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Monday, December 12, 2016

Adventures in the Snow

White powder trails, trees painted with blankets of snow, frozen lakes covered in sheets of white, are you feelin' it? Today was my first experience snowshoeing, well other than when I was in elementary school and we did some snowshoeing with the old wooden snowshoes that you could barely walk in. Today my husband and I drove up to Seymour Mountain about an hour drive from our home. As we got closer to the mountain we came upon tall forests of trees with heavy snow laden branches, the sides of the roads had snow banks piled high from the plows that cleared the roads earlier.  It was a beautiful scenic drive.  

Arriving at the mountain we found the Snow Shoe Rental Hut and got our gear. We happened to be the first people heading out on the snowshoe trails this morning. So yes, we got to make the first tracks in the fresh powdery snow. So cool! We looped are way around following the well marked trails and stopped half way to pour ourselves some hot chocolate that we had brought along.

I made a snow angel and we had some fun tossing snow at each other. The snow was too soft to make snowballs. It was about -4 out but we were dressed in layers and plenty warm. We covered about 4km. All in all it was a perfect morning snow adventure. A great experience! If  you haven't tried snowshoeing before, you should give it a whirl, it's as easy as walking, just using a little wider stance.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Don't Miss the Window

It's a busy time of year for designers, marketer's and shop keepers. This is the time when many people are making a list and beginning their Christmas shopping. You won't want to miss out on this window of opportunity for your own business.  I hope you've got your marketing plans and strategy for the busy shopping season underway. If not it's definitely time to get started. The days go by so quickly, really it is a short but usually very busy season for shop keepers. I’m sure you know that the stores in the malls all have their Christmas stock out and are creating ways to bring in the shoppers. They are setting up holiday displays to attract as many customers as possible. Many of the big box stores started in October with putting their Christmas and holiday products out. 

As an online small business owner I realize the importance of getting on board early and be prepared with my websites for those early shoppers. People are starting their shopping earlier and earlier every year. I know several people who do a little shopping all year long.  Research shows that more and more people are doing their shopping online and this is a trend that will only increase as time goes on. So basically, the key is to have a plan and make it happen. Take a look at your inventory and assess what you want to add to your inventory. Ways that you can spruce up your sites, like adding a festive banner for the holiday season. Look at the trends and items that will attract customers to your store front. We all know there is lots of competition for online store owners that's why it's so important to make our products and shops look the best that they can. It takes great marketing effort and consistency everyday to draw the customers in. 

Promotion is big, market, market, market. It's the only way to get those customers eyes on your shop. Use all available social media platforms that you are active in. I suggest doing this subtly, nobody wants to be bombarded with a ton of your items, so add something of value when you can. When using Twitter, remember to include appropriate hash tags, like #sales, #deals, #blackfriday and so forth. This will help when people who are searching for products and deals. Pinterest is another great marketing site, you'll want to highlight your holiday boards that feature your products. Create unique boards like Christmas Ideas,  Outdoor Christmas Decor, Tree Trimming Gifts, you get the idea. Pinterest lets you add prices too. Well that's it, hope you are on your way to a fabulous sales season. Don’t procrastinate too long or you might miss your window of opportunity. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Reaching For Healthy Snacks

Everyone knows that it's better to get your vitamins and minerals from natural foods when possible. Although I do agree that supplements are beneficial and go hand in hand with a healthy diet and exercise.  

I wanted to share my new favorite healthy snack food with you. If you enjoy things like peanuts, crunchy snacks like those bags of chips that we all crave at times you will most likely love this snack as much as I do. 

Ready it's ... Chic Peas, yup, Oven Roasted Chic Peas to be exact. Also known as garbanzo beans! Personally I don't like chic peas any other way but this way! 

This recipe is so simple you almost don't need it and it can be changed by the spices that you add or don't add to them. 

