The pleasantries of the unexpected

I’m Soiree, not sorry
Celebrating, unapologetically

The pleasantries of the unexpected

On my desk was an unexpected, (but pleasant )surprise. The best gestures are the ones that are done “just because”; when there’s no ulterior motivations behind the  gesture. In this day in age, where skepticism and doubt is almost the norm, it is sometimes hard to fathom that there are just genuine, kind souls that actually do exist. But the one thing my heart is opening up to more, especially now that I am trying to at least be cognizant, and ideally practice a daily act of ‘paying it forward’ , the more my mind is opening up to the idea that maybe there are all sorts of genuine acts happening all the time, if only I open up my eyes to see them.
The unexpected piece of knowledge that is starting to unfold within this #soireeprojectgrowth, is that there is soooooo much good in this world,….and that there is so much good to give;  & there are sooo many people doing good things for us all the time,…and yet they can often go unnoticed when our blinders are constantly focused and immersed in the non-stop, go-go-go of today’s cultural pace.

It’s not about seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses, it’s about seeing the world (and people) at face value for what they truly are.
I challenge you to find those unexpected pleasantries,…because maybe, just maybe, you will then realize how present “the good” is in your life (whatever that “good in your life is”); & how that goodness  can multiply exponentially.

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The Bucket List

I’m Soiree, not sorry                                     Celebrating, unapologetically 

The bucket list

We all have a bucket list. It’s a list of all the things one wants to accomplish during the span of one’s lifetime. It’s  funny how experiencing a death of a loved one expedites your desire to get those items on your bucket list checked off.
One thing that is beginning to materialize these past few weeks, is that these bucket list items don’t have to be grand at all.
I am truly finding solace in finding at least one thing to be grateful for; or trying to find at least one way to pay it forward to ignite a random act of kindness; or identifying at least personal strength of mine. And the more I’m consistent with implementing these practices, the clearer it becomes to me that daily mindfulness practices such as these is essential. Maybe I had the idea of bucket list all wrong before. I always thought of bucket list items as large grand event occurrences ( ie. hike Mount Everest). Maybe if we see our bucket list as everyday, acts of kindness & gratitude, then maybe we will find a richness in our daily. Maybe if we shifted our expectations of our bucket list checklist as those beautiful, but often too rare, wondrous life moments, then maybe,…just maybe…..life won’t be that monotonous rigmarole pace we often complain about.

Opportunities a #girlboss sees, she shall seize

 

Boss: Know no bounds

(the blog for the aspiring novice entrepreneur boss)

Opportunities a #girlboss sees, she shall seize

I read a quote earlier in the week on the Forbes Instagram. “The opportunity of a lifetime needs to be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity”- Leonard Ravenhill.

So beautiful, & so true. Have you ever hummed & hawed on a proposition that was asked of you? That hesitation, perhaps, was some reservation you had about whether or not you would be able to manage a new project. Or perhaps it was the paralyzing fear that tends to come in tandem with new territory. I have been here many times before, only to learn that by the time I was ready say yes & take on the new challenge (which could vary from a few hours, days, or weeks), those opportunities & moments had already gone me by.

Just like milk or bread, opportunities have an expiration date, or shall I say, a shelf life. Given my experience, both as an aspiring girlboss & in my personal life, I’ve learnt that when something good comes your way, you jump on board…and figure out the details later on.

True story: I have one day off from the work week from my main gig. Reality is…that one ‘day off’ really has not been spent as a day off. I am constantly ‘hustling’ on my day off, whether it is taking a course/ attending a class, responding to emails, finalizing craft orders. I feel like I am busier than ever compared to when I was a full-timer at my main gig. One thing that has become truly apparent in the entrepreneurial business, is that each minute counts & that time needs to be maximized. Having your small business requires more time & energy than a traditional ‘nine to fiver’. If you want something, take it like you own it. Once it’s yours, you will have the time to figure out the details later on I can ascertain some of my successes to the fact that I am often the first one to say yes to project proposals without necessarily always having a concrete plan in place  at that given moment. With that being said, a lot of work must be put in after you have seized that opportunity.

