Why do I love the blogs I do?

As part of my journey to be inspired, I’m enrolled in an e-course, called Flying Lessons: Tips and Tricks to Help Your Creative Biz Soar, by Kelly Rae Roberts. Now, I know this is not exactly what I had on my 14 week challenge, but I think it will actually lead me to a lot of stuff on that list.

Every day, she has a new lesson and the lesson I am currently on is Blogging (an overview). While I have been blogging for a little over a year now, my blogs still need A LOT of work. Every time I find a new blog, I try to pin it (mind you, I just started doing this so my list is a little low and I need to add some blogs). But I thought I would also make a list of the blogs I love and why. I continue to go back to these blogs when I lose focus, or just need some helpful distraction.

So, here’s my list. These blogs are AMAZING if you are into crafting/art/etc. Please feel free to leave links to your blogs or any blogs you love!

Kelly Rae Roberts: I did not find out about her blog until I saw one of my friends comment on something on Facebook that led to her. As someone who wants to design websites, I fell in love. This was right up my ally. The colors felt warm and welcoming. Her pictures were honest and I could assume that they were true stills of her life. Most of all, it felt like we could be friends. She didn’t feel like one of those bloggers who think they are above everybody because they have the coolest blog ever. She is super positive and she writes….like me. Most of all, she has a book out, which is my dream in life.

Going Home to Roost: This makes me think of the country every time I look at this blog. Her colors are also very warm and light, and just make me feel comfortable once I enter her site. Not only that, but she has everything I love. Crafts and food. I finally broke down and signed up for a $5/month membership as it comes with a lot of goodies, which are worth more than the membership! You can get discounts on her stuff, advertising, etc. And she sends you a bunch of useful stuff. You can check out the membership details here.

Indie Fixx: This website is where I got my idea for the 14 week challenge! I love her. Her blog looks a little more formal and not as warm, but it has everything my heart desires. Indie biz resources, DIY crafts, printables, and even an online magazine, another goal of mine. I love this site so much, I wrote a small review in a local publication, SN&R.

So far, these are my favorites. I have more to add and will do so when I have more time. Again, feel free to add any that you adore in a comment so I can check em out and post about them!

 

California Dreamin

So, to gain some more inspiration and information, I started an e-class on starting/maintaining your craft business with Kelly Rae Roberts.

Since it’s all online, I can do it at my own speed and take what I want from it. When I woke up this morning, I started my math homework. Frustrated, I decided to put it down for a while and go back to my craft biz class, which is WAY more fun.

I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately, and I feel fatigued ALL day long. This definitely put a little pep in my step.

First of all, she asked us to write down a few things to get the ball rolling. First, what do I want out of this? What do I hope to accomplish?

Well, I want to make my online presence known! Every time I click on a crafty website, I think “this is exactly what I want to do” So, I want to find a way to do that. As a stay-at-home pregnant girlfriend, I want to find a way to supplement my boyfriend’s income with my art and my writing. That would be perfect…if I could stay home and be happy doing what I love while helping my family, I could not ask for more. I want to be successful on my own and I want to make my family PROUD.

To make my goals known, I’m listing them below. Yes, I know. More goals to follow. But I work best when I have solid goals. Otherwise, I will end up in my rocking chair watching TV.

Short term goals: start Etsy account, go through all the stuff in my craft closet AND actually use it. Make enough money to get through each month ($1000 would be good), start screen printing, make all my food and cleaning supplies from scratch, start blogging more, get daily traffic, get more involved with graphic design

Long term goals: maintain and update Etsy account, make a living crafting, start maternity clothing line, be the best mom EVER, create a good life for me and my family, get my AA degree and start the bachelor program

Who can I talk to about my creative biz dreams? I would have to say my boyfriend. While he is totally the logical one in the relationship, he understands that I am not and he listens to me and gives me the best advice he can. He never makes me feel like I can’t do something and he fully supports me.

Who is living their dreams? Who can I look up to? Jenny Roberts Woods. I freaking love her. When I was taking a Magazine Writing class, I had to do a profile on someone. I was telling my friend Shane Davis about this and he introduced me to his neighbor, Jenny. She started her own recycled baby clothing line while pregnant with her 2nd child and she kept up with it while being a full-time stay-at-home mom.

