A mid-June Update

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Well well.  June has been a great month so far and I don’t mind if I say it.

I’ve almost broken even on my Amazon Arbitrage, ( for more info see here) and I have a feeling that once September rolls around I’ll be on my way to making a little profit.

I have had one wonderful guest at my house already on Airbnb and am getting ready for another one to check in tomorrow!  That means I’ll clear around $800 from this gig so far… not too shabby!

I have also found out there is a home sharing group inside Airbnb between members and get this, I’m already setting up a swap for June or July of next year for a lovely little apartment in Switzerland!  I know it’s a ways from my original destination, but the goal here is to get out and travel and this is a great start!  We will see if this solidifies or not.

tea shop

I have been thoroughly enjoying my job at Nanna’s Tea Shop. It’s a lot of fun to drink tea, socialize with customers, and help out a great woman, all the while making a little extra cash.  As you know this money will go towards the Roth IRA so I will hopefully be set up for my yearly contribution when the time comes.

Writing has proven elusive but I am getting back into the swing of things and have decided to begin a 250 goal.  250 words every day.  It sounds paltry to me, who when I do sit down can knock out 2k at a time.  The issue is sitting down every day.  Sitting down when I just want to sleep.  Sitting down when all I want to do is drink a beer and watch the telly.  Every day write.  That’s a page a day.  Hopefully I’ll write more but 250 words every day.

Finally I may have sourced a great price for a cheap ticket to London, which means I’ll save my mileage points for something else.  We are talking $300 from Vegas to Manchester.  The same day on BA.com and United.com tickets from Vegas to Manchester are going for around $1300! I will reveal my source once I get my ticket.

So with that I am going to sign-off and get back to the busy work day before my busy evening of sourcing product for Amazon and getting the house ready for the next airbnb guest.

Oh!  And writing 250 words.  Yes this post is writing but it’s not getting my books any farther along…

Cheers for now!

Kim

 

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I’m up on AirBnB and Guest to Guest

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I wasn’t kidding when I said I was going to get myself in gear this month.  I’ve edited all the pictures I took, written descriptions and put myself out there on the World Wide Web!  Well, my house at least.  Check out my listing at AirBnB!  Here is my favorite picture:

front patio

My patio at sunset, with a nice bottle of bubbly ready to go.  (Not to mention the nice view of the fire men period firehouse across the street.)

I also found a free home exchange site, Guest to Guest, and went ahead and threw the Loft on there as well.  It’s looking interesting so far and I love that it’s truly free.  They have groups you can join to help you find other travelers with your interests tastes, etc.  They also have a points system.  In fact, if you decide to join through this affiliate link here, I will get some serious points!  A win win for everyone.  If you do decide to join, find me and friend me on the site!

I will let you know my thoughts and feelings on these sites coming up but for now, here is another sweet shot of my home with the newly painted wall I tackled last weekend:

Living room

If you are a design type of person what do you think I should put in my fabulous frame:  A Jackson Pollack like black and white paint splatter picture, or perhaps a photo of an orchid I took?  I’ve had a lot of people suggest a black and white photo of the orchid.  Your thoughts?

Until next time!

-Kim Kennedy

 

An Adjusted Plan and May Re-cap

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So I finally sat down and did some serious number crunching, graph making, excelling, etc. and came up with the following expense chart.

costs for trip

You may notice I added a possibility of going to Ireland as well.  I love Ireland, want to retire there, and wish I could buy my parents a retirement house there right now.  Its on the side of the world I want to be on, and finally, it tends to be a heck of a lot cheaper than London.

I also broke out the costs based on 2, 2,5 and 3 month intervals, just to see how long I might be able to get away.

FInally I added the expected money I will have saved up by the time next May rolls around.  I took two examples the cheapest and the most expensive and came up with how much extra money I need to try and find between now and then.

Total for 3 months in London with everything else included, see above; 22k and change.

(Now at this point, my practical mind, with just a hint of AccountDad pops up and says, Holy cow kiddo!  You could take that money and invest it into a rental property!  What are you doing blowing this on a 3 month vacation?  The answer: I am not blowing it.  I am investing into a once in a life time experience that might never come around again.  More money can be earned but opportunities like these might only come around once in a lifetime.)

