Summer Bucket List for the rest of us

Every magazine, every list, all of the suggestions are geared towards younger people or young families. The fact is, the best time of life is when you’ve reached a place of peace, comfort, and less stress. There is still so much of life left to enjoy, and many enjoyable things to experience. So I’ve compiled a list. Wether you are sailing or biking being outside is really important. Vitamin D boosts all around.Let’s reduce stress. An adult pet is a good bet and sure to bring much joy.Of course there’s all of those previous moments spent with grandchildren.Here is the list for the rest of us. I hope you find them enjoyable, fun, and memorable.

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Etsy, Amazon handmade, are they worth it?

The short answer is probably not if you are just selling handmade items. With handmade items the rule of thumb is material cost plus fees x 3 = sales price. If you offer free shipping you woukdbthen minus that from the sales price. So if it cost you $5.00 to create the items – 15% of $15.00 =$2.25 (Amazon’s fee) – shipping normally 7.95 that leaves you with 0.2%. There are also sales taxes. Etsy has a more ebay style pricing structure. .20 cents per listing plus a 5 % fee, you also have store fees and square or PayPal fees.

Obviously it’s working for some, or they just enjoy doing it. Selling supplies like beads, fabric, notions has always done well on etsy but any real money would need to come from large sales and loyal costumers.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Approaching it as a business is recommended. Keeping costs down, learning merchandising to increase your chances of multiple quantity sales, and social networking utilizing free outlets like Pinterest may be beneficial. I absolutely encourage you to become a creative, but again to do so thoughtfully and efficiently.

Happy crafting and remember time is money pimpin.

Loyalty between Business Peers

If you are an entrepreneur, or promote a brand then you network. There isn’t anyway around it because we all depend on word of mouth referrals. In today’s world of social marketing and the increasing demand for visual content it’s even more important to find networking partners who still hold traditional values. I’m talking about loyalty.

Here’s an example; you spend time and money building a following. You network with others. Sale is exchanged. Your product or service for theirs. You are now peers. You are expected to share the brand awesomeness with your people, when asked. You build a mutual relationship. Let’s say you are a photographer and your peer sells a direct sales product. You buy hers, she hires you. Then you notice that she’s promoting another photographer. How do you feel?

Years ago that person would have been frowned on by peers, but in the world of social networking loyalty is the missing link that is taken for granted. Loyality builds partnerships and businesses. Perhaps we should start practising more of that.

Yesterday was a hard day!

I lost a precious woman in my life. I celebrated another precious woman.

It’s really hard to grieve one while celebrating another. This precious woman here was very special to me. She spoke softly and was always delighted to see me. Having someone who is genuinely happy in your presence is rare. She gave me back hugs. I had stopped hugging for many years but she insisted on those hugs. She offered advice in such a way that only a loving mother could. She was not mine but she did raise two lovely women who grieve and celebrate her today. Miss Lily will forever be anchored in the depth of my soul.

At the same time we were out of town celebrating my little Irish mother in laws 90th birthday. She is also someone who touched my soul in ways that would be too lengthy to write here.. In her life she has kissed the Blarney stone, petted a whale, and traveled the world. She also raised 6 very rambunctious boys and one petunia. The petunia is just as tough as her brothers.

So today was hard but while celebrating life and mourning a life gone one thing was certain, life is sudden. It is more sudden that we even realise. My husband and I pulled a 21 hour day, we are tired, but we know that love and life are precious gifts. Take neither for granted.

Women who side hustle and why they do it.

It’s relatively a new cliche’ “side hustle”. What is it, and why are women embracing it. Men also side hustle but I’m writing this with women in mind. Generally most women will fall under one of these;

  1. Boredom
  2. Extra income
  3. Gal pals
  4. A friend or family member sucked you in.
  5. You hate the 9-5 and dream of being a full time soleprenuer
  6. Discounts on products

So let’s talk about the different side hustle.

