Make Your Business Uniquely Irresistible so You Can Make Money with Digital Products While You Sleep

Last night I was just about to set my phone down and close my eyes when suddenly it went “Cha-Ching” like an old cash-register, and I got so excited! My phone makes that sound each time an order is placed in my Etsy shop, so obviously it wasn’t time to sleep. It was time to get online and check out what was happening in my shop! To my startled surprise, I had just sold one of my digital products! Talk about timing! After all, today I want to talk to you about digital products and selling them while you sleep.

The Best Day Ever

Most of you already know my story, so you know that life is a blur right now. Nothing is easy, time doesn’t exist, and we are on one crazy roller-coaster ride trying to keep our heads above water. Originally, when I opened my business, I wanted to focus on custom wedding stationary and decor. Well, I’ve booked one wedding in one year, and it was my cousin. Outside of that amazing opportunity to create all her stationary, programs, welcome bags, guestbook, tablecloth, and signs, I’ve had a lot of interest in my enormous glitter banners and my Trophy Wife t-shirts. In addition to those products, I’ve started developing some new products that are slowly gaining in popularity: printable unplugged wedding signs, printable social media hashtag signs, and some printable wedding invitation suites.

Unplugged_Wedding_Frame2 Flower_Wreath_Invite_1_MU1 Customizable_SocialMedia_Frame2

So why the shift between custom wedding stationary and decor to printable stationary and decor? Well,because digital products are selling right now. Everyone wants what they want, when they want it. They want the instant gratification that comes with the ability to download a digital product as soon as they make the purchase. People want to go shopping in their pajamas and get the product before they head to bed. And moreover, people want to pay less for products that rock!

People want to go shopping in their pajamas and get the product before they head to bed.

Adding digital products to my business has already begun to make a difference in my business success. I’ve had bunches of people liking my shop and favoriting my printable products. It’s gotten more eyes on my small business. However, they aren’t selling! I know these products are great or people wouldn’t be taking the time to check them out, to favorite them, to like them on Facebook, or to heart them on Instagram, but what am I doing wrong? They just aren’t selling like I want them to, and they aren’t making me the money I need to to fill in the gaps between the full on custom wedding design that I do. I’d say I need to adjust my strategy!

So what do I do when I need to adjust my strategy?
I turn to some amazing entrepreneurs and their expertise, that’s what!

In this case, I’m turning to April Bowles-Olin, whom I just adore. Why you ask? For two reasons:

  1. April is successful at selling digital products (I’ve bought some of them!)
  2. April is going to be at CreativeLive teaching two classes in November! One is Create Digital Products that Sell While You Sleep and the other is Make Your Creative Business Uniquely Irresistible.

I could not be any more excited! This woman knows what she is talking about. I just know that with her help, I am about to take Pretty Much to all new heights. Get ready because great new things are coming soon. I’ve already RSVP’d, cleared my schedule, and set my reminders because when April teaches, you have to listen. When you have an opportunity to learn from April, you take it!

In April’s class I am hoping to learn several great things, but I really hope to learn about better copy-writing and better marketing for my products. I want to find out what would take my products from good to great. Where could I make some changes in order to get better results? April talks about digital products making it possible to target more markets, help us make more money without working longer hours and price our handmade products higher. I want to learn everything I can about all of this, so that digital products can help me on my way to success and freedom.

Are you ready to make your creative work more lucrative, stable, and sustainable in the long-term? Join April Bowles-Olin for an introduction to digital products and how they can enhance your creative business. This course will show you how to produce and position viable products for generating multiple revenue streams and passive income. RSVP right here to watch it live and get access to the workbook for FREE. This post is part of the Create Digital Products blog tour.


So, are you in? I sure hope so! I cannot wait for this class because I just know it’s going to be worth every second. If you are interested, you can check out April’s blog at Even better, you can follow along on our blog tour too!

Hope to see you in the course chat-room on November 10-12th!

What’s in a Business Name – Why Pretty Much Rocks

“When you find an idea that you just can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue.” —Josh James, Omniture CEO and co-founderLong before I opened my business, I knew I wanted to own a business in which I created beautiful things. I’m such a collector of skills and a lifelong learner that it was hard for me to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with my business. I enjoy making things, crafting, designing, photographing, and so much more. How on earth could I possibly narrow it down?

