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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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

10 My Favorite Posts from 2016: Practical DIYS, Productivity Tips, Inspiring Interviews

Planning and creating content is one of my favorite things to do in the world. Combining words and images in a way that "clicks" and aligns with the spatial harmony I've envisioned is so nerdily fulfilling. It's like editing my own magazine. I always have hundreds of ideas floating in my brain to write and photograph, but if a post doesn't "feel" complete I won't post it. 2016 was definitely the year of getting the ball rolling for Body&Soul and getting out there in the world marketing it in-person; I didn't get to blog like I wanted to. Now that I've got more of a routine going I want to get back to my first love, content creation, in 2017!

Despite it being my slowest blogging year since starting this space on the web back in 2009 I have a few favorites:

1) Stephanie's Bus Home + Tips for Fulfilling, Creative Living in Nature, On Your Terms 

I would move into Stephanie's bus home in a heartbeat, it is perfection. Surrounded by nature, cozy, and artistic. Stephanie shared her home and her life as a farmer and artist.

I loved sharing this technique for other creative magpies that collect things like cocktail napkins and tags because they like the design. I have a napkin from a sushi place I visited in Japan I need to give this treatment to next. This posed is proudly displayed in the shop now, I love looking at it every day.

In Robin I have found my more-talented, more-experienced Etsy spirit animal! She scares her kid with creepy thrifted artwork, it's the same evil whimsical stuff I pull in my daily life. (I just torture/tease my neices/nephews instead.) Aside from our shared love of kitsch and craft she shares some damn good practical tips for anyone who wants to be an artist or Etsy seller full-time and interesting stories from her "conventional" office artist gig of the past.

I'm always hesitant to share all my woo-woo spiritual craziness on the blog, but these posts are well-received. (My ghost story is still popular, that still surprises me.) One thing my new business has taught me, there's A LOT of us new agers/hippies out there. And there's a field of dreams If You Build it They Will Come beauty to writing and working int this field. Perhaps this year I'll share more from here. Maybe, just maybe, I'll share the religious experience I had that moved me to tears while I was waiting in line to go down a water slide at Jekyll Island. (I'm serious.) We'll see! But back to Tarot. I've used tarot as a guide a lot this year for myself and interested friends, it's just a fascinating journey into the subconscious and a relaxing way to exercise your intuition. By the way, my friend Patricia, a registered mental health counselor, is giving tarot readings at the shop this month at a discount. Let me know if you're interested! I'm probably going to write-up classes on the subject as well, or consult a more experienced reader to come teach on the subject.

The moment I saw the Monsters in my Closet sign on busy Stockton Street near my home I knew I would ADORE every inch of the interior. One of my favorite sights in the world is Japanese Robot Toys of the extra primary color rich eye-searingly bright sentai variety. Just look at the beauty it wrenches my heart with rapturous glee! Oh robots, of pop-culture color blitz, I love you. You are my muse. I don't feel the need for my home to be filled with toys anymore, but it's nice to have a space to view it (and contribute to it) in the community.

My favorite recipes or DIYS to share are the simple few-step varieties. We're all busy, we want high quality goods with no fuss, dammit! Tasty stuff, fast! Cold brew is so easy and satisfying to make and I'm glad people who get acid reflux from their coffee found this method from the blog and reduced their pain.

To use the nerdiest analogy ever, if I was a Pokemon, I leveled up in 2016. I started the year as Bulbasaur and ended it an Ivysaur . And perhaps one day I will graduate to becoming the mighty Venosaur. But not yet. I've "leveled up" when it comes to business accomplishments and finding myself a bit more as a creative and with this post I dug deep to share tips on how others creative professionals could also feel more balanced, focused, and productive.

The most-viewed post of 2016! I was sharing my apartment with my boyfriend, roommate, and my business at the start of the year and now I'm so blessed and happy the business grew to it's own location. The business was like another person or conscious entity, swallowing up the space! And wow, I've already gotten rid of hundreds more items since posting this at the start of the year! I'll have to do more full tours of the rest the apartment soon. I liked sharing this transitional-home-on-a-budget because there needs to be more honest representations of homes on the web. Not just "finished" spaces, but those awkward in-betweens. I enjoy seeing a gorgeously curated space like most design geeks but I also love it when bloggers share the unpolished realities, too.

