Thursday, August 30, 2012


I can't believe it's been 5 months since I started my health and wellness journey! I've been learning so much and I'm thrilled about the way I feel and the things I've accomplished. When I first started my resolution in April, I kicked it off with a health assessment to see where I was at and where I needed to improve. Luckily, my 9-5 has a stellar gym with lots of great resources, so I signed up for a health assessment and scheduled time with a personal trainer once a week.

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The assessment I took measures your cardiovascular health, strength, flexibility and body composition in order to produce a "body age". This age is based on your chronological age, as well as the results of the above categories. At the end of the assessment you are given your chronilogical age, your body age, and your obtainable body age. Here's a preview of the results of my first assessment in April:

* Cardiovascular Fitness ---> Ranking: MAX VO2 41.0 = Moderate
* Strength ---> Ranking: Poor
* Flexibility (sit and reach ranking) ---> Ranking: 12.5" = Poor
* Body Composition (measuring lean body mass and fat mass) ---> Ranking: Moderate
RESULTS: My Age: 23  |  Body Age: 27  |  Obtainable Body Age: 18

Yikes! My results really helped open my eyes to the fact that you can appear healthy on the outside but be terribly unhealthy on the inside. These results at first made me sad and then gave me a huge boost of motivation and encouragement that I was doing the right thing by making these changes in my life.

Starting in April, everything changed. I started working out with my trainer 1 time each week and then doing weights and cardio on my own 2-3 times each week. I changed my diet to include more veggies, fruit, and protein, and LESS processed foods, saturated fats, and sodas! My starting goals was to (1) eat breakfast (2) drink soda ONLY on the weekend or special occasion if I want to and (3) only have cheese at one meal rather than both. I started eating three meals each day plus snacks and educating myself on health and what's truly good for me to consume. It's been an amazing learning experience and I'm so excited to continue making new health resolutions and discover new good foods I can add to my diet.

My Biggest Learnings So Far:
1. If you make exercise and eating healthy a priority and a promise to yourself, you can do it. You're the only one holding yourself back.
2. Being healthy is not just for me, it's for my husband, my one-day children, and my future.
3. There are endless resources to equip you on knowledge about health. Along with making the commitment, it's important to seek education. My favorites have been this site, this book and this blog.
4. It's a lifestyle change, not a temporary goal.
5. It's ok to treat yourself, but make sure it's something you really want and you'll really enjoy...Don't eat unhealthy food out of convenience.

Goals Moving Forward:
1. Learn more about being gluten-free. I just found out that my husband is allergic to wheat! This would make such a difference in how he feels day-to-day and would be a great change for our home.
2. Read up more on incorporating more superfoods into our daily diet.
3. Look into juicing.
4. Try more healthy recipes. I've pinned a couple I'm dying to try!
5. Take yoga.

And SO, this week I took another assessment to see my progress since April. I was nervous, but confident, because I knew that my body has made some major changes and I've been feeling great. Here's a preview of my most recent results!

* Cardiovascular Fitness ---> Ranking: MAX VO2 41.0 = Moderate 
* Strength ---> Ranking: High Good
* Flexibility (sit and reach ranking) ---> Ranking: 13.5" = Fair
* Body Composition (measuring lean body mass and fat mass) ---> Ranking: Optimal 
RESULTS: My Age: 24  |  Body Age: 21  |  Obtainable Body Age: 18

Yeahhoo! Great results! It was so exciting to see how I've improved in my strength and body comp especially! I've gone from barely being able to push out 10 push ups to doing 34 in a row! I'm starting to see a lot more tone to my muscles and even though the progress is small, I still improved my flexibility. AND I went from a body age of 27 to 21!! 

Things to Improve:
* Cardio: I didn't see much progress in this area. I'm planning to add some more intense cardio to my workout to exercise my heart. This one is a big priority for me. 
* Flexibility: I used to be very flexible way back in my gymnastics days. I'd like to take more yoga classes and work on stretching. 

So excited to see progress and continue to feel motivation to improve and move forward with this lifestyle! I'm also always looking for great health resources, if you have any recommendations, I'd love it if you'd share! :)


1. Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hey, folks! I’m Anastajia - most people just call me Stajia, so we’ll go with that. I was born in beautiful Orange County and grew up in the Inland Empire, where I currently live - lets go So Cal!! Since graduating with my BA in studio art, I’ve been chasing my dream of being a full-time//fully-supporting artist. My independent business Caposhi /ka-paw-shee/ is where the magic happens!

