Get You House Guest Ready In Under 10 Minutes

One of the best parts about getting older is that the “drop by” is rarely done. I can’t remember the last time I drove near a friends house and thought, “oh, I’ll just knock on their door and see if they’re home”. Although in writing this, I realize that it most likely has more to do with cell phones rather than age. But I do think that age is still a factor as I’m sure, women especially know that the thought of someone just showing up on your own doorstep unannounced fills you with such dread that you would never do that to someone. So let’s all take a moment to be grateful for both wisdom with age and technology.

However…there IS often good reason for the “I’ll be there in 10 minutes” text resulting in a semi drop by visit. So this may be the down side to cell phones, we may have lost the no notice visit, but where visits used to be more planned, now the idea that you’re already out and about so you might as well stop on your way home visit exists. The good part about that is that it usually gives you at least 10 minutes to pull yourself and/or your house together really quickly. The bad news is that 10 minutes is very little time.

Keep in mid that sometimes, these visits are from your loved ones. Your near and dear, they’re seen it all, there is no need to tidy for them type people. Those are not the people who you are going to sprint for. Not because you don’t love them, but because really, they don’t care. You would in turn, not care if they did not tidy up for you, so no worries. Maybe brush your teeth if you know they’ll be near your face otherwise, meh. What I’m talking about is the stuff you do when your colleague is coming by with some papers to sign, or your kids new friends mom is dropping by with a favorite toy that was left in their car. Perhaps your in laws are in the area and want to say hi. In my case, it’s usually a client who is coming to the studio to shop for jewelry, so some level of decorum is expected.

I’ll start with the 10 minute deadline, and then move onto a few things to add on if you have extra minutes or if they’re late or something. Ideally you have a home where most of the things on this list are always done, but we have all have those days when they are not. If you have one things that has to be done, be thankful that you instead have a spare moment to brush your hair or change out of your jammies and into a pair of jeans. Or put put on a bra or something. Hmmm, I might do a post on that too. Until then, let’s get you ready for that semi drop by!

How To Get You House Guest Ready in 10 Minutes

1. Close doors of any room you just can’t even deal with.
Bed not made? Shut the door; Laundry room a disaster? Shut the door; Kids room a nightmare; shut the door. Basically you want to have as few rooms as possible visible to your guest that you have to tidy up.

2. Get all the trash out of the room/rooms.
It’s amazing how much garbage can accumulate in living spaces. Grab a garbage bag and toss in the newspapers, empty la croix cans (my husband leaves them everywhere), junk mail, tissues (my dogs love to carry them around and leave them on all over the place) and any big dust/leaf/whatevers off the floor. Basically you want to do this at a quick jog. Empty the waste baskets in the rooms guests will be into the bag and stick it in the garage/outside the back door/just get it out of the house. While you’re at it, if your kitchen garbage smells, that should go too.

3. Shove all clutter in a bag, basket or box and put it behind a closed door.
I’m serious. You will need to deal with what’s in the basket later, just grab everything that shouldn’t be there and remove it as fast as you can. Random socks, toys, books, blankets, whatever looks sloppy needs to be out of there. Make sure all dirty dishes are hidden too. You’re still jogging through all of this.

4. Grab a sponge or towel and wipe down any sticky/dirty surface in the rooms the guest will be.
Think kitchen counters, bathroom sink, etc. You’re not trying to really clean anything, just avoiding grossing out your company.

5. Light a scented candle or spray room spray, especially if you have pets.

6. In the final seconds, run around the room and fluff couch pillows, straighten furniture, tuck in chairs, straighten anything askew.
This is basically the equivalent of making sure you don’t have lipstick on your teeth and your pants are zippered. (Maybe do that too)

Your house is now presentable for last minute company, yay!

If you have a few extra minutes:

1. Vacuum.
This is not the type of vacuuming where you’re moving furniture and getting under things, but rather a quick pick up of dog hair or dust bunnies.

2. Dust.
If you have rooms with a great deal of natural sunlight, the dust can look a bit more obvious on table tops that have not seen a duster for a bit. Grab a microfiber cloth or a feather duster and go to town as fast as you can.

3. Clean the bathroom.
No one has ever walked into a freshly cleaned bathroom and wished it was dirty.

4. Make the bed.
If you can see the bed from the where you’ll be with your guests or want to give your guest a house tour, pulling up a blanket and fluffing the pillows can make a world of difference.

