April Monthly Challenges

It's the 1st and you know what that means!  New challenges.

1. The Cut Challenge - as always, we want to encourage ourselves to get the most out of our amazing Cameo Silhouette machines.  They are capable of doing such cool things but if we don't make a purposeful decision to use them, they quickly start to gather dust.  So every month in 2016 we will strive to use our machines to create at least one cool project. 

2. The OTHER Challenge - Create 3 cards and give them away.  Now I don't know about you, but I love to collect pins on pinterest of beautiful cards that others have made and that I want to make "Someday".  Well guess what, someday is this month.  And since the theme for this month is Give, after we make the cards, we are going to give them away.  Heck yeah, we are. 

Please join us for these challenges.  And if you do decide to join us, let me know so we can enjoy your work and share it here on the blog as well.  Tag me on facebook, instagram or send me an email at shelliemg@gmail.com.  Also comment below with a link to your work.

Encourage Project 2016: Nurture Self Pinspiration

Please click the links carefully.  I have no researched them all. 

Please click the links carefully.  I have no researched them all. 

I've been a little slow at adding these Encouragement posts because I want to keep a balance between them and our creative posts.  It is not my goal for this to turn into a self help blog or anything of that sort.  I just have felt so strongly lately that I want to learn how to take care of myself better and grow and I want to do what I can to encourage others along those same lines.

Nurture Self is our January theme but also a kind of over arching theme for the entire year so I haven't felt pressured to toss everything in during the first few weeks of the year.  I do want to include more information and encouragement and inspiration and plan to do so as the weeks and months progress.

Inspiration is the basis behind his post.  Actually PINspiration.  I've started a Nurture Self pinterest board where I've been posting quotes and images that inspire me in this area.  Now I havent gone crazy on the pins because I don't click all of the links and see where they're leading.  I don't want to suggest that where they lead is something I necessarily support or something you should buy or sign up for.  The pin itself I found interested and so I've included it on the board.

Feel free to take a look and let me know if any of these particularly inspire you.

Take care of yourselves.



Encourage Project 2016: The Rules

(Disclaimer: These are my personal rules.  And while I think they are pretty good rules to live by, they may not be your personal rules.  )

Part of nurturing oneself, I think, is by intentionally avoiding situations that cause you stress and unrest.  I realize that I live a different life than a lot of you, as I have no spouse and no children filling up much of my days, but I think that this topic can apply to each of us in a very individual way.  

Over the past several months (years)(entire life) I've struggled on and off with getting things done.  I'm a planner.  I can plan my butt off.  But I'm not very good with the follow through. I have good days where my mood and productivity are high and I have bad days when I'm basically a waste and spend all day wondering what's wrong with me and accomplishing nothing except clicking off too many episodes in my latest netflix series - or making more plans (THE plans.  You know, the ones that are going to fix me for good!).

 I've figured out recently that there are 3 specific things that push me majorly in the wrong direction.  I call them my rules and when I break the rules, things don't go well.  

Rule Number One - My environment has to be neat.  For me personally the idea that your entire life is better when your house is clean is a very real thing.  It applies to my craft studio (I love calling it that) and my work office as well.  Clean and pretty equals zen like feelings and productivity.  Messy and cluttered equals disappointment, depression and zombie-like non productivity.  

This is hard for me  because while I love to clean (I don't know, it's just a thing) I am AWFUL at maintaining it.  I am a messy person.  I work messy.  I can trash my desk - at home or at work - in 20 minutes flat.  I don't know what's wrong with me but that's the ugly truth. This makes it easy for me to get distracted by the mess and spend time I could be working on something creative, doing something else like organizing stickers or sorting sequins by color or some dumb thing.

My plan for 2016 is to be constantly putting things away.  Like a game.  Put it away, put it away.  I read once that the key to being a neat person was to be constantly tidying.  I also plan to get rid of a bunch of stuff I don't really need and that should help.  This will be a big part of one of our later monthly topics "Less".

Rule Number Two - I must get enough sleep - I have to get up really early in the morning.  It may not be early for you but 5:20am is SUPER DUPER GOD AWFUL early to me.  I am a night person through and through and have been my entire life.  But my job is a good hour drive from my home and since I have to be there at 7, it means that I have to get up and go early.  

My problem is that I suck at going to bed early.  In order to get enough sleep, I really need to go to bed at 9pm.  This is so impossible for me.  Like... I can't even.  But, the fact is that when I'm living off 4 or 5 hours sleep, I'm sucking at life.  Remember the zombie-like non productivity?  Yeah, that's back. Depression and disappointment.  I get home and sit down and I'm done.  I don't go to bed, I just sit in my favorite chair and guess what - back at the netflix.  (Yes, I know that not watching netflix should be my rule number 4.)

My plan for 2016 is to get in bed and turn out my light (and my phone) at 9:30pm.  I'm hoping that the exercise that I'm supposed to do daily for the #fitgirl challenge will help me fall asleep faster because going to bed at 9:30 and then laying there awake or playing Soda Crush on your phone until 11:30 doesn't help.  :/

Rule Number Three - I need to eat healthier.  Holy smokes has this become a big one.  I'm getting a tiny bit older (I'm 39) and lately what I eat, especially at dinner, has been having a HUGE impact on my life.  I have a poor diet.  It's a bad fact in my life.  I eat lots of rice (Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese bring it on) and bread and carb city.  And when I do - guess what? ZOMBIE-LIKE NON PRODUCTIVITY. Disappointment and depression.  Do you see the pattern here?

How I plan to combat this in 2016 is by really making an effort to get healthy.  Gina and I are starting our first FitGirl challenge on January 4th and it has a very specific diet and exercise program.  I'm really motivated to get this part of my life under control this year.  "Reach Goal Weight" has been number 1 on my yearly goals list for far too many years and I'm over it. Something new and fun needs to take over that slot.

So part of nurturing myself this year is going to be to stop setting myself up for failure.  I mean if I KNOW what's going to make me have a crap day, why would I do these things?  It's easier said than done.  But I'm going to try very hard to follow the 3 rules and see if it works in my favor.

Do you have triggers?  Do you know what your personal rules are that cause you to have a bad day?  What are your plans to avoid these things this year and take care of yourself?

Thank you for sharing.


Encourage Project 2016: January Monthly Focus - Nurture Self (something new for 2016)

This year we really want to focus on taking care of ourselves, building great new habits and encouraging others.  We see so many of our peers (ourselves included) struggle on a day to day basis with discouragement and depression and feelings of disappointment.  It's something that Gina and discuss on a near daily basis. 

So this year we really want to do what we can to build ourselves and others up.  To show encouragement and support for others - bring people up instead of down.

One of the ways we plan to do this for ourselves (and others) is by focusing on a specific topic each month and using it to enrich our lives.  Each month we will have a new focus and throughout the month, it is our goal to include things that support this focus - ideas and suggestions, inspiration and our own trials and successes.

For January our focus is "Nurture Self".  January is often viewed as the biggest opportunity for a FRESH START of the year (although I'm a strong advocate of making a fresh start whenever you feel you need one).  For this month we want to focus on taking care of ourselves, building new positive and nurturing habits and thought patterns.

We want to focus on nurturing ourselves, physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally and we look forward to sharing this growth experience with you.  Keep an eye on the blog for more about how we are nurturing ourselves this month.

Let's be amazing this year,