2. What made you decide to start blogging?
I must admit, I’m not as much of a blogger as I used to be//would like to be. I think its mainly because I over-think what to write about! When I do manage to dream up a blog post, I tend to share things with my readers. Whether it's a new artist I love, a song from an artist I'm crushing on, a DIY, or a silly adventure story, my goal is always to share something personal and fun with my readers.

3. What are your favorite things to blog about? Favorite posts? 
I’m currently cycling through a major Pinterest obsession, so most recently, my favorite posts revolve around that. I love sharing new finds I’m drooling over, hoping my readers will too!

4. What are you favorite things to make for your shop?
My favorite thing to make is jewelry. I am a huge accessory buff, so jewelry is of course an absolute must! My current spring line is largely geometric, deceptively minimal and strikingly bold.  While the jewelry I make is constantly taking on new influences, I always look to include a delicate balance between new and old, masculine and feminine, and popular trends and unique perspectives.

My fall line, which I’m in the process of wrapping up, will feature subtle botanical hues paired against a warm desert vibe. I am seriously stoaked - should have new items up mid to late September! Woo!

5. What is your favorite pass-time? 
Taking it easssy! I love spending time with my fabulous friends, my wonderful boyfriend, and my two dog children: Penelope and Bigsby. (It’s embarrassing how much I love my dogs - they are seriously two of my very best friends!) I’m a total foodie, a thrift store junkie, and an avid photographer. I love doing new things and am always up for an adventure! Recent conquests include roller derby, firing huge guns at the shooting range, and knitting.

6. What is on your current wish-list? 
EVERYTHING from Nasty Galrecord playerroller skatesswiss army knifethis print, this print and this print.

7. Favorite blog reads?
For all things food ---> A Cozy Kitchen
For all things home ---> Design*Sponge
For entertaining inspiration ---> 100 Layer Cake
For design inspiration ---> Lovely Package
For everything else ---> Oh Joy Blog
And like 1000 more, but I cant really list evvvverything can I??

8. Favorite summertime song?
Don’t judge me - but I love that Call Me Maybe song by Carly Rae Jepsen... I can’t get it out of my head and I blast it EVERY time it comes on on the radio! Not my favorite summer song of ALL time, that distinction would hands down go to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but definitely my favorite summer song of 2012. (I found a wonderfully ridiculous metal cover of that song on youtube - def worth a watch//listen! Too funny!)

9. What's your favorite meal?
Only one?! I LOVE FOOD! Any and every kind of food - I could never choose just one meal to be my favorite. I think when it comes to food favorites I seek out quality ingredients, unique combinations, serious deliciousness, and a passionate cook. Any meal that meets that criteria is a favorite in my book - those are the meals you remember!

10. What inspires you?
I always push myself to find inspiration in the most seemingly ‘un-inspirational’ or overlooked places. Graffiti in a parking garage, nature creeping in on an abandoned building, disposable packaging. I also find a lot of inspiration in the created world around me - advertisements, products, print, that sort of thing. I’m also very tuned into fashion, street art, alternative culture, and nature - inspiration is everywhere!

Find Anastajia Here:  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest  |  Blog  |  Store

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Giveaway Time! 
Anastajia is giving away two pieces from her jewelry shop! A modern industrial necklace and a pair of metallic nugget earrings in gold or silver (winners choice!). One winner will be selected at random to receive some Caposhi of their very own. :)

Main Entry: Visit Anastajia's shop and comment letting me know what your favorite item is! Be sure to leave a contact email so you can be notified if you win.

Bonus Entries: (please leave one comment per bonus entry)
1. Like Caposhi on Facebook
2. Tweet about it! Win some beautiful @Caposhi jewelry on @Maiedae !

Best of luck!! And thank you, Stajia, for an awesome interview and giveaway!

UPDATE: Winner announced. Congrats #37, Adriana for winning the giveaway! Please email me at with your shipping information! :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


1// Sunglasses - Warby Parker ---> I purchased these prescription sunglasses from Warby Parker quite a few months ago and I love them. I've never owned a pair of prescription sunglasses before and since I don't wear contacts, sunglasses helped with the brightness, but I was still blind as a bat. :) I like the classy look of these frames.

