Thursday, November 29, 2012

Living with Thanksgiving in a Greedy World


I can hardly believe December is upon us. Where does the time go? It's interesting to me how, as a country, we go from a day of thanksgiving to a day of hoarding. I think buying gifts for the people you care about is wonderful, but it's so easy to go overboard and be consumed with material consumption (especially when holiday sales are calling us from all directions). 
Hey, look at that cute skirt that's on sale! Like I need more clothes.

We need to remember what this season is all about.
We need to look at all the things we have rather than the things we do not have.
I'm speaking to myself.

There are so many ways to give to people who truly have needs. Here are a few suggestions:




When you think about all you have compared to people who are struggling to survive, you can't help but see that you are so blessed. Look for ways to give to those in your community who have needs. Live with thanksgiving. Bless out of the blessings you've received.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Outfit: Nerd Chic

(chambray shirt- Gap outlet // skinny jeans- AE // belt- Eddie Bauer // flats- Report // necklace- erika originals // rings- NS Pottery // glasses- Warby Parker

This was my Thanksgiving day outfit. Yes, I'm wearing the same shirt I had on in last week's post (styled differently). I received my new glasses a couple weeks ago (thanks to everyone who voted!) and I'm in looove! I'm usually more of a contacts girl, but I've been wearing them almost every day. I give Warby Parker 5 stars for quality and customer service.

linking up with the Pleated Poppy

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Product Photography: Finding What Works


I am no expert product photographer, but I have learned a lot through trial and error. There have been many errors.

Some ideas sound great in theory, like the time I tried hanging my necklaces on a tree trunk. It sounds great, right? Natural, earthy, simple. Not so much.



You can see that this photo is way too busy- you hardly notice the necklace hanging there. The texture of the tree is distracting and doesn't work in my favor. The necklace pops a lot more on a plain background like in the photo at the top.

Before I started my etsy shop, I did a lot of research in product photography and some of the tips I read did not work for me. I remember being SO frustrated sometimes, feeling like I didn't know what I was doing. I've read that some people take photos inside by a diffused window (no flash, please), but I haven't found a single spot in my house that works. I take all of my photos outside because the lighting is so much better. Yes, even in the winter, I bundle up and take them outside.



While it's good to look at photographs you like for inspiration, your items are unique (hopefully) and may not photograph the same. My best advice is to grab your camera and try different things. You will learn the most that way.



And by the way, I don't have a spiffy camera either- just a basic Nikon point-and-shoot. It gets the job done.

Have you learned what works by experimenting with your camera? Spread the love and share any tips you have for product photography!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!


Since participating in the 30 Days of Thanksgiving challenge, I've realized how much I take for granted. There are so many things I never even think about, but oh, how different my life would be without them. I want to be thankful every day of the year.

In honor of Thanksgiving, here's a short round-up of things I'm especially thankful for this year:
 an expanding business
❤ a warm home
❤ friends who are near & far & all over blog-land
❤ the Influence Conference (& soon-to-be-launching Influence Network!)
❤ indoor plumbing
❤ twitter
❤ the Redeemer of my soul & Love of my life
❤ good health
❤ my blog readers (you!)
❤ apple cider & popcorn
❤ a welcoming & truth-teaching church
❤ my blog designer
❤ new glasses
❤ my encouraging & supportive family

Wishing you all a day of relaxation, fun, & thankfulness. Be sure to count your blessings!

linking up with friends Blair, Erika, & Casey


P.S. Don't forget about the Black Friday sale happening tonight + tomorrrow!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Outfit: Chambray + Orange


(chambray shirt- Gap Outlet // brown tank- Eddie Bauer // orange jeans- J. Crew Factory // flats- DSW // rectangle necklace, geometric ring- NS Pottery)

Obviously I was not made to be a model because this is all very awkward for me :) It seems like chambray shirts and colored jeans are classics these days, and I'm enjoying mine! What are your favorite shades of jeans?

In other news, I'm featured on sweet Kacia's blog today! She looks INCREDIBLE in her orange deluxe statement necklace and says all kinds of things that are too nice. Thank you, Kacia! See the post here.

photos by Megan
linking up for some outfit inspiration with the Pleated Poppy

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Black Friday SALE

This year, I'm doing a one-day only sale to kick off the Christmas shopping season! The offer is valid on in-stock items only, so shop early to make sure you get the best selection of items and colors! Shop here to start making your list ;)

Monday, November 19, 2012

When to Say "No"


About a month and a half ago, I received a phone call from Nancy Soriano- the former editor of Country Living magazine, co-founder of the Creative Connection, and current consultant for One Kings Lane. If you're not familiar with One Kings Lane, it's a flash-sale site that offers discounts on designer products and home decor items to over 6 million members. It is the second most popular home site after Pottery Barn. Nancy told me that she was getting ready to launch a hand-crafted channel within One Kings Lane, and she wanted me to be a part of a jewelry event in November [starting to feel excited]. She said that it could be a huge opportunity for my business and that she could pretty much guarantee that I would get lots of publicity and retailer interest in my shop [getting more excited]. We would start small to see how it goes. 

