Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Lone Wolf {the temptation of a jaded heart}

While my humor may be cynical and I often joke about being old and jaded (not to mention I have a greeting card line called Pessimistic Hearts), in all seriousness there is nothing admirable about truly having a jaded heart.

This is the meaning behind a new song I've written called Lone Wolf. And while the tone throughout the song laments the life of the jaded heart, I meant to convey so much more. Now, let me just say that I think it's cheesy as fuck to break down the lyrics to my own song, but that's exactly what I'm going to do. I feel like this is a subject so many people can relate to, and I have a lot more to say about it than my 3:35 minute song could allow.

Here are the key points in my song:

"I've been a lone wolf for so long I think I've lost my pack."

There is a difference between being independent and being isolated. Sometimes experiences in life require you to become fiercely independent. This is good. But often it can shift into an extreme, from "I can do this on my own" to "I have to do this on my own and I don't trust anyone to help me or be part of my life." You can get so used to doing things on your own or for yourself/family that you forget how to incorporate others into your life. This can become a challenge when making new friends, starting new relationships, or even nourishing the ties you already have in place.

Be a wolf. A fucking badass wolf. A lone wolf, at times. But don't completely isolate yourself from your pack, or be afraid of starting a new one.

"All the dreams I used to make have all been put to rest."

Disappointment is a bitch. And it comes at you from all sides at different times. You can be disappointed by your friends, family, a relationship, a job, an opportunity, a dream or goal you had, yourself, or just life in general. You put so much effort into building dreams and having hopes in certain outcomes, and sometimes life just doesn't deliver. Yes, often life delivers so much more than we ever could have dreamed up ourselves, but other times...fuck. It can be tempting to just stop dreaming or caring about what happens altogether.

Perhaps you're one of those people who believe in fate, and that as long as you stay positive, the universe knows best and will deliver exactly what you need. While this is a more positive manifestation of giving up on "dreaming," it can still result in the same thing if taken to the extreme; a jaded heart. While it's important to remain open to what life throws your way and avoid becoming fixated on any certain outcome, when you give up on goals, hopes and dreams it's hard to be excited about anything, even when good things do happen.

Don't give up on dreaming. Oh my God that sounds cheesy. But for real. Don't. Keep hoping for things to go the way you want them to. Put your heart into it. Direct your positive energy toward it. Of course, stay open to the numerous other ways that life can surprise and delight you, but give your heart something to care about.

"Why don't I fall in love anymore? Is it because I shed no tears? Is it because I'm shrouded with fear?"

Another effect of disappointment is ultimately pain. Many of us have had our share of painful disappointments; the death of friends and family members, hurtful breakups, traumatic experiences. Sometimes you reach that point where it just hurts too much. It hurts too much to process a certain issue. It hurts too much to put yourself in any situation that could cause you pain similar to what you've already felt. Maybe you start avoiding pain entirely. You protect yourself from disappointment by never letting yourself feel anything too deeply.

Here's the thing; if you protect yourself from one emotion, you protect yourself from feeling the full spectrum of emotion in general. That means, if you avoid pain and disappointment, you often avoid the opposite too; love. For example, if you avoid disappointment by never letting yourself get too involved or hopeful or interested in relationships, chances are you won't find love, at least not a healthy one. And if you avoid processing a painful situation or experience, you won't be able to experience the relief of healing and the wisdom that awaits on the other side.

Holy fuck it's scary to put yourself out there when you've been hurt. It's terrifying to face your demons. But it's meaningless to live a life without love.

"I should have no fear."

This is the most important part of the whole song. This is how it ends.

You honestly can't avoid fear. Going about life, taking risks, putting yourself in any position to be hurt or disappointed is going to be scary at times. The key is to feel it and then move past it anyway. Feel it, but don't own it.

Don't give in to the temptation of the jaded heart. Sure, let yourself grow wiser, stronger. But don't let life make your heart grow cold. Want something. Go for what you want. If you don't get it, feel the pain and then do it all over again. Fuck, I know it's exhausting. But if you narrow your capacity to feel, you won't feel the good things when they finally happen.

