Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hair History

If you read my introduction post back in November/2012 you would have been greeted by my purple and pink hair, and read that I was a rebelious teenager. While not everything I did is something to be proud of, who I was has helped me become the person I am today and I have a lot of fond memories.

But this post isn't really about that. I just thought it would be fun to show a timeline of my crazy hairstyles from my past.

Truth is, since I decided it was time to start having a more conservative hairstyle I haven't done anything with it. It just hangs there, like Joey Ramone's hairstyle:

Which, no offense to Joey, looks terrible on me.

So while I try to think up a hairstyle that suits my need for something a little bit crazy but is still socially acceptable I'll show you what I'm used to. And just a warning - I make weird faces in every picture!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Smoothies - Delicious and Nutritious

Fruity Tofu Smoothie


Smoothies, Our Favourite Snack

I love them, Sid loves them and they are healthy, nutritious and delicious!

Here are some of our favourite smoothie recipes:

Strawberry Banana

  • 2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 1/2 cup milk (soy is our smoothie go-to milk)
  • 1/4 cup dry oats
  • 1 tsp ground flaxseeds

Very Berry
  • 2 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp ground flaxseeds

Fruity Tofu
  • 1 cup frozen mixed fruits (I like the one with peaches, mango and strawberry!)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 2 tbsp liquid honey
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp ground flaxseeds

And obviously, all you do is throw the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth!

Flaxseeds are like a miracle food! They are full of omega-3s, you know, those good fats that are heart-healthy. Flaxseeds also have lots of fiber and lignans which have antioxidant qualities. They supposedly help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. That's why I always put at least 1 teaspoon in my smoothies. I also sprinkle them on cereal, in oatmeal, throw some in my baked goods, pancake mix... I could go on and on.
What's your favourite smoothie recipe?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday Treasury - For the Writer

'For The Writer' by shemonster31

Writer's Home Vinta...

Personalized Journal Da...

Complete Works of Mark ...

Keep Calm And Write On ...

write necklace (sterlin...

30 Caliber Bolt Action ...

This Town Coffee "...

large mug in bright whi...

Vintage Black Desk Orga...

Antique Book - Dictiona...

Laptop bag / laptop cas...

1938 Vintage REMINGTON ...

Scrabble Push Pins

Little Tin-Horn Corkboa...

Write Write Write Art P...

Long-eared Owl - Mini M...

Procrastinating Problem

It's a gloomy, rainy day today. This winter has been very strange. One day it's - 15 (Celsius), then the next day it's + 15 (Celsius)! Today would be the perfect day to start organizing my files, and paperwork but I decided to spend it browsing the Antique Shop instead.

I am the Queen of Procrastinating!

It’s not that I procrastinate everything. For example, I’ve already started the paperwork for my college fund application even though I still have 10 days to hand it in. I’ve always been one to get my homework done earlier rather than last minute, and when I’m working I get the important tasks out of the way so if anything comes up I don’t run out of time.
But when it comes to my personal life? Bleh, why now?!
For example, I need to shower today. It’s been two days since my last shower and my hair is starting to feel icky but instead of doing it first thing this morning I’ve been avoiding this horrible task. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete dirt bag. It’s just during the winter because bathrooms are cold! If it were summer I would shower every day.
Now back to my filing… I’ll get it done - right after I shower. Which means I’ll do it last minute.
Perhaps the first way to become organized is to first conquer this procrastination problem! That must be it.

Besides, things like this always take less time to do than what I think they will take.

Are you a procrastinator?


Monday, January 28, 2013

My Disorganized Life

My Life Is In Chaos

As of right now everything I own, everything I have and everything I do is disorganized. It's no wonder I can't get my life sorted out with this big mess of a room; files tucked away in all sorts of places, bills out of whack, my clothes spilling out of drawers, books laying around in piles everywhere.
If I could afford to hire a professional I definitely would, but since I can't I will simply have to figure this out on my own.

I figure there are three main parts of my life that need sorting out to become a much happier, more productive and successful person.

My “Stuff”


The first one is sorting out my physical belongings. That includes everything from my books, to my paperwork, my wardrobe, movies, music, desk area, and so on. I see a lot of de-cluttering involved.