Whenever I would talk about it with my husband, I found myself telling him that I wanted to do Pretty Much everything. Then one day, it struck me – why not call my business Pretty Much? Then, I could do pretty much everything! So, about 3 years before I ever opened my business, I knew exactly what I wanted to call it. I liked the way I could play with the name. I could create Pretty this or Pretty that. When somebody asked me what I did, I could tell them Pretty Much everything. The more I said the name out loud, the more it felt right. Pretty Much always seems like an answer to a question, too! I find myself using the phrase all the time. Why wouldn’t I name my business Pretty Much?

As time continued by, I started to wonder if it would ever be THE TIME. You know, the right time to stop everything in my life and open a business. I started to get discouraged because life just kept on happening and more times than not, I found myself carried on in other directions. I was always too busy, too tired, too involved to worry about setting up a business. but then, in September 2013 something happened. The world stopped spinning around in crazy wild busy circles. I stopped, took a few breaths, and sat down on the couch to rest. This literally happened, and in a way it also figuratively happened.

In September 2013 my life changed in many ways. I got sick, went to the doctor, and got told to stop going to work. It was time to sit still, time to meditate, to think, and to dream. I couldn’t go to work, and I could barely do much of anything, but I could sit and dream. That’s exactly what I did. I dreamed about what I wanted to do. I pretty much just wanted to craft and create. I pretty much just wanted to stop working my life away at a job I hated. I pretty much just wanted to make pretty things, make people happy, and make my life more enjoyable. I decided to plan it all out. I had the time now, why not get started.

On January 1st, Pretty Much was officially born and open for business. Pretty Much became real, and I was pretty much ecstatic. 9 months later, my baby is still growing. It’s still morphing into the business that I want it to be. Each day I make conscience decisions to make the business better than it was the day before. Pretty Much is a work in progress as most small businesses pretty much always are, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

Three years before I opened my business I knew I wanted to do pretty much everything I could do. As I know that is not a very specific business identity, I narrowed that down. What makes me happy in life is celebrating. I am happiest when I am celebrating life, celebrating accomplishments, people, friendships, holidays, and most of all love. I decided that when it comes to celebrating, that’s where I wanted to focus my time and energy. So when those doors opened, Pretty Much was a business based on celebrating. I am focused on celebrating pretty much all of life’s wonderful moments and creating pretty much anything and everything to make it easier for people to celebrate those wonderful moments. Pretty Much rocks because it is a business all about celebrating, throwing confetti, happy dancing, and being lovely. It is pretty much the best business that I could possibly own!

Progress, Production, and Purpose (Getting Your email under control)


What happens when I bring up the topic of your inbox? You know, your EMAIL inbox? Yeah, that’s what I thought! You get a little freaked out, claustrophobic, and uncomfortable! I totally hear you.

But, Why does it have to be that way? I promise you that it doesn’t! I totally just said that out loud, and you should too. Ready? Let’s say this together:

“My inbox doesn’t have to freak me out, make me claustrophobic, or cause discomfort!” (You should tweet that!)

Together we can make progress, reduce your stress level, increase your production, and give your email box a purpose!

Okay, so now you want to know how that is even remotely possible. Well, take a deep breath we are going to get through this together. First though, I need you to do something for yourself. I need you to make a commitment to this process. I need you to set aside some serious time and commit to cleaning out your inbox….and…keeping it clean! You can do it! I know you can! I know it because I have done it!

Now before you start thinking that I probably didn’t have nearly the mess that you do in my email, I want to assure you that I had a crazy, wild, tangled up, serious mess! I’m talking about emails from 2014. Hello! 2004! I had folders that I haven’t touched in YEARS! oh, and don’t get me started on my duplicates! I had folders that were labeled “Important things to keep” & “Stuff worth keeping.” What the heck is the difference? I have no idea. All I know is that when I have to scroll endlessly to find a folder to put something in, I have WAY TOO MANY folders!

Alright, now that we are in agreement that I truly had a mess just like you probably do now, let’s move on to figuring out what to do about it.

Step One!

delete delete delete! I’m serious here folks. Start with the inbox itself. Remember how I asked you to set aside some time to do this? Yeah, well, you’re going to need that time right now. Begin at the top and just keep on going. If you have to take a break, then take a break, but DON”T FORGET TO COME BACK! Be honest with yourself. Are you really going to ever read this specific email? Does it actually have anything good in it? Is it a boring email that you signed up for and never even open because you are waiting for that day when you have time? Do you even know why you received the email to begin with?

