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It’s been months since my last post. I’ve mostly been using Twitter and totally let go of this blog. Since son is starting Kindergarten in the fall, I thought I’d slowly ease myself back into keeping up with the blog. We’ll see, as I’ve never been consistent anyway. 

It’s pretty much business as usual here. The major thing is I had a website re-design. That was the #1 thing on my list of goals for 2009! Thank you so much to Lindsay of Purr Design for working with me on the project. She was truly a pleasure to work with. I would never have been able to do it without her.

So here’s the site re-done if you’re curious: Dear Monday

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mmkay… so I took longer than 1 or 2 days to post some goals. 🙂 It’s still January. Last year I didn’t post my goals till near February. Speaking of last year, this years goals will be similar to last, at least on the personal side. Anyhoo… here it is:

BUSINESS:
1. Re-do my website: I haven’t updated my website because I find the task daunting. I need a proper shopping cart where I can basically upload. Hopefully I can handle that much!
2. Find 1 or 2 more GOOD reps, emphasis on good. It’s possible to have reps that sell nothing the entire year. Sigh.
3. Concentrate on selling on website again. It would greatly help once goal #1 happens.
4. Make to-do lists everyday – this helps me so much, I don’t know why I only do it when I’m overwhelmed.
5. Etsy – maybe. I have an account, just have never done anything with it. 

PERSONAL:
1. Sleep earlier – my son is sleeping thru the night. FINALLY. He only wakes up once every night. That means I’m actually getting some sleep but I need to be less of a night owl.
2. Exercise – started yoga once a week but need to add some kind of cardio.
3. Dress up more – this is part of my ongoing makeover/getting back to life thing
4. Declutter & organize the house – little by little, this will happen.
5. Make some Vietnamese food – you’d think I’d learn from my mom. I don’t do well with “a pinch of this, a glob of that”. I need written recipes!
6. Do some art. Maybe this should go under “business” goals. I’ve been wanting to do block prints FOREVER. But I haven’t found the time and I’m afraid.

There’s tons of other sub-goals but why overwhelm myself with a long list. 

Overall, I want to figure out how to work smarter, not harder.

I haven’t written much (not that I do much anyway) because I’ve been twittering. It’s much quicker and shorter than blogging and can be as random as I want. Find out more: Twitter

Everything is back to usual around here. I was designing lots of new stuff so now I have a small break before I design again. The new stuff won’t be on the website for a while but it’s a little bit of a new direction… less labor intensive than my ribbon edged cards but still handcrafted. I hope it will do well. I have to design alot more of the “new stuff” but I wanted to get some of it out there. Speaking of my website… my poor poor website has been so neglected. Sigh.

I don’t know if I will post much here for a while since I have twitter now. We’ll see. I know I need to streamline.

It still doesn’t feel like 2008 yet even though February is only days away. I think I’m at the last leg of this nasty cold we all have. At least this one was short with a couple days of high fever. The last time we were sick it went from end of October to end of Thanksgiving. I think Little J got sick again in December. It was 3 months of sick and I’m so over it.

I’ve done what felt to be like tons and tons of sample decks. Just when I thought I was done, “can we get 2 more?” At least it gave me a taste of what it’s like if I had tons of orders. It also made me think of designing cards that are a little less labor intensive.

So what’s up for 2008? After being sick so long/often, I decided this year is going to be about me. I’ve kind of put life on hold and neglected myself past few years. Now that Little J is 3.5, maybe it’s time the parents get their life back.

PERSONAL:
• sleep – hopefully I can get more than 2-3 hours at a time. Little J is starting to sleep thru the night. Yep, I get woken up 1-3 times, every single night.
• exercise – i did it twice last year
• give myself a makeover – It’s been almost a year since my last haircut… I should get a real haircut, not the kind that I have to fix afterwards. Use gift cards that I received 3 years ago to update wardrobe. Go to an H&M… I saw this store in Europe over 7 years ago and always wished they were in the US. They have stores near me now for a while, I’ll visit one this year.
• declutter the house… maybe even decorate the walls (right now it feels like one big playground). We aren’t brave enough to buy real furniture yet.
• organize – an ongoing battle

BUSINESS
• continue with new products/designs (MUST start using equipment I bought last year)
• i have a few more reps now than I did last year at this time (zero, haha) so I hope the business should at least triple.

Most importantly, stay sane and happy. Sounds simple enough but can be a challenge at times.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve written. I think this is the longest I’ve gone between entries. I was very busy so I took a break and then I just didn’t care about updating my blog anymore.

