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My First Album: 6 months later

Well, I can’t believe it has been six months since my EP Small Town Runaround was first released. Sometimes I forget it even happened, and other days it feels like such a huge part of my life. Truth is, the hours spent in the studio were some of the most incredible and stressful hours of my entire life. Well…probably not; but because this was such an important moment in my life, it is so vivid for me. The stress of being there and having to perform. Having to hear it. Having to make decisions about it. Exposing all of my music to hours upon hours of scrutiny by the same guys that have recorded artist like Kanye and B.O.B….well…that was life changing. Hearing myself pump through million dollar sound equipment and watch my producer get excited as it came together….well…that was even more life changing.

There are some very important messages that I took away from recording my first EP. 1) Live in the moment. I waited so long for this to happen and while I was there I had to keep reminding myself that for every minute of focus and blind determination, I also needed a minute to hear myself. To experience it all. To soak it all in. 2) No matter what, it will never be perfect. That actually is something that REALLY hit home during my time in the studio. I imagined before going through this process that I would hear myself and make changes, edit, and master to perfection, but the truth of the matter is – that is not the case. To this day I cringe at certain parts of my own songs when the rest of my friends are singing along. It is not perfect. I am not perfect; but odds are, everyone else is too concerned with their own imperfections to care. 3) Whatever it is, however important it is, it will eventually lose meaning. Don’t make it more than it is. This can be applied to high school, college, a relationship, a new car, a bad month. It is all SO SO important when it is happening….but a week later, a year later, 6 months later…..it’s meaning has changed. Enjoy every minute of the good and be strong through every minute of the bad because however important it feels now, is how unimportant it will be later.

All said and done I loved making my album. I am so excited and hope to get a chance to do it again one day! However…I learned from it, I grew from it, and I have some amazing memories to last a lifetime. Whatever it is that you are thinking of doing or however you are thinking of putting yourself out there, just do it! Good or bad, you will learn, you will live, you will grow.

Check out this video from the first time I ever heard myself in the studio!
(Producer: Jon Bonus    Studio: SIDE 3)

 

Cali Marin Cravens

#AllAboutThisLife

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Posted by on March 24, 2015 in Motivational, Struggles

 

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Re-defining your first hour after work

After landing my first ever 9-5 (reality check: it’s more like 7:30-5 but who is counting?) I started realizing that even though I was on my feet less during the day and my job was more rewarding, I was actually accomplishing less in my evenings then when I was working odd hours at a brewery. How could this be? I should be getting much more done and feeling less exhausted at the end of the night, right? So after noticing my lack of productivity in the evenings, I started keeping mental track of what was possibly consuming so much more of my time…and I discovered…NOTHING.

To my utter shock, I realized that I was getting less accomplished but was not filling my evenings with much of anything productive! How. In the world. Did I let this happen?

It did not take long for me to realize that it was actually how I was acting when I got home each night; effectively, the first hour after I walked in the door after work. When I was on my feet all day, I was exhausted and knew that once I sat down I would have a hard time getting back up, so I was extremely productive every time I got home and then took a shower and would unwind. At my current job I realized I found it very easy to sit on the couch, play on my phone, turn on the news (ok, Netflix), and get lost. So, I made a plan and so far it is working.

I rummaged through a desk drawer and found a very small notebook and decided while I worked through this process I would keep track of the things I came up with during the day that needed to be done and when I walked in the door I would immediately start checking off the list. The first hour I was home from now on I would not touch the remote or my phone. I cannot even begin to tell you how much this has changed my life in so many unexpected ways!!!

Now, I usually get home around 5:15 from work, change clothes, get a few small tasks out of the way, and usually end up starting dinner since I am up and walking around anyway. I clean up after myself instead of leaving my office bag and coat lying at the door, and that usually leads to me tidying up the mess I left as I finished my coffee and walked out the door that morning. By the time 6:15 rolls around I have a clean apartment, tasks completed, and dinner on my plate as I sit down to relax. It was a little difficult to break my routine the first few days because I always looked forward to it before, but I found myself falling in LOVE with my new life and my new evening. I felt like I was getting more rest because my downtime was not riddled with my self-conflicted attitude about being less lazy and getting up to do something, and the strangest part was….I started to LOSE WEIGHT AND SLEEP BETTER! What!?! Yes. Believe it.