Her kids are so creative and they all seem very happy. That’s what I want for my family, for all of us to be happy and to be doing what we love.

There is only one thing stopping me: FEAR. I have the time and resources to do what I love, I just need to get over myself and my fears and make it happen.

Finally, I wrote a letter to myself. It’s something I will seal and will look at again in 6 months. I had to catch and stop myself from writing “hopefully.” I just said “you will.” Here’s a little blurb:

“as long as you have a happy, healthy and loving family, you will go far in life and you will never have to wonder if you’re successful….because you are!”

So, if this inspires you – and hopefully it does – I urge you to do the same. What you find out may surprise you.

Best smoothie ever

I don’t remember where I got this recipe, but it has been my morning staple since I discovered it. It’s equally simple and delicious!

Now, of course the ingredients can vary, but all I add is this: cup of frozen mixed berries, 1 banana, 5 strawberries, handful of grapes, handful of blueberries, watermelon slices, pineapple, BIG ol spoonful of peanut butter, 1 cup of soy milk, some ice and DONE!
I know there are recipes that are probably much more fancy and include some better stuff, but if you’re trying to be healthy on a budget, this is the way to go.

Of course, right after I was done…I saw the oranges staring at me from the fruit bowl, totally forgot about those bad boys! Will have to add them next time, they give the smoothie a little kick!

Challenge with the 14 week challenge

So, it’s been over a week since I posted. Although I did start a new project and did practice some guitar, I totally forgot about my blog! I didn’t do a lot of the things I was challenging myself to in a week, including posting.

And then, this week….my math class has taken over my life. We have a test on Saturday and feeling ill prepared, I have spent every waking moment studying for the test. I was starting to get really pissed at my math homework from taking me away from the things I loved.

But then, I thought about it. I don’t spend EVERY waking moment on my math homework. I also spend an hour or so in the morning watching TV while I eat breakfast. Then I take a break at lunch. Then I hang out with my boyfriend when he gets home from work. And around 8 pm, I take another break to watch our shows before he goes to bed and I continue my math homework.

So, really….my time is split between TV and math. It’s time to shift my focus. Yes, it’s fall…which means all new series and new seasons of my favorite shows. But, the shows will be there later. I need to use this time to myself to focus on where I want to go with my life.

Since I like watching TV with Sam, I’m going to limit my TV watching to 8-9 pm. Then it’s back to work. After not having TV for 5 years, it’s nice to welcome it back to my home so I don’t want to completely disregard it just yet. But, no more morning/afternoon breaks. Well, at least not on my rocker. Yes, I did say rocker. It’s getting to that point.

Hopefully with this new goal in mind….I can get back on track. After all, isn’t that what matters? Not the falling off, but being able to pull yourself back up.

14 Week Challenge: Week 1/ Day 3

Learn to cook something from scratch

If you read my previous post about making pesto, you know that my pasta is my specialty. Unfortunately, aside from veggie stir fry, it’s pretty much the only thing I know how to make for dinner.

Since I recently accepted a new position as Housewife, I have decided that I might want to add a few more items to my repertoire. So, as I was eating Kraft Mac n Cheese one day, it came to me. I love baked macaroni and cheese. And I wanted to know how to make it on my own.

Seeing that my boyfriend doesn’t like the healthy version of, well, anything, I pulled out a “Joy of Cooking” cookbook my mom gave me years ago, when she had hopes of me leading a more domestic lifestyle.

After we did our grocery shopping and I got all the ingredients out, it was 8 pm. Since we normally go to bed between 9-9:30 pm, to say this would be a late dinner would be an understatement.

Like I said before, I’m used to pasta. Using one big pot and boiling pasta. Not exactly used to using a pot and pan at the same time. And the onions were supposed to be minced, but due to my time restraint and the fact that I didn’t start chopping them until WAY later than I was supposed to, the pieces were just a little (ok, very) big. After spilling the flour on floor, spreading cheddar cheese all over the counter and floor and almost melting my wooden spoon, I was finally able to get my act together.