Total for 2 months, one in London and one in Ireland: 16k and change.  8k a month!?  Seriously?  Looks like it!

Now let’s look at the good news; I think I can have saved $13,500.

So money left to raise to get to London for 3 months? $8,500.

Money left to raise to get to our combo 2 month jaunt? $2,500.

When you look at it like that, it doesn’t look so daunting.  Once I get part the additional $2,500 saved in the next 11 months, I am cleared for takeoff.

Back to some sobering news.  This is after all my current money making schemes including a part-time job I got at a tea shop and my FBA projected earnings.

So I’ve got to find another way to hustle some money in a relatively comfortable and legal way.

Sadly, my writing is out.  It is not making any money.  In fact it is costing a lot of money.  More than I ever imagined it would, but I will post more on that later.

So I’m going to need to get going with this AirBnB.

Good news is, I got my photos of my house taken.  Which means I got it clean enough to take photos so yea! me.

I will want to get going on this by July.

More good news: I can use those photos to join housing exchange Networks, which means that I might be able to swap houses while in England thus saving me the cost of lodging.  I will be doing a review of these sites soon.

I am also getting ready to get my sales on, as in Craigs listing and Amazoning the crap out of my house.  I’m going to be ruthless.  Anything worth something that I am not absolutely in love with, is going out the door!

Now more bad news.  (I’m just up and down and all over the place today, aren’t I?)  This is going to be hell month for me at work.  Not only is it year end, we are also transitioning to a new state wide software system that is not going smoothly, to put it lightly.  This whole thing is reminding me more than anything that I am just not cut out for this cubicle crap!

I also need to buckle down with my writing so that when I head to these signings in August, I have something for people to get signed by me.  There is a concept.

Now for more good news! I took a look at my spending from May, please see below.

May spending

Yikes!  Looks scary, especially as you take into consideration the fact that I only take home 3300 a month, before taxes and other stuff is pulled out.  Yea, so I am going to need to reign in the spending.  But I have a wonderful new budget set and with all this work and writing, I’m not going to be able to spend a whole lot of time out and  tempted to spend money.  There must always be a silver lining to any cloud.

So there we have it, the goal set, and adjusted, and priced.  Now it’s time to get running!

Cheers!

Kim Kennedy

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Year until Takeoff!

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Well, well, well, how the time flies!  In just under 1 year from now I will be taking off on my Adventure of a lifetime!  I’ve been at this for four months now, experimenting, trying things out, and making goals.  Some of these goals and plans were good, and some…need to be tweaked a bit.

And that is OK!  Remember that this is the journey of life, and life is going to throw you curve balls and unexpected surprises and you have to be able to roll with those punches.

As a very wise speaker in a project management seminar I went to (yea, sounds thrilling right?) once said:  Ready, Fire!  Aim.

female archers

Ready, Fire, Aim?

Yep.  You need to get ready and have a plan, a dream, a goal, whatever you want to call it, and then you need to start going after it!  Then, as you are going and seeing things being accomplished or not, you can adjust your plan in order to make that target.

Another example that I am sure a lot of people have heard: When Apollo 11 headed out to the moon, NASA had to have a plan of how to get there.  They then fired the rocket!  And then they constantly re-aimed, like literally shifted that rocket every second to keep it on the right path.  And that little thing, despite  the fact that there was no internet, no cell phones, made it to the moon.

And so when you have a big plan, a dream, or a goal you are working towards, you must constantly shift, and re-aim, but YOU MUST, keep moving forward.

So is it time for me to practice what I preach?  Yes, yes it is.

When I started, and you can find the post here, I had a goal in mind; that being I was going to leave my full-time job on May 1 2015 and become a full-time writer, that could travel where ever she wanted to and still make a living!  This is still a big goal for me, but perhaps my Goal was a little ambitious.

Am I backing down, lowering the bar?  A bit, but the last four months of aiming after firing has shown me that my target will need to move out a bit so that I can adjust the flying arrow for longer before I hit that bulls-eye!

I still, someday want to have a full-time income that I can do from anywhere in the world. (Read: something on the internet.)  The most logical and pleasant of these options, at least for me, is writing.

