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Month: January 2015

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The view

After 20 min of whining & pacing, Raylan accepted the car wasn't a death trap. He then spent a good while facing backwards, watching the back window. #raylanpup
This what shipping a book to every #TSLiftOff student looks like. A HUGE box of pink bubble mailers and rolllllls of tape.
Our view, every hour or two, for the past week. The only way I was able to snap this is that a dog walked by and they both froze. #raylanpup #taralovesmornings
The real reason we got #raylanpup: Beau demanded a pup-chauffeur. #fancydog

 

(It's all pups, all the time over on Instagram…because I'm truly doing nothing other than working and dog-wrangling. I have hopes for future non-dog activities.)

I am so grateful for…

  • Quiet mornings
  • An increasingly calm Raylan (the new pup)
  • Warmth in the cold

The Finds:

I’m enthusiastic about:

In case you missed it: 

What adventures have you had?

Value: How to get what you’re worth

Value Get what you're worth

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Not sure how to charge the price you need and still get customers to buy it? Worried your pricing is too low or too high? Today we're talking about how to get the fair price of your work by communicating its value to potential customers. You see, there is a big difference between the price of something, and the value of that thing. It is your responsibility to communicate that value and today's episode will teach you how.

Links mentioned:

How to listen

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

 

How to get stuff done – part 2

How to get stuff done part 2

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How do you actually get your list of things done?  It’s a balance of knowing what to do and finding the time to do it. This is the third piece of the How to Get Stuff Done series. Find Part 1 here and How I Get Stuff Done here. In this episode, we'll discuss how to find and implement a system and routine that will work for you.

We cover: 

  • The two different kinds of “working time” you need to plan for.
  • My favorite tool for improving focus.
  • How to make each working session productive and efficient.

Want guidance and worksheets so that you'll finally actually make a system that works for you? Join us for Wrangle Your Time, where you'll learn how to put together a system that works for you.

Resources mentioned

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

 

How I get things done

How I get things done

 This is the second piece of the How to Get Stuff Done series. Find Part 1 here and tomorrow's podcast episode will be the final piece: How to build your own system for getting stuff done. 

 

Warning:  I am diving deep into how exactly I get things done – from producing a podcast every week to writing my book to creating 18 hours worth of class material. I'm sharing this as an example of how a system can work but please remember that you'll need to find the system that works best for you and your particular tasks.

If you need to make your own system, join us for Wrangle Your Time, where you'll learn how to put together a system that works for you.

Although it doesn't always feel like it, I get a lot done.

There are the every-week projects: this blog post, podcast episode, free lessons for subscribers, a new lesson for the Starship, answering questions in the Starship forums, holding the weekly Starship live chat, and working with 2-3 clients a week.
There are the quarterly projects: Opening the Starship, welcoming in members, writing new content for the launch, doing my own quarterly planning and taxes.
And then there are the one-time projects, (writing a new class, teaching live, writing articles for magazines, giving interviews) and my bigger goals that require me to work on something long-term (like a book proposal or creating everything (whew!) for Lift Off).
And then there's email. I have planning and project-detail emails from Jess, session notes from clients, questions from potential customers (“Is this for me?”), and compliments from readers and listeners (thanks!). I read and reply to absolutely every question or concern or even my-life-is-falling-apart email I get from readers, listeners and students.

I listed this because before I can share how I get things done, we have to talk about the different kinds of productivity I need. I need regular routines for getting the weekly stuff done and I need a separate, set-aside time to work on one-time requests and projects. I need internal-thinking time for writing (usually at the coffee shop) and quiet-house time for talking to clients (usually at home).

Above all, I need to NOT keep all these things in my head. When I don't have some way to write them all down and not lose them, or when I don't trust my system … I go crazy. My head swims. I can't sleep. I get swirly. (Swirly is when you just go over and over the same thing until everything is doom.)