5. Clean the pet hair off of seating areas.
A quick vacuum, roller or blanket spreading can make a difference (I always forget to do this and feeling incredibly guilty when guests sit on the dog hair covered couch).

6. Wipe down mirrors.
If you have mirrors in living areas, a quick wiping down of them will make the light sparkle better and everything look cleaner.

Whew, you did it! Pat yourself on the back and go offer your guests some coffee!

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Bathroom Selfies Vol. II

I enjoyed pulling together Vol. I of bathroom selfies so much that I’m back with another 6 months worth! Well…6 months of the photos that I remembered taking anyway. I don’t think there any in August as I was packing, moving, unpacking, taking a quick trip to south Texas and then had major surgery, so that’s understandable. Besides that though, I have realized that 90% of the time I either don’t use the bathroom while I’m out and about, forget to take a photo or don’t have my bag in the bathroom with me. When I’m on a roll, I do them all the time, but then I forget and forget and forget. I still enjoy them though and it’s a fun way to remember where I’ve been!

Bathroom: Master Bathroom of our new house the day we closed. Austin, TX. July 1st, 2016.

 

Bathroom: Winebelly on W Oltorf, Austin TX. September 9th, 2016.

 

Bathroom: Enoteca on South Congress, Austin TX. September 10th, 2016.

 

Bathroom: Snooze on South Lamar, Austin TX. September 12th, 2016.

 

Bathroom: ShopLC HQ (first day shooting the DIY videos!), Austin TX. September 13th, 2016.

 

Bathroom: Madam Mam’s on W Anderson Lane, Austin TX. September 14th, 2016.

 

Bathroom: Matt’s El Rancho on South Lamar, Austin TX. September 17th, 2016.

 

Bathroom: ShopLC HQ, Austin TX. October 7th, 2016.

 

Bathroom: ShopLC HQ, Austin TX. October 31st, 2016.

 

Bathroom: Fresa’s, South 1st, Austin TX. November 5th, 2016.

 

Bathroom: Austin Java, 2nd Street, Austin TX. November 19th, 2016.

 

Bathroom: Manic Trout studio, Austin TX. November 24th, 2016.

 

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Don’t Break The Chain

I don’t always know what I plan on writing when I sit down to write. This makes me not want to write, but it’s not enough of a reason not to. This is also most likely how I end up letting weeks go by without ever even logging in to this blog. Although to be honest sometimes I don’t have enough time to actually sit down and write and sometimes I’m not physically in the studio to sit down to write. But most of the time it’s simply the lame excuse that I don’t know what to write. I even keep lists of topics and drafts of post ideas that come to me when I don’t have time to write, just time to jot down notes or a sentence in my phone, and still, most of the time I just move onto to something else and decide that I’ll do it later. I got really tired of later never coming though and frustrated with days and weeks going by without writing anything.

So at the end of the year I was looking back on what I did over the past months and of course I started thinking about goals, and what I’m good at and what I like to do. You know what was on all three of those lists? Writing. You know what I did the least of in 2016? Write. So I started working on changing this. Writing more both privately and publicly. I’ll admit that I’ve been doing a lovely job of it and part of that is because unless I’m not actually near my computer at all on a given day, I sit down, set a timer for 60 minutes and start writing. I do this twice in the morning; once with the Manic Trout blog and once here. I aim for 1000 words on each. I enjoy both spaces for what they are as the Manic Trout blog is much more research driven, and jewelry and style related. In this space, I get to write what ever I’m feeling that day, which is actually why I think it’s harder to sometimes thing of things.

These two blocks of time are a priority to my schedule and what I do first thing in the day after my morning routine which includes writing my daily morning pages. Morning pages are a concept that many writers and non writers alike use to sort of journal a few pages of longhand about whatever pops into your head. I aim for two pages of anything that’s on my mind; what I was proud of the day before, what I’m excited about that day, what I want to do better today, what I grateful for, even progress reports to myself. I follow this with one page of my plans for the day and how I see it playing out. It’s a great activity to both jump start my day and get my creativity flowing.

What I find interesting is that because I started writing first thing to make it a priority, I discovered by mistake that I write much better early in the day. I was pretty surprised to realize this as I am actually really strong at doing other creative tasks, like designing and making jewelry in the evening and late at night. For a long time, I had in my head that I needed to write blog posts at night for the next day, assuming that I would be able to write better at that time. I always though that I was never writing these because of time, or other things that got in the way, but really it’s just not the time of day when my brain writes well. So this whole exercise and schedule has been working really well so far. I however still often have no idea what to write about.

