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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Status Update 2011 Goals

Well, 2011 is rapidly coming to a close. Christmas is only 4 days away, and the year ends in 11 days. So its time to look back at 2011 and see how well I did reaching my goals. Here they are!

1. I would like to double my Etsy sales to 104 for the year. That's essentially 2 a week, or 8 a month. In those terms it seems much less daunting.

How did I do with this goal?? Well to be completely honest, horrible. Not only did I not reach my goal for 2011, I also didn't even meet last years sales total. Last year I made 57 etsy sales. This year I made 22 etsy sales. And 8 "off etsy" sales. So instead of doubling in sales, I declined by more than half. But the thing to focus on is the why? Answering this will help me grow, and learn. That is what every failure is about, its a learning experience.

So here's my best assessment of what happened. We were homeless for the first 3 weeks of the year. Then we were living with my parents until March. I have also been unemployed the majority of the year. And while this should have been a huge plus, it wasn't. Why? Because I was depressed. I didn't have any motivation or inspiration. I was too busy wallowing. I couldn't focus on the positives of the situation. Another problem? The majority of our belongings were in storage until July. So I didn't have most of my beading supplies. So what could have been a positive, I allowed to become a negative.

2. Participate in at least 4 craft shows. This will really help get my name out in my local community, not just the online community. There is one I wanted to do this year, but couldn't find how to apply. Well, I know what I need to do now to participate so that's one show down. And it will be back in North Carolina, at the beach I usually go to with my girlfriends. So It will be an awesome opportunity to get back together with my girlfriends who I will be moving away from shortly.

Craft shows. *Sigh* This too did not go as planned. I wasn't able to get back to NC for the show due to financial reasons. Three shows I applied to I wasn't able to do. Two because I wasn't accepted, and one because I couldn't get off work. I did one show in southern California, and it was a bust. I had one sale to a teammate who came to the show to meet me (thanks Patricia!!!) and one sale to a fellow vendor. I did however learn the importance of researching the location!! The show was in North Hollywood. I heard "Hollywood" and thought, oh people have money in Hollywood. They would recognize the quality of my work and appreciate it. Unfortunately NORTH Hollywood, is NOT like Hollywood. The demographics of North Hollywood is nothing like Hollywood! The other problem was that it was a "food truck" show. So most of the people who came spent all their money on the novel food items available.
The lesson? Research the location, the demographics, the show, everything. If you are going to put down your hard earned money you better make sure you know it's going to be worth it!

3. My goals for creating products is a tough one. I will say that I need to dedicate 5 hours a week to product creation only. This can always be changed as my life changes. Right now, I may not be working after Wednesday for the next few weeks, to months!!! Scary thought, but our life is in major flux and all I can do is roll with the punches. So I can use it as an opportunity to create like crazy.

This goal is a little harder to asses. Did I spend 5 hours a week creating every week? NO. But there were plenty of weeks I spend 20+ hours creating. I guess I have bipolar tendencies with creating. If I'm inspired or under a deadline I create like crazy. My mood is so much better when I'm creating, its a fantastic stress relief for me. So I really need to focus on making creating a priority. I need to find a way to track my time better, and a way to reward/punish myself for sticking with this goal. The weeks that I listed regularly, ie everyday, I had much better traffic and sales to my etsy shop. So its important to stick with this goal, as the foundation of growing my business and becoming successful.

Overall this was a rough year for me. Personally, financially, everything. It was a year to learn and grow as a jewelry designer, a physical therapist assistant, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and most excitingly, an Aunt!! Yup, I'm an Aunt now. A handsome baby boy was born in January to my brother and SIL. And only 3 1/2 weeks later an adorable baby girl was born to my sister and soon to be BIL. So while my business may not have prospered as I'd hoped, my personal life had some amazing blessings!

Look out for my goals for 2012 coming soon. Hopefully I will have more success with my business in 2012 thanks to the important lessons I have learned in 2011!

Wishing everyone a happy holiday season, and a fantastic new year!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More recipe reviews

A few more weeks have gone by, and we have tried a few more recipes I found on pinteret. For info on pinterest, please see previous post

Recipe #1
One Pan Turkey Taco Pasta

DELISH, absolutely wonderful. I love tacos, I love pasta, I love one pot recipes. What more can a girl ask for??? It was easy to make. The only chopping that was required was the onion. The rest was canned/boxed items. I love that its made with turkey burger, especially since I found a 3 lb box of frozen turkey burgers for under $7 at Target. Wow. The fresh package of meat was over $5 for 1 lb. Plus, with my family consisting of myself and hubby, there was tons of leftovers. This would easily feed a family of 5-6 with no modifications to the recipe.

