Tag Archives: inspiration

Rolling Resolutions: Personal, Creative, and Professional Goals

I hate New Year’s resolutions.

Basically, I hate anything that sets me up for disappointment. And setting a list of goals to accomplish in the new year always sets me up for disappointment.

Sure, I’ll start off great. But then life gets in the way, and by December, instead of looking at everything the year has brought me and everything I have accomplished… all I can see are those unchecked items on my list.

So instead, I revise my ongoing list of goals to reflect what I would like to accomplish moving forward. If it gets done in 2014, great. If I even start it this year, wonderful. Sometimes, all I have to do is mull one of the items over sometime in the course of the year. Other times, circumstances change so that I can’t, or no longer need or want to, accomplish one or more of the items on the list.

And it makes for a nice little blog post at the beginning of the year.

There is one thing I like about tying these goals to a new year: The holidays often take precedence over any type of personal or career development I have in mind. Eating habits worsen. Exercise is laughable. So I can see the benefits of “starting fresh.” But I’m still not going to make myself finish an entire to-do list in one year.

So what’s on this “All-Year Resolutions” list?

Family

Family photos

1. Be more present. One of the things I most regret about this past year, and probably all years, is not being present — but especially because this year brought us the greatest gift ever, our son. I do believe I have been more present, positive, and optimistic this year because of him. But there were also great swaths of time where I was too focused on meaningless details that, in the grand scheme of things, didn’t really matter, and I had no control over anyway. For instance, baby sleep.

wail

My God, how obsessed I was about baby sleep. I logged every minute he spent with eyes closed in an app, built spreadsheets to try to determine his sleep patterns for optimal nap scheduling, endlessly researched baby sleep, and generally fretted over every little thing. I worried about why he wasn’t sleeping in the crib at 3 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks, three months, four months, five. I dramatically sighed and rolled my eyes and succumbed to despair every single time he made a peep after we believed he had finally — FINALLY — fallen asleep.

The fact is, our kid has never been a stellar napper. And for a long time, he sucked at falling asleep. He was always a good nighttime sleeper — at least, he always slept appropriately for whatever age he was.

And then, at five months, when he learned to roll over, we were finally able to put him in the crib, because he could do what he couldn’t up until then: roll onto his tummy, in his favorite sleeping position, and fall asleep.

And he fell into his own natural schedule.

And sometimes he’s tired behind schedule. And sometimes he’s tired ahead of schedule.

And now we don’t really stress. Mainly because it’s become easier.

But I really wish I hadn’t spent all that time crazed over something that, for the most part, I couldn’t control.

Baby sleep, man. Shit’s nuts. Deal with it and try to stay sane.

That’s just one example, but in general, I would like to spend more time WITH my family — “with” meaning in body, mind, spirit, heart. Not half-listening to my husband, half playing Candy Crush Saga. Not too busy instagramming a great moment with my son that I miss a dozen other great moments. Not worrying about yesterday, tomorrow, and everything in between when I should be enjoying right now with my family.

Personal

1. Physical activity. The year we got married, I really upped my fitness regimen.

Okay, I started a fitness regimen. Because until then, there was nothing to up.

I’m not one of those people who thrives on the adrenaline I get from working out. I hate working out. Hate. It. But I love the results.

But we got married, and went on a honeymoon cruise, and had Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then we were TTC, then I was pregnant, then I was a busy new mom, then I was breastfeeding, then it was Thanksgiving, then Christmas… basically, a million and one excuses for letting things slide. And it’s not about looking great (though that’d be nice). But it’s about feeling great, and feeling healthy. So now that our breastfeeding relationship is nearing an end, I’d like to get back on the fitness bandwagon. Which ties in with my next personal goal…

2. Diet. Not as in, start a diet. But as in, watch my diet. As in, the things I eat.

Eat better.

Like, not having a handful (or two) of M&Ms for a mid-morning snack. Like, HAVING a mid-morning snack. Like, not eating three helpings of pie. And a bowl of ice cream. And a bag of Lemonheads.

3. Work on my book. Last year, I started writing a contemporary young adult novel. I got the first draft done, and then I took a break, and during that break, I started a side business and that has taken up the abundance of my “free time.” This year, I’d like to work on that first draft and see what happens.

Professional

1. Grow my web presence. One of my biggest goals for my side business was to start a website for Franny & Franky Designs, my new graphic design business — which I accomplished two days before the New Year. So now, in addition to having a Franny & Franky Designs storefront on Etsy, it has its own place on the web, as well. I like it.