Have no fear; don't let it own you.

"I SHOULD HAVE NO FEAR."

Cheers to hope, dreams, disappointment, love and all that follows.

{Hear my original song at soundcloud.com/tessonja-odette/lone-wolf}

Friday, August 28, 2015

Greeting Cards for jaded lovers

I know, I know; I've been quite absent as of late. It's not that I don't have plenty to write about, it's just that I have SO many projects and creative outlets lately. It's hard not to feel spread thin when I try to focus my energy on ALL of them at once, so I tend to focus on one priority at a time. For the past few months, my priority has been building inventory of my Etsy store, Pessimistic Hearts.


It's been SUCH a blast! Creating art for these unique cards has been SO enjoyable. I find myself laughing my ass off as I come up with these designs, and it really makes me wish this was my full-time job. Who knows, though? A girl can dream, right? And since I've been such an absent mom to my blog, I figured I'd take some time to share what I've been working on. So here you go!

First up, Romance Cards! These are my cards designed to bring laughter into romance, and lighten up even the most jaded of hearts.

Next, my Engagement/Wedding Card...

And finally, my newest addition: Birthday Cards!

I seriously LOVE this new project and can't wait to come up with even more! Stay tuned!!!

What do you think about these ridiculous cards? Which is YOUR favorite???


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Finding my calling in inappropriate humor

For awhile now, I've realized my calling: inappropriate humor. You've seen this in many of my blog posts, and now you can also see it in my artwork and newest etsy store, Pessimistic Hearts!

Pessimistic Hearts features greeting cards for jaded lovers. It's a way to share a laugh with the people who get your specific brand of raunchy humor. My first design is officially done, listed and ready to ship! I have so many more designs to finish  also!!! Can't wait to bring more cute artwork paired with creepy messages into the world.

Check it out!!!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Wholesome As Fuck {My Life Between Two Worlds}

We all know life isn't always unicorns and rainbows. We all have good days as well as bad.

There are days when my life seems so perfect that I wouldn't trade it for any other. And by perfect, I mean a clusterfuck; faults, flaws, and hurts included in with all the smiles and fun. There are times when I absolutely adore this clusterfuck of motherhood, work, creativity, and adventure.

Then there are moments when I look at the clusterfuck and realize this was NEVER how I'd imagined my life would be. This wasn't what I wanted. I see people living the lives I thought I'd be living, and suddenly my perfect little life looks more like a pile of toppled bricks.

Comparison truly is the thief of joy.

I never wanted to be a single mother. I never wanted to raise a child from a broken home. I'd grown up fearing divorce and the prospect of ever being a single mother. When I thought about having kids, I imagined I would only do so if I could provide my future family with the one thing I'd always wanted for myself; one of those perfect, whole-unit families with money and privilege and a three-story house with a maid. When I thought about NOT having kids, I imagined it would be a fun-filled life of drinking, travel, adventure, laughter, and romance. 

Then life happened and I learned shit isn't always black and white, either/or. Sometimes you get a mixed bag of things you weren't really prepared for or expecting. Let me say that I absolutely do NOT regret being a mom. My daughter is awesome and I love her to eternity. It's just strange sometimes to realize that this isn't the life I'd planned.

Some things in life you just absolutely cannot get back. Life keeps going forward, and there are only two choices. 1.) You can stay stuck and continue to mourn what you lost, envy those who seemingly have what you want, and feel sorry for your shitty life. Or, 2.) You can embrace the clusterfuck and learn to love it. And keep loving it, even when envy and self-pity threaten to steal your joy.

Embracing the clusterfuck really is your only option, unless you want to be the kind of depressed, whiny douche no one wants to hang out with. Figuring out HOW to embrace it is the hard part.

In order to embrace MY clusterfuck, I live life between two worlds. Half my life is spent in the wholesome world of motherhood: playdates, mommy-daughter dates, arts and crafts, parks, beaches, picnics, crayons, paint, snacks, healthy meals. The other portion of my life is spent finding enjoyment as a young unmarried: getting day drunk with my friends, going out on my baby-free nights, dance parties, playing music, swearing like a sailor, dressing like a high-class prostitute, wine, beer, tequila, vodka, laughter, inappropriate conversations.

