Branding and logos are tricky things.
Ultimately, your business is NOT about you. So conventional wisdom would say that you should get the input of your tribe on things like your logo. (Or if you’re a hardcore direct response marketer, you ditch the logos altogether because they’re distracting and ruin your conversion rates.)
On the other hand, when you’re creating a business and the “brand” is you, well… the look and feel must resonate with you.
(One of my favorite people, a comics writer rockstar who taught me much of what I know about writing, cautions that if something in a story is bugging you even a little, change it before it goes to print because it’ll be with you forever. Same deal.)
The last time around on the rebranding tip, I didn’t have a clue about my logo, let alone anything else about how my site should look. Except for one thing: I knew my color scheme had to be red.
Why? Because my color has always been red. Even when I was a little kid with a bowl haircut. Quite simply, I rock the red – namely, a gorgeous dark blue/purple-y red. Period, end of.
So I asked Victoria to whip me up a logo. “Make it red,” I said. She did. And because I saw another marketer ask her list to weigh in on HER soon-to-be-new logo, I thought I needed to do the same.
So I did. And a couple of curious things happened.
First, I got a TON of feedback. Literally one third of my list responded – and that was before Survey Monkey broke. (The takeaway: when you ask for feedback on logos, you will get it!)
One of the people who responded was a woman I had met a few months earlier at an event – a bona fide branding whiz with years of Madison Avenue cred to back it up. Here is what she said:
“Have you/would you consider using a more ENERGETIC color? It’s critical to make sure your branding reflects your energy, your essence, your core being!
You just don’t come across to me, at any rate, as a dark red/ox blood red color kind of energy!”
She meant well. And clearly, from her perspective, I was not rocking the red. Thing is, she had met me for all of the proverbial five minutes. She didn’t know my “energy,” “essence” or “core being” and really had no business commenting on these things. (In fairness, I was hiding out, so there’s that.)
Long story short: the whole thing sent me into a tailspin of doubt. Ultimately, I ditched the red. And I have always, always regretted it.
In his book, Think And Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill makes a distinction between wise counsel and opinions. Despite all of her branding wisdom (which I do not discount), this woman’s voice was an opinion.
And yet, that one opinion lead to hemming and hawing and churning and whinging and, ultimately, my poor choice of ditching what I’ve always know in my heart to be true: that my energy, essence, and core being rocks the red. Always has, always will.
I invite you to learn from my experience by asking yourself this question…
Where are you letting the opinions of others sway you from what you KNOW to be true… about your business, your clients, your work, yourself?
Even wise counsel is NOT a good reason to abandon your truth, especially when it comes to your heart work.
Bright blessings and massive success to you…
We’ve been on a bit of a health kick lately. I say that lightly, because while I have been watching what I’m eating, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for the occasional chocolate cake. However, I’ve got a bit of baby weight left to lose, and cupcakes for breakfast just haven’t been helping with that.
I tend to get fixated on one specific breakfast at a time. First it was overnight refrigerator oatmeal. Then it was rye toast with peanut butter and bananas. And now, its granola.
Chewy, crunchy, toasty, wonderful granola. With bananas and almond milk, on fruit salad, or (my favourite), mixed into Greek yogurt. And because its so easy to make, I can whip up a batch at the beginning of the week, and have breakfast (and snacks) for the next several days. Plus, its easily customizable; nuts, cranberries, coconut, trail mix, seeds, chocolate chips…whatever you’d like can be stirred in. Give it a try – and let me know what great combinations you come up with!
4 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil if you prefer)
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp each chia, flax and hemp seeds
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut*
1 cup trail mix *
*replace these with 2 cups of anything you’d like. Dried cranberries, banana chips, nuts, seeds, etc.
Mix all ingredients together well. Spread on a greased baking sheet, and bake at 300 degrees for an hour, stirring well every 15 minutes. Let cool completely on the pan. Store in an airtight container for a week to 10 days.
