Tag Archives: resolutions

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.

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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.

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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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January Cure: A Landing Strip

Part of my master project list for the year was better doorside organization — that side table and the space it occupies is so small, it’s hard to do anything useful or interesting with it.

So when Day 9 of Apartment Therapy’s January Cure mandated the creation — and use — of a landing strip, I let out an audible groan. Then, I pulled myself together and headed to the store on my lunch break to gather supplies for both the strip and an upcoming project.

I knew it would have to be simple, but effective. The mail will continue to be sorted and stored in the kitchen, but no more will I have to drape my purses all over the dining room chairs or suffer through another morning of “where the hell are my keys.”

A quick before…

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And now…

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The seasonally inappropriate glass-bowl-filled-with-pinecones has been stowed away, and the bird salt and pepper shakers moved back into the kitchen. I picked up a little basket in the bathroom section of Target for keys, change, and other little items, and a $3 hook for my purse.

And I threw in a new lampshade for good measure, because the old one was looking pretty gross after 5+ years.

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It cost under $20, didn’t require a whole lot of reorganization and energy, and I think makes the space look way better and more breathable.

If you were tasked with creating a landing strip in your own home, what would you do?

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January Cure: Week 2

So far, while participating in the Apartment Therapy January Cure, I’ve made a list of projects to tackle throughout the year, and identified our master bedroom closet as a major area that requires immediate improvement.

Where are we now?

Day 6: Choose a piece of artwork and get going on framing it

Since “find a home for the artwork piling up in our reading room” was on my master list of projects, this is perfect. Early last year, we bought a cool black-and-white photograph print of the NYC skyline pre-9/11, which really resonated with Mister Mister since he’s from Long Island. I had picked out a frame we already had, an antique gold number I bought long ago at a local antique shop. But it needed to be spray-painted white, because the gold didn’t really work with the photograph.

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That frame and print have seriously sat in the reading room since last June, only because I didn’t feel comfortable spray-painting while pregnant, and Mister Mister just never got around to doing it like I’d asked. Grr. So I plan to head over to Target this month and just buy a simple white frame with a mat for it, and use it to spruce up our living room TV wall.

Day 7: Get your get-together together — date, guests, invites

Here’s where they tell you to plan a party — big or small — to celebrate your successful completion of the cure. It’s supposed to be sometime in early February — right around when I’m to give birth. So our celebration will be me and Mister Mister watching Lifetime Move Network on the couch, possibly with a baby to help us celebrate. Or maybe even a hospital stay.

Day 8: Weekend chores: flowers, kitchen cleaning, and make yourself a meal

OK, so I skipped the flowers again this week.

But the kitchen-cleaning! That was the only cleaning goal I allowed myself for this weekend (I came home Friday to find that Mister Mister had done our floors, so yay!). After downing an entire curry platter at my favorite British pub on Saturday afternoon — naan, rice, delicious tikha masala sauce — I found myself with a slightly elevated blood sugar, so I had to work it off. I put on some classic rock and tackled the kitchen.

Over the next two hours, I cleaned the countertops, the inside and outside of every surface (including the utensil caddy), drawers and cabinets that needed it, the top of the fridge, the inside of the microwave, the sinks, and the floor. I ran the dishwasher and tossed out old food. The only thing I didn’t do was the fridge, because it was manageable and, honestly, I was exhausted and in some pain and needed a nap.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE.

The pantry area in particular had been on my master list of projects, with food spilling out onto the counter between the upper and lower food cabinets, and just tons of disorganization.

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And now?

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So much better, easier to find and access things, and even a better home for the baking pans, which were previously tucked away in the top shelf of the bottom food cabinet, leaving it almost impossible to retrieve them (which we frequently had to).

I moved some things over to the “baking” cabinet, and cleaned that one out too so it’s more manageable. And the “tea and coffee” cabinet got a small overhaul and breathes much easier.

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I used some of the glass jars I’d accumulated to store rice, flour, etc. so that I don’t feel like I’m just hoarding those things.

The junk drawer was previously stuffed full of paperwork, most of which we didn’t need, the rest of which has been relocated to the office. I threw a bunch of stuff out and moved the rest to the tool box.

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Our bakeware cabinet could still use some work, but I want to buy some hardware for that so everything is easier to access, so I left it alone for now.

Everything sparkles! And I find myself making an extra effort to keep things clean as I go, now. I even cleaned out the little crumb-catcher trays at the bottom of the toaster.

As for our meal? I made Scalini’s famous baby-inducing eggplant parmigiana — the legend goes that the nearly 300 woman who have ordered this meal from the Cobb County, GA Italian restaurant have given birth within the past 48 hours. Mister Mister was a little miffed that I would want the baby to come ALREADY, seeing as how I’m only 37 weeks, but it’s all in fun. Do I actually believe that eggplant parmigiana will cause me to pop a baby out before my body — and the baby — is ready? No. Did I want some delicious eggplant parmigiana? Yes. I won on that last count. It was also fairly timely because we’d had had some signs of progress that had us on high-alert baby watch this weekend.