With the dish FINALLY in the oven at 8:30, we would be eating around 9 pm. I cleaned up my mess and got in some TV before it was taste test time. If it came out inedible, I would be screwed. Luckily, I’m dating a garbage disposal who will literally eat almost everything.

We dished up our food, and when he took his first bite, he had a surprised look. “It’s actually pretty good.” I tried it and also thought I did a pretty danged good job. When I asked for his honest opinion, he gave me 4 out of 5 stars. Given my experience with cooking, that was awesome!

We ultimately decided that it could be the fact that he was about 5 minutes away from going comatose due to lack of food that made it taste so good, but he liked it. Either way, it served us dinner and him lunch and dinner for the next day.

I’ve always been scared to cook, but as it turns out, when you actually follow a recipe, it’s pretty easy. Definitely giving myself more prep time in the future, though!

14 Week Challenge: Week 1/Day 2

inspiration in my notebook

I NEED MONEY!

It looks like my Unemployment benefits may be coming to an end. I knew it was going to happen sooner or later, I guess I just wanted to keep delaying the inevitable. Now that I’ve gone over my finances and what I absolutely need to get by, I have come to the sad, hardcore realization that I need money. So today I am adding a new challenge: find some money.

I have looked into direct sales but unfortunately, they are not for me. I always end up spending more money than I make and without a car, it’s really hard to hold shows. I can do it online but I still won’t make enough.

I’ve decided to focus on looking for writing jobs where I can work from home. I have some freelance options but with a baby on the way, I need some stability. I am challenging myself to apply for 5 writing jobs per day, based on availability.

It’s also time to get on my crafting and hope to make some money off my goods. Once again, I was looking at indiefixx.com. You too can go to her indie biz page to get some insight on starting your own little business.

Today’s challenge is this:

  • Find ways to make money with the sources I already have
  • Look for at least 5 writing jobs
  • Complete my owl painting
  • Make a business plan
  • Learn some guitar
  • Oh yeah, laundry and cleaning.

Let’s see how I do, shall we?

Cecilia’s owl painting

Ok, it’s a couple hours later and the owl painting is complete! This will be the first painting to go up on Cecilia’s wall. My painting skills aren’t the best right now but luckily Cecilia will be too young to be an art critic for a while.

I finished most of my tasks I set for myself. I just need to focus on making a business plan and hopefully I can get the ball rolling tomorrow!

Right now…time for some rest. And leftover pizza.

14 week challenge: Week 1/ Day 1

Day one: Start/ finish a new art project.

A couple weeks ago, I was gifted a small canvas that belonged to Sam’s mom. A couple days ago, I started working on it.

While I love owls and want to decorate my daughter’s room in everything owl (which will ultimately make her despise owls), I’ve never been able to draw one.

This weekend, I drew owls, over and over again. And over again. When I was finally satisfied with my owl drawing abilities, I decided I would paint an owl to hang up in Cecilia’s room.

Today, I finally busted out my paint supplies and got to work. It had been a long time since I painted anything and I was excited to start. A little drowsy from my nap, I woke right up when I started painting and felt the motivation kicking into high gear. About time.
Here’s what I have so far. Tomorrow I will need to do a couple more layers of paint and do some detail work. But I’m happy with what I have at this point.

As for the challenge, I am energized to get on all my projects and my days finally feel worthwhile. I guess being lazy can pay off sometimes.

 

14 week challenge

I have noticed that in the last couple of weeks, my motivation has been at an all-time low. Every time I want to start something new, I look at my TV and decide it is way more entertaining. Before I know it, hours pass and my boyfriend is home. Aside from light cleaning, nothing I plan to do is accomplished.

On one of these lazy days, I watched “Julie and Julia,” a movie about a writer who was looking for some inspiration and found it in food writing. She channeled Julia Child and embarked on a 524 recipe in 365 days challenge, based off Child’s cookbook.

Watching this movie, I felt a push to do something like that. If I challenged myself to accomplish something, I would be more motivated to do it. Then, a lot of the stuff I planned to do would actually get done. The push finally turned into a shove when I was reading blogs and found a posting on a 52 week challenge, where the writer was to complete 52 crafts in 52 weeks.