So back to my original message, “opportunities that a #girlboss sees, she shall seize”, it’s really about grabbing the bull by the horns & owning it when it crosses your path, because it won’t always be there. All it takes is a few moments before someone else snags something that could’ve been yours….& wouldn’t that suck! Here are some tips that have aided me when I’ve seized the opportunities & needed to figure out ‘now how the heck do I execute what I’ve committed to?”

Expectations: Set specific expectations with the other party (if applicable) & confirm details on the product they are expecting from you. In my line of work, I do custom work, therefore rarely is there any duplication of items. I spend a lot of time confirming & re-confirming orders.

Time frames– deadlines, delivery pick ups, dates of parties, all dates to be specifically set up. A big part of this is also allocating an appropriate timeframe for you to execute your project & ensure there is ample time for it all to materialize.

Progress pics & update reports- I love sending progress photos to clients. I find it helps build rapport with customers; & gets them really excited. Heck, it gets me excited too! As we know, excitement builds momentum.

Consistency- Having a consistent time work schedule of when tasks will be executed & completed helps with the momentum of a project. Consistency also allow you to ensure you get the work done. Trust me, you will encounter issues & unexpected pitfalls.  Consistency & persistence becomes even more essential when these curve balls come your way.

DO NOT underestimate your own amazing-ness This is a biggie. In times of uncertainty & when pursuing some thing new, it is all too easy to get caught up in self-doubt. When that tiny voice of uncertainty begins to chime in, tell that voice it is unwelcome….& continue on with your day. Just remember, you are amazing….and others know it too!! That is exactly why you were chosen amongst the rest at what you do.

The last point is the most pertinent of all. You are amazing! & you deserve all the great opportunities that come your way. They don’t call you (girlboss) boss for nothing.

Yours truly,

SoireeFrillsCo.

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Boss-in-training: No-no bounds

(The blog for my growing girls, who I strive to raise strong fierce ladies & soon-to-be bosses. The ‘don’ts’, followed by the ‘dos’).

Embrace the fear

Dear Elle & Enne,

Never let fear or uncertainty stop you from doing something great.

Earlier last week was a pretty big milestone for you Elle. You started kindergarten, your start of an embarkment of a new adventure in the education system. That first day, you wanted me to stay the whole day (I’m sure, in part, because I made it to be such a big deal) & squeezed my hand a little bit harder when it was time for me to let go.

I told you that today was going to be a great day, and that you needed to find that “great” thing without mommy there. That day, I was so thankful you didn’t cry (because honestly, I think the insides of my heart was doing a mini cry because I was unexpectedly struggling with this transition). Kudos to you Elle.

And for you Enne, this was a transition for you. Since you saw your sister wearing her ‘big girl kindergarten’ outfit, you also insisted wearing a backpack too. And you also insisted on having your photo taken as well.

Don’t let scary changes stop you. Embrace all things that can be fearful, for it is in fear do we experience growth. Opportunities tend to be looming in places where people are brave enough to explore. Someone once told me to be the ‘trailblazer’ in initiating a trend (fine! This is literally in instances pertaining starting a food fine). Elle & Enne, my wish for you is to be that trailblazer. Zoom, off you go.

Love,

Mom

Own it, Unapologetically

Boss: Know no bounds

(The blog for the aspiring novice entrepreneur boss)

Own it, Unapologetically

After a lengthy hiatus from the blogosphere, I feel rejuvenated & ready to tackle what may come. I did tons of reflection over these past few months. That period of time was much needed. As they say, distance makes the heart grow fonder. And when you’ve been away for some time, you really get to find out who you are, who you wanna be, & how badly you want something. I also believe that intermittent periods of soul searching is cleansing for your inner self. And this time away has re-enforced that I want to continue to pursue this side hustle passion of mine.   With that being said, one thing that was truly emphasized these past months is that to be your own boss, sometimes that means standing your ground & owning up to what exactly it is that makes you ….YOU.

This means owning up to your likes, your dislikes, what grinds your gears, what enlightens you, how you do things, & how you like things done. In the last 3 decades of my life, life experience has taught me this: many peeps love giving unsolicited advice. People will tell you (deliberately I may add) how things SHOULD be done, how things SHOULD operate, what isn’t good, and & how things SHOULDN’T be. It has taken me almost more than 30 years to be able to internalize my thoughts of “Just eat it” to outwardly saying something more respectable such as “that’s not how I see it” to get my point across.

