Archive for the ‘goals’ Category

Buy Nothing New Project: Update

February 7, 2012

Buy Nothing New

So I thought I’d do an update on our Buy Nothing New Project.

We’ve definitely saved a bunch of money mostly by watching costs on our road trips, and by cutting out unnecessary purchase, aka “impulse buys” in general.

We visit G’s folks, almost two hours away, pretty frequently. Besides gas, we almost always buy snacks at the gas station. And/or stop at 5 Guys for burgers. By making snacks and bringing water with us we save $20 to $30+ round trip.  So far, homemade tortilla chips, and kale chips are our go-to nibbles.


  • I bought sunglasses on our way to G’s parents’ house the other day. I could have waited and thrifted them, but I didn’t. They were $10.  My reasoning was that I would waste an afternoon looking for some at a thrift shop, that may or may not have been cheaper. Even if that were true, I should have stuck to my guns on principle. [See below on forming habits.]
  • I bought pillow cases at Ikea. I went for work stuff and ended up adding pillow cases to my bag. I really like them. This was totally against the rules.
  • I took G out for a celebratory “You Got a New Job!” dinner. I’m happy we went. But I acknowledge this is cheating.
  • I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting.

The most interesting part of this project has been how much it’s made me pause when I reach to buy something. Do I really need that XYZ? Many times the answer is no, and so I put it back. I’m surprised how often this happens. I didn’t think of myself as an impulse buyer before.

It’s also made me consider what I can make, or repurpose, instead of purchase. Though for us, that can be a fine line. Sometimes it’s actually cheaper and smarter to buy said item, than to make it from scratch. –The two of us can get a bit carried away with our craft projects. But still, I’m definitely more on the lookout for items that can be repurposed.

It’s also interesting how many things we’re getting rid of. Not buying stuff we don’t need, + purging stuff we own and don’t need, seem to be closely tied to each other.

Things we’ve edited:

  • ikea mattress with foam topper (does this count? We gave it away as we got a new mattress… So probably not.)
  • Four+ shopping bags full of various items to Savers.
  • a bag full of clothes I gave to my mom
  • we will soon be rid of an old laptop and a redundant ipod

One thing I’ve found helpful, at least for now in this beginning stage, is to stick to your “rules” even if monetarily it might not be that big of deal. Case in point: We’ve been cutting costs on our movie/tv watching. Redbox ($1 rentals,) the library, Hulu, and Netflix streaming are allowed.  Going to movie theaters, or renting online from iTunes or Amazon, is not. The other day we wanted to watch 50/50 (which, by the way, I think is my favorite movie of 2011. Go see it if you haven’t.) I forgot to pick it up from Redbox (–the library didn’t have it.) We almost rented it through Amazon for $3, but decided not to. We ended up watching it the next night.

Now, $2 is not such a big deal– especially compared to actually going out to the movies (an easy $20+ for both of us.) But waiting the extra night, helped reinforce our new habits of planning ahead. $3 once in a while isn’t a big deal, but $3 every other night is ridiculous when there are cheaper options available. I think this is probably “new habits 101” right?

Anyone have some money-saving tips that work for you? Please share- I’d love to hear!

The ‘Buy Nothing New’ project

January 17, 2012


Buy Nothing New

In lieu of G’s shifting work status we’ve decided to tamp down on our finances at least until the end of February. And after having dinner with some inspirational friends, and then having some similar conversations with other friends about consumerism in general, I’m motivated to make this “official.” So let’s call it the “Buy Nothing New” project! (Alternatively, G suggested, “No Thrills; Just Bills and Pills.” ha.)

This means

  • buying nothing but essentials–ie food, prescriptions and bills, and cutting the rest out.
  • giving experiences, over goods, for gifts.
  • sadly no delicious meals out, but yay for delicious meals in!
  • planning ahead and making our own snacks for road trips.
  • making special yummy treats, (eg. cookies,) but not buying them.
  • when necessary buying used, or local as much as possible.
  • movie nights at home.
  • going shopping inside our apartment and getting crafty with what we’ve already got.
  • taking advantage of our public library.
  • doing some junk drawer/clothing/general clutter editing around the house.

