Conference Kit

My primary client is Keller Williams Realty, and their annual convention, called the Keller Williams Family Reunion, happens every February. This year I'll attend my 16th, and I've got my "conference essentials kit" down pat:

  • It's always a good idea to bring lots of business cards, but hopefully yours, if they have a picture of you at all, have a more recent photo than one taken 11 years ago. (I just got new photos done a couple weeks ago, but I'll share more on that later.)
  • I don't understand why, but folks find all kinds of reasons to justify not investing $10-25 on a good portable phone battery charger. It's a great tool to have, especially if you're also taking notes and photos of presentation slides on your phone.
  • The outlet splitter could make you the most popular person in a breakout session room -- I know from first-hand experience.
  • Most convention centers have big community water bottles, and flimsy plastic cups. Don't bother with them. Bring your own empty water bottle and fill up as you need to. Just test beforehand to make sure the bottle you bring has a tight seal. (Ask me how I know...)

I don't leave for another couple of days, so tell me -- am I missing anything? ;)

Modern Love Podcast

My "learning style," if you believe in those, is primarily visual. Which makes podcasts, heaven for auditory learners, really tough for me. I fall asleep! I tune out! It can be a mess. 

I've been trying out different types of podcasts, at different times of the day, to see what sticks. At the moment, listening to a short podcast during my morning writing time has worked well, and when I saw that The New York Times' Modern Love column was getting its own podcast, I was elated. Modern Love has been proof of the power of a well-crafted essay, for all the naysayers who criticize essays for gratuitous navel-gazing. I've been challenged to think differently after reading some of these essays.

The essay featured during this week's podcast, called "Open Adoption: Not So Simple Math," written by Amy Seek, is poignant, and even more powerful as read by the actor Sarah Paulson.

On Goal Setting: Results vs. Process

I had a daily writing goal in 2015, and I hit it! I wrote 365 days last year. But this is my first post in three months, so clearly I had no blogging goal, haha. Maybe I need one! (Note to self…)

Late last year, I had a couple of epiphanies about goals. The first is that I’d become a one-year goal setting and goal achieving ninja. I’d successfully set and hit one-year goals for several years. BUT I was achieving a succession of one-year goals without any long-term plan. My friend Colette suggested a book called Five: Where Will You Be Five Years From Today? I completed all the exercises over three morning writing sessions and walked away with a concrete vision of what I want to see in five years. Big wake up call: my son will be in his final year of secondary school in five years. Better be sure I’m raising the man I want to see in 2021!

The second epiphany is that I’m in a good place overall, both personally and professionally, and it didn’t happen overnight. This has become a bit of an obsession. I traced back healthy eating, for instance. I am not claiming to be the cleanest eater in the world, but I bet I’m doing pretty good compared to the average American. It began in 2002, when I got pregnant. It was the first time in my life I remember questioning what I ate, considering that my personal nutritional choices would also affect the baby growing inside me. I cut out all caffeine during my pregnancy, and began eating organic produce. After my son was born and began eating solid foods, I bought organic for him and conventional for my husband and me, and asked myself one day, “Why would you want only the best for him, but not for yourself?” I am sure we spend far more than most 3-person households on food, and it’s about quality, not quantity. We forgo other luxuries because food quality is a high priority for us.

I’m happy we have healthy eating habits, and each year since 2002, we’ve made some adjustments that at the time didn’t seem major, but as an accumulation of habits, lead to really positive outcomes.

One memorable story I've heard about goal setting was from a teacher who insisted that a 25-pound weight loss goal he’d set in January, and had not happened yet by December 1 of that year, would not have happened had he not written it down. After Thanksgiving, he buckled down, disciplined himself for the following month, worked out like a fiend, and by December 31 he’d hit his goal.

Yay for him, but what I remember most is that the next year that weight came back! To my knowledge, the number on his scale has continued to go up and down over the years, because he has always focused solely on the result goal, and not on a process goal.

So I’ve been looking at goal setting very differently. Instead of focusing on an just an achievement, I’m mostly focusing on behaviors, habits, and rituals that can lead to an outcome I want.

Now that I’ve written that, it seems silly and self-explanatory. But business people can get carried away with end results ("Just bullet point it for me!"), totally ignoring the means. And the means are what lifestyle, and quality of life, are all about.

How are your 2016 goals coming along? Are you more of an end result goal setter, or a process goal setter, or both? 

Weekly Notes #4

Weekly Notes #3


Weekly Notes #2

Blah blah blah:

Simplicity 1870 + 1871

It's been a while since I posted a sewing project, and with a backlog of projects to share, I'll combine these outfits into one post. Each of them uses the top from Simplicity 1870 and the skirt from Simplicity 1871.

The first outfit is made from the fabric left over from a dress I made for my sweet friend, Ashley. (I'm just realizing I never blogged Ashley's dress, which I made in July! Lots to catch up on.) It's a pink variegated stripe, a poly-lycra blend that is soooo soft and drapey. I didn't do a petite adjustment on the top or bottom, but I will probably crop it more on top so it looks less like I can't measure, and more like you're supposed to see a slice of skin.


The second outfit was my birthday dress! This time, I used a more structured, B&W striped, poly-lycra knit from Michael Levine Loft, and I attached the top and bottom. But I cut away a triangle of fabric on the skirt, from the side seams to the waist, before attaching them. I've been loving the cutouts on clothes all over the dang place, and the curviest part of my torso is the lower waist, so that's how I decided to make the cutouts there. When I wear the dress, it feels like I'm showing lots of skin. But when I see the photos, it looks very demure. Maybe I will end up wearing it again, after all.

The whole process of taking photos for the blog / pattern review cracks me up. My husband is my primary photographer, and we really have been trying to create more of a "vibe" so that we get better shots. Usually, he is frustrated and I am frowning. This particular day, we photographed three outfits, when we were both searing under a hot sun. He had me in the oddest-feeling poses, arms one way, hands another, body facing yet another direction, instructing me to look directly into the sun and smile. We had some fun this time around, laughing at the whole process, but I know there must be an easier way. Don't be surprised if you see props, and masks, and hats, and other hijinks and swag and silliness in future sewing project photos.

For you sewing peeps, here is my review of the S1070 top. And here's my review of the S1071 skirt.