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Friday, December 30

Hi, friends.

Do you remember me? I'm sorry. I didn't mean to disappear for the month of December. Life happened.

Let's start with the fact that it's Open Enrollment...life always gets dicey as we approach that first big deadline at work.

This year, I was slammed with new business, which is good but mentally it just drains me. I haven't worked up all the numbers yet, but I think I wrote close to $750,000 in annual premiums the first two weeks of December.


Free time for the first part of the month was spent helping with our neighborhood association's holiday parade float. It's a lot of fun to ride in the parade, but we had freezing temperatures this year.


Then I agreed to do a holiday trunk show. If I had any idea how busy work would be, I probably wouldn't have committed, but I had a lot of fun. It felt like every extra minute of December has been spent crocheting.



I said that I wasn't going to make them, but I wound up jumping on the messy bun hat trend, and I'm amazed at how quickly they've been selling, but who's going to complain about a little extra money or the opportunity to get the Chasing Blue Jays name out there?



Unfortunately last week, I caught the crud, and it took me down for a week. Being sick over Christmas is no fun, but it has allowed me to binge watch Gilmore Girls and work on Christmas crochet. These women love Chinese food and coffee. How did I not watch this show when it aired originally?

A few other random tidbits:
  • My friend colored my hair so I  now have mermaid hair but no pictures to share
  • Another friend is moving into the apartment upstairs from my office this week
  • There are currently 18 zillion sweet holiday treats at my house that need to be gone before the new year
  • The Mister and I both received a lot of Duluth Trading Company clothing for Christmas. You just can't beat their flannels shirts this time of year.

I fully intend to take this weekend to relax and design some new systems for 2017; I will be back to regular blogging starting Monday.

What are your New Year's weekend plans?



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Friday, December 2

Good morning, lovelies!

It's time for the Friday Confessional party. Confession is good for the soul, so stop by to share all your dirty, little secrets. You'll feel better when you're finished, and we promise not to judge.


I confess...

I do not know how we're in the month of December already. I really need a remote control to pause time for about three business days because I feel that behind. I always get busy in November and December at work, but this year is ridiculous.

What's crazy is that I found myself closing out not just November but also October yesterday because I never had time to reconcile October last month. I also discovered I didn't find time to actually write myself a paycheck nearly all month long.

It's good to be busy when you work for yourself, but I think I need a day off.

I confess...

That being this busy also means that my  household suffers. Upon balancing the checkbook, I found that I went grocery shopping all of once last month....no wonder I said in my Financial Peace update that we blew our restaurant budget.

And the laundry mountain has become intimidating. It would be nice to have a butler or Rosie from the Jetsons. In the meantime, I will attempt to get caught up this weekend and at least make sure that we have food to eat.

I confess...

It seems too early to be attending Christmas parties yet. Wasn't Thanksgiving just last week? Our first party of the season is Sunday evening.

I confess...

I'm really bummed that there isn't money or time in the schedule to fly out west and see my family for Christmas. I know that living across the country from my parents means we won't see each other every year for the holidays, but I'm still a little bummed that I don't have the option to see them.


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Wednesday, November 30

Hello, friends!

Welcome to the Monthly Coffee, a little linky party hosted by me and Miss Angie from My So-Called Chaos. This party is all about sharing those fabulous blogs that you've read this month.


Let's grow our blogger community by sharing the best posts you've come across. You'll find new blogs to read, and we'll all make new friends.

So pour yourself a steamy beverage, grab the button and share your favorite reads this month. That said, here were my favorite reads lately:

Reese's Miniature Snowman Candy Jars

If you're looking for a really fun presentation to for holiday candy gifts, you should check out this fun snowman candy jar tutorial from Bakerella. And if anyone is wondering Reese's miniature cups are my favorite.

Ten Things to Do for Yourself Everyday

As life gets busier and busier over the holiday season, it's easy to let taking care of yourself slide into the background. Be sure to keep this list of 10 things to do for yourself everyday from McKenzie Allyshia handy to make self-care a priority and avoid burning yourself out. Because who wants to be sick over the holidays?