Until someone starts paying me $100 for every Kindle book I read, while downing a nice cold beer, I’m out of luck on my very first dream of imbibing and reading for a living.

The one thing I am not backing down on; my great adventure, which starts on May 1 2015!

I am still determined to take off for parts unknown and leave my full-time job for at least three months, next year.

I am determined to have enough money saved up for this, (which means paying off all my debt) along with enough money to keep me safe for awhile after I get home, since most likely I will need to find another job, and not scrimp on my retirement savings.

This would be the public service part of the post where Accountdad pops up and says: I love the saving up money, paying off debt, and thinking of retirement, but don’t chuck your job!  It’s safe, and a good gig.\

Just a few days ago he discussed with me the importance of being vested with the state so I could receive the pension plan.  I also needed to start saving to “buy years.”  Refer to my earlier post on this, here, but I feel pretty strongly that this pension will not be there by the time I retire.

This is where I would then stick that voice of his back into my brain and say: I’m doing this the most responsible way I know how, but dang it Dad, I’m only going to be young once, and this is something I have to do.  I know I will regret it if I don’t do this, and I might not even make it to do this “someday.”  That someday, is now!

So my new goal is to take off on my adventure to London, for at least two months, ideally three, and leave my full-time job, not having to worry about running out of money mid Tesco shopping excursion.

If I happen to be able to make enough online by then to further this adventure, Great!  If I make enough to not have to ever go back to a traditional full-time job, Wonderful!  If I make enough on film rights to not only know I can retire and live leisurely, but also allow my parents to do the same, stick that in your pipe and smoke it Dad!

So in an upcoming post, I have decided it’s a bad idea to say the very next one, as I can’t keep my posting schedule straight, I will outline my adjusted plan for getting to my new goal!

For now, take another step in the direction of your dreams, or at least, adjust the map a bit…

-Kim Kennedy

 

FBA Update!

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Hello all!  I am back from Cancun and I am feeling so refreshed and happy despite the fact that I went from this…

cancun

 

 

 

 

 

 

To this…

what work looked like this morning!

what work looked like this morning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

In less than 5 hours!  Ah the fun of International travel.

I will have a wonderful post all things Cancun but for now I would finally like to get to a post I have been promising for awhile now, and that is an update to my online selling through FBA!!!

Now for those of you who have absolutely no idea what I am talking about here and all this sounds like a foreign language, may I suggest the following gurus to straighten you out:

Online Selling Experiment – Ryan Grant.

This guy left his job at 24 (only 8 months ago) and began selling things online, aka FBA and Ebay full-time.  So far he has been killing it!  Now I can tell this guy puts some back-breaking work into this thing but he does prove that it can be done.  You must check out everyone of his posts if you want to get started on this, I did.

Jessica Larrew

Another huge success story in the FBA selling arena.  This gal and her hubby left full-time jobs awhile ago to do this PART TIME or around 40 hrs a week, split between them, and they still manage to put away over 100k a year.  Yeah pretty sweet.  She has some tools and products, I’ll be reviewing them later but certainly check out all her free goodies and posts, she was the gal that really got me into this.

 

There are plenty more but for now those two will get you started.

So I have been at this about six weeks now and I have to say that I think this could become a successful thing!  Which means that I have not yet broken a profit but I am on my way!  So let’s look at the numbers so far:

In my time thus far I have made through FBA $135.03.  I have sold a total of ten items; which means that I am averaging $13.50 an item.  Now this is what I have made after all the Amazon fees were taken out, including shipping the items to Amazon.  Not too shabby.

Now we must look at the expenses otherwise incurred.

I have paid out an additional $56.00 for various other Amazon fees.  These were charged to my card because I hadn’t sold enough products to cover them, namely, the pro subscription fee of $40 and the premium I pay to only send one box of items to one distribution center verses spreading out my stock.  (Less work for me.)

My initial stock that I have bought so far cost me 130.00.  Ah!  I am at the break even point on my stock fees verses profit.  From here on out I earn money on anything else sold.  With this 130.00 I purchased 35 items which means that those items 3.71 each.  As my average selling price is 13.50 you can quickly see how fast this money could stack up!

Finally I had to invest in some initial items for the company; tape, boxes, bubble wrap, scanning software etc.  This came to  55.00.

