Archive of ‘Books’ category

2015 2nd Quarter Goal Review

We are officially half way (plus a week) through 2015! How did that happen?! I found my 1st Quarter Goal Review post to be helpful as I was reflecting on my 2015 goals several months ago, so I wanted to share my progress through the 2nd quarter of this year as well.

My overarching goals for 2015 are listed first and if you click them, you can read my original posts that outlined the mini goals I would be pursuing over the course of the year. The “successes” and “areas of improvement” listed below focus specifically on my progress in April, May and June. 

Sunflower Paperie blog 2nd Quarter Goals

2015 Goals:

1. Growing my business

2nd Quarter Successes: I collaborated with one of my favorite bloggers, Tina from Carrots ‘n’ Cake for her sons 1st birthday party. This collaboration helped drive some traffic to my shop, plus Tina was super fun to partner with! I also launched a new “Party in a Box” line of products.

Areas of improvement: I am at a point with my business that I get enough orders to stay busy (which is awesome!), but it also means that it is tricky to carve out time to develop new products. Starting a digital product line has been at the top of my “to do” list all year. I have several items started, but I need to focus on finishing and launching them. I also need to start consistently sending out and promoting my “weekly” newsletter. Sadly, these last two items are identical to what I wrote in my 1st quarter review. My first digital product is slated to launch this week (!!!) and then I am going to focus on finishing and launching several other digital products that are almost complete by the end of July. Hold me to this, o.k.?! 😉

2. Getting healthy / taking care of myself

2nd Quarter Successes: Weighing in here weekly. Although now that I am looking back, I realize, with the exception of June, I only weighed in monthly this quarter (eek!). Let’s call this a half success.

Areas of improvement: Making sure I weigh-in here weekly, the accountability and reflection does help me (even if I am not always posting losses). I also need to stick with my low carb eating. The summer heat makes it difficult to get outside for exercise, so I need to come up with a new indoor plan to get more activity into my days. My current “mini-goal” is to lose 20 pounds by mid-August (I set this goal in June and am currently on track to do this.).

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2015 1st Quarter Goal Review

Hello friend! Can you believe that the first 3 months of 2015 have already passed? I want to take this chance to look back and see what progress I have made towards my 2015 Goals so far (and to look at what I need to focus on over the next 3 months).

A quick note before I dive in… My overarching goals for 2015 are listed first and if you click them, you can read my original posts that outlined the mini goals I would be pursuing. The “successes” and “areas of improvements” sections are my recaps of the progress made towards my mini goals.

Sunflower Paperie blog 2015 goal review

2015 Goals:

1. Growing my business

Successes: Product feature on Sage Grayson Coaching and participating in the Bonnie Christine Ribbon Tour. I feel like both of these items helped me reach new audiences and I loved getting to work with other creative entrepreneurs. I have also been posting regularly here, so I am happy with the community that is developing in this space.

Areas of improvement: Starting a digital product line has been at the top of my “to do” list all year. I have several items started, but I need to focus on finishing and launching them. I also need to start consistently sending out and promoting my “weekly” newsletter.

2. Getting healthy / taking care of myself

Successes: Weighing in here weekly.

Areas of improvement: Well, basically everything. I have been weighing in here each week, but I haven’t made my health / wellness a priority (thus I haven’t seen any results!). I have a whole list of excuses that I could share, but the bottom line is that I need to get focused (and stop making excuses, haha). I have been thinking of some additional tracking tools that will help me focus and plan to share those with you next week.

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Creative Spotlight – Jay Budgett

I am SO excited to share the second installment of my Creative Spotlight series with you today! If I have said it once, I will say it a million times, college students are the BEST population to work with on a daily basis! Today’s interviewee is just another example of why I love working with college students so much. 

Jay Budgett is a full-time student AND a published author! I met him a little over a year ago and when I started this blog series, I knew I wanted to feature him. While I love reading, I typically wait to read a series until all the books have been published (waiting for the next book is SO hard!). However, I had to make an exception with Jay’s 1st book, The Indigo Thief. I won’t give away too many details, but if you enjoy post-apocalyptic young adult fiction you are in for a TREAT! 

I enjoyed hearing more about Jay’s process and learning what inspires him to be creative – I hope you will too! Make sure to read all the way to the end for a surprise! 

1. What do you do (full-time, part-time, etc.)?

I am senior studying business full-time at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. I write during my spare time (usually early mornings or late nights), and I am currently working on mysecond novel, “The Phoenix Rises.”

2. How did you get into writing? How old were you?

I’ve written casually since I was a little kid. During family road trips, I would write stories in the yellow, lined notepads my dad used for work in the back seat of the car. Usually, these stories ended abruptly after a few pages with “TO BE CONTINUED” sprawled across the bottom in bold letters. Around junior high, I lost interest in reading and writing because it wasn’t “cool” and didn’t pick it up again until well into high school. At the recommendation of a teacher, I enrolled in a playwriting course at my local community college my junior year and have been writing again ever since.

Sunflower Paperie Creative Spotlight - Jay Budgett

3. Where did the inspiration for your book come from?

The song “Lights” by Ellie Goulding is what inspired the scene on the Tube featured in the first few chapters. The song itself has very little to do with what actually happens in the chapter, but for me the song’s immersive nature was a feeling I hoped to capture in the book. From those first few chapters, I plotted out the rest of the story.

4. What’s your favorite part about writing?

I like having the opportunity to connect with both my characters and readers. It’s really fun to write something at your desk on a computer, but feel like you’re being transported through space and time while you do it. It’s also great to be able to give readers that experience as well.

5. What 3 words best describe YOU?

Imaginative, loyal, and ambitious.

6. If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be and why?

I would meet Roald Dahl. Besides being one of my favorite childhood authors, I think he’s had a big influence on the way I write. He also had an incredibly interesting life before he started writing and seems like he’d be wickedly funny in person.

7. Besides writing, what are your other interests?

I like to swim, travel, read, work out, hike, and scuba dive. Grabbing coffee with old friends is always great too.

Sunflower Paperie blog Creative Spotlight - Jay Budgett 3

8. Top 3 Instagram accounts that make you smile.




9. What are you currently reading (blogs, books, magazines)?

I just finished “The Shell Collector” by Hugh Howey, and I enjoyed it very much. Howey’s been one of my favorite authors for a few years now. When I read his writing, it’s almost PAINFUL—it’s that good. I’ve also been reading “The Silkworm” by Robert Galbraith.

10. Describe your ideal day.

I’d sleep in relatively late, grab coffee, and head to the beach. There, it’d spend the day swimming, reading, and writing, before grabbing some Italian food on the way home.

11. What business tools do you depend on daily?

I use a program called Scrivener to write my actual manuscripts in. It’s a fairly inexpensive software program that makes it easier to manage characters and chapters without losing your head. I also use Excel to plot out all books, while keeping track of characters and time frames.

12. What one piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to publish a book?

Don’t be afraid to write terribly, especially during the first draft. It sounds crass, but it’s true. I think novel writing’s been glamorized by the media with most people believing that authors sit behind a typewriter, coffee and tobacco pipes in hand, and start typing stories that are ready to be read by the public. This is simply isn’t the case for most writers I’ve studied. It usually takes several drafts before sentences and characters start seeming coherent.

Sunflower Paperie blog Creative Spotlight - Jay Budgett 2

13. If someone gave you $1,000 (after taxes) how would you spend it?

Travelling. I’d love to visit Yosemite when I have the chance.

14. Will there be a sequel?!

Yes! “The Phoenix Rises” is scheduled for release in July.

Edited to add: Giveaway is now CLOSED. Congrats to Nicole for winning! 

Jay very kindly provided an autographed copy of his book, The Indigo Thief, for me to give away to one lucky Sunflower Paperie reader! I absolutely LOVED Jay’s story of writing as a child and ending everything with “to be continued” – I totally did that too! To be entered in the book giveaway, comment on this post answering one of these questions… 

Did you write as a child? If so, who was your favorite main character to feature?

When you know a book is part of a series, do you read each book as it is published OR wait until they are all out (and you can read them back to back)?! 

Make sure to check out Jay’s beautiful website: and if you can’t wait to get your hands on a copy, “The Indigo Thief” is available from amazon in both ebook and paperback formats.

Giveaway details: you can comment as many times as you would like, but each reader can only earn one entry. Entries will be collected until Monday, January 26 @ 11:59 p.m. I will randomly select 1 reader to win the autographed copy of The Indigo Thief. As always, these posts aren’t sponsored, I simply admire Jay and wanted to share his work with you! 🙂

If You’re Happy & You Know it… Keep Doing it!

Why these post titles have taken on a lyrical theme, we may never know, but what I do know is that I sure am enjoying sharing my 2015 goals with you! Thanks for sticking with me (goofy titles and all!)! A quick recap… Monday I shared my business goals, while on Tuesday I focused on health and self-care.

Today’s goal is going to focus on having fun and doing more things that make me happy! This may sound like a complete no brainer to some, but I often find myself enjoying something and thinking “I should do this more often!”

Sunflower Paperie blog - Having more fun!

Read from a book DAILY. Alright, I love reading, always have and hopefully always will. However, I always start out the year with grandiose plans of “reading 26 52 books a year!” And then I pick long books, get busy at work and with my Etsy business and before I know it, I am terribly behind. This year, I am going to be more realistic and focus instead on making sure I read from a book everyday. Some days it may be several chapters and some days it may only be several pages – and I am o.k. with that.

See more live music. I love music and I love concerts! I am lucky to live in a metro area with tons of concert venues. The trick is keeping up with who is coming to town.

Travel more. Again, I am super lucky to have a manfriend that enjoys traveling (and more importantly trip planning!). In 2014, we actually averaged 1 trip per month (we didn’t realize this until we were chatting on New Year’s Day!). A lot of our trips are simply long weekends out of town or built around a professional conference in a fun location, so I definitely want to continue these types of trips.

Watch more movies. I love going to the movies, but am notoriously bad at watching movies at home. This year, I want to catch up on some titles that interested me when they came out, but I missed in the theater. This goal also includes supporting our local (really nice) $3 theater.

I am sure this list is incomplete, so I will add to it as the year goes on! I am also a little behind on my daily posts, so I will be sharing my last two 2015 Goal posts over the weekend. Until then, don’t forget to check out my interview with illustrator Madison Lytle and enter to win a set of her darling cards!