In celebration of being your own boss, some pointers of “owning it” is recognizing your quirks, eccentricities, & preferences. In a nutshell, everything about you is what makes up your brand in your small business, & that is important to recognize.

Here are some things that make me, ME; & what makes up SoireeFrillsCo. , the small business that it is today. (The following content frankly reminds me of a high school yearbook entry,…but I loooove high school yearbooks). On a side note, you may find the following content annoying; which in that case, you can choose to discontinue reading (just saying).

Believer in:  Unicorn & rainbows, coffee- then life

Lover of: cheesy musicals, burgers with goat cheese, breakfast all day, coffee, cheesy puns

Reality morning ritual: running late, coffee deprived, music blaring in the car

GOALS morning ritual: coffee & podcasts, with a side of crafting & mindfulness

FAVE colour schematics for both fashion & décor: Colourful, bright, mismatched, geometric, oversized

FAVE fashion items: Denim, jackets, fashion (fake) glasses, patches, oversized accessories

What grinds my gears: People who don’t follow through; weak coffee, pessimism

Things that motivate me: Other #girlbosses, my kids, criticism

Why I craft: my therapy, it fuels me, I love being part of people’s celebrations through my creations

I own way too many: journals/ planners, (sun)glasses, & stamps

Girl jammers: Taylor Swift, Gwen Stafani, Beyonce, Katy Perry

Boy jammers: The Chainsmokers, Maroon Five, Daryl Ong, Pharrell Williams

Guilty pleasure: I love watching Asian TV drama series (And yes, I do talk & scream at the TV; and ask way too many questions- according to my hubby)

5 Personal attributes:

i) I am a night owl; & love my ‘me-time’ to craft & conjure up new ideas when the rest of my world is sleeping

ii) I love vintage; which is why I love garage sales & thrifting

iii) I am not afraid to do things alone; & quite frankly, I prefer to do most things solo

iv) I see myself as a free spirited bird

v) I am messy, but I can find anything in my mess. And don’t you dare touch my piles!

Boom. I said it. I own it. & I’m not apologizing for any of the above.

The bottom line, my friends, is that the more you are comfortable with who you are, the more you will be able to stand your ground, especially in moments when others will question you/ challenge you/ disagree with you/ or will frankly just tell you that you just don’t cut it. You define you; & your business.

The secret in this line of business of being your own boss is this: the more real & honest you are, especially with yourself, the simpler & more enjoyable life can be, no apologies necessary. OWN IT! As Flo Rida says, “Welcome to my house”.

Yours truly,

SoireeFrillsCo.

Boss-in-training: No-no bounds

(The blog for my growing girls, who I strive to raise strong fierce ladies & soon-to-be-bosses. The ‘don’ts, followed by the ‘do’s’).

 Soiree Not Sorry

Never apologize for wanting to celebrate. Everyday successes are meant to be acknowledged & celebrated. Don’t let other’s pessimism minimize the importance of the joy each day can bring. A few months ago, I heard a few adults complaining about how we now live in a culture that goes over the top for birthdays.  & then they continued to jibber jabber about how “back in the day, all I had was a birthday cake & candle; & that’s all I needed to make me happy….not this orchestra of balloons & backdrops…YADDA YADDA….” & this conversation went on for the next 10 minutes (which by the way, is 10 minutes of  narrow-minded negativity I will never get back). While I understand that today’s culture presents a different type of pressure for this younger generation of parents , newlyweds, & celebrants of all sorts, there is no need to be harsh about other’s people’s choices & lifestyle preferences. But that latter thought got me thinking (no need to be harsh about other’s people’s choices & lifestyle preferences) Who am I to judge if other people are going to be judgy?? Heck, even I can be judgmental… & as this blog post indicates, we all have ideations & opinions; & we can’t help it if they may be vastly different than the person sitting next to you. Maybe the point of it all is that people will have varying perspectives, but that doesn’t mean you have to change anything about how you feel. This is where this blog post topic resonated: SOIREE, NOT SORRY.

