Time Blocking, Systems Not Goals and Rumors of a Kitchen Remodel

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This is sort of a placeholder post while I get over a nasty sinus infection. This one has really taken me down. You never really realize how easy your life is until it’s not. But I don’t need anyone to worry about me being sick. I’m sure I’m on the mend. Antibiotics have been prescribed and I’m getting plenty of sleep and taking care of myself. And of course all my loved ones are taking care of me too so I am very spoiled in that aspect. They say relationships can help you live longer and I am very happy that I’ve got some really important ones that keep me going healthily.

I thought I’d take this moment to talk about a few things on my mind.

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately and I somehow fell upon the skinny confidential which is probably not a good fit for me since I am a decade-and-a-half older than them and I will never hope to be a famous instagram model or influencer… but it’s been really interesting to listen to thirty-somethings give me advice on business and life. There is a lot to be learned in between bare naked cucumber jokes and skin care commercials.  I really am impressed with their work ethic and not that I hope to become as crazy busy successful as they are but I’m subscribing to a few things here and there.

  1. time blocking
  2. systems not goals

 

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I tried out the time-blocking trick right away and the type A part of my personality loved it.  I created a google calendar so full of blocks I can’t even find my regular appointments and special dates. But it has helped me stay on track and more importantly realize where I’m losing time. Payam commented the other day that I punctuate my day with house-cleaning when I need to think. I do! This is a handy habit for a clean house but when I’m supposed to be focusing on work, I am not. It’s a real challenge to force myself to leave a sink full of dishes and go sit at my desk and think or blog or come up with new craft post ideas, self promote or, gasp, learn a new skill! Ugh. I hate teaching myself new skills. I have Learning Curvitus.

The systems not goals idea was a new one for me and of course I’m applying it to my ongoing war on weight gain aka genetics. I always go on diets and calorie track and then sabotage myself immediately, as if I get some kind of pleasure out of doing the exact opposite of my original goals. It’s like there is a rebel inside me who’s says, “Oh Yeah? You think you want to lose 20 pounds? Hah!  Let’s go eat something in secret. It tastes better when nobody is looking. Bwahahahahaa!”

So maybe if I stop making diet such a big thing and just make it a daily system, I’ll stop letting out this inner rebel. I don’t know. I’m skeptical. But it seems like a good plan. Sometimes you just have to look at things from a different angle. You know?

I’m sure I’ll find more meaningful tips as I go on with these podcasts. I’m on podcast number 20-something of hundreds. (!) And that’s only one feed. There are billions more!!  Podcastsing is an interesting medium. Too bad it’s already saturated. I can see Bug and I coming up with a really fun broadcast. Maybe someday we will. If she doesn’t invent her own medium first. She’s been using google docs to tell animated fan fiction stories set to music. It seems like such a backwards way to do something but it works and it’s creative so I’m standing back and letting her do her thing.

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Basically I’ve been listening to all these podcasts and thinking a lot about my future as a business and an artist. I’ve been looking at the numbers too and realizing that I am more successful at illustrating than I’ll ever be at blogging, content creating or even graphic design. It’s funny, I didn’t expect it to be this way. I’ll never give up blogging or content creating but it’s putting a weird spin on my brand. I’ve always felt so strongly about photography. Does this mean I need to replace all my pretty pictures with illustrated cartoons? Half the time I don’t even like my silly vector creations. So I’m chewing on that. Maybe I need a life coach to help me navigate. Maybe I need to poll my hundred readers (who are also customers and I love you so much for sticking with me all these years!!!)…

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But speaking of pretty pictures…. Don’t you love these dying peonies? In life they are amazeballs but even in death they take my breath away.

We have this old ratty dining room table that is stained a dark espresso brown. It was a nice table when I moved in but I’ve done about a thousand crafts on it and now it is covered with nicks and scratches. Payam wants to refinish it but I don’t want him to. I need a ratty table. I can’t have nice things because I use them to their full potential until they are gasping their last gasps. (You should see my camera. It’s totally covered in paint and flour and barely works.) I need a beat-up table so I can be free to spill paint on it and cut on it and not worry about the fancy finish. So far I’m winning on this table issue but someday I’ll probably have to move my crafting to another room.

I bring it up because this ratty old table is the perfect backdrop to these fading petals. I love the contrast. I don’t even see the scratches and if I did I’d probably like them. There is so much charm and patina to this old table that has seen a thousand crafts and a thousand more family dinners. I love this table. It’s almost like the more worn it is the more loved it is.

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I was so in love with these peony photos that I took on our old ratty table that I day-dreamed for a week or two about getting one of them turned into a canvas. The problem is turning a print into a 42×70-something inch canvas is a whole lotta EXPENSIVE! Like super expensive. I even mocked it up I was so in love with the idea:

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(Ignore all the clutter on the buffet table. I would of course clear all that off if I had a big print there and replace it with more subtle clutter.) I hemmed and hawed and Payam even thought about buying it for me for a birthday present BUT then Payam mentioned that we might be ready for a KITCHEN REMODEL! Wha-wha-what?!! Did you hear that right?