Franny & Franky Designs website

I registered a domain with GoDaddy and used Wix.com for the hosting. I opted for Wix’s unlimited package, which doesn’t have a shopping cart. That was just fine with me — I actually thought I would do an additional storefront here, but its cart was a little limited for what I wanted to do, and the idea of keeping up a storefront on Etsy and my own site gave me a headache. So I’m just linking to my Etsy shop from there.

There are a couple of things I love about having an additional website. First, it gives me a place to showcase my custom work, which I can’t do on Etsy. It also gives me another place on the internet to work my keywords, hopefully boosting my search engine ranking over time. It’s another way for people to find me. It allows me to tell more of a story than I tell on Etsy. And… well, it’s just fun.

2. Roll out a few new product lines for Franny & Franky Designs. I’ve already rolled out a few.  I’d like to work on more. The cool thing about creativity is that action begets ideas. In other words, the more stuff I work on, the more ideas I get.

family name wix

Franny & Franky Designs Wedding state guest book alternative art print

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New York City road map heart art print at Franny & Franky Designs on Etsy

Custom Wedding City Road Map Guest Book alternative art print at Franny & Franky Designs on Etsy

Custom wedding city save the date postcard by Franny & Franky Designs on Etsy

You might notice a pattern — more wedding products. I really love the idea of many of my designs being used as wedding guest book art prints. You know, those guest book alternatives that replace the traditional guest book, where guests sign a large print that you can then frame and display in your home. I considered having one of these at our own wedding a couple of years back, but ultimately decided on a book. Now, I wish I’d had this idea back then so I could have had one of my own prints there!

At any rate, that leads me to my next goal for the business…

3. Expand my wedding business

I’ve already purchased a featured listing on mywedding.com, and we’ll see how that goes. I just wanted to start with one listing since I’m not super established yet and don’t have a huge marketing budget. It’s really a Catch-22. You need exposure to get big, but it’s hard to come by exposure when you’re just starting out. I’ve identified a few things I need to do, though, to start building this market, and I realize it’s going to come slowly since it is such a saturated market. For now, I’m reaching out to wedding planners (locally for the time being) to let them know about my products, contacting wedding bloggers and shopping sites, setting up as many free listings as possible, and working up a plan to incorporate more wedding decor content on this blog, on my Facebook page, on Twitter, etc. For example, I have a blog post planned on how to reuse wedding decor elements in your home to extend their life and give you a sweet reminder of the day.

4. Expand my business in general

I started this thing thinking, “I wonder if anybody will buy these.” Four months later, I’ve made over 100 sales, with minimal promotion. And without a business or marketing plan. So my goal this year is to develop a business plan and goals, achievements that I’ll need to reach to get closer to my goals, and steps to take to make those achievements. More on this in a later post.

You’ll notice that my professional area has more goals than family. But that’s not because the professional area is more important. It’s just because there are more actionable goals there. And, ultimately, I want to grow it to the point where I can work from home and be there for the kid’s after-school activities and whatnot.

So — what are your resolutions, goals, plans, hopes, dreams, whatever you choose to call them, for this year and beyond?

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Friday Five: Moonmen and Scary Movies

Rough week, all in all. Part because of pregnancy pain, part because of my increasingly awful mood swings. But I’m glad it’s Friday — Mister Mister and I will be celebrating our one-year wedding anniversary tomorrow with a trip to one of of favorite restaurants back when he lived in an entirely different county than me, and the site of our wedding rehearsal dinner. So without further ado, let’s erase any lingering memories of this soon-to-be-gone week with some of my favorite pins from the week.

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1. This presidential branding project

 

Meg Jannott wanted to take on a personal project as a quick design study, so she branded 44 Presidents of the United States. The result is clever and fresh — here’s just one of my favorites, for LBJ, whose election slogan was “All the Way With LBJ.” Check out the link above for the full project!

Image via Branding the Presidents of the United States

2. This photographic series of a coonhound on things — and things on her

I love a good dog photo, and this series featuring Maddie the Coonhound (subtitled “a super serious project about dogs and physics”) is tops. We get to see Maddie on a bus stop bench, a bookcase, and a rock in the Allegheny National Forest — and more importantly, see her donning a sock nose, fake ear, fried egg, and more. Mostly while looking super sleepy — or super embarrassed.

Image via Maddie the Coonhound

3. These astronomical photo prints

 

Photographer Stephen Johnson takes this little plastic moonman to places where no man has gone before — the crevasses of the earth, the surfaces of the smallest objects, giving new vision to nooks and crannies largely ignored. It’s a great study in scale and exploration — and would look awesome hanging on the wall.

Neptune 1 image via Moonman 

4. This clock

 

Seriously awesome time-keeper derived from a seriously awesome classic skit. Pure silliness.

Image via LikeCool.com

5. This reimagined horror movie poster

 

I have a thing for reimagined movie posters, and this Paranormal Activity 4 print (check out another nightmare-inducing one at that link, as well) by Kingdom of Nonsense is seriously terrifying. It reminds me of a poster for something like “The Amityville Horror,” but about 10 times creepier. Totally unsettling. Love it.

Image via Kingdom of Nonsense

 

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Friday Five: What’s With All the Fat Jokes?

Four weeks ago, after I told an older man my due date (almost five months from then), his eyes bugged out and he asked me if I was having twins.

Yesterday, with three-and-a-half months to go, a coworker told me that I was about ready to burst at any minute.

And Mister Mister doesn’t understand why any of these things bother me.

Onto happier things…

1. This DIY $18 Console Table Tutorial

This is one fetching DIY $18 table. Crafted by the blogger behind Desert Domicile, it just required about $8 worth of wood and a slab of utility shelf (plus on-hand stain, paint, nails/screws, and other tools, so mileage may vary). I love this, and will file it away in my “why I should be craftier” mental bank.

Image via Desert Domicile

2. This vintage rug 

Sold by the Nazmiyal Collection, this rug is from around 1900 — and it is GORGEOUS.

Image via the Nazmiyal Collection

3. This striped entryway

Designed by Design Manifest for a client, this foyer… I mean… stripes, ethnic rug, Malachite box, horsey lamps… and THAT MIRROR. Love.

Image by Courtney Apple Photography via Design Manifest

4. This print

This Matte Stephens print is all my favorite things bundled into one: City prints, midcentury modern design, muted colors… and, naturally, Chicago.

Image via Matte Stephens

5. This art wall

I have a thing for art walls. I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them. We may have one too many in our own home. But this one has everything I love in a room — classic chairs, rustic table, exotic rug, and tons of unique art.

Image from Elle Decor via From the Right Bank

Apologies for the brevity — I have a rip-roaring headache and an hour and 15 minutes left of work. All I want to do is go home, down my spaghettini and meatballs from last night, and watch Gossip Girl on Netflix until I pass out in a nest of pillows.

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Friday Five: Randoms on a Hot October Day

Seriously, does it seem like it should ever be 83 degrees on October 12? Florida makes me want to stab my eyes out and make ice cubes out of them.

But onto more inspiring things.

1. This list of the 100 books every English-speaking child should know

Termed the “kindergarten canon,” this list by Michael Petrelli, executive VP of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, created a list of books that must be known to every English-speaking child. Without it, they would miss myriad cultural references. I have to admit, I haven’t even heard of many of these! I must really be missing out. But since it’s important for Mister Mister and I to build up Bean’s library, since we’re both avid readers and have been since we were wee ones, this is a very good list to keep in mind.

2. This wallpaper

From Mr. Perswall’s “Expressions” collection of wallpaper, this drippy abstract print would be so stunning on an accent wall in a library, dining room, studio, bathroom… OK, really any room.

Image via Apartment Therapy

3. This sexy navy blue dining room

This is dead sexy. I may have a bit of an overdone crush on navy blue right now — seeing as how our master bedroom and reading room both boast dark blue walls and our nursery is using navy and white for an entire color scheme — but this is just so sophisticated, and the nailhead trim on the chairs and the wall is just… ugh. Love.

Image from Nuevo Estilo via Eclechic

4. These Restoration Hardware mirrors

Shut up. Just, shut up right now. These trompe l’oeil birdcage mirrors are a whopping $199 (for the small one) or $219 (for the bigger one), but are just amazing. They’re featured in Restoration Hardware’s Baby & Child collection, but I could see them anywhere, not just in a nursery or kid’s room.

5. This floor-to-ceiling gallery wall

Just a stunning a personal way to dress up those odd strips of vertical wall space in your house that typically house nothing but an odd arrangement of thermostat, light switch, and outlets. I love how they used different frames in all the same color and a consistent palette for best results. I would love to try something like this in our house, but I fear we might have too many gallery walls as it is. Is there such a thing?

So how hot is it where you are? Don’t even bother to respond if it’s cooler than 75 degrees.

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