This is why I usually blog for Manic Trout first. That space has more of a scheduled theme and as I typically research a topic and write about it, it feels easier than pulling things out of my brain. This also means that I have a sort of double warm up before I get here. If I have no idea what to write, even after thinking about it while going though the morning, I’ll write the title, look over my prompts, maybe google a question I have in my head. This will usually strike a chord, even it has nothing to do with what I started writing, what I searched or what the title was. But no matter what, even if I still feel like I have nothing to say, I set my timer, open a blank post and write. Typically, as I’m already warmed up, if I just start typing, the words begin flowing on their own at that point and then after a bit I slow down, review what I wrote, remove the weird tangents and edit. I realize in amazement that there was a blog post in me, even if I didn’t know it yet when I began.

The biggest lesson that I learned in art school was to approach being creative like any other job. You sit down and do it, day after day. No matter what mood you’re in, if you feel uninspired, happy, angry, depressed, whatever, you sit down and write. One of my favorite quotes about this is from Jerry Seinfeld, who has always said that to be a productive writer, you have to wrote every day. His recommends marking an x on the calendar for every day that you write and what ever you do, “Don’t Break The Chain”. The chain concept has become a thing in productivity but it’s incredibly motivating in itself if you are a visual learner. It’s also an incredibly logical lesson, as to be good at something creative, you need a bit of natural ability sure, but for the most part you just have to practice. To do it over and over, day in and day out. Without the daily practice, you will never improve and become great. So do the work, every day. Don’t break the chain.

I have been using the chain with the morning pages for a few weeks so far. My chain has not broken. It usually warms me up and makes me jump right into the blogs, which is great as the blogs are hopefully something that can both get done 5 days a week. As I said, writing is the one thing in my life that is large part in more than one of my long term goals, that I’m good and that I enjoy. I am only hurting myself if I break the chain.

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Top 5 Things Right Now

I’m pretty sure that the more random theses lists are, the more I enjoy them. This one is all over the place, but I really love everything on it. Each item on this list also proves that it’s the little things, and the that the sum of a bunch of little things can make a big impact. What I mean is that it’s not really the item that has made a difference, but the constant use and what it represents. Although I did actually need most of these to do the thing, it’s not the thing that is so great, but what the repetitive action with every single one of these results in. As Chris from Northern Exposure philosophically pointed out in one of my all time favorite quotes: “It is not the thing you fling, but the fling itself.”.

1. The app Productive – I finally started taking turmeric pills much to the satisfaction of my mom, who swears by it for joint pain. She was right, my hip feels much better when I take it, but I keep forgetting to take it. I found this app on a list a month or so ago and started using it as a reminder, it’s free to use for up to 5 habits, and it has really helped! At this rate, I might just be able to run again soon.

2. My Morning Routine – It started off innocently enough. I found myself wanting to make sure that I was doing the things that made my day feel productive even on the days when I had to leave the studio to work at the tv station. I found myself getting up early enough to make sure certain routines were being done and it made a big difference. Then I started to add more things that would make my day better, such as writing morning pages and visualizing my day. I have been tweaking it here and there, adding and removing things to find my ideal routine, I’m really into the act of it. The biggest change in how my day went started when I stopped beginning my day by reading emails in bed. I now do my routine and then sit down at my desk and open the email after everything else is done. It really doesn’t matter that the first email reading of the day has been pushed 45 minutes to anyone but me, and to me, it has made a huge impact. I plan on going into this more in the next few weeks on the blog, so keep an eye out if it interests you.

3. Hard boiled eggs – These are up there on the list of things that make my life so much better when they exist, but are oddly something that I avoid doing. I prepare a dozen at once and eat one during my morning routine as are the perfect amount of food to start my day. In general, I have a problem eating enough protein, and eggs are such a great source of it, so it’s no brainer to have them readily available and easy to eat. I really need to get better at making the next batch as soon as I eat the last egg. I do buy them, I just slack on cooking them.