It's a strange dance to balance these two worlds. It's hard not to feel out of place sometimes. I don't fit in with the wholesome, married moms, but I also don't fit in entirely with the young unmarrieds. I don't get to talk about my husband's fancy job and my stupid new car and how nice it is to go for a run alone every day after my busy afternoon staying home with the kids. I also don't get to go out every weekend night getting shit faced with my friends and sleeping away a hangover until noon. One foot in one world. One foot in the other.

I have to embrace it.

This may not be the life I chose, but it's the life I have. Most of the time I have no idea where my life is going. But I guess that's ok. Giving zero fucks is a pretty good place to be. And if I really want to embrace what I have, I can think of it like this: I may not have ONE of the two lives I'd imagined (a wholesome family vs. an exciting social life); instead I have some of the best pieces of both. I'm an awesome mom and I'm providing my daughter with a really fun, creative, loving environment. I'm also having a shit ton of fun with the other half of my life.

What can you do to embrace the clusterfuck? What can you add to your life to make it closer to the life you want? I wish I could tell you how, but I can't. Your life is your own journey and you have to figure it out yourself. I ain't some self-help guru. I'm a fuck-up just like you and all I can do is share my story.

Embrace the clusterfuck. It's worth it.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring Has Sprung

Today was the first warm day of Spring and holy crap was it nice! Nova and I spent a few hours at our favorite beach with our bffs. Nova and Mila played in the sand while the mommies lounged around in the sun drinking slurpees. The slurpees may have been spiked. Don't judge. It's a mama's right to spike her own slurpee.

We've had a pretty nice end of winter, so I'm really looking forward to what spring and summer have in store for us. Maybe this year I'll even wear a bathing suit more than once!

Wishing you a happy, sunny spring!

Love,
Tess and Tigerlily

Find Your Own Damn Cup of Tea

I had intended to write an entire blog post stemming from my statement above, but every draft proved to be supremely offensive. So I'll just leave this here for you and offend 89% less people.

But for all the ladies out there who know what I mean, can I get an Amen?

UPDATE

Ok. I'm going to give explaining myself another shot.

Here's the thing. There's always someone out there who wants to tell you who or what you should like. As a single mom (aka damaged goods) I'm told I should like the nice guys with nice jobs, two kids, a divorce or two under his belt, maybe a few emotional issues here and there.

As a woman (and supposed feminist) I'm supposed to like guys who never look at my boobs without permission, never slap my ass, agree with everything I say, let me make the first move, and never get too rough in bed.

On the contrary, others will tell me as a young woman in the dating world (shut up, I'm still young), I'm supposed to make the men do ALL the work when it comes to courtship and I'm just supposed to shut my mouth and act perfect and indifferent and only accept guys who are willing to pursue the living shit out of me.

As a nice girl (am I a nice girl?) I'm supposed to like guys who want to hold my hand every minute of the day, stare lovingly into my eyes all night, kiss like a nun, and make sweet gentle love once a month.

I've dated the bad boys. And I've dated the overly good boys. Yeah, I understand the bad boys aren't exactly my cup of tea anymore. But neither are the really good boys. It turns out my cup of tea is something else...

I'm not actually into divorced guys with kids and emotional issues (but I could be, I guess.)
The fancy job doesn't actually matter (a job is nice though.)
It turns out I do like guys to make the first move (BUT I'm brave enough to do it, and will if I want to.)
I like being told what to do (as long as it's something I want to do.)
I like guys who are assertive (but I like to be assertive too.)
It REALLY doesn't always have to be gentle (like really.)
Humor is fucking necessary (I can't live without it.)
It turns out it's really more about chemistry (good romance to sexual energy ratio)
And it turns out I hate when a guy just wants to stare lovingly into my eyes for extended periods of time (it's like, WTF, my boobs are down here.)

