Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Years Goals -- It's Still January, Right?

Am I too late to post about my New Year's resolutions?  Would it be ironic if one of those goals was to post on my blog more regularly?  Admittedly, I did promise myself that I would post at least once a month, so I am getting this in just under the wire.

Now that I think of it, today is actually the first anniversary of my launching this blog and my Etsy shop.  I did start off with lofty goals of weekly posts, but that had proven too hard to sustain.  I have had lots of ideas, just not enough time to follow through.  Then once you let it go a while, you start thinking that  you need to have something "important" to say.  Sorry folks, nothing important here.  I'll just be babbling.

Felted swirl coasters --one of my latest Etsy additions
Seriously, I did write myself a very, very long list of goals for 2013.  They are definitely goals, not resolutions, and they fall into three basic categories:  career, family, and personal -- although not necessarily in that order.  First, I was accepted as a vendor in the 2013 Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, so my business goals are to build up my inventory and to build a fabulous booth to show my felted creations.  Second, my youngest son's bar mitzvah is late this spring, and I've got lots to do to make the event as special as he is.  Lastly, my personal goal is to get back in shape.  I'm a health and fitness nut, but I let things slide last year.  So for today, I'll share what I got accomplished this January.

My First Craft Show

I was thrilled to hear that I was accepted for the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, which will be held May 4-5, 2013.  I got the news in December, and it really motivated me to felt up a storm.  Now I have a booth to build!  My goals for January were to keep felting (check), list a few things on Etsy (check), write at least one blog post (um, check?), and get started on this booth.  I really had no idea what is involved in building a booth for a craft show.  I could just go with a couple of tables and wing it, but I really want to look more professional and create a space that feels like my own little shop.  

My tablecloths match my business cards
At the beginning of this month, I did many hours of online research to see what other people have done.  I didn't want to spend a ton of money, because I don't know whether craft shows will be something that is both lucrative and enjoyable for me in the long run.  Ultimately, I decided that gridwalls were the way to go.  My chrome walls, along with all the legs and hardware, are sitting in my basement, waiting for me to get up the nerve to try to put them together.  I also ordered tablecloths in a variety of colors to coordinate with my Zazzy Peacock logo color scheme.  I got really lucky, and the colors are perfect.  I got purple fitted tablecloths for rectangular tables, a light green round cloth for an accent table, and some turquoise cloths that I hope to hang on the grid walls.   So look for a future post, where I finally attempt to assemble my gridwalls and hang cloths on them!  

I have lots more to do -- including ordering a banner, creating displays, figuring out how to mark prices, lighting, etc. -- but I do feel that I made very good progress for the month of January.  Check!

The Bar Mitzvah

I had done so much to get ready for my son's bar mitzvah over the past two years, only to realize that it was fast approaching, and I was falling behind.  This month, I finally hired a photographer, Josh Barry.  I love his website!  I also got a menu from the caterer.  And I talked to a stationery company about printing the invitations that I designed months ago.  I also made great progress on party favors and entertainment.  Oh, I almost forgot the most important thing -- I found my dress!  It's gorgeous, and I'm so excited to wear it.  The only problem is that the dress fits very well right now, which kind of takes some incentive away from my fitness goals.  ;-)  

I'm not sure how much I'll post about this bar mitzvah before the big day (because, you know, I don't want to spoil the surprise for my guests), but I'll be sure to post all about it after!  For my older son's bar mitzvah three years ago, I made the centerpieces myself and did some other crafty stuff.  So maybe I'll share that in the coming months.

Personal Fitness

Ok, I'm leaving my personal fitness goals for last, because that is not something I would normally write about and I might put some of you to sleep.  Just for background, I love working out at home with exercise videos.  I've been doing it for decades, since the days when they were actually videos not DVD's.  Years ago, I started out with The Firm and then moved on to Amy Bento, Cathe Friedrich, and Jillian Michaels.  Over the past few years, I have done P90X, P90X Plus, ChaLean Extreme, TurboFire (although always as a cardio supplement to other weight training programs), and Jillian Michael's Body Revolution.  Far and away, my favorite instructor is Chalene Johnson.  I have been doing ChaLean Extreme and TurboFire for two years now and don't think I will ever get tired of them.  Her workouts are incredibly challenging, but she is so motivating that you work harder and have fun doing it.  So that's what I'm doing now -- a hybrid of her two programs.  Plus, I throw in some P90X because that's what my husband is doing, and I like to work out with him when I can.  

The other equally important part of getting in shape is eating right.  I am a big fan of Jillian Michael's book, Master Your Metabolism, and I try to eat as clean and organic as I can.  One thing I don't agree with Jillian Michaels about is calorie requirements.  I have found, through years of experimentation, that I actually need to eat more to lose weight.  Yes, you heard that right!  I am a small person, only 5' 1", and my BMR is only 1265.  For a long time, I was eating 1300 calories a day (while training very hard), and although I would lose weight at first, I would very quickly plateau and neither my scale nor my waistline would budge no matter what.  Eating too little clearly slowed down my metabolism.  When I did P90X, the program said I should eat 1800 calories a day.  That didn't work either!  So I experimented, by slowly dropping my calories down from 1800.  And I found, miraculously, that if I ate 1500 to 1600 calories a day of clean, nutritious food, the weight dropped slowly but consistently week after week -- until I actually got six-pack abs for the first time in my life.  When I did that I was carefully counting calories and writing everything down, which drives me a little batty.  So right now, I'm approximating 1500 calories without being totally anal about it.  We'll see if that works.  

One last thing about fitness (since I probably won't write much about this again) is that it is much better to track your fitness my taking measurements rather than getting on the scale.  Right now, I am hardly losing any weight, but my jeans are much looser.  That is because I am gaining muscle weight, while I lose fat.  At this stage, one is offsetting the other.  At some point, once I have gained enough muscle, the fat will start coming off even faster. Part of this is that the muscle itself burns more fat, and part of it is that as you build strength and endurance, you work out much harder and burn more calories during cardio and strength training workouts.  If you get in really amazing shape, who cares what the scale says?  I have to say that I am much calmer and more confident now in my ability to get fit.  Oh yeah, and did I mention that I am much happier and have lots more confidence and energy when I'm exercising and eating healthy?  It's not just about looking good in a dress for a special event, but let's face it, that is definitely a bonus.  :-)