As you go through each email, I want you to think about it. If you never open the emails to begin with, scroll to the bottom of the email, and click unsubscribe. I know it’s painful! But do it. It will feel so great when you are all done. Unsubscribe is your friend! Now delete the email. Believe me when I say that this will save you so much time and energy every single day. If it’s an email that you honestly know you are going to read, leave it alone or save a PDF copy of it in a desktop folder labeled “Things to Print.” We will come back to it when we start working through your folders. If you have glanced through it, and nothing sticks out as important, then go ahead and delete it. You’ll feel better. If you have looked at the email, and you know that you are going to use the info in it, you can either hold onto the email until we work through your folders or you can save a PDF copy of it to your desktop folder labeled “Things to Print.”

Continue going through your ENTIRE inbox until you have made a conscience choice for each individual email. Delete the ones you don’t need. Unsubscribe to the ones you never read, make PDFs out of the ones you need to print for reference, records, or other purposes, and only keep the ones that you absolutely must. These could include electronic receipts for items you have not yet received, correspondence with your wedding/event vendors, & anything that you might need to use later as proof of a conversation, permission, or consent.  (When I worked in corporate America, I would often forward email chains from my work email address to my personal email address because people were often pretty shady and I needed to cover my ass.)

I actually had emails in my inbox from my first husband while we were on-again/off-again & through our long and difficult divorce. Some were from one of my best friends/boyfriend, Ryan, who was killed when we were in Iraq together in 2007. I even had emails that I wrote to him after his death as a way to deal with the pain. I cried as I read some of them. It was literally a painful experience to go through all of that, but it was also pretty therapeutic.

Step Two!

First, congratulations for making it through step one. I know that was hard, but you did it! Good for you. Doesn’t that feel awesome!?! Let’s say this together:

“I cleaned out my email inbox, and I feel better already!” (You should tweet that too!)

okay, okay, step two… time to go through all the rest of your folders. this won’t be quite as difficult or painful as step one. The hard part is over. Now, I want you to do the exact same thing for all the rest of your folders. The catch here is that once you empty a folder completely, you are going to delete it. Yup, delete it! Just trust me, it’s for the best and for the greater good of your soul. If you can’t completely empty a folder, then, and only then, I give you permission to keep the folder. At least for now. Remember though, you are trying to make your life easier. You are going through these in order to reduce your stress level, increase your production, and give your email a purpose other than just collecting digital trash. Think of it as reducing your cyber footprint! I believe in you.

Step Three!

See? I told you the hardest part was over and that step two would be a lot easier. Good for you! You are almost done. How are you feeling? Do you feel like a superhero yet? Because you certainly should! Say it with me now:

I took control of my email because I am a superhero! (You know the drill, tweet about your progress – you deserve to brag!)

This step is even easier. I promise! Are you ready? Alright, now is that time for creating. At this point, you are no longer destroying the countless number of digital files like a destructive giant crushing your inbox. It’s time to create something you can be proud of. I am giving you permission to create some folders. You may also re-name any of the ones you kept during step two. You can even combine folders when it makes sense to do so. Here is a list of the folders that I have in my personal email:

  • School – for emails related to school that I have not yet been able to turn into PDFs or print and file.
  • Digital Receipts – for receipts that I either need to print and file or receipts for products that I have not yet received in the mail.
  • Disney 2014 – yes I have a folder for saving everything about our upcoming trip to Disney World so it is all in one place and can be accessed from anywhere in case I loose any of the information and as proof of payments and purchases.
  • Life is Messy Bootcamp – Mayi Carles has an amazing e-course, but after my surgery I got way behind in the course. I have all the emails in one folder so that I can catch up with all of her awesome activities and drills as I have time. The emails contain links that I need.
  • PDF – If I know that I need to turn an email into a PDF and print it, but I don’t have time right that second, I put it here. Having an empty inbox feel so much better than having a bunch of To-Do tasks staring back at me.

So, now that you know what I have going on, you can decide for yourself what the best way to handle your folders will be. Although you don’t have to have only a couple folders, I don’t recommend having too many. When you have too many, that’s when you tend to make even more because you can’t find the one you thought you had. For example, I had a folder labeled “From Me” and another one labeled “Emails to Myself” and both contained emails from my corporate America work email accounts that I sent to my personal account in order to save my ass in case of emergency situations that came about because of shady coworkers, shady bosses, and shady business practices. I probably didn’t need two folders for that same purpose, but since I had about 50 folders, sometimes it just became easier to make even more folders and even more email clutter. Don’t let yourself fall into that trap!

Step Four!

Once again, you did it! Hooray for you! I hope you are currently standing with your hands on your hips in front of a fan so that your superhero cape can blow in the breeze. I bet you look like a bad ass, because that’s exactly what you are! You are awesome!

That step wasn’t too bad. In fact, it was kind of like a half-step. I don’t have any cool ideas for a tweet about that one, but if you come up with one leave me a comment and I’ll add it in. You should really think of one anyways so that you can tweet about your awesome progress. Yu totally deserve all of these bragging rights because man are you working hard! I’m proud of you!

Step four could be the easiest step of all, but it could also be the hardest. Step four is all about maintenance. You just did all of this hard work. I would hate for all of that time you spent to go to waste. It’s time to keep your inbox clean. Don’t worry. I know you can do it. Each day, take 5 minutes to go through your inbox. Delete and unsubscribe to any emails that you don’t read. Remember, Unsubscribe is your friend! Print any emails that you need to keep for reference or file into your records. If you have a folder called receipts like I do, make sure that you go through it about once a week or once every-other week to clean it out once you receive your products and are happy with them. If you think you might need that proof of purchase later, print it out or create a PDF. If you have a folder labeled Disney 2014, (that would be pretty awesome) delete it when you get home from your Walt Disney World trip. And, at least once a week, empty your trash can.

You did it! I told you that you could do it! Doesn’t it feel good to make progress, reduce your stress level, increase your production, and give your email box a purpose?Let’s say it together:

“Today I made Progress, reduced my stress, increased production, & gave my inbox a purpose!”(You should tweet this last one for sure!)

Go Fly a Kite

Do you have any more tips for cleaning out your inbox? If you do, you should leave me a comment. Tell me how this has changed your life. I love to hear from my readers. Don’t forget to share this post with your friends on Facebook, twitter, or any other social network.


From Entry-Level to CEO in a Day

Yesterday I woke up expecting to return to my “day job” for the first time since September. I’ve been recovering from a pretty crazy surgery in which the doctor repaired a hole that had formed in my inner ear. It’s been a roller-coaster ride – almost literally. Half the time I feel as though I’m on a roller-coaster while I simply sit on the couch in my living room. Let’s rewind…

My “day job” or the job that I have in order to afford the mortgage payment is a pretty interesting one. If I were to break down my job description into one sentence, I train soldiers to maintain and repair unmanned aircraft (drones if you are into Call of Duty). I used to fly them myself, but now I just do the dirty work! As most people in my field attain their training from the military, my position is considered Entry Level despite over 6 years in the field, nearly 3,000 flight hours, Instructor certification for flight and maintenance, etc, etc. I was the low man on the totem pole.

How does a high school cheerleading captain, color-guard captain, pep club member, founder of the Spirit squad, student counsel treasurer, honor-roll student, art club member end up training soldiers to fly drones in Iraq and Afghanistan? Yeah, I have no idea! I often wonder that myself. I especially wonder how all that happened while I simultaneously studied/ taught photography, studied Interior Design, studied Graphic design, and visual communications. Somehow despite my right-brained creative self, I managed to also be a complete science/math nerd and get ahead in a male-dominated world.

All this time I have been sitting at home recovering from the craziness of my inner ear problems, I’ve been contemplating this all more and more. I’ve been thinking about the things that truly make me happy and the things that I really love to do. I started to spend my free time creating decorations for weddings, designing logos for small businesses, and trying to figure out how I could possibly do this type of thing all the time.

Fast-forward to last week, when I finally got the okay to start working from home at my “day job” again. I was finally in the later stages of recovery where I would be able to sit in front of a computer and re-establish all of my certifications through reading technical manual after technical manual. As much as that sounded like pure torture compared to making pretty things every day, I knew it was going to pay the bills and I was prepared to jump right back into that life again, but then the phone rang.

In a matter of minutes I went from that entry-level position studying manuals and technical language, to being unemployed. They no longer needed me. I wanted to cry…and then I realized the reason that I wanted to cry wasn’t because I had lost my day job, but it was because I was finally free from my day job. I was finally free to pursue my dreams of owning a business; free to work from home, to create pretty things, and to love what I do for a living! In that moment I realized that I wasn’t an unemployed mechanic. I was the CEO of an incredible Design business called Pretty Much, and my dreams were coming true!


Self Love 2014: Being a Vegan, Setting Goals, and Loving Myself

So, here is a crazy wild fact about me: I’m a RAW VEGAN! Yikes! Don’t stop reading yet. Just hear me out. I promise that I am not trying to push this lifestyle choice on you. Many people have heard of the American documentary film, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead that follows the journey of Joe Cross, an Australian, across America for 60 days while he follows a juice fast. I can relate to that man! I was a 246 pound 5’ 8.5” female. I’d gone to nutritionists, tried prescription weight-loss medications, tried exercising, counted calories, and still just could not get my weight under control. It kept climbing, my back, knees, and feet killed me. My feet themselves were so swollen that they looked like softballs wearing shoes! I had every symptom of low thyroid on the planet except that my thyroid levels were borderline normal so insurance would not cover the $400 medication. I was on several medications to treat depression, anxiety, back pain, sleeping problems, and I was getting close to needing a medication for high blood pressure. I was a wreck! Oh, and one more little detail – I was in the hospital! Besides my health, my relationship was suffering. Yup, I’ll say it – I hated having sex or being intimate in any way! I felt ugly, fat, and embarrassed constantly. It was bad, and I knew that I had to figure out something.

Sick, Fat, and Nearly Dead

On March 2, 2012 I decided the time was now. I woke up and made some juice for breakfast…and a snack, and lunch, and a snack, and dinner. The next day, I woke up and did it all over again. I did this for 4 days. I lost 10 pounds, and my eyes looked so white and so bright. I had a ton of energy! After 4 days, I woke up and drink nothing but water all day. I did this for 3 days. My energy was through the roof and I had lost another 5 pounds for a grand total of 15 pounds that first week. Slowly I eased back into eating, but it wasn’t the same kind of eating that I was used to. Instead, I ate as a RAW VEGAN! These are the sorts of things I ate:

Dried Pineapple

Hummis stuffed peppers and strawberries

What is a raw vegan? Simple! A raw vegan eats nothing but fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and sprouts. The catch is that you don’t cook anything by conventional methods. You heard me right – everything I ate was raw! Now, when I tell you that I don’t cook anything by conventional methods, I mean that I don’t use my oven because it heats food to a temperature that begins to destroy the nutrients within the food. Occasionally I use my dehydrator to “cook” food though. Providing I don’t heat my food above 105 (there are a few different conventions on this temperature ranging from 105 to 118,) all those nutrients stay in tact and provide me with all kinds of good stuff to keep my body healthy and full of energy. So that’s the gist of it. Trust me though, there is so much more, and I DO NOT advise anyone to try this type of extreme lifestyle without doing the research. I will provide you with links to some of my favorite sources at the end of this post.

So, back to my story. I was loosing weight. I was feeling great. Life was awesome, and I was even able to start going to the gym where I entered & won a contest for loosing the most inches during one month. I was on top of the world. Of course life throws a wrench at you whenever you feel like you are on top of the world, and drags you back down the mountain kicking and screaming. On July 14, 2012, I left for Afghanistan. I had 2 ½ weeks to prepare for this trip, and I was not thrilled. My biggest concern was my new lifestyle. I had lost 50 pounds and I was feeling amazing. The last thing I wanted to do was deploy to a war-stricken place where the food offered was anything but raw. Without much choice I did it though.

For the next year I attempted to do what I could to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I learned to eat bell peppers because that was one of the few fresh vegetables that I could count on. I learned to avoid most of the fruit available because it was either not ripe or so ripe that it had mold beginning to grow on it. I drank 8 bottles of water everyday. I ordered as much RAW food powders, canned black beans, and canned peaches & pears as I could from Amazon, but by the end of my time there, I was eating eggs, bread, rice and other processed food because it was about all I could count on. My weight was up and down the whole time between 170 and 200. (The first time I hit 180 was a huge celebration for me!) I just could not find a balance. It was so frustrating to me that the Army would rather give their soldiers 5 different kinds of pie to choose from and 3 different kinds of ice cream to choose from along with the fried EVERYTHING than give them healthy options that would boost their energy and keep them fit for battle. What a horrible mess!