How I remember everything I need to do

Here's what I did for the last 5 years of self-employment:
I keep everthing in a moleskine journal that fits in my purse. When someone recommends a book, I write it down. When I remember a project, I write it down. When I have an idea, I write it down.
Each Monday, I made a “This Week” list. I'd write down my weekly stuff plus all of the one-offs that are particular to this week. I'd look at all my ongoing projects and write down the tasks I wanted to get done this week to make progress. I'd go back through the last week in my journal and add anything to the list that I didn't get done, or that I wanted to remember. I'd check my calendar (Jess books client sessions and adds them to my calendar) and write down anything that's coming up (I keep all time-bound appointments in my google calendar, so it syncs on my phone and computer, but I also write them on my list so I remember to allow time for them). This fit on one piece of paper. 

Each weekday, I'd look at the This Week list and write a list for today. I'd write down just the things I could get done today. In general, I worked on the weekly things on Monday or Tuesday (if at all possible), so that I can work on the bigger projects or one-offs later in the week, with a bigger chunk of uninterrupted time. This also ensures they always get done, and I stay consistent in my online connection. (Here's how I stay consistent with my social media presence.) If a day had a lot of tasks, I'd number the most important, so I remembered to focus on them.

The above system isn't that different from a Bullet Journal (which so many Starship Captains LOVE), except that I'm prioritizing daily, based on what's going on.

I've recently changed this system a bit, and here's what I do now:
If I have my phone near me, I put every To Do in OmniFocus. From adding a book to my To Read list, to remembering to mail letters, to writing this weekly post, I put it all in OmniFocus the moment I think of it. If I'm with someone else or my phone isn't nearby, I write it in my journal and add it to OmniFocus the next day.

Once a day, usually at the end of my workday before I start dinner, I go through the newly-added tasks and assign them “contexts”. Thanks to Sarah, I think of Contexts as the description of what state I'm going to be in when I work on the task.

I use:

  • Home (little things around the house),
  • Errands (when I'm out),
  • Big Rocks (the tasks that will move my most important projects forward),
  • Consistency (the things I do each week or month or quarter, I've set them to repeat automatically, so I add them once and they come back when I need to work on them),
  • Quick and Painless (tiny things like “Finish filling out invoice”).

Contexts are harder to explain than they are to implement – I use them to ensure I'm working on the important things and that I know what I could do when I have a moment (other than scroll through Instagram for the 10000th time). While I'm going through them, I also apply a due date, if I want to be sure and do it by a certain date. Things with a due date (even if I made it up!) are FAR more likely to actually get done!

Each Monday I still make a This Week list in my journal by looking at what's coming up.  I make sure that each piece of each project for the week is in OmniFocus, with a due date. This isn't really necessary, except that I find it clarifying to see everything I'm doing in a week in one place and it gives me a shape for my week. (For example, last week I had a live workshop on Monday that involved a total of 4 hours driving, and then had 2 clients sessions and a vet visit on Tuesday, so I knew I wouldn't do my normal writing days, so I'd need to write on Wednesday and Thursday.)

Each day, I look at my OmniFocus list for the day and pick the 3 Most Important Things for the day (learned this from ZenHabits). If I get nothing else done, I really need to do these. This helps me focus on what's important and it keeps me from getting distracted by the internet. As soon as those 3 MITs are done (sometimes it's done in an hour, sometimes they take all day), I check out my OmniFocus list for the day and start going down it, occasionally taking a break with a Quick and Painless task. (Today it was ordering protein powder from Amazon.)

That is how I remember to do everything, and remembering (and prioritizing) is half the battle when it comes to getting stuff done.

Actually DOING the things.

The most important piece to doing stuff is to HAVE A TIME to do it. Nothing will get done unless you set aside the time for it.


Side note: I cannot believe how many makers I've helped completely change their business growth by just doing one thing: Setting aside time for work. If you don't have a time set, do it. It will change your life. It doesn't matter if you have 1 hour a week or 8 hours a day, just set it aside and keep it sacred.