Recipe #2
Crock Pot Lemon Chicken

Yummmmmy. Hubby loves lemon chicken, and we finally found a recipe that we both love. I cooked it on the stove top, as I forgot to put the crock pot recipe together. I also used 1/4 cup of butter instead of 1/2 cup. That was still too much butter for my taste, and I will probably try less butter and more lemon juice the next time. The other important factor to consider: Use the zesty Italian seasoning packet. Do not try and save money by buying the 4 pack box of Italian seasoning. The plain Italian has a LOT more salt and a lot less seasoning. So it makes the dish really salty.

Recipe #3
Pesto Chicken Wraps

These were amazing. I love pesto. And this recipe exceeded my expectations. I used jarred pesto, so it was a bit oily, but still delish. I will try to make it with fresh basil when I have time. This also made 6 wraps, so we had enough for lunch the next day, which is always a super bonus.

So far we have tried 5 new recipes. 4 of them will or have become part of our regular repertoire. I have over 40 more recipes pinned that I still want to try. The quicker, easier, and healthier the better.

Feel free to leave recipes below for me to try. Or link me back to your favorite pinned recipes.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pinterest Recipes

As many of you know, I've signed up for pinterest and have become a semi-addict. I can sit there for hours pinning things. But I can also go days without looking.

For those who don't know what pinterest is, it's a virtual pin board. You "pin" things to your boards, and they show up as pictures on you pin board. The pins show the picture from that website, as well as the link back to the website. Its a visual collection of your favorites.

This is what my pinterest looks like at the moment. But its ever evolving.

So, I've been gathering lots of recipes. This week, while making my menu plan, I decided to try some of the recipes I had pinned.

The first one was called Priest Chicken. Its a super simple crock pot recipe. OR
My opinion? Good. Super easy. Love crock pot meals. Modifications- 1) add about 3/4 can of water to initial mixture to help the cheese and soup integrate. 2) I would use two packets of Italian seasoning to increase the flavor. But this was definitely yummy and will become part of our routine.

The second one was Chicken and Roasted Garlic Risotto. A nice one pan recipe. It took 30 minutes, and that was with frozen chicken. OR
My opinion? Okay. It was easy and quick to make. But something was off. The chicken was bland. And I just didn't like the combination of cream of mushroom soup and cream of chicken soup. It was just not my favorite combination. I don't know what I would do to modify it for future use. Maybe only use cream of chicken soup and LOTS of garlic. The rice was good. I have never had risotto, so I don't know if that's what its supposed to be like, but it was good.

We also have Chicken Pesto Wraps on the menu. I think I will make them Wed or Thurs. I was going to make them Tues, but we got too hungry and didn't have time to marinate them. But I LOVE pesto, so I don't know how these can be bad. OR

Feel free to post your favorite recipes too!!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Goals and Craft Show Update

I made 3 goals for the year back in December, and haven't updated them lately. So here goes:

1. I would like to double my Etsy sales to 104 for the year. That's essentially 2 a week, or 8 a month. In those terms it seems much less daunting.
As of today, I have sold 13 items on etsy. 6 items to friends/coworkers, and 2 items at a craft show. Not doing great on this goal at all, but hopefully the holiday season changes things for me.

2. Participate in at least 4 craft shows.
So far I have participated in 1 craft show. I applied to a second show, but was not accepted. Now I'm trying to pick myself up, and dust myself off, and move on to find other shows.

 3. My goals for creating products is a tough one. I will say that I need to dedicate 5 hours a week to product creation only.
This one has been extremely hard to do, as well as keep track of. The last two weeks I have probably spent 5 hours a day creating. The month before I probably spent about 5 hours a week. Before that, none. I was working 8 hour days, and commuting 3 hours a day, so I was burned out and not motivated. I also needed some adjustment with my meds, which have really helped. I'm hoping to be more dedicated on this point for the rest of the year. Creating really makes me feel better, so I should make it a priority.

Craft Show update.
I used my square credit card reader on one customer at the craft show. I was paranoid it was going to pop out or something, so I had difficulty swiping it so it would read. But once it read, it was easy!! I set it to automatically add sales tax to orders. I didn't have to do math!!! And the customer just had to sign and it was sent through. The show was on Saturday, and the money was in my account on Monday. Awesome.

On the not so great side, I only made 2 sales at a 7 hour show. Unfortunately, I was invited to this show, so I figured they knew what would sell, and I didn't research it. It was not in an area where people had lots of disposable income. So even if the people did recognize the quality, they couldn't justify spending money on jewelry. It was also too early in the season for people to start Christmas shopping. It was also a food truck show, and I think everyone spent their money on outrageously over priced fried food.

I did however change my earring displays from my last craft show, and I love my new displays. I think they are classy, while still showing some of my personality. I also bought some bracelet and necklace displays, as well as pillow gift boxes from The price was super reasonable, and quality was great.

My Handmade Earring Displays- I can actually hang 4-5 cards across.

My Handmade Earring Displays- I can actually hang 4-5 cards across.

Smaller Necklace Tree (on left) from

Pewter Bracelet Display from

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Prescriptions Costs

This weekend I went to my doctor and was given 3 prescriptions to fill. Unfortunately I had lost my medical insurance when my previous assignment was up, so I would have to pay the full cost of the prescription myself. I'd gone without insurance earlier this year, so I knew they would be pricey. This time I decided to call around and find the cheapest prices. Here are my results.

Prescription Quantity Target Walmart Rite Aid
Venlafaxine 15mg 60 $243.99 $236.78 $312.00
Trazodone 100mg 30 $4.00 $4.00 $8.99
Buspirone 15mg 30 $10.99 $7.78 $8.99
Total   $258.98 $248.56 $329.98

And then I remembered that I had read a blog somewhere that said you didn't need a membership to get into warehouse stores such as Costco and Sam's club. I decided to give Costco a call. Here are their prices for the same medications.

Prescription Quantity Costco % Saving (over most expensive)
Venlafaxine 15mg 60 $27.22 91.30%
Trazodone 100mg 30 $6.40 28.80%
Buspirone 15mg 30 $13.59 no savings
Total   $47.21 85.70%

Now this is obviously a very small sample of medications, but they are considered, daily, lifetime drugs. That means I will have to take them every day for the rest of my life. Imagine how much money I will save over my lifetime!!

The important things to remember are that you DO NOT need a membership to get prescriptions filled at a warehouse store because medications are regulated by the federal government, therefore you can't be required to have a membership. Another thing to remember is how very much money you can save if you have to pay for your medicines in cash. And finally, even if you have insurance, you will still save money if you have a co-insurance, or you will save your insurance money by buying cheaper medicines which may help lower the cost of health care in the long term.

This applies to the United States only, as I don't know how membership clubs and health care works in other countries.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pinterest, and all its questions!!!

My teammates and I have recently discovered a new website,
It is a way to organize TONS of websites onto various boards. Its a virtual pinboard, where you can organize recipes, fashion, gifts, inspiration...and the list is limitless. You pin all these websites onto your boards, then when you need something, you just go to the pin and it takes you back to the website you found it on. Its a picture story of your favorites list.

Now in our discoveries, we have also come across questions. Below I will post the questions, and answers if applicable that have come up. If you have other questions, or answers to the questions, please don't hesitate to add them as a comment. This is all about helping each other discover the merits of a new medium.

Questions, and Answers

1. do I pin items to my boards in pinterest?

The long way is to copy the link, go to “add a pin” and fill in the info, using your link.

The quick way is to add the “pin it” shortcut. It says you can click and drag it to your toolbar, but I couldn’t get it to work. Here are the instructions:

To install the “Pin It” button in Internet Explorer:

1. Display your Favorites Bar by clicking Tools > Toolbars > Favorites Bar

2. Right-click the “Pin It” button and select “Add to Favorites”

3. On the pop-up window, select “Create in: Favorites Bar”

4. When you are browsing the web, push the “Pin It” button to pin an image

2. I am trying to pin... I have a necklace pinned 3 times... now I can not remove it.

Hover over the item, top left corner says “edit”, click on it. A little screen pops up, in the top left corner, it says “delete pin”, click on it. It will ask if you are sure.

3. Does anyone else have problems with the pins "sticking" on pinterest?? I pin something, but it doesn't show up, or I move it to a different board and the item disappears.

 No answers yet :(

4. can you "rearrange" your pins? I'm anal I know, but I want certain things next to each other.

It's so helpful that they set it up so we can change Boards around, but they do not have a way for us to arrange our Pins. I know of quite a few people besides myself, that go as far as deleting some of their pins to get them in the order they like best!

5. How do I follow someone. I'm getting lots of notices that someone is following me but don't see anywhere to click to follow back with I go to their sites. There is a button that says "Follow All". Is that it? What do they mean by 'all'? Am I signing up to follow the whole site. Eek!

Yes, you hit the Follow doesn't mean you're following the whole Pinterest site...It means you're Following ALL of that person's boards.

6. I set up a board and am trying to pin items. Downloading (browse mode) from my Pictures and EI tells me that they have blocked this site from downloading files into my computer. Click for options gives me the option of "download" but when I click that, everything is gone and we're back to square one. I am trying to load something TO Pinterest. What does Pinterest downloading files to my computer have to do with that?

No answers yet :(

7. Did you know if you pin it you can tweet it with the pinterest and saves you a step. Even add it to your fb!

Please add your questions and answers below in the comments section!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

MEGA Promo Frenzy Sales

You have less than ONE WEEK left to shop the awesomely amazing MEGA sales from the promo frenzy team on etsy!!! Check them out!!

1) - 15% off all items over $20

2) - 30% off all items over $20

3) - 25% off orders over $10 (some exclusions apply)

4) - 20% off everything in the shop

5) - 20% off orders over $20

6) - 'Summer Special Offer' section - items already reduced plus buy 2 or more of my 3D Decoupage Cards and receive 10% Discount (refunds via paypal)

7) - 20% off all orders

8) - 20% off everything Plus free gift Plus entry in to a draw for a voucher to my shop

9) - 5% off everything in the shop

10) - 20% to 25% off Lampwork Beads, Sterling Silver and Polymer Clay Beads (no coupon coded needed, I am using etsyonsale)

11) - 15% off these sections - BLANK CARD SETS, MATTED CARDS and FRAMED CARDS (also using etsyonsale, no coupon)

12) - Use coupon code frenzyspecial for 10% off any purchase $8 &UP PLEASE

13) - 15% off entire purchase, NOT INCLUDING destash which is already super cheap

14) - 15% off everything in my shop, does not include custom orders

15) - 15% off any order over $10, before shipping with team code.

16) - 15% off everything in shop

17) - 15% off everything in my shop

18) - 10% discount on orders $20 and under, 15% discount on orders over $20

19) - 10% off of all combined purchases over $15 dollars (except destash and paper items)

20) - 20% off everything in my shop

21) - 20% off everything over $30.

22) - 20% off everything in shop before shipping

23) - 20% off everything in shop before shipping

24) - 15% off everything in shop before shipping

25) – 15% off any order $20 and up (excluding shipping)

26) – 20% off any order $20 and up (excluding shipping)

27) - 15% off any order.

28) - 20% off on any item in shop (sale price already applied! no need for a coupon code!)

29) - 15% off on any item in shop.

30) - 25% off your purchase.

31) - 15% off purchase of $20 or more (excluding shipping)

32) - 15% off purchase before shipping

33) - 10% off photography prop orders (before shipping). Buy three patterns get one free.

34) - In stock section is 30% off. (Prices already reduced via etsyonsale).

35.) - use FRENZYSPECIAL to enjoy 20% off

36.) - 15% OFF everything in shop, before shipping

37.) - 15% off all purchases (before shipping)

38.) (Kater's Acres) - 10% off store prices before shipping

39. - 10% off everything in our shop

40.) - 15% off everything in our shop before shipping

41) - 20% off everything in our shop OR Free shipping on orders $20 or more (order must still be $20 or more once coupon is applied)

42) 15% off of all orders over $25 dollars!

43) - up to 20% off all in-stock jewelry designs (coupon not needed, prices are already reduced)

44) - 15% off of all orders

45) - 20% off all orders over $10

46) -25% off any item (before shipping and DOES NOT include clearance items).

47) ~Kelly Designs~ 20% off all PreMade Logo Designs! Prices already reduced, no coupon needed :)

48) - 25% off any order!

49) - 25% off all orders!

50) - 25% off anything in "ready to ship" section plus free gift

51) - 15% off everything!

52) - 5% off everything over $25. All orders receive FREE my eBook, "Vintage Ice Creams".

53) - 20% off all orders of $15 or more (before shipping)

54) - 20% off selected items in "MegaPromoFrenzySpecials" section.--- use coupon code "Frenzyspecial"

55.) - 15% off all orders over $20 (excluding shipping). Use coupon code "Frenzyspecial"

56) - free shipping for the month of aug plus a free gift! Just enter coupon code "frenzyspecial"

57. - 15% OFF everything in the shop (except tax and shipping) :-) Use coupon code: Frenzyspecial at checkout **PLUS** All orders will be entered in a drawing for a *FREE* Wooden Letter of his/her choice!! Winner will be announced Sept 5th.

58. - FREE shipping WORLDWIDE, FREE gift wrapping!!! Enter coupon code " frenzyaugust"

59. - 20% off items that are $20.00 or more. Free gift with all orders!! Use coupon Frenzyspecial at checkout.

60. - BOGO - Buy one print and get another free! No coupon necessary, name your free print at checkout!

61. - 15% off all items with team promo code