2// Mustard Necklace ---> I can't remember where I got this...I've had it since college and I haven't worn it since college. I thought a pop of color would be cute with this peach dress, mustard and peach are an interesting combo eh?

3// Peach Collared Dress - H&M ---> I was helping my mom shop for work clothes for her birthday and this little gem was all by itself on a rack in my size. I use to shy away from such light toned clothing, but I love that way it compliments my fair skin and contrasts with my red hair. It's got the perfect little skirt swing and will be great for layering in Fall.

4// Lace Knee Socks - Urban Outfitters ---> I'm an extremely cold natured person, so I usually like to have my arms and//or legs covered. These knee socks are light and super cute paired with dresses.

5// Oxford's - Urban Outfitters ---> A great pair of staple shoes for any wardrobe. They can be dressed up and down, and this camel color goes with so many different color combinations.

6// Glitz Ring - Forever21 ---> Love a little touch of sparkle.

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Looking forward to the cool breezes of fall. I'm ready to start layering again! Spending time with husband tonight. It's been a long week so far...time to relax and mentally prepare myself for two months of work travel starting next week!

Monday, August 27, 2012


This past week has been filled to the brim with design work at my 9-5. I'm designing and developing an iPad eBook for a huge event coming up. I've loved experiencing and working through this new project. From storyboarding it at the very beginning, to the photography, design, and finally seeing it all put together. I can't wait to see the reaction from the viewers. I love design. Everything about it. If I'm doing design my whole life, I'm in a good place. That and being a wife...and a friend. That's some good stuff. :)

This weekend was spent working on one of my favorite things: Maiedae. Jenny and I met with a fantastic lady who is doing some marketing and PR work for us. I'll be sure to introduce her, as well as the whole Maiedae team to you soon. They are pretty spectacular. :) After our marketing meeting on Saturday morning, Jenny and I spent the day taking pictures, working on projects for a new post series, talking about the future, and having a lunch date at Panera. On Sunday, Jon and I spent some time with my family and then wrapped up our evening with good, good fellowship. Having time to open up your heart to others and talk about the important things is so, so good for the soul.

Snapshot(s) of the Week: 1// Time with this beautiful lady.

5 Favorite Posts:
* The Secret's Out! by Elise Blaha
* House Planning: Kitchen Dreaming by Making Nice in the Midwest
* Cotton & Leather Purse DIY by A Beautiful Mess
* Big Time Giveaway by DesignLoveFest
* Inspirational Board: Autumnal by MooreaSeal

Favorite Blog of the Week:
* A Pair of Pears - Such a cute blog. This is a new, to me, blog find and I love it! Inspirational posts and a well designed space.

Inspiring Me this Week:
* This book! - I pre-ordered it on Sunday and I can't wait to get it next month!

3 Things About Yours Truly: 
* One of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was make short films starring my little brother and sister.
* Teaching myself how to use Spotify. I used to be VERY into keeping up with music and new artists, I miss music and am looking forward to exploring again. If you're ever looking for some incredible tunes from some impeccable taste, I suggest Kelly Ann's Music Mondays. So good! :)
* Speaking of music, I haven't been to a concert in forever. Making a mental list of my must-sees and making it a goal to do some concert going in 2013! Any takers?

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Summer is ending and fall is beginning! If you'd like to advertise your blog or business during the month of September on Maiedae, hop on board and email my lovely ad manager, Leah at and she'll get you all set up! You can check out the sponsor rates and sizes by visiting my ad page here. All medium sponsor spots have the opportunity to be featured in a monthly sponsor post like this one or this one. :)

Giveaway Time!
Win a medium ad spot for the month of September! Within the week, I will select and announce a winner!   

Here's all you have to do: 
Main Entry: Leave your name and link to your blog//business that you would like to advertise! 

Bonus Entries (please leave one comment per bonus entry):
1. Follow Maiedae via GFC (on the left).
2. Follow Maiedae via Bloglovin.
3. Like Maiedae on Facebook.
4. Tweet about it! @Maiedae is giving away a free medium ad space during the month of September!!

