BUILD YOUR BUSINESS DURING NAPTIME

Sometimes, the only time we have to get anything done is while our kids are napping. Check out the 9 tasks that will help you leverage this precious time, as well as 13 ways to keep older (or more stubborn) kids occupied.

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How To Get Started Lettering

Edgar Allan Poe

When I was a kid, my Mom did calligraphy for our local funeral home. That lovely little book nestled near the doorway, where those who’ve come to pay last respects sign their names? Yep, that’s the one.

I’d softly creep into her room, carefully trying to avoid the creaky wooden board, and I’d sit on the bed near her. She’d watch me warily to make sure I was settled, and she wouldn’t get joggled, and then she’d set to work again.

The whole process fascinated me… the little ink cartridges, the various nibs, and the way the lines went from thick to thin. It so much prettier than my handwriting, and it wasn’t long before I asked for a calligraphy set of my own.

I absolutely adored practicing with it, and it was even more fun than my mother’s calligraphy work, because I got to use colors! Funny thing about funeral books.. they only come in black writing.

Later, my love affair with calligraphy developed into an interest in dip pens. I read about dip pens, and sealing wax. I was charmed with the romantic nature of it all… especially since letter writing seemed to be a dying art. When my husband was in the military I sent him a few letters written in dip pen, and sealed with wax. It felt like something straight out a delicious adventure story… the handsome Airman, serving his country overseas, receiving letters from his wife, sealed from prying eyes.

Inconceivable

But last year, I started digging into modern calligraphy and brush lettering. I even gave it a quick shot, and I was terrible. Of course, I was impatient, and did all the things wrong… I used whatever paper, a cheap brush pen I picked up somewhere, and I was sprawled out on my bed. But that’s not where I went the most awry… I didn’t bother to read up on how brush lettering was done.

I foolishly assumed I already had the gist from having seen it, and that I could just dive in. And because of that, my lettering was pretty bad. So I didn’t touch it again for months. But it kept nagging at me. This little piece of me was dying to really give it a try.

So at the end of 2016, I vowed that instead of flitting from one class to another, I’d choose 3 topics to really bear down on for 2017. I even created a secret Pinterest board and found as many of the classes, and books, and tutorials as I could. I chose lettering, watercolor, and doodling as my 3.

But most importantly, I promised that I would give those topics everything I had. I wouldn’t give up on the rough attempts. I wouldn’t assume I had no ability, and I wouldn’t give up on myself.

If, at the end of 2017, I didn’t like it… I would stop. But stopping, just because I wasn’t “amazing” wasn’t going to be good enough. Especially if I loved it… if you love something, you shouldn’t have to be good at it. Do it for the love, even if you suck.

So here we are. I haven’t played with doodling as much (so I’ll need to give it some serious love for the next couple of months), but I absolutely adore lettering and watercolor. And just think… if I adore doodling, I have potential to create some very unique and fun pieces!

So How Can YOU Get Started?

Firstly, promise yourself that it’s okay for the first tries to not be amazing. You weren’t born knowing how to walk, or speak, or read… don’t expect that first go-rounds of lettering will be anything you’d want to pop on Etsy. If they are, happy news! If they’re not, consider them what they are… a piece of the journey. A marker to look back on, and recognize just how far you’ve come. In fact, tuck it away somewhere and forget about it for 6 months.

Secondly, let’s start with the supplies you’ll need.

Paper

The good news is, that there are tons of options, and generally they’re budget friendly. I’m personally fond of the 6″ x 9.5″ sketchpad from Master’s Touch (Hobby Lobby), and the 9″ x 12″ Bristol Vellum* pad from Strathmore.

*It should be noted, that the Bristol must be smooth/vellum. When in doubt, feel it! It should be slippy. If it’s textured, avoid.

Other fantastic options include

  • Index cards
  • Cardstock
  • HP 32# Laser Paper
  • Marker paper
  • Hot press paper

It just needs to be heavy enough to handle whatever pen you choose, and smooth enough to not tear up the lovely felt tips. If you’re using an actual paint brush (including water brushes) you can get away with more texture to the paper.

