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.

 

Pause….for your world will wait when you are ready

Boss: Know no bounds

(The blog for the aspiring novice entrepreneur boss)

Pause….for your world will wait when you are ready

It wouldn’t be real if I never blogged about sh*tty moments & how there will be circumstances when you want to revert into your cocoon.

This has been a weird week full of mixed emotions. Loss…grief…anger…all very real emotions & all too difficult to blog out. So today, I am going to talk about pausing.

In my world, “to pause” and stop is a very foreign & rare concept in my life. If you know me well, I am constantly on the go, I am always brewing up ideas, & I am always busy. I half jokingly tell my friends that I really don’t know how to relax. That fast pace momentum has always been my lifestyle choice (Yes, I’ve come to terms that the busy-ness I choose is a choice).

In my last blog post, I wrote about “Keep going for the world will keep on truckin”. While my life philosophies centre around the need to “persist through life’s challenges”& that “life waits for no one”, there are many instances when life will throw you curveballs & defy those philosophies. These past few weeks, my go-go-go pace was intersected by the reality that humans are not immortal. Loss can strike a real chord in you, even when it isn’t directly your loss. A family’s loss is also a loss for you.

Hitting that “pause” button is much needed in times of loss. Mindfulness and intentional pausing is tough because it requires the art of tuning out the background noise while being fully aware of your internal sensations. A big part of it is also giving yourself permission to carve out time to “just be” without an agenda or the need to meet a deadline, or the need to be or give to someone else. Mindfulness & self-care is purely about YOU.

I have done a lot of self-reflection this past week and integrating more alone time than typically. In relation to my journey as a novice entrepreneur, this time of reflection has done wanders. People were not kidding when they say that some of their great works has come from places of sadness & darkness. Think of the greatest love songs; many which were created during heartbreak &  mourning. These past few weeks, I have been inspired from artfully curated quotes I’ve seen on other social media feeds that resonate within my heart, I’ve worked on putting emotions onto paper (through various mediums ranging from writing, drawing, & colouring), & openly shared some of my new found perspectives.

This week I have no tips for the novice entrepreneur; just purely insights that have come my way this past week.  Recognizing life lessons and facing reality is still part of that journey as a small business owner, regardless if it is directly related to your business. But one thing I take away from this whole concept of pausing is this: when your world gets sad & hopeless, look to others who can shed a shred of light in your world. For there is so much good and hope in the world and within others. Others can be your strength until you are ready. Sometimes that place of pain can ignite richness (within others & within you) that you never knew could be. And while, inevitably, the world will continue to move on around you, take all the time you need to pause, for your world (& all the people that make up your world) will wait for you when you are ready.

Motivation of the week: The hope & belief that time can heal all wounds; and that strength & resilience is built from difficulties & pain.

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’)

Pause. Stop. Breathe. Live.

Dear Elle & Enne,

Pause. Stop. Breathe. Live. Sometimes momma needs a reminder herself to do all these things. And perhaps, this is something you can remind me every now and then in my hustle bustle lifestyle.

During those long endless days when I am exhausted & crave for easier days to come when the two of you grow up, I am reminded time & time again that I really don’t want you to grow up. I love those chubby cheeks and tiny toes and tiny fingers and those coos only reserved for mama. Even today when I look at baby photos of you, I miss how tiny you were.

But I know that isn’t reality. You can’t stay babies forever. You will grow up, whether I am ready to accept it or not.

So today, my advice for the both of you is this: Don’t let others rush you into things. Don’t allow others dictate to you that you have to make a decision right then & there. Don’t grow up too quickly; for you have the rest of your life to be an adult. Pause when you need a moment; stop when you need a break. Breathe in a fresh of breath air; Live in the moment. It is the time that you have now.

Love, Mom



Quitting you is like quitting coffee; can’t do it

Boss: Know no bounds

(The blog for the aspiring novice entrepreneur boss)

Quitting you is like quitting coffee; can’t do it

This week was love week! And as you may have already figured out, I love all holidays. It is an excuse and reason to celebrate. I am a big fan of celebrating all things big and small…Because I am a true believer that yes, everything is a big deal. So whenever there is a holiday, be it cliché, I’m all about the cliché and oh so ‘over-rated’.

So to celebrate LOVE day, I made these cute coffee cards, entitled “Quitting you is like quitting coffee; can’t do it”. They actually did quite well & I sold a handful of this particular one this season.