Before and After loosing 66 pounds!

Moving on to July 3, 2013: I came home, and this time it was for good (I had been home in February for a month and a half.) At that point, I was mostly eating as a raw vegan again, but something in my brain had clicked during that year away and I found it to be nearly impossible to eat 100% fully raw. My weight remained at about 185, and I still felt pretty good. I wanted that willpower back though. This was one of the hardest times for me though when it came to being stressed out. I had less than two months to plan my wedding. Yup! I was engaged in May of 2012 and had out down the deposit on all of our wedding vendors before I found out I was deploying. To top it off, I was doing everything by hand! I had less than two months to letterpress our invitations suite, make a flower girl dress, make programs, make welcome bags, make this, make that…basically do it all. My fiancé was in Afghanistan [from May 2012-November 2013 with a month home for the wedding], so he was no help, and my family all lived on the other side of the country so they couldn’t exactly help very much either until they flew out the week before the wedding. Luckily I had a neighbor friend that was able to help me a few times!

wedding pictures

Needless to say, a raw vegan lifestyle was not a top priority for me at that time. After the wedding, came the honeymoon. Our honeymoon was so magical and it took place in Walt Disney World! How could I possibly go to Walt Disney World on my Honeymoon and not eat whatever I wanted to eat? Despite walking around everyday all day long, I still managed to gain 20 pounds on my honeymoon! You heard that right! 20 pounds! That’s just insane. The sad part is that once we returned, I still could not find the willpower I needed to return to a raw vegan lifestyle, and the weight stayed put. Finally in November my husband came home from Afghanistan for good. I was pretty excited to have him home and thought that maybe having him around would give me the encouragement I needed to get back on track, but of course it did not. Instead, the holidays came and went while I gained another 10 pounds! I couldn’t say no to chocolate covered strawberries-you can find the best ones at Shari’s Berries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

That brings me to the here and now. It is the end of January, I’ve been diagnosed with a cardiac condition called Posteral Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), I weight 210 pounds, and I just can’t get that weight off. I am so ready to get back on track though, so I’m starting over.  Next week I am going to begin again. This time I really have to be careful about juice fasting. It is supposedly not a wise thing to undergo with a diagnosis of POTS or while taking a Beta-blocker, so I won’t be able to juice fast, but I will incorporate juicing into my daily regiment. I’m going to make this happen!

Not only am I going to return to a highly raw vegan lifestyle, but I am also going to incorporate some other Self Love habits into my life. I feel that some of the best ways to incorporate Self Love into our days is to take care of our bodies and our minds. This includes all of our organs (skin included) and all the aspects of our minds from our thinking brains, to our spiritual wellbeing and even our relationships with others. Here is my Morning Self-Love routine:

**When I wake up in the mornings I have a Self Love routine. The routine gets me on track for a positive day. I begin by oil pulling. Oil pulling is a practice of slowly swishing your mouth with oil for 10-20 minutes on an empty stomach at least once a day. There is quite a bit of scientific controversy surrounding it, but I find it helpful. I’ve personally noticed an increase in the level of oral health. If nothing else, my teeth are whiter and feel way smoother. Supposedly it also helps to pull toxins from your body.

**Next, I drink lemon water. Lemon water can be very alkalizing. It is important for our bodies to be in an alkalized state of PH balance in order for them to be healthier and fight disease. By drinking lemon water, I not only get the benefit of starting my day out in an alkalizing way, but I also get to check off two boxes on my water log (see my Etsy shop for planners and goal workbooks). My goal is to drink half my body weight in ounces of water per day. By keeping a water log I can easily keep track of how much I have drank and how much more I still need to drink.

**Next, I go for a walk. My husband and the dogs go with, so this ends up working on personal relationships by spending some quiet time with my family. We walk for about a half hour – sometimes more and sometimes less. Even when I really don’t want to do this, I always feel better after some fresh air and some time with my man.

**After our walk, something I will begin implementing next week is exercise. Due to my diagnosis of POTS I have found it very difficult to exercise regularly. I often get sick, dizzy, and nauseous. As with any new exercise program, it is important to start off slow, so that is exactly what I will be doing. Starting slow is better than not starting at all!