I'm not writing this to promote MY cup of tea; a bad-boy looking hottie with a heart of gold who likes to be sweet but can also throw me around a little (sigh.) I'm writing this to express the importance of finding your own damn cup of tea. What works for one, might not work for another. Don't let someone else tell you who you should or shouldn't like.

I've tried dating guys who aren't my 'type' and guess what; it fucking sucks. It's not for me. I have a type and I'm sticking to it. However, I wouldn't even advise anyone to forgo giving the 'other' guys a shot and sticking strictly to one's own type; I would advise to give it ALL a shot and figure it out yourself. Date people. Does it turn out your type actually sucks and you should give someone out of the ordinary a shot? Try it. Or does it turn out you were really onto something when you only dated guys who wear footie pajamas to bed? Figure it out.

Find your OWN cup of tea.

Because you know what? Someone else's tea tastes like shit.

DIY Tinted Lip Balm {A Tarte Lipsurgence Hack}

Anyone who knows me, knows that I like to make EVERYTHING. I've gotten into making my own lotions, lip balm, body scrubs, and even perfume. One of my favorite DIY essentials has been lip balm. I'm really picky when it comes to what goes on my lips. I generally hate the smell of most lip balms, and hate the ingredients even more. So homemade was the way to go.

Now, let's talk lipstick. I LOVE red lipstick. But I'm even more picky about smell/texture/ingredients of lipstick than I am about chapstick. I generally HATE the smell of most lipsticks, I usually find the texture too thick and too drying, and the ingredients just plain suck.

The closest I've come to lipstick perfection has been the Tarte Cosmetics Lipsurgence line. The smell is perfect (peppermint), the texture is smooth and light, and the ingredients are tolerable. The downside? The ingredients could definitely be better, and worst of all, these lipsticks have a VERY drying effect on the lips, despite the brand's claims that they make your lips like a million times softer. Lies.

The obvious solution for my overly-picky ass was to make my own lipstick. Making a 100% natural lipstick turned out to be too complicated for me. I'm all about being natural but I'm also all about keeping shit as simple and easy as possible. What's a girl to do?

My solution: lipstick/lip balm hybrid using old lipstick! This is a terrific way to use up the remainder of your favorite conventional lipstick, while improving the composition of ingredients you are putting on your skin.

Now let's make it!

First off, we'll need a base: the chapstick. You can use any chapstick recipe you want, but in order to really hack the Tarte Lipsurgence style, you'll need to add Peppermint Essential Oil for fragrance, as well as that lip-plumping and tingling sensation Lipsurgence is famous for. If you aren't into peppermint, go ahead and use whatever chapstick recipe you like, or even use a conventional store-bought stick.

My chapstick recipe is as simple as this:
1 part coconut oil
1 part shea butter
1 part beeswax
Peppermint essential oil

Melt coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax over a double boiler (I fill a small saucepan with about a half inch of water, and then place a bowl over the top. The water gently heats the bowl, where I melt my ingredients together). Once fully melted, let cool a few minutes, and then add the peppermint essential oil, a few drops at a time, until it reaches desired fragrance. No need to get too crazy. A light fragrance goes a long way when it comes to your lips. Pour the mixture into empty chapstick tubes or lip balm containers, and then cool in fridge until solid.

Now you have your base. All you need now is to melt a small piece of lipstick into the chapstick! Obviously, you can do this BEFORE you let your chapstick recipe cool, but I like to make my tinted lip balms one stick at a time so I can make multiple shades and intensities.

So far, I've made two different recipes. One was a deep matte red, the other was a semi-sheer tint. You can control the opacity by changing the lipstick to chapstick ratio. The darker color was made using one part lipstick to one part chapstick. I used a small piece of an old stick of MAC Ruby Woo. The result was a dead ringer for Tarte Lipsurgence in Fiery. (The pictures came out pink, but in real life the color is a deep red.)
This one turned out very similar to standard lipstick, but with a smoother, more hydrating texture. Plus, the peppermint oil masked the less-than-enjoyable fragrance of the lipstick. I love it!

The second one was made using two parts chapstick to one part lipstick. I used MAC Lady Danger and the result was a nice poppy/coral red very similar to Tarte Lipsurgence in Spirited. The texture was light and the coverage was semi-sheer and build-able.
The possibilities are endless! You can do this with many other shades (or combinations of shades) and can change the ratio of lipstick to chapstick to suit your personal preferences! Mix up your new favorite shade for spring!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Where Are Your Balls? {my disappointments with modern dating}


I've been a single mom for over two years now, and for the first time in my life, I've experienced dating as an adult. It's a total blast.

Not.

From a distant perspective, adult dating always seemed so cool. Television made it look easy, convincing me that when you're an adult, you mingle responsibly in bars and get asked out by some handsome stranger. Or you fall in love in a charmingly awkward situation at a routine dental cleaning with your twenty-something babe of a dentist. Or that someone you once found utterly repulsive suddenly proves to be, not only your soul mate, but super hot too.

In real life, as an adult, you get shit faced wasted at bars and black out face down in the tub when you get home; handsome strangers don't actually ask you out; creepy strangers do. And that dental visit? There's nothing charming at all about that awkward dental cleaning with your mid-fifties dentist. And that guy you find utterly repulsive? He is still equally repulsive, if not more so, and continues to drive you nuts in the worst possible way.

In real life, there seem to be two scenarios for modern dating: 1.) get drunk at a bar and make out with someone. At some point they become your boyfriend/girlfriend 2.) online dating.

I haven't personally experienced dating scenario #1 post-mommyhood, but it seems to be just as popular as before I popped out a kid. Pretty sure that's how my friends have all gotten their boyfriends.

I HAVE experienced scenario #2, and boy is that one a doozy. As a single mom, with minimal free evenings for mingling, online dating seemed the answer. It's true that I've heard great things about online dating and heard of some terrific success stories, but my numerous experiences weren't so stellar and usually went something like this...

Online dating, day one. Browse. "Holy shit, look at all these hot guys! Wow, look how much I have in common with all these tattood bearded man-babes!" Wink. Send convo. No reply from hot man-babes, but tons of winks and convo's from dudes completely NOT my type. Get disappointed. Lower standards.

Day two. Still feeling pretty good about online dating. Send a few more winks and convos to the guys I actually find attractive. No reply. Lower standards.

Day three. "Holy shit, I'm way less like-able than I thought! No one likes me and it's already been THREE WHOLE DAYS! MY LIFE IS OVER!!!" Lower standards WAY down. Go through your inbox and second guess your decision to pass on the dudes you didn't like at first. Settle for someone remotely tolerable. Get in relationship with the first guy who likes you.

Ok, maybe some of that is a cruel exaggeration, but there is some truth there. Long story short, I don't think online dating is for me. Besides, I'm too weird. Guys online don't go for weird. And the ones who do are way weirder than I can handle. And pretending NOT to be weird doesn't work for me. I'm actually really good at pretending to be normal, but it makes me miserable. Meeting strangers one on one for small talk just isn't my thing. I'll have to stick to dating scenario #1, and see how that goes. Unfortunately, even the drunken bar scene has its downside...

For one, why must I have to get drunk and eventually make out with someone in order to start a relationship? Why can't someone just ask me out like they do on tv? Maybe they do, and I'm just misjudging the modern dating scene entirely, but I get the feeling that men these days are looking to women to make the first move. Or alcohol.

WHERE ARE YOUR BALLS?  

I feel like modern men have been trained to fear women and hide their balls in a ziplock bag instead of just asking a girl out. Don't get me wrong; I don't trust a guy who isn't at least a little afraid of me, but what happened to the days when a cute random guy would just ask for your number? Why is it only creepy guys who have the balls to do that? I'm all about feminism, sure, but a guy who takes the lead is like 95% more attractive than a submissive one. I might turn you down and laugh behind your back, but I'll respect your confidence. I like being submissive in relationships, but I can't do that if you don't show me your balls. (Not literally.)