Anyway, I was inspired one day, as I was sitting sipping my cup of coffee, listening to people rant about the upcoming Valentines season (which made me feel ridiculously silly because I am one of those people that looooove Vday & everything that goes along with the holiday). Anyway, I got to thinking that people shouldn’t have to be apologetic about the things they love & things they do. Yes- people are entitled to their thoughts & feelings & practices; but people shouldn’t be shamed for feeling & being the way they do about certain things. And then it got me thinking….I’ve spent many many years trying to quit all these little vices I’ve been made to feel badly about. Yes, while I agree that there are certain vices that need to be curbed to the side, I feel that maybe it’s about BALANCE….especially if it is about something you truly cannot give up.

So I am dedicating today’s issue of my blog to all those things I cannot give up (but oh…have I tried dearly giving them up many a time since I have been made to feel silly about these things over the years)…and I must say, it is these very vices that make me who I am… and frankly, helped me along my business journey as an entrepreneur. These are my top 5 things I cannot quit:

  1. Starbucks coffee– In my young university days, I fell in love with Starbucks coffee & everything about the Starbucks ambiance, particularly when I lived right across the street from a Starbucks. It became my home of studying sessions, coffee dates (man, if only those walls could talk), random chitchats with strangers, and now my place of solace where I write. Despite the overinflated coffee prices, I wholeheartedly will choose Starbucks anytime. Many of my ideas and inspirations have come from sitting in a Starbucks. Maybe that’s why I am inclined to hit up a Starbucks on any given moment?
  2. Cliché holidays- If there is a holiday to celebrate something, I will participate in any shape or form. Life is too serious and full of sadness, that I need to celebrate life’s little happiness moments. Yes- if there is a national doughnut day (which I know exists), you know I will run to a donut shop, take a picture, post on Instagram, and then maybe snap a video of me eating the piece of goodness. Sugar cookies-yup, I can bake it to celebrate the occasion (Goodness knows I’ve accumulated all sorts of types & shapes of cookie cutters). Custom banners to say it? Sure, I’ve made all sorts of banner sayings over the years (and ones that cannot be bought at the store for that matter). Greeting cards- yes- more to come in the year on custom designs. I’m all about cliché holidays, and particularly gift giving on these cliché holidays.
  3. Half glass full- Yes, I am the eternal optimist! But what other choice is there? To be negative & live life in fear full of shouldacouldawoulda? No, that option does not appeal to me at all. While yes I agree that people who are super bubbly can be annoying, I would rather be that annoying person full of hope & optimism than the person full of doom & gloom. And when people tell you that life must’ve been so easy all your life and that everything comes your way, which explains why you are an optimistic person, they have no idea. But that’s okay. At the end of the day, optimism is a choice & people can choose which way they look at that glass, life circumstances and all.
  4. Seeing things as if they were my first time- Ever watch a kid see something for the first time? Ever watch how their eyes widen with wander as they gleefully say “WOW!” I try to see every moment this way. In a way, every moment in your life is as if it is for the first time because each day is a new day. Perhaps this is why everything seems so exciting to me, even the most monotonous task. When I am asked “How do you have the patience for that”, I really don’t have an answer other than I love doing it and it really does seem exciting to me. When I’ve been to a place a million times, I never tire of it. Everything that I do really seems like an adventure to me.
  5. Learning- I am an avid learner. I am addicted to school. Never thought I would say this..but I will forever be a student. There is something about the thrill of learning new information, challenging your knowledge, having deadlines, and keeping up with learning trends. I am addicted to courses & projects…which is why I am always so busy! I am always so keen to learn what people are reading, what people are listening to, what apps they use, & what tools they craft with. While I am a big fan of learning through reading, the majority of my learning is through people. People teach people; werd!

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’

Don’t quite your inner child

Don’t quit your dream; don’t quit your learning; don’t quit your inner child. For it is these three things that will carry through the magic in your childhood and throughout the lifespan. People will tell you to “quit it”…and for whatever reason as people age, they stop looking at life through rose-coloured glasses; and start looking at the world through shades of dark grey. Don’t give up on rainbows and unicorns because the world needs a little bit of colour now and then.