Yes, you did. So maybe there won’t be a wall where I want that print to be. In that case I’ll just shelf the whole silly giant print idea because a kitchen remodel trumps everything. Of course this won’t happen for a really long time and I’ll be cooking on a hot plate in the garage and up to my ears in dust but I am really excited to be part of it. Pinterest boards have commenced.

Before I go I thought I’d share my latest desktop. Download HERE.

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And HERE it is without words! :)

xoxo!

Candytopia and the Great Instagrammable Adventure

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I wrote this whole post about my conflicted reasoning for letting my kids use instagram before they are thirteen and it was pathetic. It was definitely a trying-too-hard-to-justify-my actions sort of post. So I’m deleting it and I’m just going to talk about the fun of hanging out with your kids in this crazy whacky place called Candytopia. Thankfully this blog is not really on anybody’s radar anymore so I’ll probably squeak by without anyone noticing! Phew!SAJ-and-kids-go-to-Candytopia-2

Candytopia is a fun little pop-up museum dedicated to all things candy. They had some trouble getting it off the ground in the beginning. Some compliance issues with the city etc.. so they moved locations and things are a little worn around the edges because of that but it’s still well worth a trip if you are in the neighborhood.  It’s located in the Santa Monica mall, sort of like one of those seasonal Halloween costume shops but a whole lot more interesting and pretty big. I’d say there are just enough rooms and things to look at to justify the twenty-six dollar ticket price. Just barely.SAJ-and-kids-go-to-Candytopia-3

We mugged and we posed. We acted like instagram fools. Payam rolled his eyes and held our stuff so we could “have a moment” and then another moment and then fifty more moments just like that one to make sure we smiled just right.

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I’m probably the first one to roll my eyes when I see another picture of someone rolling around in a pool full of sprinkles on Instagram but you know what? It IS fun! You should go and you will have fun too! Candytopia is a blast. It’s a super fun museum of rooms to take whacky pictures in. Nobody shames you because the rooms were built for that sole purpose. The staff even encourages you to take photos and will even help you get a better shot.

Photography is such a wonderful medium to express yourself. Like any medium, it will be different from person to person. You can all take pictures in the same exact rooms of the same exact weird candy sculpture but nobody’s picture will be exactly the same.

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I say embrace it. Stop worrying about being a lemming. Sometimes things become weirdly popular because they really are fun.SAJ-and-kids-go-to-Candytopia-6

If your kids are into it, then maybe this is something you can do together. You could hike to Zion and stand in line to see the Narrows behind three troops of boy scouts. That’s the sad thing about social media these days, you find something cool, you share it and then everyone mobs it until it’s not fun anymore.SAJ-and-kids-go-to-Candytopia-7

The nice thing about Candytopia is that it wasn’t too mobbed. I think the millennials have already been there, done that and discarded it. Which makes it perfect for me. Still cool. Still super fun and hey, something fun to do with your kids.

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Don’t we all need new interesting avatar shots? Yes, yes we do.

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We had a blast.  I just spent several hours with my kids laughing and nobody was whining or complaining or checking out. They were very much checked in. We all were! I mean, Free candy! Whacky things to walk around and interact with! What’s not to love?

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We grabbed the ribbon wands and stood in front of the wind machine like real models surfing on rainbow covered surfboards. It was all those photo shoots I’ve wondered about within easy access.SAJ-goes-to-Candytopia-11

The piece de resistance was the marshmallow pit!!! I would pay thirty bucks just to do that again easily. It was hilarious!! I don’t think I remember the last time I fell into a ball pit and worked my core muscles so much. It was so hard! Then add not wanting to lose your phone or jewelry to the bottom of the pit and that made it even more challenging. We laughed, we jumped, we swam, we filmed instagram stories…. It was amazing.

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You might be wondering if they are real marshmallows. They are not. Thankfully, because that would be a bit of a sticky situation. The marshmallows were actually a stiff but squishy foam and I totally wanted to steal some. I didn’t. But I have been thinking on it and wondering if I could come up with some kind of similar material because how fun would that be for a craft? I’ll be perking on that idea for a while.

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After Candytopia we hit Third Street Promenade. We had lunch at the best taco place ever (BP Tacos which totally stands for Brenda Ponnay, wink wink) and then walked down the pier.

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It was a cold, windy day but still beautiful. The skies were so blue. I’ve been to Santa Monica many times but never taken my kids there. We didn’t ride any rides but we walked and walked and thoroughly enjoyed our day out. It definitely made the hour-and-a-half drive more worth it.

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What else can I say? I’ll leave the kids and instagram debate for another time. I think we had a great time and that’s enough reason to post these pictures.

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Fun activities together are never a bad idea. Fun activities with phones…I’ll just plead guilty.