Benefits I’ve Noticed from Slowing Down

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I can’t tell you how nice it’s been narrowing my focus to our home and family these last few days. I feel like I have space to breathe. I cleaned the house yesterday! Man did it need a good once-over. I started an “Out” box where I randomly throw stuff we’re not using. I returned lots and lots of things to their proper spot. It’s amazing how many things get stashed in random places that make no sense (remote control on the bathroom counter anyone?), all because I was too in a rush/distracted/lazy to put them back where they belonged. I banished the kids’ toys/books/stuffed animals/clothes/balls back to their room. I started a mixed recycling basket out of an extra laundry basket we had. It’s shameful how much recyclable stuff wasn’t getting recycled because we had no place to put it. It’s even more ridiculous how easy it is to start a mixed recycling basket. It consists of getting a laundry basket and sticking it outside. I’ve been meaning to do it for WEEKS but didn’t until yesterday. I’ve managed to keep up with the dishes. I’m almost caught up on laundry. I vacuumed the entire house. The best part about my cleaning frenzy,  is that it wasn’t a frenzy. It was like a cleaning stroll because that’s the only thing I gave myself to work on, and I didn’t really have a set list. I just kept seeing things I wanted to do so I did it, slowly so I didn’t break sweat (and at this time of year, I’m pretty much always sweaty). When I got tired I stopped. I even had time to feed Leo by hand. I usually just put a plate in front of her and watch her scatter her food all over the house because we don’t have a high chair (but we will tomorrow!). I worked on dinner fairly early. And, oh yeah…I journaled in the middle of the day.

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 On Monday I had to take Leo to the doctor (she got a weird skin infection but it’s going away now) and it was nice to be able to focus on JUST taking care of her.

This morning after dropping everyone off at school/work I came home, changed into workout clothes, stuck Leo in the stroller and jogged down to the park which, because it was 8:30am was completely empty. I let Leo run around a big field while I ran sprints (I was a sprinter back in the day and I still love it so much more than jogging. Jogging = bleh). We came home, showered, and I put her to sleep. And now I’m writing this blog post in daylight. That NEVER happens.

Why am I telling you all this? Honestly I don’t really know. It’s certainly not to impress you. These are all things I should be doing but wasn’t because my life was too centered around my various business activities. I think I had fallen into the trap of giving the pursuit of money (not to get rich mind you, just to get on better financial footing) a higher value than the other responsibilities in my life like making sure home is a nice place to be, or taking time out to exercise and make decent food. Those non-monetary things are more important than we realize, and contribute vastly to living a rich life.

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My head is still mulling over business ideas, but now I really want to protect this space I’ve made for myself. I don’t want to sacrifice it for money. My sanity and happiness is worth more than that, so whatever I do has to fit into the lifestyle I want. I don’t want a successful business so later I can have my ideal lifestyle. That may never happen. Now my plan is to have my ideal lifestyle today and if I can, create a business that fits in and around that lifestyle without disrupting it. Fortunately my ideal lifestyle is not expensive so I can 🙂

This morning I read Courtney Carver’s excellent post about being more aware of what sucks our energy and what gives us life. She recommends taking notice of these things by listing them down, which I will be doing once I finish this post, and then to reclaim our power over these things by doing more of what we love, letting to of the things we truly can’t control and recognizing that our demons aren’t real, they’re just thoughts that we can control. I highly recommend that you read it if you’re battling negative thoughts.

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That post to me, is just further confirmation that taking these steps has been beneficial. Since noticing and stepping away from all the business stress I put myself under, I’ve felt so much better. It truly was a major stressor and energy zapper and needs to be re-imagined. As I’ve been experiencing these changes over the last few days (and thinking about these things with Keola for months AND months) I’ve begun to accept that building a life around what we love and creating space to care for ourselves and our home and our families is vital.

Is there something in your life that’s taking up too mental/emotional/physical space? What would life be like if you pulled back the reigns on it, or let it go completely?

Speaking my Truth and Changing Course

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The first paragraph is a journal entry from a few days ago – reminding myself what’s really important.

What is wrong with being completely ordinary? Does ordinary really exist? If we decided to, we could make everything extraordinary. Ordinary is a decision. We can be content and happy if we choose it. We can be bored as well. We can be ungrateful, or we can choose to see every moment of our existence on this planet as a gift that fills our lives with wonder and experience. We don’t need to travel the world, start a fortune 500 company, be the next Oprah or upload the next viral cat video on Youtube. So many of us are scrambling for our 15 minutes of fame, thinking that it’s the same thing as love. It’s not. I know what love is. The vast majority of us do and it can’t be found staring at a screen. Love is the way my Leo bear hugs my legs so I can’t walk, silently beginning me to stop being so busy. Love is a game of chase-master around the sofa. Love is the way Keola grips my hand as we’re driving home after a long day apart. My life is full of love. None of it is worth an Oscar, or a Pulitzer, or will make us a million bucks. It’s so insignificant and so vital – these ordinary moments.

This month I wanted to launch so many products – physical products, but I bit off more than I could chew. Part of the difficulty was financial, part of it was underestimating how much time it would take. Part of it was fear that no one would buy it. Part of it was the amount of space all this stuff would take up in my house. Part of it was knowing that we could easily be living across the country in a year and where would that leave things? But all of those concerns go away if this is really what I want to do, but I don’t know if it is. And if you’re going to get in as deep as I was, you’d better be SURE that this is what you want to do. I wanted to really make some strides with building this business so that maybe one day Keola could be home with us, but the truth is, I am sacrificing the time I have now with the ones I love for something I’m JUST NOT SURE ABOUT.

On Friday I decided I would just be a mom. No attempting to write a blog post. No working on products, no fretting about money and how we’re gonna make things work. I strapped Leo to my back, slowly picked up the house, washed the breakfast dishes, vacuumed, then read books and played with blocks until it was nap time. I felt relaxed, calm, focused, and best of all, not feeling guilty about anything. Amazing.

I know every day won’t be like this. I still need to have my thing, the activities that give me a break from motherhood and stimulate my mind and challenge me to learn and grow. I still love the idea of one day creating a situation for ourselves where Keola doesn’t have to leave us for 8 hours every day, but making and shipping a ton of different things from my house probably isn’t it at the moment. Notecards are here to stay, but everything else would just drive me crazy. So, I’m in pruning mode, trying to be perceptive and notice the things that are really speaking to me, and eliminating the things that aren’t. If I do choose to proceed with other physical products, it will be slowly. There’s no rush.

I really want to focus on doing one thing really well, and for now that one thing will be this blog. It’s already a huge relief to let myself off the hook on everything else. I’m looking forward to spending time with Leo and Noweo and really getting our house in order – ordinary things that make all the difference.

This Week

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Well, last week started off AWESOME. I got a ton of stuff done…and then we got hit by a tropical storm. Fortunately no one was hurt, but there was a lot of property damage in some areas. Our house was fine, but Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday were pretty much a total loss. Noweo’s school was cancelled, Keola was off work, we were doing a bunch of stuff to get ready, plus it was Leo’s birthday on Friday and everything business/blog related just flew out the window.

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I’m having a hard time switching gears back to “normal life.” So that’s my excuse for not getting everything done, even though I still accomplished quite a bit. At the same time, I changed my mind on some of the things I wanted to get done last week so it actually evens out. Whew! Here are my high hopes for the week:

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1) This week my focus is back to product development – making what I can and ordering what I can’t.

2) I want to spend some time focusing on the house. I feel clutter beginning to creep in and collect on countertops and in corners. I already cleaned out the kids’ room and got rid of a ton of stuff. I need to remind myself more often, that not buying stuff is a lot easier than having to get rid of it.

3) I’m working on moving our photo collection into Lightroom. I absolutely LOVE the fact that my pictures don’t have to live on my computer to edit them. I moved everything to an external hard drive, built “smart previews” and now I can view and edit them in Lightroom without having to have the hard drive connected. My goal is to build a lirary where I can easily find any photo (and I have over 10,000).

4) Get another shipment of cards out to Sugarcane Shop. My first shipment of Mahalo cards sold out. Yay!

