Good morning, everyone! I just wanted to post a quick March Blog Update to tell you all what I’ve been up to for the entire month of February! This update will also tell you all about what is in store for the blog, shop, and of course, what’s going on in the Etsy shop as well!

I know that I’ve been lax with my posting over the last year. I realize that to start and run a successful business, consistency is key. Well, so far, this year has been anything but ordinary in terms of consistency. One minute we’re moving right along on our yearly goals, and the next moment, life has turned upside down yet again. It’s been a whirlwind, one in which I never really stop moving. I hope you enjoy this March Blog Update!

I launched the shop!

After 18 hour days over several weeks spent at my computer, I have FINALLY launched Amanda Ho Designs shop. This shop is separate from the blog yet accessible via the menu’s link on the home page. Right now, all of my digital download art prints are up and available in this shop, as well as the new Apparel and Home & Living sections. We have t-shirts, mugs, pillows, throw blankets, puzzles, refrigerator magnets, reusable shopping bags, and so much more to choose from! There are over 100 items listed right now, and more products are uploaded daily. I’m working my fingers to the bone with all this typing and editing, so please go check it out if you haven’t done so already.

Newsletter Subscription

If you sign up for the shop newsletter, I’ll email you a 10% off discount code for any of the digital artwork in the shop. This 10% off discount is for your entire order and is not limited to one item. Now, I know that you guys hate shop newsletters; I hate them too. I promise not to spam you (because, let’s face it, I hate writing newsletters and you hate reading them). My newsletters will be released only every few weeks highlighting the best items that I’ve made for the shop and any holiday sales I have going on at the time (such as on Black Friday). I’d hate for you to miss out on something spectacular!

Each of my digital art pieces comes in four sizes: 8×10, 11×14, 16x20x, and international A4. Every size is included in the zip file and a digital license that allows you to have the artwork printed at the print shop of your choice. If you’d like the print to be resized or sent to you in a different format other than JPG, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to send you the edited file.

You can find Amanda Ho Designs here.

Etsy

Our Etsy shop is still available. I’ll be uploading more digital downloads there, and only the digital downloads. If you’d like to shop our Apparel or Home & Living sections, those items are ONLY available on https://www.amandahodesigns.com. If you’re looking for the link to my Etsy shop, you can find it here.

Eventually, I’d like to move my shop away from Etsy, as they’re always changing their fee structure. Also, I despise the fact that I don’t have complete control over my shop on Etsy. The powers that be can change the rules however they’d like at any time. I’d prefer for my business to be on a stable platform that I can control, because if you didn’t know me by now, I’m a total control freak.

I’m so excited to be able to share all of this with you! Please, please, take a look at my shops, share with your friends, and spread the word! My marketing budget is nonexistent at the moment, so I’m counting on you guys!

Life Updates

Lockdown is almost over!

It has been one year, as of March 18th, that we have been stuck at home. We did have some respite when the children went back to school in August last year, but honestly, that didn’t last long at all. Now we’re on the cusp of the children going back to school yet again. I am thrilled that Punky will socialize with his friends and learn something in class instead of learning via an iPad and Microsoft Teams. It will do wonders to help him with his mental health issues.

I’m really hoping that this is the beginning of the end of this lockdown nonsense. I understand that lockdown was totally necessary to save lives (I mean, the message is only drummed into our heads multiple times per day for the last year and is common sense.). Still, I can’t say that I’m not ready for it to be over. Should we have to go back into lockdown (for the 3rd? 4Th? time ), we will have a personal WWIII in our home. As much as we love each other, we’re getting sick to death of being in close quarters without respite. We’re all looking forward to that much-needed break. It’s sad to think that resuming our “normal” lives feels like a vacation, but that’s where we’re at now.

Renovation Update

Working with builders, roofers, and other contractors during a lockdown is a freaking nightmare. I’ve been negotiating between my in-laws (who own our apartment) and the other landlords in the building to have the roof repaired, gutters fixed, and many more things done to get this building back up to the standard it should be in. I can’t count how many texts and emails I have between the five of us, plus the task of getting quotes for the repairs. It’s honestly feeling like a full-time job. Almost everything is scheduled to be completed now once the temperatures at night are above freezing because there’s a lot of cement work to be done. Then, the only works we’ll need to do is new carpeting, painting, and updating the kitchen, and we’re done. I can’t freaking wait!

Diet Update

On January 31st, I stepped on the scale only to find that, naturally, after a year of binge eating and sitting on my behind watching Netflix; I’d put on all the weight that I lost during my last attempt at healthy eating plus some. My knees were constantly inflamed and angry, my acid reflux was off the charts, my IBS was out of control, and I had severe migraines again. Something had to give. I’ve gone back on the Keto diet now and have been for just over a month.

If you don’t know what the Keto Diet is, it is a very low carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet. I will be posting an in-depth blog post about it and highlighting my experiences within the next few weeks.

Keto Results

However, my results really do speak for themselves. Right now, I feel fantastic. I’ve lost just shy of 15 lbs this month; my acid reflux is gone unless I really need to eat something, and my migraines have almost stopped completely. I have maybe one or two migraines a month now instead of four times per week. The inflammation in my knees, back, and shoulder are completely gone. I have more energy during the day and don’t have that 3 pm slump anymore.

The best part: I’m not hungry! When I ate a standard diet of lean meat, grains, starchy vegetables, snacks, and sweets, I was grazing all day long like a cow in a field, but I was tired all the time and still felt like I was starving. Now, I don’t feel like eating at all. This diet (let’s face it, it’s not really a diet, it’s a lifestyle change) is satiating.

This is a simple daily rundown of what I eat in a day.

Breakfast: A cup of coffee with stevia and sugar-free almond milk, a two-egg omelet with cheese, and ½ cup of sautéed spinach. Occasionally I’ll add mushrooms.

Lunch: A cup of coffee and a spinach and romaine lettuce salad with tomato, cucumber, red onion (sparingly), bell pepper, ½ an avocado, a pan-fried and seasoned chicken thigh, and low carb Caesar dressing. Other meals that make frequent appearances are tuna salad on romaine lettuce leaves, egg salad sandwiches, and turkey, tomato, romaine, mayo, and cheese on homemade low-carb bread.

Dinner: 4- 6 oz of Beef, chicken, fish, or pork, broccoli, cauliflower rice or faux mashed potatoes, green beans, or sautéed kale with onion and garlic, sauteed cabbage, or courgette (zucchini).

If I’m still hungry during the day, I’ll snack on almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts, cheddar cheese, or homemade crackers made with almond flour. I drink a ton of water. It’s a far cry from the constant comments that Keto-ers only eat bacon and butter! As you can see, it’s a well-rounded diet that works for people who have tried everything else and failed.

Keto Works!

Though this diet is high fat, I don’t add additional fat to my diet except for a tablespoon of olive oil or refined coconut oil to cook with. On Keto, you use fat as a lever to keep you full, and I’m pretty full with my normal (boring) menu! I actually haven’t been craving anything sweet, except two squares of Lindt 90% dark chocolate twice per week. I do dream about diving into a vat of mashed potatoes and gravy, though.

Last night I had pepperoni pizza made with 1/4 of a homemade Keto King Pizza Base and a spinach salad. Delicious!

Funny anecdote: The other day, I went to the door to collect yet another Amazon parcel from the DPD delivery driver. The men’s XL cookie monster pajama pants (that I’ve worn for 10 years) fell around my ankles, much to the amusement of the delivery driver. It was mortifying at the time, but now I know for a FACT that my waist and hips are shrinking. I guess it’s time to retire Cookie Monster! I’ve had other experiences of my pants falling down lately, but those times have only been witnessed by my husband and our son, so not quite as embarrassing!

School Update

I have decided to go back to finish my Business Management degree majoring in Accounting, starting again in October. I currently have 90 credits out of the 360 it takes to graduate with my Bachelors with Honours Degree, and it would be a shame to waste that time, effort, and money. So, I’m going to try to balance being a mom, wife, homemaker, business owner, and student all at once. It’s a lofty, crazy goal, but finishing this degree will infinitely help me in my future career prospects. I need to do it to give my son a better life, and it will be easier this time around because he’s older and more self-sufficient. Thankfully my credits haven’t expired, and can still be applied to the degree I’ve chosen to complete. So, here we go again!

The Move Update

This year is crucial for us. We need to succeed in our respective career paths to save enough money for our move. We’ve spent almost all of our savings to survive this last year. Our goal is still to move back to America. But which state we’re aiming to move to is up in the air at the moment.

I received an email a few weeks ago offering me a job in Jacksonville, Florida. They were impressed with my lengthy administrative experience and thought I’d be an excellent fit for their office as Office Manager. It had an amazing salary, great perks (including health insurance, dental, optical, 401k matching, and more). Unfortunately, they needed an immediate start. With the current border restrictions between the UK and the US, I had to turn it down. It was an extremely desirable offer, though, and I was thrilled to receive it! I know there will be similar jobs available in the future, so we’re not tying ourselves to live in Michigan. It’ll be great to be back in the US and a short flight away to be able to see my family.

Goals

All in all, this year is set to be another whirlwind! We have so many goals and plans for this year, which is a little bit overwhelming yet thoroughly exciting! It feels so good to write again. For far too long, I’ve been in a major funk with nothing to write about and nowhere to go. So far, this year is looking up, and I can’t wait to get started!

I hope you enjoyed this March Blog Update. If you’d like to support me and my businesses, please visit the Amanda Ho Designs shop or my Etsy shop. If you can’t afford to purchase anything, I totally understand. You can also support me by giving me a like, share, and join my Facebook Page, Private Facebook group, or find me on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram! Following my social media channels costs nothing, but helps me more than you know.

See you soon, everyone! Have a fantastic day!

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