Friday, January 1, 2016

Launched the New Blog Today with a Welcome Video! This is the Last Post on this Blog (for real this time)!

Hello everyone, and Happy New Year! 

Today I am excited to announce I have launched a brand new blog for Hexotica. I wanted to do something special for it so I made my first ever video for the very first post! In it I introduce myself, talk about what I do, and the types of things I'll be blogging about and how it will be different from this one. 

Having a self-hosted blog has been a goal of mine for a number of years, but I wasn't sure I wanted to pursue it unless I knew I was able to dedicate the time it requires to make it worthwhile. I recently became single again, sadly, so I now have not only the time to craft the posts and be involved in the wonderful community again, but I also have the time (and space) to pursue heaps of DIY projects that I can share on my blog!

So come on over to and leave a link to your own blog in the comments of my first post so that I know who you are and where to find you. I can't wait to get re-acquainted with some of you or meet you for the first time if I haven't before!

See you at:

Good-bye Blogspot!  It's been fun!


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

1 - Why Daily Habits Are Everything

"We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

Following countdown post #2 on how to make New Years Resolutions you can keep, here's a re-post of an article I wrote years ago shortly on the tail of reading an excellent book on the power of good daily habit-forming. Read through, then read my post-note on what I have learned since about how to make and keep good daily habits. 

"Is anything more important to us personally than having good daily habits? I use to not understand how important the little things I do can result in the larger outcomes of my life. As I've grown older, and especially since starting my business, I've gained a deeper and deeper respect and connection to what I call the rituals of daily living. Most of us know what a good habit is, but we don't take the conscious steps to implement the habit, and we don't have a strong enough desire to connect us to committing ourselves to it on a daily basis.

Over the years I have pulled myself together more and more, mostly due to being an avid reader of self-help books that have taught me how. One of the most interesting things I've ever read about habits is that we do 95% of what we do out of habits that require no thinking, no energy, and no strong desire of self-overcoming; these are our ingrained habits. The other 5% of what we do has to be focused, conscious, and takes energy. A new habit is part of this 5% and it must be repeated for at least 30 days in order to become part of the easy 95%. That is why we should only take on ONE new habit a time, be it a new exercise regime, a healthier breakfast choice, a household chore or a thing to try to remember everyday. These are a few of my good habits that have taken me months to master as a simple part of my daily routine:

A healthy breakfast followed by vitamins. 
I follow the old adage, "Eat breakfast like a queen, lunch like a peasant, and dinner like a pauper." It does not mean you should feast at breakfast, but that what you start your day with should be high-quality, high-energy, and delicious (so you will want it every morning).

Taking 20 to 30 minutes out of the day to meditate. I light a stick of incense before I begin. I do either Japa meditation, which is focused creative visualization with chakra awareness and chanting, or Vipassana meditation, which is the complete clearing of the mind, complete silence of the inner dialogue, and complete stillness (not even a wriggling of your big toe). It can lasts hours if you get into it, and is absolutely mind-blowing if you can actually achieve it for an extended period of time. I have achieved it in the true state once in all my years of meditation. It was like being conscious while being asleep, with a feeling of immense space, lightness, and pure emotion. I was terrified that my heart had stopped.
At first I did not think I got much out of my practice of stillness. Yet, after stopping for a few weeks, I noticed how cluttered my mind was getting, with restlessness at night, impatience, and lack of fortitude in handling all the stresses of life. Meditation brings calmness, pure and simple. It gives balance to the chaotic nature of our lives. It is not easy being still, and it is downright hard to really quiet your mind, but it is worth practicing. You will notice a big difference in your mental health and in your ability to cope with life. There is nothing to it. Just sit and be still.

I do 45 minutes of yoga to a DVD in my lounge. Not everyday, but most days when I know I won't have time for an aerobic work out later in the day, or when I am sore and achy for whatever reason. I have tried many other DVDs, but this Kabbalah Yoga is my favorite (the least annoying instructor and music really!).  Yoga is such a gentle, easy way to stay toned and flexible, and I love being able to do it in my own home. I always feel more energetic and alert for the day after I do it.

Working rituals! The same United States Army study that discovered the percent requirements of forming new habits from above also discovered that we work best in 90 minute periods. After 90 minutes, we must have at least a 5 minute break doing something relaxing. A tea break, a walk around the office building, or (for me) reading blogs! I do all my work in 90 minute blocks throughout the day. I force myself to not get distracted until that 90 minutes is up (I set alarms), then I reward myself if I've been good. I feel extremely productive working this way, and I I stay energized and alert much more than if I slog through for hours on end."