What have I been up to?
Filling orders – Suddenly I’ve had a steady stream of wholesale orders. Some weeks were crazier than others but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. With a young son, I am seriously thinking what I would do if I had more business! Orders from my website have been pretty sucky which serves me right because I’ve done zilch in advertising this year. With the holidays coming up, maybe I can muster up a newsletter or something 🙂 Sigh…
Graphic design – I finished with a client’s CD project with its marketing materials and such. And then this is the busy season for my bro-in-law with his music school putting on a rock show. Photoshoots, CDs, flyers, etc etc.
Dodging fires – We really thought our house/neighborhood was in trouble during that week of Southern CA fires. The fire was across a big road and 6 houses away from us. It was crazy with people evacuating and burning embers falling. Luckily (I suppose), the fire was next to the Fire Authority and I don’t think they’d let headquarters burn 🙂 . Phew.
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Family – Little J turned 3 so we had some family visiting. We always have family stay with us, it just seems like a lot more these past months.
Pre-school – Sigh, it’s been ok. The first day was great!! After that, I think J realized I’m not going to be there so it’s been really tough dropping him off at school. He stopped crying after about 3 weeks and now is resorting back to crying since we just had family stay with us for a week. Time goes by so fast the 2 days that J is in school, I’m still getting used to having a couple hours to myself!

A Halloween picture. We bought his costume weeks before … it’s just a coincidence that he’s a fireman.
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My busy wave is over with. Whew! The CD project went a little longer (not on my part) than expected, but is now done and printed. Once again, I can concentrate more on Dear Monday stuff. I don’t even know which to do first… time to make my beloved lists again. There’s some new stuff to add but I just dread taking photos!

I am looking forward to September. In 3 weeks, my son goes to preschool 2 days a week. PRESCHOOL. That means I’ll have about 10 hours of free-for-all time. Oh preschool, I can’t wait. I don’t even know what fun thing to do first. Hmm, I’ll make a list for that too.

I disappeared from my blog for so long I forgot my user name and password when I logged back in. haha. At first, my disappearance was I needed a break and just didn’t feel like writing since there wasn’t much to write anyway. But then my disappearance was because it seemed I just got busy with everything.

I recently signed on 2 really cool reps… I don’t have much experience with reps so I thought it would take a while for orders to come… but a few came in, all at the same time. While I jumped for joy and cheered 5 times, I also previously committed to a CD design set to be due this week. It’s a fun project and my client is the best but… my time management skills aren’t the greatest. I like to totally concentrate on something and be in the zone but with a couple of things going on, I have to “allot” time for each project.

I’m almost in the home stretch. I was able to fill those orders and the CD design is almost done. It’s really not that much work, but when I only have a few hours at night to do stuff, it makes me a little irritable. haha. My poor husband! (Hi honeh!!!)

I finally updated my index page for the website. It was spring for a looooooong time 🙂 Got my newsletter out just in time because Dear Monday’s gonna be “open” for a year on August 10. Time really flew by. It seemed like I did nothing, yet so much at the same time. I’ve got alot more to do, take pictures, load up new stuff… etc etc

Anyway, I’ve got lots of catching up to do. Not only did I neglect my blog, I stopped reading others’ too. Wonder what’s going on? haha. It’s just as well. I need to read blogs as much as I need to watch TV. 🙂

We’ve been back the past few days. It’s great to be HOME again. It feels like we have so much space compared to 700 sq ft apartment. No more parking a block away for husband, and no more wondering if someone took my reserved parking spot.

I’m trying to get back into the swing of things businesswise. I’ve slacked off completely on PR/marketing. It’s not one of my favorite things to do either. I can’t remember the last time I sent out my newsletter… probably right before we left. Time to get back on that especially since next month is 1 year since I officially started selling online. Also been a while since I updated my homepage too… it still has Spring cards.

Anyhow, just enjoying my time back and trying to motivate myself to do the fluff part.

The stationery show in New York is this weekend. Best of luck to everyone who is going. It seems like so much fun and alot of stress too. I’ve been drooling over so many gorgeous designs from up and coming companies over at Hostess blog . It kinda makes me wonder… why do I do this again? haha. There’s so many designs out there that takes my breath away. (I think you have to like paper to feel that way 😉 But then I think there’s room for everyone, one has to persevere and keep at it.

Anyway, I’m not going to the NSS. Hopefully one day. I’m optimistic that one can “make it” without having to go. (Success is relative, so my “make it” is much different than someone else’s “make it”) It’ll be much slower but there’s a way I’m sure. Or maybe I’m very naive. I’ll figure it out day by day until I go… one retailer at a time.

So my progress is that I have a rep, maybe 2. New ones. With experience. It’s way too early to tell how it’ll go… but I’m further today than I was 2 months ago. I hope to put up a “Where to Buy” page and have more than a few stores… we’re talking I want to count more stores than on just 1 hand… by the end of the year, maybe I’ll have to use my toes too. Slow yes. But like I said, one retailer at a time.

Yes, it looks like we’re going up north for a while. Husband (I have to think of a name for him! Mr. Monday? Mr. Ponderer?) is leaving next week. I did write that it’s going to happen quick! 🙂 He’ll be staying in a hotel for a bit since they don’t have any apartment openings in the corporate housing.

