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30. Fitness

Photo by Ivan Torres; Quote by Fitxgrind Journals

I’m a little bit into fitness. I run and hike, I try to eat right (mostly), and I track my steps with a fitbit knockoff. For those of you not into the fitbit movement, it’s a bracelet that tracks my steps while I go about my day.

And my husband thinks it is the most hilarious thing in the world to shake my arm while I am wearing my fitbit.

Working with people can be difficult sometimes, but with any relationship, whether marriage, employer-employee, friends, coworkers, etc., you have to roll with the punches.

Maintaining relationships is a great way to foster business—you never know who that person is connected with. Perhaps they went to high school with the person in charge of procurement at Starbucks—you just never know.

Now, if that person tries to steal your business, or do some other shady stuff, definitely take action—don’t get run over in classic passive aggressive resistance.

All I’m saying is it is harder to piece back together a shattered pot, then it is to polish it up a little.

So what do I do about the fitbit, you may ask? Whenever my husband is working on a project and wants me to get him something or hand him a tool, I think it is hilarious to make him compliment me or say something awesome about me before I give him what he wants.

Stay tuned, dear readers.

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29. Mountain Wedding

Photo by MGSpear; Quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald

My husband and I recently got back from a mountain wedding. We stayed at a ski resort and rode the gondola up to the ceremony and reception.

It was a beautiful wedding, and an awesome trip. While we didn’t get to sightsee as much, the mountains were incredible, especially the peaks that were dusted in snow.

And while sitting out on the balcony porch looking at those mountains, I got my hustle on and worked a little on my businesses and projects. I now have fodder for the beginnings of my next project (the one with the headphones, but I might not use headphones this time), and also new tea related idea.

It was so relaxing, doing a little work and being in awe of the mountains at the same time. And the wedding went well too—there was a small hiccup where one of the immediate family members was having issues dealing with the high altitude, but he was able to procure a small oxygen machine and made it up the mountain just fine.

I did not take any tea on this trip however, and was dying for tea on the last day, so I made my husband stop at a coffee and tea store so I could get a fix to hold me over. Currently as I write this I am nursing a large cup of tea. Ahhh tea.

It was nice to get away—but alas, reality and jobs kick in soon, and it will be back to the grind.

But it was a nice hiatus. When was the last time you took a vacation?

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28. Not always perfect

Photo by Annie Spratt; Quote found on Pinterest

Did you know that when you look at something, what your eyes really capture is equivalent to the jerky, unstable images of a handheld camera?

So why is it that we see so clearly? Because our brain compiles those jerky images from our eyes moving around and stitches them all together to make one cohesive picture, like movie frames.

Even what your eyes capture isn’t the full view—there are gaps in the images—like pictures with smudges or holes. You brain fixes this too—it takes in information from the surrounding images and fills in those gaps.

All of this happens so fast, that the majority of people are not aware of it, and the brain spits out a visual interpretation of what the eyes see so we can understand and respond to our environment accordingly.

But sometimes, the brain is too smart for its own good. It will fill in those gaps with what is supposed to be there, not what is necessarily there in reality. The educated guess only goes so far, especially if the brain is under stress.

A great example: Last week I made some changes to my website and posted about it with a butterfly picture. I made the picture late at night, on a day where I had worked some long hours, and I was very tired.

Now, usually, I work on my posts and pictures over the weekend, when I am refreshed and relaxed. But since I had spent the majority of my early and late hours after work last week on my website, I decided to go for an impromptu post, #26.

Everything was going smoothly, except this happened:

I was typing, “Change is in the air.” That’s what I thought I had typed, and what I had thought I read when I proofread it. But my brain, my awesome tired brain, interpreted what my eyes saw, in all their jerky, holey glory, that one of those “in’s” was in fact an “is”. Picture goes up, gets posted on social media, and I happen to look at it several hours later, and notice my mistake.