A friend was telling me recently about how almost everything she reads online is about buying something. Pretty, stylish, somethings. But still–acquiring more things. I didn’t realize, until she mentioned it, how similar my online reading was as well. Which, as a visual person who is genuinely interested in what others are making and excited about, is natural. But I’ve realized that underneath the creative swell, is a push to buy the next cool whatever. So I’m hoping this project will free me from that a bit. Maybe it will enable me to look at things and appreciate them, but let go of actually owning them.

Clearly many of these steps will take some planning ahead. Often we pay extra for convenience, rather than real necessity– ie road trip snacks, etc. But I think we can handle a bit of extra thinking for a month and a half.  I assume an added benefit will be cutting down on our trash output– convenient things are often short-lived purchases that also always seem to be packaged intensely, don’t they? (More on “no trash living” here.)

We’ll let you know how it goes! And feel free to join us, if you’re feeling so inclined.

Illustration News

January 6, 2012

Happy New Year!

Some children’s illustration news I thought people might be interested in!

-Have you gotten your copy of the December Zero2illo Zine yet? It’s all about children’s illustrators and I’m in it! They kindly picked my site for a review and I’m so grateful. 2012 is the year my site will get a proper overhaul and it’s invaluable to get some outside perspective on what’s working and what needs changing. Thank you so much you guys!

-I just signed up for illustration consulting with…Holli Conger!! I’m so excited!! Last year, I was complaining to G (and friends) about missing a “boss”. Which, I know, sounds insane, but it can be exhausting to juggle so many roles. Sometimes you wish for someone to provide some guidance and nudges to keep you on the right track. Perhaps not a “boss”, but a mentor. Anyways, thank you Universe! I’ve been a huge fan and reader of her blog for years. So I’m really looking forward to working my tail off with her!

-Did I ever mention that I found a local children’s writer and illustrator crit group? (Again, thank you Universe.) We’ve had a couple sessions and it’s pretty great. If you’re in the Providence area, we’re looking to add serious kid lit writers and artists.  Please get in touch if you’re interested.

-Heads up: Registration for The New England SCBWI conference in April is coming up! Register here on January 23rd. I’ve never been to this one, but I hear it’s been fabulous in the past.

-Are you doing the Kidlitart #PBDummy Challenge this year? It’s a 25-week-long online group challenge to create and submit a picture book dummy. It starts January 9, 2012 and ends July 1, 2012. After reading the  inspiring post post by Greg Matusic –who I met in person at the Falling Leaves conference– I decided to jump in!

And whaddya think of that little dinosaur guy up there? I’m working on a story for him…

November Goals

November 3, 2010

Fabulous weather

I did pretty well on goals for last month.  I forget that I always add a bunch throughout the month, (plus other things, like um rowing in The Head of the Charles–gah!)  so keeping it simple in the beginning is the way to go.

By the way,  I’m happy to report that spots are now going fast for portraits!  If you’d like to give one for the holidays, please get in touch!

October Goals:

  1. Sign up for
  2. Work on final drawing/layout for Uppercase’s Work/Life promo book.
  3. Order postcards
  4. Address and mail them out!
  5. Cold call two companies a week to get submissions information.
  6. Work on next postcard design.
  7. Get the word out about doing portraits! (I’d love to draw YOUR portrait!  Go here for more info!)

I’ve been doing a lot better with promoting/marketing.  Between postcards, signing up for and Uppercase’s Work/Life promo book, and doing the contest with LMNOP, I’ve been really putting myself out there.  I always struggle with this, so I’m proud of myself.  So far working with LMNOP has been super fun, so I’m planning to do more blog partner events/give-aways.  Still need to work on the cold calling.

November Goals:

  1. Cold call two companies a week to get submissions information.
  2. Finish addressing and mailing postcards
  3. Finish illustration for Uppercase’s Work/Life promo book.
  4. Research and then contact a few blogs about the portraits.  (I’d love to draw YOUR portrait!  Go here for more info!)
  5. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We’re hosting both our families this year.

Yes.  Keeping it simple.  I think the above, plus work and all the portrait-creating will keep me busy!  Not to mention Thanksgiving and a trip to Vermont before hand to meet our new God-Baby!!

Phew.   November, you are not messing around!

October Goals

October 12, 2010

Decorating Cookies sketch
Hmm I haven’t posted goals here in a while.  Not because I haven’t been doing them, more that the lists seem to be continually in flux and I’ve been adjusting weekly.  However, I kind of miss having one big list to look at, so here is October– if a little late:

  1. Sign up for
  2. Work on final drawing/layout for Uppercase’s Work/Life promo book.
  3. Order postcards
  4. Address and mail them out!
  5. Cold call two companies a week to get submissions information.
  6. Work on next postcard design.
  7. Get the word out about doing portraits!  (I’d love to draw YOUR portrait!  Go here for more info!)

Above is a sketch I have–at least for now– given up on coloring.  Man, it was a mess.  I like that kid though.

Jogging: “Everybody’s Doing It”

August 9, 2010

So I’m trying to become a jogger.

(Everytime I talk about jogging, I can’t help but think of Anchorman when Ron Burgandy says,

“Veronica and I are trying this new fad called uh, jogging.  I believe it’s jogging– or yogging.  It might be a soft j.  I’m not sure, but apparently you just run for an extended period of time.  It’s supposed to be wild.”

I love that movie.)

One of my dearest friends has become a bonafide runner, and I’m trying to get it together enough to do a 5K race with her in September.  5k should be no big deal, right?  I am in reasonably good shape, after all.  But so far I just feel pathetic, as it feels like someone is stabbing me in the hips and sooner, rather than later, I’m just limping along.  (I think this is because of my bowed legs.)

However I’ve got some new stretches, and a whole 5K plan, and G to cheer me on.  (He’s totally joined The Jogging Craze.)

Any tips?  I mean, besides wearing outfits like the ones above?

Exciting News + August Goals

August 2, 2010

At the Drive-In...

Ooh July was so much fun!  We actually took the time this year to do a bunch of summery things, which I’m really happy about.  BBQs, and the beach, outdoor concerts, and mini road trips, ice cream stands, pool jumping, sangria drinking, drive-in movies (Above: those are my feet propped up in the car. heh.)… It sounds silly, but its like we forget to do these things sometimes.   I don’t know– its not just about being busy.  Hmm, two introverts huddled around computers all day…I’m sorry to say, its more in our nature to turn the ac up and hunker down.  So I’m glad we got out.  I’m glad I have more freckles than I’ve had in years!

First a couple of fun announcements:

My little shop, Other Such Things is now open!
Other Such Things shop

& I’m now offering custom portraits!  Please get in touch if you’re interested!  Drawing people is my favorite thing ever, so I’m especially excited about this!  I’d also be thrilled to draw your furry friends as well…

    And onto the July Goals list.  I did pretty well– especially considering all that “getting out”.  hah.

    • I opened a Twitter account. I am actually loving Twitter.  Loving it.  Which is hilarious as I was so reluctant.
    • I have a new Facebook fan page!
    • I did some new pieces and came up with a bunch of ideas for more.
    • The website and blog were tidied up.  See?  Look over there.
    • I finished the Flourish e-course and highly recommend it!
    • My newsletter is all set to go! (You can sign up here if you’d like!) Its going out TOMORROW!!
    • AND my little shop, Other Such Things is now open!  Its not fully stocked– I’ll be adding to it over the next few days.  After that I expect the inventory additions will be slower.  But I’ve got so many ideas for new items!  I’m really excited about it.

    So I didn’t do so badly.  I think my goals shifted a bit.  Hmm August is going to be busy!  Here are some things to get me started– I’ll know I’ll be adding to it.

    1. Work on making portfolios to send around to select clients.
    2. Cold Call a couple of companies for contact info.
    3. Organize promotions effort.
    4. Get a postcard ready
    5. Send out some shop press releases to blogs.

    How is everyone else in the Meetup doing?

    Goals Check-in

    July 26, 2010


    Yikes, less than a week left in July!  Hmm I still have a few more items to get to on my goal lists… But I did open a Twitter account and I have a new Facebook fan page!  Please stop by and say hello…

    Let’s check in with my July Goals:

    1. Work on making portfolios to send around to select clients.
    2. Organize promotions effort.
    3. Work on a new piece for portfolio. I have a bunch of new pieces and plans for more.
    4. Send out a newsletter. (You can sign up here if you’d like!) Its going out before July ends!!
    5. Tidy up my website headers and blog sections.
    6. Finish setting up my online shop. (Other Such Things shop is OPEN right here!)
    7. Work on the shop page of my portfolio site. Its ok for now. But will definitely need more work.
    8. Send out some shop press releases to blogs.

    As I mentioned above, my little shop, Other Such Things is now open!   I’ll be adding more work to it as the days go by.  However if you see anything on my portfolio site that you’d like as a print, just let me know!  Almost all the work over there can be sold as prints as well.

    Aaaand one more thing, the prints I did for Ripple are still available for sale in my shop as well.  ALL the proceeds go to help the animal victims of the Deep Water Horizon Gulf Oil Spill.

    July Goals

    July 1, 2010


    Hello Meetup friends!  I’m back.

    June was a busy month for me.  I got my PikaPackage goodies made and sent out,  and I started the Flourish business class.   I’m currently working on getting my online shop, Other Such Things, up and running.  It will be filled with prints of my work and crafty goodies (like that sneak peek above of a mobile!)  I’m pretty excited about it.  I’m planning on the opening coinciding with the release of the PikaPackages, which should be pretty soon.

    Anyways, here are my goals for this month.  Yes, a lot of them are repeat-ers, so please bear with me fellow goal makers.

    1. Work on making portfolios to send around to select clients.
    2. Organize promotions effort.
    3. Work on a new piece for portfolio.
    4. Send out a newsletter. (You can sign up here if you’d like!)
    5. Tidy up my website headers and blog sections.  Too much clutter for me.
    6. Finish setting up my online shop. (Sign up for an email alert when it opens, here!)
    7. Work on the shop page of my portfolio site.
    8. Send out some shop press releases to blogs.

    May Goals Wrap-Up

    May 26, 2010

    Man, can I just say I’m looking at this list and feel exhausted?  Ergh.  Frustrating, as a lot of it was supposed to be done in April.  What is it with these warmer months? Everything seems to move slower…Geez.

    1. Polish up the dummy and get it ready to send around. I’m almost done with one of the finished illustrations.  But fairly certain finishing the whole dummy isn’t going to happen.
    2. Sign up for
    3. Sign up and organize updates for free portfolio/illustration news sites.
    4. Continue working on posting regularly here. I’ve gotten better!  Come say hello–I’m around more and more…
    5. Work on making portfolios to send around to select clients. yup
    6. Organize promotions effort. Probably could use some tweaking.
    7. Work on ice cream piece for portfolio. Realistically, I don’t see this happening.
    8. Send out a newsletter. (You can sign up here if you’d like!) Now I’m shooting for the beginning of June, FYI.

    And a couple new ones to add:

    9.  Brainstorm for the PikaPackage project. I’ve spent some time on this and coming up with ideas has been super fun.

    10. Participate in my high school’s alumni art show. Aw..Its tonight!

    But in fun news, I’m posting my goal wrap-up early because G and I are off on a proper, just-us, vacation! See you in June…

    %d bloggers like this: