Monday, January 23, 2017

My Fool-Proof Smoothie Formula: Easy Way to Add More Fruit, Veg, & Health To Your Life

Nearly everyone is trying to add more fruits and veggies to their diet. We're all busy, it's not always easy to prepare three square nutritious meals daily, but smoothies make packing in the nutrients so simple! It's crazy for me to think back just six years ago when I was first learning to change my lifestyle and eat very healthfully. My first smoothies were overly-thick slop made using recipes on the back on my hemp powder and other supplements. NOT tasty. The whole process seemed like an uncrackable mystery, now I've taught multiple workshops on nutritious smoothie creation and made countless hundreds for myself and others.

It was SO fun and rewarding to show them, live, with a batch of greens, fruits, and other goodies behind me, how to make their own smoothies to exactly their tastes at home. They got wrapped up writing exactly recipes, but you don't need a rolodex or books on perfect smoothies to make them. I use the formula below to churn out perfect smoothies each time:

1 Cup Frozen Fruit
1/4 Cup Nuts, Seeds, or Protein Powder
1.5 to 2 Cups Water, Experiment to find the consistency you like
1 Cup Leafy Greens (baby kale, spinach and chard is especially nutritious and tasty)

Optional - 1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil*
Optional - 1 Tablespoon supplement of choice (like maca, beet root powder, hemp or powdered herbs)
Optional - 1 Tablespoon to 1/4 cup fresh herbs (ginger, mint, and basil are especially yummy)
Optional - A couple of dates for sweetness and iron/nutrient boost

*The coconut oil makes your smoothie amazingly creamy and helps with assimilation of the nutrients in your smoothie. With the coconut oil and the nuts it's like you're consuming a milkshake for breakfast, it's delicious! The nuts and water blend to basically make your own nut milk in the smoothie.

I buy bags of frozen fruit usually but freezing in-season fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to go with your smoothies.

Do you have a go-to healthy recipe or smoothie formula/recipe? AJ and I have this formula down to a science, we love to throw one together before leaving the house, as a snack betweens meals or for dinner. I used to have three smoothies per day but fell off from it, maybe that should be a challenge for 2017! Let's get creative and make getting healthier delicious, too.
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Friday, January 20, 2017

5 Step Business KonMari: Boost Sales, Streamline, Stress Less, ENJOY Your Biz

If you're a creative business owner you probably struggle a bit with organization. It's not entirely your fault, you're trying to take on too much on your own thanks to that stubborn independent entrepreneurial streak. You probably struggle with mind clutter, with too many ideas to choose from thanks to right-brain hyperactivity. Let me paint a prettier alternative scenario.

With this method you put everything you own in front of you to confront it, then sort it away for good!

Imagine being in a constant zen state of "flow" with your business. You don't have to stop for minor details and hiccups, you can always just work in an organized beautiful fashion. You design, create, and earn without fuss or stress.

Yeah, I'm not there yet. Is anyone? Can't be, life's not perfect. BUT life and business is 1000% smoother with some excellent organizing systems and the KonMari method is a perfect one to apply to business. I always go back to it to get things back in order. When shit happens, and it often does, it gets me back on track. Business life is not perfect, but I thank this method for being as close to it as it's ever been. I really feel like having this method helped me get from a confused place in my life to having a profitable and rapidly growing business that has a brick and mortar store front and many outdoor markets and workshops around Florida scheduled for 2017! I know I won't shut up about this method but when something revolutionizes your life you're so happy you want to share it and help others with it!

Step 1) Envision the perfect business situation

The KonMari method asks you to start by envisioning your ideal life. What exactly do you want your brand to look like? How often do you want to work? As little as possible while earning as much as possible, perhaps? What kind of clients do you want, I'm guessing, the nicest ones that pay well and don't make negative waves in your life? Write ALL of this down, vividly imagine that perfect business life. Make a pin board of brands, workspaces, and lifestyle things that inspire you.

Step 2) Touch EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS ITEM you own, keep what "Sparks Joy", donate the rest

Bonus points if you do this for EVERYTHING you own and not just business items! This helps you for several reasons:

I) Eliminates clutter which makes operations smoother
II) Aids you come tax season, all your paperwork will be in order by the end of this!
III) As you realize what "sparks joy" you go on a self-discovery journey, discovering what you want your business visual branding and direction to be

You must touch EVERY SINGLE ITEM in order of category which go as follows:

1) Clothing / Accessories
2) Books
3) Papers* 
4) CDs / DVDs
5) Office Supplies
6) Kitchen Supplies
7) Pantry
8) Household Supplies (cleansers, cleaning supplies, etc.)
9) Tools
10) Bathroom Supplies
11) Furniture and Decor
12) Memorabilia

*With papers Marie Kondo's advice is to toss it ALL unless absolutely necessary, she says you will probably always have a small "out box" of things to do. She does, I do too, but that we should strive for it to be empty or near-empty.

You go category by category, laying every single item in that category on the floor in front of you and then holding each item to determine if it "Sparks Joy" or not. Laying it on the floor shocks you with the volume! Go through category by category in order. 

Step 3) Reduce Until it "Feels Right" This Can Take Multiple Runs and Months, that's fine

Reduce until you intuitively feel a space is "just right." You'll refine this as you go on. It may take weeks or months to go through all the categories above, that's fine. You may go through the whole method and then feel like you need to do it again like I did, that's fine, too.

Step 4) Go Back to a Certain Category As-Needed if Clutter Bubbles Up Again

The thing with business like I said before...shit happens! Sometimes you have to put out proverbial fires and another area of the business suffers. This has happened for me, but I go back to the method when I get behind and create a build-up and eliminate the clutter, getting back to delicious, beautiful order!

Step 5) Keep that initial vision in mind, purge what doesn't spark joy as-needed, buy judiciously

Going forward be VERY SMART about what you buy, be sure it goes with your vision for your business. Do a monthly business review. Are you aligning with the vision you started with when you began this journey? Is clutter cropping up again? Look at this honestly and work to correct it.

*By the way, regarding the list-making and paperwork craziness... I want to host 1 or 2 free community workshops per month in the space pictured above. The first meet-up to be one on list-making and planning for the new year. There will be yummy tea and camaraderie. I'll post details on social media. I hope you'll RSVP if you're local :)

I had a KonMari series planned for January but did a detailed retrospective instead. I'll probably be back with more posts on the method in time for spring cleaning season! Do let me know if you have any questions at all on this method or using it for business. And as always, please do share any methods you have for organization, planning, etc. I'm always experimenting with new techniques.

If you're struggling to figures yourself and/or your business' purpose, raise sales, or just life a more stress-free life, I highly recommend trying to KonMari method for everything related to your business! For us prone-to-mess creative types, it's a miracle worker.
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Monday, January 16, 2017

My 5 Simple Budgeting Rules for 2017: Money-Saving and Personal Accounting Techniques

Money is another one of those big resolutions we make for the new year. You want more in the bank. You want to pay debts, save up. Near the end of the year I was determined to make 2017 the year of aggressive earning but I found a wonderful book (more on that later), it reminded me that focusing fiercely on money NEVER works. You focus on quality, you start with passion and care.

That's the first rule of money, the second one is obvious, you MUST track your personal spending, too! It's very revealing not just for your finances but for you as a person. This year I'm sicking to the simple rules below for personal accounting.

1. Saving Every Single Personal Receipt and Recording our personal accounting Spreadsheet

I use Google Sheets

I'll confess, I am diligent with business tracking but never keep up the personal end. It'll be interesting to see the spending that goes on looking at the years going forward honestly. We spend nearly nothing but it still adds up!

2. No eating out unless it's social (a visiting friend, etc.), I'm cooking nearly all meals at home. I'm leaving wiggle room, for instance we sometimes end up in a rush. The groceries is the easiest area to spend smart and save in.

3. Have guides for my "vision" for wardrobe/home/business buying for review before buying. Just like I shared with this post, having a vision for what you want the final result of your home, wardrobe, business, etc. to be helps curb impulse buys.

4. No new purchases unless I've thought on it for a week or longer.

5. Severely limited "for fun" shopping or thrifting. I want to have a purpose in mind when I shop to help curb impulse buys. It also helps to have a friend with me while thrifting to keep me accountable.

Mostly our theme is buy less STUFF and if you do buy reaaaally be wise about it, only buy something I truly feel I will love and use for years. I want to focus on making our creations as beautiful and high quality as possible this year and traveling, and I don't mind living with less in the meantime to make those things happen. AJ and I enjoy the challenge of the tight budgeting, it's all a worthy sacrifice to make big things happen this year!

Full disclosure, I do not pay myself AT ALL. I put all earnings back into the business, giving myself merely enough payout for bills and necessities. It's challenging, but honestly, I'm enjoying the perspective it's given me on minimalism and wise spending. Even when we're earning more, I'm taking the lessons learned from these start-up years with me.

Do you have any particularly awesome budget tips to share? Any challenges you're doing this year? Apps perhaps? Do let me know in the comments.
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