And here's another question: where do I fit in the the dating world? Who the heck am I? I'm NOT a party all night/weekend/day/week/hour kind of girl. I'm wholesome as fuck. I have a daughter and I'm an awesome mom and absolutely LOVE my cuddly, wholesome life. But I'm also weird and have tattoos, like certain types of music, and have an often raunchy sense of humor. I'm too wholesome for the wild dudes and too wild for the conservative soccer-dad-types who actually date single moms.

Yeah, adult dating sucks. I spent the first several years of my adult life in consecutive long term relationships, which developed from different variations of dating scenario #1. When I first became a single mom, I thought there must be a better/cooler/more adult way to meet people. Turns out there isn't.

But in order to move past my cynicism and develop a healthier, more hopeful mindset on love (you can read about my struggle with believing in love here), I'm going to take everything I've just said with a hefty dose of good-hearted humor. I'm more excited about just having fun and enjoying life than seeking a relationship. I'm optimistic that shit will happen when it's meant to, just like it always has. Dating scenario #1 has never let me down before (depending on my current perspective), so why knock a good thing, even when it isn't as cool in real life as it is on tv?

And even though the world is swarming with submissive men, the right guy will have all the right balls in all the right places. So if you feel like the dating world is getting you down, just repeat that mantra. You're welcome.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How Do You Believe In Love Again...When You're Not Sure You Want To?


Let me just start off by saying that I am not posing this question with the intention to answer it. This is not a DIY, self-help, "how-to" post. I don't have the answers. I'm sharing this as a way to work through my own struggle with this question and see what comes of it.

I've been cynical about love of late. This isn't normal for me. I'm generally a very optimistic, positive thinking person who always believes the next great love of my life is just around the corner and will make every past hurt worth it just because it brings me to this person. When love or heartache gets me down, it isn't long before I'm up again, ready to start all over with an open and ready heart. Lately? Not so much.

It's not that I'm depressed or even unhappy about being single. I LOVE my life and I'm actually really content right now. I think that's what's confusing me. It isn't usual for me to be so content with the fact that I am without a romantic relationship and have little desire to be in one.

At times it's refreshing to be without the nervous excitement that comes with new love or the boredom that comes with ending love. But at other times, it disturbs me. I'm afraid that I've written off romantic love completely, and I'm not sure who I am without the hope I used to have.

You see, a couple months ago, I broke up with a man who wanted to marry me. He had all the qualities that I wanted: dedication, passion, romance, marriage, family, etc, etc, etc. He was so in love with me that I almost couldn't believe it. His love for me was so strong that for months I thought it was my own. After awhile, when left alone with my feelings, I found that mine were lacking where his were overflowing.

So I ended it. Before that, I'd always believed those amazing qualities would be enough. I thought that if I found someone I loved who loved me back and wanted to marry me and love me forever, that I would be set for life. I was wrong. Something was missing and I wasn't willing to settle. And I don't regret it.

I've had my heart broken. Badly. And now I've broken someone else's heart. It really makes me want to forgo participating in this stupid game called love completely.

Yet I know, deep down, I do want to remember how to believe in love. I try to find that old spark that used to reside within me as I look for evidence that true love really exists. But then I am overwhelmed when all I see are issues of divorce, infidelity, fighting, dishonesty, and stale, lifeless marriages. It's even hard for me to look at happy, healthy couples and marriages these days without seeing them as ticking time-bombs just waiting to explode.

I'm sure there's evidence in support of the magic and outlasting power of true love, but it's so hard for me to see it right now. And, with all I've experienced, I know there is definitely at least some truth in my cynicism. Amazing marriages CAN fail. People CAN leave you without warning. You CAN fall out of love with someone you'd once loved dearly and have no interest in making things work. I'm sure there is a flip side to this as well. There HAS to be. But are the risks worth it?

And when I do decide to embrace love gain, do I just accept that love is temporary and fleeting and can leave at any time, yet boldly go forth knowing every love I find could end one way or another? Or do I maintain the hope that there is a lasting, loving relationship just around the corner that can weather any storm? Is there somewhere in the middle to be? Hope for that lasting, breathtaking love, yet peaceful contentment with the idea that it could end?