I work 4-5 weekdays (never on a weekend unless I'm traveling and teaching) from 9ish to 4ish. Before “work”, I take the dogs on a long walk, workout, shower, have breakfast, meditate/pray, set my intention for the day (pick my 3 MITs) and maybe read. I try very hard to only turn on the internet after all this, which ends up being between 9 and 10 am.
I have two main ways I think of my working time: Writing Time + Project Blocks. In between these are emails and quick tasks. Writing Time is mostly for the things I do every day or every week (writing free content) and Project Blocks are for doing one-off projects and making progress on my Big Goals.

Writing Time
I try to make my working time as much of a habit as possible, so I always sit down to write first (I try SO HARD to not check email before my writing time). If it's early in the week, I work on the Routine Writing. If the Routine Writing is done for the week (usually by Wednesday), I write on my bigger projects (paid writing gigs, guest posts, or my Big Goal project). I make sure to write first thing because this is when my brain is freshest. After I get to 1,000 words or have finished what I was writing, I stop writing and head to my email.

Email
When I check email, I catch up on it (remember, I use Unroll.me to keep all of my subscriptions in one place, so the only emails in my inbox are ones I need to take action on). I try very hard to just handle what's there, reply when needed, and file everything else. If the email is a reminder to do some specific action, I add it to my list and archive the email (so I can find it later if I need it, but so that my inbox does not become a To Do list in competition with my own To Do list).

Project Time
After email, it's Project Time. Often this involves client sessions, catching up on the Starship forum (I read every post there and answer any questions), editing what I wrote, planning my content calendar, creating a class, updating the site, researching, or scheduling social media. I try to have at least two or three Pomodoro sessions without email or distractions for Project Time.

Reality
Now the fact is that almost no week is “normal”. I teach classes all over North Carolina, which often involves a good bit of travel time. I occasionally have client sessions earlier in the day. If the Starship is Boarding, I'm in my inbox constantly – personally welcoming every new member as soon as they pay. Each quarter I set aside a whole day to plan the coming three months.
But thinking of my time in these two categories helps me be sure my week is balanced and I'm getting both time to write the consistent stuff and to work on the bigger projects. Before I started partitioning my time up like this, my weekly writing and emails were taking over every workday, ensuring I didn't get much done towards the bigger projects.

When it comes to actually focusing during the work time, I've got a few hacks:

  1. I find the most important thing for this very moment and either write it down or if it's already written down, I circle it, star it or do whatever it takes to say to my brain: work exclusively on this.
  2.  If I find myself getting distracted (ex, the other day I suddenly really needed to look up this song), I set my Pomodoro timer and do nothing else during the next 25 minutes.
  3.  I play music in my earbuds constantly. Embarrassingly pop-y, shallow music. It's important that it has a driving beat (I type to the beat) and that I can bop my head to it and that I already know all the words. This is my best list, but right now (as I write this) I'm listening to Spotify's Throwback Thursday list. This is vital to my productivity because it keeps my chattering brain busy so my think-y brain can think and write. (Jay likes to listen to sports radio while he works because his chattering brain likes words.)
  4. I close all other tabs (If I'm leaving a tab open because I want to read something, I save it to Pocket.). I write in 750words, because it's just blank and I love to see my word count.

And that's it!

I'd love to hear from you – how do you get stuff done?

 

How to get stuff done, Part 1

How to Get Stuff Done 1

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UPDATE: In this episode I mention Wrangle Your Time, which is now available as Get More Done. 

Once you've made your New Year plans and you've boiled your goal down into an actionable plan with the Map Making Guide … how do you actually get your list of things done?  It's a balance of knowing what to do and finding the time to do it. In this mini-series, we'll discuss the principles of being productive (in this episode), followed by a post (about my own systems and routines, and ending with a podcast episode on how to find and implement a system and routine that will work for you.

If you need to make your own system, join us for Get More Done, where you'll learn how to put together a system that works for you. 

In this episode: 

  • How to do  what you want to do and reach your goals.
  • How to stay motivated
  • Choosing the most impactful actions to take

Links mentioned: 

How to listen

Find all the podcast episodes here.