Christmas Gift Guide - Pug Edition

This time of year, we're all creating holiday gift guides for our blogs, but this pug style gift guide from Lily Loves Lola is one of the cutest that I've run across. I particularly like the tea towels and the ear buds.

10 Smart Snacking Tips for the Holidays

Carrying on with the holiday theme, we're all about to be surrounded with rich and sugary food choices at parties and dinners. I love holiday treats as much as the next gal, but if you're trying to make some smart choices through the season, check out these 10 smart snacking tips from Fit Bottomed Girls.


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Monday, November 28

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I may be paid a small commission from sales via these links. Thank you for your support of my blog.



If you are new around these parts, the Mister and I took the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course through our church last year. We have a goal to pay off half of our consumer debt this year. You can catch up on our journey by checking out our previous recaps:

November Budget

I have to admit that we didn't do such a good job with staying on track with our November budget. It's not much of an excuse, but being crazy busy at work isn't good for tracking our expenses. I'm embarrassed to admit that our checkbook hasn't been balanced in three weeks, and we haven't tracked our expenses this month either.

I also didn't have time to meal plan or grocery shop much, which means that we ate out way more frequently than we should have given that we're trying to get out of debt.

I will say that I wasn't tempted with Black Friday or Cyber Monday much at all, which is what I would have expected to bust the budget. I did do a little online shopping, but I used gift cards that I had on hand. I also made sure to start with Ebates so I'd see some cash back on my purchases.



November Victories & Blessings

We had a major challenge this month because the Mister was in a car accident, which totalled his car. Thank goodness he was not hurt, but we were faced with the challenge of getting him a replacement vehicle on a pretty lean budget.

Because of the all the cars in the Carolinas that were damaged between the flood last year and Hurricane Matthew last month, finding a decent used car for less than $10,000 is difficult in this area. Fortunately, we have located a Subaru Outback within our budget.

We won't pick the car up until tomorrow or Wednesday. It will need some repairs, but it looks like we'll about $600 after everything is said and done to go toward our debt snowball or holiday budget.

I also had a pretty big custom order from my Etsy shop for holiday gifts, which was a pleasant surprise. Most of that will go back into the shop since I have a lot of holiday crochet work to do and I found out that I need a sales tax license in South Carolina, but it's still nice to see the business making sales.


If you want to take control of your finances, I'd suggest reading The Total Money Makeover. Or go online to daveramsey.com to find a Financial Peace University course starting near you.


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Friday, November 25

Good morning, lovelies!

It's time for the Friday Confessional party. Confession is good for the soul, so stop by to share all your dirty, little secrets. You'll feel better when you're finished, and we promise not to judge.


I confess...

I've been having one of those weeks where there's so much life going on that I can barely find a moment for the blog.

I confess...

We can start with the fact that work is crazy busy, which is the case every year for me in November because of insurance enrollment periods.

However, we're also dealing with car stuff because the Mister was in an accident last week when another driver ran a stop sign and hit him. His car is a total loss, and Thanksgiving week is a bad week to be negotiating with an insurance company because the holiday is delaying the process.

I'm honestly just glad that no one was hurt. The situation had the potential to be way worse than it is.

I confess...

Our Thanksgiving weekend has been really enjoyable so far. We volunteer at our neighborhood's Christmas tree fundraiser. So far, we've had good weather and lots of fun cutting up with the neighbors, and the trees are huge.



I confess...

I don't know how time went by so quickly, but today is exactly one month way from Christmas. I have some serious crocheting to do.

I have a few custom orders to work to finish for Chasing Blue Jays, and then I need to make more inventory for a holiday trunk show the week before Christmas. And there will be gifts for my own friends and family to make.

Yikes, where did the time go?!


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Tuesday, November 15

I had never heard of a someday list before listening to Darren's ProBlogger podcast this week, but once I understood the concept, I realized mine is quite long. Someday list is a collection of tasks that you know you need to do but put off until "someday."

For Darren, it was starting the podcast. He wanted to start one and knew it would grow his business but put it off for years because the task seemed a little too big and a little too scary.

Don't let another important task get put off until someday. Let's get that someday list in writing and identify the steps to make it happen.