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January Cure: A Plan for the Month (and Some Failures)

So I talked about how I’m (probably foolishly) participating in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure. And even if I don’t accomplish everything everyday, it makes me feel better trying to get there, because I love making lists and goals almost as much as I love ignoring and breaking them.

Day 2: Set up your outbox

This is supposed to be an area of your house that is allowed to get messy, that will serve as a resting place for items you’re undecided on. They’re to spend one week there before you either keep them, repurpose them, toss them, sell them, or donate them.

This was easy: Our office is our outbox. Thing is, the things have been there longer than a week, even though it’s already been decided that they’re destined for Goodwill.

Days 3-5: Weekend chores — flowers, floors, green cleaners & outbox

Buy fresh flowers for the house, buy and use green cleaners, deep clean your floors, and put something in your outbox. Total fail here: No flowers, no cleaning, no cleaner purchase, no item in outbox.

Day 4: Get a fresh perspective in just 10 minutes.

You’re supposed to sit in a “problematic” area of your house for at least 10 minutes and reflect on it. Well… I didn’t, but I know that the master bedroom is the most problematic for me.

Day 5: Select one project from your list to complete this month.

The criteria are:

  • Can be completed this month, in a few hours.
  • Will make a noticeable difference in either how you use your home, how something works, or how things work.
  • A project you’ll be proud to share.

That project? The master bedroom closet. Including shopping, it shouldn’t take more than two or three hours, it will make our closet way more functional and easy to look at, and I’m super excited to show you the finished result.

It’s a shoe-in (pun totally intended) because its current state, a mere nine months after moving in, is depressing.

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Shoes on the floor…

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purses piled haphazardly…

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clothes all over that I never wear/can’t fit into/don’t even like.

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And don’t even get me started on Mister Mister’s half of the closet.

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So I did some quick brainstorming and made a Pinterest board of supplies that can help me with this project. Because a project isn’t a  project without some shopping.

The supplies

basket ladder

I saw this idea on Houzz to use hanging metal baskets to organize clutches, scarves, and other small closet items — so I found this beauty on The Container Store – the Silver Mesh Basket Ladder. This will work well on the inside strip of wall next to the closet door.

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Three of these nice, cheap oil-rubbed bronze hooks for the wall to the right of the closet door, for hanging my purses.

over the door hook

Two of these over-the-door hooks — one for each closet door — for hanging robes, hats, bras, and other items that usually just end up on a doorknob or (more typically) the floor.

shoe

I had this awesome idea to repurpose a bookcase from our old house into our closet and use it for shoes. But the shelves are too widely spaced to really function well as a shoe rack (it leaves too much blank space that could be used for storing shoes), and we lost a peg for the middle shelf so it will fall straight off if you remove the wrong pair of shoes. It’s just not functional and takes up too much space. And it obviously doesn’t work bceause we still have shoes piled everywhere Three of these shoe organizers will work much better and take up less space.

pant rack

Since I’m getting rid of the bookshelf, I’ll need a better place to store jeans and pants (and not the upper shelf, which I’ve already determined isn’t the best location for pieces I access often. I’m short). This swinging-arm pant rack (which comes in a two-pack) should work nicely.

toteHot, right? OK, so the Rubbermaid Roughneck Storage Tote isn’t the most attractive thing in the world, but we’ll need a place to put sweaters and other items that may transition back into the wardrobe — or out of our house.

belt hangerI’m not totally sure we need this horizontal tie and belt hanger, but I’m leaning toward yes, because the current belt rack isn’t super functional. I think this would work much better.

And the best part is, if we hold off on the basket ladder, we can do this whole thing for under $100.

If you could pick one project in your house to tackle this month, what would it be?

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January Cure: No Cowbell, Just Overachievement

What do normal women do when they’re nine months pregnant and so uncomfortable they cry and complain anytime they have to move even two steps, and get short-winded and sweaty and dizzy just cooking a simple dinner? If you answered “Take on a 30-day challenge to organize their home and home-related projects,” then you are wrong — but it’s apparently totally what I do.

Apartment Therapy has brought back their January Cure this year, and I obviously thought, “Hey! Perfect timing!” And let me explain: It’s because I’m nesting.

