A few weeks ago I finished a rather elaborate bridal shower invitation. The theme was cooking, my favorite! They are going to have a personal chef come and teach the attendees how to make some delicious food. This is one party I wouldn’t mind being invited to.


Goal Setting: Part 2

Do you remember Jan from Daisy Janie? Well I brought her back to sit and chat with us on her views on goal setting. I think it’s important to hear 2 sides of the story since we all learn differently. Be sure to read part 1 to read my take on goal setting. When I asked her to join me today she was ecstatic and in agreement that a lot of revamping and business structural changes were happening in the online world so we thought we’d share what works for us in terms of goal setting. Jan gives a lot of business tips on her blog so I knew she would be great for this. So let’s see Jan’s point of view on goal setting.
By far, the most challenging part of setting a goal and working toward it is hunkering down and determining what the actual goal will be. This can be as varied and personal as the day is long; it may require a peek inside your soul & your bank account all at once. For me, it’s as much about what I really want as it’s about what I have to start with. Once you have your goal chiseled out, think of working toward your goal as though you’re planning the party of the year for yourself, except that you’ll end up with money in your pocket and nobody to clean-up after (small talk is optional)! Have you ever planned a birthday party? A baby shower? A happy hour? Then you can set a goal for your business and work methodically toward accomplishing your objective – the key is to not let the goal psych you out before you even start. If you feel yourself looking at your goal & feeling ill, maybe it’s not realistic enough. You might need to break down your pie-in-the-sky goal into smaller subgoals that aren’t as daunting from the get-go. Fear of failure is not a valid excuse either. Yes, you will make mistakes, you will have setbacks, and you will be frustrated – the potential for failure is as great as the potential for success. If that thought paralyzes you, then you might need to rethink why you’re in business at all. Harsh? Yes. The truth? Yes. Need to hear it? Everyday.

Once you have your goal and you’ve told it who’s boss, make a list of subcategories – who, what, where, when, why, how. Take time to delve into each of these; write down what you know and what you don’t know. Start your due diligence by figuring out answers to what you don’t know. Research, read, make phone calls, make notes…copious notes. As you’re turning over new information, you’ll realize there are things you didn’t know you didn’t know…ha. This info can be very helpful to you, but be careful not to be pulled too far in a different direction b/c sometimes your curiosity will get the best of you and you’ll end up wasting valuable time. This is definitely an exploratory phase, but if you feel you’re venturing too far astray by all this new information, take a day to refocus and come back later.

After you have all your questions answered, you should be able to look over your notes and pull out Thee Thing in each subcategory that will get you where you want to go. Usually these Things will rise to the surface in an obvious way as you’re going about you research. If not, how will you know which options to choose? Well, how much time do you have to reach your goal and how much money do you have to spend? These 2 variables will weigh heavily on what can and can’t do…some options will be glaringly good or bad when you factor in time & money. I always do a gut check before I hit the gas; if I feel like I’ve done all I can do and these are the dots that logically connect to get me to my party, then I’m off!

It’s never too late to make a plan or set a goal. We do it every day, from morning to night; we just don’t think about the minutia of our lives that way.

Thanks Jan! We hope you found this information helpful.

Where else to find Jan:
website | etsy shop | blog

Goal Setting: Part 1

I thought I’d start this week out talking about goals and the best way to go about reaching them. Today you will hear my point of view of establishing goals and working towards them. And tomorrow you’ll hear from a successful designer and her thoughts on how to reach your goals. Why 2 points of view you ask? Everyone needs to hear different takes and methods as not everyone learns the same way. Take making dinner for example, some of you may thoroughly read the recipe, gather all of your ingredients and then begin making sure no step is left un-read. But some may just dive in and begin getting their hands dirty. It all depends on your learning style. So let’s start with my point of view, ok?

Before I would make lofty goals with no plan on how to reach them. I would post them on my blog or in my office for a reminder but that was it. Sometimes I would get lucky and accomplish them but most of the time they would be forgotten. The key, I believe, to overcoming this requires 3 steps.

1. When creating your goal determine a deadline. This is really important because if you need to accomplish a goal but have no deadline there is no fire lit to get you moving. You will always say in your head, “Oh I can work on that next month.” And then that will become a recurring trend. So create a goal and make a deadline and stick to it!

2. Create steps to accomplish your deadline. Something new to me as I never thought about creating steps, I just jumped in, similar to diving in when making dinner. So when doing this, break down each step that it would take to reach your said goal. Start big and then work small.

3. Make deadlines for your steps. Really! This is important to keep you on track to reaching your goal by your deadline. Again, something I never thought about doing, but once I did, it made reaching my goal more doable and less overwhelming.

So far this methodology adapted from Craft Inc. is working and I feel confident in what I’m doing and feel like my goal is reachable. Since doing this I have 3 goals I’m working on simultaneously. I would recommend keeping the number of goals to a small number, no more than 5 to not overwhelm you and keep you on track.

Check back tomorrow for some more advice on goal setting.

Here’s another favorite by Lao Tzu I wanted to share with you before beginning another busy week. Hope you all had a great weekend!

What’s for dinner?

A friend of mine asked me how do I manage to cook healthy meals while working what seems at times 2 full-time jobs. Simple. It’s all about the planning. First thing I do is either make meals the night before or early in the morning.

Tip: If you wear contacts, put them in prior to cutting onions and garlic. It will burn your eyes. I learned that the hard way Ouch!.

Next I use the personalized weekly dinner menu to plan our dinners for the week. Typically I’ll sit down Saturday or Sunday morning with a cup of coffee before the crew gets up and flip through my cooking magazines, cookbooks, and websites to search for meals that satisfy 4 criteria: easy, delicious, healthy, and can be tailored to Kendall’s allergies. I’ve gotten creative over time searching for alternatives. One of our favorite dishes Wayne and I enjoyed pre-Kendall was Spaghetti Bolognese, but I never made it again once we found out Kendall was allergic to dairy. But recently on a shopping trip to Whole Foods I found dairy-free cream cheese. Spaghetti Bolognese is back on the list and the menu for next week. Yum!

Some of my favorite go-to cook books are Express Lane Meals by Rachel Ray and Giada’s Family Dinners by Giada De Laurentiis. I’ll use recipes from Rachel’s cookbooks during the week because they only take only 30 minutes, for the most part. Honestly you need to have everything prepared for it ahead of time to really take 30 minutes, but they are still quicker than most recipes. I’ll use Giada’s recipes more on the weekend when I have the time to really tend to the meal. Recently though I’ve been using Cooking Light’s magazines and website. Their recipes are very healthy and typically are already allergen-free or easily substitutable. Our favorite is the barbeque chicken with mustard glaze. My next cookbook I hope to get I found in the Parenting magazine. In her book The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking Book, Kelly offers allergen-free recipes for baked goods. I have a feeling this will go over well in our home.

So after making the menu I’ll create the grocery list. This not only saves time while grocery shopping, especially if you have a child with a short attention span, but saves money too. I’m less likely to have impulse purchases because I get what’s on my list and leave. But don’t get me wrong, I still buy those chips or chocolate bars that didn’t make it to the list but in my shopping cart. Hmmm…how’d that get in there?

What are your favorite go-to recipes or cooking resources? Any tips for making quick and healthy meals on a short amount of time?

While planning our wedding I came across a lot of traditional difference between my friends getting married in Connecticut and those getting married in the South. In the South it’s tradition to have bridal portraits taken a month or so prior to the wedding, but not really up here. But I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to get all gussied up in my wedding dress and get my picture taken. No way! So off I go with my heavy wedding dress in tow onto the plane. Paranoid as ever I try to get the stewardesses to put my dress in first class. It worked on the first leg but not so much on the second. So I lay my dress down as carefully as I could in the overhead compartment and pray that no one puts their luggage on top of the dress. Let’s just say that was the longest flight to Texas I’d ever been on.

Here’s a tip: if you’re flying with a wedding dress, call the airlines ahead of time and see if they can accomodate you. Sometimes they will and sometimes they will have you just talk with the stewardess upon boarding the plane and see if there is any room in first class.

Shipping was another option but I was way too paranoid to let that dress out of my sight.

The portraits were taken on location of our wedding venue, the Annabelle Mansion. It was a spectacular 3-floor white mansion with gorgeous grounds which included a pool, lake, and swans. I chose the downstairs lobby, formal living room, and upstairs master suite where the brides get dressed on their wedding day. And our photographer, Edward, had a little say in location as well.

Do you remember taking a picture when you were younger in your soccer uniform and a ball on your knee? Ha!

Girls Weekend

Wayne took a boys trip out to London this weekend to see Arsenal play. The boy was in heaven. I received many texts letting me know how much fun he’s having. He so deserves it.

So that left Kendall and I to fend for ourselves. We took full advantage of having the house to ourselves to be lazy. Today we lounged around in our PJs until 3pm before leaving the house only to go to the grocery store. Yesterday, however, was full of activities. We went to story time at our local Borders and much to our surprise they were celebrating Elmo’s 3rd birthday. So we stayed a little while longer to attend his “birthday party.” I don’t know if Elmo made an appearance or not as I spent the entire time running my child down as she ran through the aisles playing hide and seek. Let’s just say we left earlier than planned.

Later that day we had a play date with a friend and her 1-year old to Kid City museum. This was a lot of fun and tiring. I really appreciated the antiques they used to deck out the place. Old cash machines, school desks, even kitchen appliances. There were so many rooms and places to get lost in that it will take a few visits to get a good lay of the ground.

What did you do this weekend? See any good movies?