The question I get asked most frequently when it comes to K is “So is she sleeping through the night?” My answer? A snort, vigorous head shaking, and an incredulous “No.” I’m not quite sure where this fascination with sleeping through the night comes from; it seems to be the holy grail of baby behaviour. But of all the mommy-friends I have, there is precisely ONE who has a baby sleeping through the night. It seems to be more the exception than the rule.
The four month sleep regression hit around Christmas time, and K has been waking up between 2 and 4 times per night ever since. Naps regulated around 7 months, and she was down to 1-2 wake-ups nightly.
And then, 9 months hit. While I had read a few times about the ‘9 month sleep regression’, I didn’t expect it would happen to us. I didn’t think that her sleep could get a whole lot worse than it already was.
But then it did.
Three weeks ago, naps became a fight. Bedtime became a struggle of epic proportions. It would take hours to get her to sleep (often times giving up and just letting her watch TV with me), and when she finally fell asleep, she would be restless and wake frequently. Naps were skipped all together, or fought to the point that K would fall asleep at 5:30pm and mess up her night time sleep even further.
I hadn’t felt this tired, this confused, or this drained since the early days of K’s life. When you get used to sleeping in 4 hour stretches, and having a few breaks during the day to eat lunch and tidy up, anything less than that feels overwhelming.
We’re on our way out of the 9 month sleep regression. Her night-time sleep is decent again (2 wake-ups most nights), and I’ve been able to put her down for naps the last two days. So what advice do I have for those of you still fighting it out?
1. This too shall pass: Like every other stage in your baby’s life, this will pass. The 9 month regression is related to learning new behaviours and dealing with separation anxiety. When your little one’s development settles down a bit, so will their sleep.
2. Do what you have to: For this short period in time, you might have to resort to more night feedings, or skipping a morning nap, or even letting the laundry pile up. This is okay. No one can judge you..especially if they’re not the ones dealing with lack of sleep.
3. Don’t pick up any long-term (bad) habits: While you need to do what you have to to survive, try not to start any habits that you don’t want to continue long-term. If you don’t want to continue using a pacifier, now isn’t the time to introduce one. But if you’re comfortable with change (co-sleeping, more night feedings, introducing a lovey) then go for it!
4.Take some time for yourself: If you have someone to help, please use them! A lack of sleep affects everything you do, and can make even the little things seem overwhelming. Whether its a half-hour to browse Pinterest, or a few hours out of the house, find the time to treat yourself a little. Its amazing how much better you will feel.
To make your eyes look bright, you need to emphasize them. Before applying the shadows, you must use a nourishing cream. Half an hour before applying decorative cosmetics, lubricate the eyelids with moisturizing cream. Also, do not interfere with powder eyelids. This preparatory process will allow you to evenly apply shadows on the eyelids.
When you paint the eyelid, you need to tilt your head back slightly, then the shadows will lie flat and the pattern will be better. If you like to experiment and mix different colors of shadows – no problem. The most important thing in this process is to feather the border between several shades of shadows so that there is no rainbow effect. The excess amount of shadows can be removed using a cotton pad with powder. You must first apply lighter shades of shadows, and then dark.
❖ If you have small eyes, then you will help light pearly shadows. A clear eye contour and matte shadows, on the contrary, will only reduce them. Do not buy shadows on the principle of “like or dislike.” The color of the shadows should match the color of your eyes. However, do not be afraid to experiment with color. Paint the shadows on the lower part of the eyelid, and cover the moving eyelid and inner corners with light shades of light.
❖ If you have bulging eyes, there should be dark shadows in your cosmetic bag. You can use eyeliner or dark pencil. Apply a neutral shade to the upper part of the eyelid and add some dark shadows from below.
❖ With the help of shadows, you can narrow your wide-set eyes. To do this you will need light and dark shadows. On the inner corner of the eye, apply a dark shade of shadows, and on the mobile eyelid light.
❖ For deep-set eyes, use pearly light shades. You can circle the eyes with a liner or a dark pencil.