So I asked: what if an apartment doesn’t open up? Will Little J and I stay home and he’ll come home to visit 2x a month? Hubby says no way, we’re going no matter if we stay in a hotel or apartment because he can’t live without us. 🙂 🙂 Shoooot…. doesn’t he realize that it would be like a vacation without us? I mean, he can watch TV and actually hear the dialog or eat without a little 3-foot kid climbing on his head. heehee

Anyway, I can only bring what I really NEED. When an apartment does open up, it’ll be a 1-bedroom not 2 like we were hoping. So I have to travel light, yet efficient! I sure wish I had a laptop! Stopping for 6 months isn’t really an option… it’d feel like starting over. I’ve already come to a screeching halt on contacting local stores at home. I should switch to contacting stores up north. It’ll be an interesting adventure.

Today was Little J’s 3rd class meeting. Once again we were late because I was trying to get a package ready so I can drop off at the post office. Anyway, Little J was being extra energetic and very loud. It continued thru lunch. We decided to join 2 of his classmates and moms for lunch… and well, let’s just say I went home pretty hungry.

I composed myself while J took a nap. Today I’ll go drop off a catalog and samples to a local store when husband gets home. It felt foreign to try to look “nice” LOL. It was kind of for nothing because the owner was not there so I just left the package. That’s okay, I didn’t feel like conversing with anybody today. The whole thing took about a minute. So anti-climatic and no big deal.

I have to remind myself this is the business side of it. Hmmm…. I need to go do some art.

Today I dropped of little J at my parent’s house. My mom is off every other Friday and every other Friday I gain some sanity back and try to do as much as I can with Dear Monday.

So I make it a goal today to call as many stores as I can and maybe a rep or two. It’s not so bad with reps but I still get nervous. It’s the stores I sweat over even if I’m only asking a salesperson for a manager name. So far I’ve practiced calling stores that I know would tell me to call corporate offices. Then I procrastinate some… no I procrastinate alot before I call on some local stores. I don’t know why I’m such a chicken about this, that’s why I’m not in sales and will never be. I’m not shy but when it comes to work that’s art-related or work that I care about, I become mush! This will get better I know, but until I get more experience in this industry, I feel like I’m flashing signs like: AMATEUR!! NEWBIE!! MY STUDIO IS THE GUEST BEDROOM!! “WE” REALLY MEANS “I”. MY ASSISTANT IS 2!! ahhhhhh!!!!!!

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Anyway, focusing on better thoughts… I have friends! Yes, I have friends now who are moms! Michelle (aka Mindy in a previous post LOL) whom I met a while back called me again after we lost touch for a little while. I left her alone since I thought maybe we were ‘too much’ for her :). Anyway, she told me about classes her son was enrolled in and that my little J would like. They were the same community classes I was looking at for J and now we’ve all signed up for the same day.

Thru Michelle, I’ve met some other moms and we’re planning on meeting at different play areas on different days of the week. I’m happy about this because having a business and being at home as a mom can get pretty lonely!

Last year I was pretty much internally griping about the pains of learning-as-I-go and getting my website built. At least that’s done with for this year. Now I pretty much have to maintain, update and add to it… and not break anything. So that leaves me with coming up with new designs and promoting Dear Monday more. To offset that though, my Little J is now in his 2s, and seems to need a playmate all the time. I’ll see how many goals I can really accomplish/keep up with!

Businesswise:
1. Wholesale. I’d like to get into 10 boutiques this year – on my own. Such a small piddly number, I know. But, would feel like a big accomplishment to me.
2. Expose myself/get word out. Advertise, participate in promos, get featured.
3. Organize. It’s time to put shelves on the walls.

Personal:
1. Exercise at least once a month 🙂
2. Get more sleep. This is a must, no more excuses.
3. Do more artistic stuff. Been wanting to do block prints forever. I have all the stuff, it’s a matter of sitting down and carve those images.
4. The baby thing. Yes, try for 1 more. I’m getting older and after this year, I think that’s it. If it doesn’t happen I’ll be thankful we had one.

That’s it. No lofty goals, exept maybe one. The idea is maintain and keep at it. There’s always time to grow later.

This one is a COMPLETE surprise. I’m not sure how it happened, but Dear Monday won the Rare Robin award in the paper category. I’m shocked! Shocked because I didn’t even attempt to cheat LOL… not like in school when I gave myself 4 extra votes to give myself an edge on being 10th grade Treasurer, which I ended up not winning anyway. Sorry too much information there.

Anyway, thank you, thank you. This makes my Friday 🙂
Thank you Rare Bird Finds! Please go here to see online shops who also won the Rare Robin award.

I’ve contributed to quite a few giveaways/contests the past couple of months that I think I’ve almost lost track! The latest is for Creature Comfort’s Holiday Giveaway.

To enter, leave a comment to their post regarding the giveaway. That’s it. A winner will be picked on December 11th. Keep checking back to Creature Comforts as she posts pictures of goodies that are in the gift basket!

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We’re a bit late to the party on this one, but we are one of the contributors to the 7 gift baskets to be won for the Rare Robin Awards put together by Rare Bird Finds.

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If you like our Dear Monday site, please vote for us in the paper category. No matter who you vote for, you’ll be entered to win 1 of 7 gift baskets. The contest ends November 30, so there’s still plenty of time to vote! Go vote HERE.