Open a can of Chic Peas and drain them. I recently heard that the juice of these can be used as a thickener but don't quote me on that one. I just drained them. Place in a dish and pat dry to remove moisture with a paper towel. In a bowl add some olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, about a half a tsp. of cayenne pepper and garlic salt or powder as desired. Mix this up and stir into chic peas making sure to coat them all. Pour them onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. You can flip them over half way through the cooking time if desired.  Once baked take them out and cool for a few moments before indulging.  So good and healthy. These are now my favorite snack to munch on while watching a movie. 

Chic peas are high in protein and fiber content. They also contain iron, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamin K.  Medical News Today, says, they have many health benefits and may help ward off inflammation as well as prevent disease in the body.  

This post is a little different from my usual topics but it's good to interject with new and interesting topics occasionally. Do you have a favorite healthy snack, do share! 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Creating a Video Is Really That Simple

Do you create videos for fun or for business purposes? I have recently been reading and looking into using different platforms where I could make a simple video to showcase some of my products and put together some Christmas craft video clips to share on Youtube.  My son recommended I try the new Windows 12 Movie Maker as this is one that he had recently used and said it was pretty straight forward to use. Thus began another learning journey for me!  Once Windows Movie Maker was downloaded to my computer I opened it up and started adding uploading my pictures that I wanted to put in my video. The order you upload them in doesn't matter as you have the ability to move them around or delete them if they are not the ones you want. You can add a title page if you desire. I then added a name to my project and saved it.  After getting all my pictures in the order I wanted them, I added captions to several of them. Super easy, click on the caption link to do this. I choose the method that I wanted the pictures to change frames, I believe it was the Contemporary view that I choose. If you want to have narration in your video there is a button to add that too! I didn't use that in mine but perhaps in the future! Next I wanted to add some music to play along as the pictures change. For this I joined Vimeo, there you can choose from free or low cost music clips to add to your video. Piece of cake!  Look for the genre and browse the list to find a song that works for you. After adding a slide for the credits and soundtrack I was pretty much happy with it. Publish it and share it wherever you like. Here's where you can add it to Youtube or share it on social media sites as desired. So if you've been wanting to try making a simple video for sometime now, you should give it a go! 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Simple Yet Elegant Christmas Decorating Ideas


A little early for Christmas but this was my first experience using Movie Maker! It was fun and simple to use!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Designing and Marketing New Products

It's great when new products come out, especially at the beginning of a new season. New products can inspire and get the creative juices flowing again after a busy summer. 

Zazzle has brought in stylish tank tops and leggings to be creatively designed. It's great when we get products that are items that people are interested in buying and wearing. Clothes that are made of good quality fabric and provide comfort as well as great style.  

The tank tops are an all over print in a versatile style that can be printed on front and back.

  • Unisex sizing- fits both Men and Women.
  • Material: 100% white spun polyester that's soft and comfortable.
  • Superior sweat-wicking material.
  • Custom designs printed in vibrant prints are soft and touchable. 
The women's leggings are a full length style made of  a high spandex content that hugs and fits the body in all the right places. They are also made in Canada. 

  • Material: Ultra-stretch ecopolyester spandex blend (88% polyester, 12% spandex)
  • High spandex composition means compression fit won't lose shape
  • Machine wash cold, lay flat to dry
  • Vibrant print won't fade after washing
Leggings are a wardrobe staple for most women these days as they are a versatile piece to have in your closet. Whether you wear them to the gym to do your workout in or layer them under a tunic or cozy sweater you'll look great and love the comfort and ease of these. Teenagers especially tend to love these leggings with cute patterns and bright colors that show off their personality. Personally I think these would make great gifts this Christmas season for a teen in your life.  

Here are a few examples of the tanks and leggings with some cute patterns. Check by the shop to see more as I'll be busy creating new patterns for these over the next couple of months. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Paint Programs That Can Help You Get Started

So you're new to designing, perhaps you're just in the throws of wanting to start an online business where you create images or graphics for products that you sell.  I thought I'd share some of the digital paint programs that can help make the design process easier for you. Over the years as I have developed my design style and methods that I like to use to create I have tried several different paint programs. Now first I'll say that I have not spend a great deal of money on  any of the programs I've tried. For instance,  I know Photoshop is great, complicated for beginners and it does cost a few bucks for that one, so it depends how much you're willing to invest and learn. Today, I'll share a couple of the the free ones as well as a low-cost paint program that are great for a beginner and intermediate artists. 

