2015 Goals Check-in.

 

I figured it would be a good time to check in with myself and the goals that I set for the new year.  To be honest I totally forgot about most of these.  Things have just been lately, so I'm actually pretty thrilled to revisit this list.

1. Continue to grow Milo and Molly locally and online.  This has been slow growth so far on the Internet front.  I've been doing a lot of work with a local market, which is super interesting and I'm learning a lot about running a market, but then I don't have a ton of time to get actual products online.  I'm hoping to have a good stretch of time in the summer to get the Internets realigned.  Locally, my goods are in three shops with the possibility of two more, so I'm excited about that.  It's slow progress but I'm happy to be getting something done.

2. Return to the blog.  Well, we all know it's been hit or miss lately.  Sometimes I feel like I have a string of ideas and then sometimes there's nothing and I can't stretch my brain to write.  I'm okay with it for now, and I'm happy to know that you are still out there reading.  You can often find me over on the Nutmeg Collective's blog, where our weekly editorial calendar keeps me more in check.

3. Declutter.  Still working on this.  The cold, cold, cold, long winter got me kind of hermit-like, but I've got a pile going of things to move on their way and will slowly be doing that as the weather gets warmer.  I've also started thinking about the spring cleaning that really needs to happen so I'm hoping that will put me in an even better organizing mood.  I would just love to be able to have the windows open when that happens, but guess what?  Snow showers predicted for the morning yet again.

4. Exercise.  I am finally working on this.  The 20-lb. surprise has gotten me in gear, and while I'm still not on a solid routine, I have been able to carve out a slot in the day where I can get down on the elliptical and get at least 20 minutes in, and I think it's helping.  When it finally decides to get a little warmer, I'm hoping to get Casey out for walks, which will be good for both of us.  Plus, I do feel better once I've done it- it's just the doing it part that's kind of lousy.

5. Meal planning and Making My Own.  I kind of forgot that I wanted to work on this, but I have to tell you, part of helping myself get back on track when the schedule goes off the rails is to know what we're going to have for dinner.  If I know ahead of time, I start to make it earlier, giving me time to do said exercise after dinner, etc. etc.

6. Random Acts of Kindness. I actually started off really well with this- I was doing small things here and there and it felt good to do something randomly nice, but again with all my little bits of time being eaten up and becoming a hermit, I seem to have just put this out of my mind.  I'm happy to revisit it now that I'm looking at it and try to get back on the kindness train.

7. Make Things for Us.  Not a thing has been made for the kids since I wrote this.  My goal was to use some of the fabric I've bought for them and to actually make things I've promised them, so I really need to get on this.  My friend Kaci from tinymack has inspired me to try and make Greta a dress of some sort.

So there you have it.  It's amazing how much weather and other things going on can affect so much of your life when you put it out on paper like that.  Goals and objectives that were fresh in my mind at the start of the year went so badly off the rails so quickly!  I never feel pressure with goals I make, but they are obviously something important to me so I need to pay them some attention.  I'm going to add to my list, just to make myself crazier:

8. Plant a Garden.  This is always something we do to some extent.  I usually have pots of tomatoes, but I'd like to get the kids involved in planting peapods, cucumbers, carrots, and things like that.  We have the seeds and starter pots, so I'm hoping to get going on that when they're off of school this Friday.

9. Learn and Use Hootsuite.  Between Etsy, blog, and Nutmeg Collective work, I'd like to get myself organized to help promote myself better.  If anyone knows of a good tutorial post on it, please send it my way!

Finally, my overarching theme of the year is Intention - am I actively making choices throughout my day or am I being passive and letting things happen?  So far it's been both.  I think things had gotten to a sliding point, but I realized it and am now intentionally getting back on track.  It's a continual balancing act.

How has the first quarter of your year been?  Did you set goals, and if so, how are you doing on them?  I always love to root for people who are accomplishing things that are important to them.

Catalog Challenge: IKEA.