Best of luck!! And I hope you've had a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Stress is a real and serious part of life. It loves sneaking in when you least expect it and totally twerking you out. Some people deal with stress emotionally and some manifest it physically. There are phases of life where all we feel is stress and there are times when all we hear is the ocean waves crashing at the shore, the laughter of our close friends, and the weight of the world taking a break from our shoulders.

Stress can be tricky. You can be under loads of stress and not even realize it until you're so mentally and physically worn down you have to call in sick...or you just don't have the umph to do what you love anymore. Stress can cause burnout, sickness...wrinkles! It's a nasty thing. SO, how do we maintain the stress in our lives? How do we recognize when it's taking up residence and kick it to the curb before we're overcome? While I'm NOT an expert and have definitely been dealing and fighting off my fair share of stress, especially recently, I've come across some learnings that are great to get yourself back on track and work toward balancing stress levels in life.
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1. What Are Your Stressors? ---> One of the biggest ways to eliminate stress is to recognize what's stressing you out! Spend time with yourself or with a trusted friend to talk through your stress and pinpoint the things that are causing anxiety. Once you recognize those stressors, talk through ideas on how to eliminate them.

2. Don't Stop Taking Care of Yourself. ---> Out of all of the advice I can offer, this one is the biggest! Don't stop doing the things you need to do in order to care for yourself. Make sure you are getting PLENTY of sleep, eating healthy, exercising, showering, dressing yourself up, doing your chores. Keep yourself and your surroundings in a good place. This will give you the energy you need to fight off stress and pull yourself together. It will also help ward off any sickness that stress can cause.

3. Take a Break. ---> Sometimes stress is your body's way of saying, "Enough already! Let's rest!". Even if you have an endless to-do list, set aside some time to decompress, do something that makes you feel refreshed and peaceful. Give yourself a set amount of time, allow yourself to enjoy that time and then get back to getting the things done that you need to. If you don't listen to your body's warning signs, you can get caught up in some major burnout.

4. Step Back & Reorganize. ---> Stress can come from chaos or not having a full understanding of something. Take a step back from your stressor and consider ways it could be better understood and organized. Maybe you're entire home is a mess and your need an inspirational space to move forward? Take some time to clean, get yourself in a good place and approach your stressor from a new angle.

5. Break it Down Step-by-Step. ---> If your stress is related to a project or certain action item, break it down step-by-step. Make lists, schedules, and delegate what you can. If you don't have to own the entire project, request help from others. What do you really need to accomplish now and what can you schedule for another time?

6. Meditate//Pray. ---> Get your mindset in the right place. Spend time in quiet, praying or meditating. Don't let your mind spin out of control with stressful emotions and thoughts. Get ahold of yourself and encourage yourself with uplifting words.

Meditation is the Best Tool to Fight Stress
Why Stress Management is Important for your Health

What are some of your helpful tips and resources on maintaining stress? Please share below!

Friday, August 24, 2012


Summer is almost at an official end. I can't believe how quickly time passes year after year. It was a beautiful summer, filled with wonderful memories. I AM, however, very much looking forward to the fall. My favorite seasons are the in-between seasons. :)

To commemorate the end of summer, I asked my sponsors to share one of their favorite summertime snapshots and memories:
FIND ALEX HERE: Blog & Twitter
FIND AMANDA HERE: Blog & Twitter
FIND BEKAH HERE: The Sling Diaries & On My Mind
FIND J HERE: Blog & Facebook
FIND KATE HERE: Blog & Instagram
FIND KESSLER HERE: Shop & Pinterest
FIND LEAH HERE: Blog & Twitter
FIND MADDIE HERE: Blog & Facebook
FIND MADDIE HERE: Blog & Facebook
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What beautiful faces and wonderful memories! I've had an amazing group of sponsors this month. I encourage you to take a look around their internet homes and get to know them more! AND I would love to hear your favorite summertime memories. Feel free to share in the comments below. :)

PS -- The winner of the My Life in Lavender ring set giveaway is #13, Rockster! Congratulations! Please email me at with your shipping info and we'll have your prize sent to you right away!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I'm a huge fan of make-up. I really started enjoying all of the fun colors and variety during my senior year in high-school and got more and more into it during college. If you knew me in college, you might have noticed me for my sometimes wild eye make-up. That was the time I discovered the wonder of Urban Decay make-up-- my most favorite brand--and began wearing all of their fantastic colors. I LOVED color and still do, but after graduation, my style started going towards a more grown up look and I started loving the look of neutrals with pops of lip color.