Dear Elle & Enne,

I love your sense of innocence & willingness to try different things. You both are so fearless at this age, which is both exciting (and terrifying) for your mom. I sometimes sit back and think how lucky you guys are to have that wonderment in life. I hope so dearly that you hang on to that. As you age, there will be people who will try to quiet yourinner child & make you see things with a more negative lens. While I don’t want you to live in a naïve world, I pray that you continue to see the world for all the wonderful things that it is and what it can be. Don’t let people sway you in feeling bad for loving what you do and loving what you love to do. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something. And most importantly, don’t let people tell you that magic isn’t real. What I want you to both know is that if you believe in something & want to do something, go for it. Everybody is entitled to their beliefs and choices; which means that you have right and choice to do/ believe/ choose what you want to do, even if it means it is different from others. I believe in magic. And I believe in the magic you bring to the world.

Love, Mom

Time: Managing the circus act

Boss: Know no bounds

(The blog for the aspiring novice entrepreneur boss)

 Time: Managing the circus act

When you are a mom, you become a professional juggler. You are a mom, chauffeur, referee, counselor, chef, engineer, and housemaid (I’m sure I missed a few)  all rolled into one for those cute little earthlings called your children. When you have additional roles & responsibilities outside of your home, the circus act becomes even more chaotic.

As a mother of two young children who is also starting up her small business, I can’t emphasize enough the fact that time management is crucial,…but you also have to be a ‘flow as you go’ type of individual. Believe me, it’s great to have plans and times carved out for certain tasks to be completed; but there will be many MANY moments when your child will unexpectedly get up in the middle of the night for various reasons, which will require mom to stay with them for the entire night.  Or there will be days when they just won’t take that 1-2 hour nap, the exact timeframe you have allocated to do something for yourself. For a multitude of reasons, your plans will occasionally (okay, who are we kidding!! It’s frequently) go on the wayside when you are a mom. Sometimes it’s a miracle when you have been able to shower, eat your own meal from your own plate, & be dressed in stain-free clothes, all in one day.

As I digress from the real topic at hand, I feel like time management has been my main recipe for succeeding as a novice entrepreneur who also happens to be a mom of 2 young children. With that being said, time management as an entrepreneur with 2 kiddos (for me) involves the following:

  1. Use every spare moment to be productive– When I have at least 15 minutes of spare time, I capitalize on this free time. Whether checking or replying back to an email, writing down some ideas, or collecting all tools/ supplies for a specific task, I use those spare minutes.During my lunch hours on my main work gig, I will often utilize that time to do something related to homelife, SoireeFrillsCo., or personal life. If I can pick up groceries during a moment when the kids aren’t with me, I take it. If I can respond to emails during that brief free moment, that means it frees up time to do another task the next time I have a free 10- 15 minute moment. As you can imagine, I am always on the go and will often eat lunch while running to do another task. Even throughout dinner, when the kids are settled and have their meals in front of them, I celebrate those 5 minutes of quiet time by loading up the dishwasher.

It is amazing how much of a time saver it is when I use pockets of time throughout the day; because a parent, you very rarely have long stretches of free time (and may I add, free time without the kids hanging on to your legs, lol) …and when you do have free time (which is typically at the end of the day when the kiddos are fast asleep), you are more apt to go to bed too. When I have those tempting moments to just crash in front of the TV at the end of the night, I just think of how great it feels after I have contributed time towards my small business. I am not an idler, nor do I like to waste time. I make every minute count, because time is valuable.  I like to think that I will never get the time back, so may as well make the most out it.  Give me 15 minutes and I can accomplish a ton!

  1. Write it down & create lists- I am forever a list maker, writer, & journaler. I have been this way since I can remember. I love sticky notes, pens, journals, & notebooks. There is nothing more satisfying than crossing out a completed task from your ‘to-do’ list. I also love to compartmentalize things…aka categorizing things. I have separate lists for: meal ideas, grocery lists, fitness activities, work-related schedules, school related tasks & deadlines, home chores, and kids activities. It is no wonder (as a compartmentalizer) that I feel the need to have separate notebooks/ lists for each area of my life.

If it gets written, down, you are committed to it. Also, when it gets written down, it is more likely to happen versus if it was just floating around in your brain waiting to materialize.

I also love to post these lists on the fridge or on white eraser boards for everyone to see at home. Not only is it a great visual reminder for me, but it also gives a visual cue for everyone in your family as to what is on your list of things to do (particularly for meal plans, grocery lists, & family activities).

  1. Junk drawer & dump book- I always have a million ideas milling around in my mind. Many of which are focused on tasks that need to be done to “survive” the day. So it has been helpful for me to have a random “dumpbook” that I carry with me so that anytime I have a fleeting idea related to my business infiltrate my mind, I am able to immediately write it down before the idea slips from my mind. I can then always revert back to this dumpbook & organize my business ideas when I have a larger chunk of time to process my ideas.

I also find that I will stumble upon ‘brain blocks’ so sometimes having a dump book to explore my creative juices produce clarity in a specific project. Having a random art journal is so neat to look back as it has served as a process tool for my projects.

  1. Allocate the anticipated time & multiply by three; you will definitely need that extra time- My rule of thumb: if something takes half an hour to complete something, you need to allocate an additional hour on top. Remember when I said there will be unexpected occurrences that pop up when you are a parent? 99% of the time, something you did not expect to happen will come up…guaranteed! So if you have that grace time period, you are setting yourself up for success. This always works for me. As a perk, if you finish the project task well before the allocated time, consider that free extra time for you to do something else.
  1. Combine multiple tasks to be efficient- The greatest advice I ever received from a girlfriend was way back when before I had children. She said, she will often wipe down or dust the walls as she is going up & down the stairs whenever she grabs an item. You have no idea how many times this rings true now as a parent. Whenever I need to go an area of the house (be it the basement, laundry room, upstairs, kids’ rooms) I will often think ‘what items d o I need to put away in that room?”. If I am going by the sink, I will often wash a few dishes that need washing if I have a few free moments. Sometimes its about doing things in small chewable chunks as opposed to doing it in its entirety.

Whenever I want to get in a great workout but don’t have time to go to the gym, I will intentionally choose an activity that will force me to be active. For example, my favourite activity is to take the kids sledding. The kids love it, I get a hella workout, and then we all are exhausted afterwards, which means a lengthy naptime. WIN/ WIN!!

Playdates with other girlfriends with kids are also the bomb. You squeeze in social catch up time with social activity for the kiddos.

Gotta love it when you accomplish two goals all in one.

  1. Take time for self-care

I cannot stress the importance of self-care enough. Self-care should have been my number one point. When I was first initially starting to practice to art of self-care as a newbie mother, I would often have to talk myself out of the unending guilt I felt for being away from the kids. I felt sheepish for wanting to go get my hair done & highlighted (which meant me being away for 3-4 hours away from the kiddos).

What I’ve come to realize though is that you can only be as good as a caregiver to others if you are a good caregiver to yourself. I am quite convinced that the more I take care of myself, the more energy I have to look after my family &do the things I love. I also notice that when I feel my best,  the more creative ideas come to me. The more I do the things I love, the more I want to do. Go figure ; the irony is that the busier I am, the more I want to do.  Managing my self-care has not only served me well in my personal life; but it has done amazing things for my business. Improved self-care has proven to lead to increased productivity in my world (as I am sure that has been shown in research studies….more to come on that one).

  1. Embrace the messiness– I have always grown up associating fun with messy. I’ve also believed that the funner something is, the messier it is. My crafting is a testament to that. Whenever I am crafting up a storm, my house looks like a tornado just came through. Life with kids is also a hundred times messier than my pre-kids stage. As soon as I tidy something up, it is bound to get messy or rummaged through within 5 minutes…guaranteed. So one of my key ingredients to being a craft creator as a mom..is embrace the messiness. Yes, there will always be dishes to wash; yes, the laundry will continue to pile up (OMG…do you know how much clothes a pre-schooler and a toddler go through??); so may as well enjoy the moments when you can when you can have FUN, especially when it comes to spending time with the kids. The dishes & laundry can wait another day….and in my world, sometimes it’s doing the laundry when they are out of clean socks or pants. Who else can relate to me??

One of my life mantras is ‘life is messy; so embrace the messiness”. It has definitely served as a tool to enjoy life with the kids while building my small empire.

Always me, SoireeFrillsCo.

Motivation of the week: Laughter. There has been many challenging moments this past week that caused utter frustration; but laughter & laughing it off (when I got to that level) made me get through those moments.. .And of course my wonderful support system, who made ‘laughing it off’ so much more bearable J

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’)

Don’t expend energy on the things that don’t give you ‘all the feels’

Being a kid is all about fun! And FUN is the major ingredient to anything in this world.

-Who do you love hanging out with? The people you have fun with!

-What kinds of activities do you pursue? The ones that you love doing!

