Category Archives: self-care

How to Get Inspired by What You Eat

I love to eat. And I love to draw what I eat! Surprise!

One of the creative business podcasts I listen to is Seanwes podcast, and he said in one of the episodes that to grow an audience, you need to curate what you share.

He says if you’re an illustrator, don’t be posting a bunch of pictures of your lunch. Instead, you should be drawing it!

That advice stuck with me, and I only shared the drawings of what I ate on Honeyberry Studios’ social media accounts for a long time. (I do share a ton of food photos on my personal account, though!)

I noticed as I made more drawings of food, I became more connected with what I ate.

When you draw what you eat, you take the time to notice the details of what’s on your plate. The ingredients, steps you took to prepare them, the texture, the aroma, the portion of your meal, and of course, the happiness you feel on your tastebuds.

On top of that, food journaling automatically gives you something to draw!

No more staring at the blank page when you’re feeling un-creative 😀 You do eat something every day, don’t you?

Here are some of my more recent food drawings:

vegetable sticks and peanut butter illustration

Veggie sticks and peanut butter. A simple and satisfying snack idea!

zucchini pasta with creamy avocado sauce with salmon with vegan walnut pesto illustration
Zucchini pasta with creamy avocado sauce and salmon with vegan walnut pesto. What a refreshing and tasty lunch!

BTW, you can check out the illustrated recipe for the zucchini pasta with creamy avocado sauce here 🙂

Japanese breakfast kale natto miso rice illustration
I have these phases where all I want to eat is Japanese food. All. the. time. Here is one simple meal I enjoyed the other day.
Oh, this Avocado Chocolate Pudding is so decadent and amazing...!!
Oh, this Avocado Chocolate Pudding is so decadent and amazing…!! My dairy-loving husband approves, too.

Oh man, these drawings are making me hungry… 😀 I better go feed myself now!

Do you want to learn how to create your own food journal? I created a tutorial for Sakura of America and you can watch it on their YouTube channel here.

Eat well and happy creating, my friend! xo

Yuko

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

Taking a time off when you’re swamped

{Hi friend – I just wanted to acknowledge that this has been a rough week for many of us… I happen to write this post about self-care (or sort of a failed attempt at one) and hope it helps you in some ways. Know I’ve been thinking about you <3}

I just took my mini sabbatical week off during the first week of November, and it was not easy.

(If you’re not familiar with the mini sabbatical, I take every 7th week off to rest and recharge. I adapted the concept from Seanwes. It’s pretty much the best, and you should totally do it, too!)

I’ve been taking my sabbatical week off since last October, and since it’s a regular thing, I put it on my calendar in advance. And it helps me to not schedule any deadlines or client work during that time.

My mini sabbaticals force me to be more productive during my “on” weeks. Since you are taking a week off every 7 weeks (so 6 weeks on, 1 week off) you’re forced to get 7-weeks worth of work done in 6 weeks. I remember being super productive right before I left for a vacation at my old day job, and it’s a very similar feeling.

For this sabbatical, even though I knew it was coming, I didn’t plan well enough in advance so everything was behind.

First of all, I had to prepare for my winter holiday stationery collection release that was scheduled for November 1st.

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Yay, it’s here!
I was already behind getting everything ready for it due to planned and unplanned events this summer/fall – I swore last year I was going to start getting the holiday collection ready earlier in the summer – well, now I’m telling myself I need to start planning for next year’s collection, like, NOW. Sigh.

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I seem to need a reminder for the lesson #1 above, “Everything takes way longer than you think.” over and over….and over. Note to self: Always expect things will take longer. Things will go wrong. Schedule buffer!!! 

(BTW, who said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”? I do feel a little crazy going through this yet again!!!)

On top of that, my really good friend from Japan was visiting last week. So I had to juggle my collection launch timeline and hanging out with her for several days. Eeeek!

Although I had to bow out of some of the social engagements so I could finish work, we did manage to do some fun things together, like visiting the Seattle Art Museum to check out their Yves Saint Laurent exhibit (it was exquisite!), visiting my American parents on Camano Island, seeing our mutual friends, and taking a day trip to Portland.

And, I taught my block printing class on the last day of my sabbatical.

Honestly I was feeling so run down and tired that I didn’t feel like I was on my A game, but the students seemed to have a great time and did a wonderful job! Seeing how much fun my students had during the class always lifts up my spirit ❤

Look at their gorgeous work!!
Look at their gorgeous work!!
My sabbatical was not the most relaxing or rejuvenating, and I’m definitely feeling a little burned-out.

For example, it takes more to get and stay motivated. I’m tired and can’t stay focused on my tasks. I’m feeling low energy in general. The grey weather and daylight saving time change are not helping either! Not to mention the election… OK, I can’t go there, yet 😦

Holiday time is not the most relaxing fun time for a small creative business owner (or anyone? :D), and I really need to be more vigilant about self-care.

I need to listen to my body and be compassionate with myself. Giving myself permission to slow down or change my plans, especially during my hustle time, is still one of the hardest things!!