I have a huge collection of make-up, especially eye shadow from Urban Decay. Although I don't wear 3/4th of the colors I have, I don't think I could part with my collection. ;) While learning about make-up and trying as many different types as I could get my hands on, I came across some of my most favorite products, and in my opinion some of the best around! Here is a peek into my make-up bag favorites and must haves!

1// Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer - THIS is my all-time favorite product. I started using primer potion in college and haven't stopped. Urban makes an incredible potion and each bottle usually lasts me anywhere around 4 months. I dab a little on my eye lids after applying foundation and before applying any eye make-up. Not only goes it help make shadow pigments richer, but it keeps your eye make-up on FOREVER. It doesn't crease and it looks beautiful all day. I love this stuff and highly recommend it. Worth every penny.

2// L'Oreal Telescopic Liquid Eye-Liner - I've always been a huge fan of liquid liner. It took a lot of practice at first to get it right, but I love the rich solid look liquid liner gives. When I wear liquid, I usually do a cat eye look and this really helps me be precise. I like this brand because it stays better than most other brands I've tried and it lasts for a long time without getting gloppy.

3// Urban Decay Super Saturated High-Gloss Lip Color - If you are looking for a pop of color on your lips, this stuff is great and bright! I have it in F-Bomb and really love the bright red shade. It has a lot of moisture in it and feels really good on. I don't usually recommend Urban's lip color, but these are great!

4// Bare Minerals Foundation - I started using Bare Minerals later in college and LOVE it. Before that, I never wore any type of foundation because I struggled a lot with acne and didn't want to clog my pores. I would only wear concealer. I started wearing the matte foundation and mineral veil and love how light it feels. It also has great coverage and hasn't clogged my pores.

5// Urban Decay Naked Eye Palette - Out of all the Urban eye palette's I own, this one is by far the very best. Especially if you like natural and sun-kissed colors. This palette set is perfect and I've used it everyday for almost a year. I personally think Urban has the best eyeshadows ever on the face of the planet, but they really outdid themselves with this one. I don't have Naked II, but I might try that one out once I finish this one!

6// Essie Nail Polish in Lollipop - I recently started using Essie this year and have really loved the quality of the nail polish, as well as their selection of unique colors. I purchased Lollipop a few months ago and it's been my go-to nail color ever since. It's the perfect bright red color for a classic look.

7// Maybelline Great Lash - Always. This is my most trusted brand of mascara. It always works great and gives great length to my lashes. I've tried TONS of mascara's and I always go back to this brand.

8// American Apparel Nail Lacquer in Mannequin - American Apparel is my second most favorite brand of nail polish. This lovely nude color is beautiful and one of my favorites.

9// Poppy King for J. Crew Lip Color - A dear friend of mine gave this lipstick to me as a gift recently and I love it. It's a great lipstick and a beautiful color. I love a bright lips and this matted color is gorgeous.

10// Kat Von D Eye Brushes - Quality brushes are just as important as quality make-up! This eye brush set is marvelous and has a great variety of sizes to really contour and shade your eyes.

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What are your favorite make-up recommendations?? I'm still on the hunt for the perfect blush, gel liner, lip stain, and face brushes if you have any suggestions!

Monday, August 20, 2012


This weekend was spent with my sister-in-law, her husband and our new little niece Emerson. Jon and I were able to spend time with Emmie when she was first born, but we hadn't seen her in 7 weeks. She's grown so much! She's so beautiful, smiley, and looks so much like both of her parents. I love her heaps and heaps already. I can't wait to shower her with gifts and do fun aunty stuff with her as she grows up. :)

It's so special to share this time with them and their new growing family. Jon and I love taking opportunities to get away for the weekend and take a break. I can't wait to see little Emmie again next month!

Sunday was a special night, because I got together with some special ladies for some good fellowship. I even made these cookies for the occasion! I'm not much of a baker//cooker, so this is a pretty big deal. ;)

Snapshot(s) of the Week: 1// Mint ice cream will always be a favorite. 2// Reading my favorite magazine before bedtime. 3// Dinner celebrating at Yeah Burger with my family. 4// Homemade dark chocolate, pistachio, and sea salt cookies. Yum!

