Quality Over Quantity

Quality Over Quantity | The Urban Pig

Has it really been a month since my last post? Oops. Life really does fly by sometimes. It has been so busy since Thanksgiving; I have been prepping for Christmas and working extra hours. And I have really been meaning to post this for two or three weeks now, and it just kept escaping from my priorities. But, I am back and want to talk about something I have been thinking about and trying to keep in mind lately.

So often in the blogging world, we hear the phrase “quality over quantity” in relation to our blog posts. This phrase has been on my mind, not just in blogging but more with applying it to life.

It seems so common for us to compare ourselves and try to keep up with others, and constantly want more. More clothes, more money, more this or more that. We live in a world where happiness and success is thought to be achieved (and often measured) by the number of things we have. It takes a lot of effort to remind ourselves that this simply is not true. I could think of 100 things in my possession that I could do without and still be happy (and probably not even notice they are missing)! I could think of 1,000 things not in my possession that I will never, ever want or need.

I am trying to be conscious of this concept, especially when browsing Pinterest or out shopping at the store. If I see something I like, I try to go through steps of “appreciation” rather than lust. Recognizing its beauty, appreciating its design, and moving on. Of course, easier said than done (especially around Christmas time), but practice helps.
I also must often remind myself of our future goals and what really matters. Our dream is to have a home, modest and affordable, so we can use our money to raise a family and travel. Reminding myself of our dreams and goals puts me right back on track and helps me to bypass “things.” To me, that speaks of quality over quantity.

Quality Over Quantity | The Urban Pig
Quality Over Quantity | The Urban Pig
I feel as if we put so much pressure on ourselves to have more objects to show for our success. But who really cares? I barely remember what my childhood homes were like or what objects they held inside. But I do have the best memories of traveling the states, camping with my family, and discovering nature and viewing national monuments. A simpler life at home is an easy trade-off for quality experiences. And simpler does not have to mean barren or be a huge sacrifice.

Quality Over Quantity | The Urban Pig
I think it just comes down to understanding, and maybe changing, what happiness truly means.

Rooting for Yourself

Rooting for Yourself | The Urban Pig

 [image via Kristen Delap]

This week, there were a couple instances where I found myself being full-heartedly cheered on by a stranger. Each time started with a short conversation and for some reason, ended with the person showing their excitement for what I am doing and cheering me on to keep going, even when I think I am crazy. It is funny how a person we hardly know can be our biggest advocates and believe so much in what we are doing, especially when in our own minds we have so many doubts and worries. I felt so amazing after those conversations, thinking to myself, “Yes, I CAN do this!”

Yes, my friends, we can accomplish anything we set our hearts to. Today, I want to be your advocate and cheer you on. I want to let you know that I believe in your wildest dreams and I know you can make them happen if you truly desire to do so!

Slowing Down

Slowing Down | The Urban Pig

Lately, I have been proving myself wrong in many ways, mostly in the sense of my personality differing from what I have always described it as. I have always been a planner, and I still am in some ways, like with long-term goals. But this year seems to be a time of quick decision making, such as moving back from Denver, moving into a rental home (photos from around the house), starting my own business, and more. It’s been a lot of excitement, but at the same time it has left me in a state of mind where I feel like I have no idea what I am doing. I haven’t had the much needed time to digest each decision and really take in what is happening. It’s been kind of a scary thing for me! Luckily, everything is working out fine so far; my mind just needs to take some time to catch up with what my body is doing. I know how important it is to enjoy the journey of life events such as these and I really want to have that appreciation for the present time in which I am living.

After coming to this realization, I have definitely been able to clear some of the doubts in my mind. Those doubts like, “should I really follow through with this business thing?” (only because our income was a bit less than we wanted it to be to save for a house, then I realized it was definitely worth it), or “maybe we should just buy a house rather than build…” (again, I realized it will be worth it!). These doubts tend to creep up when I am exhausted and stressed like I had been the last few weeks. Once I had a tiny bit of time to sit and think and discuss them with Connor, we realized anything worth doing is not going to come easy, or quickly for that matter. So I decided not only is it time to slow down and give myself the opportunity to fight my fears rather than trying to suppress them, it is also time to slow down and see how far we have come and be okay with the fact that some things just take time! I am working hard mentally to change that timeline in my head that says I need to start building a house this year and have a fantastic business at the same time. Of course it is dreamy to think about, but really not practical in reality. All we can do is work toward those goals and in time, they will be achieved.

Slowing Down | The Urban Pig

Slowing Down | The Urban Pig

In the meantime, there is always so much to be thankful for, we just need to soak it in and count our blessings, even the small ones. There will be a time to stress about the happenings in life, and it is easy to get caught up in trying to keep up with everyone around you. But remember to take a deep breath every once in a while, focus on yourself and do the best you can.

Pipe Dreams

Pipe Dreams | The Urban Pig

Pipe Dreams | The Urban Pig

Since moving back to Spokane from Denver, I have really only had one thing planned — spend time with family. I definitely missed them while we were away, and summer was the perfect time for Connor and I to return (most everyone was on vacation from school and work). Unfortunately, summer is coming to an end. Everyone is preparing to get back to the daily grind, and even Connor started working again. All of a sudden, I found myself sitting at home by myself, left trying to figure out what’s next for me.

All of this was already in motion when I got an email from Kabbage* asking me to take part in their campaign. Kabbage* is a provider of small business loans, and their campaign is all about sharing dreams. They asked me — “what are your goals for the future?” and “how do you plan to fulfill them?” Well, I’d like to think that everything in life happens for a reason and after a fairly disappointing letdown while job-searching, I was left pondering what I planned to do to move forward. A lot of ideas had been bounced around, but I feel like there is nothing better than an essay or blog post to really think deeper and make those thoughts and ideas become a reality. So for that, I would like to thank Kabbage* for reaching out to me because their timing couldn’t have been any better in giving me the push I needed to re-evaluate my dreams.