I like the version of me that believes in love. I like feeling the hope that the next one is "the one." I like the excitement of meeting someone new and wondering if they are my soul mate, instead of seeing them as someone who will either a.) hurt me, or b.) be hurt by me.

I know that the power to change my cynical mindset lies within my very own being. I know I am the only one responsible for turning my doubtful self back into my hopeful self. But, damn, it is so hard to want to put myself out there again. It's so hard to believe it's truly worth it. I know it MUST be though...right?

I'm pretty confident I'll find a way to get back there again. I just have to get past this wall I've built around my heart that keeps me safe yet stuck in cynicism. I just need to get to the point where I actually WANT to break down that wall. I'll get there.

I will believe in love again.

Happy Valentines Day, jerks.
(just kidding, I really do wish you a happy VDay. I'll be spending mine with the love of my life; my daughter)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Defining Priorities to Accomplish Goals

I've always had a lot of goals. And while I've accomplished many of them, I'm sad to say that my most important goal has gone unfinished. This goal has been in progress for TWELVE YEARS!

Prioritizing my goals has been difficult for me. Mostly because, as a creative person, once I focus on one idea, other quickly follow. Soon my list of creative 'to-do' becomes overwhelmingly long. Instead of focusing on only one thing, I usually decide to do them all at once. And I've never had such an overflow of creativity than I have in the past year. 

I'm certainly not complaining! I'm so grateful and blessed for such exciting ideas that I've embarked upon! And while it's fun to work on all of them at once, I'm starting to realize that method might not be the best for my lifestyle.

I love writing a blog, and I have so much fun writing new recipes, taking photos, keeping up with our homeschooling projects, art projects and musings on daily life.

I love having an Etsy store, working on new paintings and prints and improving my photoshop skills. 

I love music, playing ukulele and guitar, singing, writing new songs, uploading them to soundcloud.

But did you know that I have one other talent/hobby that I enjoy more than anything else? I love writing fiction. It's the one talent that is the hardest to share publicly, especially if I want to retain my rights to publish my work.

Over the past year I've written two short stories that I'm very proud of and would love to turn into full-length novels. I have an idea for a series of kids' books as well as a wellspring of other creative writing ideas.

But, first, let's back up 12 years ago. I wrote a fantasy novel we'll just call 'Lela' here. Yes, as a 19 year old non-college educated high-school graduate I wrote an entire novel and thought I could get it published and be famous. I sent it to one publisher, got rejected (of course) and got really disappointed. Then I got my butt back in gear and decided to edit it. After a year or two of editing, my story was much better. I decided to edit again, and realized it could really use an entire re-write. 

Fast forward to now, and I'm still working on that re-write. It's going really well, but very slowly. I got caught in a bit of writer's block for a good two years, but with my re-growing creativity, I've been ready to get back into the process.

Over the past couple months I've been trying my best to keep up with all of my projects; the blog, the Etsy store, playing ukulele, photoshop, brainstorming development ideas for my short stories AND being a working single mom. Exhausting, right? 

Everything was going great, but I realized I wasn't giving any attention to the one goal that is most important to me. If I could only accomplish one thing in my entire life, I would choose my novel. I am determined to finish and publish it, even if only independently. 

So that's where I've been. I'm working hard on my novel and it's going great. I decided to edit the content I've rewritten so far to see if I could conquer my writer's block in the process, and I think that was the best decision I could have made. I've found some parts that really needed further reworking, and those little tweaks have opened up channels of creativity to the parts I was stuck on!

You'll see on the photo above that I've listed 'archery lessons' as one of my goals. Yes, I'm serious. I want to take archery lessons as research for my book! Archery is the weapon of choice for my main character in the novel I'm working on as well as the novel I'm planning on starting after the Lela series. Plus it would just be so fun!

I'll still blog and add to Etsy when the inspiration arises but Lela is going to be my focus (outside of work and spending quality time with November. She is SO into imaginative play lately! LOTS of tea parties!)

Wish me luck, and I hope I can soon share Lela with you as a finished (and published!) novel!

What steps do you take to accomplish your goals?