Turn Your Face Into The Sun

3 November 2016

...and the shadows will fall behind you.

This was an inspirational quote printed on the back of a notebook I received in one of Boxcitement's monthly subscription boxes. This resonates with me completely; the past couple months have been quite difficult for me so to receive another box from Boxcitement made me realise how grateful I was for services like these, especially with this box themed towards summer and positive attitudes. 

It is always such a joy to receive one of Boxcitement's boxes. It makes for a change from receiving your monthly bill or junk mail sent so robotically by the ever-so-uninspiring corporate world. Not only are these boxes a delight to open but they are filled with things that you can utilise in your every day life that will bring that extra bit of sunshine to your life, no matter how big or small.

The notebook in question is this little beauty. I love the simplicity of the design and how it reminds me of an exercise book from school. I used this to plan my recent trip to Burning Man, it was my little planner for all things weird and wonderful. What I loved most about it was the back; it read "Turn your face into the sun and the shadows will fall behind you." It couldn't be truer, the sentiment that happiness is within is no lie. If you challenge your perceptions about things that have previously caused you sadness, you may find a new positive spin on it if you just turned your face into the sun.

Now this nifty little tote couldn't come at a better time. I'd vowed to make my lunches at home more and bring them into work to save my pennies but I needed some form of carrying my otherwise discoloured and uninspiring looking tupperware. Of course, I couldn't wait for work so I went for a picnic with my friend for tea and brought this beauty with me. Although it wasn't technically 'lunch', it was still in the glorious sun.

The theme of positive energy is consistent throughout this box and it couldn't make me happier. Along with this mindfulness colouring postcard, came these three slogan pencils that read 'Hello Sunshine', 'Dream Machine' and 'Hot Shot'. I decided to share these little carbon beauties with work and gave two away to my colleagues. I'm all about spreading that little bit of sunshine, even if you have to create it yourself.

Some extra goodies included a ceramic decorative hanging that read 'Hello Sunshine', some metallic silver and gold ribbon which I later used on a gift, a leather beaded friendship wrap bracelet and some inspirational postcards waiting to be sent to my dearest and closest friends. 

I practised minimalism not long ago and found it quite challenging receiving so many monthly subscription boxes and maintaining a minimalist lifestyle but this box is ideal because a lot of what is inside is either useful or giftable. 

These monthly treasures come to £18 per month but a yearly subscription is £180 which means each box is only £15. 

Circuit To Me

2 November 2016

Now if there's anything I failed miserably at in school, it was science. Not so much chemistry, but most definitely Physics. Non-the-less, I accepted the challenge from the team at Creation Crate to build this mood lamp. In short, I am no better than my 15 year old self. 

Creation Crate describes itself as 'tech education in a box' and it does exactly what it says on the tin. At first, my impression was that this box was geared more towards children, hence 'education' but at times I feel that we need educating the older we get and this is no exception. In fact, this box was quite the opposite to what I expected - difficult. Yet the challenge was stimulating and strangely engrossing. I'm not a competitive person, but when I get into something; I get into something. And at the points I found it the most difficult (the programming), it motivated me even more to finish. 

The box comes with everything you need to set up the month's invention; this month was a Mood Lamp. There are two sides of this project; physical setup and system setup (programming). The physical part is actually quite fun to complete with a friend, it challenges teamwork and cooperation. It also encourages the understanding of physics; I found myself admiring how something we take for granted like a laptop, works. If something as basic as a lamp is so difficult to configure, I wondered how long it took to program a laptop. 

The most challenging part was definitely the programming side. And it brought back haunting memories of the time I was delirious enough to enrol onto a programming course with MIT. The booklet clearly instructs what needs to be typed out to program the lamp, and if this is wrong, the system will tell you where it is wrong and the booklet will guide you to how to rectify this. However, if you still cannot repair the issue, you can easily find the correct code on the Creation Crate forum where other users will share their input into the month's box. 

However, there was still an error that occurred with my mood lamp which resulted in the system failing. Other users had reported this also, and I am sure it was a system fault rather than code fault. Sadly, I was disappointed that my mood lamp didn't work, but the challenge itself I found rewarding enough. 

I found this box incredibly insightful in terms of learning about technology and also about myself, and how I handle challenges unfamiliar to me. While the end result was not achieved, I still found the process enlightening and I came out of the project knowing a little bit more about programming (even though I supressed most of it after the MIT incident). 

The box is $29.99 a month but the price decreases the more months you agree to subscribe for. Considering I had just bought a USB - Type A and Type B cable for £8, it works out more or less to be the right cost plus there's the added experience of building and learning about the mood lamp. Also, I found that the creation became a talking point in my apartment for any guests. 

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