Enough

One night I read a book. Which isn’t all that unusual. But it happened to be the same night I was in the midst of writing a long, drawn out post about all the things I needed to do.

The book is Enough by Kate Conner, a friend who I first met during our college years at LU and who I’ve kept in touch with via her blog for years.

I’ll be honest, I bought the book because a) it was on sale on Amazon for Kindle and b) I like to support the endeavors of friends. Designed for teenage girls and their moms, I really didn’t have an immediate need but since I love Kate’s writing and story telling this particular night I opened it up on my iPad to read.

Wow.

If you’re a mom of young girls then you need to read (this one) and pick up the companion for your teen (this one). In fact, I think by the time girls reach those precious teen years the foundation should already be in place.

Enough

But as I’m not a mother, the book had a different effect on me.

It got me thinking about what’s enough. For me.

There’s the obvious societal pressures that say you’re never thin, tanned, exfoliated, smooth, smart or rich enough for the world. Advertisers tell us our eyelashes could always be longer, lips fuller and hair shinier.

And while I’m incredibly proud of Kate for her books, publishing 2 before she turned 30 lit that flicker of doubt for myself – how much accomplishment is enough? Let’s not talk about the multitude of books I’ve started during NaNoWriMo and never finished.

I also consider accomplishments related to my work.

My business is going well, but is it making enough of an impact? Enough money? Enough media? I know some of this is the pressure from coaches who want you to feel as if you’re never doing enough and need their assistance to “grow your impact” or “uplevel your mindset.”

I also thought about the personal stuff that’s harder to categorize.

Like this blog, which got a new theme but I don’t know nearly enough to code by hand. There are plenty of projects I haven’t shared and the fast and furious nature of blogging makes you believe you’re not posting enough or somehow you fail at transparency.

And I bought a house at 24 with the help of my parents but it’s pretty modest. I read about people who pay off their mortgage in 5 years and don’t feel very accomplished. Of course I see all the flaws too. The yard isn’t big enough. I can’t keep plants alive long enough… you can see clearly how the these thoughts spiral out of control.

Whether or not you’re taking the lessons from Enough to your children, it’s a valuable question to resolve within yourself.

Take some time to reflect “is my life a result of the things I love to do, my passions and priorities or is it a result of feeling of inadequacy?” Anyone can discover what is enough in their own life and make adjustments accordingly.

 

 

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What’s up with the Voice?

So, about 4 years ago I stopped watching TV. While there are shows I love, I’ll wait impatiently and then buy them on DVD to watch commercial free.

This spring though I found out an old friend, Mike Busbee, was going to appear on the Voice as a coach for Shakira. And a colleague of mine was posting about her cousin and top 5 Finalist, Kat Perkins. The third push was seeing top 3 Finalist Christina Grimmie was on the show – someone whose duet with Sam Tsui here is one of my favorite things on YouTube.

With those 3 little pushes I was convinced and started to watch clips and then full episodes online until the finale this week.

Here’s some of my random thoughts.

I love that the Voice is not adversarial. Even when they put artists against each other in “battles” the coaches are clear that if you try to overpower your partner you’d both lose. So, so true. The fact that they have coaches and not judges is even more awesome.

Having only seen old episodes of American Idol, it was a nice change from someone (Simon) give negative but honest feedback and having the audience boo. The Voice seems to spark a nice balance between celebration and constructive criticism. After all, the coaches want to win as well and they do it by building up the artists. And even though the coaches are competing, they don’t insult other teams which is refreshing.

The music is actually good and maybe I missed the first part of the season where attention seeking, self deluded “musicians” participate but every performance I saw was quality.

I also thought the production did an amazing job of incorporating social media by including hashtags on the screen, showing tweets from the judges and such. I don’t really care if the host reads out captions from twitter followers on the boring results show because I skipped those.

That said, there were a few things that I disliked.

The story doesn’t have to be the same, in the early battle rounds you had a 50/50 chance of staying with your coach. Without fail every single singer said “oh if I don’t win I’ll lose my dream/go back to school/give up/have nothing” or some other similar sentiment.

It’s simply too uniform to not be scripted. I would rather see someone say confidently “I will continue to pursue my dream” because that drive is so much more valuable as an emotion than desperation. I doubt threatening to quit will convince the coaches to keep them around and once the show opens up to audience voting those words linger.

And honestly just sound whiny. It’s called hustle. Get some.

One candidate even says there’s no place to perform in her town (in Alaska if I recall) which is literal bull shit. Aforementioned Christina Grimmie went into the show with over 200 million views on her YouTube channel. If you have the internet, you have an audience.

Similarly, there’s nothing wrong with being a parent or single parent but don’t pretend your child’s future is at risk. If you can’t support your family (seriously, several contestants claimed this) then you need to do whatever it takes to care for them – not gamble and act like not voting your way is going to hurt your kids. That’s your responsibility.

It’s also one of the reasons I really respect the winner Josh Kaufman – he mentions in his story that in addition to working and playing gigs he teaches SAT prep on the side to make money. That’s dedication.