If you get my weekly newsletter, then you know that I'm working on writing my list out so that I can start getting those tasks done. In fact, sending regular newsletter updates is at the top of the list. Here's is what I've identified so far:

Blogging

Promote and grow High-Heeled Love newsletter
Update my blog  media kit
Transition the blog to Wordpress
Start using Facebook Live or Youtube Live
Create a content calendar for both blogs
Reviewing and updating blog posts for SEO


Business

Start a monthly client newsletter
Go through files and update profiles
Identify cross-sale opportunities
Start sending birthday and holiday cards
Develop referral asking and tracking system

Personal

Have a weekly 2-hour planning session
Establish daily yoga practice
Start journalling habit
Read Bible daily
Eliminate remaining debt

As you can see some of my someday list items are big goals that will have to be broken down into baby steps. Some are better habits and best practices that I've either never established or need to re-establish.

What I do know is that 2017 is the year to get this stuff done so that life and business can be more successful that ever before.



What's on your Someday List? Pop over to the High-Heeled Love Facebook page and share with me. Let's not let someday stand in the way of today's progress.





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Friday, November 11

Good morning, lovelies!

It's time for the Friday Confessional party. Confession is good for the soul, so stop by to share all your dirty, little secrets. You'll feel better when you're finished, and we promise not to judge.


I confess...

I rarely discuss politics on my blog, but this has been weighing on my heart since Tuesday evening.

I am so glad that the election is over. It's been really disappointing to me to see how some people have handled themselves in reaction to the election.

I was saddened to be at a watch party the other day and hear a friend call an entire group of people a "bunch of idiots" when a state was called. It made me more sad that the friend who said this to me had no idea that I had voted for that candidate this group had supported.

In my opinion, both primary party candidates were inflammatory; frankly, I didn't think either of the nominees deserved the job. I had to chose a  based on the issues that were most important to me at this time in my life.

I have unfriended or unfollowed a number of people this week, not because of who they supported or voted for. Rather I can't believe that they would choose to be intolerant, call names and be outright ugly to those who may have supported a different candidate. We can choose to let differences tear us apart, or we can choose to use them as tools to build a stronger nation.



I confess...

It makes me more upset to hear people complaining about the election results and in the next sentence say that they decided not to vote. I don't care if they live in an area where they feel that the vote wouldn't count.

It is my viewpoint that voting is a privilege that can be taken away from us; we must participate or our choices can be taken away from us. And if you don't like the choices in the general election, you must vote in the primaries. Seriously!

Okay. Enough politics.

I confess...

This week has also been a week of getting our neighborhood Christmas tree fundraiser running. The year is moving too quickly; I'd like to hit pause so I can get more prep work done.

I confess...

I also need to get to hooking as I have 4 more custom orders for Chasing Blue Jays to complete this month. And there's a special birthday next week that I'd like to make something for.

This baby scarf with detachable accessory pieces turned out pretty, didn't it?


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Wednesday, November 9

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Through no extra cost to you, I may be paid a small commission from your purchases; thank you for your support of my blog.


Hello, fellow winos!

Welcome to Wino Wednesday! This is a monthly linky party where we discuss any and all things wine-related. If you want to join in the fun, all you have to do is pour yourself a glass and share your love of wine with us.

I have been bit by the holiday decorating bug. Since my husband won't actually let me put up any Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving, I've been drooling over decor online.

I just can't wait until the season and the parties, and part of the holiday parties means wine. (Who am I kidding, any occasion means wine.) And wine means fun, decorative wine glasses and accessories. These are my favorite handmade finds on Etsy:

Hand Painted Cardinal Wine Glasses by Mary Elizabeth Arts

Hand Painted Christmas Tree Wine Glass by Connie's Creations

Hand Painted Let's Get Lit Wine Glass by Sassy Mouth Creations

Get Blitzened Wine Glass by Hands Full | Full Heart

He Sees You When You're Drinking wine glass by Shaw Shenanigans


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Friday, November 4

Good morning, lovelies!

It's time for the Friday Confessional party. Confession is good for the soul, so stop by to share all your dirty, little secrets. You'll feel better when you're finished, and we promise not to judge.


I confess...