5 Favorite Posts:
* What I Heart Right Now: Morganite by Madalynne
* Real Review: Good Looks App by Creature Comforts
* 5 Healthy Breakfast Ideas to Start Your Day by MindBodyGreen
* Here We Go: Following Blogs by Show & Tell
* The Perfect Bite: French Breakfast Donuts by Camille Styles

Favorite Blog of the Week:
Moorea Seal - I had the pleasure of meeting Moorea during a visit to Seattle late last year. She is a truly talented lady who makes stunning jewelry. Her blog is always beautifully put together with inspiring posts. :)

Inspiring Me this Week:
This lady - She is about to publish her first book in two weeks!! I'm so excited for her and I can't wait to read her work!!

3 Things About Yours Truly:
* I've been listening to this song over and over and over again.
* I miss the days of exploring in the woods as a kid. The carefree life. :)
* Jon and I spent most of the car ride home from South Carolina talking about marriage and ways we would like to grow.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


One of the things I really wanted to do while taking on the adventure of decorating our condo, was DIY projects. I've seen so many affordable, creative projects and I thought it would be a good way to grow in my crafting skills and experience in making things. When planning the decorations for our dining room, my original plan for the curtain rod was this piece from West Elm. I loved the industrial, sleek feel and thought it would fit in perfectly with our motif.

After a suggestion from my friend Jenny and encouragement from Jon, we decided to save money and build our own! The way this project turned out was exactly what I pictured. It has a very authentic, industrial look and is more of a statement then the original designer rods from West Elm. We also saved a little over $40.00 building these ourselves!

S U P P L I E S   N E E D E D
 * Two 3/4" wall/floor flanges
 * One 3/4" coupler
 * Two 3/4" elbow joints
 * Two 3/4" steel pipes in the length of your preference
 * Two 48" steel pipes 3/4" in diameter
 * Curtain panels
* Wall screws (be sure to include wall anchors if you're not directly screwing into a stud)

S T E P - B Y - S T E P
1. Attach the two 48" steel pipes to the coupler, putting one on each side.
2. Attach the elbow joints to the ends of the steel pipes making sure they are parallel with each other.
3. Once you've connected the pipes with the coupler and added the below joints, put on your curtain panels.
4. Attach the short steel pipes and wall flanges to the ends of each side. All of your pieces should be on at this point.
5. With a helper, hold the curtain rod in place, making sure it's level and at the correct height. Mark where you want it by putting pencil marks on the wall through each of the holes of the wall flanges.
6. Use wall screws to secure it to the wall.

D I Y  T I P S
* When purchasing your steel pieces, make sure the diameter of each piece is the same.
* Since this is a heavier rod, make sure you are either screwing into a wall stud or using anchors.
* I only have two curtain panels right now, but plan to add two more to make the window look more full. I would preplan this since it's difficult to take the rod off the wall once you put it up.

T O T A L   T I M E  &   C O S T
Time: 45 minutes
Cost: $60.00 (not including curtain panels)

I love how this turned out! It's our first DIY for the condo and I'm looking forward to doing more!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Hi! I’m L.M. Sherwin and I’m in the process of self-publishing my first book! I work full-time from home as a novelist, writing blogger, and as Maiedae’s Administrative Maven, Ad Manager, and Chief Editor. My days are full of doing the things I love. About a year and a half ago, I was in the middle of a job I absolutely hated and all I thought about were the stories in my head and becoming an author. My husband encouraged me to pursue my life dreams of becoming a full-time novelist, so I did! I was able to leave my job at the end of May and I started working as hard as I could on my novels and Maiedae work from home. It hasn’t been an easy road, but I’ve certainly learned a lot about turning your dreams into manageable, accomplishable goals! I’m here today to share with you 5 things I’ve learned about dreaming, setting goals, and achieving them.

