Keep reaching for your goals

I have reached the 10-week mark for my very own “Live Healthy Challenge.”  I lost 25 pounds, but who’s counting? My goal wasn’t a number-it was a challenge to see if I could stick with it.

I lost 25 pounds in 10 weeks! As I have heard many times, exercise and healthy diet are both needed to maintain a  healthy lifestyle.

I lost 25 pounds in 10 weeks! As I have heard many times, exercise and a sensible diet are both needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

I did a lot better than I thought I would. It wasn’t difficult staying away from the sweets and fats, but I found it much more difficult to find time for exercise. I tried going to the workout room after work, but there was also something higher on my priority list to do.

“I’ll walk later,” I told myself, or, “I’ll work in the yard.”  Or even, “I’ll work double tomorrow.” It didn’t happen. I was mindful of it, and always tried to do better. However, I know that’s one of those things that I need to work on.

My kids had a surprise party for my birthday at a local bowling alley yesterday. Of course, there was cake. But the pieces were small and we were burning calories by bowling (217 according to still not even to account for the 330 calories of that little piece of cake!) But hey-it was my birthday. As the saying goes, “Life is too short not to eat cake.”

I am also excited to announce that my new business is off to a good start., an eMagazine, is just a part of the overall online marketing consulting business that I have created in the past few months. My parent company, Meis Communications, encompasses several aspects of the media/marketing world, including web creation, business promotion, public relations, writing and photography projects.

Late last year, I started asking myself how I could utilize everything I have learned. After a little soul-searching, I realized that I shouldn’t limit myself to one or two services. Instead, I decided to do something totally different and embarked on a new venture that included all of my talents.

I want to help my community by keeping them informed of what’s going on around them. I love being creative, letting my mind wander, and I am always entertained by where it takes me. I want to be my own boss, and I think I will get there someday. But I think what motivates me the most, the drive that keeps me going, is that I know this is going somewhere. I’m not exactly sure where, but I know it’s building on something great.

Hats off to Isaac’s BirdBrains

Most entrepreneurs have to work at getting their business off the ground.

Isaac models one of the hats his mom makes. Photo by Cynthia Petersen

Isaac models one of the hats his mom makes.
Photo by Cynthia Petersen

But not Erin Maeder.

With a natural talent on her side, Erin, who lives in Cedar Rapids, turns a cold weather necessity into a whimsical conversation piece.

Erin was only 9 years-old when her grandmother gave her a needle and taught her the basics of crochet.

“I mostly just crocheted squares,” she said. “Then about 2 years ago I decided to crochet my son a blackbird hat.”

Erin said that when her friends saw what she had made, they wanted her to make one for them, too.

“That’s where I got the name for the business…Isaac’s Bird Brain-from Isaac’s blackbird hat.”

Since then, Erin said she has literally made thousands of hats and has a picture of every one she’s made, which can be found on her business’ Facebook page.

Erin said she gets a lot of help from her son, too. Isaac, now 3, models the hats his mom makes.

“He’s getting really good at it,” she said with a laugh.

He has two favorite hats which he would wear all the time if Erin let him; a “Geo” hat and a “Jake” hat, which are based on TV cartoon characters.

Erin also crochets slippers, booties, scarves, and mittens.

“I often go online and research what everyone else is doing,” she said.  “I do my best to stay current and competitive.”

Most of the hats only take Erin 1-2 hours to make, but some can be rather complicated. She said she recently completed a Vikings hat, which comes complete with a “helmet” and beard.

And though Erin gets some interesting requests, she doesn’t work from a pattern.

“They send me pictures and I just try to make it the way they want.”

She said it doesn’t always turn out exactly the way it’s supposed to.

“But no one has complained about it yet,” she said with a smile.

Erin participated in her first craft show late last year and sold out of her entire inventory in one day.

“Since it was my first show I didn’t know what to expect,” she said with laugh. “Next time I’ll be better prepared.”

Erin said she hopes to take part in more craft shows next fall, but will continue to take orders for hats and other items on Facebook all year-long.

And as her hats continue to be in demand, Erin is getting ready to go back to school at Mount Mercy University, where she is majoring in Criminal Justice.

Erin has worked at ASAC for the past seven years, helping kids who have drug and alcohol problems.

“That’s really what got me into the Criminal Justice program,” she said. “I love working with kids. I hope to make a career out of it.”

For more information about Erin and Isaac’s Bird Brain, visit her Facebook page.

Mark It CR