Check-In: January 19

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What I’m working on: Finally! It felt like the project that dragged on forever, but I got a Valentine’s listing up. I’ve got other Valentine’s ideas, but they’re going to have to wait until I get some St. Patrick’s Day and Easter out of the way. Maybe I’ll actually get them up in time for Valentine’s Day 2018.

What I’m playing: I’ve been doing a whole lot of Stardew Valley again. I think it’s because I’ve been mildly stressed and anxious.It’s a mellow little game that lets me relax while also soothing my control freak tendencies. It’s good for my mood, bad for productivity.

What I’m reading: I finished The Dressmaker last night. It was pretty good. I need to find the movie now. There were parts I had a tough time following because I don’t speak Australian. But man, if you want a good revenge story, check it out. Next up, I’ve got March on hold at the library. Seemed like the right time for it.

What I’m eating: Man. It’s been a long time since I had Pocky. I bought some today. It’s still pretty great. And dig that bright pink box. So good.

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Check-In: January 12

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What I’m working on: So, here’s a sneak peek of the project I started this week… that’s taking me much longer than I’d anticipated. I was hoping it would be live in the shop today, but I’ll be doing good to get it up this weekend. I kinda dropped the ball big-time on Valentine’s Day, so I’m thinking I might just skip ahead and see if I can’t get something out for Easter and Spring. I can revisit Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day this summer while I’m working on Halloween and Christmas.

What I’m eating: I don’t think I talk a whole lot about food here, even though I love it. (All of it.) But one of my latest obsessions has been Korean food. The husband person and I went to a tiny local Korean restaurant for our anniversary last week. We’d been meaning to go ever since we found out about this place, but it’s in a part of town we never pass through, so we just kept forgetting. But, it was amazing. I had the beef bulgogi, he had the bibimbap and we shared some kimbap. And it was so good.

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Editing this photo is making me hungry again.

 

I’ve always liked Asian food. I’ve been down with sushi for twenty years now. We’re lucky enough to live with a large enough Vietnamese community that we have more than one place to get excellent Vietnamese food. I’m trying to learn to cook all of it. I’ve made some sad sushi rolls. I’ve gotten okay at making donburi. (I love a big bowl of rice with just piles of stuff on it.) I’m working on upping my kimchi fried rice game. (I made some for dinner tonight.) I haven’t attempted Vietnamese food yet. But I might start off slow, like figuring out how to make those pickles that make bahn mi so good.

All this rambling leads nicely into —

What I’m reading: I recently discovered the webcomic I Think You’re Sauceome by Sarah Becan… which I discovered when I was looking for bibimbap recipes. It’s a webcomic that starts as a food diary and a study in body image but it also includes recipes and restaurant reviews and other good stuff. I’ve never identified with a cartoonist so hard. She puts into comics the exact same thoughts I have about my body all the time. And it’s nice to see her overcome them. Plus, she’s really into tacos and bibimbap and so am I.

I’m only about a third of the way through her archives, and it doesn’t look like she’s posted since May. But, I’m definitely now a Sarah Becan fan.

What I’ve Learned in 1 Year on Etsy

This is by no means an the end-all-be-all in Etsy how-to guides. This is just my personal experience in my first year. And it is JUST my first year, so I’m by no means an expert. But, as someone who jumped into selling on Etsy with no real idea what I was doing — these are the things that I’d wished I’d known on day one.

(Keep in mind, as a digital download seller, my experiences are limited to that sphere. I don’t have to deal with physical inventory and shipping and all that. My hat’s off to you that do. To those about to go to the post office, we salute you.)

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Look to the people who have been here for years. Once you’ve taken in my little nuggets of year-old wisdom, check out the pros who’ve been at it for a decade. Look at their blogs, social media and read the forums. I learned so much on the forums at Etsy. They’re a gold mine if you pay attention. Find active Etsy Teams that are specific to your type of shop. Also helpful? The Etsy subreddit.

If you build it (it being a strong SEO strategy), they will come. Search Engine Optimization is so, so important. The most important at the very beginning. Until you can spend thousands on a wide-reaching digital advertising campaign, your customers are going to find you through search — specifically Etsy and Google. I get a decent amount of traffic from social media, but the vast majority of my views come from search results.

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Check-In: September 8

What I’ve been working on: Guys! My shop’s been open for a year now! Here’s some (digital) cupcakes to celebrate!

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I’m not exactly an e-commerce powerhouse, but I’m happy with the growth I’ve seen in the past year. There was (and still are) a lot of lessons to be learned, but I’m optimistic. I started this endeavor as an experiment and went into it fully prepared to fail. But… I didn’t! Not yet, anyway. Hooray!

I’m planning on doing a whole separate post on what I’ve learned in my first year, so stay tuned for that. Until then, happy birthday!

What I’m listening to: I just started listening to You Must Remember This, a podcast about “the secret and/or forgotten history of Hollywood’s first century.” I listened to the series on Joan Crawford (which is still ongoing) and really enjoyed it* and right now I’m listening to her series on “Charles Manson’s Hollywood.” (Which, sitting here alone in the house waiting for my husband to get home from work, I realize now might be a bad idea.) Nightmares notwithstanding, it’s also a very good story. They’re all thoroughly researched and contain SO much detail. I love so much detail.

*Despite the narrator’s tendency to read Crawford’s quotes with a not-great Transatlantic accent that was accurately described by a friend as sounding like Janet Snakehole. You’ve been warned.