Don't miss the 2nd part of this series – How to Get More Done, part 2!

 

 

11 best books of 2014

my 11 favorite books of 2014For the past two years I've been sharing my monthly reading lists and holding an informal “book club” in the comments each month. I absolutely love the suggestions you make, and I've found many new authors thanks to your ideas!

Each month I say a bit about the books and might mention if I really liked it, but if you were looking for books I wholeheartedly recommend, it's not so easy to find the best. (This is on purpose, as I can't tell how much I want to recommend a book until I've pondered it for a while after reading it.) So today I'd like to narrow down the 72 books I read in 2014 into my very favorites. These are the books I would wholeheartedly recommend that you pick up and read this year! I've split them into most-favorite (you should read them no matter who you are!), starting a craft business (especially useful if you're just getting started or want a refresher), and fiction, because we all need more fiction!
(Note: most of these books were published long before 2014, but I read them in 2014.)

My most-favorite

  1. 10 years in the Tub: a Decade of Soaking in Great Books, by Nick Hornby. I picked this up randomly from the Reading section of my library (geek alert!) and I am so happy with it. It’s a collection of Hornby’s “What I’m Reading” articles (you know I love that!) for the Believer magazine, which he wrote for 10 years. The articles are funny, memorable, and perfectly express what it is I love about reading. (Warning: It caused me to add over a dozen books to my To Read list. Beware!)
  2. Make it Mighty Ugly by my pal Kim Werker. I’m actually still reading this book, because I'm doing all the exercises in it. I've discovered quite a bit about myself and feel myself becoming braver in my creative endeavours.
  3. The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg – This was so great! I find myself applying this to my own life and my work with clients all the time. If you want to get stuff done or lead a life you love, you need to develop habits that make things happen. This book teaches you how.
  4. If You Can Talk, You Can Write, Joes Saltzman. The title says it all…and I'd add: If you have a business, you can (and do!) write!  I used the prompts to keep up with my 1,000 words a day and found myself quoting it to the writing-scared. Pick it up if you think you “can't” write.
  5. Show Your Work, by Austin Kleon. I wanted to post almost every page of this book and say: Yes! Yes! If you don’t know how to start sharing your work or using social media, read Austin’s book. It’s more on the inspirational, just-get-going side than my book, but has the same message: Share your work and keep sharing it.

Starting a Craft Business

6. The Eventual Millionaire: How Anyone Can Be an Entrepreneur and Successfully Grow Their Startup, by Jamie Tardy – Despite the title, this book is less about being a millionaire and more about starting a business and growing, based on how millionaires have done it. I tend to avoid “get rich” books, and this book is far from it. Jamie has a great podcast with interesting interviews, and she’s taken all she’s learned and turned it into a great getting-started guide. I recommend this to anyone who doesn't know where to start.

7. $100 Start-up by Chris Guillebeau. As I hoped, this is going to the top of my to-recommend list for those where-to-start questions. This is for you if you’re not sure how to get started and if you are seriously excited to start a business. Even though I’m 8 years past “start-up”, I still learned stuff – I used the Launch Checklist while opening Pay Yourself (and had my biggest class launch ever!).

Want my all-time favorite small business books? I've collected all 28 of them in the Bibliography of this class. You only get it when you buy the bundle.

Fiction

I find reading fiction to be as important as any non-fiction, business-y, or educational reading I do. It improves my ear (and hopefully, pen) for great turns of phrase, interesting language usage, and metaphor. Plus, it's fun. And we need fun.

8.  Ready Player One, by Earnest Cline. SO GOOD. I devoured it.

9. Hotel New Hampshire, by John Irving. I went through an Irving spell several years ago and I don’t know how I missed this one. A great novel, recommended by Kim.

10. The Magician’s Land, by Lev Grossman. This is the last book in the three-book series, so you definitely need to start with the first!

11. The Odyssey, by Homer – I’m sure I read parts of this in High School, but as part of my Great Books Project I wanted to read the whole thing. I was completely shocked by how gripping and … modern it all felt, especially if you read any sci-fi. I wholeheartedly love it, recommend it, and can’t believe it took me so long.