  1. Service- offering a service such as photography, dog grooming, babysitting, real estate etc.
  2. Product sales- involves selling a product either as retailer, auction style, or direct sales, or etsy sales.
  3. Digital products- selling digital products via etsy, amazon, or your own online site.

So let’s scroll back up to the first list. Boredom– if you are looking for something to fill in time but don’t want a commitment or to further a dream then volunteer work may be more suitable.

Extra income- the best way to achieve extra income would be to offer a service or digital product. The initial investment is usually zero to minimal.

A friend or family member sucked you in- more than likely this was not about you but about achieving their dreams not yours. If you joined a direct sales company there are things to consider. You can achieve your goals if you do the research first. Generally you will work your rear off for someone else’s goals and despite what you may have been told, joining doesn’t make you a business owner. The company can cancel its rep program or change the rules at anytime. Clever container did just that this year.

Dreams- If you are dreaming of being your own boss and ditching the 9-5 then make sure that your side hustle is inline with your goals. By starting out small you may be able to develop a sound customer base which will result in word of mouth referrals. Which are the best kind. You can also get a feel for your planned business and develop a niche.

Discounts- Not really a great reason to side hustle. You will likely spend more than you save.

Happy Planners to Travel Notebooks what’s the scoop?

I loved my planner organizer. Every year it was nothing less than joy when I bought a new year of refills, and a pretty pen. Sometime around 2008 paper planners took a back seat to digital calendars. Just like any good organized person, I went with the current trend. The excitement just wasn’t there so I eventually went back to a paper organizer. I was planning when planning wasn’t cool. 😁

There must have been a quiet explosion because suddenly there are planners everywhere.🤷 There are people selling planners EVERYWHERE. Just go to DIY on Instagram. 🤦

Last year after much research and one heck of a hobby lobby sale I became the proud owner of two new organizers and ALL of the accessories. It was incredible. It was short lived. I realized that it was overwhelming and they were just too thick to really be handy. So I split them up. One for household one for personal goals. They became a weekly planning event, but not daily. I really needed daily. However I refused to spend much on my next planners.

So after much research I ended up at Wal-Mart (insert gasps from all of the planner snobs). I found two that would work perfectly. First I needed a travel notebook for notes, coupons, receipts, random doodles etc. I found this need little notebook. It’s A5 size, leather, and it’s pink.. $7.85 All things must match. But I thought it was plain and uninspiring. So I purchased some puffy stickers. See the results below. Before and after.

Next I needed a daily calendar. So I picked up a happy planner mini. Perfect for appointments, and for others to add to my schedule. $15.00 I ordered a mini cover from amazon (pink) and I’ll be all set. It will be handy to have it with me.

While it’s fine to enjoy personalizing your planners it’s important for them to have a usable purpose. The majority of planner related things that you run across are just people trying to sell you planner stuff. So set a budget and think about why you want one, then do your research.

I love them!

When too much is too much.

There are so many options when it comes to connecting. So many! The truth is, we don’t need to be everywhere. Just like in our real time lives you can speed yourself too thin in your virtual presence. So let’s break things down.

For personal use

Let’s say that you just want to reconnect with friends and family. Facebook is your best bet.

If you just want to stay updated with current events, your favorite stars, or local announcements then you may want to consider Twitter.

Instagram is visual. It’s more about sharing visually. You can follow a ton of topics on Instagram and you won’t feel pressured to like a damn thing.

Pinterest is a huge huge huge bookmark.

If you want more specific options I’m sure there’s an app for that. There are apps for dating, headlines, crafts. You name it. The idea is to keep things pleasant, simple, enjoyable.

For marketing

Facebook is not for cold marketing. It’s for connecting. Genuinely connecting.

Twitter is for announcements.

Instagram is for visual content. Building a brand.

Pinterest frowns on cold marketing. You can add your links but within reason. Generally it’s a funnel that leads to somewhere else.

LinkedIn is for business to business connections.