Given that I am due in about 14 weeks, I did not want to commit to 52 weeks until I got down some kind of sleeping schedule. I hear that never does actually happen but I have high hopes. So for now, I will start a 14 week challenge, that will consist not only of crafts but also things I need to do to get ready for Cecilia’s arrival and personal challenges.

I’m going to post my list of activities to complete online as a source of motivation. Then, I will post updates through completion. I am not going in any specific order, it’s more based on what I have available to me at the time. Aside from any family emergencies (they have been frequent lately), if I don’t finish a challenge in the allotted time, I am banning myself from the television until I do.

So here we go:

1. learn how to make 14 new meals, from scratch (one per week)
2. prepare Cecilia’s room
3. start and finish 14 new art projects (one per week)
4. learn 14 new songs on the guitar (one per week)
5. go through clothes and donate what i don’t want
6. start a new yoga routine
7. make 14 new blog posts (one per week)
8. find a stay-at home job
9. start an etsy account
10. start a garden
11. learn to sew…by myself. Without my mom’s help
12. start christmas gifts
13. screenprint something
14. attend a new group, class

Ok, now that I have posted it online, it’s officially official. Time to get to work!

i can do it by myself…right?

Growing up, I had the dream life. I didn’t really have chores and because my mom insisted to do all the baking and cooking by herself, I wasn’t trained in the kitchen. While this worked out great in my childhood, it did not have the same effect in my adulthood.

When I moved in with my first boyfriend, he took over all of the cooking (ie…microwaving) and since we were both newbies at being on our own, we got all the fast food imaginable.

After that, I moved in with my best friend who loved to cook. So much so, she would make me my own dinner if I wanted something different than her.

The first time I was forced to cook was the first day of one of my periods. I called my mom and begged her for a grilled cheese. After 27 years of cooking for me, she had enough. She came to my house armored with all the ingredients I would need to make it my own. In case it wasn’t clear before, I’m still spoiled.

For the next month, I started a pretty serious, committed relationship with the grilled cheese sandwich. My cooking career was focused solely on making them. When I finally mastered the art of the perfect grill, I started adding special ingredients to spice it up: avocados, bell peppers, purple onions. As a vegetarian, I basically added whatever vegetable and spice I had available.

It was time to move again, and this time, I would not be living with roommates but by myself. I didn’t have money to go out and get food every time I wanted it, not with all the beer I had to purchase. So I finally broke down and went grocery shopping, all on my own.

Two of my previous roommates had a pretty nasty breakup and didn’t want to stick around for cleaning out the old place (mental note: don’t live with couples). Luckily for me, I ended up with the Magic Bullet and several pots and pans. I figured this would be the perfect time to learn how to cook.

It’s hard to be a fan of pesto when you’re broke. So, I was forced to make my own. With the magic bullet and a cookbook, I learned how to make it with ease and soon enough, I was making pesto grilled cheeses.

lil bastard. aka…food processor

Fast forward a couple years, when I found out I was going to be a mom on a budget. I decided it was time to invest in a real food processor since I would be making a lot of my own food. Then I could make all the pesto my heart would desire.

The only issue, I didn’t know how to use it. I read the instruction manual from front to back cover to figure it out. I was trying to make my boyfriend dinner for when he got home from work but couldn’t make the pesto without his help. He naturally got the processor to work in a little over 30 seconds and the pesto was ready in no time. Whatever.

Recently, I purchased some basil and decided to make some more pesto. It was my personal goal to make that processor my bitch. I followed the instructions and did everything I was supposed to.

The basil after I raped it for food. You will notice the “modern” garden since it’s too damn hot on our small patio to keep it outside

Except for putting the blade in.

After removing the ingredients to make sure the blade fit properly, I tried again. Still didn’t work. Several tries later, I felt the tears building up (please remember, I’m pregnant) and verbally threatened the processor to work for me or else it would get thrown out the window.

Taking a break, I came back to where I left off and realized I didn’t have it positioned correctly. So the food processor wasn’t being a dick, it was my fault. I finally got it on right and made my precious pesto by myself…without anyone’s help.

Dinner is FINALLY effin served!

That first bite of pasta has never tasted so sweet.