Need Help Meeting Goals for 2013? Make a Vision Board

Creating a vision board makes your goals 96% more likely to be realized. I just made that up, but it feels true, like of form of self-visualization. See it happening, and it will happen. Vision boards are easy to make, even for the highly distracted, like me, and they work as a reminder for your goals and dreams without leaving Post-It reminders around the house. 

When I visited Coca-Cola headquarters a few months back*, we made vision boards, which I'll admit, at first sounded like we were asked to do awkward ice breakers. Trust fall! Then I realized I had been doing a vision board, just less focused, called Pinterest. Pinterest is like a giant, varied vision board, but Coca-Cola was inviting us to determine the most important things in our lives, our goals, our interests, our dreams, and focus on them, then make it visual. When I saw tables of every type of magazine, plus chilled Diet Coke, I was in. 

It was a vision board that look me through the rough parts of the remodel. Now I can see things happening, but months ago, when things were still very rough, and times were even more stressful, I really needed the pictures to help keep me focused on the outcome. Eyes on the prize. I say that all the time to my kids, and while they routinely ignore me, it works. 

Below is my vision board, but I have to say that I got a case of the ADDs during the project and started reading the magazines instead of hunting for items to represent my life. White space as a design tool, was how I explained the gaps to others. Diet Coke, magazines, and no kids was the real reason. 

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Every vision board should include a unicorn, in my opinion. Even more than now, life was focused on the house's construction and design process, and the struggle to balance work, life, maintaining traditions (this was just before Halloween), and having fun with the kids. (The blurred out part in the top included personal information about the house.)

Here it is, on display in the laundry room, amidst the construction:

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Get some magazines, a glue stick, and a poster board and start visualizing your year. When you look back at the end of 2013, where do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish? Find a visual representation of those goals and dreams, put them on paper, and keep it up where it will catch your eye. Diet Coke is optional, but recommended. Unicorns are highly encouraged. 

* I'd written a long post about the trip that was eaten by Typepad, back in October. Because it's gone forever, let's assume it was the best piece of prose ever written and moved all readers to laughter, then tears. Once I get over the loss, I will re-write it. Or part of it. I mean, it's January now, after all. 

Coming Up for Air After Maker Faire 2012

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We're in Maker Faire recovery today. We had a great day at the Maker Faire, but for the first time, I don't think that I saw nearly everything. I mean, it's almost impossible to really experience everything the Maker Faire has to offer in a single day, but I missed an entire outdoor area. 

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Time moved really fast this year for some reason. Another limit was that we went on Sunday, which closes at 6 p.m., and several exhibits packed up early. We usually go on Saturday, which ends at 8 p.m. Sunday felt less crowded than Saturday (except in the Expo, which was a madhouse) and it seemed like there were more families on Sunday. The bummer was that it felt like there were fewer Maker Faire characters, the ones who come dressed up, fully into it. The ones who make it feel like Burning Man on pavement. Every year we pledge to return for both days the next year, but life gets in the way, this year in the form of softball playoffs. 

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Lost in a light up forest that smelled like pot.

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Combat gnomes!

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My first computer looked just like this, without Woz's signature. 

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Sadly, Eddie the Yeti did not go home with me…

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…but we did take home a pet rock and an egg from NifNaks. We've bought something from Nifer's exhibit for the last two years. I love her work. 

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There's a lot more to say about the Maker Faire, but it was, in one word, awesome. 

How to Send a Birthday Card Love Bomb

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Today is my mom's 70th birthday, which seems downright youthful when expressed in dog years (490). She didn't want a party, which was fine because we threw her a giant 60th birthday ten years ago, where we used up the best theme available for an adult party: margaritas. It was also the party where we let her tell people that I was pregnant, which explained why I sat alone in the kitchen alternatively fighting nausea, then stuffing my face. 

This birthday we needed something different and created a birthday card love bomb. The impetus for the idea came from Jordan Ferney's postcard surprise idea, and while I thought that I could print a photo of my mom on the back of the postcards so that each one contained a section of the print, it didn't make sense. Trying to find the right photo to define 70 years would be next to impossible, plus, it would detract from the message side of the postcard, which is the meat of the project. 

We made a list of 70 friends and family members (excluding my dad, for secrecy reasons), and in late April, mailed them each an addressed and stamped postcard with a note asking them to share a memory, funny story, or birthday wish for my mom, and to mail them between May 4-9.* Her birthday is today, May 10, and the mail range made sure that she got some birthday love each day of the week leading up to the big event. 

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Love bomb directions, ready to go.

We bought 70 size A6 note cards in Blush, 70 A6 envelopes in Strawberry, Strawberry printing paper, ink and 7, 0, and flourish frame stamps, all at Paper Source. We chose postcards because for many people, it can be daunting to look at a large empty piece of paper that needs to be filled. A postcard is short, sweet, and easily filled. After buying postcard and envelope stamps, we were ready to go. 

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I stamped while my youngest sister addressed the postcards to my mom. I wrote up the note explaining how to participate, then stuffed and addressed the envelopes. We didn't tell our dad about it because he's not great at keeping secrets, but it's also hard to secretly get ahold of him as he rarely answers the phone and my mom compulsively checks caller ID. He's also the type of person who keeps his cell phone off until he needs to use it. The fact that people may be trying to reach him is of no concern to my dad. 

