What is zen BLITZ all about?

zen BLITZ is still in its baby phase, & it’s been quite an adventure so far!

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I think it’s important to reevaluate everything in your business as you go along, including your brand identity! This post is to share a little more about who I am, my brand’s themes, and the projects I work on.

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As for me… I really love that wig; it’s just too cute, lol! I have a history of being a caregiver in my family, for my parents & grandparents; currently for my father. I also have an employment & education history in healthcare. ALS runs heavily in my mother’s family, so I’d like to be able to donate some of the profits from my shop toward treatment & research one day! I’m currently engaged to a super awesome guy whose love has set me free; the only thing really holding me back is myself.

 

I have a bit of a problem sticking with themes, lol! I’m a Libra, so I have a bitch of a time making decisions in general. Themes varying from vague (fun, spiritual, classy) to more specific (witchcraft, buddhism, steampunk, rave, hippie boho). I know I need to pick specialties & focus on a certain audience, but…that’s not me! That’s not very zen BLITZ. zen BLITZ is calm & crazy, spiritual & steampunk, yin & yang. Right now, I’m just testing what works well, & what doesn’t.

Another problem I have is sticking with any one project. Really, I’m “in too deep” with my jewelry making, especially since that’s what my fiance has been supporting most. However I’ve always been into all kinds of crafts, because my mother was super craftsy. I tend to have a few different types of projects going on at once, but I do also tend to finish one thing before adding another. So far, my shop is mostly jewelry – necklaces, bracelets, rings, & earrings. I also added some wine glass charms. I’m currently working on a set of crochet wine glass and water bottle lanyards, & then I’ll start working on some more jewelry. I just finished a set of ATCs (which were a bit of a flop…learning experience), & have been working on woodburning a plaque for my sweet deceased kitty.

Seeing as jewelry is a very saturated market, I figure it wise to venture into other handmade markets wherever my talents lie. The only constant in life is change. It’ll be fun to watch my shop evolve over time!

“It’s important to reevaluate everything as you go along”

That’s advice I carry throughout all areas in my life. It’s always a good time to shed things that weigh you down, & change the things that aren’t working for you. “Every day is a holiday…”

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That’s my brand identity!

What are YOU all about? Freewrite some random words, & let’s chat in the comments below!

And be sure to check out all the fun stuff in my Etsy shop at zen BLITZ

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Check out these social media faves!!

The results are in from last month’s analysis, and I’d like to share my top 3 items with you!

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Two of these items were made in response to other items, & one was a successful shot in the dark. I’m pretty proud of their popularity so far! Hopefully someone feels inspired to buy one!! πŸ˜‰

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Coming in third, I call this super cool steampunk inspired necklace the “Steampunk Reject”. I actually included it in this blog post from back in January, “possible rejects” because it was so popular on Instagram despite its imperfections. Before, the beaded section was wonky, the gear pendant wasn’t what I thought it was gonna be as I was making it, &…I can’t remember what else I didn’t like about it. I just knew it could be better. And voila! I like it a lot; I couldn’t see myself wearing it casually, but I think it’d make a cool costume / festival piece!! With 24 likes on Instagram fixed, & 27 when it was a “reject”, it looks even cooler in person than pictures can show!

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Second most popular was this “Classy Hippie” necklace. Inspired by something similar on Pinterest, I figured I’d give it a shot since I have those pointy-shaped rock beads (lol! what are they called?! Anyone? Help? lol) It didn’t quite turn out as I’d hoped, but it seems to be pretty popular. I like that it looks handmade. It’s definitely unique, & I could see myself wearing it casually. With 11 likes total between Twitter & Etsy, I might be experimenting with this style a bit more!