I’ve worked with SAT prep kids, they’re little know-it-all shits. The fact that he didn’t whine and say “omg I have 3 kids if I don’t win they won’t respect me” is so smart.

There’s a delicate balance on any stage, whether you’re applying for a job, dating someone or on a national TV show.

Be careful of who you pretend to be. Of the story you tell and allow others to tell through you.

While I’m not likely to get cable again anytime soon, I’m excited to hear what these artists do with their new platforms.

Stuff I’m Liking

Here’s what I’m crushing on this month….

Screenshot 2013-12-18 17.49.051. The comforters have been a vexing point ever since I got the 2 queen beds in this house. Half of my comforters are double/full and barely cover the bed and it’s insanely hard to find fabric that I like. Solution: a King duvet insert like this one and a cover that I can wash easier than a comforter.

2. This super simple remote camera for my DSLR from Amazon – because we all love a good selfie 😉

3. A kickass comfy armchair for my office. Ever since moving out a bunch of furniture (more on that later), I’ve precious few places to sit in the office. I love these overstuffed chairs for two and think a brown leather one like this would look great in the house!

Screenshot 2013-12-18 17.58.164. My car has been a reliable vehicle for 7 years now and I only slightly regret not buying the keyless entry when I got the car (but I did keep the cost under $16,000).  I can pick up one like this for not too bad but then need to have it installed. Detail, details.

5. A really cool chandelier like these for the living room and dining room (and the electrician to go with them!). Aren’t these cool? It looks like a jellyfish hanging from the ceiling!

Screenshot 2013-12-18 18.09.22I really need the lighting in the living room but might hold the electrician captive to install a few other lights in the bathrooms, hallway and hall closet…

There you have it, a few of the things I’ve been obsessing over lately (3 out of 5 for the house!) and are on my mental “should buy” list!

Holy Projects, Batman

I’m fully aware I’ve been a bad blogger lately with the complete lack of projects going up on the blog. But it’s not like I’ve been bored over here the last few months.

Here are just a few of the projects I’m working on:

  • touching up paint on the master bedroom headboard
  • finished the new nightstands
  • adding lighting to the office and guest room closets
  • donating a boatload of books to clean up my bookshelves
  • creating a warranty manual
  • re-upholstering and staining a foot stool
  • re-organizing my DVDs
  • moving the kitchen hutch to the garage for storage
  • replacing an outdoor light which is vexing me
  • storing the outdoor pillows for winter
  • updating the crate covers for the little dogs
  • installed a new sink and faucet in the master bath
  • installed new floors in both bathrooms
  • installed a new shower head in the guest bath
  • added new lights and painted the hall closet

Because of all these projects (many happening simultaneously) the house is generally a disaster zone. I’m hoping to have new tutorials and pictures up just as soon as things go from “complete and utter chaos” back to “normal crazy” but until then you can catch up on some of the older projects I’ve done here on Pinterest:

Screenshot 2013-11-30 10.05.47There are so many more things to come, if only I had a fully time assistant who would clean my house, file my papers, professionally photograph everything and cook my meals.

Dear Santa….

Stuff I Like

While this may eventually turn into a static page I’m doing this quick and dirty version for my Mom and anyone else who has yet to buy me a birthday present. Here we go… stuff I like:

First is a “stuff I need” because my cell phone’s blue tooth is dead. And I didn’t even run it over with my car but since it won’t hold a charge or connect I need to replace it so I don’t get a sore neck after hours on the phone doing business. Simple is good, my last one was $25 and lasted 4 years! Update – bought one!

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Bones Season 7 is finally out on DVD and promises to keep me entertained for hours. Plus maybe it can be considered “research” for my novel?

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I’ve been in a major downsizing mode lately but the one thing that I need, just a smaller version of, is a trash can for the kitchen. Large ones take too long to fill up and start to smell and the small one I was using had mesh sides. One leaky food experiment went awry and no more small mesh sided trash can.

I like this one but definitely don’t need anything high techy.

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Also, Trader Joe’s is now in stock with the nectar of the gods, aka, spiced apple cider. I have 2 gallons which should last me another week, so if you’d like to feed my addiction obsession, you can pick these up for about $3.

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I’m a tiny bit obsessed with these camera totes since my camera travels with me and I’m somewhat fearful it’ll break one day. These totes are awesome, bright and roomy enough for camera + ipad + wallet. Win. Find the whole line here. Update got this one for my birthday! Thanks Mom 🙂

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I’ve pinned a whole bunch of stuff on this board which should really be called “things my friends should buy me” and if you window shop there you’ll know I like unique salt & pepper shakers, dorky book ends, and this little ducky that will play my ipod in the shower (aka my music studio):

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It occurs to me now (right before I go to the cold Northeast) that gloves and scarves are always nice. But wool and cashmere makes me itch so I’d hate to associate your gift with something uncomfortable and painful.