4. Auto transfers – This is one of those really obvious things that I had sort of forgotten I could do and it was game changing when I finally did it. I started this a few months ago and was quickly obsessed with the awesomeness of it. I manage our household finances, and every week, Adam and I each contribute x amount to our joint checking account. That account is used for anything household related or for activities that we do together. So things like utility bills, eating out together, travel or home repairs would all be included. Our savings account is attached to it as well. One day as I was transferring money to our savings, I realized that if I set it up to do it automatically, just like how almost all of our bills are paid, the weekly amount would just go there without my ever forgetting or avoiding to move it over. I set it up so the day after we send money from each of our own accounts to the checking account, a set amount goes right to our savings. I even already increased it a little because I realized we wouldn’t miss it if I did it. Every couple of weeks I give Adam a status report of both the checking and savings amounts and the last couple of times, Adam has been shocked that the savings has consistently been growing, even if it’s not by huge amounts, it still has been going up and up. I was really excited too and was yelling “I know, right!?!?!” a lot.

This is not rocket science, it’s basically just paying ourselves first, which BTW, I read yesterday should be the equivalent of one hour of each of your workdays. I haven’t figured out what that would be for each of us, but I aim make sure the amount is at least around there going forward. I also started doing this with things that are paid annually, mostly taxes. I know some people prefer to open multiple accounts to keep things separate but I find that if I just note the amount put aside in my ledger that it works for me. I do this with our property taxes and with income taxes from the tv station as it’s a contract position. For property taxes, I just have it set so the annual amount divided by 12 is taken out each month, and for my self employment taxes, I manually set 25% aside from each check I receive as the amounts differ.

5. Rubber gloves – Another, duh/a-ha!, moment. I have to pay more attention to the condition of my hands and nails now that I have them all front and center on DIY videos. I am brutal on manicures, but am learning and trying to make them last. One thing I do is get the lightest, most natural polish, so you can’t really tell if gets roughed up and the other is that I started wearing rubber gloves when I do dishes (I love to hand wash dishes, its soothing to me). I started this to protect the manicures, but the extreme dryness and skin cracking around my nails has gotten better too. I also can use much hotter water as my hands are protected, so that has to be a good thing sanitation wise. Win win for rubber gloves!

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3 Podcasts About Productivity

I’ve been spending a great deal of time the last few weeks thinking about productivity. Specifically on using my time the best way that I can to accomplish my goals, both business and personal without burn out. I’m not sure if it is because I am so immersed in this topic that it feels like I see, hear and read about this topic everywhere or that so many others are just as obsessed with productivity so that it IS everywhere. I suspect it’s a combination of the two and am glad that the information keeps popping up and that I’m paying attention. The most interesting part of this is that most of the information is really similar and this is a great thing. It basically means that not everyone is giving conflicting information on productivity and goal setting, they are all saying the same things…so I should probably listen.

I wrote this week about the idea of using the new year as a chance to evaluate and regroup and the areas in which I am doing this. I then wrote the next day about my decision to put pen back to paper and to go back to using a paper planner. For me, there were just so many digital options that I was becoming counter productive and felt a desire to simplify. It was a great personal choice and that step alone has been a huge help on getting a grip on my productivity and to regroup in the areas I outlined the day before. The other huge step has been to keep listening and reading about productivity. I’m almost doing so passively, just to keep it all fresh in my head. I listen to podcasts in the car and when I’m doing things like having breakfast or putting on make up, time when I’m paying attention, but not giving my full attention to it.

Three podcasts have stood out to me this week. They all deliver similar basic messages, yet each from their own unique point of view. The first from an economists standpoint, the second from a master planner view and the third from a more trying to find life balance view.

  1. The economist: Freakonomics Radio – How To Be More Productive. The unique POV is explaining the difference between being busy and being productive.
  2. The master planner: GTD (Getting Things Done) – Making Changes Stick. The importance of not only being productive, but staying productive and getting back on track if you slip up.
  3. The life balance: The Goal Digger Podcast – Goal Setting For People Who Hate Goal Setting. This one gets a little too faith based for my personal preference, but it’s good enough that I kept listening regardless of that.

Have you listened to any great productivity podcasts recently? Share them in the comments below, I’d love to know what they are!

 

 

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How To Read Multiple Books At A Time

Every time I walk through the living room, I see a stack of books marked at various stages with bookmarks made from my old business cards. I look longingly at this stack, as even though I reclaimed my wasted time and have made more time to read, I wish I were doing so right now. Some of you I’m sure wish you were doing the same, and some of you are right now thinking that this is crazy talk, this reading a big stack of books at once. In some part, I do agree that perhaps the current stack of 5 (plus 2 by my bed and 2 in my office) may be out of control, but I have been enjoying it immensely.

