Looking back at July

It’s funny how a month can simultaneously fly by and drag on at the same time. July was like that for me. It was the busiest month this year but each day felt like they were 48 hours. I didn’t realise how much I did in the past 31 days until I did my monthly recap at the end of the month.

I don’t know about you, but these monthly lookbacks allow me to celebrate my small wins and milestones. I’m so caught up in the day to day hubbub, that I often don’t realise how far I’ve come. I think it’s important to look back, to review the good and the bad, to see what can be improved, and to start the new month on a high note. With that in mind, let’s leave behind this relatively long intro and catch up on what happened in July.

coffee scribbles tote bag

Launched the coffee & scribbles tote bag collection

I’ve been banging on about releasing tote bags for forever and I can’t believe I actually launched a whole collection this month! This launch was a lot of firsts: I opened pre-orders for the first time, I printed coloured designs for the first time, I created mock-ups that I loved, and I learned that tissue paper is called lantern paper here in Taiwan.

It’s safe to say this launch was on my mind the whole month, I’d be worrying about the tote bags in the middle of the night, thinking about packaging options on my commute, and calculating overall costs when I was grabbing coffee.

But then the tote bags arrived, I had secured all my packing materials, and I just spent a couple evenings focused on packing orders. Were my worries valid? Yes. But were they as anxiety-triggering as I made them out to be? Definitely not. I loved illustrating the tags attached to each tote bag, double checking orders, doodling on the boxes, and even queueing at the post office. The whole process was therapeutic and exciting and so humbling.

Thank you, to everyone that’s placed an order, supported me during the process, and shared the news of the launch.

the 2020 calendar

Yes, you heard (read?) it here first. I’m going to release a calendar for 2020. More detail to come in the upcoming months. Basically, i’m trying to have you guys hold me accountable to see this project through - I’ve been known to abandon series half way (cough #BotanicalAtoZ cough). But I really want to see this through, I was talking about releasing calendars last year, but never got around to it, and this year, it seems like the right time.

Eh, what am I saying, there’s no right time, but I’m going to make it work. I have a couple of illustrations done already, I even shared a couple on my Instagram page already (nope, not going to specify which ones 😉) . There are still a lot of details to iron out but it’s off to a good start. And now that the tote bag launch is over, I’ll be able to focus on the 2020 calendar, so allons-y! (Extra homemade cookies if you get the reference!)

coffeescribbles sunflower
taipei library

Finally learning how to take personal time without feeling guilty

This. This was the only reason I wasn’t burned out two weeks into the month. Between the tote bag launch, the 2020 calendar prep, and the intense rebrand launch I had at my day job, my mental health would’ve been completely out the window and down into the Mariana Trench. But this month, I wasn’t just able to put aside time for myself, I was able to enjoy the time without distraction.

I wasn’t feeling guilty over not spending more time on coffee & scribbles, or thinking about all the items on my to-do list. I could spend the evening watching a movie, or reading a book, and allowing myself to focus on the world in my hands. I talked to my friends more often, focusing on the good and on life, I journaled about hopes and dreams, and I even started learning how to quiet my mind and just focusing on breathing. I’m not very good at the last one, but it’s a start.

This was the most important thing I accomplished in July, and it’s the reason I was able to get through the month without completely falling apart.

July 2019 wasn’t my best month, nor my happiest month, but it’s the month I grew the most in 2019.

lifestyleDaphne Shen