To recover from my not-so-relaxing sabbatical week :D, I’ve been taking things a little easy this week. I’m getting back in my regular routine of early bedtime (I try to go to bed by 9:30pm), cooking and eating more at home, and limiting my social engagements so I can just stay home and enjoy my alone time. I don’t know if it’s the age thing, but I seem to need a lot more down time than I used to to recover from stuff! 😀

Unfortunately, you can’t just batch your self-care all at once during your time off every 7 weeks.

Taking care of yourself in small doses every day really makes a difference! And, incorporating your small self-care habits into your daily routine is the key to success 🙂 Once you build a habit, it just becomes something you do, like brushing your teeth or washing your face!

I hope you take good care of yourself and stay well, my friend ❤

xo Yuko

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

 

 

 

 

Lessons learned from my not-so-restful sabbatical week

I took my sabbatical week off during the week of 8/1. (You can learn more about my small scale sabbaticals here.)

I was supposed to take it off the week before, but I had so much to do, so I decided to push it back one week.

The week before I’d originally planned to take my week off, I was planning on making 4 tutorial videos for Sakura of America, and it took a lot longer than I anticipated (duh!)

And at the last minute I was invited to be at a craft show, and I agreed, so I spent hours preparing for the show at the same time.

It became obvious to me that I wasn’t going to finish the video project and tie all the loose ends before the end of the week. 

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Rather than doing a “half-on, half-off” sabbatical week, I decided to push it back one week so I could finish everything and fully enjoy my time off the following week.

Or so I thought.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to tie all the loose ends by the end of that additional week, so some work did spill over to my sabbatical week. Sad face 😦

I’d put in long hours the week before and worked the craft show all day Saturday 7/30, so I was really wired going into my week off.

Ballard craft show booth
My booth at the show 🙂
Ballard p-patch
And it was a gorgeous day to be outside!

Plus my husband Dave had been away for 2 and a half weeks for work and came back on late Saturday 7/30 night. Originally, he was going to come home on Sunday 8/1, so it threw me off the loop.

And whenever he comes home late, I go to bed at my normal bed time but just can’t fall asleep until he gets home…

As an introvert, even though I love and miss my husband very much while he’s gone, I also enjoy my quiet alone time. And it usually takes me a few days to adjust to having him around again.

Oh, and we had a couple of guests stay over at our place with kind of a short notice… and I’d already scheduled my social time with some friends that week (Max 3 social engagements per week!). So I ended up having a bit more people time than I’d wanted.

salad temaki bar
We hosted a hand-roll salad bar one night, and it was fun and delicious…

Even though I generally have a good time when I’m with friends, I prefer to have them scheduled in advance and need to have a good amount of down time in between to recharge.

And as for work, I got an inquiry from a customer who wanted to place a big rush order of my block printed tote bags on the first day of my sabbatical week.

hand block printed artichoke tote bag
My hand block printed artichoke tote. Cute, yes?

Initially, I said no because there was no way I could have the goods ready within the timeline, but the customer was really interested in working with me.

So I tried to make it work by having them screen printed rather than me hand printing them. And that meant a lot of back and forth with the print shops and the customer throughout the week…

After all, the customer decided not to place the order because the timeline didn’t work for them. Which was fine, but I couldn’t relax completely until all the loops were closed… 

I also have a new class to promote, followed up with people who’d just signed up for my email list, and Instagram just rolled out their Snapchat thingy (a.k.a. Instagram Story) and I got embroiled in that too!!

The Seafair, which is a big summer festival in Seattle, was going on during my sabbatical week, and we live very close to where the Blue Angels perform. Their performance is cool and all, but the noise is totally unbearable. It is SO LOUD.

Oh, Blue Angels... Only if you were quieter...
Oh, Blue Angels… Only if you were quieter… Photo credit: Monica Zaborac

So on Saturday, I tagged along Dave’s teaching gig at a university to get away from home. They had a pretty loose, hands-on day for his class, and I got to hang out with Dave part of the day and read, too.

Olympic Sculpture Park
And I went for a walk in the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle waterfront with a good friend 🙂

On Sunday, I ended up doing chores and went to see a movie (BTW, loved the new Ghostbusters movie!!) to get away from the Blue Angels noise again… 😀

I LOLd so much!
I LOLd so much!! 😀

Before you know it, my sabbatical week was over. O.V.E.R. Sigh.

It wasn’t the most relaxing week off, and I was pretty bummed about it.

Self-care is a top priority of mine, and not having a regular down time is pretty hard on me. When I can’t get enough rest, I try to breathe and be more compassionate with myself. I do what I can to take care of myself and just accept the things for what they are.

With that being said, I did spend some time reading. I’ve been reading “The Highly Sensitive Person in Love” by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D., and it’s fascinating! (In case you missed it, I talked about my Highly Sensitive nature in this post.) I love exploring my inner world… ❤

The Highly Sensitive Person in Love book cover
This!

I also made some art for fun during my sabbatical week.

Dahlias marker drawing
Dahlias with Sakura Koi pens, micron pen, and a gellyroll pen.

These dahlias were inspired by the beautiful community garden I was at for the craft show ❤

I also got to spend more time with Dave than usual and slept more (including naps!) so I’m more refreshed to start my work week.

I’ve got a couple of trips coming up this summer, too, so even though I didn’t get a full time off last week, I’m glad some important work got done! It’s a balance, I guess…

Hope you’re getting some relaxing on this summer!

xo Yuko

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot