I finished the Seattle Gift Show on Tuesday (which is a 4-day long gift trade show, very slow, long 4 days), so instead of having a big birthday bash, I had dinner with some of my friends at my favorite Japanese restaurant, Nishino. A perfectly delicious and low-key celebration.
I enjoy getting older – I’ve grown to care less and less about what people think (or learn that people aren’t actually thinking about you 😀) as I get older. So freeing ✨
I don’t do anything extravagant but write Dave a little note to tell him how much I appreciate and love him ❤️
I’m in a more celebratory mood around this time of the year anyway because there is New Year’s holiday, and then Dave and my first date anniversary (11 years!), and my birthday (I’m turning 40 next week!!), and then Valentine’s Day tops it all off.
I know it’s a bit early for Valentine’s Day, but I’m so excited to share my new Valentine’s Day card and notepad with you!
Aren’t they so ADORABLE? 😍
You can order your Secret Garden Bird Notepad here and the Secret Garden Bird Valentine’s Day Card here.
2018 is the Year of the Dog. I had a great fun drawing these cute doggies in sweaters 🐶
New Year’s is the biggest holiday in Japan, and everything shuts down between January 1st and the 3rd. Though I’ve lived in the states for almost 22 years now, I still observe it and take a break in the beginning of the year.
On New Year’s Day, Dave and I usually take a long walk if the weather is nice, eat mochi (rice cake) soup to warm up, and be lazy and enjoy relaxing together.
Everything feels sacred to me in the beginning of the year. It gives me a pause to think about what I want this year to be. I take the time to appreciate everything I have in my life.
One of the many things I appreciate in my life is, of course, YOU! I could not do this without your support, so thank you for being interested in what I do and supporting my work❤️
Do you have a ritual or tradition for New Year’s holiday? Tell me in comments 😊
Here is to a whole new year filled with love, joy, and creativity!
My mini sabbatical was last week. Or I should I say, it was supposed to be.
This is by far the busiest time of the year for me with the holiday fairs and events. I wasn’t sure if I should be taking my sabbatical this time especially because I had a big double header craft shows on the weekend.
I tried to tie all the loose ends the week before so I could still enjoy my time off, but it just wasn’t feasible. I also had two events the weekend before, so essentially preparing for 4 shows in one week was not realistic.
So instead, I let go of the idea of having a complete time off and prepared as best as I could the week before so the week leading up to my biggest craft shows wasn’t as stressful.
Here are some things that helped me:
1. I created and scheduled contents ahead of time.
I used to be a lot better about scheduling my contents (blog, newsletter, social media posts etc.) ahead of time, but it’s been slipping a little bit.
So, the couple of weeks leading up to my sabbatical week, I focused more time and energy on having enough contents scheduled so I didn’t have to worry about it during and after the sabbatical. I knew I’d need a little buffer after I finished the big shows to recover.
2. I didn’t schedule anything other than prepping for the shows.
No deadlines, no producing new work, and no outreach to potential retail shops.
Knowing I could only focus on one thing – to prep and pack up for the shows – gave me the mental space to be more present.
3. I asked for help.
If you’ve done any arts & craft shows before, you know it’s A LOT OF WORK. Naturally, I was freaking out about the volume of work that needed to be prepped for two big shows at once.
I am very fortunate to have a super supportive husband. When Dave sees that I’m stressed out, he’s always there to help out.
He did a chunk of preparation work, like folding notecards, stuffing them in sleeves, packing them in boxes, putting labels on them etc. etc.
I honestly don’t know what I’d done without his help!!
On the side note, I should’ve kept track of how many hours he spent helping me so I have a better idea if/when I decide to hire someone to help me out in the future.
4. I slept more.
I usually wake up at around 5:15 to meditate and do some writing in the morning.
But during my sabbatical, I set my Sleep Cycle app around 6 or not set the alarm at all so I could catch extra sleep. I’d already scheduled all of my contents beforehand, so I could take a break from my early morning daily writing.
It doesn’t seem like much of “sleeping in” to you, but extra 15-30 minutes of sleep does wonders for you! I definitely felt more rested and relaxed during the week.
I’m happy to say my two big shows went really well.
And If you were wondering how I managed to be at two shows on the same weekend – I didn’t 😀
I sent my sweet husband, Dave, to do the other one. He’d never done any shows before, yet he did SO well!!
So well in fact I wish he could do all my shows in the future (He declined. Sad.)
I have a couple more busy weekends ahead of me, so I’m continuing to not schedule anything big during the weekdays.
After all, I do want to enjoy the magic of the holiday season, too, you know?
A perfectionist part of me was thinking “if I couldn’t take my sabbatical week off the way it was supposed to be (i.e. not working ), I should just work as usual and take a time off when the holiday rush is over.”
But I’m glad I ended up taking a little bit of a breather.
After all, running a business is like a marathon, not a sprint (although it may feel like one sometimes 😬), and the last thing you want is a burnout.
I’m trying to take a deep breath, trying to focus on one thing at a time, listening to what my body needs, and doing my best to stay well mentally and physically for the rest of my busy season.
If you feel overwhelmed with all the holiday crazy-ness and feel you don’t have time for self-care, that’s when you need it the most.
Pause, breathe, and do something that helps you stay present and grounded today.