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Last but certainly not least, here is a fairly basic beaded macrame necklace that I call “Steampunk Love v1.2”. Last summer, I got back into jewelry making so that I would have something to do with my cousins when we were camping. I made my fiance a necklace similar to this one, & he got a lot of positive comments about it, so he insisted I try opening an Etsy shop. And here I am!! ;D Between Instagram, tumblr, & Etsy, this was my most liked item, with a total of 28 interactions! It might even be the most liked item I’ve posted so far, so there will definitely have to be more of these in the future!!

Be sure to check out ALL the awesome stuff available in my shop!!

I’m often adding new listings & trying new things, so keep an eye out!

Let me know what you think of these items in the comments below; I welcome constructive criticism as well as compliments!!

And if you do happen to see something you like in my shop, zen BLITZ, be sure to use code SPREADLOVE for 10% off anything & everything!

Have a great week, everyone!! ❀

May is ALS Awareness Month

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learn more & donate here

ALS, aka Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, aka MND (motor neuron disease), aka Lou Gehrigs Disease, is an increasingly common neurodegenerative disease. Very little is understood about it, & it is inevitably fatal. Continuing research is necessary to put a stop to this awful affliction.

In this week’s article, I’ll tell you a little bit about ALS, point out some famous people affected by this disease, explain why ALS awareness is important to me, and share a special promo in my Etsy shop!

More than 20,000 people in the U.S. alone have ALS at any given time. Only 10% of those cases are due to an inherited genetic mutation, while 90% have no family history of the disease. As a neurodegenerative disorder, ALS kills the motor neurons throughout the body, leaving muscles paralyzed while the mind remains intact. There is no testing for this disease, only ruling out other diseases. Life expectancy is 2-5 years after the onset of symptoms.

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Stephen Hawking

Odds are good that you know of at least one famous person who’s had ALS. Lou Gehrig, of course, the famous baseball player whose name became extra infamous for this disease. Stephen Hawking, the super famous physicist, just recently passed away after suffering from ALS for over 50 years! Steve Gleason, as well as many other professional athletes. Wikipedia has a whole list.

ALS actually runs in my family. I think the statistic was 25 people in 3 generations, but 2 or 3 more have been added to the tally, 2 from my generation (the 4th). No one has lived more than a year and a half after the onset of symptoms, so it’s pretty quick, but no less horrific. It’s traumatized many of us who have had to watch this happen to our loved ones. My mother had bulbar onset ALS, was sick for about 11 months, and passed away due to respiratory failure (which she was fully conscious for) 4 days after my 15th birthday. I’ll refrain from whining, but encourage you to learn a little more about my family’s story in this interview on YouTube.

So, to support ALS Awareness, here’s a little gift for you :

ALSA May promo

“Continuing research is necessary to put a stop to this awful affliction”

ALS is a devastating disease that can seemingly strike anyone, especially if you have a family history. Your help in funding research is greatly appreciated – donate directly to the ALS Association, or any foundation of your choice, or buy something from my shop & I’ll gladly pass along the good vibes from my wonderful customers!

Do you have any experience with ALS? (Friends, family members, personal, etc). Let’s chat in the comments below!! ❀

And don’t forget to stop in & check out all the new stuff in my Etsy shop : zen BLITZ

How I Keep Things Organized With My Business Notebook…

blog17 1While I love my Bullet Journal (which I’ll have a post for in the future!), I knew I’d need a three ring binder for my business adventure. This way, I can keep things organized by tab, and I can move & remove pages with no problem!

Here I’ll share which tabs I’ve found most useful, & what for…

 

 

The first few pages are uncategorized. I keep a daily to do list, which I also use for random notes; I like being able to recycle the page when I’m done with it. Also uncategorized is my monthly business plan (which turns into my analysis page at the end of the month), and breakdowns of my business processes (production, sales, marketing, & bookkeeping).

