3 Personality Tests that are Fun AND Useful

3 Personality Tests that are Fun AND UsefulDid you ever take those “which Disney princess are you?” or “which Lord of the Rings character are you?” quizzes, where you’d be given HTML code to paste your result on your myspace or whatever? Or maybe more recently you’ve tried Buzzfeed’s “which Rory Gilmore are you?” quiz.

Basically, if you, like I, enjoy a good personality test, here’s a list of some that are both fun and insightful. Check em out!

Discover your Archetype

Personality Tests that are Actually Useful

The ultimate heroine training test determines your top three archetypes. After you take it, compare your results with the Disney princess archetypes – which princess are you?

Gretchen Rubin’s Quiz: The Four Tendancies

Personality Tests that are Actually Useful

How do you deal with commitments and expectations? Understanding your personality type in this context can help you stick to the habits you want to build.

The Five Love Languages

Personality Tests that are Actually Useful

The five love languages are “words of affirmation”, “acts of service”, “receiving gifts”, “quality time”, and “physical touch”. How do you prioritize them? what means love to you?

your-assignment

Go on! Try one of these quizzes right now and share your insights. Any other useful quizzes I should know about?

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P.S. Which two Disney characters are you? I want to know!

Magical Midsummer Ritual

Magical Midsummer Ritual

Midsummer brought me magic just when I needed it, both last year and the year before. So of course, “celebrate Midsummer” became a goal on this year’s birthday list.

I happened to be in London for the launch of Caroline’s newest project, The Girl with the Sunshine Tattoo [warning: addictive], so for Midsummer Sunday, Sarah Starrs and I met for a Diner lunch and crystal shopping before performing a summer solstice ritual in a secret garden, which happens to be called the Phoenix Garden (!).

Magical Midsummer Ritual

We found little benches for laying out the summer solstice tarot spreads we found on LouiseAndrolia.com, studied our results, and decorated with flowers and petals from the garden. Funny how we both got messages we needed to hear at that moment.

The ritual concluded with writing wishes on gold paper, a little tradition I learnt from Paige last year and since we had no matches, we buried them.

your-assignment

Honour a day that is special to you and your geekiness by setting aside time to acknowledge it. Here are some ideas…let’s add to the list in the comments below!

  • Bake a pi pie on Pi Day (March 14)
  • Recite a sonnet on Shakespeare’s birthday (23 April)
  • Carry a towel to celebrate Douglas Adams (25 May)
  • Sing through the entire Phantom of the Opera soundtrack on the musical’s birthday (9 October)
  • Read the first chapter of Sorcerer’s Stone aloud on Harry Potter Day (1 November)

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P.S. Are you following me on Instagram? I documented my Midsummer ritual in real time!

How did you spend your free time as a child?

How did you spend your free time as a child?

When people ask me how many times I’ve read the Harry Potter books [for some reason, I get this question a lot], I honestly have no idea, because rather than a number of cycles, they were the soundtrack of my life.

As a kid I spent my free time tidying my room and listening to Jim Dale read the Harry Potter books to me on CD. Sometimes at exciting bits I dumped out drawers just so I could piece their contents back together while I kept listening. At night I would listen until I fell asleep. This method still works when I can’t sleep.

My yellow boom box got me through a childhood’s worth of Harry Potter, and I still recall the sound it made as the CD spun to a stop when its tracks were through. But one day the boom box broke, and listening became a faff. Gone was the simplicity of the CD system, where I had to press only two buttons to get it started. Now I have to weed through my iTunes library, and right now my computer doesn’t even have enough space for all the books. Less stuff doesn’t always mean more simplicity.

A lot of friends fondly recall listening to the audiobooks on road trips, but this was never the case for me, because my whole family had to agree to the pastime, and frankly I don’t blame them for choosing against listening to someone else read them Harry Potter for hours at a time, let alone having to live with me talking about it during all those other hours.

But I found a new method for playing CDs, and a way to enjoy them on the road: by playing them in Monkey’s car! We spun through half of Deathly Hallows on the road there-and-back-again, brushing up on Harry history, and passing the time with a gripping story. Plus, we both like camping, and there’s a lot of it in that book.

your-assignment

So I want to know – what did you do in your childhood downtime? Do you still enjoy it to this day? Please share in the comments!

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#HappyThesisChallenge Check In

#HappyThesisChallenge Check In

The #HappyThesisChallenge is for all of us who need to buckle down and get some work done, in the prettiest way possible.

When I explain this to friends, some get it right away. We’re a particular shade of nerd, those of us who enjoy studyblrs, stationery shopping, and perfecting one’s handwriting.

your-assignment

If this describes you too, take a picture of your workspace and tag is #HappyThesisChallenge. You don’t have to be writing a thesis to participate in the #HappyThesisChallenge. You can be knocking off items on your Passion Planner to do list, scribbling notes from your latest Letters from Jane Austen project, or publishing blog posts. I have done all of the above over at @heroinetraining on Instagram.

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P.S. Things I learned from having no internet at home

Heroine Training on a Train: Things to Do on Long Journeys

Heroine Training on a Train: Things to Do on Long Journeys

When I have to be on a train for a while, I think Hogwarts. This visualization technique is not too difficult on my route from London to Edinburgh, which departs at Kings Cross, complete with Platform 9 3/4 sign around the corner – except these days it’s occupied by a massive queue of tourists wanting to be photographed with it. So much for the Statue of Secrecy.

The reality of the journey, sadly, is less glamorous. Yes, there is a trolly lady [or dude], but they never sell chocolate frogs, or anything that comes with collectible cards with moving portraits for that matter.

Lately I have been blessed with the misfortune of long journeys. It’s worth it, of course, because of what awaits at the other end – usually good adventures with great friends – but boy does it take up a lot of time. So I have to bring my work on the go.

Sometimes it’s not great, with motion sickness and cramped spaces, and noisy neighbors. But sometimes this is for the best: traveling can feel like free time, and anything I get done is a bonus. Or sometimes what a task needs is for me to be forced to sit in one place for several hours with nothing to preoccupy myself with but a wifi-less laptop.

Here’s how I make the most of my time:

  • Take Dramamine or motion sickness medicine. For longer journeys, I’ve caved into what I formerly thought of as a weakness. “It’s called taking advantage of modern medicine”, says Dr Dad.
  • Read for fun. Always a lovely way to pass the time! Get lost in a good book.
  • Catch up on a self-guided course. I’m loving Miracle Worker, Cubicle to 10K, and Elemental Astrology, but I keep creeping farther behind. It’s work that I love to do, so it’s a treat to work on during a journey.
  • Write greeting cards. Writing meaningful notes in birthday cards and letters is something I always mean to do, and always fills me with joy and gratitude, but in practice, it never quite feels like a priority. Devote a bit of travel time to writing out a card or two.
  • Journal. Journeys are a great – and metaphorically appropriate – time for getting in some journalling time. Reflect on where you are and where you want to go. Deep, right?
  • Do just a little bit of work. As a student I made the effort to get out of Oxford for at least part of the weekend. I brought a short article with me for the first few minutes of the ride there. Set yourself a small, achievable amount of work to complete, then feel accomplished and guilt-free during your time off.
  • Listen to podcasts and your favourite playlists. Sometimes I’m too queasy or tired to do anything but listen to the latest episode of RHAP or Taylor Swift on repeat. I play music a lot in the background, so it’s nice to have concentrated time to pay them more attention.
  • Catch up on your favourite TV show. I subscribed to The Carrie Diaries on iTunes to watch on my Oxford to London bus rides. I can’t get much else done on buses!
  • Look out the window. Grace Coddington swears that this is the only way to spend travel time. Sometimes it isn’t possible [hello redeye flights through the dead of night…] but when it is, enjoy the setting of your trip.
  • Play the alphabet game. This one works best in cars – go through the whole alphabet picking out letters from signs (“A in Parking”, “Z in Pizza Hut”). When you spot a word, you claim it, and no one else can take it. Yeah it can get really competitive.

your-assignment

Time to share with the class! What is your favourite way to pass the time on a long journey? Do you prefer to indulge in relaxation or employ on-the-go office hours?

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P.S. Going somewhere? Consult my comprehensive packing guide!

Steal Hermione’s Handwriting: A Lesson in Penmanship

Steal Hermione's Handwriting: A Lesson in Penmanship

A lady’s penmanship is a reflection of her character.

When I’m having a good handwriting day, I feel like a heroine. And guess what? The more often I write, the more those fortunate days seem to pop up.

Good handwriting doesn’t come from no where, and writing letters one loves is no exception to my philosophy that the best things can be borrowed from fiction.

Steal Hermione's Handwriting: A Lesson in Penmanship

Take my H, for example. When I was first introduced to Hermione Granger in the year 2000, I wanted to be just like her. So I practiced my capital H‘s to mirror hers in the American editions.

I use that H to this day, and with every swoosh, am reminded of one of my favourite females in fiction.

Steal Hermione's Handwriting: A Lesson in Penmanship

When I saw Becoming Jane, I picked up another letter, a lowercase d that starts with the loop and swirls upwards. I took my capital A from an envelope addressed to me from one of my best friends.

your-assignment

Owning one’s penmanship is an act of self love. Be proud of every letter you craft, and if you don’t love your current alphabet, pick and choose from your favourite fonts until it is a collection you adore! Whose handwriting do you admire? Have any heroines influenced the way you write?

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P.S. adding crystals and other magic

Why Training Matters

Why Training Matters

While I was writing Becoming My Own Heroine, I realised that the best metaphors for achievement can come from the activities I do for fun, like running and climbing.

I have now run in three 10K races, and despite the extreme humidity and constant hilliness of this weekend’s Georgetown 10K, I felt comparatively awesome afterwards. Why? Because I actually trained.

I know this sounds obvious – the whole practice makes perfect mentality – but I also know how hard it is to actually follow through on this seemingly simple step. In the past, a combination of laziness and an inflated ego have resulted in brutal finishes: eh, I’m capable, I’ll just try really hard on the day. No. That’s how I get injured.

My biggest takeaway from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers is that talent can get you far, but what really matters is putting in the hours. This applies to race training, and Dad, my unofficial coach, tells me that it’s not about being able to run a certain distance, but about training your body to get used to running for longer periods of time.

Why Training Matters

Training also helps you figure out those other variables, like what you should eat and drink before, and how important it is to find the restroom when. It’s nice to not have to make these arbitrary decisions on race day if you already know what you need, and have practiced the routine enough that it’s second nature.

Finishing a 10K or a half marathon is an achievement in itself, but the benefits stretch far beyond accomplishing that one goal. When I run well, I prove to myself that I am strong, in body and mind. High on that achievement, I become addicted to the feeling of success that hard work can earn.

John Green says that “What we love about sports is that it’s not like life. There’s no room for ambiguity in sports”. Most of us are uncertain about what our big dream is, let alone how to make it come true. Unlike life’s nuances, running a race is a concrete goal, with a pretty straightforward training plan: practice running, and practice running more. Those of us chasing ambiguous senses of purpose can benefit from the stability of something like sports, and the reminder that creative as we are, we’ve got to practice using our grit.

your-assignmentAll types of training contribute to your overall training to be a heroine. In my book, I explore how training for a side passion can help us grow as individuals too. I’m curious: what are your hobbies, sports, and practices? Let me know in the comments. Not all of us want to be Olympic athletes or professional dancers, but pursuing a passion on the side helps us further our own personal paths.
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P.S. how limitation fosters creativity

Sunday Sampling / Constraints Can Make You More Creative

Sunday Sampling / Constraints Can Make You More Creative

Sunday-Sampling

plus, some micro-pleasures to add to my list:

  • running to fight song
  • hugging puppy
  • when public bathrooms have a hook on the back for your bag and coat
  • actually knowing one of the songs on the pub quiz music round (love in an elevator. aerosmith. yes boston!)
  • stocking up on my favourite pen refills
  • finding an old forgotten list of places monkey and i want to go to
  • when it’s warm enough for ice cream to melt just the right amount without it being a complete catastrophe

your-assignment

Happy Sunday, everyone! What are you thankful for today?

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Everyone Needs Deadlines: How to Get Stuff Done

Everyone Needs Deadlines: How to Get Stuff Done

I’m riding on an accomplishment high. Since starting to use a Passion Planner in March, I have finally completed EVERY task I set for myself in the week!

How to Get Stuff Done:

1. Take the time to plan. It pays off. Estimate how much time each task will take, and round up.

2. Reflect as you go: each day, each week – what are you super proud of, and what could you do better?

3. Choose your focus for the week: if you get only one thing done, what is the most important thing? Repeat this for each day as well.

4. Request the assistance of accountability buddies to help you, especially with those tasks you keep putting off. Siobhan and I, the Edinburgh branch of Miracle Workers, scheduled an ice cream date to celebrate staying on task. I ended up pushing my most challenging, fear-inducing task until that morning, but it got done!

5. Hustle through to the end. Sometimes when it looks like I won’t get enough done, I give up. Not good!

One of my favourite quotes from Walt Disney: “Everyone needs deadlines”. So true!

your-assignment

Set aside some time to plan out your next week. Or better yet, do it now! Then report back with what you want to get done and I’ll hold you accountable :)

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P.S. Throwback to one of my favourite little essays I’ve written about Nature, Wonder, Magic, Travel.