Project Life Updates: Weeks 5 &6

Project Life for weeks 5 & 6 looked like this:

Week 5

FxCam_1361308384222Unfortunately, I’ve been a little bit behind with printing out photos and trying to keep track of all of my items that I want to include so I only have one page for both weeks 5 & 6 vs. the 2 pages for all of the other weeks. It’s definitely easier to do it at the end of the week so you can stay caught up. I’ve been stretching myself a bit thin lately and it’s showing a little. During week 5, of course I have a photo of one of my fur babies lounging, being lazy and so cute. I can’t not take pictures of them. I worked out some Valentine’s Day and February selling incentives for my Mary Kay business and got a super cute little office package from an old friend of mine. They brighten up my desk and fridge.

Close Up

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Week 6

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This week was filled with desk organization (post coming soon!) and of course more snuggle and cuddly photos of my puppies (they’re so sweet together). We’ve been focused on trying to eat healthier and have found some new things to try at the local Farmer’s Market (the star fruit in the top left photo) and homemade dog treats in the bottom left photo made of all natural ingredients and house favorites like wheat flour, peanut butter, milk, and honey. It’s a little more work but I feel better giving my pups natural treats and smaller treats so that I know what they’re eating and that they’ll be entertaining and snuggling with us for a long while.

It’s easy to forget the little moments and the “tasks” you checked off on your to-do list during the day and at the end of the week and it kinds of runs together. I’m so glad that I can hone in on the moments with this project.

Are you doing Project Life yet? It’s a growing phenomenon!

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Our Valentines.

Whew life has been a whirlwind lately!

I just went and made myself a nice little batching schedule with reminders of when it’s time to switch tasks and color coded everything and dang it, I’ve got another week of this kind of schedule and all of that’s out the window. Not that I was doing all that hot with keeping up with the blog this week anyway. I’ve been reading TONS of other blogs and how they keep up with a busy life and multiple jobs and it seems that there is a trend.. we’re all the type to dabble in many things and not be happy with a regular 9-5 job. I covet those hours and I’m jealous of others who can lay out their schedule and clock out physically and mentally at 5 but that’s really not me, never has been and probably never will be. On this chilly, but sunny & beautiful Friday I’ve had several epiphanies. I’ve decided that I have to pursue a creative/personal career choice. A stable/predictable job is not going to do it for me. That might be easier, but less fulfilling. So while I’ve been afraid to fully put myself in a place where I can pursue something that will fill my SOUL with joy because of the instability, I think over the last year – two years, I’ve finally learned what it takes to make life work with what you’ve got and how to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. And I’m excited to take the next steps. Long term goal: be financially free and able to pursue a business that allows me to be creative, challenges me to do more and be more. Short term goal: pay off credit cards.

So, all that rambling aside- a week from now I’ll be gearing up for 65 hour weeks for the next short while. If I can keep up for a month or two or three (maybe) I can pay off all credit cards and maybe my car (almost a year early) EEK!!! It’s not going to be easy, I’ll probably hate my life every morning but ya do what you have to do to get where you want to be. So I will more than likely be only posting twice a week and not expecting myself to keep up with a 4-5 post schedule while trying to work those 2 jobs and work my Mary Kay business. Just FYI.

Tangent and upcoming future aside – VALENTINE’S DAY.

This year I wasn’t upset that Josh and I didn’t spend it together. I wasn’t upset that we both worked. I know that I get more excited about holidays and festivities than he does so I did my thing and I put some creative energy into his gift and woke up to a super cute little display of his gift for me. It’s more about showing the love every day anyway, isn’t it?

It started on February 13th.

IMG_20130213_154403 FxCam_1360850753660I saw this heart banner idea and thought it was the cutest thing ever. I might just leave it up another week because it makes me happy when I walk into my living room. They’re also very cute on a smaller scale, on the fridge, on a mirror, etc.

I was very in the DIY mood this Valentine’s Day after seeing how cute my heart banner turned out. I browsed Pinterest and my bloglovin feed (tons of great Valentine’s ideas this whole week) and I came across a card similar to the one I made with candles and a cute little saying about fire. I adapted it a smidge and chose to use stamps instead of hand writing it on the card stock.