My busy season at work has definitely started. I have seen more clients each day for the last three days than I'd normally see all week long. It's good to be busy when you're self-employed, but I am looking forward to the weekend.

I confess...

We're supposed to have a yard sale at our house next weekend, and the Mister and I haven't even started pulling things out to sell. We have one small pile in the office, but seriously. I need to get in the attic and both shed and get the clutter out of my house.

I confess...

All I really want to do this weekend is stay inside and create holiday crafts. Yes, I know that we have Thanksgiving first, but I really love Christmas crafting.



I confess...

I learned this week that my city requires a business license to have an Etsy shop and I probably need a sales tax permit as well. I probably should have known this before I opened the shop, but it just didn't click.

Good thing I have several custom orders in the works to recoup these costs. If you want to see what's for sale in the shop, head over to Chasing Blue Jays.



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Tuesday, November 1

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I may be compensated from sales made via these links; thanks for your support of my blog.

Wow, friends. October has come and gone, and now here we are at the start of November. If you've been hanging around here for a while, you probably know that October was a big month for me as far as my big goals for the year.


October Progress

I set two goals last month:
  • Pass my black belt exam
  • Pass my massage exam

I am happy to report that both goals were accomplished last month. It is so exciting to have these exams successfully passed. I've been able to relax a little and get back to enjoying my martial arts training without all the exam prep pressure hanging over me.

Now, I've been looking to my big enrollments at work. From now to the end of the year, my work life will be extremely busy since two big enrollment period overlap for me this month. Work will continue to be extremely busy until at least the end of the year.

November Goals

I'm a little hesitant to set big goals when I don't know how much energy, mental or physical, I'll have when I get home from work. Really, I just want to focus on self-care so that I don't wind up sick the week of the first big deadline, which is what has happened the last two years.

However, this is what we've been looking at around our house:
  • Have a yard sale to help pad our Christmas fund.
  • Order our holiday cards.
  • Finish up my custom orders for Chasing Blue Jays by Thanksgiving.
  • Make an inventory plan for the holiday trunk show I'm participating in next month.
  • Finishing reading Love Your Life Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze
  • Get consistent with my daily meditation practice.
I am cautiously optimistic that these will not be too overwhelming while juggling a crazy work schedule. What do you think?


What are your goals for November? Have you evaluated progress on your 2016 goals? What's going right? What have you adjusted?

”Monthly goals button


What to play along? Click the button to join the monthly goals party, hosted by A Peek at Karen's World and My So-Called Chaos.





Commit30 Planner - Commit to your dreams and goals.

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Monday, October 31

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I may be paid a small commission from sales via these links. Thank you for your support of my blog.



If you are new around these parts, the Mister and I took the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course through our church last year. We have a goal to pay off half of our consumer debt this year. You can catch up on our journey by checking out our previous recaps:

October Budget

October has been a bit of an interesting month. As I shared in our September update, last month the Mister was unexpectedly let go from his full-time job. Fortunately, God is faithful, and through some connections, new employment was found within a week.

But the change did throw a kink in our budget simply because we had to adjust to a new payroll schedule, and he actually only received one full paycheck in October. Luckily, we had plenty of extra income to offset that since the Mister picked up about 4 extra shifts at his part-time job and finished up a painting gig that he had been working on the weekends.

Also, some big sales that I had been working through my job finally paid out in commissions, so I took an extra paycheck home to offset the adjustment.


October Victories & Blessings

This was a big extra income month for us. Like I said before, God is faithful, and we had several victories to celebrate:

  • We sold my Prius! This is bittersweet since I loved that car, but I'll never have a car payment again. That loan is out of our lives.
  • I was awarded the scholarship to cover my black belt exam fee. There were still several other expenses that come with testing, but every little bit helps. The extra income from selling the car covered almost all our clinic fees.
  • In addition to kicking the car payment our of lives, we also paid nearly half the balance of the credit card that we're working on in our debt snowball. It was good see that balance drop so dramatically.
In fact, between the car sale and the extra income, we paid an knocked nearly $10,000 of our debt snowball last month. MAJOR WIN.


If you want to take control of your finances, I'd suggest reading The Total Money Makeover. Or go online to daveramsey.com to find a Financial Peace University course starting near you.


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