Pipe Dreams | The Urban Pig

Pipe Dreams | The Urban Pig

“You’re an artist, man. Your job is to break through barriers. Not accept blame and bow and say thank you, I’m a loser, I’ll go away now… You want to be really great? Then have the courage to fail big and stick around. Make ’em wonder why you’re still smiling. That’s true greatness to me.”
-Claire from the movie Elizabethtown

So, I didn’t get the job, but was that meant to be? I have always wanted to have my own business. Maybe this situation is a blessing in disguise, telling me to get started now, rather than the alternative: it never happening. After much thought, I realized starting my own interior design business could potentially solve all of the dilemmas I have recently been facing. I have been so sucked in to what is normal to society (i.e. the 40 hour work week) and I have become less and less happy with such little time I am able to spend with my husband and family. My dream business allows me to break free of society’s “norm” regarding hours spent at work (working from home to be around my family), having flexibility when business is done (scheduled around family time and vacations), and having passion for each of my hand-picked design projects. I want to be the one determining how my life is spent. I don’t need much, but my hope is to grow my business just enough for me to provide my family a home, enriching adventures, and a life full of life!

Pipe Dreams | The Urban Pig

Pipe Dreams | The Urban Pig

Steps to Reach My Dreams:

  1. Build a Brand & Business Model
  2. Invest in Myself: Purchase software, supplies, and equipment <—Kabbage* can help with their business loans!
  3. Network: Get my name out there, build a client base.
  4. Nail It: Put my heart into every project I have the opportunity to work on.
  5. Market It: Use projects to advertise and gain interest from potential clients.
  6. Grow It: Continue to build and define my brand, invest in what I need, network, nail it, and market it!

I definitely realize it will be a lot of work at first. But I hope to hit the ground running and have it a bit more refined in a few years. I think the initial sacrifice will prove to be more than worth it in the end. It’s about realizing a necessary part of life (work) doesn’t have to take over our lives. In fact, I hope for it to be a pathway to more simple living. More family living. More life at home living.

*Non-affiliate link. Thoughts and opinions shared are ALWAYS 100% my own.

2014 Step 1 – Simplify

2014

[via inspirational quotes]

I found this graphic at the beginning of the new year, and at first, it didn’t mean much to me. But as time passed, this image kept popping into my thoughts. The more I thought about it, the more I felt inspired by it. I was trying to think of what each of these mean to me. I began to read it as steps; a process I could divide the year in sections with, and focus on each part. The end is a result of the beginning.

Step 1: Simplify
I mainly think of this one, because it is where I am in life right now. Things are hectic, crazy. Great, but busy. I think of simplifying as a cleansing pallet. Start the year fresh by cleaning, organizing, and simplifying. I currently find myself needing to simplify some of those “adult” responsibilities — mostly bills. It feels like every time I open the mailbox, all I get is bills flying in my face (Harry Potter Hogwart’s letter status). It does nothing but stress me out, but Connor and I figured out a way to get bills less. That’s right. It’s called paying it in full. We did this when living in Pullman with our car and renters’ insurance. It was so nice not to get that bill for a whole 6 months to a year. We plan to do that again, plus adding a few additional bills we have accumulated with this owning-a-house thing. Simplify bills.

After work, I come home and always feel like there are so many things I need to do. Over the last week, there is only one thing that has saved me. This image that reminds me to focus. Focus on the task at hand rather than getting overwhelmed with a whole list of things. Taking baby steps. Despite only having a few hours each night after I get home from work, I feel like I have accomplished a lot. Mainly because I have been focusing on one task a day, whether it is big or small, I try my best to complete it, or at least get close. There have been things on my many to-do lists that have been waiting to get completed for weeks. They are finally getting done. Slowly but surely. Steady wins the race.

I have put off a few projects in the meantime, because I feel like that will come later with steps 2-5 (be inspired, be original, work hard). I can’t seem to focus much when these basic housekeeping items are cluttering my mind. My goal of simplifying really boils down to the end result of having a clear mind and more time to do what matters. Simplifying is a complicated process in itself, but I think the outcome will be beneficial.

Because I am not quite at the point to continue onto the next steps, I don’t want to say too much, since I have yet to experience them. But here are a few ideas:

Step 2 (Be Inspired): An outcome I foresee from simplifying. A clear mind filled with good things. Inspiration, ideas, thoughts, feelings, creativity. A powerful feeling it is to be inspired. A feeling like moving mountains, or the possibilities being endless. Motivated and excited to begin. Hopeful for something to come. Accomplished by doing. Paint, draw, sing, write, dance, hike, experience.

Step 3-4 (Be Original, Work Hard): Why do I only sometime run full-speed ahead with my inspiration? Why is it that some things get left behind and lost? The inspiration disappears. This is an important step for me–to hold on to that inspiration. Work hard on things as they happen, not putting them off for a later day. Because I might not ever get around to it, and if I do, I might not feel the same inspiration as I did before. Work in the moment, the present day, not thoughts for tomorrow. As important as it is to be inspired and moved by others, it is equally important to be original. Take those ideas and build, develop, evolve, and change them. Grow your inspiration. Be inspired by yourself, your surroundings, your dreams. Immerse yourself.

Step 5 (Enjoy): Reward yourself for working hard. Reward yourself while working hard. Have a lazy day. Have a lazy week. Watch movies. Cuddle. Go out with friends. Go out with yourself. Take in your accomplishments and appreciate your life and your blessings. Life is great. Don’t forget that.

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