In the past couple of weeks I have been weeding out my books, DVDs, Cds and clothing but there is still a lot of work to be done. Plus, I have no where to store the things I don’t want except for the garage which is kind of full at the moment. I can’t wait until yard sale season to get rid of my junk.

My filing is all scattered, too. Bills are tucked away in my desk drawer, in the bookcase and even in the bathroom (huh?!). Most of them need to be shredded, but some do need to be put away properly.

I also need to find better storage for Sidney’s artwork from school which is a lot, and is taking over the entire house! I have no choice but to buy a large storage bin to put them in. Even after recycling 90% of them (which breaks my heart every time!) there is still so much.

The bathroom is getting really cluttered, too. Time to go through my make-up and beauty products again. How do they keep building up when I rarely even go shopping?

All of my other belongings are tucked away in the garage - my furniture, kitchen gadgets and other house items. They’ll have to stay there until I move out.

Time Management


The next is sorting out my time. I need to learn to stop procrastinating, better time management, prioritizing chores, my spare time, learn how to become more productive and still have time for what really matters - my family.

I have all the free time in the world right now and yet I don’t get everything done in a timely manner. What will it be like when I start a job, or college? Best to take advantage of this downtime to get things straightened out before the hectic schedule of school and work.

I definitely see a chore schedule in my future. And it might be a good idea to prepare for things beforehand, like getting Sidney’s bag packed the night before instead of my mad rush in the morning.

My Crazy Mind


The most important thing I need to sort out is my head! I need to get things straightened out, decide on what really needs my attention, learn how to let things go and stop stressing out.

But I think even more important than that, I need to find a system that works for me so I can stay organized.

But it's scary! Where do I start and how do I do it?

I guess the first step would be to clean my room. Which means I have to stop procrastinating and just do it. So here I go, head first into this mess I’ve been avoiding for a week…


Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Etsy Shop Branding Tips


Etsy Shop Branding

Having my own Etsy shop has been both fun and rewarding. I first opened in October of 2012 and so far have made 16 sales. Considering it's only been three months I'm actually quite thrilled!

Just recently though have I realized the importance of branding. I go from shop to shop and ask myself, "why does this person have twice as many sales - even with similar items and prices?" Then I finally answered my own question, "Because their shop looks nicer." 

When you first click on an Etsy shop you're (hopefully) greeted with a banner. Next thing you're most likely to look at is their items, which means their pictures. If your banner is lacking, or not very pretty, it's already disappointing. If their item pictures are blurry, too busy, not well lit or overall just not appealing to look at, there's another disappointment. 

People are more likely to purchase something from a shop that looks clean, organized, professional and pretty. 

But it takes a lot more than a good banner and pictures to have successfully branded your shop. You need to ask yourself some important questions. 

1. What are you selling?

This is probably one of the most important factors. If you're selling mid-century vintage items you need to reflect that in everything from your banner, business cards, avatar, and even your descriptions. You wouldn't want a dark, gothic banner if you sell handmade baby clothes, unless you sell gothic baby clothes.

2. Who is your target audience?

An important factor for every business. If you sell baby clothes, your target audience is going to be parents. If you sell dog collars, you want to appeal to dog owners. Take a look at what you are selling and try to think of who would buy it. Even make a quick survey to find out if you want to. 

3. Who are your competitors?

It's a good idea to check out shops similar to yours to find out what works and what doesn't. Like I mentioned above, I would find shops that had thousands of sales and some that had less than a hundred and I would compare them. Etsy is a community based site though, so while we want to learn from the Etsy-greats, we don't want to just copy them or try to sabotage them. 

4. What personality or emotion do you want your shop to have?

I sell mostly 1960's and 70's housewares. It's colourful, fun and pretty groovy. I want to show that more in everything I do. If you sell eco-friendly vegan soy candles, you might want to mention that and try to evoke a very relaxed, earthy feel to your store.

5. What makes your Etsy shop different from others?

You sell knitted hats, and so do a bazillion others on Etsy. So why should I buy your hat over that other sellers? What makes it special? If you use organic cotton yarn, that would make it different than the person who only uses sheep wool. 