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What are your big plans for the week?

Happy Birthday Leo!

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By the time this post goes live on your birthday, a hurricane will have swept through our island. It’s already done damage to nearby areas. I’m so glad I’m not about to have a baby like I was  year ago when you joined our family Leo. What a way to end your first year! That means your birthday is likely gonna be lame, but we’ll do our best to make it fun for you.

Unlike tonight’s weather, your transition into life on the outside has been mostly smooth and blissful (at least that’s what I remember now.) Giving birth to you was intense and quick. You ate and slept really well from the get-go. You sailed through crawling, decided that didn’t get you around fast enough and graduated to walking a couple months later. You eat EVERYTHING. You can’t get enough. You eat more than Noweo.

You are mischievous, you have an amazing sense of humor, the most infectious laugh that’s part scream. You give big open mouthed wet kisses. You like to grab my face. You dance to Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind and Fire, Iggy Azalea (Fancy) and the Everybody Loves Raymond theme song. Your smile. It drives everyone nuts it’s so cute.

You and your sister love each other to pieces. The other day you let yourself fall backwards and the back of your head hit her in the face while she was lying next to you. It hurt and she cried and your daddy jokingly asked Noweo if he should give you a spanking. With very serious, tear filled eyes she looked up at him and said “No Daddy, because I love her!” My heart just melted and I was so proud in that moment. I know you don’t have your words yet, but your eyes say it all, and I know you love your sister back.

I used to wonder if I could love anyone as much as I love Noweo, but you taught me that as our family grows, so does my heart and capacity to love. Loving you is effortless – like breathing. I’m sure you’re going to test that love over and over again as the years go by, and we’ll drive each other crazy and that’s just life, but I’m so glad it’s you.

Happy Birthday Leolani.

Playing with Lightroom

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So far the photos I’ve taken with the DSLR have all been unedited, but that’s about to change because I discovered Lightroom! I had heard about it, but I always thought Photoshop was THE premier photo editing software and everything else was just Chef Boyardee in comparison. Fortunately, I stumbled across an article that explained a little more about the difference between Lightroom and Photoshop – the main difference being that Lightroom was design specifically for processing photos, and Photoshop is like a buffet of all things graphics/photography related – waaaay more bells and whistles than is necessary to edit a photo. I love how quick and easy it is to import, add metadata, edit, watermark and export photos. I watched the tutorials on Adobe and got hooked (and subsequently ruined my bedtime.)

I thought my photos were coming out fairly decent without editing, but when I look at the before and after, I’m kind of amazed at the difference. Sometimes the difference is really drastic, other times it’s slight, but editing can really take a photo up a few notches. My challenge has been to keep skin tones natural looking and not crossing over into “fake tan” territory, and I think I mostly succeeded.

Do you use photo editing software? What do you prefer? How do you know when a photo is “done” being edited?

Living Your Dream, Right Now

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“The absolute, most sure-fire way of physically moving in the direction of your dreams on a day-to-day basis, without messing with the “cursed hows,” is living them, now, to any degree that you can.”

This quote showed up in my Facebook timeline the other day, posted by a friend of mine. It articulates perfectly some of the things I’ve been thinking about and feeling lately. I tend to be the type of person that thinks like this: “If I can’t have it all, and if it’s not perfect, and if I can’t have it RIGHT THIS INSTANT, I don’t want it.”

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It’s a character flaw of mine I suppose – not being patient and working diligently towards a goal. Of course, that’s not entirely true. I play the piano (though I’m out of practice), I play the flute, I graduated from high school and college. I taught myself graphic design and started a business and had (and stopped, and started and stopped hehe) and had two kids who I’m proud to say are still alive. All those things take diligence and patience and hours and HOURS of work. But lately I’ve been feeling like time is passing by faster and faster and faster and getting from 0 to 100 takes too long. I have dreams. Keola and I have dreams. We have things we want to do. We can see the life we want for our family, but it seems so far off and almost unattainable that it’s almost easier to just hold on to what we’ve got – except we know we can be greater than what we are.