2015 Post-note:

I'm happy to say that today, in 2015, nearly seven years later, I still very much follow this system for making and keeping a new habit, and for working effectively. As mentioned in my last post, there's a great app for keeping up with daily habits called Habit Streak to help you keep track of good habits and stay motivated to beat your best number of days in a row you've achieved them. 

One thing I stand by:

  • Nothing helps my ability to focus than frequent meditation. It also helps me to be a calmer, happier person in general. It's a habit I hope to get back on top of in 2016, as I definitely did not do enough of it in 2015. 
One thing I've changed entirely:
  • It's actually better to eat a very light meal in the morning and have the heaviest meal at night. This is something I started doing after reading Kimberly Synder's The Beauty Detox Solution' , which is followed by many celebrities including Dita von Teese, whom I heard about it from in an interview. It makes much more sense: eat less and feel lighter in the morning, with less energy being used to digest food, then eat a larger meal at night and allow your body to have the whole night to digest the food when you don't need to exert yourself on anything. I found it also worked better for socializing, which is often around meals in the evening, at places where you want to enjoy a bigger meal. 

It's my belief that success in any area of life is more about achieving little, daily steps than it is about achieving only the larger, yearly ones we set for ourselves. This coming new year, why not focus more on making great daily habits to achieve goals? ;)


Christine xoxo

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2 - 10 Steps to Resolutions You Can Keep

If you fail to reach your New Year’s Resolutions each year, you’re probably not setting them up in the best way from the start. Learn how here!

I’ve studied many ways to set goals in a way that makes them realistic and achievable over the years, and this post, written in 2010 and re-posted here as part of my countdown to a new blog launch on New Year’s Day, sums up the best methods to setting goals most effectively for actually achieving them. Read through these 10 steps to making resolutions you can keep, then see my postnote at the end to hear the few tweaks and changes I've made in setting my goals since I wrote this post.  

"Are you a goal-setter or a wishy-washy person? You might be someone who does at least know what she wants, and maybe you even write out your goals each year, but if you have found that you never achieve half of your goals then I have some tips for you.

I have become, to use the term of one of the most hilarious blogger I follow, "batshit insane" about writing down my resolutions each year. I use to be a hopeless daydreamer with wishy-washy, vague ideas about what I wanted to do, have, and achieve in life. Now I am one of the most focused people I know!
I changed when I started reading books on money. All money books, unexpectedly, will begin with having you think about your values and writing down your goals. You cannot become a saver or properly manage your money if you do not have values invested in your goals to save, spend less, or make more money. Your values are the keys to understanding what motivates you and what you care enough about that will make you able to really push yourself. So:
    1. Start off by asking yourself what it is that you care most about in your life; what are your core values? An example of some values might be: freedom (a big one for me), security, confidence/pride, happiness/peace-of-mind, health, or helping others. This step can take some thinking to work out, but it is crucial.

    2. Jot down all the things that you would like to accomplish. Decide then what your top 5 will be for the year. If the goals are small and can be achieved in one act, write them down after the top 5 goals that will take a more continuous effort, such as losing weight, saving money for a vacation/car/new hot pair of boots. The big goals are the ones that need your focus. Because I'm a goal nut, I have four categories of top-5 goals: business, personal, financial, and health and fitness.  
   3. Draw out a chart with 5 rows and 7 columns horizontally on a piece of A4 copy paper.

Don't write your goals on a piece of shitty loose-leaf paper or a tiny notebook that you'll lose within a month! This paper is like a map your going to unfold frequently to find your way. It's got to endure.

     4. On the left side, write your 5 goals in a simple infinitive  statement, for example, "To save $600".  

     5. In the next column, write your goals using the SMART method. I came across this one in David Bach's 'Smart Women Finish Rich' and I love it. Unless a goal is SMART, it's unlikely to be achieved. All goals must be:
    • SPECIFIC- Write "lose 10 pounds by exercising 3 times a week and cutting out more carbs", not "lose weight". Vague goals get vague results!
    • MEASURABLE- Anything can be measured. Last year I wanted to "exercise more", "eat 50% raw food", and "meditate more" so I counted each and every day I exercised, meditated, and ate mostly raw food in my daily planner (Told you I was batshit insane). My goal was to do each about 20 times a month, or 240 times in a year. Now I have the more realistic figures from last year to improve upon this year.
    • ACHIEVABLE-An attainable goal is one that can be proven at the end of the year. For example, if I wrote that I wanted "100% positive feedback in my Ebay and Etsy stores", I could break my back (and sense of pride) to try to get that in all manner of supplication and humiliation but it's next to impossible to make every customer perfectly happy. A lot of people have permanent rain clouds over their heads and will never be pleased. An attainable goal is a measurable aim, such as 95% positive feedback, not a vain grasp at perfection.
    • REALISTIC- I once asked an ex what his goals were and he spent a long time on them only to give me such fantasies such as "Own an old castle like in the movie 'Edward Scissorhands' and 'Have a black luxury limo and a hot female driver to drive me everywhere'. While it is fun to indulge in what I call my "unlimited dream goals", such goals are not realistic and will set you up for chronic disappointment. An achievable goal is within your means now, as in you can take the first step to really make it start happening today. Sure, you could buy a lotto ticket everyday and hope for the best, but you'd be better off buying shares and making a 5 to 10 year plan for gaining riches, as that is based more on your own efforts rather than vain, externalized hopes.
    • TIMELY- A well-written goal will have both a scheduled time to work on it and a deadline attached to it. Studies have shown that allotting time in which to work on something is one of the most important steps to it actually getting done. One of my failed goals this year was to organize all my photographs, and the reason why I failed is that I never scheduled in the time in which to do it. This year all my goals will have scheduled times: sewing projects the second Sunday of every month; exercise every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning; etc.
    So, an example of a SMART goal would be: "I will have a photoshoot in January, designed and made the ad in February, and publish it in March".

