oh hello, 2014! SO glad you’re here!
i’m excited about the year ahead and beyond ready for a fresh start. a clean slate. a new beginning. and here you are! yay!
i have to admit, i get a bit giddy this time of year. maybe it’s because i need something to keep my mind off of the frigid, gloomy weather and something about starting a new year feels all warm and cozy and hopeful. whatever the reason, i’m excited for that spark of hope, feeling of newness and refreshed outlook that i have leading into each new year.
i don’t know about you, but i feel compelled to make lists of all sorts when the new year comes. (ok, all year long too) i definitely don’t consider my self to be type-A (not. at. all.) but i do love me some list-making. and love crossing items off of said list even more!
so, i’m ready to start my year with a list of all my hopes and dreams, random stuff i want to do and goals for 2014. nothing earth-shattering and not really resolutions, but just little things that are important to me.
i’ll also be starting a shiny new big ta-do pad (shown above!) to keep me on track with everyday tasks. i think these list-pads are so super fun (so much so, they just might make you want to pay attention to your to-dos!) and are one of my fave mtbs products. there’s a sheet for every week of the year, so now’s a great time to grab one! they’re not dated though, so you can start any time!
even though i’m not really making any resolutions, some of the goals on my list are your typical new-year resolutions…like loose weight, exercise, get organized, save money, etc.
seems like these never quite stick though. so i’m thinking that maybe it’s time to get a little more detailed about my goals and make them more of a lifestyle change. and, be held accountable by getting other people involved. a team effort!
at the top of the list…in 2014 i definitely want to loose weight and exercise more. eating better is of course a part of it, but instead of just saying “let’s eat better” we’re going to make an effort to shop smarter and plan better for each week. definitely not in a super rigid way, but a general plan will go far with us.
we’re also going to try and loosely follow what we already know about weight watchers. lemme tell ya it’s amazing what a difference it makes knowing how many points you get per day vs. how many points are in say, one margarita. (9 points, yo.) YIKES. makes you stop and think.
i’ve already cut waaaayy back on my delicious starbucks drink, so that’s a start!
^ luvo meal (formerly lyfe kitchen)
something that’s tough for us is how much we like to eat out. i mean, it’s fun, easy, and yummy. it’s a habit we’ve fallen into mostly because of how busy we are (which i don’t see changing any time soon). so for the days we can’t quite find time to cook and don’t want to go out, i’m planning on stocking up on these new gems that i found in the frozen food section at target. they’re SO good. like really good. and healthy!! for real. and i am the pickiest when it comes to any kind of chicken in frozen dinners. seriously. it’s usually some kind of rubbery “something” that just ends up grossing me out. blach. but not these…the chicken is like, real grilled chicken…texture ‘n all. result? i ate every. bite. they’re definitely a great option…though a bit pricer than your typical frozen dinner.
speaking of cost, eating out so much definitely gets expensive, so *bonus* this new plan will help save some cash too! though, i do have to say, for two people, depending on the place / food i’ve found that it’s NOT ALWAYS cheaper to eat at home. just sayin’ :)
another thing we’ve already been doing is sharing when we go out and aren’t starving. the way portions are at most restaurants we’re still full after splitting. less cash and less calories.
next, exercise. i’m going to start walking and doing yoga. and maybe some zumba classes (gosh do i miss hittin’ the dance floor!) but again, i’m going to come up with a loose schedule…like, mondays and wednesdays = walking, and tuesdays and thursdays = yoga. you get the idea!
i live on a lake so hoping to walk outside around the lake as much as possible. (despite the SUPER cold weather here. um, it’s summer in this pic. dreamy isn’t it?) it’s gonna be rough and will really take some motivation to start this adventure in january of all times, but i know me and know that i will get bored with walking on a treadmill inside. trust me. i’ve owned and sold one. and an elliptical. yea.
so i’ve been looking for routes of varying distances around parts of the lake on map my run. i might even get a fit bit to help track it all and keep things interesting. you can even pick a fun color band. win win!
then there’s finances…SO not fun. but i’m hoping to make it all just a bit easier by streamlining things. one thing i’m thinking of doing is setting up our bills so all are paid on just two days each month (two PAYdays, that is). autopay is my friend for sure, but it will still be a relief to just know everything is taken care of at once (errr twice), instead of on random days throughout the month. i’m also a big fan of things like mint to help track stuff.
another thing is i’m thinking of switching banks…to one that’s a bit friendlier with fewer fees and more mobile / online stuff to help with the ol’ streamlining.
i also stumbled on this money-saving idea reposted on facebook. what a great, super easy way to stash some extra cash. if you’re really feeling ambitious, increase the amount by 2x, 3x etc. per week and save a ton!
business-wise, i’ve got a lot of little streamlining and organizational type goals. for finances, i’ll be making better use of outright — it’s a great little tool for tracking your expenses and integrates with lots of other tools, too!
and with the new shop finally open, i’m going to be really looking at inventory organization to make filling orders a snap. i started getting all the paper goodies inventory organized in late 2013 but that was just a little dent in the madness.
i have a fun plan that i need to finish implementing but really i need a separate studio space to really get streamlined. ahhh someday. (this is what i dream of). but for now, i’m carving out little spaces throughout the house.
one thing that’ll help immensely is streamlining the shipping process. i’ve already got my shop set up to automatically calculate shipping from various carriers, which is awesome, but need a tool to help actually process orders and labels seamlessly. i’m considering shipstation or something similar.
best of all, i’m excited to start working on some shiny new products, too!!! 2013 brought over 100 new products with the launch of the paper goodies line which was cA-raZy to tackle, but exciting….i won’t be doing that big of a launch again soon but it really has been neat to see which products have been popular and where might be a good spot to add some new designs and some completely new products.
i’m also going to be getting my little branding + design side of the biz ramped up again to help other small businesses rebrand or launch a shiny new business. i super love this side of the business, so it will be fun for me to get back at it.
otherwise, i have a few new projects in the works that i hope to launch in the spring that will bring new products and a new part of the business, possibly with it’s own brand! stay tuned!
i’m super hopeful for the year ahead and ready for a really great 2014. so wish me luck (especially with the exercising plan!) i wish the best in the new year to all of you, too! happy happy new year! :)
oh 2013, where to begin. you were quite the year, my friend….a good one but also a tough one that was full of challenges that, at times, seemed to be one. after. the. other. there were major misunderstandings. insulting situations. some big disappointments. oh and our house caught on fire. it was quite the roller coaster ride.
there were moments of being proud, humbled, excited, scared, stressed beyond belief, mad, sad, frustrated, confused, happy, determined, relieved and exhausted. let’s just say i definitely learned a lot this year…about everything…myself, my business, who my friends are, just how much pressure and stress i can handle and when enough’s enough.
so yea…you, 2013 were a doozy. don’t get me wrong though…there was lots of good this year, too! some really good things…so let’s go out on a high note and focus on some highlights, kay? :)
actually, the year started off pretty great… i was selected as one of stationery trends magazine’s 10 designers to watch in 2013. a huge honor that i was so proud and humbled to receive. (and in great company!) so awesome.
then, january – april was pretty much a blur. i was crazy busy at work prepping for and art directing a photoshoot in LA — a great experience and saw some much needed sunshine!
i also decided to return to NSS this year (after sitting out in 2012)…so from january – april i was also in the process of finalizing my new line of paper goodies (over 100 new products!), and i decided to refresh the mtbs brand and build my own booth this year, too…soooo things were pretty crazy with lots of pieces that needed to fall into place leading up to the show in may.
just when things were starting to come together…we had a fire at our house. the week before NSS. not good. thankfully we were ok and the damage could have been a lot worse. but with the show just a week away, the whole thing was a logistical nightmare. we had to move to a hotel which made it absolute madness to finish getting ready, but, managed to pull it together (thank you times a million to my boyfriend jon and my good friend kate. seriously couldn’t have done it without you!)
i really wasn’t sure what to expect this year with the new line, but i knew i was really excited about it and proud of all the hard work i had put into it over the previous year and a half. at this point it was so great just to have made it to the show and have it all come together. that was almost enough right there!
but to top it off, the show was awesome…i was so happy about how well-received everything was. plus, i met some awesome new friends, caught up with some old pals and ended up reaching my goal of having my line in 50 stores by the end of this year! yippie!
after NSS we ended up living in the hotel for another month while they finished repairs and cleanup from all the smoke damage. we couldn’t wait to get back home.
once we finally moved back in, i spent most of the summer filling show orders…
but i managed to sneak in a quick little weekend getaway to the bahamas with my sister. ahhhh…a much needed break!
^ that’s me, windblown and catchin’ some rays :)
then a couple of almosts happened…
i got some amazing new contacts while exhibiting, too…some of which led to some really exciting opportunities. over the summer i was working with a major clothing retailer that was planning to carry a special line of my note cards that i’d customized just for them to coordinate with their holiday collection. it was so exciting…i’d signed on the dotted line ‘n everything! but it fell through at the last minute when they pulled all “gift” type items from their plans. *sigh* (major sad face) still, an amazing contact to have and i had a great experience working with them, learning along the way. maybe next year!
around the same time, i was contacted by two big magazines (one being my absolute favorite. what a DREAM email that was to receive!) … both were interested in featuring items from my holiday line in their december issues. so. exciting. then those fell thru. again. both of them. at the last minute. *super sad face* ahhh! thiiiissssss close…seriously, had any one of these worked out it certainly would have made for a very different (read: awesome!) holiday for mtbs…fingers (and toes) crossed for next year! :D
the year wrapped up with something ALMOST as exciting…just before the holidays i FINALLY launched my new shop, which had literally been years in the making (so. many. delays.). so it was really really great and a huge relief to finally open the shop’s virtual doors in late november.
there were other lots of other little victories, fun adventures and happy dances along the way. but that’s the quick highlight reel with some almost-super-awesome moments mixed in :)
it’s kind of crazy how taking a minute to stop and reflect on the past year can give great perspective heading into the new year…celebrating the good stuff and letting go of the not so great stuff. i’m ready for a fresh start and to leave this year behind and make 2014 a great year. i’m hopeful, super excited and can’t wait to see what new adventures it holds.
so here’s to a super happy, shiny + bright new year for all!