My 3 Focuses For 2019

The subtitle for this blog post could easily be “Here’s How to Keep From Dropping the Ball On Your Challenges Like I Did”… but it seemed a little bit wordy. However, I learned a lot from my challenges this year, and I’m ready to share that with you, so we can really make the most of the upcoming year.

The Recap: This is the annoying part at the beginning of the show, that’s insanely helpful if you’re watching TV like in ye olden days, but horrifically redundant if you’re binging on Netflix…

For my personal challenges this year, I chose…


Acrylic painting


For my business challenges this year, I chose…




The Breakdown: Here’s where I’ll tell you how each of these went… pull on your hazmat suits ladies, cause it’s gonna get a little messy.


I started off strong on makeup…. signed up for Ipsy, signed up for BoxyCharm, and when I got in a new palette, I would hit YouTube and find ways to use it. But per my usual, I settled on one or two looks that I was comfortable with, and continued to rock them. Not really the stretching I’d hoped for. Boxycharm & Ipsy, while quite fun to receive, both had their issues. Boxycharm consistently sent me brownish shades of lip color, despite me having chosen reds/pinks/plums/whatever… Ipsy insisted in sending me highlighters and bronzers… even after I begged them to never send me bronzer ever again.

The other problem, is that I really wanted to be playing in SFX makeup, but never could convince myself to drop the money on it the makeup, or the books.

Final thoughts? I expanded my makeup selection, and I’ve resolved to try more new looks in 2019. And if they work for hooded eyes? Even better.

Acrylic painting

I was slow to dip into this one… diving directly from watercolor into acrylic painting was a little wonky for me, because they don’t use exactly the same techniques, and I kept wanting to treat the acrylics like watercolors. I think, if I were to do it over again, I would have used gouache as my in-between. Gouache, to me, seems like watercolors and acrylics had a beautiful but under-appreciated baby. Once I did dive in, courtesy of some Skillshare classes from my friend Bonnie*, I really enjoyed it… and I fully plan to explore this more in 2019. In fact, my husband has requested that I dig into watercolors & acrylics to paint some items for our house… which we’ve yet to decorate.

Final thoughts? I wish I would have given this more attention, because when I did do it, I had a blast.

*If you’re not on Skillshare already, that link gets you 2 free months to check it out, and affiliate bonus for me… win-win!


Alright, here’s where things got derailed severely. I am a fan of staying slightly broad for your focuses, because something like “huckleberry pie baking” is a little too niche for you to really dig into it for a year. However, music is beyond “slightly” broad. It’s so broad, that every time I’ve sat down to talk about my focuses (including this blog post) I’ve struggled to remember what my 3rd one was. Oops. The other issue, is that every time I got ready to invest time or money into this focus, I didn’t know what to do with it…. what does music look like? Am I learning to play piano? Music theory? Songwriting? Pan pipes? Tin whistle? Whistle tones?

Final thoughts? I’m reworking this for 2019, and I’ll tell you all about that in just a hot moment.


As it turned out… I didn’t really need any classes on this one. I’m obsessed with it, and I talk about it all the time on Instagram stories. I just had this severe lack of confidence about it last year, and I really felt like I needed to learn something. Turns out, I just need to put into practice what I know… this is par for my life… I’m always the cobbler whose children haven’t any shoes… I excel at helping others with their Pinterest, but fall short of shining on my own. Time to fix that!

Final thoughts? I’m updating my Pinterest before year’s end, and launching something special in early spring 2019.


I put video, but it really shifted into learning about YouTube. I dove into this pretty quickly, and in February as I sat in the Apple store, miserably waiting on someone to fix my iMac after an update temporarily murdered it, I realized our tax refund was in the account. So while joking with another woman whose iMac had suffered a similar fate, I popped onto Jessica Stansberry’s site, and purchased access to her YouTube membership.

Final thoughts? I’ve got a better handle on what to do with my YouTube, I just struggle with editing, and finding time to record videos when the kiddos are quiet.


On that same Apple Store visit, after purchasing access to Jessica Stansberry’s membership, I purchased access to Tyler McCall’s membership, and that turned out to be life changing. From there, I made several friends in the membership, and attended his very first Retreat in Chicago, where I made more new friends. And saw the Bean… because Chicago. And had deep dish pizza… because Chicago.