-What facilitates best learning? The fun learning experiences that allow freedom to explore.

-How does one maintain a regimented routine? When enjoyment is integrated in that schedule.

I am a strong believer that fun is the root & essence to most (if not all) things in this world. Am I saying that life is all about fun? No, not all….though what I am saying is that success in anything in this world exponentially increases when the concept of fun is woven into the goal.

I want my girls to know that anything in possible; and that impossibility can be attainable with hard work and when the efforts come from the heart. But what comes with hard work is overcoming barriers; and if you aren’t having fun in the process while hurdling through those inevitable challenges (because there will always be challenges to anything), life can become pretty dreary. And life is already hard as it is without the extra layer of dreariness.

As a personal side bar, I remember sending my daughter to ballet lessons…and she didn’t enjoy it. But I kept pushing on with it, thinking that ‘ yes, she will learn to enjoy it and one day she will enjoy coming here’…and I kept convincing myself that this was for her own good.  Eight weeks in, I noticed she still didn’t take a liking to ballet. But one day, they did a spontaneous bootcamp, sporty drill as a side activity; and she looooooved it. She was laughing, trying all the different stations, and talking so much more. I hadn’t seen that since starting those classes. It was then I learned a valuable lesson; I had made these ballet classes all about me (even though I kept telling myself it was for her); but really, I should be encouraging her to do the activities she loves; as opposed to signing her up for activities that I had envisioned her to love. From then on, I learned to only encourage activities that make her squeal with glee.

I want both my girls to know that life can be (and should be) fun while pursuing a dream…and if you are lucky, your goal/ dream can be all rewarding, fulfilling, and enjoyable.

Dear Elle & Enne,

What I love about childhood & youth is the innocence & fun that exudes from everything that you both are & everything you do. When I watch you explore and learn, I am always mesmerized at the light I see in your eyes and the pure amazement that comes from your faces. There is something to be said about wanting to pause moments in time so that I can freeze those overwhelmingly awesome emotions forever!

Don’t expend energy on the things that don’t give you ‘all the feels’…and what your cool mom is trying to say is this….love with your whole heart, do with your entire being, and pursue all things that make you happy. There is nothing more a mother wants more for her children than to see them be successful in what brings them joy

I will forever be your number one fan; and if there is something you want to pursue, be it small or big, I will be right there next to you holding your hand cheering you o.

Love, Mom

Relationships 101: People need people

Boss: Know no bounds

Relationships 101: People need people

I love being a sole owner of my own small company. I like to have the final say in what projects I pursue, how I spend my time, and how projects are executed. Don’t get me wrong, I am a team player and I love doing for others; but when all other areas of my life are doing for others and doing with others, a part of me loves that sense of full control over the brand of Soiree Frills Co.

With that being said, I can’t expand a company just on my own. As a small business owner, I am only as successful as I have customers who invest in me & purchase my products and services. (It’s the same concept as celebrities saying to their fans in their awards speech that they are where they are because of the fans they have).

Having relationships with your customers and having a network is one of the key ingredients in marketing who you are as a small business. Word of mouth, social media platforms, attending craft events, and opportunities to engage with other small businesses are just a few key examples of successful marketing strategies.

Building business partnerships on a larger scale is one of my 2017 goals. This seems like a daunting task at hand, especially when business building is new territory for me. But if I keep the basic foundation skills of building relationships in mind, then those basic skills will carry me through the journey of enhancing business partnerships.

Strategies to build & strengthen relationships:

Listen. Listen to what the person wants. You, as a small business, obviously offers something that they want; they are coming to you for a reason. People want to be heard, especially when they are given an opportunity to plan an event, have a say in the decision-making process, & have a voice. Listen, as it provides an opportunity for them to be centre stage during their main act. Most people love it when full attention is theirs, especially when the celebration is all about them.

Remember the small details. Listening and hearing is one step; but remembering the content of that information is the other half of that same coin. As a small craft business, knowing the customer’s personality style is essential.Knowing the type of celebration party they are hosting is also an important detail.  Is it a big fancy, milestone gala in a big reception hall?Or is it a more intimate gathering with close friends in a favourite restaurant? Perhaps they are looking for a personalized & unique gift for a loved one. Is it for a special occasion or achievement? Is the gift a symbol of their love?

Yes, these details matter. Tailoring party décor & individual gifts based on the customers’ personality, party theme, & colour motifs are what makes any celebration special.

Capitalize on future opportunities with that same customer and their network. When you make people feel special, they are more likely to come back to you for future events. People will have other birthday parties/ celebration parties, so capitalize on future opportunities. Do your best with every event & transaction you engage in. Beautiful work never goes unnoticed; and it is amazing what people remember. Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing strategies & referrals from friends & families are a simple way of expanding your customer base.

Go above & beyond the initial request. People appreciate it when they get something ‘extra’ on top of what they were looking for. For example, I love it when I get freebies with an order. I also love it when I get personalized cards with an order. Therefore, I follow suit as a small business owner. When you go above and beyond (obviously within realistic parameters as a small business), customers will remember that about you. That is what will set you apart from the rest.

Execute & deliver. Talk the talk; but also walk the walk. Say what you do; and do what you say. This will add to your credibility, reliability, & trustworthiness of your small business.

Invite yourself to networking events. Don’t always wait for an invitation. Mingle with like-minded people and businesses. Informal chats are the best way to build relationships. Seek out these opportunities independently. And if you ever feel awkward about just showing up to an event on your own (especially if you are the sole owner of your own small business), pretend and believe you belong there. Afterall, you are boss; and bosses get to do what they want when they want how they want.

Always me, SoireeFrillsCo.

Motivation of the week: Coffee. And more coffee. Particularly on those nights when I am working on my craft projects…Plus I’ve had some really great conversations this week over coffee. Hence, the coffee picture above.

Boss-in-training: No-no bounds

Tribe vibes

Having relationships is important. Relationships ( whether with family members, peers you go to school with or work with) build the foundation of your support network. Having a tribe you can vibe with  makes life healthier, and funner. And we all need a lot of healthy and fun in our life. Sharing experiences and our successes throughout the lifespan is what makes life memorable.

Don’t get caught up with the wrong crowd. Don’t hang out with people that plant doubt in your hearts,  tear your dreams down, or make you do things that you do not want to do. People that do these things are toxic; and there is no room for toxic in leading a healthy life.

Surround yourself with people that make you feel good; make friends with people who have similar aspirations and interests as you. Find your tribe that makes you laugh & smile.

Cultivate the relationships that are healthy for you, for they are the ones that feed positivity into your soul. Be kind to others, and remember that relationships need nourishing to maintain its livelihood.  Receive, but also give back. Be heard, but also listen.  Take action, but also be present. True friends will be there in good times & in bad times; and so must you be there too.

Dear Elle & Enne,

I love watching you both play with your friends on the playground from a distance. I know I see you everyday but when I catch you in those moments when you do not know I am there, I see you both in a different light. I love how you both have made friends. And I love hearing your daily stories about what you did with your friends. You are both learning so much from the peers you see everyday. This playground is your first glimpse into the playground of life.

I want you to make life-long friends with people that make you laugh silly; kind of like how you are when I am secretly watching you on the playground at school. Your friends are an extension of you and they will play a vital role in life. You will soon learn one day that not everyone is kind all of the time. The world can be unfair & cruel. But happiness can be found amidst the harsh reality that life throws us. It’s the people we share moments with that make life beautiful.  I wish to see you cultivate healthy relationships with people that support you, be kind to you, & want to hang out with you because they like you for you. Friends are the people that make you want  to be a better person; they are  your cheerleading squad. I have been lucky enough to be friends with many of the same peeps for over 10- 20 years  who have stood by my side through many life milestones. I wish that you are as lucky to find friends that become family; just as I have been fortunate in friendships.

Love, Mom

See to seize, survive and thrive.

Boss: Know no bounds

See to seize, survive and thrive

Entering the world of an aspiring entrepreneur is such a foreign world to me. While I am still doing a lot of learning, these past 4 years (since starting this side hustle), has been quite the adventure. Just like any new learning experience, it’s a wild ride you are not too sure if you want to stay on or get off.

Lucky for me, I have always thrived in the unknown (strangely enough, not in the ‘go into a haunted house’ type of thrill) but more of a ‘ dive into a ridiculous situation & hope I float’) type of way.

As a newbie in the world of being an aspiring entrepreneur, it is certainly emphasized that you have to be willing to take a risk; and you have to believe in your abilities to succeed….even when you aren’t too sure of yourself.  The old adage saying “Fake it till you make it” is what gets me through those moments where I have gotten discouraged in this learning process. That mantra is what gets me through times that lack clarity or when the thoughts of self-doubt start to infiltrate. It is amazing to learn what you are truly capable of when put under outrageous circumstances.  When my back is against the wall, I tend to perform better under pressure.

The idea of ‘faking it till I make it’ in the small business realm isn’t easy. Sure, repeating it over and over like a broken record helps; but for me, I need a little bit more than that. Here are my strategies that help me “fake it till I make it”.

  1. Act as if you know what you are doing. People who invest in you want confidence & assurance that you know what you are doing. Yes, for the most part, you are great in what you do; but in those moments when you are unsure of yourself, sometimes you have to play the part of the expert. Or maybe you have to believe that you can make that (unrealistic) deadline. In the end, sometimes you surprise yourself in what you can do  when you initially were unsure of your capabilities.
  2. Don’t be afraid to be wrong. Mistakes happen. Yes, there will be moments where you underestimate yourself. We’ve all been there where we over-committed (at least I know I have). It’s important to note that the minute you recognize that you have been in the wrong, apologize immediately and determine an action plan to rectify the situation. Everyone has been in a pickle at some point or another. The trick is: don’t make the same mistake with that same customer. If you’ve set out a modified plan, follow through with it; no ifs and or buts. And then forgive yourself after all is said and done.
  3. Learn from each opportunity. In all success or non-success moments, there is always something to be learned. Seize those moments of achievement; and replicate those steps in future opportunities. Celebrate those successes because each one is huge. For the latter moments, reflect on what that limitation was and try not to repeat it. If you fall & trip, get up and keep on trucking. Yes, falling smack down on your face can be humiliating; but there is nothing more humbling than falling & rising above that fall.
  4. Build credibility. All your successes will contribute to your credibility. All the positive feedback on what you do will build your integrity as a small business. The customers who show their loyalty through repeated involvement with you demonstrate your credibility. Track your progress and share your successes. When other (future customers) begin to hear about what you offer, your business is bound to expand.
  5. Take the time to learn & grow. There is always something to be learned. Whether its refining a skill, expanding you current repertoire of skills, or learning something new, you can only benefit and grow as a business when you enhance your knowledge-base.

As a (newbie) self-employed boss, the concept of “know no bounds” is really all about seizing all opportunities with an attitude of conquering it all despite any challenges that come your way.

For me, it’s eyes on the prize of building my small empire & exploring the craft world, while strutting through,  in my best outfit like I’m the boss (even in moments when I feel like I have no clue what I’m doing ).

Always me, SoireeFrills Co.

This week, I continue to be highly motivated by orders coming through my way. We are into week 3 into the new year; and the momentum that typically comes along with new year’s resolutions continue to carry me through.

Boss-in-training: No-no bounds

Don’t be afraid to fly

I love birds. Birds are a symbol of freedom. They seem so carefree when I see them up in the sky soaring above. If it’s one thing I want my girls to know, it’s teaching them to find their wings and to capitalize on spreading their wings.

I truly feel that people are meant to feel free in what they choose to do.

I recognize that teaching someone else to fly (obviously in a metaphoric sense) is scary, especially as a parent who sits on the other side of the fence when looking into raising their child. To fly is to risk falling; and falling means the risk of  hurting oneself. This essentially means when you allow someone to fly, you risk seeing that person fall. As a parent, you never want to see your child struggle, fail, or cry….but  just as there is a correlation between rain and rainbows, flying and falling go hand in hand like two peas in a pod. The risk of falling is quite high when one flies; but the goods that come with flying are that much more extraordinary…and I want them to find their extraordinary.

I want them to know that the world is theirs to explore, that there is nothing out of reach in this world. I want them to feel that life is an adventure worth taking risks. At the end of the day, who wouldn’t want to feel free & invincible like a bird?

Dear Elle and Enne,

I want you to be free just like the birds in the sky. The possibilities in life are endless if you take a chance on life and on yourself. You can do whatever you want (unless of course it’s to elope with a stranger, then you surely cannot do that). I want you to pursue your dreams. There is no such thing as impossible. Don’t let anyone tell you something is impossible…and if they do, I will be secretly cheerleading you to prove them wrong. Don’t be afraid to find your wings; don’t be afraid to fly.

 In your journey of growth, if and when there are moments that you fall, fail or lose your way, I will be right here to pick you up. If your wings ever need mending so that you can return back to flying, I will be there in a moment’s notice. The world is yours to explore.

Love, Mom