It's time for another round of the Catalog Challenge!  My friend Paige from Little Nostalgia and I are taking one catalog each month and shopping it exclusively to create a different room each month.  For March we picked Big Blue: IKEA.  Having shopped Pottery Barn and West Elm previously, we decided to go for a more budget-conscious choice, and since we both love IKEA, we decided to take on a bedroom:

For me, this one was pretty easy.  I have been crushing on that Hemnes bed set since my very first trip to IKEA.  Greta has their largest sized dresser in her room even, so I know it holds a lot and it's pretty sturdy.  I stuck with my general theme of soft neutrals, but something drew me to that rug!  I love the contrast of the cream with the red-orange rings.  I wanted to continue that color so I picked the butterfly prints, which are both beautiful and interesting.  I love IKEA's down comforters, but I have trouble with the patterns of their duvet covers (just a tad too much for me) so I picked this lovely bedspread set and figured I could pop some color in with the throw pillows.  I have always wanted a Poang chair, so that was a no-brainer as well, and I love how you can mix and match your choice of woods and cushions. I could probably have added a ton more stuff as far as little tchotchke decorations go- vases and frames and bowls and baskets because I love little stuff like that, and what they have is cute and affordable.

Now, let's talk prices!  The whole room above costs $985!  Say what??  A brand new room for under a grand- it's amazing.  Now, this does not include the mattress, sheets, pillows for your head, or frames for the pictures, but those are all pretty reasonable at IKEA, too, so the cost wouldn't even be that much more.  It's crazy affordable for someone working on a small budget or someone just starting out an furnishing an apartment.  Though really, I would take this room in a heartbeat.

What's your favorite part of this room?  Are you an IKEA fan, or do you think they're too cheap?  Anyone working on redoing a bedroom?

Make sure to hop on over to Little Nostalgia and check out Paige's room!

Random Kitchen Post.

I was going through my draft posts to see if I could finish something I had started and I came across this photo in a blank post:


I have no idea what my purpose was in saving it (other than that it's gorgeous, hello) but now that I found it, let's just spend a minute admiring this kitchen in all its serene beauty.  First, the light, which is amazing in itself.  I love the windows up in the dormers, and while I am not a huge fan of rounded windows, using that as part of a window wall brings in so much sunshine.  Then there's the colors, which are so fresh and modern and soothing.  Plus, check out the wood slat ceiling:

http://athomearkansas.com/article/understated-elegance

How amazing is that detail??  This shot from the other side shows off the appliances- let's drool over that stove, shall we?- and all of that beautiful cabinetry.  I also love the bookshelf in the side of the island- the spines bring a little pop of color to the room.  The whole space makes me happy.  I'd like to just sit in there on a sunny spring day with a cup of tea and just hang out all afternoon.

What's your favorite part of this room?  How would you spend your time in it?

Stop the Email: 7 Things to Consider Before Pushing "Send".


E-mail is everywhere.  It's on your computer, your tablet, and your phone.  You are constantly connected to it, able to zip off a message to anyone at anytime.  Under certain circumstances, this is totally awesome- things can get accomplished quickly and for those of us who aren't so fond of talking on the telephone, it gives us a chance to think of a response without being put on the spot.

BUT.

E-mail can also be a huge time suck.  Suddenly there is a message you weren't expecting and it is now demanding your attention.  It actually takes your focus off of what you should be doing.  I've realized this is part of my scheduling problem as well.  I'll set an agenda for the day and boom!  Someone takes that away from me with a message that have to then respond to- if not immediately then at some point- thoughtfully and with attention.

I'm reading this awesome book called Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck by Amy Alkon.  It's all about social faux pas and how to deal with them and be a more considerate person.  In it she says, " 'Give a hoot!- Don't pollute."  This isn't to say you shouldn't e-mail.  It is sometimes the best way to get a particular message across.  Just recognize that every e-mail you send eats up a tiny bit of the recipient's life, and combined with all the other e-mail they get, the life-eating can add up."  She then goes on to give some good suggestions for better e-mailing, like remembering to blind carbon copy (bcc) when e-mailing a whole group so you don't blast private e-mail addresses to everyone- a personal pet peeve of mine.  I would like to make my own list, though, based on what I deal with most days.

1. Don't send an e-mail asking a question you can (and should) google first.

As a maker, I get a lot of e-mail and Etsy convos asking about how to do something/where to find something/what something means.  Do you know how I learned the answer to 90% of that stuff?  I googled it or headed to the Etsy help section and kept reading until I found what I was looking for.  Then I'd head to Pinterest to see if anyone wrote a good post on it.  I may ask a friend for an answer if I can't find what I'm looking for, but it would be a good friend I know well and who I know probably won't mind the interruption.  If you are not on e-mail speed dial with someone, see if you can solve the problem yourself first with some research.