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Pens

Lettering Comparisons

*Links below are affiliate links, which means I get a teeny kickback. All proceeds are put towards global domination, and Netflix fees.

Tombow Fudenosuke (hard and soft)

These are what I started with, based on numerous recommendations, and they’re what I recommend starting with. As you can see, they’ve got one of the finest t tips, which also means it’s easier to control. Their cases are covered in kanji, but fear not… they’re color coded! Silver is the harder tip, gold is the softer tip. They create very similar writing, the gold is just slightly thicker on both the up and downstroke. Only comes in black.

Pentel Sign Pen

This is right around the same thickness as the soft Tombow fude, but it comes in 12 colors. Once you’ve got the hang of brush lettering down, this is a fun way to expand your color options, while staying in with an easier size tip.

*Quick tip – Because these are water based, you can create an easy ombre effect, by dipping them into liquid watercolors, and writing your word/phrase out. This goes for any of the water based inks, but your mileage will vary, dependent on the color of the pen, and the color of the ink.

PITT Artist Pen

I haven’t played with this as much as some of my other pens… I feel like these almost came frayed already, so they don’t create nice clean lines when I write. That having been said, I really love the shades of their greys.

Marvy LePlume II

These are fun to play with. I don’t think their color saturation is as well done as Tombow’s Dual Brush, but these are a pretty solid option. One of the fun things about these larger tips, is that on a lot of the colors, there’s an ombre effect created by the varying pressure of the pen… darker at the top, lighter at the bottom. Comes in 108 colors.

Tombow Dual Brush Pen

Let me give you the lowdown on these… they’re expensive. Especially if you want the big grandaddy package of 96. Which, by the way, is amazing. They run around $145 in the States. So if you’re drooling over these babies, and you’re not named Ellen Degeneres (and if you are, then hey girl!!! Let’s do lunch, I’ve got some friends who are dying to be on your show… and tell Gladys I said hi!) then stick ’em in your cart, or wish list, and stalk them. Every once in a while the stars align (and Mercury isn’t in retrograde) and you can snag them for about $20 less. Still not a huge bargain, but hey… anything helps right?

Belle - Kuretake Gold

Kuretake Metallic

I’ll be real… I don’t use these very often. But every time I do, I wish I remembered them more often. They’re a good bit thicker than most of my pens, so I have to pay attention to what I try to use them on, but they feel delicious on paper. My personal favorite is to use them on black paper. They’re one of my few pens that I can use on dark paper, and baby they gleam! Comes in 6 colors.

Jane Davenport Mermaid Markers

I saw these things making waves with art journalists, but hadn’t picked up any to play with. As it happened, I had a bad experience with another brand of brush markers, and to make up for it, I was sent a whole box of goodies to play with, including these. I haven’t played with them for very long, but they’re filled with liquid watercolor. Fun right? AND when they’re empty, you can refill them. Uhhhh yes please! Don’t be fooled by the watercolor part… the color in these is very saturated. Comes in 12 colors.

Spectrum Noir Sparkle

I haven’t written much with these, but when I have, I don’t feel like the tip stays together as well as some of the other ones I’ve used. These have nylon bristles like the watercolor brushes do, but they don’t hold together as nicely as some brands. That having been said, they’re fun for adding a little sparkle to your writing.

Pentel Aquash

And last, but certainly not least… the water brush. These delightful little numbers can be filled with water, and used with watercolors, or they can be filled with ink. Or liquid watercolor. Perfect for crossing the bridge between watercolors and brush lettering. They come in a variety of sizes, but I haven’t the faintest idea which one I used up there, because my kids ran off with the other 2, so I have nothing to compare with. 2 year olds love to run off with things. They’re like pack rats, except they don’t actually care if an item is shiny.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and there are many other great brands to try. But hopefully this gives you some ideas to start with, and a visual idea of what each one looks like when used.

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So that’s all the supplies you need… but what to write? If I may, I have a teeny tiny idea!

September 30 Day Challenge

For the month of September, I’m hosting a lettering challenge. Here’s how it’ll work!

The Format

Each day I’ll be on Facebook Live, demonstrating that days prompts. I’ll also pop a video onto Instagram. You’re more than welcome to join the challenge on Facebook, or Instagram, whichever you feel most comfortable with.