What I’m watching: I just finished up the new season of Difficult People. Such a fun show. I’m also devoting a significant amount of my time to RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 2, of course. This whole thing where the top two have to choose one of the bottom three to eliminate is rough. All (most. shade.) of the queens on this season are SO GOOD. How can you choose a bottom three much less send someone home? I can’t even. I’m sure my favorite, Katya is going to go far. I’m worried about my other favorite, Phi Phi O’Hara, because they seem determined to give her the villain edit again. (Look. I love Alyssa Edwards. You love Alyssa Edwards. But Phi Phi ain’t wrong when she says that if you’re trapped in a room with her, a little Alyssa goes a looooong way.)

Check-In: August 25

What I’m working on: Finally! Finally I can make this big announcement that I’ve been keeping a secret for absolutely no reason! For the past few weeks, I’ve actually been working on a whole new category of offerings for my store:

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Printable invitations and note cards! Yay! I’ve got three listings up now, and I’ll be posting some thank you note cards very soon. I’m starting off slow to kind of refine processes and test the market, but I’m feeling pretty optimistic.

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I’m also excited to get to do a different kind of design. I’m still very much exploring pattern design, but this kind of thing is actually more what I’m used to. So we’ll see where I wander to in both areas.

What I’m reading: I just started Cailin Moran’s How to Build a Girl. I’m only a couple chapters in, but it’s a delightful change of pace from the absolute downer that was Valley of the Dolls. I enjoy that the main character has the same daydreams I do about being friends with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry.

What I’m watching: I’m actually typing this entry up on Wednesday night and scheduling it to go live on Thursday, because this time tomorrow I’ll be watching the premier of RuPauls’ Drag Race All Stars Season 2!! and I will be completely unreachable. Just leave a message and I’ll get back to you after Untucked.

I’m 100% #teamkatya but also #stilldelightedifalaskawins and #justhappytoseemoreofalyssaandphihi.

 

Check-In: August 4

Well, I thought it’d been a couple of weeks since I last posted. Turns out it’s been nearly a month. July’s always a  little crazy for me. One of my day job’s biggest projects of the year hits its crescendo in mid-July, which means I spend a little over a week stressing and working overtime.

This year, I followed that up with a week of being sick. Nothing serious — but stress, extreme comfort eating and probably too much naproxen sodium aren’t great for the guts. One prescription for Nexium later and I’m doing just fine. I’m eating better, meditating again and just doing a better job of keeping on track. I even bought a new notebook to restart my bullet journal. Let’s do this!

What I’m working on: I jumped back in with something simple for the shop — some rustic ticking-style stripes.

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I’m working on a new “product line.” I’m hoping to be able to launch a whole group of new printable products before the end of the month. It’s a little bit of an experiment, so we’ll see what happens. (I’m not telling what it is yet.)

What I’m reading: I’ve gotten just as behind on my reading as everything else, but I have started both Valley of the Dolls and Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay. Both really good books that are just a tooooooouch depressing. I might have to throw something fun in the mix.

What I’m playing: C’mon. You know what I’m playing.

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I caught a Ponyta in the Walgreens.

Check-In: July 7

What I’m working on: I had a pretty productive week. I got some basic pattern packs up in the shop:

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I’m going to shift focus for a little bit and work on some craft projects I’ve been ignoring for a while. Season 8 of Drag Race and the new season of Difficult People are coming to Hulu next week, so TV time will be knitting time.

What I’m watching: We watched the first episode of Harmonquest tonight. If you like table-top roleplaying, Dan Harmon and improv comedy… you’ll love Harmonquest.

What I’m reading: Since I finished our book club book, I got back to reading Secret Wars. It… was very silly. I mean… it was fine? Compared to the super-good X-Men books that were being published at the same time, it looks really dopey. But in a mostly fun way? Except that’s all ruined by the really dumb thing Colossus does. Secret Wars is the reason for his (editorially mandated, I believe?) breakup with Kitty.

See, Pete starts out his time on Battleworld missing Kitty and even thinking of marrying her one day. Then he meets and is healed by an alien lady named Zsaji. Zsaji does not speak a word of English, Russian or any Earth language and spends most of her time making out with Johnny Storm. It’s hinted that her healing powers make dudes fall in love with her. That has to be the case, because she has NO personality other than being pretty and healing. That’s enough for Peter Rasputin, I guess.

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Anyway. Dr. Doom absorbs most of the Beyonder’s power and kills all the good guys. Zsaji uses her healing powers to bring Colossus back to life and dies in the process. (It’s heavily implied that she did this only due to the Beyonder’s influence.) He almost doesn’t go back to Earth because he’s so despondent over her sacrifice. The other X-Men tell him to stop being an idiot and get in the car, we’re leaving.

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Meanwhile back in the X-Books, where people are written more like actual people than melodramatic caricatures, Pete breaks up with Kitty. And she handles it with AMAZING self-awareness for a 14-year-old. (That’s a poster of Tom Selleck in Kitty and Ilyana’s room. The 80’s were amazing.)

Luckily Kitty’s crazy Uncle Wolverine and Nightcrawler take Colossus out for a drink where they let the Juggernaut beat him up to teach him a lesson. This is exactly how this should have ended.

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GOOD THING YOUR SKIN’S METAL BECAUSE YOU GOT BURNT.

Anyway. Yeah, the Colossus/Kitty thing was super appropriate as long as he was 19 and she was 14. It needed to end, but’s a little ironic that it ended with Colossus acting like an overly dramatic child and Kitty handling it like an adult.