2. Don't send an e-mail asking a question you can look back at old e-mails and find the answer to.

If you've already received information with a date, time, suggestion, website, link, etc. in a previous e-mail, search back through that e-mail to find the answer before asking someone again.  If the previous e-mail is lost and gone forever, try researching first: is the event posted somewhere else online?  Did the link go into your browser history?  Can you search for it online?  Try any and all before asking a question you've already been given the answer to.

3. Don't send e-mails asking for advice/product/suggestions if you don't know the person.

E-mailing random people whom you don't know, even if they are super knowledgeable about a particular topic, is not a great idea.  Also known as a "cold call", this is when someone just suddenly pops up looking for information as if you have all the time in the world to chat, or looking for free product for their site.  When you do this, you are taking someone's time to reply back- always.  If you know someone already, even a little bit, it's more acceptable- especially if you preface it with, "I know you're busy, but when you have a minute...", but if you are not already on someone's radar, then you are chipping away at someone's job or other tasks they need to get done.

4. Beating a dead conversation.

If you have been e-mailing with someone and their responses become clipped, non-committal, or passive, they are done talking to you.  Don't continue to e-mail them and be a drag on their time.  Most people are way too polite to say, "I don't have the time or energy to talk to you anymore," or "I don't want to help you with this," so they will instead start sending more vague, distant messages back.  If this starts to happen, realize you are getting the brush-off and that it's time to let it go and move on.

5. Asking the same question over and over again.

Someone has asked you a question.  You have taken the time to reply and you send it off, certain that what you said was clear and helpful.  Then hours, days, weeks later, you get an e-mail from the same person asking the same question, as if you never answered them back, or they ask in a way that shows they did not comprehend what you've said at all.  Please, if you have sent someone an e-mail and they've answered you, go back and read that.  If you don't understand what they've said, then say that.  But please don't force someone to re-write their whole (time-consuming) e-mail because you didn't comprehend it the first time and didn't tell them that.

6. Sending a rude/angry/mean-spirited e-mail.

Emotionally-charged e-mails are some of the worst and hardest to deal with.  They are like a time bomb in your inbox.  You open a seemingly innocuous message and you are then blasted with hate, confrontation, and all the things you did wrong.  If the person you are writing to has any kind of a soul, this message will directly affect them and worm its way into their brain and pretty much ruin their entire day until the issue gets settled.  When an e-mail of this nature comes in, it takes over your thoughts and you have to process it and look at it from all angles and craft a careful response.  It's draining.  If you are seriously peeved at someone for something, wait awhile before you e-mail them.  Then wait some more.  Then ask yourself if what your issue is is big enough and important enough to ruin someone's day and sink their schedule.  It's an ego check for sure, but it's also considerate.  If you do still need to air your grievances, wait at least a day to write it, until you've settled down and can write a little more calmly.

7. Consider how busy the person is you are about to message.

Does the person you're dealing with have a lot going on?  Deadlines to meet, kids to deal with, a busy holiday season, a special event going on, a vacation coming up?  If you're e-mailing someone who is generally really busy, make sure what you're writing about is really important.  Are you offering them a great opportunity?  Awesome- send away.  Are you asking them if they think your website looks nice?  Don't send, unless you are paying them to design the site.  There is a time and a place for all e-mails but if it's a comment that doesn't need to be sent right then, consider just waiting to talk about it in person.

All of these types of e-mails add up over time, and for some reason, they have a tendency to come in bunches.  If you are overwhelmed with your inbox, you may try and set aside some time to read and reply to messages when they won't derail your day.

How do you deal with your inbox?  Have you run into any of these issues, or do you have others that totally wear you out?

The Scale.


Let's let this be confession and revelation week, shall we?

It's been a long cold winter.  A long, cold winter.  I will now admit to taking on bad habits that I never wanted to have, like wearing leggings around the house all day.  Leggings.  You know how I feel about leggings and I did it anyway.  (side note: A lot of this particular behavior stems from the fact that it's been really super cold and it was just easier to stay in the warmed up clothes I already had on than to change into new, cold clothes.  But I digress.)  And apparently it was a hungry winter.

Around the end of January I started to feel as though things like thighs were no longer in their standard proportion.  I decided I needed to start exercising- for several reasons- but mainly I just didn't like how I felt.  Then February and early March happened and there were holidays and occasions and business trips and other things that threw off the schedule which also threw off the eating as well as the exercising.  Now that I think back on it, there were a lot of baked goods in a short span of time.  While I don't tend to overeat, I do have a weakness for sweet carbs, and there was a big string of them.