          6. In the next column write what immediate daily actions to take to achieve your goals. These  are   the step-by step plans and strategies to achieving the goal. For losing weight, it might be to buy a few low-fat  cookbooks, then to stock the kitchen with the ingredients for a few of the recipes, then to measure and weigh yourself so that you can check your progress at the end of each month.

         7. Write in the values attached to the goal in the next column. There may be more than one, but there shouldn't be many. For my saving goals, I usually write, "sense of security". Re-reading your values will keep you motivated.

         8. In the next column write down the challenges you may face. It is a good idea to think about your weaknesses and the things that may stand in the way of achieving your goal. Challenges can also be time constraints, bad habits, people, pets, mental disorders, anything.

         9. This way you can make strategies in order to deal with the threats.Write these down in the next column. For losing weight, for example, heavy drinking party friends and too many social obligations around drinking might be a considerable temptation. Look up the calories of different types of drinks to find low-cal drinks that you like. I went out and bought a bottle of vodka and soda to have in the house so I'm not tempted to drink the heavy-cal ciders my man is always bringing home.

        10. Lastly, write down your support and inspiration network. Telling friends and family what your goals are is a huge factor to getting the support and inner saving-face motivation you need. I plan to blog about the 9 day detox I'm planning to do this month. (Hehehehe, that will be fun...)
    Your support can come from people you know, a group, or even online. Inspiration can be anything: maybe you are inspired to lose weight so you can fit into a stunning dress, or perhaps it's someone you read about, a celebutard, someone you are competing with, or perhaps someone you really want to bonk! Many of my inspirations are the successful designers I admire and read about, like Tarina Tarantino. 
    When you are finished with writing down your SMART goals, put them in a safe and accessible place that you'll come across often, such as in front of you at your computer desk (like mine), nightstand drawer, or even taped inside your closet door or bathroom cabinet. It is very important that you read your goals repeatedly, as often as you can. I spend nearly a few hours working on my goals every two or three months. I assess which ones I'm getting somewhere with, schedule time to work on others, and occasionally change or tweak the ones I find I don't really care about after all. I break my yearly goals down into monthly, weekly, and daily to-do lists. I have found that breaking big goals down into tiny steps is the most effective way for me to achieve the goal, feel good about myself on a daily basis, and stay focused on what needs to be done and when. I can really push myself when I make my own deadlines or try to beat my previous month's progress. Finally, If you really want something, there is also the creative visualization method, but that is for another post!"

    2015 Post-notes:

    • The biggest change to how I set my goals from what I wrote here back in 2010 is that I now focus much more on only 3-month goals than yearly goals. A year is just too far away to plan around--so many things can happen that can throw you off a path--but 3 months is very graspable, and it makes the individual steps to achieving the goal a lot more urgent. It's also a method highly encouraged by productivity master, podcaster, and author Tim Ferriss, who's a bit of a man-crush of mine these days. 
    • The biggest thing that I've stuck with and swear by is the daily measuring of good habits. I have a record of how many times I have meditated/exercised/had a raw food day---since 2010! I've thrown out some habits and added others, but these basics have stayed the same. I discovered some great apps to keeping track of daily habits too-- try Habit Streak. It's a lot of fun because it allows you to see the longest 'streak' of good daily habits, and encourages you to keep making longer and longer 'streaks'. Eventually, you no longer need the app because the activity becomes a habit you no longer need to think about! The same developer also makes apps to keep track of activities you may want to do only a few times each week, or only on certain days. In my next post, countdown post #2, I will go into more detail about the importance of making good daily habits and how to best make them. 
    Happy 2016 goal setting! Make it your most productive, successful year yet. 


    Christine xoxo