Final thoughts? I feel like this one is in that “I need to implement better” territory. Tyler told me at the retreat, that he never would have known from my Instagram, how much I know about Pinterest, just from my feed. And it’s true. I yak about it all the time in my Stories… but rarely talk about it on my feed… putting it in my feed feels more expert-y, and more permanent… which is scary for some reason. But that’s about to change.


So what am I doing this coming year?

Personal Focuses


Earlier this year, when I rebuilt my site through the guidance of Amanda Creek (she’s awesome, go check her out!), I took nearly 1000 photos for my site and Instagram. The original goal was to take 2000, but we’d just hit the rainy season here in Virginia, and I was struggling to find enough light. But during the process I fell even more in love with photography… I settled on a look for the first time ever, learned what backdrops I did and didn’t like for my brand, and even taught myself how make an Photoshop action, so I could give all of my photos a cohesive look of my own design.

Plans – 

>> Try to take one class from ClickinMoms each month
>> Use my children as guinea pigs to improve my people photography skills
>> Acquire a collection of on-brand props to choose from at a moment’s notice

Vocals & Violin

I’m a self taught singer, but it is one of my oldest loves. I can remember going to New Mexico as a child, for a family funeral, and entertaining my Nanny one night by singing. She said she wished that she’d known I could sing, because she would have had me sing at the funeral. High praise, but a terrifying thought at that age!

I’ve gone on to sing in church, for fundraising events, and even had the honor and privilege of singing the National Anthem over a dozen times when I was in the military. But it’s been years since I sang seriously, and even longer since I consistently practiced and trained my voice.

The violin I purchased a few years back… I made payments on it, and it felt like I’d be paying on it forever… but it’s mine free and clear now, but I have zero idea how to play it. I’m not completely insane mind you… I tried learning right after I got it, but the higher notes scared my baby at the time. Oops!

Plans –

>> I’ve purchased Fiddle for Dummies as an ebook, and I’ll start working my way through that
>> Find online violin lessons
>> Take Christina Aguilera’s MasterClass
>> Maybe take vocal lessons online?

Character Design

Character design is what I’m using to describe this focus… since I’m in Video Game Art for school, and my dream is to create fantasy characters for book covers, or concept art, I’m going to be digging deep into clothing and bodies… anatomical studies, hair/fur, drawing clothing for said anatomy. Does I mean I won’t draw anything else this year? Absolutely not… but this will be where my primary attention is placed, and where any art classes purchase would be directed.

Plans – 

>> Put a bookshelf in my room so I can put all of the fashion books there
>> Assign a portion of the body to really dig deep on each month
>> Take the Skillshare/Udemy classes I already have access to
>> Draw, draw, draw!


Business Focuses

Video Editing

As mentioned above, one of my holdups with YouTube, is my video editing. I don’t know much about it, so I keep it very simple… but there’s so many snazzy things that can be done with video. From learning more about B-roll, or cutting in images, or doing different video styles, or creating an intro for my videos, there’s so much that can be done to perk up my videos. And when it comes to editing I have access to 3-4 different video editors, so there’s no excuse not to learn!

Plans – 

>> Find out what some of my favorite Tubers are using to edit
>> Take Skillshare and Lynda classes on editing
>> Make videos so I have something to edit


I’ve been dying to start a podcast for FOREVER. And I already have a possible name… and people I’d love to interview… but I really don’t know where to get started.

Plans – 

>> Purchase a new cord for my Snowball
>> Possibly upgrade to a Yeti
>> Find some classes on YouTube
>> Maaaaaaaaybe Pat Flynn’s course?


Advertising is something that I want to get into this year, especially as I promote that special Pinterest something this spring, or relaunch later in the year. But I’ve only done some Facebook boosts. I haven’t done actual advertisements in years, and it’s about time to relearn that.

Plans – 

>> I have access to Amy Porterfield’s course, as a bonus to another course I took
>> Look for information on Instagram ads
>> Start using Pinterest ads
>> Write a blog post about which ones I find most effective and why?

Alright, I would love to hear from you… what are you doing for your 3 Focuses?


Amanda Sue

Amanda Sue is an enabler for creatives who shun niches. Through her super-approachable classes & range of Pinterest services, she's here to remind you that you deserve to carve out the life of your dreams. Her adoring fans & customers have called her classes "fun + relaxing" & "refreshingly breezy". When she's not painting & Pinning, you can find her teaching herself to knit while she indulges her latest Netflix obsession.

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