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  • Current projects : Whatever I’m working on in any of my business processes. Currently that means : info page for the product I’m listing next, notes for this very blog post, instructions & notes for crochet lanyards, and a brainstorm for my next series of products!
  • Blog / Social media : Mostly brainstorms for things to post on social media, including topics to blog about. Also an index of my posted blogs.
  • Financial : Cash flow reports, notes on overhead charges, my pricing formula, and a list of the sales & discounts in my store. (Here, have 10% off by using code SPREADLOVE)
  • Time & Activity Logs
  • Ideas : Brainstorms, & notes about trends. Also, instructions for ATCs, ideas for my steampunk / renaissance festival outfit, & a list of the creative endeavors my boyfriend & I are working on together.
  • Accomplished : Finished projects, so they can be rearranged before they’re listed in the store. Also houses my past monthly analyses, which should have their own tab soon.
  • Listings : The project sheets for each of the listings in my Etsy store, in order.

A paper & pen notebook works best for me in most situations…

…though I do use Evernote quite a bit too (another post for another time.) I actually think my binder is more versatile than even the cloud!

Do you have any notebooks? What for? Let’s chat in the comments below!

And don’t forget to check out all the new stuff in store at zen BLITZ!

Festival Season Is On the Horizon…

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… & I’m pretty excited! πŸ˜„ It’s been a long, cold winter here in western New York, & for many other areas too. So I absolutely can’t wait to get out & have some fun!

So much so, in fact, that we recently did a tour of a local brewery (& it was pretty cool!) We’ve just started exploring the Niagara Wine Trail, & might be going to a local radio stations wine & concert in the botanical gardens. Read on to check out the awesome festival accessories I’ve been working on!

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A couple weeks ago, we did a tour of a local brewery, the New York Beer Project. It was pretty interesting, & we tasted four brews. Their current batches brewing are Seinfeld themed (which is funny cuz we’ve been binge watching it on Hulu!) After the tour, we had some appetizers, & I got a cute shirt. I really wish I had somewhere to put my tasting glass when it was empty during the tour..

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my disco outfit

With festival season popping up, I’m sure I’ll be visiting at least a couple wine tastings. My boyfriend is really into dressing up for festivals (he’s doing Disco Batman for a disco we’re going to, & it looks fucking awesome!πŸ˜„) He’s gotten me interested in wine glass lanyards, which he’s seen at festivals.

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So, I’ve just started experimenting with different patterns, & I think I’ve gotten them figured out. I’ve made a successful wine glass lanyard, and a semi-successful water bottle one. Keep an eye out for them in my Etsy shop!!

~*~ Free to be ~*~

Now is definitely the time to start picking out this summer’s activities, & fun things you’ll need for them! I just got those wigs, & I absolutely can’t wait to wear them!! πŸ˜„ I can’t wait to make use of my lanyards too, lol!

What about you?? What are your summer plans? Any other cool costumes or gadgets for the summer season? Let’s chat in the comments below!! 😁

And be sure to check out all the awesome stuff available in my shop right now! Zen Blitz Use code SPREADLOVE for 10% off anything & everything!! πŸ’—

The only thing that helps me focus…

We live in a time when seemingly everyone has trouble focusing on any one thing. Multi-tasking has become a skill most people aim to perfect because we live in a fast paced world. But if we don’t slow ourselves down regularly, we will inevitably “burn out”, so we need to make a point to take care of ourselves regularly.

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I love me some Zen Habits – One of the things Leo mentions often is making a habit of taking regular mindfulness breaks throughout the day. So, in this article, I’m going to discuss this, as well as ideas on how to practice. (And remember, it’s practice! πŸ˜‰)

The habit of regular mindfulness breaks

It’s easy for life to pass us by when we’re running from one thing to another, be it work to dinner to school, or whatever. We’re always on the go. Life is a precious & fleeting thing that we’re blessed to be conscious for, so it’s understandable to want to live it to its fullest. At the same time, are we really living, savoring each experience, as we go?? That’s why I think it’s such a good idea to schedule regular mindfulness breaks, whenever they can fit. Of course, it depends on how much time you can spare, whether you schedule a whole day or evening of pampering yourself, or if you can only sit for a minute or two. Depending on what I’m doing, most days I spend a few minutes every couple hours doing some exercise or meditation. If I’ve been particularly busy & need to recharge, I’ll carve out a few hours. But of course, mindfulness can be practiced anytime, anywhere, whenever you just focus on the present moment. πŸ•‰