If you join on Facebook, simply drop your lettering in the comments below that day’s Live. If you join on Instagram, post it to your feed, and use the hashtag #mitmletters, and tag me @amandasuehowell.

If we get enough participants, at the end of each day I’ll round up a few of my favorites from that days posts, and share them on my Instagram.

Want an even bigger challenge?

If you really enjoy a challenge, there’s a sister challenge to this one. Neesha of Paper Wand is hosting a 30 day watercolor challenge. Each day she’ll be teaching how to paint one element (leaf, flower, etc.), leading up to the final challenge?

The final countdown (errrrr challenge)

Yes, I went there. 80s music is awesome, and I ain’t ashamed.

For the final challenge, Neesha will be teaching how to create a watercolor wreath using the elements you’ve been learning all month. Then she’ll turn it over to me, and I’ll teach you how to put lettering INSIDE of the wreath.

She’s making this super approachable, and she’ll be using inexpensive pan watercolors for the challenge, so anyone can join. 🙂

But I don’t want to watercolor/I already know how to watercolor

No problemo. You’re more than welcome to bow out, or participate… totally optional. If we get to the final challenge, and you don’t want to watercolor, just hang out with us, supporting the ladies who are watercoloring, and then learn how to letter the final phrase that will be inside of our wreaths.

I hope this has been super helpful, and if you have ANY questions please don’t hesitate to put them in the comments below. 🙂

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It’s A Beautiful Day In My Neighborhood


One of my favorite parts of being a military spouse, was the sense of family that came with it. When my husband was stationed in Georgia, I joined a local mil spouse group, and we met up for coffee to commiserate over our shared experiences with deployments, moves, parenting sans-Daddy, and keeping the spark alive during crazy shifts and months apart.

Not only did I have my local military wives to connect with, but I also connected with numerous women in the milspouse blogging community. It’s strange the effect that the words “me too” have. “Oh my gosh… your husband’s in the military? Me too!!!” Instant connection made.

Those “me too” moments have always been one of my favorite ways to connect with people. “You like Supernatural? Me too!” “You were homeschooled? Me too!” “You have a million kids? Oh my gosh… me too!!!”

That sense of community is exactly what I want to build into my business. I never want my clients, or even my readers, to feel like they’re just a name on my screen. Rather, I want them to feel like we’re just chatting over a cup of coffee (or chai tea latte). I want there to be a sense of community running through the heart of everything I do.

One way I do this, is being very real. You get to come hang out with me as I do Instagram stories from my front porch swing. I show off the lizards and deer around my house. I confess that I like to annoy my oldest daughter with a really bad French accent. I’ve shared that I only started lettering at the beginning of the year, and I’ve brought you along with my journey.

One way that I’m not so hot on this, is my about page. It wasn’t bad… when I last updated it. But I shared my post 2 days ago, and was horrified to discover it still listed me as a coach. Here’s a hint… I haven’t been a coach in a very long time.

So I was super excited to find out that Kris from With A K Writing, and Amanda from Amanda Creek Creative are teaming up together to help us create about pages that create awesome first impressions (and second, and third). So if reading my about page goof made you think “me too!” I would love so much if you came and hung out with me, so we can make our pages the coffee shop that draws our perfect new BFFs in.

Need an About Page that connects? Join “Your About Page Story” and begin your customer relationship on the right foot, with the right story and the most creative expression of it.

 

Bloggy Confessions: I Am A Tweaker

So right now, you’re probably mentally picturing me with some serious caffeine withdrawal jitters. *twitch twitch*

Not that kind of tweaker, sicko. 😛

Here’s what I mean. Every day, I wake up knowing that today will be the day. The day I finally get my ish together. I get up, get ready for the day, get the kids going on their school, sit at my desk… and the magic happens.

Okay, maybe that’s not what really happens. Reality for me looks more like this. First, I figure out where my 2 year-old moved my planner, then I grab my calendar, to-do list, bullet journal, notebook, and pen and sit down “to plan”.