Add this to the “practical gifts” side but after scanning another 250 pictures recently I realize that my scanner is on it’s last days. I’d like to replace it with a more portable model since I get asked to scan stuff all the time. This one is called a doxie… it’s short, black and hopefully not temperamental.

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Of course gift cards are good, most used are 1) Amazon, 2) Target and 3) iTunes. On last count I had 64 books to read on my Amazon Wish List so that’s always a possibility!

Mostly I’m so very blessed that it’s hard to come up with a “list” – I do have many projects in the works so if anyone would like to make me soup, install baseboards or paint ceilings then I would gladly accept indentured servant hours!

Or just a card.

Overload

The few weeks since my last post have just flown by with way too much going on to accurately document.

So here are the highlights:

Wilson took miss Ellie of Elliana & Adria’s blog for a walk on the Friday after Halloween. Yes, in costume. Don’t think they were this well behaved though. Most of my pictures look like this:

Fun times.

While I’ve been slacking as of late (more on that in a moment), I did start off strong for NaNoWriMo and have already written 12,000 consecutive words for my new novel. That means I’m not skipping ahead but trying to write sequentially as much as possible. And I found a cool image art for the book since it is, after all, a novel on serial killers:

This week I was honored to record an interview for entrepreneurs with the site Mixergy on outsourcing, systems and how every single owner can begin this process. The interview will be up soon and I’m so excited to see it live!

Once that was recorded I jetted off to Boston for the week so I could spend a day with my wonderful mentor and coach, Fabienne Fredrickson, and so many inspiring entrepreneurs.

The location couldn’t have been more beautiful in sunny but cold Stamford (hey, I’m a CA girl!) but we did enjoy the view of the harbor and the awesome fall colors:

Since I’ve been Jack Kerouac-ing it I have fallen dangerously behind on my noveling. As in, if I don’t catch up my legions of NaNo Buddies will hunt me down and beat me. So I will be catching up this weekend (promise!) and hopefully reaching my next goals expediently. In fact, I’m going to stop writing here so I don’t burn out my writing brain.

p.s. While I’m in Boston there’s just no way I’m skipping Cheers!

Bull in a China Cabinet

Not really, I just feel like I’m going to drop everything when I work around china so repainting my china cabinet and taking inventory of my nicer dishes makes me nervous. Once I realized how much some of these pieces were worth I was even more nervous (see below)!

A commenter asked about the china I collect and the set I want to sell and since I’m apt to pull up my blog on the iPad for reference when I’m out shopping I decided a post would be good. This is what you do when you have the short term memory of a gnat, like me.

This is the pattern I collect:
it’s called Diane and from Wade, here’s the mark:

Currently I have a full set of 24 so I’m not collecting any more of the basic pieces. For my own reference I have:

  • (37) Dinner plates
  • (27) Bread plates
  • (24) Dessert bowls
  • (27) Saucers
  • (30) Coffee cups (standard)

Plus, I have a few of the accessory pieces:

  • Salt & Pepper Shaker
  • Creamer

In searching eBay I found a lot of accessory pieces I do not have such as:

Sugar & Creamer set $25/both
Butter Dish $15
Gravy boat with plate $33/both
Round serving bowl $15
Oval Serving Bowl $15
Bowl with Lid (sold in set)

And while these are not needed (see 30 cups above) I think they’re awesome:

Irish Footed Coffee Mug $13/ea

I also have a set of 12 silver chargers since the rim of these dishes is silver.

Now for the set I’m selling:

It’s by Sango and called Julie, here’s a close up of the pattern:

It’s pretty but I prefer the bolder pattern of the Diane china so here’s what I’m selling (prices from eBay if selling piecemeal)

  • 8 cups (sell for $10 ea or $80 total)
  • 9 saucers (selling $1 ea for $9 total)
  • 10 dessert bowls ($6-$8/ea or $60-$80)
  • 8 salad bowls ($7-$10/ea or $56-$80)
  • 8 bread plates ($7-$8/ea or $56-$64)
  • 1 creamer ($20)
  • 1 sugar bowl with lid ($14-$24)
  • 1 large bowl ($26-$30)
  • 1 serving platter ($38)
  • 8 dinner plates ($26-$28/ea or $208-$224)

Which brings the total to $561-649 for the entire collection. Holy. Crap. Not bad for a set I paid maybe $60 for 4 years ago. Of course, I would have to sell each piece individually on eBay and pay the fees. So, if you’re an eBay seller – how much would you price this as a set? It’s realistically 48 pieces (a set of 8 – plate, cup, saucer, bread plate, dessert bowl, salad bowl) plus the sugar, creamer, serving platter, serving bowl and 2 extra desert bowls.

There are NO sets selling right now, maybe because demand is low but if I put the entire thing up for sale and it has some of the unique pieces and standard pieces like plates what would be a “good” price?

There’s also a lot of pieces selling here all and for a place setting (dinner plate, salad plate, bread and butter plate, cup and saucer) they sell for $45. Which is $360 and I would still have other pieces to sell.