I don’t know, I’ve had to do a lot of home sourcing lately to get ready for moving. Just finding the perfect quilt or finding art for a certain spot or finding copper pots that aren’t a thousand dollars, things like that. I think those are, for me, that’s like really good tv. I feel like I’m very good at multitasking, those sorts of things, and then I don’t have to waste my time doing them during the day. 

Emma: Yep, exactly. So yeah, just finding ways to be a little bit more efficient. One other thing I did a while ago, this is just my own lived experience might not apply to you, I don’t know, but I started tracking my screen time every week. Which iPhones, if you have an iPhone you have an app that’s called Screen Time or whatever. It’s calling everyone out and gives you a report every week. So I think they have it on Android, I really don’t know. But at any rate, you can probably find a way to track how much time you’re spending on your phone and what you’re spending it on. And for me, a lot of time goes to the PBS app because I let my son watch Sesame Street on my phone. But also, obviously, I have a lot of time on Instagram and there’s nothing wrong with Instagram or TikTok or whatever else. If it’s bringing you joy, cool. But if you’re just wasting time on there and it’s actually not bringing you joy, then maybe take a peek at that report every week like I did and I realized, hey, there’s an extra two hours in here that you could be reading or painting. So then I kind of like giving myself permission. And for the record, I do work for myself, so this may not work for everyone, but I gave myself permission. I was like, if you don’t waste your time on Instagram during your workday, you only get on there to do work and you don’t scroll it the rest of the time, then you can bow out early on Fridays and either pick up your son early or read for an hour before you pick him up, whatever you wanna do. But that’s the deal. And for me, that kind of thing really works, but might not for you and your lifestyle, I don’t know. But just like finding creative ways to basically waste your timeless on things that aren’t filling you up with joy so that you can waste your time on things that are filling you up with joy, like hobbies.

Elsie: Yeah. My methods are, the first one is scheduling. I think that scheduling, especially for me, for my pottery and my painting stuff, I have to just have a time that I know I’m gonna do it because it’s getting a lot of stuff out, making a mess, there’s cleanup. I have to hide it from my kids or else they want to help, which is its own job and usually not something that I wanna do when it’s a creative time for me. So it’s two separate things. Another thing that works really well for me is multitasking. So in the past, I will admit, this is kind of like my whole life, but I think it’s part of what made A Beautiful Mess a good job for me. I would just find a way to always work anything I wanted to do into A Beautiful Mess. So that’s why we’ve done so many weird things through the years. So I guess finding a way to integrate my job hours and my creative life together has been good. And then as far as the audiobook thing, I think just becoming a professional multitasker. So a lot of people always ask me, how do you read so many books? And the truth is right now that I read hardly any paper books. I read a paper book if I’m flying if I’m on vacation, which is almost never. And I have one by my bed that takes months at a time. So on my good reads, sometimes you can see that there are books that I read in two days, and there are books that I read in six months, those are the paper books. So they just are, but I found that audiobooks can basically fill my mind when I’m doing mindless things. So like washing the dishes, I do a school pickup line every day that takes about an hour. So I listen to a book during that time, every single day, and things like that. And I think that just finding a way to squeeze things in and use the time that you do have, if you’re someone who wants to read more and you haven’t tried audiobooks, I kind of think you have to, it’s life-changing, especially if you’re, I mean, you’re listening to a podcast right now. You obviously don’t hate to listen. You just kind of become a professional multitasker where like I never grocery shop without my headphones in. 

Emma: I also think if you’re ever hesitating about starting a hobby because you’re worried that you’re not gonna be good at it, that it is not something that’s useful, it’s not practical. So like why are you wasting your time and money on it? You probably have other guilt trip things that run through your mind. We’re all experts at making ourselves feel bad or stopping ourselves from doing things because of social anxiety or whatever your thing is. Let me just put out there, I think hobbies are really good for you. I think you should prioritize them. Yeah, and there are so many different kinds. You don’t have to make crafts. We love that. You don’t have to go to the gym, you don’t have to play an instrument. You don’t have to read, you don’t have to listen to audiobooks but find something that is just for you and you can be bad at it, and it’s fine. It doesn’t matter and you should waste however much money fits your lifestyle and your budget on it, because it’s just for you and it’s fun and it’s good to do that and it’s okay to do that and you’re worth it. For sure. Trust me, and so are we, and so am I. So find something that means something to you. 

Elsie: Something that helps me is to visualize, I think a lot about 10 years from now self and even like 20 years from now and think like how I wanna live, basically, the lifestyle that I’m aiming for. And I’ve thought about it a lot, so if you haven’t, please do, please, spend a week on it. It’s so, so, so worth it. So for me, what I see myself doing is having this life where I’m like kind of a writer and also an artist, and I am spending a large part of my day doing creative stuff every day and then I like to think that I could do a few things that I feel I can’t do now, like have a garden or something. A few things where it’s like right now is not my season, but it could be in 10 years. This is probably true, just like how much time you have in your life, free time as a young parent compared to how much free time your parents have, there’s a big difference. In 20 years could make a huge, huge, huge difference in your schedule for me at this stage to just keep building my hours towards those things that I wanna do. You know, that Malcolm Gladwell thing where he says that everyone has to spend 10,000 hours before he can be truly great at something. I just like to think that I’m always building my 10,000 hours. So just enjoy it, just do it for fun. I am a big believer that no creative act you can ever do is ever wasted. Even if it’s something like a painting that you throw in the garbage or an entire cake that you throw in the trash because it’s gross. The other day I did my very final kiln fire before we had to unscrew and unplug everything to move and every single thing in it turned out wrong, and it did. It was basically like a batch that didn’t turn out, and I definitely did learn something that day, and it was sad. I was mad about it, but at the same time I’m still glad I did it and it’s still definitely one more notch in my creative journey. So I think, I don’t know. I think that it’s a perspective that’s worth having. If you’re focused on the finished product, you are going to be discouraged very quickly if you’re focused on putting in hours building your creative skills, I think that that’s a much more sustainable way to stay encouraged and always feel like everything’s worth it. 