**The last step of my morning routine will be my consumption routine. This is the part where I consume some yummy fresh juice, some delicious fruit such as a couple bananas or oranges, and my daily vitamins. Again, there is controversy amongst the raw vegan community as to whether you should or should not add vitamins to your daily regiment. As for me, I have found that it is best for me to take them. I take a raw brand that I love called Garden of Life. Many of the vitamins are vegan, but some of them only hold up to vegetarian standards. I’m ok with that. Do what works for you! It might not be traditional to take them, but I think everyone should do what works best for them. Isn’t that what health is all about? I take their Vitamin E, B-Complex, Vitamin D3, and Zinc. Within these vitamins, I also get my Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Selenium, Folate, Biotin, and Probiotic & Enzyme blends. Again, this is what I do, but it may not be what is right for you. I suggest consulting with a doctor or a specialist to determine what works for you.

My favorite tennis shoes for walking and running

How is all that for self-love? I am telling you that this year is the year for self-love. I’ve been striving for it in all areas of my life. I am taking better care of my health, I am starting to MOVE my butt, I am cutting out things that don’t make me happy –there will be lots more on this subject as soon as telling you will not get me into trouble, I am learning new things, I’m starting things that bring me happiness and contentment such as my new business, Pretty Much, & lastly I am working on my relationships. This is going to be a fantastic year! I am so excited!

The Best Day Ever

I opened my business, Pretty Much, to decorate weddings and events. I want to be the reason that other people are happy!

2014 Monthly Calendar

You can find help with planning out your goals at my Etsy Shop. This shows a page from the 2014 Monthly calendar

Goal Planning Workbook on Etsy

You can get your year-long goal planning workbook at my Etsy Shop too! It will give you all the tools you need to set some self-love goals for yourself

So, about those links that I promised:

You can check out my Raw Vegan Pinterest board which also has recipes for non-vegan and non-raw foods

Links to general healthy lifestyle websites:

Mind Body Green

Live Strong

New Nostalgia

Links to Vegetarian websites:

Vegetarian times

Links to Vegan Websites:

Vegan Cuts

Oh, She Glows

Kris Carr

Links to RAW Vegan websites:

This Rawsome Vegan Life

Choosing Raw

Fully Raw

Raw Kristina’s YouTube page

I really hope that some of this information inspires you, makes you think, or at a minimum helps you to get to know me a little bit better! If you have questions, please email me! Hello (at) PrettyMuchonline (dot) com.

What kinds of things are you implementing into your life this year to show yourself some Self-Love in 2014? Leave me a comment!

I would also like to disclose that I am not a doctor and I am in no way trained in the medical field. This post contains information about what I feel works in my life. Please consult with your doctor before beginning any type of new lifestyle or diet.

One Little Word for 2014: MOVE

Let him that would move the world, first move himself. -Socrates

I told you about my tendency to lay claim to multiple words each year for my One Little Word (OLW) project in this blog post. I also told you about how I was suddenly hit with the notion that I only needed one word for my OLW project this year. This year my OLW is MOVE! So why move? Oh, I am so excited that you asked because that’s exactly what I wanted to talk about in today’s blog post!

First things come first so I better start with the “official” definition of MOVE. According to the big bad search engine, Google, there are quite a few explanations of the word. I’ll only share with you the definitions that really apply to my goals of movement this year. Here you go:

-go in a specified direction or manner; change position.
-change the place or position of.
-change one’s place of residence or work.
-change or cause to change from one state, opinion, sphere, or activity to another.
-influence or prompt (someone) to do something.
-take action.
-make progress; develop in a particular manner or direction.
-(with reference to merchandise) sell or be sold.
-an action that initiates or advances a process or plan.
-a player’s turn to make a change of position.

Alright, so now you are wondering how these definitions of the word Move will apply to my life. Oh wow! Move will apply to my life in so many fantastic ways. This year will be full of changes and movements.

First, I will be moving my butt and getting back in shape. In order to do this, I will be returning to a diet (read: lifestyle, not fad) that works for me. It gives me energy, keeps me feeling positive, and even makes me feel centered and balanced in this crazy world. With that energy I will hopefully be able to physically move my body. I am working on walking every day – I would love to do two walks, but we have to start slow. I also want to start doing more strength training.