Paint.Net - This program runs on Windows and is free image and photo editing software. Has a 4 star rating. Offers an intuitive in inter-face with layering, special effects and lots of useful tools. Provides help, tutorials and plugins. (The tutorials are great for beginners) 

MyPaint - A painting program that is designed in a simple format making it easy to find your way around. Includes lots of great features with a toolbar and menu bar across the top of the interface. A large variety of brushes to choose like pencils, markers and paintbrushes. An easy to use color selector and this program supports layers.   If you're a beginner you'll have fun with this one and more advanced users will appreciate some of the more technical features. 

SumoPaint - This is a free online image editing and free paint program. Aside from being a great tool Sumo also has an online art community of users from around the world. The community is for sharing, commenting, exploring other's art. You can choose to use it for this or just use it as the paint/image editing tool. This is the program I have mainly been using the last couple of years. One thing I love about Sumo is that if you purchase the Pro Version (only $20) then you can download Sumo to your computer and work offline. They have added some really cool features and filters that can really enhance your artwork. This program allows you to edit pixels too! Lots of great tools to use in your designs. Sometimes I create things that I had no idea that I had the skills to do! lol I find SumoPaint really simple to use,  it just takes a little practice and soon you'll know your way around too! 

If you're just starting out in this arena check out one of these free programs, you might be surprised at what you can create. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Taking a Look At Your Goals

September begins tomorrow, so sad summer is pretty well over but I do love the the fall season.  Now the daylight gets shorter and the dark of night gets a little longer. The fall is often referred to as a time of new beginnings, perhaps returning to routines for many after a busy and full summer. For some it's the start of a new school year, perhaps a new job or the return to a gym or an educational class or two. I so enjoy the Fall season as it is the time the leaves begin to change to brilliant shades of orange, red and yellow and being out doors is always calling. God has given us such beautiful scenery to enjoy. On the weekends getting out for trail walks with my husband and maybe enjoying special coffees as we stroll or hike, this is the perfect fall comfort for me! 

September can also be a time of revisiting your work routines and a time to re set your goals. I hope as you read this it will inspire you to look at your goals whether for your business or for your daily life and see what you might want to change. If things seem stale and boring it might be time to rethink how you're doing things. Whatever you decide to do I hope you do something new and see great progress this month. I’ve been working diligently on my websites and my store as there is always so much to do with designing, marketing and finding new ways to get my designs and sites in front of the right eyes. Right now I'm also working on new Christmas designs for my shop, keeping things fresh! Stop by my store or visit one of my websites, you can find them in the side bar of my blog.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Take a Hike, It's Rejuvenating

No really, I mean 'take a hike'! Seriously though, hiking is like a good medicine it rejuvenates, energizes and makes you appreciative of the amazing outdoors. I know that not everyone is suited for certain outdoor adventures but even a short hike on a gentle trail can do wonders for the soul. As you do more walks and hikes and increase your stamina you'll want to explore a little more ground, finding a variety of hiking trails to visit. Some people like to hike alone and enjoy the solitude of the great outdoors that way. Others like to hike with a buddy or some prefer to hike with a group.  

I love that hiking is not only good for the physical body but also is uplifting and inspiring for your mental and emotional health. This summer my husband and I have been doing lots of hiking trails and enjoying many bike rides too! 

In the last few days we did a bike ride that turned out to be a 60 km ride. We stopped for lunch at a quaint cafe and enjoyed some country road riding along with a few back roads. We just finished a combined cycling and hiking ride yesterday! 8 km bike ride including some good hills and an 8 km hike to a beautiful viewpoint on the ocean. I love that we live in a fabulous area of B. C. so close to nature trails, walks, bike paths and mountain hikes that we can explore whenever we like. 

If you can you should get out at every opportunity you have to explore, have amazing adventures and rejuvenate your soul.  It will make you more productive in your business too! 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Fresh Perspective

Sometimes all you need is a fresh perspective. Think about  how a fresh coat of paint can change the atmosphere of a room. When you add a new or different piece of furniture it can change the way you feel about a space. A fresh coat of paint can liven up an older item that isn't looking as well as it could. I had an old little side table that just simply needed to be sanded down and given a new stain or coat of paint as the base (the legs) were still in great shape. It had a few coffee cup circles on the surface and it was just sitting in a corner downstairs not really being utilized. So to save it from going to the landfill or second hand shop I thought I'd spruce it up a little.  

I gave it a  quick sanding with a sand block then dusted if off and chose to to give it a coat of black paint. The paint was an acrylic paint with a little bit of gloss in it. After a second coat I decided to paint it with a glossy varnish to add a little extra shine. The legs were already a black metal as you can see. I think it came out quite nice and makes a great useful little side table. 

Perhaps you have some things in your home that you can freshen up. I was thinking the same principle could be applied to a website. I have a few different websites and have been thinking that I should freshen them up with a new look. The front page of your website is like your front door or your entrance, it's the first thing people see. A new design or an interesting title can bring more attention and make your site more appealing  attracting returning visitors and customers.  Keep your website up to date with regular tweaks and new things to keep customers coming back too! Make it easy for people to maneuver around your site, items and new categories should be easy to find. Always be creative and keep trying to better what you're doing. It will pay off in the long run! 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Nature and its Benefits on the Mind and Body

Research and many studies have proven how the effects of being in nature for even a few minutes a day can have a remarkable effect on one's health. Taking time to be outdoors has been said to stimulate areas of our brains that can give us a mental and physical boost in energy.  I know when I take even a 15 minute break to go for a walk or hop on my bike for a ride I feel so much better and re-energized and am then able to focus so much better on my work. Exercising outdoors is reported to provide us with more health benefits than performing exercise in a gym or indoor fitness facility. Spending time outdoors can not only increase our energy but may quite likely impact our happiness. Nature can revitalize us and have a positive impact on our brains. 

A book called  'Your Brain On Nature' has been an interesting read.  The authors have gathered some great information and statistics on this subject.  Some quotes from authors Eva M. Selhub MD and Alan C. Logan ND stated "In a large study done on residents of Shanghai, researchers reported that neighborhoods with a higher proportion of parks, gardens, and other green areas were associated with a reduced risk of mortality. "  Another U.S. study from the University of West Florida, showed that researchers found after examining 5 years worth of data on stroke mortality they found that those living in areas with a high geographic green space offered significant protection while areas with low green space were associated with a very high risk of stroke mortality."  Very interesting, I'm glad we have a lot of green space around our neighborhood and easy access to amazing outdoor walking trails, hiking, biking as well as lakes and oceans not too far away. 

Let's face it working in an office, staring and screens and walls doesn't do a whole lot for one's health. We need to stimulated to do our best work and the effects of nature can surely help us improve our health, lower stress and improve our immune system. Not to mention increase your longevity. I don't know about you but I'm in! As far as work, time spent in nature can help increase your focus, creativity and production.  Eva M. Selhub co-author of  'Your Brain on Nature' says " a drop of nature is like a drop of morphine to the brain, since it stimulates reward neurons in your brain." It turns off the stress response, lowering cortisol levels, lowers heart rate and blood pressure and improves immune response. 

I know it's not possible for everyone to get outside during the business day but when you can incorporate a few minutes of nature into your day, even a walk to the coffee shop can give you a boost of energy and help you refocus on your tasks. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Defining Walking Styles

If you are a walker you've probably already adopted or fallen into a certain style that you enjoy and that works for you. Perhaps you are very in tune with your walking style or maybe you don't give it much thought at all and just head out the door. I was thinking about different fitness walking styles recently as I watched people walking through my neighborhood, it is quite interesting to see the different gaits, arm movements and step sizes that people use. 

I consider myself a very fast walker, my husband finds it hard to walk the pace that I go. I  take deliberate quick strides throughout my entire walk which is usually 25 to 35 minutes depending on the route I take. I prefer shorter quick walks that get my heart rate up and engage my muscles. I guess you could call it power walking! 

In European countries and growing in popularity around the world is Nordic Pole walking. This is a style of walking where you use poles in somewhat of a ski technique. It makes your walking stride easier and smoother. It is said to engage approx. 90% of your muscles as you move. 

There are those that walk in more of a meditative way. Sometimes with their heads down, at a slow pace as if contemplating or in deep thought. 

Race walking similar to Power walking is another popular style. In race walking one foot is always in contact with the ground. If done correctly is said to put less stress on your joints and burns more calories per mile. 

Strolling is just a slow kind of lazy day walking style. Not being in a hurry just ambling along while taking in the fresh air and scenery. 

Whatever your walking style is, it is important to just get outdoors and walk whenever the opportunity presents itself. Everyone has to find the correct balance for their own gait, speed, step length and frequency. With each walk you do and the more steps you take you will notice increased health benefits. Sitting too much can be damaging to our health so I say come on' just get out and walk, you'll be glad you did! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Simplify With Organizational Tips

We all know that an organized home can lead to a healthier more organized life. Who wouldn't want that, right?  Organization doesn't have to break the bank, it can be done simply and on budget. I consider myself a pretty organized person and thankfully my husband is as well. We are not collectors of 'stuff' and neither of us like clutter so it makes staying organized some what easier.  I know many people have a hard time keeping their homes and work space clutter free but with a little help it can be done. 

Here are a few low cost tips for the kitchen and your home office:

Kitchen -  wicker baskets are great for holding papers, vegetables or fruit
- trays (one size or with divided compartments) are very handy and come in a variety of sizes, use one on a coffee table or in a drawer or cupboard to organize items
- appliance manuals should all go in a ziplock bag and be put in a safe place for easy access
- clear glass or plastic canisters make great containers for dry cereal, baking items or treats
- ziplock bags are great organizers on their own, use one for birthday items like candles, cake decorating items, food coloring, etc.
- spice racks whether you like them visible or in a cupboard keeps spices organized and easy to find
- add some hooks to inside cupboard doors to hang an extra kitchen towel, barbecue tools or other item you use 
- a cleaning caddie keeps cleaning products together and stores easily under the kitchen sink

Home Office - filing cabinet or paper file box with compartments to keep all of your papers in order
- a must have is a paper shredder
- labelled binders for easy access 
- a bulletin board is useful for inspiration as well as for pinning important information you want to see daily
-magazine holders wooden or cardboard can help keep books and papers organized
- small wicker baskets can organize random office items
- desk lamp for task lighting
- book shelves of course for your physical reading material
- organize books by theme or alphabetically for easier access
- an old dresser that you repaint or re-stain can be a great way to keep items organized and out of sight

These tips should help you have a more efficiently run home and office. Simple things that make life easier. 

Designs by Shell - the home of whimsical happy designs
(apparel, gift items and stationary products)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

How Being Fit Can Benefit Your Work Life

If you love to stay fit and healthy then you probably already know that exercise comes with many more benefits than just the physical ones. Exercise can improve many different aspects of your life. Think of how great you feel after accomplishing a good workout. I know when I get home from a great bike ride or fitness walk I feel energized and so refreshed just from being outdoors and having that great adrenaline or seratonin boost. It gives me a clear focus and I feel much more alert and ready to work on my business. 

Whether you go to the gym to workout or prefer getting your exercise outdoors you will reap the benefits of staying active and in shape. Having more energy will keep you more alert and productive at your job and throughout your day. Even a 15 minute walk on your lunch break can be enough to recharge your battery and help you tackle tasks that feel like a burden. 

We all know that exercising regularly, especially as we age can increase longevity and improve overall health. Here's a list of some things exercise can help improve:

- weight
- mood
- stress
- anxiety
- depression
- illnesses  

I don't know about you but those are enough to make me want to exercise regularly. 

There are so many options of activities that you can choose from. Don't say you can't exercise, just find the type of activity that works for you.  

Here are a few examples of what you could do: 

walking, biking, hiking, gym classes, weight lifting, spinning, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, running, tennis... the list goes on.

Whatever you choose to do, do it well and you will improve your immune system as well as boost your productivity at home and work. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Gift of Travel

Getting ready for a big trip can be overwhelming when you start to think about all the details that have to come together. There's of course the trip planning in itself like your flights and connections and all the information you need to go with that. There is the hotels to book, your tours and excursions to book otherwise you risk not being able to get into many of the places that you wish to see. Booking ahead will also save you from being in those nasty long lineups and wondering if you'll actually make it in. Booking many things ahead can also save you money as many sites offer deals for signing up to things in advance.  Then there are all of the details to leave for those taking care of the fort, so to speak. Lots of things to finalize, not to mention all the packing and organizing of  travel items.  Okay... I'm tired just thinking of it all! 

My husband and I have been greatly blessed to be at the stage of our life where we are able to travel. Not just little trips but longer adventures to places we've been fascinated with and often talked about. This is our third time to Europe and our excited to explore new cities and countries in this area of the world. Exploring new cultures, art and history and tasting a variety of foods new to us is pretty exciting.  When we return home I will share pictures and stories of our adventures.

Having the opportunity to visit different places gives me great picture taking opportunities too! This works out perfect giving me a variety of photos for use on many products that I sell in my store and on my websites.  I get great inspiration from new places, from nature, people and sites that we visit. 

If you're travelling soon don't forget to pack it right and tag your bags with recognizable luggage tags.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Marketing Yourself And Your Business

Perhaps you're quite familiar with an 'About Me' page or maybe this is the first you're hearing about them. An 'about me' page is basically a page that shows a biography telling a little about yourself and sharing what your business is all about. It is really to show a face to your customers. This offers your potential customers a practical and professional connection while giving exposure to your service or merchandise. Sharing a personal picture of yourself gives people an emotional connection as well. Remember visuals speak to people often better than written words. With attention spans being very short these days because of all the social media sites, it can be hard to capture one's attention with text alone.

The 'about me' pages are a valuable marketing tool and a great way to expand opportunities.  A well written and designed page can reach your customers on many different levels. Although one cannot offer items for sale directly from your pages, links to your store or websites can be added. Buttons that link to your other marketing sites like Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn or whatever sites you are using can be added to your page as well. This is a powerful marketing tool that you should be using. I have only recently been spending more time promoting my 'About Me' page.

When you're ready to create a page for yourself, remember to keep it real. People connect best with those who are positive and upbeat. Don't make yourself up to be somebody you're not. Share a little about yourself, things that you like to do, maybe a little about your family. Things that give people a little insite into who you are.  Of course, don't foret a great picture of yourself, people like to connect with a face. Share your business and anything else you feel is important. It's pretty simple and a professional way to market yourself and your business.

Check out other people's pages to see how they've done theirs and perhaps you'll get some more ideas too!

You can visit my page here:

Designs by Shell - About Me

Friday, April 1, 2016

Push and Pull

Guess you're wondering what I mean when I say 'push and pull', hey? Well I am referring to my gym workout today.  I did an intense cardio workout that really made me put my mind to it.  First let me say, that I am preparing myself for a one week bike tour that my husband and I will be doing in about 5 weeks from now on a trip to Spain. So excited for this but I want to be in good form for 6 days in a row of biking that consists of anywhere from 30 km to 50 km a day!  It's in the mountains and we ride from village to village while the tour organizers take our luggage from place to place for us. Of course, it's not a race we can set our own pace and rest when needed but it will still be lots of riding.

 I often set goals for myself when I go to the gym. Today my goal was to do 30 mins. on the stair climber and then 40 minutes on the bike. I got through the stair climber fine and proceeded with my bike workout. This is where I had to do a lot of self talk today. The first 15 minutes went by fine but as the time grew longer my mind kept saying ah, you don't need to do the whole 40 minutes you could stop at 30 or maybe even 25 minutes is long enough. I persisted, pushed and sweat my way along, at 30 minutes I was telling myself "you've got this, just keep pedaling you're gonna make it no problem. Somehow if I let myself off and don't reach for the goals that I've set I feel self-defeated and it makes it much harder to do my next workout. Glad I persevered and finished well! Does this happen to you?

I think this can kind of relate to business in the sense that we need to set those goals, big and small and follow through with them as hard as it may be. Sometimes we have to 'push and pull' to get things done. It's always a great feeling when you accomplish your goals too!

Where is She Going

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Take Care In The Air

Many people get anxious at the thought of flying. Anxiety over flying affects millions of people world wide. There can be a variety of reasons that people get anxious and nervous every time they board an airplane. Fear of heights, enclosed spaces, lack of control and air sickness are some of the more common ones. There is an actual name for fear of flying known as aerophobia.

After experiencing several bad flights myself, I have come to have some flight anxiety as well. The excitement of going on a great trip keeps me going but doesn't alleviate my anxieties. On my last long flight to Greece I was fine for the majority of the flight but then the last couple of hours I began to experience nausea, a drop in blood pressure that left me limp and weak and I actually had to get sick in the little bags they provide. Blah... then I had to gather myself to get off the plane, wait for a couple of hours and board another plane for the reminder of my trip. This of course caused my poor husband some anxiety as well as now he was worried about how I would make it. We still had a fabulous trip to enjoy and then journey back home.  Every time something like this happens the next flight becomes a little more stressful.

Things I learned to do and bring with me to ease anxieties.

Have plenty of nausea medication in my carry on,  I found Gravol with Ginger worked the best for me. Not the regular gravol as I didn't like the drowsiness and out of control feeling it gave me but it may work for some who can tolerate this.

Carry something for bloating, cramps, etc.
Bring water, that you can sip frequently. I know they can give you some on the airplane but it's usually just a small glass.

Bring a few small snacks that you tolerate well, dried fruit, trail mix or bread sticks are good. The airplane food may not sit well with you so choose wisely if you are offered a meal.

Herbal tea is better than coffee on a long flight.

Have some good reading material that you're interested in to keep you occupied for awhile. Maybe a word search or cross word puzzle.  Watching a movie may help too.

These are just a few things that help me cope with the stresses of flying. I hope they help you too! If you have some great tips that have worked for you please leave a comment!

Ready for Take Off - Airplane Sticker

Friday, March 18, 2016

Valuing Your Time

You've heard it said, we all have the same twenty four hours in a day but it's what we do with those hours that makes the difference. Valuing your time and learning to manage it well is a challenge many people face daily. When you have a business that requires a great deal of your time and energy you want to make the most of it. Finding balance and focusing and being well organized is a big key to managing your time properly.

Everyone has days where procrastination sets in and energy levels are low and those can be tough ones to manage but organizing your time correctly and efficiently will help you be much more productive throughout your day.

No doubt, running a business takes a great deal of quality time but if you use your time wisely the results will certainly show. Remember you are the one in control of your time so choose your priorities and set up your day to run as smoothly as you can. If you're balancing children's schedules, helping parents or volunteering you'll want to factor all of these important things into your day.

A well designed work schedule can make a huge difference in what you accomplish for your business too! Sure it can be hard to follow it one hundred percent of the time but if you can manage to follow it most days you'll feel a sense of accomplishment and commitment.

Time management is really a skill that is learned. Time is defined in the dictionary by 'the point or period when something occurs'. There is clock time and real time. Time can pass quickly or drag on endlessly depending what we are doing. Time can also be seen in the growth of a child. In the long run, it's truly not about having enough time it's simply about learning to manage your time wisely.
Basically you need to plan, schedule and act on your time. You are the manager and if you value your time you will learn to be creative, take action and make things happen.  

Designs by Shell - the home of whimsical happy designs.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

How Much is Too Much

We've all heard that daily exercise around 30 minutes a day is beneficial to ones health. Finding a balance in your routines is crucial to not attaining burn out. This not only applies to work/home life but to a fitness and exercise routine as well. If you go to a fitness gym regularly you may notice many of the same people working out when you're there each day! Recently I have talked to some of the folks that are there and many say they're working out up to five days a week, attending fitness classes as well as working out on cardio machines and doing free weights each day as well. That's a lot of fitness training! So how do you know when 'too much of a good thing' is just that 'too much'?  I have seen it happen to several people that used to be regular gym goers',  they did fitness classes several times a week, got themselves in fantastic shape and then burned themselves out! Now many of them do nothing because they over did it. They say 'ya, I should get back to the gym but now their motivation is gone!