First the why. It’s simple. I read a lot and about a variety of things.  Some days I am not in the mood for particular books or subjects. Some days I am wanting to read about people or events and some days about more abstract concepts. Then there are the books themselves, some books, like the mega Infinite Jest, or the big and heavy political and historical books that I have been starting to enjoy, are intense and my brain is not always feeling up to the task of taking in so much information. Some days the last thing I want to read are biographies, and some days, that’s all I want to read. If you think about it, the concept is rather logical and very similar to how we do many things, like how our kitchens work. You don’t always want to eat the same food, so you buy a variety and eat a little of each thing throughout the week. The milk is, for the most part, not consumed all at once, neither are the carrots.

Now the how. Books of the fiction and literature genres are known attention grabbers. They draw you in and wrap you in their web of words and you are entranced as they weave their stories. I could not handle reading a large  stack of fiction at once, I’d perhaps loose sight of plots and confuse characters if I switched too often. So I typically save the more story like aspect of fiction for the end of night, when I’m trying to check out, get away from screens and clear my head or fill it with something else before bed. More often than not, I keep it to only one at a time by the bed, but there are exceptions. Usually it’s due to something I ordered showing up and that I can’t wait to dive into, so I put whatever I was reading aside and will come back to it. That is the exact scenario which led to the current two by the bed.

The books in my office are usually business books that I need to focus on and perhaps take notes while reading. Usually these are on a hyper specific topic, like productivity, seo or marketing. I pick these up when I have time to get in a few chapters and can give them some attention. I’m this way with blogs and podcasts too. I have them in their ques and when I have a chance, I catch up. These are all great ways to spark the brain, so as long as one of them is being done at some point each day, I’m happy. The books I read in my office can take months to finish for this reason, so if it’s something I want to finish reading in a more timely manner, the moves either to the living room, or I assign myself reading time with a notebook at the dining room table.

Now for the stack in the living room. I usually have 3-5 going and there is almost always a memoir style business book (right now it’s Martha Stewart), something about food production or health (often by Michael Pollen), something I need to be focused to read (I’m sure for the next month that will remain Infinite Jest), a history or political history book (I’m reading about the history of New York right now) and then a book or two for book club (because I am in three of them and the books are often new releases and therefore hard cover, which I prefer to be sitting to read). I find that the books I have in the living room are more for picking up whatever interests me when I sit down. Similar to magazines or blogs, I sometimes dig in and read for hours in one book and sometimes I have the attention span of a gnat and go from one to the next and back and forth. Sort of like having a book stack version of your blog reader. Except instead of posts in a blog, you can read a chapter or two from one book and then switch to another. Which is again why I mainly do this with non fiction, memoirs and short stories, they are easier to move in out of.

Now because we all love lists, I’ll break it down:

How to Read Multiple Books At A Time

  1. Select a variety of subjects and styles.
  2. Try and keep the fiction to a minimum, choosing mostly from assorted non fiction genres.
  3. Keeping different books in the different places where you read can help you remember things about that book when you’re sitting in the same spot.
  4. Don’t push it. If you’re only feeling one book, go with it. If you can’t stay focused on more than a few pages before you want to switch books, go with it.
  5. If you are stumped for how to come up with that many books to read at once; keep a list in your phone or Amazon with suggestions. Also browse used book stores, goodwill or library book sales as the selection is usually smaller so it’s not as overwhelming often will have you choosing books from sections that you’d never think you’d like. For example, I realized that I was buying a lot of books from library sales that were from the travel section, an area I had never thought to buy books from.

Happy reading!

 

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Planner People

With many things in life, there are two types of people. In this case I’m talking about planner people vs non planner people. In what I’m about to write about, you can even break it down further to paper planner people vs digital planner people. I am a paper planner person, I am also, as of a few years ago, a printable paper planner person. This means that I felt that there was no planner out there that had the exact components I wanted in a planner, so I now print bits and pieces from a few different designs and make my own awesome planner.

If you meet a fellow paper planner person, you quickly become aware of your shared loved. You begin talking obsessively about the big names in planner land, and Erin Condrens name is tossed around like she’s your best friend. You compare likes, dislikes, what the current designs for this year look like, how you use yours and what planners you’ve used in the past. I eve have friends who are super planner people and they collect all varieties of planners, cases, inserts from all different designers and are active in both facebook groups as well as IRL meet-ups with other super planner people.