Moral of the story: your brain is awesome and makes you unique, but sometimes it needs to be rested in order to perform better. I might have caught the mistake had I been more refreshed, but alas, that is the nature of working all the time.

Until next time, dear readers.

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27. Quote Dissection 1

Photo by Rohan Makhecha; Quote by Nelson Mandela

I’m going to add something new to my blog: quote dissections. As you are already aware of, I like to use quotes, and sometimes a few words can have powerful meanings.

So I am going to dissect them.

Today’s quote rings true with a lot of things. We live in a society where people are judged by the first appearance, the first handshake; that instant moment where you are superficially sized up.

Not everyone who has a weak handshake is a pushover.

Not everyone who seems distracted isn’t on the ball.

And not everything deemed impossible is actually impossible.

Waaaay back in the day, people might have not imagined that everyone would have access to a computer, whether desktop, laptop, tablet, or cell phone, or even a smart watch. Now, computers are everywhere.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day, people might have not thought there was anything better than a candle for light. Then along came some great discoveries and inventions, and now, whola!, you can flip a switch and light up a whole room.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day, people dreamed of a way to transport heavy materials, or just anything really, without the slow trudge of dragging it on the ground. Then one day, someone invented the wheel, and we’ve been building off that awesome idea for quite some time now.

People think something is impossible because they don’t have the solution; they can’t see the answer. 

Some people dare to conceive an answer, and bring it to life, to change the way society perceives something, even if it is just a better way to make a product.

Here’s to the dreamers: to them impossible is just a word and has no bearing on reality.

What are you dreaming about?

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26. Changes

Business is about strategy, and strategy requires trying new things to see what works best.

If you notice on my website, I have made some changes to the style, and have added a store. I’m in the process of incorporating my Black Cat Scribbles store, my Teazzed store, and my own organizational tidbits that I am in the process of gearing up.

This might be a temporary change, it might be permanent. But I am going to try it out and see how it goes. The other websites, http://www.BlackCatScribbles.com and http://www.Teazzed.com, will stay up for the foreseeable future.

Because sometimes you have to test a strategy to find the best approach. Let’s see what happens.

Feel free to look around and buy some products!

Edit: Yes the picture quote was wrong the first time around. I don’t catch everything, but I am working on it ;).

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25. Feedback

Photo by Neven Krcmarek; Quote found on Pinterest

Feedback is always appreciated. When I get criticism or evaluated, I always look at it as a chance to improve. I may not have the same opinions as the criticizer, but I will look into whatever the complaint is about.

Now, if you totally snub your nose at my stuff without having even looked at it, or just want to start an argument, I might take offense. I once was studying for a graduate school entrance exam and a teacher walked by, saw that I was doing math, and told me in front of other students that I should be more advanced than looking at geometry. She just glanced at one section, thought it was too mundane, and voiced her opinion without gathering more data.

So let’s amend this a little: feedback is appreciated when done in a nice, non-condescending manner, and you have actually looked at their stuff.

Bottom line: accept feedback graciously and adjust things if you want to. You can’t please everybody, but the more pleasing your stuff is, the more customers you might get.

So tell me, dear readers, what constructive feedback have you been given over the years that has helped you the most?

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24. This too shall pass

Photo by Darius Bashar; Quote found on Pinterest

Last month I sat down at my computer to do some marketing for http://www.BlackCatScribbles.com, and I had my breakfast shake with me. It was left over from the previous school year, but I had been having a shake occasionally from my leftover stash so I could concentrate on getting stuff done.

On this particular day nothing was out of the ordinary: I woke up feeling refreshed, did my usual morning stuff, and made my way to the computer. I would work for a few hours, then go pick fruit from my husband’s fruit trees.

I open my shake to take a sip

                                                           and was immediately greeted by solidified liquid.

I almost threw up.

Quickly leaving the study, I made it to the kitchen sink and rinsed my mouth out multiple times with water. After that stale, expired taste left my mouth, I settled on some oatmeal for breakfast instead.