And buddy let me tell ya, boy do I ever plan. And I plan. I drum up ideas. Re-think my blog categories. Make a list of everything that needs “fixed” on my site.  Make sure I’ve got a clear vision of my target market. I scan my list of possible blog posts. I “tweak” the graphics on my website.

And then it’s lunch time. So then I eat lunch to re-energize myself… but then it’s time to do client work.

I am the queen of vision. I can dream bigger than most people I know. But I tank it when it comes to making those dreams come to life. When my friend April found out I struggle with this, she gave me the brilliant suggestion to track all my tweak ideas in one place, and then set one day each month as my official “tweak day”.

So if I’m on my website, and there’s something that’s annoying me, but it’s not an emergency, I put it on a dedicated page in my bullet journal, and I get back to work.

Then when my special tweak day arrives, I get out my list and I start working my way through it, and I cross them off as I accomplish them. Sometimes by the time I get to it, the issue has resolved itself, or it turns it I don’t care as much as I thought I did. Either way, it gets crossed off.

So tell me… are you a fellow tweaker? If you are, what is your go-to for staying focused?

How I Do It All (Hint: I Don’t)

Every once in a while, someone asks me how I do it all... and that's when I try really hard not to laugh, because I totally don't.

One of the number one questions that I get, is how I do it all. It makes me laugh every time I see it, because I really don’t get everything done. No one does! But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get it all done? People look at my life, and they see that I’ve got 6 kids, and I run a business. They’re already stunned at those accomplishments. But then they find out that I also homeschool. That’s when the fainting and shrieking starts… I just don’t know how you do it they say. I could never…. blah blah blah.

Sure you could! The cool part is that there’s nothing magical about what I do, and I really don’t get “everything” done. For days that I have magically accomplished getting school, dinner, and client work done, there’s umpteen other things I wanted to achieve that just never happened. Sometimes it means that the laundry sits unchecked. Sometimes it means that personal projects were put on hold.

Sometimes it means that we picked up pizza, or tacos, or corndogs for dinner. I know some of the sanctimommy’s out there just cringed. I could never feed my kid that you say. And believe me, I’d love to be the ultimate Mrs. Cleaver… just kidding… I can’t vacuum in pearls.

Can't vacuum in pearls, but it IS easier to clean with a baby wrap.

Regardless, like most Moms, I’d love to have a perfectly clean house, with gourmet meals on the table, freshly scrubbed kids that all use their manners all the time, thriving business, amazing wardrobe, and perfectly coiffed hair all the time. But then I wake up.

The fact is, my kids aren’t always clean… and I prefer it that way. Getting dirty is part of childhood… hell it’s part of life. I actually want to get messy with them more often than I do. Sometimes my Type A takes over, and I cringe at the idea of breaking out the scissors and glue, but again these are vital parts of childhood. I’m trying to learn not to let my own issues prevent creativity in my kids. Or learning opportunities for that matter.

My kids aren’t clean, and they’re not always well-behaved… aren’t you relieved? In fact I have had days were I’ve called my Mom to vent about how it’s only 8:15 in the morning, but I’ve already broken up 4 arguments, told the kids to be quiet and eat their breakfast, and told the boys to get their clothes on about a half-dozen times. Sound familiar? That’s right, you’re not the only one who has days like that.

Then there’s school. Yes we school at home, and some days it’s magical. The kids get in there, and we do history together, and read-alouds… and then the older kids do their independent studies (like math), and I sit with the younger kids to work on phonics. But then there are days that one of the younger ones decides that Duplos sound waaaay more fun than sounding out bat, cat, and rat… and the oldest one has a ‘tude about math. (Not that she didn’t come by it honestly.)

So yes. Like every other parent, there are moments I want to duct tape my kids to the wall, and days I feel sheer relief that it’s bedtime. But then we get up the next day and start all over again. We try to look at every day as a fresh beginning around here.

So how do I “appear” to have everything together? It’s easy… number one I put as many systems in place as possible. Sometimes it gets me accused of being OCD, or Type A, but in general my family appreciates the results of the structure… if not the structure itself. So here are some of the systems we use…

Bullet journaling has made my life easier

 #1. I use a bullet journal.