Those are your main ones. If you spread yourself out too much then your quality will suffer so just focus on a couple. There are no magic formulas. I’ve seen follow loops on Instagram, tag threads on Facebook, and shared boards on Pinterest. All of which are fine but useless if you are not genuinely connecting.

Living with PTSD

PTSD stands for post traumatic stress disorder. I’ve been living with diagnosed PTSD for years. I would like to think that I have a good grip on it, but the truth is I never know when a trigger will appear. I have learned to live with it and to avoid possible triggers when I can, but most importantly I try to solve problems and overcome my fears. ( avoidance is a PTSD symptom)

Not all PTSD comes in the form of running for cover. There are many different triggers, just like there are many different traumas that can cause PTSD. I’ve included the symptom information below.

Here’s an example; I love walking in nature, but finding myself in the woods, or on a secluded pathway would cause panic. The thought of that happening causes physical distress, so I end up, never doing one of the things that I love to do. So problem solving 101, I bought a GSD and have arranged for training. Now I won’t be alone.

Isn’t she adorable? More than likely I’ll probably sleep better too.

That’s just one example of living, and adjusting to having PTSD.

from psychguides.com

A diagnosis of PTSD requires the patient to exhibit specific sets of symptoms that last for at least one month. These symptoms can be classified into three general categories. The patient may reexperience the traumatic event, which may take the form of flashbacks that occur while the patient is awake or nightmares when the patient is sleeping. The patient may also experience exaggerated physical or emotional reactions to events known as triggers. The second set of symptoms for PTSD is avoidance behavior of things that are related to the traumatic event. This also includes a loss of interest in related activities or feelings of detachment from other people. The third set of PTSD symptoms is an increased level of arousal, which includes sleeping difficulty, problems with concentration, irritability and an exaggerated startle response.

Sometimes PTSD can be disruptive to everyday living. For me I have to be proactive and practice self care, exercise, eating right, and getting plenty of rest. It takes thought and effort. I make sure that my home feels safe, and it is a calm place most if the time. I read a ton, and I surround myself with caring and loving people.

If you, or you know someone who suffers from PTSD please reach out to a therapist who can start you on the road to healing. You can learn to manage your symptoms with help.

Making Sense out of Subscription Boxes.

There are so many subscription box services. Many are offered by startups, stay at home folks, and existing companies that want a bite out of the subscription game. After all, who wouldnt!

Even Amazon has subscription boxes. One company will send you a monthly box for 10 bucks plus shipping. Each month you pay someone to send you samples. Seriously, you are paying them to try products. How does that even happen!!! Send me samples for FREE.

There are boxes for all sorts of niches. From samples to clothing. There’s a wine subscription box folks, wine!! It’s one of the few that I found that actually made sense. Others that made sense, and were cost effective are the shave boxes. They are cost effective and they solve a problem.

Other subscription boxes mostly fall under the over priced vanity category. One in particular ships everything three months with promises of higher end products. Some of the ugliest hand bags I’ve ever seen. Yes, in person.

How many of you now have a drawer full of unused make up brushes? Money wasted.

So here’s the thing…Im not saying don’t buy into the subscription box frenzy, but I am saying to use common sense. Ask yourself

  • Is it cost effective?
  • Will it solve a problem?
  • Do I really need it?
  • Will I need more of it each month?

The right subscription box can make an excellent gift. If you pay for the year, and the reciever doesn’t get stuck with an ongoing subscription.

Another excellent subscription box sends activities for children, just make sure that they are cost effective too. Sometimes time is money, but most time, children just want your time.

Why I don’t “like” your facebook post.

Simply put, it makes me feel cheap, un-authentic, and a fake. I don’t feel connected, and I don’t want to encourage more boring or annoying posts.

Facebook is a social tool. I look for and like posts that are relatable to me. I use to scroll and like without giving it much thought. I auto liked because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Especially in the photography world where likes are expected. Now I scroll and reflect.

When I do find a post that I like, makes me laugh, or resignates with me in another way I’ll just leave a comment.

Now I feel more connected. Try it!