❖ If the eyes are set close, then your horse is an emphasis on the outer corners of the eyes. Cover inside corners with light shadows.
Weight has always been a tough subject for me. When I got pregnant with K, I was considered ‘obese’ on most of the BMI charts. Thanks to PCOS and a mild obsession with carbs and processed sugar, my weight hadn’t budged in at least a year. I was told to limit my pregnancy weight gain as much as possible; something that deeply bothered me. I had hoped, that for once in my life, I could ignore that number on the scale and know that any pounds added were because of a baby.
During the first trimester, my morning sickness was truly awful. From week 6 to week 16, I was queasy all day and unable to keep anything down before about 11 am. The vomiting was bad enough that it ruined the enamel on my teeth and I wound up with 7 cavities. So imagine my surprise when I was down by 8 lbs at my 16 week checkup. Months of Weight Watchers didn’t do what morning sickness did for me.
I gained weight slowly but steadily over the rest of my pregnancy, and at 41 weeks I had only put on about 25lbs. I was proud of this weight gain; it was enough to sustain a healthy pregnancy, but not enough that I wouldn’t be able to lose it afterward. Starting out ‘overweight,’ I had been cautioned about potential risks, and I was grateful to have avoided gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and other things that CAN be associated with large amounts of weight gain.
I was surprised again when I went to my two-week postpartum appointment at the midwives’ office and all twenty five ponds were gone. My body was a completely different shape than before — rather than carrying my weight in my upper body (boobs, stomach), I carried what was left around my middle and hips. Though the weight was gone, none of my clothes fit, and none of the styles I used to wear worked with my new body type. Everything was flabby and floppy, and though I was lighter than I had been pre-pregnancy, I certainly didn’t feel better.
As I nursed around the clock, took K out for walks all spring and summer, and made a conscious effort to get in shape, weight continued to come off. By ten months postpartum, I was down by another 15 lbs, the lightest I’d been since starting to TTC in 2011. I was finally starting to feel good about my body and how my clothes fit.
And then came what I scathingly refer to as The Backlash.
Suddenly, pushing the stroller and being mindful of what I ate wasn’t cutting it anymore. The weight loss first stalled out, and then reversed entirely. When I started back to work in August, the long days of sitting at a desk started catching up to me. Nursing twice per day instead of 4, 6, 8 times left a mark as well. In the scramble to pack a lunch in the mornings, I ended up with a lunchbag full of processed carbs and little protein. Coffee, a nice treat while on maternity leave, became mandatory for functioning, and it was often full of sugar.
Between the hormone shift, a major decrease in nursing, and the return to a sedentary lifestyle, all progress I had made was gone. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around (the start to holiday-binge-eating that seems to be unavoidable at my house), I was back up about 15lbs, and I was feeling truly awful. And when I felt awful, I ate more. Then I felt awful for eating more. So I ate. It was a vicious cycle, and I knew that it had to stop. If I wanted to sustain a second pregnancy any time in the near future, I knew my body had to be healthy.
I’ve heard from several new moms that this Backlash is a common occurrence. The baby weight all but disappears, and then when you’re least expecting it, piles back on again (often just in time to start trying for the next baby). But just because it’s common doesn’t mean I’m going to sit back and let it happen to me. Thanks to my naturopath, a ton of reading and researching, and a new Fitbit from J, I have an action plan for the new year. I know it’s cliche to jump on the ‘New Year, New You’ bandwagon, and honestly, it just happens to be the timing of this whole thing. I know I want another baby. I know I want to feel more comfortable with my body before we try for another baby. I’d really like my clothes to fit again. And a new year (plus weeks of holiday eating) mean this is the perfect time to start.
Here are five things I’m going to do to get my body back in gear:
1. Take 10,000 steps a day. This doesn’t seem like a lot of activity for those of you who are…well…active. But for me, even sticking with this basic FitBit goal, I’ll be getting more exercise than I have in months.
2. Drink 2L of water daily. I am notoriously bad for going days without drinking water. I could down 4 cups of coffee without blinking, but water is always a struggle. So another goal is to up my water intake; I know I’ll feel better.