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The solution to our dilemma is found in that quote, and lately, we’ve been doing just that – little things that are moving us toward the life we want to be living. We’re both former athletes. We want to be more active as a family – so we started exercising together. Noweo and I like to run together, and I can totally see that becoming our thing. We went on a hike last week to a cinder cone (where lava used to shoot out but it’s dormant and now it houses an ancient forest) so we can get some exercise, re-connect with nature, practice photography and explore a cool new place that our kids have never seen before.

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Keola wants to publish a novel, so he’s been working on it a little every day. I of course am working on new designs and expanding my product line and looking into new methods of production. I’m also looking into ways to gain more skills and education in the world of graphic arts.

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One day, we’d like to be working for ourselves and having our kids working and learning along-side us. We’ve always been a family that loves being together and we’ve hate that Keola has to leave us for 8 hours a day and go to work. We haven’t realized that goal yet, and all the work we have to do to get there seems daunting, but when I think about what we’re currently doing, we are actually living much of our dream right now. It’s not everything, but it’s what we can do today to move us in the right direction, and it’s already making a difference.

What do you want for your life that seems too far away to ever happen? What can you do TODAY to make that dream happen?

This Week

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In an effort to stay on task this month, I’m introducing “weekly goal” posts just to put my intentions out there in the universe and hopefully increase my chances of accomplishing everything.

This week is all about R&D (research and development). Making screens, test printing, printing and sewing some prototypes, and designing some new branding stuff.

1) There are lots of things I want to screen print, but I’m going to start with trucker hats. Last week I put out a bunch of mock-ups on Instagram to find out what people liked, and hands down it was the dark and light grey and turquoise hats that were the most popular, so I’m gonna start with those. Do I have the equipment you’re “supposed” to have to screen print a hat? Uh….no. But I’m just gonna jump in and give it a try, and if it turns out that I’m better off having someone else do it, then I’ll go that route, but there’s no harm in giving it a go.

2) Since I’m back on the horse with my editorial calendar all scheduled up, I’m going to try and get a few blog-related things done WAAAY ahead of time for a change. I really want to be doing more interviews on this blog so I will be asking some folks doing business-y things to come and share some thoughts, and I’ll be prepping and getting those questions out this week.

3) I’m also working on designing some new branding things – thank you cards to send with orders and a stamp to brand some brown paper gift bags I ordered (for when I do events).

4) NOT business related: Pick up a birthday present for Leo. Noweo and I had the best brain-storming session this afternoon that went something like this:

“Noweo, what do you think Leo would want for her birthday?”

“Unicorns make good presents….”

“That is SO true.”

 

Really thinking about and talking about these things and having it in my face all the time really gets me excited about doing them. What are some ways that you stay excited about your work?

Looking forward to August

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It’s been a while since I came up with goals for the month and I thought that since I have a ton of things I want to get done in a very short amount of time, I’d better get more organized about how I divide my tasks and spend my time. Luckily, the perfect post landed in my inbox this morning with some great tips, many of which I used to plan out August. I’m not going to re-write what was already shared, except to say I filled out my editorial calendar, I made a list of projects I’m planning to push this month, I broke down each project into small tasks, and I wrote them all in my planner. Now instead of wasting time on Facebook or Instagram because I’m not quite sure what I should be doing, I should be able to look at my planner and say “Oh. I’m supposed to be ordering decals right now,” and then go and do that.

Besides business-y stuff that’s happening, Noweo’s starting preschool. She will be there all day and I’m not sure how I’m gonna cope. I think she’ll be fine, but I don’t know if I can handle her being away ALL DAY. Part of me is looking forward to it and all the extra stuff I’ll be able to get done without her around, and part of me is really sad that she’ll be spending more waking hours with other people than with me. I can always pull her out of extended day so we’ll see how it goes.

Leo’s turning one in a week and we haven’t planned anything. Just a day together as a family and then a simple dinner with our extended family. We’re pretty low key that way.

So, without further ado, here are my goals for the month:

1) Run test prints on several new products I want to add to the shop

2) If all goes well, list and start selling those products

3) Exercise every day

4) GO TO THE BEACH

5) Go on a hike

What are your big plans for this month?