Sometimes, things look okay and they are not okay.

Not everything presented to you, whether personal, business, or just random ideas, will be the best to pursue. Always take everything with a grain of salt, weigh the options, and decide on what’s best for you. I try to wait at least a day before deciding something, and I also try to never make any major decisions when I feel bad. If it doesn’t have to be decided right then and there, it won’t kill you to wait at least a few hours. Then after the emotional strings of that decision option have faded a little, you can decide whether or not to pursue with a more rational mindset.

As for me, I decided to not immediately throw away all the shakes I had left, and waited until the next day to check the expiration dates on the remaining ones. And you know what—there was one or two left that I could still drink.

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23. Project updates

Photo by Jeremy Lapak; Quote by Walt Disney

2 updates on projects:

That new invention idea I’ve been working on quietly in the background, the one with the headphones, has failed yet again. I’m pretty sure my theory is sound, I just need a good way to implement it. It’s a pretty cool idea that could be super beneficial, if it would just stop not working (said every inventor ever). One day it will work, and then everything will be awesome for a couple hours, before another obstacle rears its head.

For Teazzed, I’d been putting it on the backburner lately, because I was getting my book finalized. But I recently got back to it and redid the website and am gearing up to do some marketing. It is so cool to be able to make tea brewed to completion in about 30 seconds. I take my straw a lot of places, and especially on trips, so I don’t have to worry about making tea the old-fashioned way. Feel free to mosey on over and check out the new design: http://www.Teazzed.com

What are you currently pursuing dear readers?

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22. A little touch up

Photo by Danielle Macinnes; Quote by C. J. Cherryh

When I was doing freelance writing more often, I came across some bad writers. People actually sent me stuff that looked like it went through a grammar shredding machine. Those projects took a lot longer to polish and get back on track.

Some people had better grammar and sentence structure skills, and I could put together their stuff—editing, resumes, etc.—in a much shorter time frame.

Some people are better at business too. I would love to tell you I am a business master, but truth is, there are people out there that are better and have been doing it longer. But with the right research, learning, and polishing, hopefully I will be one of those people someday.

If your just starting pursuing something, or aren’t hitting the six figures you thought you would, don’t fret too much just yet. Keep polishing, keep learning, and hopefully you’ll land where you want too.

Keep going, dear readers.

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21. First Impressions

Photo by Patrick Tomasso; Quote by Charles de Lint

Many moons ago when I wrote my first novel and went to a writer’s conference to try to get picked up by an agent, I had to come up with a pitch to sell it. At the time, I thought that meant a summary of my work, and so I came up with this paragraph summary and told it to a few agents.

I did not get any follow-ups or returns for my inquiries.

What I didn’t understand is that a pitch is how an elevator ride is supposed to be: quick. It also needs to be attention grabbing and get the other person hooked on the concept, eager to know more.

Here are two examples of some great hooks I have read over the years:

“The hammer rang against the nail, piercing skin, cutting vessels. It rang against the nail, piercing muscle, chipping bone. It rang against the nail, anchoring arm to rough-hewn wood. It rang. It rang. It rang.” –The Visitation by Frank Peretti

 “Amanda Green died for a cigarette.”—Body Bags by Christopher Golden.

Now I strive to make things simple, grabby, and get people to keep my business card when I hand it to them, or keep reading my stories. Not everyone will be interested; the goal is to get most people interested, and thus, more sales, and ultimately, more money. It’s the opening act, and you want people to stay for the show.

Here is an opening sequence from one of my stories in Black Cat Scribbles Vol. 1:

“There is a creature that watches me shower. It has one large blood red eye with no eyelashes and five legs. It looks like a mutated spider that has seen hard times. The creature stares at me with the intensity of a predator hunting its prey, yet it hangs motionless, suspended by webbing from the ceiling.” –Sunday

Check out Black Cat Scribbles Vol. 1 at http://www.BlackCatScribbles.com.