My Two Cents by Richelle Ouellette

the best things in life are free

One of my goals this year is to spend less money on tequila-based craft cocktails and brussels sprouts roasted in duck fat. The foodie in me is somewhat disappointed by this lifestyle change, but I have a feeling my bank account (and waistline) are going to love it.

How often do you bump into a friend and say, "we should meet up for drinks or dinner soon!?" I can't be the only one, and quite frankly I'm sick of spending $30, $40, $50 or more on a regular basis for a conversation that could be had over a much more interesting activity, such as navigating a sculpture garden or at least in a more affordable setting, like my living room.

So, if you want to hang out with me (or date me) in 2016, be prepared for me to turn down your invitation to dinner with a request that we find something more affordable and creative to do with our time. Here are some of my (free, cheap, nerdy and/or weird) suggestions, in advance:

  1. Wildflower Center

  2. Ladybird Lake

  3. Hope Gallery

  4. Tacos (breakfast, lunch, or dinner; the ultimate cheap meal, if we must eat)

  5. Tea time

  6. Coffee shop (a new one please, not Starbucks)

  7. Free yoga session

  8. Mayfield Park Home

  9. Congree Bridge Bats

  10. Governor’s Mansion

  11. Capital Tour

  12. BookPeople

  13. HRC

  14. Farmers Market

  15. Before I Die Mural

  16. Austin Nature & Science Center

  17. James Turell

  18. Creative Mornings

  19. Mexic-Arte Museum (Sundays)

  20. Broken Spoke

  21. Elephant Room

  22. Laguna Gloria (Tuesdays)

  23. Bike ride

  24. Bocce @ Mandola’s

  25. Austin Pets Alive

  26. The Contemporary (Tuesdays)

  27. Uncommon Goods

  28. Workout class

  29. Outdoor Movies

  30. Shakespeare in the Park

  31. Thursday Improv @ Hideout Theater

  32. Open Mic Comedy — Cherrywood (Tuesdays)/Austin Java (Saturdays)

  33. Tuezgayz

  34. Connect Four Night

  35. Zilker Park or Botanical Gardens

  36. BOTG

  37. Central Market Concerts

  38. Sound & Cinema

  39. Unplugged @ the Grove

  40. Meetups

  41. Talks @ UT

  42. Kick Butt Standup

  43. Service activity

  44. Cathedral of Junk

  45. Historic Walking/Ghost Tour

So, hey, let's hang out.

January Intention: R H Y T H M by Richelle Ouellette

curacao boca pistol ocean

The first Monday of 2016 felt like the first day of school. I took my time planning my day and week last night, right down to the outfit I was going to wear, just as I would have before the start of a new semester. I was excited for this morning and woke up at 7am sleepy, be ready to seize the day.

Recently I have been setting a one word intention or goal for each month. My theme for January is rhythm. I like that this word conveys a certain routine, but still has a sou; a melody. Like the waves of the ocean, rhythm is constant, though it varies in tempo and intensity. It carries on. 

My personality is such that it demands a certain amount of structure -- I need a schedule, and I calendar (both digitally and analog) like a fastidious executive assistant. I set myself reminders and alerts, but within my schedule I want to find flow and flexibility. I have made a list of areas I want to focus on daily and have many ideas as to how I can accomplish each:

  • SPIRITUAL/EMOTIONAL: Meditation/yoga/journaling/gratitude
  • INTELLECTUAL: Education (ie. studying language)/reading non-fiction
  • PHYSICAL: Workout/stretch

My hope is that my intention for January will be a chorus through the year as I sing the song of my heart and align it with the song of the universe.

Rules I Will Live By: 2016 by Richelle Ouellette

I like rules, probably more than the average person. I have an obedient personality and tend to trust that laws and regulations are in place for a good reason and that abiding by them will be for my benefit. Perhaps this is tied to my strict religious upbringing, but that's a conversation for my therapist.

The point is, I'm an all-or-nothing kind of girl. I can do a 30-day sugar fast without a problem, but the second you suggest I should reduce my chocolate intake I'm binge eating double fudge ice cream and an entire batch of brownies.

With that in mind, herein follows the Law of Richelle:

  • Meditate often
  • Continue to make my health a priority
  • Say no (when it's right)
  • Be selective about social engagements - who I spend my time with
  • Spend time with friends doing creative, cheap/free activities (ie. not just drinks or dinner)
  • Respond to emails within 24 hours
  • Read non-fiction daily
  • No media on weeknights (parenting myself here)
  • Set a weekly/monthly intention
  • Be kind to myself
  • Write at least one thank you note every week
  • Be grateful
  • Set tech-free time each week

I reserve the right to edit this post as I am confident I will think of more rules I want to live by. These are sort of resolutions, I suppose, but the kind that make it past Jan 5.


2015 Reflections by Richelle Ouellette

she designed a life she loved

About this time last year I lettered these words on my planner. I felt a little schoolgirlish and silly so I would often flip my notebook over in meetings or public to hide my cheesy quote. And yet, almost as if a self-fulfilling prophecy this phrase shaped my year. I took greater risks, opened my heart wider, powered through difficult circumstances, and ultimately gained the confidence to quit my job to pursue a lifelong dream of self-employment and travel. I am still working on the finer details, but this year has been monumental in pushing me towards the direction of my dreams. Here are 15 lessons I learned (or relearned) in 2015 that helped me design a life I love:

• Resist nothing
• The universe is conspiring to help + support you (pronoia)
• Everything in life is fluid
• When you seek greatness, you find greatness
• You are stronger than you think
• Action will set you free
• Speak your truth, even when it hurts; silence is a sharper pain
• Listen to learn something from everyone
• You must do the thing you think you can not do
• You have to risk the fall in order to fly
• Love conquers fear
• Specific people are put in your path at exactly the moment you need them
• The less you try to control, the more power you have
• Until you learn to accept and love your own imperfections you will never fully love others'
• People, circumstances, and trials in our life serve us for the time that they do, and then they don't; when they're gone, let them go

Thank you to each of you who continue to support me in my journey. I'm looking forward to a new year filled with laughter, discovery, love, and growth.