Compare my items to my shop banner:

My Etsy Shop Banner

Hopefully I have portrayed my items well.

A few more tips:

Another thing you really want to consider is your brand's colours! Mine are green and yellow. Why? Because those were very popular colours from the decades my items were made. I wouldn't have a baby pink banner if I were selling leather biker jackets. 

Send out the right message! Don't have a super busy pattern with rainbow colours on your banner if all of your items are very neutral and plain. 

Don't forget to be original! The best way to become successful is to just be you. Don't bother with trying to copy other people or act like something you're not because it will show through and you will look like a phony. 

And finally - incorporate your branding in everything that you do! Your banner, avatar, shop description, business cards, logo, packaging, tagline, pictures and profile. 

I hope this was at least a little helpful! 


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Applied To College

A little update:

Etsy Shop Branding

I’m in the process of retaking pictures for all of my items for Little Shop of Treasures. I’m also redesigning the business cards so they look prettier and go with my banner. I'm even trying to get this branding thing right, and because my items are very 60’s/70’s retro I want to work off of that. It’s complicated, for me anyway, but a great learning experience.

College Funding

Besides working on my Etsy shop to pass the time, I went for another appointment about college funding and got some pretty good news. I guess I misunderstood before and there is a chance of getting full funding for everything, and living allowance for full time students - if my application gets approved. So I applied for the program I want to get into today and hope to hear from the college within the next couple of weeks. I'm confident I will get in - because I actually got accepted into the same program last year but had to turn it down due to lack of money.

In the meantime I have some paperwork to fill out which means some research and writing is involved. I want to knock their socks off and show them how awesome I am at it, and that journalism is the perfect program for me and I will be successful. That way I will look confident in my decision, and then they will hopefully feel confident in my decision, too.

It’s been an exciting week!


Monday, January 21, 2013

College Funding and Overcoming Fears of Failure

Over the weekend I got some discouraging news about my potential college funding.

The fact that I might be able to get funding totally went out the window, and in my mind I already got it. I was so looking forward to going to college this fall that I didn’t even consider that my funding application might not get accepted.

Well, the place where I am going to for college funding has many different ways of attaining it. As of right now though the number one option is looking pretty dim. If my application even gets accepted, the funding won’t even cover half of my tuition costs. This really upset me yesterday, and I spent my afternoon moping around when I should have been doing something productive (ie cleaning!) or at least doing some of my own research on college funding.

The truth is, without funding I will not be able to afford to go. I don’t even know if I could get a student loan.

I’m trying to maintain a positive mindset though. I’m going this fall for journalism. This is all I want to do with my life, it’s all I have ever wanted to do and I don’t want to wait another year.

I’m not going to be the person I’ve always been - the kind of person that gives up easily when things start to feel difficult. For many years I was that person (still am). I thought (think) that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, pretty enough and so I would give up before things got worse or didn’t work out.

But what if they do work out?

What if I actually got the job (the one I never called back for an interview because I assumed I would fail)?

What if my novel actually got published (the one that’s still in my head because I assumed I would fail)?

What if I actually get college funding? What if I do amazing? What if I succeed?

There’s still a chance they will find a better option. So I’m going to keep moving forward with my paperwork, research and dreams and in the end everything will work out. It has to. And I have to stop being afraid.

Do you ever feel like giving up because you’re scared?


Saturday, January 19, 2013

What Age Would You Drop Off Your Child For Birthday Parties?

First Birthday Party Alone


Sidney's Birthday Party

My daughter is going to her friend's birthday party, without me, by herself!

What age is a good age to drop your child off at a party alone?

I guess that depends on the parent and what they are comfortable with.

For myself, I would want to get to know the family first. In this case I have talked to the parents a little bit. Sidney attended the same birthday girl's party last year and I had stayed with her the entire time.

I would want my child to feel comfortable there. My daughter is kind of shy, she doesn't go up to other adults easily when she wants or needs something. Making sure she's okay with being left there for the party first is very important to me. In this case, I talked to Sidney about it. I asked her if she felt alright with going alone. She's actually excited because she's a big kid now. I also talked to her about not being afraid to ask for a drink, or where the bathroom is. Last thing we both want is for her to have an accident because she's too shy to ask.