Ouch, this one hurt to look back on. Last year the fans mourned an icon. I took it as a lesson. Prince never took a break from "being Prince", he never gave himself the self-care needed after strenuous performances and that shortened his lifespan. Most artists can relate to that relentless drive, let's take breaks and try not to suffer the same fate. You are missed, Prince.

I finally articulated some principles I live my life by. With Science! Of all the posts I've written, I'd consider this the must-read for everyone.

This year I took some online business/productivity classes and turned them into blog posts on productivity. My favorites in the productivity series: 

Write it all down || 3 Goals Per Week, 3 Tasks Per Day || Hand Write Before You Type

Not bad 2016, not as bad as I thought until digging in and looking at it! I've already got the editorial calendar (flexibly) filled-out for 2017! If there's anything you want to see in particular please do share in the comments or via e-mail. I want to interview more creative business owners, bloggers, writers, and just awesome people like you so please e-mail if you'd like to be featured! I love writing here, but it's you reading the words, leaving the feedback, and using or learning from posts that makes writing here worthwhile and special. I (and other readers) and learned so much from your comments. It takes a post to another level. I love this connection, it's what makes the web so incredible, it's a medium for greater interaction, communication and discovery. 

Let's use that as consolation when we spend a pinch too much time browsing blogs and social media ;) Thank you for being here in 2016, let's live and learn hard in 2017!
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Monday, January 9, 2017

KonMari Purged Living Room "Before" + Plans for Impact and Coziness on a Budget


Hello (lo..lo...) that's the echo, because my apartment's half-empty! Now that I have a store that houses all my business-stuff my living room is empty as hell! Imagine the scenario, you've been working your ass off selling your wares for years out the small space above, moving boxes from here to there to everywhere in your little workspace to accommodate the volume. You've also spent years decluttering personal possessions.

Now, six years later, you have what you want, you have a store and your home is a sexy minimalist dojo. You could host yoga or karate classes in that lovely zen wet-dream negative space emptiness. What do you do with it? The past year I've casually browsed arts, crafts, design blogs and magazines; carefully curating. The "fun" part is here, I have a new room to play with and shop (small, local & second-hand) for!

Below are my picks for adding maximum impact and coziness to an empty space on a budget. I can't wait to host more gatherings in my living space that is now purely for living and not just working!

1 & 9 ) The Woven Dream Factory : I'm on the look-out for large macrame and/or art tapestries to fill my wall space. My apartment has very tall ceilings and the texture from these earthy wall hangings will 'warm' the space up without a lot of work or investment.

2) Kanso Shelf Perhaps a nice shelf to display inspiring books and curios would be nice. Minimal Mod style, of course.

3) LP Shelving the best record shelving ever would be nice. Just need a shag rug underneath as displayed below. I'm dying at the speakers on all sides in this 60s advertisement! Do the groovy lovers trip over all the wires when they stand up? Does it tangle in their fabulously feathered hair?

I'm very tempted to get rid of my tall table and just have a shag rug on the floor to lay on with a pile of books and some Prince and Michael Jackson records. After lots of meditation classes I feel like sitting cross legged or laying on the floor is the most comforting, natural thing.

4 & 5) Lisa Junis & Licorice Moon Studios My eye is out for unique/beautiful pottery pieces and cups/mugs to use in the space.

6) Danish Lounge Chairs I saw these exact chairs at a nearby antique store, they're so beautiful. The size fills a space nicely, they're practical and they're a nice pop of color.

7) Sea Grass Basket A couple of big baskets with plants add that natural element without being too expensive.

8) Handmade Rug I'm probably going to invest in a white fluffy rug. The issue with this is that I would have to roll it up every day when in not in use to prevent Yuko damage. She absolutely cannot be trusted alone with it.

10) Vintage Halloween Latch Rug Always going to keep my eye out while thrifting for anything very unique and kitschy. Especially holiday decor, trying to collect a lot of vintage pieces. Holiday kitsch is pretty much the only thing I'm collecting now.

11) Pam Wishbow Spiritual/unique artist wares like altar cloths warm up a space nicely and add some luck, according to feng shui principles.

Now you see my plan, minimal furniture elements, texture, and handmade to cozy-up a space and add impact for less. You may see some DIY versions of the items above over the coming months, but I'm excited to support some local and Etsy artists along the way. You don't need a whole lot of stuff to make a space feel cozy, I'm excited to share how this space transforms this year. And of course, to use it, too!
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