Celebrate big. Celebrate small. Celebrate in any way your inner self desires. Celebrate those main holidays & your birthdays; but also celebrate the days in between. Holidays & birthdays are so far in between that if you waited around for just those celebrations, you would be spending more days in a robotic state of fashion.

Elle & Enne, you know those occasional mornings we sleep in, watch music videos, & dance like maniacs in the living room in our PJs? You should be able to do that, even when it isn’t your birthday. You want to have a Trolls themed birthday party with lots of sprinkles on your birthday cake? Done. You want to go to the zoo & have a picnic at the playground just because it’s finally sunny? Okay, let’s do it! You wanna wear glow in the gear before bedtime just because? Right on. Never let anyone tell you that those are ridiculus ideas.

Don’t let others make you feel inferior to wanting to celebrate. Live, love, & laugh. Soiree it up (which by the way, doesn’t necessarily needing a hefty wallet). Everyone wants happiness; and that my girls is my wish for you;…to live large & be happy, frills & all, without having to apologize to  pursue what makes your heart happy. I will 100% always be there to celebrate in any way you like. Lucky for you, I love making party décor & all that frilly stuff.

Love,

Mom

 

Celebrate each moment like it’s yo’ birthday

Boss: Know no bounds

(The blog for the aspiring novice entrepreneur boss)

Celebrate each moment like it’s yo birthday

The whole focal point of my small business is celebrating those special moments, both big and small. I am a big advocate for celebrations of all sorts of achievements & milestones.

For me, it goes hand in hand with the notion of being in the present moment, the here and now.

In this day and age, there is a day celebrating each type of imaginable event, food item, or activity that you can think of. Just the other week, it was National Unicorn Day (which by the way, I am slightly obsessed with unicorns); & I cannot wait till National Coffee Day, Running Day, or Burger Day.

Are celebrations cliché? Maybe. But what I love about celebrations is that it allows one to reflect on the accomplishments of that particular celebration. And course, gives a platform and reason say ‘cheers’ & ‘hip hip hooray’.

As I digress from the real topic at hand, my small business started out as a hobby to celebrate my kids’ birthday parties. It was during that first year of maternity leave I really felt I was in my “home zone” when I was creating all the party décor and embracing all those frilly details I had never really paid attention to before. I had always known that I was a creature of creativity, but I didn’t know how passionate I was about the arts & crafts until about 5 years ago.

As part of my business venture, I love being a small contribution to people’s happy celebratory moments. There isn’t anything more gratifying when the love you put into your work is also appreciated & loved by others. That is my biggest reason for pursuing this craft business.

As I age, & as I have witnessed some shifts in societal & cultural norms, it certainly gives me a greater appreciation of the importance of celebrating where we are today.

Ironically, it happens to be my birth month, more specifically, my birthday week. Or perhaps it is the other way, where I’ve become reflective on the topic because it is another birthday milestone for me. Either way, the month of April has really got me thinking about celebrations.

So in celebration of the general topic of celebrations, here are my top 10 reasons why celebrating is a must:

1. No one else is you; Only you is you. That in itself, is amazing. Afterall, there are billions of people on this earth; yet, no one else can replicate you.

2. You are here. Boom. Enough said.

3. Today is the present; and the present, as the word denotes, is a gift. Celebrate that gift.

4. If it’s a good day, take it. There is just too much negativity in this world that having a good day is a celebration in itself.

5. There is no such thing ‘waiting for the perfect time’. People wait for the perfect moment; or when things are better; or when a specific time comes (ie. Waiting till the 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th birthday). If we embrace the notion that there is no such thing as the perfect timing, perhaps we will all then be keen to make those celebrations happen.

6. Who wouldn’t want a celebration feast, snack, get together, or reason for a siesta? I don’t know about you but I find every reason to go for a specialty coffee or foodie outing.

7. Party decorations & party favours. My favourite reason of all. It is a great excuse to beautify a special space or event.

8. Pictures. I love pictures. Pictures are concrete proof of your existence through history. And people are more likely to take pictures during celebrations. And pictures make me happy, as do the rest of the world. Isn’t that why selfies and groupfies have become all the rage?

9. Parties are a great reason to dress up. Such a great excuse to dig up those outfits you have been dying to wear but didn’t necessarily have a function to wear it. Now is that time.