Since I was now starting dinner almost two hours earlier than I normally would, I was eating less as it got late in the evenings and had more energy to stretch or do some exercises before I sat down to relax. I was also going to bed with less energy because I did not have a full stomach and did not scramble around at 10pm to get all of the things done that I needed to do that day! Instead, the hour or hours leading up to sleep I was watching a movie, reading a book, or listening to music at my desk. My whole life seemed to have changed all because I re-defined that one ever-so-important hour after I walked in the door. The funny part is…I actually spend the same amount of time relaxing as I had before.

Honestly, this has inspired me to find new ways to make my daily life better and I hope to have more to share! You may have a much different life, job, family, or environment than me, and my own successes may not work for you. However, find something in your life that is simple to fix and try it today! You never know just all that will come of it.

 

Cali Marin Cravens

#AllAboutThisLife

 
 

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The Crash Reel – A must watch for all extreme athletes

As an avid snowboarder, I do spend a lot of the off season (or weekends after a less than favorable crash) watching snowboard films and documentaries. Between Netflix and my own collection, the following movies are among my favorite: That’s It That’s All, The Art of Flight, Horgasm, and Naturally. These are all incredible movies/documentaries with excellent riding, some strong feels, and good laughs.

When it comes to snowboarding, I have been fortunate enough to fall completely in love with the lifestyle and the high that comes along with spending my days on the mountain. This includes endless hours waxing my board and watching all these movies while I plan my next big dream trip. However, of all the great movies listed above, my favorite one and the one I recommend for ANY extreme athlete is The Crash Reel. This is a film about Kevin Pearce, an incredible athlete on his way to the 2010 Olympics, but ends up becoming an eye opening film that really hits home for any athlete seeking to be the best, or their best, every day.

I don’t want to give away the film so I don’t want to go into too much detail, but this is something worth checking out. Each time extreme athletes at the pro or amateur end of the spectrum strap on their boots and start their day, they are putting themselves at great risk; some for money and fame, but most for the sheer love of what they do. This film takes athletes through the journey of one of us who had (has) a rough road, and really puts everything we do into perspective.

No matter how good or bad you are at what you do, keep doing it, and keep seeking out those little pieces of inspiration. For me it is films, but for you it might be art, or music, or photography. Whatever it is, it is a little piece of what makes extreme sports culture what it is and I hope you get a chance to check out The Crash Reel and share with the world all that inspires you to do what you do.

Cali Marin Cravens

#AllAboutThisLife

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2015 in Motivational, Snowboarding

 

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How Groupon and Living Social changed my twenties

So I am sure many of you have heard of the sites (or others) like Groupon and Living Social. The latter is a little new to me but I have heard of and been on Groupon several times throughout college and did not think too much of it. I was really not into buying anything to build up my everyday life, so if it wasn’t a snowboard, college hoodie, or an overpriced text book about some obscure topic, then I probably wasn’t buying it. After getting my first non-college apartment and solid job, I started getting on the sites more during my downtime at work and quickly realized that they were offering more than just “things.” Sites like Groupon and Living Social have often overlooked sections such as “Events” or “Near You” that hold the key to very exciting weekends and opportunities in your twenties (or anytime of life) that you might not otherwise have.

When it comes to things like test driving race cars, skydiving, golfing at high end courses, SCUBA courses, passes to high end gyms, eating at hot 5-star restaurants, and hotels in neat locations, I thought things like this were well out of my price range but as it turns out I was very wrong. I have booked getaway weekends in the mountains, concert tickets, tours, and so much more…some for less than twenty dollars. This led me to start looking at other sites like these and to pour over these sites for amazing weekend opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have. In being (relatively) poor and (selectively) thrifty, I was able to stumble across amazing adventures I would have never even thought of!

When you are young, people are always telling you to save, plan for the future, and keep emergency money…and all this is IMPORTANT; but so is enjoying all the hard work you are putting in. For most of us right out of college, we have little expendable money at the end of each month, so make sure you spend some time each week or month looking for free adventures to be had in your area or cheap deals on websites like these. Keep in mind that you will have plenty of time to buy “things” (don’t worry, I struggle with this all the time, it is not just you) and instead keep a look out for those crazy weekend adventures like ice climbing clinics or wine and cheese tasting in the valley. You are YOUNG. Go enjoy it and be thrifty while you do it. Don’t we all want to have great stories to tell?

Cali Marin Cravens

#AllAboutThisLife

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Everyday Life

 

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When are you going to grow up?

At 23 years old and with a good job at a Fortune 150 company, I feel extremely lucky. My first year after school was rough (waiting tables and working odd hours at a brewery while working an internship, rough), but only dealing with 10 months of rough before launching my career is much better than many of my peers have had it so far. However, a question I keep getting over and over, a year and a half after college, is “When are you going to grow up?” I have had some of my friends say this jokingly, some more senior adults say this with a serious face, and others say this with a general look of interest. Well I cannot tell you how much this question stumped me. What do you mean “grow up?” I pay my bills (on time), have an 750 sq. ft. apartment that I pay for and clean, leased a new vehicle and make on-time payments, go to work Monday through Friday, take only a day off here and there, started looking into diversifying my investments, and have yet to take a sick day since I have started. What do you mean “grow up?”

People often times confuse “growing up” as fitting into the mold or becoming what the average person is perceived to be. They think that if you have a snowboard on your wall (which I do), or a foosball table instead of a dining table (Hey….it’s a small place. Choices must be made. So I did), or you spend your weekends going to NHL games and snowboarding, then you just cannot possibly be grown up. The term “growing up” does not seem to mean to take control of your life, choices, and responsibilities, as I thought it meant prior to now. I am starting to believe that what people actually mean is: When are you going to get married? When are you planning on having kids? What are your prospects for owning a home? They do not care that this week beyond my normal adult duties I put in 5 hrs. of overtime, went to the gym 4 times, and also landed a new trick at the terrain park….SWITCH! Why? Because it is not what “normal” adults do…so I must just need to grow up.

The truth of the matter is that I think there is a whole world of adults out there just like me that take care of their “grown-up” responsibilities just fine, and do it all while having a fun and exciting life. Our lives are no different than most people: we have financial worries, job stresses, and relationship woes just like anyone else. We just choose to do things a little differently like a snowboard on the wall instead of a mirror or a foosball table in the dining room. Maybe this is a new age of adults but I know quite a few people much like myself in this way and many people with the traditional house, spouse, kid, and dog that have much more “growing up” to do. The traditions of old and the expectations of our parents are not as enforced for many of us young twenty somethings, and that allows us to live a little out of the box.

No way is right or wrong (not trying to get a dig on anyone with a spouse or child), but sometimes it is good to keep in mind that young adults are not always as appears. I still get carded to get into R rated movies, and my shoes are more neon than neutral….but I was up at 5:30 putting on my business suit just like you, and just might have been on the other end of that conference call.

#AllAboutThisLife

Cali Marin Cravens

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Everyday Life, Struggles

 

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Dealing with the constant feeling of Inadequacy

So, as it turns out, most of us are not at all who we thought we would be by the time we got to this point. This goes for all adults no matter what level they are at, but for twenty-somethings, especially early twenty-somethings, this is exceptionally hard to cope with. Why is that? Well quite simply, think about the time frame here: just 10, oh heck let’s say 5 years ago most of us thought we would be astronauts or millionaires or pro athletes…and for most of us that is not the case. Everyone always says to “dream big” and “reach for the stars” and “you can accomplish anything you put your mind too” but in my miniscule adult life so far I find that not to be the case. In fact, even those of us that have had successes and really made something happen, feel…..inadequate because the success we have had so far does not even come close to that we imagined for ourselves just a few years ago. The feeling of waking up every day and dealing with the reality of adult life all the while feeling you did something to fall short makes it hard to wake up and continue on your own path to success that you have carved. Not everyone can, should, or really wants to be an astronaut, but the reality of waking up a successful business woman or a young entrepreneurial man in a world where we were told to literally reach for the stars is hard to deal with and hard to see the good in. I see myself and a lot of others around me doing great things that are so overlooked that we never see the greatness in it. We don’t recognize a new job because it isn’t the title we wanted, or we don’t notice the 5 lbs we lost because we wanted to lose 15, or we don’t notice how great our new apartment is because it is not the one we imagined. We see things as black and white, success or failure, win or lose; and we struggle to see anything in-between.
It is not easy to change perspective and start to see the little victories we scoffed at as a kid. It takes time and patience that most of us do not have in our quest for greatest. Every day I wake up with the painful feeling of sinking in a life and world I thought I was really destined to soar in. What are victories now are hard to see because I am so blinded by my inability to touch the stars…..or even see them sometimes. Trying to cope with this is something I hope others out there are more successful at than I have been.

All of this leads to a constant feeling of inadequacy. We hide in our shell of perceived inadequacy and hide from the world like some shunned ugly duckling hoping to disappear…when really…we should be celebrating, right? We made it this far, we are on our own two feet, and we are carving our own path in the world one day at a time. So why is it so hard to even feel…adequate?

I believe that we mistake optimism and motivation as expectation and assumption. We think that those in our lives that pushed us are expecting us to be a specific something and if we don’t get there then we failed. Maybe that’s not the case. The more I think about it the more I realize that most of the adults in our lives that told us the cliché life phrases that have come to haunt us in our twenties were indeed…..past their twenties; past their adult purgatory, and well into their adult lives. So if this is the case, then they understood the way life works and the differing levels of success. They could not have expected us all to be rocket scientists and pro athletes because they too had taken part in the transition into adulthood and understood that it is not that way. Maybe, just maybe, those around us do indeed see success NOT the inadequacy we feel. WE are the ones holding on to our childhood notions and portraying these feelings of inadequacy outward for all to see.

So starting today I am going to go to bed each night and mentally pat myself on the back for all my little victories throughout the day. Today I did not “reach the stars”…but I did lose those 5 lbs since last month, fix the wobbly door handle, say the right things in the company meeting, finish reading that packet on my 401k, pick up a how-to book on personal finance, and oh yeah, I’m alive. Today was a success. I am a success.

Cali Marin Cravens

#AllAboutThisLife

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2015 in Everyday Life, Motivational, Struggles

 

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Adult Purgatory

So there are a lot of blogs out there dedicated to traveling, or to current issues, or even to a major life event like a marriage or a baby. This blog however, is not about one topic or one agenda. Think of it more as a window into the eyes of a twenty something trying to make sense of the world and live life to the fullest.

At the age of 23 I have tried to write blogs before (mostly travel blogs), but found that in doing so it actually cut into the time I spent traveling or making sense of the world so I deleted them all shortly after they were created. Now I see it a little differently in that going through the process of coming up with words and paragraphs to detail it all might actually be a way to make better sense of it all. Not to mention, now that I am a few years older than I was during my last blog attempt, I have a lot more patience for the process.

Twenty-somethings have a unique view of the world in that most of us (although most of us won’t admit it) don’t know our place in the world or how we ourselves fit into this complex puzzle with 7 billion pieces. We are thrown into very adult situations that have life altering concepts, yet find ourselves missing integral pieces of knowledge or life experience that allow us to handle it. I like to call this the “purgatory” stage of adulthood. We can see it all happening around us and we can feel the consequences, yet we are not quite able to put all the pieces together. I do believe everyone goes through this purgatory stage of adulthood, and for the sake of understanding, I no longer mind if you take a glimpse into mine. I have already gone through great moments and terrifying moments which have accumulated to form the beginning of my adult stage and prepare me for “intermediate” adulthood, but I feel increasingly everyday that there is more of this transition to go through, and reasons to touch back on what has already happened. I plan to share these thoughts, feelings, viewpoints, and even details of my mistakes and successes, and all I ask is that you use the tool of my stories to help you either better understand your own adult purgatory, or understand the varying degrees of crazy others in your life might be going through. Twenty-Something Syndrome affects everyone. Anyone and everyone that comes in contact with a twenty-something either teaches a lesson (right and wrong) or endures the wrath.

Feel free to weigh-in. Comment if you have had similar stories and don’t be afraid to share with the world what it is like to be a twenty-something.

Cali Marin Cravens

#AllAboutThisLife

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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