As much as I love planners, I am pretty utilitarian about it. I don’t carry one around with me, I don’t really care what it looks like, I’m annoyed where there are added frills like quote and inspirational images. I want a super functional system that aids my productivity. Because of these preferences, I tried really hard to go digital, as it just makes sense. I bought all different types of software and apps that each gave me hope and promise that I finally had found the digital system that worked, but I always ended up back on paper. Part of it was that duplication and deletion issues were causing too much frustration with synching between my phone and computer. Part of it was that I could never see a quick and broad enough view on my phone. And then another part of it is that I like to take pen to paper and I find that list making is a big part of how I use a planner and it was too much text for digital. In general, I really prefer writing anyway, its quicker for me, and I remember things better when I write them down. The only issue I was having was finding a planner that had all of the things that I like, but not having the things that I don’t like. Which is of course why I ended up being so into the printables. I found Scattered Squirrel a few years ago and for two main reasons, fell in love. One, is that there are so many different styles and options that I can cobble my dream planner together exactly how I envision it. Two, that I can try something new and print out a few weeks of pages (which is only a couple of sheets of paper) and if it doesn’t work for me, I can print something else out swap it out in the binder without having to switch planners, transfer content or waste paper. So good.

I will however be the first to admit that this is a bad idea for those who are not hyper organized. I imagine you would be overwhelmed with the options. Remembering to print out ahead of each month or whenever, could be overwhelming and figuring out the order to print the pages can get tricky. I love it though and find that it works really with the GTD system. That is another awesomely obsessive topic…who else swears by David Allen and GTD?? I tend to fall off course with it from time to time, but I still find that even when I am not my most productive and focused, just the basic knowledge of the system means that I get everything done that has to be done. The brain dump concept is one of the best things to happen to my mental state and something we should all do to clear the mental clutter often. If you are unfamiliar, the idea is to spend a little time, ideally once or twice a day or when feeling overwhelmed and just start writing/typing everything out that’s on your mind. I think it’s mean to be done in list form but I have started to write a few pages free form in the morning before I start my day to just get all the chatter out, then I brain dump a list of to-do’s. During the day, I am more of a random, jot down when I think of it person so I typically do one brain dump a day, but at night I sometimes will use my phone when I’m lying in bed to type up a brain dump and send it to myself. This is really helpful if you are the type of person to lay awake at night over-thinking. The brain dump concept is brilliant in that it really allows you to “let go” of all the stuff you are focusing on that is unnecessary. For example, that I need to buy a lightbulb for over the kitchen sink, order the new book for book club and lower the feet on the dryer are things that are bouncing around in my head right now as I have not written them down. As soon as I note them on paper, these things quiet and I can focus on say, the ideas I have to write here. The most important thing to remember with this though is that you have to make sure you do gather up and create action with all of these brain dumps, not just stuff them in a drawer and forget about them. Which is why of course we GTD people are also planner people.

The only downside of my current planner usage is that I like a large planner and I like to keep it in a 3 ring binder. This almost always lays flat and open, on my desk. I do not take it with me ever. This meant that keeping track of meetings and appointments when I made them out of the house was getting tricky. I dislike ical enough that I was not using it so I was taking photos of a couple of months of my planner and trying to reference them when I was making an appointment but that sounds useless even when I am writing it. It was obviously not something that worked. When I started doing the tv project, I needed some way to have at least meetings and events entered in my phone that I could see a month at a time without clicking on the day for details. I eventual discovered the app Fantastical as it has a feature that I especially enjoy. When you rotate your phone horizontally, the calendar turns into a block view, similar to what a printed calendar looks like, and gives a quick and effective overview. So now I just have to make sure I have things entered in both the paper version and the phone. It’s not a perfect system, but it works.

Sooooo, are you a planner person? If you’re a paper planner person, what system do you use? The beauty of this world is that there is something for everyone, share your system in the comments!

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Do you make resolutions?

I’m not much of a resolution maker these days, but I do I do enjoy using the new year to analyze and regroup a bit. Part of it is that as a business owner, I do this with finances and the various things I track. I have become in the habit of spending the week between Christmas and New Years Day finishing up that year and setting up all of my systems for the year ahead. There are the obvious: closing/starting out planners, calendars, spreadsheets and files and the not so obvious: reviewing my vision, and where I am with short and long term goals. Usually there is an area where I immediately notice, if I had not realized it already, that needs improving. If I have already been aware of the problem area, I try to start in mid December so that I’m feeling the pressure of the resolution setting chaos.

This past year, I gave up all sugar and sweet things on December 19th. This was following a doctors appointment where the cause of some heath issues were not obvious. I overheard the doctor and nurse reviewing my chart and wondering if weight or diet could be a contributor. Although in the end, the problems were completely unrelated to anything I was doing, that one over heard conversation gave me the motivation I needed to get my out of control sugar addiction in check. If there were going to be issues with my health, I refused to let them ever be caused by own self negligence. I got to work immediately and by the time the new year began, I was free from sugar and had dropped the extra weight it had caused. In December, I also started “reclaiming wasted time“, so I could do my favorite thing: read more. Soon, I was reading an extra 4 to 6 books a month. Yesterday I wrote about the business goals I was working on this past year, which were about defining my skills and building my personal brand.  But I also met my goal to not stop working out when I was the busiest so I was not removing my best stress reliever when I needed it the most. I set out to schedule time 5 days a week that I would not cancel on and commit to giving to myself this time to work out. I hit that one out of the park and think the habit has set in pretty well on it now and the results have been amazing. I was so calm during the holiday season that Adam was actually worried about me. These were all areas that I wanted to improve on over the past year and are now just a part of my life. I thankfully don’t have to work on these things anymore, just be mindful that I am continuing them.

So what do I feel are the areas that need to be worked on this year? The first area that needs to be worked on is that I stumbled a bit mentally with my vision and long term goals this past year. As I have been aware of this, I have been spending the last month working on not only defining these, but on shifting my mind set to work towards them. Interestingly, as I spent the past year defining what my skills are, I now see that there are a few things that overlap what I am good at and what I love to do and yet I have not been doing them. How sad is that??? Hint, hint, that is literally being worked on by my typing this! Another area that needs some help is that I am too often just going through the motions of my day. I’m getting things done, but not feeling excited to seize the day or proud of what I have done that day. Not that I am not proud, but I’m not all “best day ever, go me!!” as often as I would like to be. I think part of it is the lack of vision and with that, the lack of long terms plan, so although I’m getting through the to-do list, I’m not really sure that I’m accomplishing things for the big picture. I have already been working on this though, enough that I am now able to analyze it and put into words what I have been feeling and put into action some of what needs to be done to fix it.

So while I am not setting goals, I am already working on areas that need some help. I am making changes, I am researching (it soothes me to have information…knowledge is power and all) and learning from others who have succeeded at overcoming these things. I am slowly making changes, a little at a time until the change sticks and then I change a little more.

On the subject of of resolutions, goals and intentions…I was flipping through my old sketchbook/notebooks that I used to use jot down notes, lists, schedules and inspirations in (mostly pages of crazy long lists) and saw the 2 pages of resolutions I was making every year. I was overwhelmed just looking at it. I also never accomplished much of what was on those 2 pages. I then thought about on the flip side, I have veered to the polar opposite and had no resolutions or intentions some years, just took each day as it came along and acted accordingly. In thinking about both of these mindsets, the only thing I know is that neither of these work for me. I need a nice happy medium of having defined goals along with their manageable breakdowns but still allowing myself to have flexibility in my daily routine and life goals. If there is too much structure and too rigid of a plan, I freak out when something unexpected pops up and also say no to too much. If for example, I was not in the mind space I was in this last year (sort of floundering, not sure where I wanted to be doing), I never would have said yes to the interview with the tv channel. I would have said that it didn’t fit into my schedule and that I no interest in a future as a DIY host. Because I was trying to figure out some things, I thought it sounded like a fun project and why not at least look into it. I was incredibly surprised to realize quickly that it was something that I was naturally really good and at and I love it! They are great about working with my schedule (we basically took December off) and it has energized me in other areas. So finding the sweet spot where I am feeling proud of my work and what I am building, accomplishing growth personally and in business and having the time and energy to take on interesting projects seems to be what I’m aiming for.

What are your resolutions and intentions?

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A year in review: 2016 Highlights

Like most business owners, one of my traditions at the end of every year is to evaluate the past 12 months.  I look back on business sales, goals set/met and what I accomplished for the year. Looking back and pointing out all of the things that I did that made me happy and proud, as well as sharing it with you is something I like to do as a way to positively recap and celebrate the accomplishments instead of just being critical. I encourage you all to do the same, to make sure you take the time to recognize and celebrate the good. It’s important to not just dwell on what needs to be improved because there is always something good to be grateful for. No living in the gap!! So here is 2016 and all the wonderful things it brought!

January 2016

My friend Jennifer began the book club: Women, Words & Wine. We all had one thing in common, that we’re all friends with Jennifer. I had not met anyone else who joined before and seriously, meeting this group of women was a game changer for me. I adore every single one of them and am so happy to have met them all. Some of these ladies are what can only be explained as members of my tribe and have become incredibly important to me this year. It was an amazing way to begin the year!

February 2016

Penelope Garcia on Criminal Minds began wearing my jewelry. This was pretty epic as I started working on making this happen almost a year before. I still get excited thinking about it, she is possibly the most perfect fictional character ever to wear my jewelry.

May 2016

I had been really enjoying running and listening to podcasts while doing so for some time and loving it, when my hip started to hurt too much to do it anymore. One day I brought this up with my friend Cynde and mentioned that besides running, what I truthfully missed most of all, was kickboxing in college. After hearing this, she immediately insisted that I try out her gym and I was sold the minute I walked in the door. I look more forward to the hour a day I spend there, 5 days a week than anything else in life. It’s brought amazing focus to my work as well and as an added bonus, I look and feel great!

5 Rules To Organize Anything

July 2016

I moved my studio (again), this time hopefully for a good long while. It has everything I was looking for: lots of natural light, room to grow, built in storage, a big closet to store things out of sight, a lockable door to prevent distractions, it’s own bathroom and next to the front door of the house so people could easily come by. The only think it was lacking was lighting. Oh man, the first week I was working in it, I couldn’t see. I filled the room with task lights but they just seemed to get lost as it’s a pretty big space.  I decided that as I work so much at night that I needed a solution and a good one, fast. So I had 6 can lights installed in the ceiling, even though the electrician kept saying that 4 would be fine (we compromised and he installed a dimmer switch…that I have never used, 6 lights is perfect for me). This studio is now officially my favorite place that I’ve ever worked and I look forward to going in there every morning.

August 2016

This year began with my freaking out about spending so many years growing a small business and worrying that if I decided to do something else, that all of those years of work wouldn’t qualify me to do anything besides being a designer or maybe something in social media. This freak out made me realize that I needed to focus on more than just running a jewelry brand, that I needed to work on my personal brand as well. This summer I created social media accounts for myself (which are all linked from this blog) and started putting myself out there as a jewelry and style expert, ceo, entrepreneur, writer and not just a jewelry designer. In August, I pitched and was hired for my first freelance magazine piece and realized that I did after all have some marketable skills. I hope to do more freelance writing this year, I really enjoy it and it’s pretty cool to see my name in a magazine for something other than as a jewelry designer!

August 2016

I have been actively avoiding shows and pop ups for awhile, but I forced myself out of my comfort zone and did a pop up at West Elm to debut the FW16 Collection at the end of August. I invited my friend Kelly along to debut her new bag line, Festival Co. as well. I’m glad I did it, but I will probably continue to not not do many of these this year.

October 2016

An unexpected honor came this fall in an invitation to be the keynote speaker at an event for the National MS Society. It’s an organization incredibly dear to my heart and I enjoyed having the chance to speak at their event. It was my first keynote and true to all of my public speaking, I prepared nothing. I just got up there and talked and talked. That is actually the second skill I realized I had this year. So much personal growth happening!

November 2016

This fall, a very large and very cool opportunity presented itself. LC TV, a jewelry shopping channel that is based here in Austin, started looking for a jewelry DIY Expert for their new LC DIY program. I was recommended for the job and after about 2 minutes of being interviewed, was offered the position. I spent the fall working with a team at LC TV creating the program and designing the jewelry kits. We started filming the video tutorials and launched both the website and the live show of which I am the guest host, in November. I’m still shocked by what a natural I am at being on live tv and shooting instructional video. I however am not good at doing anything remotely scripted. Stick a camera in my face and I’m great, ask me to read something or say something that are not my words and I pretty much am a deer caught in headlights. It’s a good thing that I’ll never be expected to follow a script! This will most likely be a pretty constant part of my life this next year and is a side gig I never thought of doing, but once I did it, I really enjoy it.

Other notable things this year that I was pretty of were beginning a partnership with the company Gwynnie Bee, having the best Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend ever and working with some amazing bloggers whom I loved seeing style my jewelry.

Now onto 2017…I wonder what this year will bring?

 

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