10. “Just because”. You don’t need a reason to celebrate. You can celebrate each moment like it’s your birthday party if you wanted to (hence, my letter board signage I posted on this blog post). The world is your oyster, and you can choose to celebrate each & every moment.

11. The extra reason. When celebrations are given a ‘date’ or anniversary’ in a calendar, people are more apt to celebrating that event. Write it down. And make it happy.

Motivation of the week: It’s my birthday week this week. And you can count on the stars that I am going to enjoy every bit of it & soak in all the glory for what it’s worth.

Always me,

SoireeFrillsCo.

Boss-in-training: No-no bounds

 (The blog for my growing girls, who I strive to raise strong fierce ladies & soon-to-be bosses- The ‘don’ts’, followed by the ‘do’s’)

Celebrating those milestones

Dear Elle & Enne,

I love celebrating every milestone ever achieved by you. Your first laugh, smile, coo, & word. I took photos of those moments when you had your first bite of cereal, when you first went swimming, or the first time you rode on an airplane. I have taken photos of you for almost each firsts in the first few years of life; as if an attempt to etch those moments in my brain forever.

Each of those moments are precious and worth celebrating. I love being your mom because you have given me my biggest reasons to celebrate in life.

Thank you for coming into my life. And for giving me yet another reason to celebrate in life. As long as I’m your mom, I will have plenty to celebrate.

Don’t ever think any achievement is too small to celebrate. Don’t let anyone tell you that something isn’t a big deal….because I will always tell you, IT IS A BIG DEAL.  Embrace life & life’s celebratory milestones; for that is what makes life worthwhile. (P.S. Yes, I am that mom who loves to ask on a daily basis what their favourite part of the day was, because there is always at least one thing to be grateful for each & every day). One day, when you become your own bosses (who am I kidding, these two kiddos already know whose boss, and it sure ain’t me most days, lol), you will learn that part of doing what you want & love means enjoying the journey along the way. When you celebrate your achievements & life’s happy moments, you will learn the value of what you bring to the table. & you my girls,  have so much to bring to that table.

Love, Mom.

 

The productivity intention

Boss: Know no bounds

(The blog for the aspiring novice entrepreneur boss)

The productivity intention

Have you ever tried to spend time in your home office (or in my case, your craft space) & mapped out the intention to spend half a day or full day being productive with business related tasks? But instead get side tracked with the dirty dishes that have piled in the sink; or the stains that have caked the floor surface that need scrubbing; or that show that has been sitting on the PVR recorder? And then only to find half the day has zipped on by without you getting done what you initially set out to do. Sound familiar?

About a month ago, I blogged about “managing the circus act”. That blog post focused on managing multiple life roles & relating it to carving out time for your business. Today’s blog has a slightly different slant. This blog is going to focus on making maximum use of time & how it relates to productivity & intention.

For me, I know all the factors that contribute to my lack of productivity. I easily get distracted by certain things like: incoming emails that ring through my notifications; phone calls, small chit chat with friends/ peers I haven’t seen for a while; looking at housework that needs to be done; aimless social media surfacing; & of course on-line shopping.

This led to me devising a course of action so that I can make optimum use of my time (which of course in my world, quiet time without the kiddos is GOLD).

My intentions of getting sh*t done is always well-intentioned. But they always don’t get done. Therefore, my intentions of this blog is to highlight the importance of how it is very possible to get sh*t done when you need it to get done.

Step 1. AWARENESS

The first step in any desire for behaviour change is awareness. Unless you have an idea of the flaws or issues in a certain situation, you won’t be able to proceed with making any changes.

As I’ve pointed out, I already know the specific factors that get in the way of my productivity. Boom. Next step.

Step 2. POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS

Now that you know what the barriers are to your productivity, the natural progression is to then identify the solutions to address what gets in the way.

In my case, these are the solutions to my issues related to productivity. If you have the same barriers as me, then I can only imagine that these would be helpful for you as well.