I used to be super obsessed with planners… I tried just about every one that came around. I tried the Erin Condren, and the Happy Planner, and cheap ones from WalMart/Target. I’ve tried just mapping things out in a notebook… I’ve used Google Calendar, iCal, and Cozi. But nothing every really fully clicked, until a friend of mine started bullet journaling.

I’d heard of bullet journaling before, but when it first became a “thing” it was preeeeetty boring. It was very straightforward, and seemed like it was intended for guys or very left-brained people. But then I saw the pictures my friend was posting on Instagram… and her journal was PRETTY! It had headers, and doodles, and pops of color, and it was like a cross between journaling and art journaling. Uhm tell me more!

So I completely went crazy and dove into researching this new wave of pretty bullet journaling.

#2. I make small adjustments.

Once upon a time, I had the psychotic notion to get up 3 hours earlier than I had been. Why? I wanted to cultivate a writing habit, so I wanted to be up before the kids. But instead of being reasonable with myself, I set my alarm for 3 hours earlier than I’d been waking. I’ll let you guess how long that lasted… zzzzzzzz.

The next time I tried that, I started getting up 15 minutes earlier. Once I had that down, I got up 15 minutes earlier than that… much smarter! And it’s been working a lot better for me.

Some days look more like this

#3. I roll with the punches.

Sometimes the baby is just cranky. Or the toddler is clingy. Sometimes you’ve got the migraine from hell. And sometimes…. sometimes your head just isn’t in the game.  I would never say that you should give up when these things happen… if you give up every time there’s a monkey wrench in the works, the evil monkeys win. And we don’t want that to happen. Sometimes you just need to throw them a banana and get back to your day.

Okay that analogy got out of control. Where was I? Oh yes… Sometimes pushing through isn’t in your best interests. Sometimes if you push through, you just wind up with a crappy blog post, a painting that you’re unhappy with, or kids who are mad at Mom.

In fact today, I started off with the biggest plans. I was going to write copy for a landing page… write a welcome email sequence, and start a blog post draft. But my baby was up playing at 5am, and I’m a really light sleeper, so I was up at 5am. (Hint: I’m not usually up at 5am) So I’m tired today, and the baby is cranky because he was up earlier than usual.

I’ve also spent the last 15 minutes with my toddler on one knee, screaming like someone possessed, because we dared wake her up for dinner. So instead of working on the email sequence, and a new blog post, I’ve been working on the finishing touches for this one.

But you know what? That’s okay. My email sequence will wait. But before I know it, my toddler will.be a grown woman, maybe even with kids of her own. And some day, when she tells about the rough day she’s having with my grandkids, I’ll gleefully remind her about her post-nap meltdown.

35 Things I Want To Do By The Time I Turn 35 Years Old

I really wanted to do a 30 by 30 challenge... but I didn't find out about it, until 6 months before I turned 30. So rather than give up entirely, I've chosen to create a list of 35 things I'd like to do before I turn 35 (in no particular order).

The other day, my husband asked me what I want for my birthday. I just rolled my eyes at him, because my birthday isn’t until August. But he said he wants time to prepare. I love how he always says he needs to prepare, like I’m going to ask for something enormous.

Seriously, I’m pretty easy to shop for… a gift card to the book store or craft store, and I’m a happy camper. Heck, for Mother’s Day we went on a drive… and I had so much fun with that.

But all of this has me thinking… I’m turning 32. I really wanted to do a 30 by 30 challenge… but I didn’t find out about it, until 6 months before I turned 30. So rather than give up entirely, I’ve chosen to create a list of 35 things I’d like to do before I turn 35 (in no particular order).

As I accomplish each of these, I’ll create a blog post about it, and link them back here. 🙂 But for now, in no particular order here’s the list, followed by the detailed breakdown.

  1. Attend a Broadway play
  2. Learn how to swim (well)
  3. Swim in a BioBay
  4. Successfully complete a 30 day challenge (with no catchup days)
  5. Pay off our SUV
  6. Crochet an afghan
  7. Knit a sweater
  8. See the Giant Pandas at the National Zoo (or the Atlanta Zoo)
  9. Visit Boston
  10. Visit Asheville
  11. Have a real vacation
  12. Learn Spanish to reasonable fluency
  13. Learn how to dance (tap, clog, or ballet)
  14. Attend the symphony
  15. Go to a planetarium
  16. Go to the Met or the Smithsonian (any of them)
  17. View a War Memorial
  18. Learn to play piano, violin, or guitar
  19. Spend a week at the beach
  20. Complete NaNoWriMo (it doesn’t have to be good)
  21. Finish a cross stitch project
  22. Go to a convention (in any of my interests)
  23. Enjoy a couples massage
  24. Set Phillip free from his job
  25. Have our honeymoon
  26. Learn a sport (volleyball, softball, etc.)
  27. Create garden
  28. Enter a photography competition
  29. Learn how to drive stick
  30. Sponser a child through Compassion or World Vision
  31. Have at least $10k set back in savings
  32. Be in marathon shape
  33. Stay in a cabin somewhere snowy
  34. Visit New Hampshire or Vermont in the autumn
  35. Learn to sew (bonus: and quilt)

1. Attend a Broadway play

I’ve wanted to attend a Broadway play for years, because I’m kind of obsessed with musicals. I grew up on a healthy diet of Sound of Music, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, Fiddler on the Roof, and Thoroughly Modern Millie… just to name a few. If you give me a movie that has singing, dancing, or both… you’ve probably sold me.

2. Learn how to swim (well)

I can kind of swim. And by kind of, I mean it’s slow, and it’s ugly. But I can get from one end of the pool to the other without drowning. Scoooore.

3. Swim in a Bio Bay

Some years ago, I learned about something called a bio bay…. it’s a body of water that has bioluminescent creatures in it, and they glow when you swim through the water! And there’s a gorgeous bio bay in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

4. Successfully complete a 30 day challenge (with no catchup days)

I LOVE challenges. I sign up for so many it’s not even funny… no really… it’s not funny. At the beginning of the year, I sign up for so many reading challenges that there’s no way I could ever finish them all. I sign up for lettering challenges, photography challenges, squat challenges… and I never make it through all 30 days.

5. Pay off our SUV

Pretty self-explanatory.

6. Crochet an afghan

Crocheting an afghan has been on my crochet bucket list from the get-go. But I’ve never actually made one yet. It’s time. 🙂

7. Knit a sweater

This is sort of a measure of my knitting education. If I can knit a simple sweater, I’ll be pretty darn proud of myself.

8. See the Giant Pandas at the National Zoo (or the Atlanta Zoo)

I really don’t have to explain this one do I? Paaaaaandas.

9. Visit Boston

Boston in the fall. I know *valley girl voice* it’s like… omg suuuuch a cliché. But it’s a cliché for a reason.

10. Visit Asheville

We were originally going to move here, but we changed our mind for several reasons… but I still want to see SO MANY things in the area.

11. Have a real vacation

I’ve never been on a real vacay, ever, in my entire life.

12. Learn Spanish to reasonable fluency

I’m trying to learn right now, but I need to up my game because I am soooo slow. Ha!

13. Learn how to dance (tap, clog, or ballet)

I’ve wanted to learn how to dance since I was a little girl. Tell me I’m not too old?

14. Attend the symphony

Self-explanatory.

15. Go to a planetarium

Self-explanatory.

16. Go to the Met or the Smithsonian (any of them)

I’ve been to a few small museums, but never any of the biggies.

17. View a War Memorial or Ground Zero or Arlington Cemetery

Phillip and I are both former military, so this has been on our list for a while.

18. Learn to play piano, violin, or guitar

I own all 3. I can’t play 2, and I can only kinda play the other.

19. Spend a week at the beach

I’ve never had an enjoyable experience at the beach. I’ve been there in February, March, and October. Those are TERRIBLE times to be dragged to the beach… unless you live somewhere tropical where it’s gorgeous all-year round. I finally fell in love with the sight of the ocean when we went to Chincoteague, but now I need to properly experience it.

20. Complete NaNoWriMo (it doesn’t have to be good)

Remember what I said about challenges? Yup. This is like a challenge for me. And I’ve never finished it.

21. Finish a cross stitch project

Honestly, this is kind of in the same vein. At this point, it’s a matter of honor. I know you may not have realized that there is honor in cross stitch, but now you know. The reputation of future generations rests on this…

22. Go to a convention (in any of my interests)

Conventions have been on my list for a while, and oh my goodness there are so many to choose from. Comic Con… Planner conventions, book conventions, blogger conventions.

23. Enjoy a couples massage

I’ve never had a massage. I’ve never had a couples massage.

24. Set Phillip free from his job

I’ve been very blessed to have a husband who supports me in my business and artistic pursuits. Unfortunately, in his quest to care for our family, he’s been unable to pursue his own dreams. He’s had to take on really terrible jobs, just to keep our family secure and comfortable. My biggest dream is to get my business to the level where he can have a job that really enjoys, or go back to school, or start his own business. Or all of the above.

25. Have our honeymoon

We never got a honeymoon… in fact, we stayed the night at a Bed & Breakfast, and we had to leave before breakfast. Ha!

26. Learn a sport (volleyball, softball, etc.)

My first opportunity to be a part of a sport, was in the military. Unfortunately, the sergeant running the team was kind of a snob, and wouldn’t let anyone join who wasn’t already excellent at the sport, even though these teams were supposed to be an opportunity to learn the sport.

27. Create garden

I want vegetables, and fruit, and flowers. At least 3 of each. Plus herbs.

28. Enter a photography competition

I don’t have to win. I just want to enter one. 🙂

29. Learn how to drive stick

They say if you can drive stick, you can drive anything. I’m a very nervous driver, due to a car accident I was in. I think learning to drive stick would make me a better driver overall.

30. Sponser a child through Compassion or World Vision

Such a small thing financially, but what a difference it makes in their lives.

31. Have at least $10k set back in savings

Another long-time dream of mine… having a nice little savings account in case something goes awry with our house, the washer, the SUV, etc.

32. Be in marathon shape

I don’t know that I’d ever actually want to run in a marathon, because at this point in my life, I think running is awful. But I’d like to be in the condition to run a marathon. Once, I was a fitness instructor.. I’d like to be in shape I was in then, or better.

33. Stay in a cabin somewhere snowy

Vermont… Connecticut…I don’t have a specific on this. But it sounds so picturesque and romantic.

34. Visit New Hampshire or Vermont in the autumn

Autumn leaves. That is all.

35. Learn to sew (bonus: and quilt)

I can sew by hand, but I don’t know how to use a sewing machine, and I’ve never made a quilt.

So there you have it! Thanks for making it through the list. If you have tips on how to accomplish any of those, I’d love to hear them! And I’d love to know what’s on your list. 🙂

 

 

 

How High Maintenance Are You?

In the last few years, we've begun to abandon self-care under the notion that it's "high maintenance". But is it really?

Every once in a while, this particular post goes around Facebook. In typical Internet fashion, it turns the question into a quiz. “Are you High Maintenance?” it asks… and proceeds to offer a list of items that qualify one as being high maintenance, along with randomly chosen points to assign yourself, to determine your high-maintenance quotient.

Every time it comes around, I see my feed flooded with 2 very extreme responses. Those who raise their hands to scream how they only scored 3… or 0. And the others who with a casual flip of their well-coiffed hair, announce that they are obvi high maintenance, because they know they’re a queen to their man. And b-t-dubs, if your man was worth it, he’d pony up for your nails too.

Ladies please. Can we find some balance? There is something in between leaving an unnecessarily extravagant life (let me clarify… I’m not anti wealth, I’m anti living outside of one’s means for the purpose of show), and refusing to buy anything but single-ply toilet paper. (Don’t do it ladies… your butt deserves better!) Spending money for the sake of a label doesn’t make you better, and refusing to spend any money or time on yourself doesn’t make you better either.

Cue rant…

Can you tell this really bugs me? When it popped up in my feed again, I was ranting to my husband about it, and he laughingly said “tell me how you really feel!” and I said “I should write a blog post!” and here we are. #yourwelcome

Not taking care of yourself is NOT a badge of honor! Click To Tweet

What are your feelings on this? Have you ever been called high-maintenance? Do you take any time for yourself?