3. Get 100g of protein. By focusing on the protein in my meals, I’ll avoid carbs and get the nutrients my body really needs. I’m thinking of Greek yogurt, protein powder smoothies, and plenty of lean meats.
4. Take my supplements. I’ve spent a fortune over the last year on naturopathic consults and supplements, and I have completely stopped taking them. I know that getting back into a routine will help, and my body will thank me for the extra vitamins, minerals, and hormone-balancing help.
5. Cut the sugar. My kitchen table right now is piled high with Christmas baking, gumdrop cake, boxes of chocolates, 3/4 of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, and a box of Jelly Bellies. Every single one of these things is tempting me, and every single one of them will just send my insulin-resistant body deeper into a funk. So I’ll have a bite of gumdrop cake, take the chocolates to my neighbour, and save those Jelly Bellies for my next road trip.
Do you have any health-related plans for the New Year? Did you experience the postpartum Backlash?
Have you ever heard of Beaver Tails? If you’re not Canadian, the chances of your familiarity with them drops by about 80%.
Picture this: its about -15, sunny, and you’ve just finished skating the kilometre or so of the Rideau Canal that is properly groomed. Your feet are aching, your nose and cheeks are pink and icy, and you’re ready to unlace your skates and have a snack. You might gravitate towards the hot chocolate stand, or bundle into your car to go get poutine. But any real Canadian knows there’s only one appropriate post-skate snack; the Beaver Tail.
A Beaver Tail is simple to describe; a flat, crisp and chewy pastry, fried in oil, and usually topped with butter, cinnamon and sugar. For the more adventurous among you, you can also get varieties topped with Nutella, maple spread, Skor chips, or peanut butter and bananas. Whether you’re a purist or a chocolate fiend, there’s really nothing bad about a Beaver Tail.
When I found out we were hosting a Super Bowl party for a whole bunch of high school kids, I knew that someone would take care of burgers, wings and nachos. My job was dessert, and though I could have created all sorts of football-shaped treats in team colours, I strayed a little. Everyone loves to assemble their own dessert. And what is a better vehicle for chocolate, maple, toffee or peanut butter? The humble (oven-baked) Beaver Tail. Or, because I’m not a licensed Beaver Tail kitchen….the crispy, chewy, lookalike…the Moose Ear.
1 portion pizza dough (homemade or storebought, approximately 26 ounces)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup white sugar, mixed with 1 tbsp cinnamon
On a heavily floured surface, divide the pizza dough into golf-ball sized portions. Roll these pieces out flat, until roughly oval (or football) shaped, and quite thin. Lay the rolled dough on a cookie sheet, and let rise for 15 minutes.
Brush melted butter on each unbaked Moose Ear, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.
These can be made ahead of time, and reheated in the oven for a few minutes, or served straight off the hot pan. Top it with peanut butter, jam, maple spread, Nutella, M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces or any combination of the above. Enjoy!
After dealing with the roller coaster that is pregnancy after infertility, I fully expected to wait another several years before trying again for a baby. I knew it would take strength to prepare myself for month after month of disappointment, and I didn’t know how I would handle that with a toddler running around.
Following much discussion over the holidays, we set our tentative start date for our fifth wedding anniversary, the first of May. We would have the next five months to lose the weight we wanted, save the money we were hoping, and get ourselves into a better mental state for the trying process. My cycles were regular for the first time in years, and I didn’t want to mess that up by going on the pill. So I was tracking my cycles using a few different phone apps, we were avoiding my ‘fertile’ week, and I figured we were good to go.
Did you know that sometimes with PCOS (and other fertility issues), pregnancy can act as a reset button? And did you know that one slight slip up, days after you were SUPPOSED to be ovulating, can result in pregnancy (even though two years of carefully timed sex led to nothing?)
