Saturday, March 25, 2006

i'm full

I just did something I hardly ever do--eat a full breakfast. An actual, factual, sit-down, eat-til-you're-full breakfast. Well, all it took to make me full is a bowl of Cheerios cereal and a banana cut into it (yum!). It's all in an effort to eat 3 meals, 2 snacks, and 1 treat per day, at the rate of one meal/snack every 3 hours.

Why? Well, I've mysteriously, magically lost some weight recently. Other than my active on-my-feet lifestyle at my jobs, I don't know what I've done differently to achieve this, but it certainly makes me happy. I stepped on the scale one day and realized I had somehow lost nearly 15 pounds! My so-called "skinny" jeans fit just fine. Trying on some other clothing I had put in storage for "when I lose weight", I found I could wear it too.

So, in a moment of inspiration, I decided right then and there to lose another 20 pounds--on purpose. I've chosen to just do it the simplest way possible and avoid gimmicks and fad diets in favor of eating pretty much whatever I want in moderation, keeping my body fueled so I don't feel hungry, adding extra nutrients in the form of making a conscious effort to eat more fiber, lean protein, complex carbs, vegetables, fruit, and water. Pretty much doing what my mother has told me all along. It's the Mom Told Me So diet. Or, if you want to attach any "name" to it, I would say it most closely resembles the 3-Hour Diet by Jorge Cruise. His 8-Minutes in the Morning exercise program is also useful to a point, but I haven't found it to work that well for lazy ol' me.

Eventually, once I get the eating thing down, I'm going to add more walking the dog (Zoe will love me for it!), other free/cheap aerobic activities, some free-weight training (to build fat-burning muscle), and, hopefully, if finances allow, join a gym. I've always wanted to join a gym, but I'm not going to do it until I know I'll make it worth the $$$.

Last night I planned out what to eat today while at the tea room in the midst of the craziness, so I don't have to think (and I can prepare it in advance for my "lunch break" of, like, three minutes).

And I can't believe that I'm actually awake and typing at 7:15 in the morning. That was a fluke; I accidentally changed the time an hour ahead on my alarm clock last night! But I'm up and at 'em early today, which makes me happy. I have time to relax before heading into my busy day.

Friday, March 24, 2006

how to throw a bridal shower

So, there is a drop-in bridal shower for 31 people tomorrow at the tea room, and I'm in charge. After last Saturday's five parties and 80 people served (in 3 hours, mind you!), this day should be a breeze. Or at least I hope so.

Anyways, today we had a busy day during lunch hour, so we weren't able to get everything prepped in time, so I went in this evening for an hour and a half to bake desserts and cut veggies and fruits. Tomorrow at 9:00 I'll tray sandwhiches, vegetables, fruits, and mini tea desserts on silver platters and have one of the girls set it out on the buffet line for the shower. Of course, before the servers come, I and the other girl in the kitchen will be making the scones and a quiche, along with three kinds of chicken salad, two soups, and all the other normal every day prep work.

By 10:30, the first server will come in and start preparing for the day, and I'll make sure the buffet line and tables for the party are decorated.

Then, 11:00 comes around, the servers will have set up the walk-in tables and the reserved room for the bridal shower.

And then, our first customers will arrive, and BAM! the day begins ...

My adrenaline rush will last until 1:30, when things begin to slow down, and then I force myself to get a second wind just in time to start washing the dishes, cleaning up the kitchen, and mopping the floor after the rest of the girls leave. And then I go home to crash--until 5:30, when I leave for my next job and work the customer service desk at The Big Retail Store until 10:00. THEN I get to drive home and collapse in my bed.

Just another day in the life of me.

Friday, March 17, 2006

bouncing back (again)

Oh. My. Word.

Check this amazing site out. I just stumbled upon it while in the middle of some research for an idea that (inconveniently) popped into my brain at 1:30 a.m. EST. This always seems to happen to me. I nearly give up on the whole concept of designing for profit, and then WHAM! it hits me after midnight, while I'm trying to sleep, and I can't do anything (including that much-coveted sleep) until I have ridden the wave of inspiration wherever it leads me.

Haven't yet gone over all of the site, but it looks yummy for designer types like me to drool over. Hee hee!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

pleased to announce ... failure

Oh, I've been a terrible entrepreneur and blogger lately. Everything I said I would do--well, I didn't. To make matters worse, I've been doubting again. Is this the right thing? Why haven't I gotten started, already? Why do I even think that I should join the esteemed ranks of stationers of America? They've been doing it better and longer than I ever have or will.

*sigh*

I joined Paperpreneurs over a year ago, full of faith in my new venture that had yet to take off. Months and months later, I am better equipped to enter the field, but less inclined. I don't know if I really want to do marketing and accounting and sales. I don't know if I really want to sell paper, or just to buy it. I've run dry, and I am embarrassed to know that I am one of the only members who hasn't actually started her business yet.

It's not even a sorrowful feeling I have as I write this public confession. It is a weariness ... a reluctant, yet honest, look at what I truly find important in my life.

I don't mean to publish a rollercoaster diary of fast-paced ups and downs. It must be exhausting to read. Goodness knows it is exhausting to write and live. One day I am the very picture of a budding entrepreneur and the next I am a consummate homebody, reluctant to do anything beyond the daily grind. I talk to my friends and they are confused: is she, or isn't she, gonna do this thing?

I could whine and say I don't have enough money--but that's the easy way out. I know of others who have started with less than what I have. I could say I've decided to do other things--but I haven't, not really. I could laugh and write it all off as hormones--but it isn't.

Fact of the matter is, I'm just plumb tired (read: "plum tarrrred"), as they would say here in East Tennessee.

The good news is this: I have started to live each day of my life as it comes. I've slowed down my blogging and e-mailing and participating in forums in favor of doing things offline, in the real world. I've started trying to eat healthier (that Hardee's Thickburger tonight doesn't count--I was hungry). I've lost weight (yippee!). I've made new friends. I've found a church that is challenging me spiritually and helping me grow as a person. I've re-discovered the beauty of the Bible. Life is good again, even if it is more confusing than it was last year, and even though I am worn out from planning and dreaming.

Next stop? Who knows.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

day off

Ohhhhhh ... the blessing of a full day off! Yet it stinks that today feels like Friday, and tomorrow feels like it should be Saturday ...

But I enjoyed it, anyway. Mom and I went for a "girl's day out" to the nearby resort/shopping district of Sevierville, TN and soaked in the glorious 70 degree weather, brilliant blue sky, and spirit-lifting sunshine. The trees are budding, the crocuses and daffodils are out in full bloom (literally!), and I have succommed to a serious case of spring fever.

Once we made it all the way out there, and were pulling into the parking lot of our first destination and I exclaimed, "oh no! I forgot my camera!" I was so disappointed--I had wanted to capture the mini-vacation for this blog. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to go back again. What a shame. LOL.

We ate at Cracker Barrel (finishing off with the yummy Coca-Cola cake!), browsed the Tanger outlet mall (scored some amazing t-shirts that fit, well, to a "T"), and wandered to our hearts delight through a simply delightful antique shop. Let me tell you, this shop was incredible! It had everything from vintage jewelry to an operational gold-plated cash register to a wicker basket for a hot air balloon! I walked out of the store with a wooden shoe-form (something I've had on my wish list for months) and an early 1900s era photograph of a beautiful girl smiling. I didn't know they ever smiled in those old pictures.

While on our little jaunt, we discussed future business ideas and goals. Mom and I are the incorrigible entrepreneurs in our family; we can and do get excited about at least a dozen different ideas each week. The problem is choosing one to run with. I already know I've got Ruby Red in the works, but that doesn't stop me from sharing the vision for others!

Monday, March 06, 2006

fairy tales

Fairy tales. Worlds of magic and mystery and miracles exist in those tales. They beckon you to enter in and experience the wonder for yourself, all over again. When I was younger, I used to read the "Fairy Books"--those collections of tales that always featured a color. For instance, the "Blue Fairy Book," or the "Green Fairy Book." If you've read them or seen them, you know that they aren't about fairies who were blue or green, but named for the color of their covers. Inside the books would be tales of dwarves and singing barnyard animals and ogres and, yes, even fairies.

At times more gruesome at times than what Disney would portray (I don't remember Cinderella's step-sisters cutting off their heels or toes in order to fit the glass slipper in the movie, like they did in the book!), the stories presented an alternate world in which good was rewarded and evil was punished and words of wisdom were hidden among childhood tales. Reading them felt like how the world really should be.

I'm currently reading Keeping a Princess Heart: In a Not-So-Fairy-Tale World by Nicole Johnson. It's a new direction for me to head ... when I was very young, I did, indeed participate in skirt-twirling contests with my kindergarten friends, but when I reached the double digits (all 10 years of it!) I started to lose interest in bangles and ruffles and avoided the color pink at all costs. Slowly, but surely, I've begun regaining my inner lost girly-girl who somehow became jaded and guarded over the years.

But the book is not really about being a girly-girl and wearing a tiara on your head each day. Actually, it's more an allegorical reminder about how to keep the balance between dreams and reality--how not to lose hold of the beautiful hopes for the future while living in the frantic pace of the present, which, all things considered, is excellent advice for me and any other person who has big goals on hold.

So, in the spirit of my inner princess, I'm going to commit to doing something: I'm going to take at least 30 minutes this week to make some calls and talk to local printers for some general information on costs and procedures, and then I'm going to work on at least two actual designs for Ruby Red. And then I'm going to write a to-do list on this blog for additional practical steps towards realizing my own personal fairy tale--the one in which this princess not only spins straw into gold, but also beats Rumpelstiltskin at his own game and ends up making a profit in which to buy her own castle in which to live happily ever after "even when there ain't no prince" (to quote Joy Williams).

Thursday, March 02, 2006

ouch!!!

I'm sick again. I woke up with a pounding headache and sinus problems. Nothing new, really. As I've said before: I find nothing cute at all about my frequent battles with acute sinusitus.

So, because I know how this will go ... recurring episodes of the lovely little infection until I get rid of it once and for all ... I broke down and went to the Urgent Care clinic in town. He diagnosed me as predicted (I could have saved him the trouble and just told him what to prescribe me!).

He did something new, though. He had me get a shot for some instant anti-inflamatory relief, and then prescribed the normal 30-day dose of antibiotic horse pills, as well as a decongestant.

Healthcare in the US definitely is not cheap. I don't know how much I owe for the shot, since they won't send the bill for another couple of months, but hopefully my sickness and accident plan for my "health insurance policy" will cover 80% of it after the co-pay. As for the prescriptions; I'm hurting. The antibiotic alone cost me $110! That's ridiculous! My insurance plan is the bare minimum, so I didn't get a prescription card, hence, I only get a "discount", hence, I didn't get much of a "discount" at all. Grrrr.

Fortunately, I have just enough health insurance to provide a $15 co-pay for sick visits. Otherwise, that would have been another $140 on top of everything else.

If I didn't know that taking that much antibiotics will probably clear up my underlying skin issues (occasional outbreaks of zits), I would have to faint right about now. I guess I'm just going to look at it as preventative medicine so that I don't have to go the doctor again during hay-fever season, plus a "free" prescription from my "dermatologist."

national craft month

March is National Craft Month in the US and Make It! month in the UK.

I intend to celebrate by having my mom teach me to use her sewing machine (after at least 10 years of avoiding the thing), and by continuing to flit about with my crafty supplies to determine my favorite things to do on a free evening (not that I have that many!).

In other news ... yes, Ruby Red Design is actually coming along *gasp!*. I've got some things I'm looking into, and I would like to see that it is an actually business within the next six months--less, if I have my way! Up next is working on a busines plan, getting a business checking account (and putting some of my own money in it), work on designs (which means some major catch-up learning time in Illustrator and InDesign CS2!), and then licenses, wholesale supplier accounts, tax ID#, making contact with printers in the area, etc. I have a lead for a place to showcase my finished products in a boutique-style consignment shop. I'll look into the pros and cons of that in a little bit.

Otherwise, my over-active entrepreneurial imagination went in over-drive last night after sitting in my bed propped up with fluffy pillows and browsing the latest issue of Country Living magazine (love, love, love it! This month has an entire feature on female entrepreneurs!). There is also an article on creating a craft room and/or space for creativity. Ohh! I was so excited and inspired by what I saw. And then I thought ... wouldn't it be wonderful to own a tiny little boutique shop that sold craft supplies ... not those tired, mass-market, and sometimes-cheesy things at A.C.Moore or Hobby Lobby, but a sweet little place to browse to your heart's delight for antique buttons, vintage fabrics, adorable skeins of yarn, scraps of lace or ribbon, and ephemera galore? A place where you never find the same things twice, because the majority of it would be bits and pieces scouted out from flea markets, anitique shops, and grandma's attic? Wouldn't that be just so charming?! I might just have to meld that to Ruby Red somehow. I mean, I might not be able to make a quilt or knit a sweater, but I could sell these amazing little "finds" to other ladies who do!

*sigh* Oh, the businesses I could start if I just had the $$$. LOL!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

what comes next

I've been thinking a lot about reality lately. For instance, it is a reality that I need to stop blogging and head out the door within the next three minutes in order for me to get to work on time.

I think I've come to the conclusion that it is easy ... much too easy ... to get wrapped up in fantasy. Like thinking, "oh, I'll do it tomorrow," or "that will never happen to me," or "wouldn't it be wonderful if ..."

I guess anyone who's ever been successful has lived in reality: the whole past, present, and future of it.

Learn from the past, act in the present, and plan for the future. Pretty simple, huh? Except that I tend to get lost somewhere along the way. Doesn't really matter what's at stake. It could be eating healthily or losing weight or writing a book or serving the Lord or starting a business. What matters is what I do on a minute-to-minute basis to act on these goals.

So, what comes next?

I'll have to tell you later ... for now, I have to act in the reality that I have 8 minutes to get to work.