A second way in which I will be moving deals with changing my career position. I have opened my own business, Pretty Much, and I want to grow it and grow it like a beautiful garden that blossoms with flowers and gives life to amazing healthy foods that nourish me. This business of mine will nourish my soul and my mind by giving me a way to use my creative energies each day, making others’ dreams come true, and giving me a positive way to support my family. There will be a lot more on this subject later this year. Promise! You can help me with this by helping me “move some product” over at my Etsy shop!

Thirdly, I will be moving my mind. I have been going to school for so long. Every time I physically move locations across the United States, I loose credits in my schooling. It can be so frustrating! This year, I am back at it though with an online school that can travel with me. It will be my second full semester at the Academy of Art University. I’m looking forward to the ways my mind will stretch and the things I will fill my brain with. I absolutely love to learn!

In all of this, the basic plan is to move forward in my life, to make good choices, to be happier, healthier, and more content with what I am doing. I am choosing to make mindful choices and always keep the idea of progress in the forefront of my mind. It’s my turn to move my chess piece. It’s my turn to become something better. It’s my turn to influence myself and start moving in the direction I want to end up in.

What is your One Little Word (OLW) this year? Leave me a comment!


New Year’s Resolutions Are For Bullies

Each January, the majority of the country sets up some sort of New Year’s Resolution to strive for throughout the upcoming year. The tradition strikes me as strange seeing that a good amount of these resulotions end up being forgotten by mid-February. If they aren’t forgotten, then they become a burden hounting their creator from some small spot in the back of their brain. Every year it’s the same thing: devise the greatest resolution, swear that this year will be different, begin to fail a few weeks later, tell ourselves continuously that next week we really are going to make it happen, and then come to the end of the year disappointed in our lack of resolve. But why do we do that to ourselves? Do we honestly believe that we are such terribly awful people that the only way to feel better about ourselves is to make a completely drastic change in hopes of becoming a completely awesome person? Probably not! I think it’s more along the lines of a tradition set forth by generations that came before us and intended as a mockery, but through the years, the joke has been placed on us as they stare down from the heavens and laugh at the fact that despite our history of “failing,” we continue to beat ourselves up over such a silly thing as a resolution year after year!
Although I don’t typically participate in the tradition of beating myself up over my inability to become a perfect person every year, I do recognize that January is a new beginning and, with that, it is an opportunity for positive change. This kind of change isn’t the kind where I give up cookies for the whole year (honestly, who could ever do that?) but cave in on Valentine’s day by eating 30 to make up for lost time. No! This kind of change is the kind in which I continue to move in some direction – any direction – knowing that as long as I maintain even the smallest, nearly unseen, amount of movement, it is movement none-the-less, and that counts as positive progress. Instead of the foreboding resolution, I have opted for setting goals, choosing more self-love, committing to a positive attitude, and keeping one little word in the back of my brain as a reminder of what hopes, dreams, and expectations I have for myself throughout the next 365 days.
One Little Word? You may have heard of this growing trend. Initially it was begun by Ali Edwards, but it has blown up huge! The basic concept is that you choose One Little Word to be your guiding light through the next year. It becomes something you strive for or you contemplate or reflect on. Really, it becomes anything you want it to.  There are so many possibilities! Crazy, I know! In past years I have had a very hard time picking one word, and of course that it the case this year. I have even had years that I choose multiple words simply because I love the way they sound and the beauty of their definitions. I was completely prepared to do that this year…until I wrote the second paragraph of this post. It was then that I realize that more than anything I needed for my word to be MOVE. This word sums up all the ideas I had about the other words I was contemplating. It works perfectly for me and will certainly be a constant reminder of everything I hope this year will become!
With the decision to use MOVE as my one little word having been suddenly and abruptly made just moments ago, I am now having to modify my entire plan for this post. I had intended to discuss the different words I would be using this year, as well as their significance. Well, so much for that idea! Instead I can tell you about a few vague goals I have set while I reserve the right to discuss them in detail at a later time, in a future post as originally planned. Ok, here goes:
*Grow Pretty Much
*Nurture my Marriage
*Love Myself
*Study Well
What do you think? Are those vague enough for you? Don’t worry though, I promise to go more in depth very soon! In the meantime, do you have any goals for the New Year? What is your One Little Word? How do you intend to bring something positive into your life in 2014? Leave me a comment!