Only one person mailed her postcard early, but because it was only one, my mom didn't think anything of it. It wasn't until the second one arrived that she asked where people were finding this 70-stamped stationary. 

Our project cost just under $150, but could be done for less using materials already on hand or from a less expensive craft store. We're happy with the quality and outcome from the materials we used, which, while not cheap, is far less than throwing a party for all 70 friends and family, without any of the post-party clean up.

My mom loved the love bomb. She was touched by the notes, and one cousin even included some prime Giants tickets, making it the best birthday gift ever for my mom.  

*When googling the birthday surprise post, I found a similar adaptation in which the author asked for letters mailed to herself and she presented them to her dad on his birthday. It's another way to try this great idea. 

Deviled Egg Easter Chicks in a Rachael Ray Tray

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My mom didn't repeat her Thanksgiving craftiness that made her a momentary celebrity on Pinterest last year, but she did decide to go wild on Easter with these little deviled eggs made to look like chicks. They were a huge hit, and my mother must have proclaimed a million times, "It's a Rachael Ray!" 

My mom has one chef she follows and that is Rachael Ray. I assume she watches her show each day, and she definitely subscribes to her magazine, but it wasn't until I looked up the recipe, so I could link to it, that I realized my mom buys Rachael Ray products too. That part she kept mum about when people complimented her cute egg dish. It turns out the dish is Rachael Ray's Sittin' Pretty Egg Tray. She may be going overboard with the Rachael Ray fandom thing. If she starts saying "sammies" and "yum-o," we'll stage an intervention. 

The Deviled Easter Eggs were "so easy," according to my mom, who also has become a huge fan of gel manicures, which unfortunately for her, cannot be seen in this photo because she was eager to correct that weird nail photo used in the Thanksgiving post. Trust me, her nails were an even and normal length, with a pastel pink polish that will last her for weeks. "The last one lasted FOUR WEEKS!" I didn't see them at week four to know how they were holding up, but my guess is that was one week more than should have been allowed, unless her nails grow really slowly. 

She had a great Easter.

Rambling on with Down Feathers at My Back

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I've wanted to make some throw pillows since last Spring when our new family room furniture arrived, but the project was low on my list of things that needed to be done. Even though I wanted to create the pillows, every two months or so, I'd consider buying them from Pottery Barn, just to end the pillow war, but my gosh, throw pillows are over priced.

I broke down and bought a Christmas pillow at Target and when I went to pack it away before the end of the year, Kevin groaned. He rolled his eyes when I bought the pillow, but losing it was now sad. As if we were going to keep out a red pillow with a snowman year round. It was time to act. I'd bought two pillow inserts at Ikea a few months along, in a feeble attempt to push the project along, so with only hours left in the year, I made a simple, striped, quilted pillowcase.

Ka-POW 2011!

But it was only one pillow, which became fought over during the next two days, so with one insert left, the ironing board still out, and sewing machine uncovered, I made a second one. The second pillow was mostly an idea of bunting and some guess work, but I love it even more.

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My goal was to make the pillows in 2012, and since that's done, I can ride out the rest of the year.

That third pillow is still needed and maybe even a fourth for another spot, plus I do want to make a log cabin pillow, which means I'll be racing to beat the clock in a little under 12 months from now.

I made a point of having some quiet time to plan out some goals for 2012. Normally, I need shorter term goals, but I recently came across a list of goals for 2011 set during a planning meeting with Kevin. It was a meeting that felt like a delinquent student being ordered to see the school counselor to talk about the future, but still, we accomplished every goal, except one, which is being rolled into our remodel, and technically one other was missed, but I have no idea what it means, so maybe we did accomplish it.

With my accomplishment high, I made a new list. A list I've already managed to misplace (this is what I get for using paper from a tiny notepad nabbed from a hotel), but like last year, hopefully when I do find it, much of the stuff is ready to be crossed off. My word for the year is strive. Strive to do better, be better, and achieve my goals (the ones I can remember).

The gym yesterday so full there was only one treadmill open when I arrived. A lot of older people were there, which was a huge boost to my self-esteem because I was going much faster than them (yes, everything is a competition to me. We may be on a treadmill, but we are still racing), but one very little, very old man in a mint green polo shirt had me worried as he was going 1.2 mph while standing at a 45 degree angle. He was holding on the the handles for dear life, but I was so afraid he was going to fall on his face because his feet were so far behind him.

Here's where I was going: my trainer told me a man had a heart attack there the day before, when the gym was packed full of New Years resolution people trying to undue weeks, months, years of neglect in a few days. CPR was performed on the pulse-less man and he was saved, but it was a lesson in prolonged perseverance. Things or situations rarely do a 180 overnight, they are more likely to change over time through work. I've been preaching the benefits of hard work to my kids for some time. Neither buys it – sometimes I don't want to either – but I hope that by plugging away each day, striving to be better, that not only will good things happen, but my kids will learn the same. Because I'm tired of being the guidance counselor calling the eye rolling delinquents into my office for a planning meeting.