I’ve made several goals this year — take a photo every day, read 52 books, journal every night, read a meditation every morning — and really, though Mister Mister thinks I’m fairly insane on all counts, here’s my retort:

  1. It doesn’t have to be a good photo.
  2. If I only read 50 books, or 40, or 30, or 20, or 10, it’s still more than I read last year. I just want to read more (and I was doing great until I chose the 608-page tome about THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF cancer, “The Emperor of All Maladies” as my second book of the year).
  3. I bought the “One Line a Day” five-year journal and that TOTALLY COUNTS.
  4. I have no retort on the meditation, because I haven’t cracked open my meditation book at all, despite putting it on my nightstand and planning to read each day’s entry instead of going back to sleep when I hit snooze.

And my justification for participating in the January Cure at this point in time? If I accomplish even a fraction of what it wants me to do, I’m considering myself successful.

Which also rolls into my everyday resolution, which is to be easier on myself.

We’re 10 days into the cure (which started on Jan. 2), so what have I done so far?

Day 1: Make a list of projects

All you had to do was make a list of things that bug you about each room in your house. Then, highlight no more than three to four projects per room — the ones that will make the BIGGEST difference in the look and feel of that room. These are not projects to complete this month, but rather a rough to-do list for the year.

I love a good list, so here’s mine. I took all these before pictures with no regard for lighting, styling, or good blog photography in general. Partly because I was lazy, partly because what’s a before if you can’t see all the ugliness in all its glory, and partly so my afters will look super awesome.

  • Choose new exterior house color and get it repainted. Right now, it’s a gross, repainted-but-still-peeling peach color with pink underneath, and I’m dreaming of a stony dark greige.

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  • Make a plan for landscaping front and back yards. When we first moved in, I’d contacted a landscaping consultant who could look at our property and suggest plants and a plan for about $75/hour. We may not get to finished this year, but I’d like to at least start, because our property is currently 100% bare.
  • Repaint front door. This will likely be part of 1.
  • Spruce up living room wall with TV on it. We need more artwork on this wall. It’s just pathetic.

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  • Buy new white or decorative outlet and light switch covers for the living room. Right now they’re beige, and that’s gross.
  • Buy side table and lamp for other side of couch. I may revise this because I’m thinking instead of doing a wall-mounted mail station/landing strip on the area where the current side table is, in which case I’d just move the current side table/lamp to the other side of the couch.

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Wall-mounted mail station/hooks/umbrella stand here?

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Or a new side table/table lamp for this side (where the floor lamp currently is)?

Dream “entryway” mailstation/landing strip:

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  • Buy new lampshade and/or lamp. I’m fairly tired of the lamp, but the lampshade is dingy and hairy and just pretty gross, so at the least, we need a new one.
  • Patch up paint on ceiling and baseboards. We painted this room ourselves. Enough said. I have the paint, I just need the time/energy.
  • Fix loose kitchen faucet. This drives us nuts. It was not grouted to the counter so it swings in its socket every time we move it from basin to basin, or even turn it on. We need somebody with skills to look at this because of the way the underside is set up, and our minimal home knowledge. We fiddle with it and get nowhere. We’re pathetic; this I know.
  • Cut down and refasten loose base piece transitioning between kitchen and dining room floors. It needs to be cut down a tad with a jigsaw to fit flush with the other pieces, and then just glued back down. The previous owners did a really crappy job on the remodel when it came to finish work.
  • Organize pantry. Right now we’ve got food items spilling out onto the countertop — we have no proper cabinet, just an upper and a lower. So we need to toss/donate food and figure out a better way to have our food stored. If counter storage is a must, we need some nice containers or shelving or something.

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  • Fix peeling paint in reading room. I put an exercise ball up against a not-yet-dry wall. I just need to patch it up.
  • Find home for artwork building up on side of couch in reading room.

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  • Buy end table for reading room.
  • Buy lamp for reading room.
  • Buy and install ceiling fan. There’s no AC vent in this room, so it gets pretty stuffy in there.
  • Purchase and install shelving in garage. This can just be cheap, freestanding shelves from IKEA for now. We just need to get a bunch of stuff up off the floor.
  • Replace hallway light fixture. 

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minaret pendant

Perhaps with something like this?

  • Spruce up office walls. This is probably where most of that artwork from the reading room will go.
  • Find a better solution for the cat litterbox. Like this. So he doesn’t track litter EVERYFRIGGINWHERE.
  • Donate Goodwill items building up in office. This room’s our “outbox” so this is an ongoing goal.
  • Paint un-painted patch of wall in master bedroom. We painted this room ourselves, too, and I obviously got lazy.

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  • Patch up dripped paint on floors/baseboards in master bedroom.
  • Organize/tidy up master bedroom closet. Hint: This is my January project.

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  • Buy bedframe. So our bed isn’t sitting on, you know, the floor.

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  • Buy and install new ceiling fan (since the current one has broken).
  • Get some more storage for master bathroom. It’s small, but all we have in there is a tiny under-the-sink space. It could use a valet or something.

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  • Throw out gross bath mat in hall bathroom. Easy enough. Yet still not done.

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