So my total debits for this venture comes to $241.36.

My total profit so far, after taking out all Amazon fees is $135.03.

Therefore I am roughly $100 bucks in the hole.  For a 6 week old venture, this isn’t too bad, especially when you consider I put in an initial investment of under $300.

A few things that will help me out more.

Buying more product to counter act the pro seller fee.  Amazon charges a buck to list things on their site.  Or you can pay $40/month to list as much as you want.  So it makes sense to list at least 40 items a month.  I need to up my stock.  It also gets cheaper the more you send in.

Shipping is less with more items in one box and if I have enough in several boxes, I will send the boxes to various warehouses instead of paying $1 each to send the items all to one warehouse.  It was just getting expensive to pay for packing material and boxes for just a few items, so putting all the items going to one spot made more sense.  Now, if I send in more at one time, I can send in boxes where Amazon wants them, thus avoiding the buck fee.  Margins people!

Challenges I have faced. Sourcing items to sell!  Yeah, this is the kicker!  This is hard and takes time so I suggest a few things:

Do this while you are shopping for other items.  I had things to purchase for vacation at Target, so I sourced while shopping for my items.  Keep the receipts separate for tax time! I didn’t do this.  Bad Kim.  I will now.

Hit more than one store at a time.  I headed over to Target and Tuesday Morning all in the same shopping trip.  They are in the same strip mall.

Check out the Thrift Stores!  I found several books that were going for a whole lot more on Amazon than what I paid for them.  Best of all, the books were brand new!  Like still had receipts and book marks from the independent book store in them.  Not a scratch on them.  Wild!  Now I can’t say these have sold yet, or will, as these things tend to be long-range items, aka they take awhile to sell, but I know of a few women who are super successful at this from just selling Thrift and garage sale items.

Don’t be afraid to buy multiples.  Almost everything of mine that sold one of something on Amazon, sold out the rest as well.  Don’t go bonkers here and buy 100 soaps and maxing out your credit card, but I bought 14 of something on clearance and they are all sold out.  Further more this is great for multi-packs but this is something for later.

So tomorrow, after work, I plan on hitting up Target and Tuesday Morning again.  Here’s to hoping for lots of goodies!

 

I will update you all in a month or so to let you know what is happening with my Amazon business as this is a blog about making and saving money to just go, but I don’t plan on this being the main thing I talk about.

So for right now, chao my friends, until next time!

-Kim Kennedy

 

 

Packing for Mexico – Her Holiday Style

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I have one more work day before I head out to Cancun and I am seriously excited!

I’ve got everything packed, my house clean, trashed cleared out, (forgot that last year and almost killed myself walking in the door.)

Now I have had many people ask me how I pack just the right amount of clothes every time I go somewhere and still manage to cover almost every circumstance I might run into with style.  So I decided I would put together a post about what I am packing for Cancun and why.

There are two schools of thinking in the women’s world of packing.

First, it’s the bare minimum; keep your packing light and easy to haul around, and for those backpacking through Europe this would be a wonderful idea.

Second, there is the fashionable girl who packs two Louis Vuitton steamer trucks, her purse, a carry on bag and a tote.

I have a bit of an issue with both of these styles.

The first girl is ready to go with her hiking boots, quick dry undies, and her favorite band’s t-shirt, along with a pair of faded jeans.  Hey girl, if you can live off of that, I say, more power to you.

But what are you going to do if that handsome French art student you ran into at the Louvre invites you out to a nice candlelit dinner?

The second girl is packing for a war, with three pairs of high heels in different heights, fifteen outfits just including one that will be perfect in case she gets invited to the yacht club party with a handsome millionaire, and every last cosmetic and hair tool she can scratch up in her house.

Babe, I understand, believe me, as a former fashion student I totally see where you are going with this.  But if you are travelling alone can you easily carry all your luggage?  Do you really need the high-heeled fuchsia pumps that only go with the gold dress that really goes with nothing else?

So what is the normal stylish female packer to do?

Obviously meet somewhere in the middle.  My thought process when heading out on another adventure.

1. Where is it you are going?

I am headed to Cancun so I don’t need those high heels or the huge jacket.  I will be on a beach almost everyday and perhaps go shopping or to a semi-nice restaurant while I am there.

2. What are you doing?

Are you legitimately going to a party worthy of an Oscar dress? For the love of God Bring that baby!  And pack it carefully, kids.  Are you going into the jungle, in search of the elusive pink tree frog?  Get your khakis and waterproofs out.  Are you for the most part going to be at a touristy area?  You probably just need the basic tourist uniform i.e. flip flops, shorts, a t-shirt, and sunglasses.

3. Am I going alone and for how long?

Face it ladies, we can’t haul two huge rollies, (my term for the rolling suitcases) our purse, carry-on, and light jacket on our own.  If you are going alone, make sure you can easily carry it.  You never know what might come along and you must be ready to be self sufficient.

4.How long are you gone?

Any more than 2 weeks and you are going to need washable clothes.  WASHABLE clothes, kids, like t-shirt that can hang up in the hotel room, not the dry clean lace blouse.

5. How much are you planning on bringing home?

OK so I am not a souvenirs kind of girl but maybe you’ve got five co-worker who always bring you little trinkets.  Or perhaps you are like me where you want to find a nice something to wear everywhere I go.  (Tip: Great conversation starter when people say “Where did you get that?”)  Leave room in your bag, or buy a new one while on the road but make sure you can still walk with it.  Also keep in mind those awesome checked bag rates!  Yikes!

So what am I packing for Cancun?

I have mastered the art of Cancun packing because I have been down there a good five or six times.  So I can confidently speak on this location and I would expect most other tropical beachy like havens.

Bare minimum:

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  • 2 tee shirts (wear one as a night shirt.)
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 swimsuit
  • Sun screen
  • Undies and a pair of socks (sounds crazy but most hotel floors in Cancun are stone-like material and when you step on them in the middle of the night, just trust me here.)
  • YOUR PASSPORT
  • Credit card
  • Hat (does not matter what kind)

Wear to the airport:

  • Flip Flops
  • a pareo as a scarf*
  • a maxi dress or other summery dress you will feel comfortable in on the beach or at dinner.

That’s it.  If you are only going to be there for a few days, you don’t need a whole bunch of stuff.  You don’t need any other shoes, you are set.

*What’s a pareo?  These are like sarongs, only made from a light weight material that are the original wear this any way dress, only these are the wear this any way piece of clothing!  I use mine as follows and I truly think these are, other than the swim suit, the number one must have in a beachy location.

Pareo Uses:

  • Scarf
  • Wrap (I suggest wearing as a scarf to the airport and then when you get chilled on the plane, you can wrap it around your shoulders on the plane.)
  • Swimsuit cover-up
  • Beach chair cover
  • Skirt
  • dress
  • to wrap up in your bed when you have a really bad sun burn on your back and the starchy white hotel sheets are killing you. (not that I would know this from experience.)

I brought all my goodies in a tote last year, including my I-Pad.  I wouldn’t suggest this when you go into Mexico, especially when you have bought the plane ticket the day before.  Take it from a seasoned pro, you don’t want to have a meeting with the Mexican Customs officers. (They assumed that me being an American woman I would pack more.  Once they pulled me into the office and found out I’d bought my plane ticket in less than 24 hours, well… let’s just say I was very happy for vaseline and margaritas…many, many margaritas!)  Pack a rollie.

Leave the tote trick for that hot guy calls and says you’ve got an hour to go with him to Vegas for the weekend trip.  He’ll think you are an easy going fun breezy woman who can take off at a moments notice!  (I’m still waiting for that phone call…)

Now I am going to be gone for a week.  Which means I am going to need slightly more items to wear.  Next I am going to be in a jungle!  Not Indiana Jane style, it’s going to be a very touristy type jungle, in between zip lines, and they ask that you wear pants.

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One week in Cancun:

  • All of the above items
  • another swim suit. (they don’t quite dry over night and slipping back into slightly cold bikini the next morning to lounge by the pool is not very appealling.  This allows you to switch them up.  Also keep in mind where you are going to be.  Are you going with some hottie college boys during spring break?  Wear that stringy thingy bikini girl!  Are you mostly going to be hanging out with the family like this chick here?  I wear my tankini for the most part. It’s AccountDad approved.
  • A jacket.  This is for the jungle along with if it’s one of those rains for five days kinds of vacation.
  • another pair of shorts
  • Trainers.  Once again heading to the jungle. Bring extra socks.
  • A few more t-shirts or tanks.
  • perhaps another maxi dress.  (I find Maxi dresses are the best option for just about any trip.  They are modest enough for most places, can be dressed up or down for any occasion, keep you warmer in the colder rain storms and still allow air to circulate and keep you cool in the hot summer months.)
  • More Sunscreen (Yeah I’m pasty white Irish, so I go through this stuff like it’s the fountain of Youth or something.  Actually it is as it defends against sun damage that causes ageing.  Remember to buy under four oz. bottles if you are carrying on, something I forgot to do this time.  Also keep in mind that more is better, if you run out I can guarantee it’s going to be super expensive to buy another bottle.  Even in Mexico.  Finally Don’t forget to put these in their own little baggies, inside the liquids baggie.  These suckers have a nasty tendency to leak, or burst during altitude change.)
  • Maybe, MAYBE, a pair of heels if you are planning on kicking it at a club some night.  (I can tell you right now you will wear your flip flops the next day but if you insist wear the heels.  Also don’t wear them the night before you go out exploring Tulum.  Achy feet ruin expeditions and adventures every time.)

Now I have not included things like makeup, hair tools, purse items, etc.  This is just clothes and shoes.  And sunscreen. Which is the most important part of your vacation outfits.

I will show you what I bring in my travel tote for almost every trip I go in my next  post.

Until then, happy travels kids, and don’t forget the sunscreen!

Kim Kennedy

 

 

The end of another month…the dawning of the final year!

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Lord I kill myself with the dramatic title above!

4/30/2014

 Here we come to the End of April and another big occasion; The one year left mark!  May 1st, my big sail away date, is only one year away!

I do so hope my "shove off" comes with a big fancy hat!

I do so hope my “shove off” comes with a big fancy hat!

So you would assume that I had a super productive month, and you would guess wrong.  I had such high hopes for April and it passed in a whirl of headache inducing work situations, long hours at the office, and me, being a super couch potato, or more accurately bed potato.

What I did accomplish:

I sent in two more packages to FBA, I swear more on that later.

I had a total of 4 sales thus far through FBA, bringing my total earnings to $96.00.  I was hoping for a $100 profit after all fees and investment in product, but hey, I was apparently, not specific enough with the universe. Next time I will be more specific when stating my goals.

I sold one book for a total of 2.00 profit.

Finished the entire series of The Tutors.

Finished the entire Muses of Mayfair books by Sara Ramsey.  (Fabulous books by the way!  I’m in love with her now.)

Wrote… 5 thousand words.

What I did not accomplish:

Any of my goals stated for the month.  No three books out.  No listing on Air BnB.  No 25k words written.

 With that said…

I have one book ready to go.  Formatting done.  Cover done.  Editing done.  I just need to slap it up on Amazon.  So I am determined to get this done by midnight tonight!

I had a wonderful realization this month, one which I hope will help me through the work is killing me doldrums.  I need to concentrate on work at work and put other projects aside.  However, when I leave work, I need to concentrate on my projects.  I have the right to put work aside.  This is my private time and I should not feel guilty about it or dwell on bad thoughts.

I know this sounds very simple and basic but so many times we bring our issues from the office home and they continue to wear on us.  I have come to the conclusion that when I bring the office home, the politics or the anger of an issue, it wears me out and all I want to do is sleep, or couch potato.

 I am an artist so therefore I need to create to keep myself happy and healthy.  When I am too tired to create, due to bringing home the office, then it just piles up and continues to cause a downward spiral of my health and mental happiness.

So my lesson learned out of all of this is that yes, I can compartmentalized my life and make these seemingly frivolous things into an important section of home time.  I should also try and create, even when I am tired and not feeling those muses. the fact is those are the very muses who bring the much-needed renewal into my life, and while I spiral down when not creating, I begin to gain more energy and happiness, along with a better sense of self when I do.

Hopefully this can help other artistic, writer types.

Plus, let’s be honest here, If I am going to try and release myself from the cubicle world in exactly one year, I’d better hop to it!

 Cheers for now!

 Kim Kennedy