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I had the card stock, the raffia, the stamps and ink. All I had to do for this was buy some candles. I didn’t really like the idea of a super plain front to the card so I found a cute little heart border and printed it out and then wrote my love note on the back. Maybe I’m too proud of this, but I couldn’t get over how cute it turned out. Besides I always stand in the card aisle for an hour reading every card it seems like til I can find the right one. This was way better.

Everybody in our house got some Valentine’s Day love.

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Top left: My Valentine’s Day gift. He got me a tulip plant. I’m waaay more excited about it then regular flowers because these won’t die in a week and I’ve been wanting plants to put on the porch (this one’s staying inside I think) and around the house. Plus a pedicure gift certificate & chocolate covered pretzels, WIN. 🙂

Top right: His gift and some heart-shaped sweets

Bottom right: My heart banner over the fire place

Bottom left: Sweet treats for my 2 little four-legged Valentines

I went to an antique shop last weekend and found the cutest little heart-shaped ice cube trays for 75 cents. I’d been looking for shaped ice cube trays recently because I wanted to try making some treats for my pups to freeze. I made my own concoction earlier this week and let them freeze a few days. They LOVED them.

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Berry Heart Pops

Easy, make at home all natural treats for the four-legged family member(s) in your home.

Easy, make at home all natural treats for the four-legged family member(s) in your home.

Ingredients

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Peanut Butter (melt it a little in the microwave first, it’s much easier to stir and mix in with other ingredients)

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Greek yogurt

FxCam_1360526219405Bananas

FxCam_1360526313199Honey

I mashed the bananas up and stirred everything until all ingredients were mixed well. I then spooned the mixture into the ice cube trays. They were looking a little plain so I added a blueberry on top of each ones. Blueberries are a favorite, healthy treat for my puppies.

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I did have to use a small knife to kind of pop them out of the ice cube trays. I really expected the pups to have to take their time and eat them a little slower than they do most things but one of them gulped hers down, the other took about 20 seconds to eat hers. I was wrong on the timing part, but they LOVED them. I didn’t really measure any of the ingredients, just added until I had a good consistency. I mix peanut butter and greek yogurt to eat with fruit all the time, so I tried to make a similar consistency as when I do that. There’s no right or wrong really, you could eat one of these yourself – it’s not “dog food” but all healthy and natural ingredients.

That was the love in our house this Valentine’s, hope you had a lovely day too!

Work stye, life style: Pt 2

So last week, I came across the idea of batching. I shared my love of Google calendar and my admiration of Jess Lively’s very clean set up for her coming weeks. After I published that post, I sat down with pen and paper and wrote down what I hope to usually accomplish in one day and allotted specific time frames for each of those goals. If you work from home (or are attempting to or would like to at some point) this kind of mentality is necessary for actually getting things done as opposed to just saying you need to get those things done and complaining about not having enough time at the end of the day. If there’s enough time during the day when you’re physically at your job in an office (or just in the building where you physically work) there is no reason why there’s not enough time when you’re sitting in your home office.. right? There are just a lot more distractions and a much more happy-go-lucky attitude that accompanies working from home.

After writing up my daily schedule (I separated M/W vs. T/R for different projects that I work on and keep up with on a weekly basis) I went and plugged it all into my calendar. My calendar is also synced up with my phone and I added 10 minute pop-up reminders (and turned off the email reminders.. I don’t need an email every hour when it’s time to switch tasks). A pop up note on my cell phone to remind me to wrap up this task and get ready to transition to the next is a great idea for me. If you don’t like your phone next to you because it’s a distraction, then maybe email notifications that pop up in the corner of your computer are for you. For me, it clutters my inbox and I already have problems deleting emails regularly.

This week, (kind of like Jess Lively’s first week) isn’t as clean as I would like for it to be and you will notice a few overlaps in time frames because I scheduled things outside of where I decided it’s best for me to schedule future appointments in order to keep a better-flowing schedule for the future.

Behold:

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I have Monday – Thursday planned out all the way until it’s time for me to put everything away and start getting myself ready to go to work at 5. I’ve scheduled everything from lunch to dinner prep and down time to recharge whether that be watching TV or taking a nap. I have found that if you don’t schedule it, it usually doesn’t make it on the day’s activities and ridiculous amounts of time are lost browsing Pinterest for “just a minute.” My M/W are a little bit more straight forward and flow easily. My Tues/Thurs are a bit different depending on if I have any bookings for my Mary Kay business. I would LIKE to have bookings between 10 & 12 on Tues/Thurs and so I have reorganized the rest of my day while still trying to accomodate all of the same things as M/W. If I don’t have a booking those days though, then I can follow the M/W schedule.