Acts of mindfulness

Anytime you immerse yourself in the present moment, you are practicing mindfulness. You could do this for a few seconds, or a few hours; it’s quality over quantity. You could immerse yourself in a walk in a park, or for a few seconds at work. Practice focusing on one thing. I do a lot of yoga, especially prior to meditation, because it helps calm my body; I meditate because it helps calm my mind. Really, anything you focus on is a type of meditation, including yoga, tai chi, & other exercises; I listen to a lot of trance music & usually use one of my many meditation beads , but I sometimes do visualizations or mantras.

Self care is a matter of necessity, not luxury

As a caregiver for my elderly father, I learned the importance of mindfulness the hard way. It’s a tough situation to be in, but it is what it is, and I try to grow where I’m planted by way of appreciating what I have each moment & trying to plan for the future. Burn out snuck up on me a few years ago, and regular mindfulness breaks are the only thing that has helped me get my head straight.

What do you do to take care of yourself? Let’s chat in the comments below!! πŸ˜‰

Ghost Island Inspiration

I thought I’d snagged my first sale, until I got to thinking about it…

A couple weeks ago, I got a message on Etsy requesting a custom order, even though I’m not offering them yet. I was initially excited for the challenge and came up with some cool ideas, but ultimately the project just wasn’t feasible. However, I still tried to put the inspiration to good use.

N queens keySo, the conversation began in reference to one of my current listings, this unique macrame piece. The gentleman said that he was part of a crew who were doing a something special for the season finale of Survivor : Ghost Island, & he was trying to find a bunch of custom made macrame necklaces for about 25 people. He said they had a really cool pendant being made, which features the skull in the logo, & he wanted two-toned macrame necklaces with purple & orange beads, embedded pebbles, and/or a “nature” theme. He said he had a budget of up to $8 per necklace, but said he was willing to pay extra for any special beads. And he said he liked the simplicity of this necklace, which makes sense since the pendant is obviously the focus of the piece. He seemed to be getting irritated with my ambition (I just wanted to make sure I could help him! LOL), so I figured I’d continue the conversation after a good brainstorm & scavenger hunt…

After looking at the logo & contemplating what he requested, my boyfriend & I came up with some great ideas. White then black hemp, with wood tiki beads, an orange & a purple bead on either side, white pebbles netted in beside the pendant hanger, & an adjustable chain & lobster clasp closure. That would’ve been perfect! So, I went to four different stores, and couldn’t find anything suitable!! Especially not for such a low budget, which was a concern my boyfriend was very adamant about. Figuring I was one of several people contacted with this request, I let it fizzle.

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But the ideas were just too cool to not try as one of my next series of listings (which I’ll start listing in my shop soon!) Voila : a reject!! Rather, a lesson in techniques. I didn’t even bother adding closures because it’s just going to have to be scrapped, even though it’s still kind of cool. I don’t like how I switched the colors; none of that turned out right. The beads are kind of lame, but kinda cool in how they go along with the logo colors. And I can’t net pebbles in hemp. Just not gonna work. Otherwise, I almost like it LOL, but it’s still definitely a reject!

“Success is a series of mistakes” ~ Billie Joe Armstrong

Even though this project didn’t pan out, it was a fun & educating process. At least I know I’ll be better prepared for future challenges.

What do you think?

  • Was $8.00 each for 25 necklaces reasonable?
  • Do you like what I came up with?

I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments below, or shoot me an email at ZenBlitz@yahoo.com

Have a great week! (And don’t forget to visit my Etsy shop!) ❀