My favorite reading this year was inspired by my desire to read all those books I missed and developed into my Great Books Project. I shared the seeds of this idea back in July and then I really started reading in earnest in October.

 

What were your favorite books of 2014? What are you adding to your list?

 

 

Disclaimer-y Disclaimer!  Or course I’m biased when my friends write a book, but I don’t mention things I don’t like. Also, I'm an Amazon affiliate and I get a tiny percent when you buy a book through my links. Read the usual disclaimer here.

86 Things I Loved in 2014

New year. New pound of coffee. #taralovesmornings
It's Friday, and on Fridays I usually post about the adventures of that week…but this week I wanna do something different. When I read Austin Kleon's list, I was immediately inspired to start my own list, as part of my year-end review. I've been adding to it for over a week, and since having 75 things to list is what I'm most grateful for this week, I wanted to share it!

(This is no particular order, I just started listing as things came to me.)

86 things I loved in 2014

  1. Working with the CreativeLIVE team. It inspired me to think about teamwork in a whole new light and opened up a world of what's possible. Also, they made my experience magical.
  2. The entire CreativeLIVE class experience  – the students (online and in person), the work of putting together my best material, the teaching-in-front-of-thousands feeling…and the confidence it built. The experience was not one of my “goals” for the year (it came up organically and I stayed open to it), but I totally needed this.
  3. Jess. She makes my entire life better with her feedback, editing, and smarts.
  4. Meeting and falling into immediate friendship with Misty.
  5. And our knitting video podcast together, which started in a moment of “sure, let's do this!” It's fantastic to have something on my schedule that's just for fun and just about fun. And the community is fantastic
  6. An afternoon with Jill and Amy and Veronique.
  7. Watching TV snuggled with Jay and the pup: Arrow, Sons of Anarchy (OMG!), Game of Thrones.
  8. Having the remote to myself when Jay works late: The Good Wife, Scandal and Gilmore Girls (!!)
  9. Movies in the sofa cinema.
  10. Crafting with mom. Watching her shop grow.
  11. The “podcasting revolution”  (I've been listening to podcasts since 2005…so, it's not really new to me) and especially Startup and Serial and Elise Gets Crafty.
  12. Leading the Starship. The friends I've made, the growth I've been witness to, the celebrations of their awesomeness + fearlessness.
  13. Headspace. For the first time ever, I have a morning routine, and it's all about Headspace.
  14. Starting Explore Your Enthusiasm podcast in under a week, just because I wanted to. The listeners. The pictures in #exploreyourenthusiasm.
  15. Pad Thai.
  16. Actually, the entire Isa Does It book. I made more meals from this book than any other resource.
  17. Alpaca farmers! The Fiber as Business Conference was an amazing experience and the fallout has been fantastically unexpected.
  18. Wooster, OH and the road trip we took to get there. Mission Savvy is all-vegan, in the middle of West Virginia (kind of a shock!); a (small) vegan menu at TJ’s in Wooster, OH; a great breakfast at Spoon Market in downtown Wooster.
  19. Shout outs in the funnest places: International Camelid Quarterly, Yarn Market News, Stamgington's blog, Introvertology, lists of great podcasts, an author's blog, the Rock + Purl podcast, Curvy Yoga, Morning Coffee with Lisa Clarke50 inspiring women on OhMyHandmade!
  20. San Diego + Oceanside.
  21. TNNA and a dinner with a crowded table of yarnie smarties. These are my people.
  22. Reading. A lot. As much as I wanted.
  23. The AMAZING dress Karen made me. No piece of clothing has ever made me happier.
  24. Running through the Redwoods and the entire PacNW road trip with my college roomie.
  25. Training to run a 10k – it was cold, it was hot, and it was really empowering.
  26. Hugging Diane.
  27. Starting a crazy new project with Shannon, just because we're excited.
  28. Realizing that all the best things I did this year was just because it sparked my enthusiasm and sounded like fun! 
  29. In season strawberries on everything.
  30. Last minute Christmas knitting next to the sparkly tree.
  31. “Don’t downsize your joy.” by Alex Franzen
  32. My Great Books Project and especially the surprise of The Odyssey.
  33. Beau. Always Beau. He makes everything better.
  34. Lift Off: dreaming it up, creating it, and watching it change perspectives.
  35. New apps! Cruelty Cutter, Pocket, and Blendoku.
  36. Evernote. (It's where I started this post)
  37. My Chromebook – it's light, fast, and it's SO easy to travel with.
  38. Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies. Blueberry bars. Apple Crisp. Cinnamon rolls.
  39. Pesto, on everything.
  40.  My new website design! And working with Jessika and having the best experience. I especially love the little smiling planet!
  41. Plucky Knitter yarn. It makes me happy and the community is fun. (In case you're wondering, Hotsy Totsy IS my pink.)
  42. Spinning again.
  43. Finding a shampoo I love and this color-saving conditioner.
  44. Settlers of Catan
  45. Flowering trees!
  46. Reading and learning from the generous sharing of Income Reports – Abby's, Pinch of Yum's and Mei's.
  47. New business tools! Especially CoSchedule, IFTT and Buffer.
  48. Doctor Who was everywhereSlippers. Earrings. My fave mug.
  49. Rainbow-y sampler-y quilts, like this one by Ana Maria Horner and the Tula City Sampler and especially this one
  50. The discussion about being a professional, especially Kim's take on it.
  51. The beautiful vulnerability and braveness and helpfulness of those who blog about their anxiety and depression.
  52. Wednesday morning farmer's markets.
  53. Getting really clear and systematic about my social media strategy.
  54. My Color Affection. I've worn it more than anything else I own.
  55. Interviewing my students and clients and sharing their honesty. 
  56. Capsule Wardrobe! Totally changed my relationship (which was pretty hateful) with my closet.
  57. Stitch Fix! I get one every 3-4 months and I never feel like I “should” be shopping. (I avoid it like the plague, but still need to have some nice things to teach in, ya know?)
  58. Hearing from so many introverts after each “For Introverts” podcast episode. We're not alone (even though we like to be)!
  59. Sarah Von's Yes and Yes. I just want to print out all of her advice and give it to every woman I talk to.
  60. Having 2 classes accepting into Craftcation!
  61. Diane'st fantastic t-shirt quilting class. It finally got our long-saved t-shirts out of storage and into an actual quilt!
  62. Writing things I'm really proud of, like this and this.
  63. Coffee! (Here’s what I drink at a coffeeshop, or at home)
  64. CraftSouth. I'm just glad it exists and I can't wait to visit!
  65. Finally figuring out how to “be myself”.
  66. Vermont.
  67. How to ask useful questions. I've sent this to everyone. If you’re going to email me, please read this first.
  68. Teaching traditional artists and crafters in partnership with Handmade In America, all over North Carolina.
  69. Honesty about having an online business: Making money is easy. Being profitable takes skill. Marissa nails it. (Not sure if you’re going to be profitable? Do the math!)
  70. Saying No and helping my people say no more. Hearing their fantastic no-saying stories, that led to more profit, more time, and more happiness!
  71. Peonies!
  72. Turning 32.
  73. GlutenFreeGirl’s tale of adoption cracked open my heart and made me unendingly grateful for the internet
  74. Hanging art and photos up.
  75. Elise’s great advice on small biz shipping is the MOST repinned thing on my Pinterest. And for good reason!
  76. Connecting with you all in new ways: Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook
  77. “The way to have a clean kitchen is to clean it everyday.” – Stacey, giving the secret to business success
  78. Celebrating 10 years of marriage to my best friend.
  79. Quilts!  Especially this St. Louis 16 patch, Quilt Improv and everything at Red Pepper Quilts + Stitched in Color.  Quilting Happiness is my fave quilting book. (here’s why I loved it).
  80. The Customer Path. This year I seriously explored this concept and saw crazy results in my client's businesses because of it.
  81. I love that Sarah is totally honest about why she writes what she writes on her mega-popular blog.
  82. Bristol Rhythm and Roots festival (especially St Paul and the Broken Bones.)
  83. Spotify and my Happy Sparkly playlist.
  84. Ocean sunsets.
  85. Cat fabrics! Especially Lizzy House’s Catnap and Aneela Hooey’s Hello Petal.
  86. This simple fact: You can have the business you want. Everything in my year and every client I worked with reaffirmed this

 

Welcome in the New Year {Podcast}

Welcome in the New Year

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Do you take the time to welcome in the New Year (and review last year)? Over the years of leading Chart Your Stars inside the Starship, I've noticed that this is one of the most impactful, inspiring-towards-action steps a business explorer can do. The process of getting clear about your Big Picture, how you want to feel, and everything in between is clarifying and can continue to provide a light in the confusing times over the coming year.

In this episode I share ideas for how you can plan your year and how to use it as the year progresses.

Links I mention

How to listen

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

What I’m Reading: January 2015

follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list in the comments and find all the posts here.
What I'm reading

What I read

  • Time Warped, by Claudia Hammond
  • Show Your Work, by Austin Kleon. I wanted to post almost every page of this book and say: Yes! Yes! If you don't know how to start sharing your work or using social media, read Austin's book. It's less specific than my book, but has the same message, in such an inspirational package.
  • Not My Father's Son, by Alan Cummings. Not a “my fab celebrity life” memoir at all, but a close, compassionate look at his two family stories: the results of his abusive father & the uncovering of the mystery of his mother's father. It's sweet and authentic and brave.
  • Yes, Please, by Amy Poehler. Funny and sweet, Amy gives some good life advice that you probably already know.
  • The Color Purple, by Alice Walker. Part of my Good Reads Project – what took me so long?

What I’m reading

The Great Books Project

After months of waffling, the Great Books Project is underway. I’m tracking it via GoodReads (my entire list is here) and holding discussions on the Facebook page, with conversations about our lists, our progress, and regular quotes from the books I love. I’ll be sharing a little update here each month, and you’re welcome to join in on your own project, either in the comments, or over on the FB page (the joy of FB is that we can all reply to each other).

This month I got a bit further in the Aeneid (I'm taking it slow, a “book” or two a month) and plowed through The Color Purple in a few days while travelling. Why in the world had it taken me so long to read this book? It's a beautiful reflection on self-definition and finding your voice as a woman and creative. This book reminded me WHY I'm doing this project – to find beautiful gems I've missed.

 

What are you reading?

 

 

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

Warning: The Starship closes today.

The view

Mom is wearing my Christmas gift to her while she finishes her gift to me! #handmadeChristmas #handmadeholidays
New slippers! Yay! Hope your day is full of warmth and geekery. #taralovesChristmas #merrychristmas
New year. New pound of coffee. #taralovesmornings
Our Christmas cookie tray (hand painted by @bluebirdlegacy 9 years ago!), aka breakfast, filled with #vegan cookies. #taralovesChristmas #taralovesmornings
And my #handmadeChristmas gift for mom: Honey Cowl & Hurry Up Spring arm warmers out of @madelinetosh Blue Nile (pashmina & vintage).
You know I HAD to buy this fabric!  Love it! (Btw, the Starship closes in 5 days. Link in profile) #StarshipBiz

I am so grateful for…

  • Lovely, peaceful visits with family.
  • The excitement and promise of a New Year.
  • Warm handknits.
  • Christmas cookies.
  • The first group of Lift Offers!

The Finds:

I’m reading:

I’m eating: 

  • Bean dip (the easiest thing when you come home from three straight weekends of family travel.)
  • Spicy marinara and tempeh meatballs from Isa Does It. (I make it once and then freeze the leftover meatballs, uncooked, so that it's super easy to make again and again.)
  • This banana bread.

In case you missed it: 

What adventures have you had?