I was assuming that weaning K was the reason that my cycle was a little bit off in January. But when I was a day or two late, I tested. The test was stark white, and I broke down crying. I knew we weren’t ready for a baby, I knew that the timing wasn’t right (we hadn’t saved enough, I was still 10lbs over pre-pregnancy weight), but at the same time, I was heartbroken that this wonky cycle wasn’t due to pregnancy. But then, several days later, when my cycle still hadn’t ended, I took another test. And within two minutes, two blue lines stared back at me.
Despite our plans to wait, God had other ideas for our family.
I’m in shock, completely overwhelmed and absolutely thrilled. While we plan, God laughs (or so the saying goes). I’ve had a little time now to adjust to the idea, and while I’m terrified of what having two kids is going to be like, I’m so excited to see K as a big sister, and I’m excited to see what kind of family dynamic we will have as four instead of three. I’m looking forward to new baby snuggles and tiny clothes and nursing again.
I’m worried about lack of sleep. Forget sleeping while baby sleeps when there’s a toddler running around. What about naps? What about bedtimes? Am I ever going to get time alone? I’m thinking about double the baby laundry, and twice as many diapers, and more STUFF. What if this baby’s a boy? I don’t know what to do with a boy!
And yet, I find that place of calm. I breathe, and know that God has a plan. I was terrified about having one baby, and that turned out wonderfully. I know life with this baby will be just as great. So before I turn to my list-making and Excel-chart planning, I’m just going to relax and enjoy what the next eight months have to bring. I will have to be a lot more intentional when it comes to enjoying this pregnancy, because its so easy to get carried away with the everyday goings-on of life. And seeing as this is most likely our last baby, I want to make every moment count.
2) If you are creating a specific # of things, go through your list to make sure you have enough. If you have too many, eliminate some, or re-title your project, for example, if you were shooting for 100 things & you have more than that, rename it something like “Things we love most about you”.
6) Enter spaces between each word or phrase to allow room to cut.
10) The scrap-paper is great for matting the word-strips. Go ahead and mat them however you want, creating a variety of looks. For some word strips, you may have charms, brads, eyelets, or many other “scrapbooky” type gadgets. Attach whatever you have to your word strips to illustrate & personalize the project even more than what the words say.
11) Next, lay-out the project. This may take some time, especially with lots of word-strips. Lay your back-ground paper down & start placing the word-strips (don’t attach them in place just yet). At first it may seem that you don’t have room for everything, but as you play with it, you’ll realize that things can overlap a little bit and it looks just as good or better that way.
Storing makeup can become a problem when you have enough to open a shop, and I am personally still looking for the perfect solution- a place to store it all, in one unit however I fear no single unit would be big enough.
However in the mean time I am using all sorts of different boxes, baskets and drawers to fit it all in.
I thought I’d show you in case anyone was after a small makeup storage place.
Muji is a shop full of storage solutions and quite well known for their acrylic drawers and units.
I have 3 sets of their acrylic drawers, two small ones and one large one.
In the small ones I store some of my lip glosses as shown in the picture and in the other one I store some of my single eye shadows – my palettes don’t fit in sadly, so they currently live in a wicker. basket.
The large Muji drawers are not shown as I currently have necklaces in that one.
You can see their selection of acrylic storage on their website which is www.muji.eu
Then in the pictures you can see a acrylic lipstick holder, which is along the same lines and design as Muji but it’s actually from John Lewis (£10)
It houses approx 25-30 lipsticks – ideally I’d need one of these about 3 times bigger!
Then I’ve shown you some white wooden towers from Matalan (£22 each) that have 4 drawers each and to give you an idea how big and deep the drawers are, I’d say one drawer holds approximately 10 foundation bottles. So one drawer is actually quite roomy!
These are quite nice on display in the bedroom or bathroom- but of course they’re still not the perfect solution as they don’t hold everything.
So that’s what I do for now- the rest are stored in various big white wicker baskets and boxes until one day when I hopefully find a large enough unit to house it all.
If you have done a storage blog post please feel free to leave your link below so I can pop along and get ideas.