Many people are constantly preoccupied with their need to exercise and for some this can become a real issue. They feel anxious or irritable if they mess up their workout schedule. Sometimes these people skip meals and restrict their diets to a point of unhealthiness. Many people seem to be unhappy no matter what physical goals they reach.

Clearly we can see from society that exercise is essential and necessary and most people need more of it but many people are confused as to how much is too much or how much is good for us. There are lots of conflicting messages on social media, talk shows and adverts that dictate what people choose to do in regards to being physically active. Staying active and keeping ones self in good physical shape is important and should be a priority for everyone.When a person is happy, healthy and balanced this is when each is there best self. Taking care of ones body will spill over into every area of life and make every day activities and caring for others easier and more enjoyable.

So Balance it is, I hope you find yours!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Using Polyvore as a Marketing Tool

If you haven't gotten on the latest train to leave the station so to speak, you're missing out on some serious ways to market your business. Polyvore has been around for awhile but is taking off like a rocket, fast becoming the number one site for fashion finds, trend setting and promoting mood boards. This has become a great way to promote and market a business.

Polyvore promotes fashion, beauty, home decor and  art and expression. There are plenty of opportunities for online businesses to market products through this method.  It has become the highest converting social shopping site where members can discover and purchase items they find. Polyvore is said to have higher conversions driving more social commerce than Pinterest.

If you have an online business with products like I do, I highly recommend considering using this site to market your items and get them seen by millions. The more items you have out there the more potential for people sharing them and converting sales.

Through the Polyvore sight once you sign up, (super easy) you will begin by creating some collages, adding your own items as well as mixing in items of others. You will gain followers as you promote your collages and you will want to follow others. Liking and commenting on others creations is a good social idea and helps to encourage others to comment and share your creations too!

To Create an Account:

1) Create a profile
2) Load up your products
3) Design sets using your products
4) Connect with other Polyvore users

As you grow your following, people will discover your items and in time your products may get used by others in their collages which helps your business. This has been happening for me in just a short time. Many people use Polyvore to get inspired and comparison shop too, many want to see what the celebrities are wearing and using too!  If you have a brand or logo it can be good to include this in your collages as well.

I hope you give this site a try as I'm sure you will find it beneficial to your business in the long run. It's super fun and a little addictive too, once you start creating your sets you just want to do another and another.   Here is an example of one of my collages with my Birthday Party products! Feel free to follow me here!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Give Your Business A Boost

Tangible Ways to Boost Your Business in 2016

Running an online business and being up on marketing trends to propel you into the new year has got to be a top priority.  Every year the popularity of having an online business grows as more and more people want out of the everyday rat race and are striving for independence and work from home opportunities. For those already managing an online business the key now is how to keep your business in front of eyes and learning how to navigate all of the new tools and methods that are available to help your store or service grow. Opening an online business is easy, really anyone can do it the skill is actually in the operating, promoting and marketing of your website in order to build a steady customer base and engage people.  With e-commerce exploding, you've got to explore new options for growing your online business. Here are some tips to help you move your business forward this year. 

1) Create and offer top of the line content 

2) Target your audience

3) Make it personal

4) Create an experience for your customers

5) Impress your customers

6) Have a user friendly payment transaction system

7) Offer top quality products 

8) Offer promotions/coupons 

9) Stay on top of your marketing and SEO

10) Keep your list of long term and short term goals in sight

11) Invest in mobile capabilities

12) Build your brand

13) Complete a focused task everyday 

14) Blog about your business

15) Continue to plan, market and create 

One of the main goals of any business is to take your business to the next level. A good way to learn is from business forums, reading other's blogs and finding new ways of doing things. Here's to a great year in 2016!