I would need to know where the party is being held. Is it some place public? At their house? Will she be supervised closely or in a large playground with a hundred other kids? This is important to know because you want to know it's going to be someplace safe and where your child will feel comfortable.

I think it's a good idea to ask the host if you should stay or go. Some parents will state on the invitiation if they would prefer you to accompany your child. Asking when you call to RSVP is a good idea. When I threw Sidney's birthday just a few months ago I told the parents they could stay if they wanted to, because I knew I felt comfortable in watching the kids with Nick's help but if they felt uncomfortable leaving their child alone they didn't have to.

I also feel more comforted when I know who else is attending. Who are the other kids? My child's closer friends from school, or are there children attending who Sidney doesn't get along with? Also, which other parents are attending? Do I know any of them? I feel that also has a lot to do with whether I stay, or just drop her off.

When I bring Sidney to the birthday party, I will probably hang around for at least a half an hour, to check out who's there, make sure Sidney is comfortable and get a feel for things. I can't help but feel a little cautious.

What age would you allow your child to attend a party alone? And what are some things you factor in?


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Being An Introvert And How It Affects Parenting

My Experience As An Introverted Parent:

Quiet Time

First of all, I think it’s important to explain what exactly an introvert is and to debunk some of the myths.

In simple terms an introvert is a person who becomes energized by being alone, and exhausted by external stimulation - being around other people. They enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings. Introverts are not always shy, stuck up, anti-social, loners, nerds or weird.

While I am shy, and probably very weird, I am also an introvert. That’s just my personality.

For the longest time I actually thought something was incredibly wrong with me. How was it that I could literally, and physically feel drained after being around other people? Why did talking with people at work, and school and even my own family and friends make me feel so tired? And being alone doing the same things make me feel energized? I noticed this happening, but I didn’t know there was a term for it, and that other people also experienced this.

Then I learned I’m an introvert and there’s nothing I can do about that.

My real concern is, how does being an introvert affect parenting? I’d be lying if I said Sidney didn’t tire me out. And living at my parents house again, being around more people, tires me out even more.

It’s hard to explain I guess. While I absolutely love my daughter, and adore spending time with her, there are days when I would love to just be alone.

To make things even more difficult, my husband and child both appear to be extroverts. Sidney is constantly demanding my attention. She doesn’t understand why mommy would ever want alone time, because she hates to be alone.

So I started to do some research on parenting as an introvert. I got some great tips to meet both my introvert needs, and my child’s extrovert needs.

  • Make sure your child gets lots of time with other people whether it’s a playgroup, with family, or after school activities.
  • Thank goodness for school, and that my daughter can spend a major part of her day with a classroom full of other people - if you work at home, enjoy the quiet while it’s there.
  • Take the time to be alone and don‘t allow yourself to feel guilty - you will be a better parent this way because you will be more energized and happy.
  • Have your spouse spend some quality time with your child so that you can have some time to yourself, whether it’s to read a book, take a bath or simply sit and think.
  • If you have to, hire a babysitter and instead of going out with other people, go out alone for a couple hours.
  • Skip the busy, crowded gym and workout at home alone - walking, jogging, yoga.
  • If your child is old enough to have friends over without being supervised really closely, have them in another room where you can still hear and be aware while still having quiet time.
  • Do not try to parent like an extrovert and always (physically) be there 24/7. While family time is important, and yes parenting is a 24/7 job, alone time is important, too.
  • Hopefully you have a job where you get to work alone most of the time, or with few people. Allow this to be your refuge. I used to love working alone up in the photo lab with no one there but me, myself and I. We had great conversations.
  • It actually helps to have the television and radio off. For some reason even added noise to a room all ready full of people can add to my exhaustion.

The end result is this; while spending quality time with your child(ren) is extremely important, so is self-care.

Just like bathing, exercising and Friday date nights are important, so is quiet alone time.

Do you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert? And does it affect your parenting?

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