  1. Change the environment– work outside of the home. Out of sight (chores that need to be done), outta mind. My go-to’s have been coffee shops or book stores. Find the places that ignite your creative juices and motivate you to work.
  2. Clean the desk space– a clear work space always does the trick (but do you know how chaotic a crafter’s space can get?). It allows me to focus specifically on what exactly is in front of me.
  3. Eliminate distractible toys/ items from your sight: Turn off the phone or put it away so I am forced to not look at other social media sites or take incoming phone calls. This includes closing all open windows when I am working on the computer so that I am forced to just focused on one task during computer work.
  4. Take one 10 minute break every 60 minutes. This is my personal ratio that I try to stick to. And I carry the same philosophy so that if I don’t use it, I lose it. That means that I don’t get 20 minutes of break time if I skipped my 10 minutes on a previous hour.
  5. List making. Make a list of what I’d like to accomplish in that time frame & strive to complete what I set out to do.
  6. Use pretty things. Whether it’s a new craft tool, pretty stationary, or attractive office decor, my motivation sky rockets when I use pretty things in my work space. (The trick though is to minimize the use number of pretty things on any given task; otherwise I totally get distracted when I have a lot of pretty craft tools in front of me)
  7. Reward system– My fave of all time. I usually set up a treat for myself AFTER I have completed my desired tasks. For me, it`s a Starbucks drink; a Michaels or Winners run; or purchase of a new craft toy.

STEP 3. SET YOUR INTENTIONS

Setting intentions is about devising a concrete plan of action.

Over the last month, I’ve been really trying to integrate the practice of intention as it relates to productivity. Intention can be defined as two-fold. It can mean the art of executing a planning (ie. her intentions for the day was to finish all the packaging by the end of the business day) ; or it can also refer to the significance or relevance of plan (ie. her intentions to be productive were well & good but things seemed to fall through. See the slight difference?)

For me, visualizing and imagining that I am successful in my plan has greatly assisted me in setting my intentions. When I can visually see my success in my mind, I’ve already set a positive tone and attitude before I have begun to do any of the work. That pre-work has been essential to my productivity level. If I can see it in my mind happening, I can almost start believing that it will unfold exactly as I visualize it. This is very similar to the idea of having mantras or affirmations. The more you say something to yourself (ie. “I got this” or “I can rock it”), the more likely you are to believe that it`s true.

STEP : 4. INTEGRATE THE PLAN OF ACTION

Nike has it right : “Just do it” . Sometimes you have to just jump right in and do it….even when you aren’t too sure how it’s all gonna play out.

Setting your intentions is half the battle; the other part is just doing what needs to get done. There are (many many) moments when I have to remind myself that putting in the work to doing  what you love isn’t always glamorous & isn’t always a piece of cake. When I am able to re-frame & shift my thinking into setting my intentions and fully immersing myself during an allotted time frame to be productive, it is then when I see my productivity being maximized to its fullest potential.

For me, it`s all about the outcome and the wonderful feelings that come with seeing the product of my creations materializing into reality…and of course getting that concrete reward of my Starbucks drink or new craft item.

Motivation of the week: Reading about others putting in long grueling hours into the jobs they love; & the reward of seeing the final product unfold, which makes the tiresome hours of work worthwhile.

Always me,

SoireeFrillsCo.

Boss-in-training: No-no bounds

(The blog for my growing girls, who I strive to raise strong fierce ladies & soon-to-be bosses- The ‘don’ts’, followed by the ‘do’s’)

Work hard, play harder. Harder play comes after hard work.

Dear Elle & Enne,

Carve out time to prioritize your responsibilities. While I am a big fan of the philosophy of “no work and all play is no fun”, responsibilities need to be taken care of.

Plan out time to get stuff done so that you can reap the rewards of what you have sown. You have to work hard to get what you want because they don’t magically appear. 

Don’t procrastinate in the things that need to be done; or the things you want; for wasting & idling time is so wasteful. Time is always ticking & unfortunately we cannot ever get the time back that ticks on by. 

Yes, we all want playtime, but playtime will be so much more rewarding when what needs to get done is checked off from our to-do list. 

Get up & start the day in knowing what needs to be done. Get it done, then play. 

Work hard, play hard, then work harder some more. Work work work, play play play!  

Use every moment and every minute to your advantage. Because if it’s one trait I want you to know about your mama, it’s that I am a big fan of making each minute count. And contrary to what you may hear, hard work, not luck, gets you to where you want to be. 

 

Love, Mom.