Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Days After National Walking Day

OK, have to admit I didn't even know there was a "National Walking Day"; but I'm not surprised since there is a national "almost anything you can think of" day. In honor of this one I hope to encourage everyone to get off the couch, or away from your desk, or from the computer, (you get the idea) and get active. National Walking Day hi-lights walking, and walking is a good place to start. However, going forward, making cardio and weigh training a regular part of your routine is even better.  We all know our bodies are designed to move. "Use it or lose it", is more than a catchy statement; it really is true.  My husband had shoulder surgery, about 30 days in a sling; and it took months to regain strength and muscle mass in his upper arm.  I had a broken ankle; 4 months in a cast.  My calf muscle was shriveled looking and it took several months of strength training to get back to normal.  These are extreme examples but over time a sedentary lifestyle will result in muscle loss just the same.  Though I really hate to admit this; these statements become more relevant the older you get.  Ask me how I know...... yes, I'm older than I would like to admit. :)

So we make the decision; get up, start moving, and never look back, right?  Maybe not since it is also true that our lives are very busy.  Between family, work, housework, shopping, cooking (not to mention just figuring out what to cook), and life in general; exercise often falls to the bottom of the priority list.  The problem is, the less exercise we get, the less energy we have to do the things that need doing.  Seems to defy logic, I know; but it is true. In addition to challenging schedules, exercise is not the first word most of us use to define "fun".  So it takes some determination (OK a lot) and motivation to really make exercise a habit. If you can use the determination long enough to see the benefit in the way you feel, that will produce the motivation.  I am very fortunate; I have motivation in the person of my husband.  He is the one with the determination and I reap the benefit of it, since it is much easier to go with a buddy than alone.  So I have him; but anyone can be a workout buddy. Spouse, friend, a group of co-workers (part of the lunch hour or after work), or a parent/child pair. Find someone else who needs encouragement too and be that person for each other.

Good habits don't happen by accident.  How do they happen?  Here are some suggestions you can use and tailor to fit your personality and lifestyle.

  • Evaluate your schedule, be realistic.
  • Prioritize activities, daily, weekly, etc.
    • You may need to cut some activities, or reduce their frequency to make room for the good things you want to do for yourself.
  • Start slow, don't overwhelm yourself, baby steps are still steps.
  • Find a buddy, an accountability partner, be each other's cheerleader, make it fun.
  • When (notice that isn't an "if") you fail to stick to the plan; forgive yourself and get back on track.  No one does it perfect.
  • Remember the reason you are making changes.  Not to look good in a bathing suit; but to get healthy and keep or improve your quality of life.  The better you feel, the more enjoyable the fun and necessary things will be.  The people who love you will be glad you are taking care of yourself too.
  • Figure out a way to track progress.  I confess I fail a lot in this area; but it is very helpful when you keep up with it.  If you like the tech toys and can afford one; there are several on the market that will track things (movement, food, etc.) for you.  You just need to figure out you and that isn't always so easy as it should be, :)
I hope this encourages you to do good things for yourself; and and as you see the benefit you will encourage someone else.  We'll see a lot more healthy people as we lift each other up.  Have a very healthy day!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Work Smarter, Simplify Event Set Up

Since opening H and L Creations I've struggled with set up and tear down for events; more labor intense than I liked.  Set up took over an hour.  Considering the fact that my inventory is relatively small when viewed beside most vendors the time seemed excessive.  The problem centered around the type of inventory.  Jewelry; lots of small pieces, especially earrings.  So how did the process work? Arrive early, set up tables, racks, and canopy (if outside), unpack the jewelry, stage each piece; look at the clock and be amazed how long this has taken to accomplish.  It was not uncommon for customers to start arriving before setup was complete.  Guess I didn't arrive as early as I thought. Either way, I needed to make changes if I was going to continue to do events; tedious isn't my idea of fun.

It isn't obvious but if you look close you'll see that the jewelry was hung one piece at a time; tedious. This is half of the display; more earrings on the other side, which require more set up time.

Fast forward through several set up evolutions and set up takes less than 30 minutes from trunk to tables.  So what changed?  I re-purposed plastic canvas; cheap, sturdy, and versatile. Now each jewelry set is hung on plastic canvas, slipped in page a protector, and stored/transported in Rubbermaid type plastic buckets.  For earrings I used hot glue to secure plastic canvas in picture frames.  Perfect for hanging multiple sets in a small space and they go from bucket to table in 10 seconds, a great time saver.  Earrings are grouped by price.

Set up is very flexible depending on whether it is inside or out, how much space is allowed per vendor, and whether I only have tabletop area or can also use vertical racks. The below set up is in a conference room with limited space.  Not ideal but it worked. Behind the earrings you see several necklace and earring sets.  I use display busts to showcase pieces I think will get the most attention and the remaining sets are conveniently in the case they were transported in.  They are in hanging folders; easy for shoppers to look through.  If I had more space, setting more pieces out would take very little time. Simple to expand or condense the set up.

I realize the pictures aren't the best but I hope the visual helps; and I hope I have given you some ideas that will save you time and make events more fun and less work.

Your feedback and ideas are welcome.  As we share ideas we all benefit.