Next week is a new week that doesn’t have any preexisting appointments to jumble what I’ve set up.

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As always though, life happens and there will always be some improv involved but I just feel so much more organized and READY to tackle the things I need to because I have a set time when to do it and set times when I can relax without feeling guilty about it. This is week 1 of batching. Here’s hoping for a much more productive and less stressful week!

Happy Monday!

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Life style, work style

I’m one of those people who revels in having a full calendar. I get annoyed/weirdly enjoy telling people that “no, I cannot make that because if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times.. I need at least a week’s notice.” At the beginning of my day, I sit down and look at my page-long to-do list and feel powerful and ready to attack. By lunch time I’m usually still on track and making a good pace. It’s once I hit 1:00 after lunch that the mid-afternoon slump and [just a] 30 minute nap beckons to me like a siren. If I cave, the rest of the day is done and I wake up groggy most times and in a rush to get my head in the right place to get ready and go to my [real] job that pays the bills. During the day I participate in self-motivated efforts with this blog and my Mary Kay business. When I give in to the nap, or sometimes even if I don’t, my to-do list may get one or two more things checked off and a good chunk is left untouched and added to tomorrow’s list. Unproductive.

I came across a new concept of organizing and working in bursts that seems to me to be more effective than a monstrous to-do list (or 2 or 3 lists) and I’m going to participate in a challenge to implement this approach in my own life as well. The method is called batching. I read a post yesterday that explains about the method and its roots. Author Tim Ferriss explains it like this:

“Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing, and is far more unpleasant. Being selective – doing less – is the path of the productive. Focus on the important few and ignore the rest.”

 His book, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) can be found on Amazon here.

Being busy is a form of laziness? At first I was caught off guard with this statement but the more I thought about it, the more I realized the truth in it. I over-schedule myself with house to-do items, blog to-do items, Mary Kay to-do items, social obligations, you name it.  Running your own business venture or businesses ventureS like I’m attempting to do (while working meanwhile and running our household) requires a lot of work. It really does. But I have to wonder if I’m working the best way. I think not.

Jess Lively said:

“I encourage anyone else who is struggling to keep up with their calendar to join me on this week of batching!”

I’m struggling. I subscribed to her email and I fell in love with her color coded google calendar (which I already used obsessively to stay organized) batch schedule.

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My calendar:

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If you notice on the left, I have 4 calendars currently lit. That’s right, I use 4 calendars for my life. The school calendar is actually not mine, it’s Josh’s – but I had him input his assignments and things so that I would be aware of when he would have to spend large chunks of time that might otherwise affect things that we have to do around our house, or together.

For the most part, I use my calendar for due dates (especially bill and due date reminders) but as you can see the rest of the day (before my 5-10 work shift every night) is open. In comparison, Jess Lively’s schedule is color coded and blocked off so that there’s a focus for each block of time. I’ll be working today to implement a similar color-coded blocking off of time throughout the week to meet all of my personal & work obligations. There’s something nice about having the whole day to do everything in whatever order I would like, but it’s not really that productive.

On another note, I believe in having a balanced lifestyle. I came across this article about 5 things you should do in the morning to kickstart your day off the right way. Read here. My favorite?

1. Lay in bed for at least 5 minutes after you wake up. I usually spend those 5 or 7 minutes talking and snuggling with my puppies as they’re trying to convince me to get up because it’s time to go outside and eat breakfast! I’ve got a few others to implement (like the exercise thing…) but between giving myself a little extra time in the mornings and scheduling out my days to better reflect my work/personal needs – it’s all going up!

How do you feel about batching?

Valentine’s Day Special

For all Dandelion Days followers, I am featuring a special 14% off coupon for your next Mary Kay cosmetics order as my way of saying thank you for supporting my blog. I’ve got some great Valentine’s Day ideas if you’re looking for something special for your sweetheart (or daughter, or sister perhaps) that’s different than the usual chocolate box, starting at $12 & all ideas are customizable depending on what you may be looking for.

You can view the catalog here and send questions/orders to llinster@marykay.com. Be sure to mention code VD14LL in your message.

VDAY SPECIAL

 

Happy Monday!