Emma: Yeah, and I definitely do have goals with my hobbies and things that I’m making like final pieces I’m wanting and things like that. But I also just really think of it more as like, let’s imagine you could know how much time you have in your life and it’s 60,000 hours. I don’t know, I have no idea. So I don’t feel like I’m gonna get to the end of my life and be like, I’m so happy I spent 50% of it watching tv. I’m like, there’s nothing wrong with tv, I like watching some tv, but I really like the idea, for me, I like the idea of getting to the end of my life and knowing how many great books I read and how many delicious dishes of pasta I made at eight. And how many beautiful necklaces I made and gave out to my friends. And I don’t really think it matters to me though, if I spent hours and made something crappy, to me it’s like, that was part of the making, it’s just a part of it and I wanna spend my time on doing things that are interesting to me. So it’s not, every second doesn’t have to quote-unquote count towards the final piece. Like it all does, even if it doesn’t feel like it because you can’t have that big picture perspective until we’re actually at the very end of our life. I just try to imagine that I can now, and I feel like that’s good enough. 

Elsie: It definitely is. I feel like no one loves TV more than I do. I love TV. TV is bad, but I do think it’s good to make sure that you have your top things in the top spots of your time. Okay, so we have a voicemail question this week.

Linsay: Hi Elsie and Emma. My name’s Lindsay. And my question for you was how did you best keep in touch with each other as sisters when you lived more long distance? I’m obviously so excited to hear about all the men mundane activities you do once you’re back in the same town, but I have a sister that I’d like to make sure we stay close and keep in touch while we’re entering the phase of our lives where we’re having kids and things like that. Can you share tips? Thanks. Love you both. 

Elsie: Hi Lindsay. I think this question is so sweet. So Emma and I have a siblings text chat with our brother and our sister-in-law, and I feel like that’s been so wonderful. We didn’t start it that long ago, maybe a year or two ago. It’s been just such a great way to keep up and share small things that are happening. And then for Emma and I, we’ve lived in separate states for eight years now. We work together. We don’t talk every day, but I would say we talk, would you say three days a week at least? 

Emma: Yeah. We probably text every day, but we probably FaceTime, which is our main method of talking at least once or twice a week. Maybe more on a week we have more time. Some weeks I’m like, I’m sorry, I have to finish my thing. 

Elsie: And sometimes we usually when we FaceTime it’s at least an hour, and sometimes it eats up the whole day. But obviously, the good thing about it is we’re staying really connected and I think we just have to have that. I love FaceTime. I think it’s wonderful and I think regular calling is so awkward now compared to it. Yeah, I think that those things have really helped. Is there anything else you would, Em? 

Emma: I don’t think so. Obviously, we email, but that’s really more for work. I don’t feel like we email to stay connected, but that would be an option if you enjoyed writing, and felt like you could express yourself better. I don’t really know, everybody’s different. 

Elsie: I get sick of emails, so it’s not my preferred mode of keeping up with someone. I would way rather FaceTime. Also, another thing that’s been good is going on vacations. Like last year we went on a silly vacation where we didn’t really do much, we just kind of hung out and it was really good. So I think we’ll do more of those. We’ve been planning this train vacation for two years.

Emma: I wonder if you’d mentioned the train. I can’t wait.

Elsie: Oh yeah, I mean, I think living in the same town is going to be better, but I think that the eight years we spent living in separate states, wasn’t bad. It still worked? And I don’t think that it made our business worse. I think probably made our photo shoots worse, but not the rest of it.

Emma: No, I got a lot more done because you were outta my hair.

Elsie: That’s true. I think when I left we were still working kind of in an office together and we both started working from home alone after that. And I think we both just prefer to work at home. That has nothing to do with anyone, it’s just like some people get more done when they’re alone, and I’m definitely one of those people.

Emma: Me too. 

Elsie: Working in an office, I was definitely like a water cooler person, you know what I mean? It’s just like getting stopped from chatting with people absolutely constantly. 

Emma: And I am like borderline like rude about it because I’m like, I really don’t have time, make a lunch date with me. Make plans for me after work if you wanna chat because I’ve got to really get my stuff done right now. Now I’m even worse about it, I can’t imagine if I was in the office now, because I only have so much daycare time. So I’m like, if I wasn’t planning on having a 20-minute conversation, I’m like, I cannot have a 20-minute conversation. I must go finish my thing, so yeah. It’s just like where it is for now.

Elsie: Okay, well, I guess it is time now for a joke or a fact with Nova. All right, here’s Nova this week. Nova, do you have a joke or do you have a fact? 

Nova: I have a fact. 

Elsie: A fact. Okay. What kind of facts do you have for us today? 

Nova: Did you know that our state animal is a raccoon? 

Elsie: Which state? 

Nova: Tennessee. 

Elsie: Okay. Do you know any more Tennessee facts?

Nova: Also, did you know that our state bird is a Mockingbird? 

Elsie: Oh, that’s a good one. I didn’t know that. 

Nova: And the state vegetable is a tomato. 

Elsie: It’s the state vegetable and the state fruit. Right? 

Nova: Yeah. 

Elsie: That’s kind of cool. Okay. Thank you for the facts. She’s so proud. Okay, we will be back next week with our comfort rewatch episode. This one is going to be Emma’s favorite movie of all time, Stranger than Fiction from 2006.

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