1. Turn your dreams into bite-size pieces. --->  Life is busy and hard. Instead of keeping your head up in the clouds and dreaming about all of the amazing things you’d like to do, bring those suckers down to the ground and do something about them! My dream since early childhood has been to become a published, full-time author. I wrote stories my entire life, but only during the early days of my marriage did I take my dream seriously and begin to make goals for myself. My husband challenged me to write an hour a day. I took his challenge and I made it happen, even with a day-job and domestic responsibilities. With the exception of horrible sick days or family emergencies, I wrote every single day for an hour. That doesn’t seem like much, but in one year, I wrote four manuscripts—three novels and one novella. After I had established the habit, my dream had become a goal—to write books and pursue publishing. After a year of hard work, my dreams finally looked as though they might come true!

2. Excuses and emergencies are not the same thing. ---> When you begin to set goals for yourself, life will somehow wind its way into your priorities and make your goals seem impossible to accomplish. However, if you want to achieve your dreams, your goals MUST be a priority in your life. If you are tired one night, that is not an excuse; get your butt up and work on your goals! If a family emergency comes up, cut yourself some slack. I am a tad bit obsessive and it was hard for me, at first, to accept that sometimes life happens and you HAVE to take a break from your dreams. Usually, though it’s only for 1-2 days. Learn how to distinguish between something that takes precedent over your goal work and something that is just your mind talking you out of pursuing your dream. We get sick, we get tired. But if you can function normally, don’t make your tiredness or sicknesses an excuse to avoid working on your dream. If it’s not an emergency, don’t let it interfere with your goal work schedule!

3. Communicate to your family and friends how important your dreams are. ---> One of the best ways to communicate your dreams to your family is to follow the first two items above, but if you are already doing those things, more might be required. Most people are won over by displays of discipline and commitment. If you have turned your dreams into goals and are making them a priority in your life, most likely your family and friends will be on board. However, if you want to leave a day-job in order to pursue your dreams, it might take a little extra communication. Discuss your plans with your loved ones and talk about how important they are to you. Sometimes, it can be difficult to make your dreams achievable when you are in committed relationships with other people, but if it is that important to you, you’ll talk about your needs with your loved ones and they’ll honor you.

4. Start doing creative cross training. ---> I have spoken about this on my own blog before, but one thing I believe in very strongly is creative cross training. If your dream is creative in nature and you have made goals to achieve it, you need to be engaging in creative cross training. This involves fostering your inner imagination and creativity by participating in activities outside of your passion. Because I am a writer, it is of the utmost importance that I take adequate time outside of my work to read, craft, draw, paint, and do other activities that keep my creative mind stimulated. Just like the muscles of our body get used to one activity, your dreams and goals can cause your brain to get stuck in a rut. You can’t stop pursuing your goals, but you can do other activities that can help your brain experience new things of the same creative variety. This will keep your mind and imagination fresh and active so that you can approach your goals with energy and vigor every day! Find some other hobbies that are of the same feeling as your primary goal activity and jump in!

5. Reward Yourself. ---> Many people operate in their lives without treating themselves with care and love. If you have turned your dreams into goals and have been working hard on achieving them, you need to take care of yourself along the way. Those of you out there who have been on this road a while know how tough it can be to keep motivated when you get tired and burnt out. One of the best ways to keep yourself motivated and healthy is to provide yourself with realistic rewards along the way and big rewards when you accomplish a goal. One thing I like to do to make sure I am productive each day is to use mini-breaks as rewards. For instance, I’ll write 1 page and then get to check social media for a minute or two. Then, I’ll write another page, etc. That way, I am being productive, but I am rewarding myself for my work. When I publish my first book (in the next two months!!!), I will be treating myself to a HUGE reward of some sort. I’m not really sure what I’ll choose, but I will definitely be rewarding myself for all of my hard work. You should do the same. Accomplishing goals is a very big deal. Treat yourself like it is.

Thanks for reading my 5 things! I hope they were of help to you in your journey. Also, thank you so much, Savannah, for having me as a guest on your blog today! I appreciate Maiedae so much and everything it stands for!

Find Leah Here:  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter | Goodreads

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Call for 5 Things contributors! -- If you have great advice to contribute about blogging, running a small business, staying inspired, setting goals, or staying organized, please contact me at about being featured in a 5 Things post. :) 

Leah is an amazing writer and an invaluable contribution to a lot of the work that goes on behind Maiedae. Thank you, Leah, for your wonderful advice!!