Over the weekend I put on a pair of pants that I hadn't worn in awhile and to my horror, I couldn't get them fastened.  And more to my horror was my husband caught this moment of me struggling with the button.  Then he asked if I had gained weight- not in a mean-nasty way but just matter-of-factly asking, and I just kind of shook my head vaguely and ignored him.  And then I went to exercise.

Tonight I decided to step on the scale and face the number, just so I knew what I was in for.  Somehow the number was 20 pounds higher than where I usually am.  That makes me super frustrated with myself that I let things get out of whack like that.  The number itself isn't important, but it is a true gauge of where I should be and where I am.  I know there is probably someone reading this that thinks I shouldn't have an idea of where I "should" be and that any size is just fine, and I have no problem with that, but my pants don't fit and I don't want to buy bigger ones.  I'm not okay with that.  I'm also not a big person and 20 pounds is a lot of me and I don't like where it's decided to settle.

So along with trying to finagle a better schedule for myself, let's fit some steady exercise into the mix, plus drop the donuts and drink more water.  I've just been suddenly feeling like things have just gone way off track in so many areas and I need to actively attend to fixing those things to make sure it's all working better.  This is where I blame the leggings- they're too damn forgiving.

On the positive side, thank you all for the comments yesterday.  I'm both glad I'm not the only one and sorry that I can't help give you all more time in your day.  Anyone else also feeling squidgy, too?  Are you also looking at the wrong number on the scale?  It was a hard winter, right?

Change the Plan.


I hate the term "busy" when people use it as an excuse for not getting something done that they're supposed to.  It's usually a good sign that whatever they are too busy to do is of less importance to them than whatever they were doing.  But I have to say it: I have been busy.  The problem is, I can't really tell you what has been taking up my time that overrides things that I should also be attending to, like this blog.  There are days that just fly by and I have gotten nothing accomplished by the end of it other than feeding the children constantly and washing the dishes over and over again.  I have so many days where there are loads of small gaps of time- 20 minutes in between one school drop off and another, for example- where I'm not able to actually get anything accomplished that requires a good chunk of time or a little peace and quiet, so I spend a lot of time drifting around the house, killing time.

Gus was on break this past week and I got way less done than I had planned to do, which was minimal to start with.  I didn't set foot in my office all week other than to relocate things that belonged in there like receipts, or the new thread I purchased.  The week before that was my birthday and we also had a string of company, and then Greta had an incident where she knocked a fresh cup of restaurant-temperature hot tea over and scalded her arm.  She's fine and that actually looks way better than it did, but it was one of those unexpected things that just happens to knock a whole day out of whack, and those kinds of things seem to be happening a lot lately.


On top of it, I am comparing what I am doing and managing to get done to what others are.  My social media feeds are full of people starting new projects, getting major tasks accomplished, producing new lines of goods, getting stuff listed, and making big sales.  I feel like I am falling farther and farther behind with the ideas that I have in my head as compared to the time and energy that I have to get them done.  It makes me irritated and somewhat envious, but not of the actual "stuff", just the consistency with which others are able to work.

Then I have to remember that a lot of the people I follow are years (and years) younger than me, or just at a totally different stage of life.  A lot of them don't have kids, and therefore have more interrupted time, perhaps, to work on things.  I am not unhappy, in the general sense of things- by a long shot, but I do wish I had more time in the day, just in general.  I want to put the ideas in my head into motion and see them come to life.  I want to cross some of the major things off of my endless list- the things that just get pushed to the bottom because there isn't sufficient time to work on them properly.  I am not wishing time away and if you want to tell me I'll miss these years when they're gone, you don't have to because I already know it.  But if someone could just figure out how to add, like, four more hours to each day, that would be pretty awesome.

My plan now is to try and change up the plan, in order to give me a little more time each day to get something done, and hopefully earlier than 10 o'clock at night, which is when I'm writing this- a post that has been hanging out in my brain for weeks.  I need to realign what tasks are getting done when the kids are home versus when they're both at school, like not reorganizing the medicine cabinet when I'm home alone but instead maybe, you know, making something.  Time scheduling is an ever-evolving process around here, but one of these days I hope to get it figured out.

How have you all been lately?  What's new in your life?  I'd love to know that there are still people hanging out in here and I hope to find myself popping in more, too.