Now being the girl who doesn't make rash decisions, I needed some time to think this over. Yes, it sounded like a great opportunity, but I would be selling my items at a deep discount to One Kings Lane. I wouldn't really make much money, but since "we were starting small" and it would be a great for publicity, I decided to give it a shot. I said yes.

Somewhere along the line in the following weeks, I starting getting this tiny overwhelming feeling about it all. I learned there were special packaging instructions (hello materials I would have to order just for this). I learned that there was paperwork to fill out. I learned that "starting small" meant 480 items. Wait, WHAT?!

Cue overwhelming, freak-out, want-to-crawl-in-a-hole moment. This is me---> wanting to lay on the floor a cry myself into a puddle (hence the blog post I wrote 3 1/2 weeks ago).

Maybe crafting 480 pieces of jewelry & pottery in two weeks time would be nothing to some small businesses, but I am one woman who has my own online shop, wholesale accounts, & special orders, not to mention a life outside of my business. I am not a robot.

I think the reason I freaked out was because I had already said "yes" after all. I was scared.

What if she gets mad and doesn't take it well when I back out?

Thankfully, she was very gracious when I said I couldn't do it, and I learned some valuable lessons that day.

1. Know What You're Committing to Before You Say "Yes"
       Do you know the details? (Make sure you find them out!) Can you handle it? Is it something you feel comfortable with? (Oftentimes those feelings of doubt in the back of our minds are trying to tell us something) Know your limits and don't let anyone pressure into something that you are not comfortable with.

2. Decide If It Will Be Profitable
       Sometimes you may sacrifice material profits for publicity- I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing. It's a way to grow your business. However, I don't think you should work your way into a mental institution just to get the job done. Again, know your limits. 

It's important to remember that new opportunities will always come. Had I decided I could handle this, I would have had to turn down several things that have come about since saying no. Building a business is hard work and it takes time. Not many businesses experience overnight success (though it sometimes seems that way). Don't be afraid to take risks, but be reasonable and gracious with yourself.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fried Rice


Today I'm sharing my super easy recipe for Fried Rice. I usually add leftover chicken with the vegetables, but it would also be great with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving or even made vegetarian. Feel free to swap out any veggies that you don't like or have on hand and add your favorites! The quantities are educated guesses, as I usually just dump in whatever looks balanced. I love to serve this with black beans and a side salad.



FRIED RICE (serves 6)
-3 cups brown rice, cooked
-large onion, diced
-large carrot, shredded
-1-1 1/2 cups frozen corn
-2 cups sugar snap peas
-1 clove of garlic, minced
-cooked chicken or turkey
-tamari or soy sauce to taste

Saute onion in olive oil over medium-low heat until brown and caramelized, approximately 10 minutes. Add shredded carrots, corn, and sugar snap peas and cook several more minutes until frozen veggies are thawed. Add garlic, meat, and rice and mix until blended and heated through. Drizzle tamari on the rice until it has a light caramel color and blend well. Serve & Enjoy!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall Family Photos

Last month, my family got together at our local state park to have some photos taken. I'm so excited to share them today!


We weren't quite sure why my brother and his wife planned this family shoot, but we soon found out their secret. It's bittersweet looking back on these photos now, knowing that we won't get to meet this celebrated little life here on earth.


Love them!
Thanking the Lord extra much for this family today!

All images by Colleen Fay Photography

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Need For Rest


Do you ever have a hard time resting?
Taking an entire day off?
Obeying the command to keep the Sabbath day holy?

I was having one of those days this past Sunday because I felt like there was work that I had to do, but instead I chose to rest and leave work out of it, and I'm so glad now that I did.

It is so, so important to take time to rest. Not only is it a command (Exodus 20:8), it is essential to keeping ourselves from getting burned out and staying energized and inspired.

Feeling unmotivated and uninspired? Take some time off and see what happens.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Operation Christmas Child: How to Pack a Shoebox


Every year for the past ten years or so, my mom and I have gone shopping for Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. It's seriously so much fun! (Who doesn't like to go shopping with their mom?) I've heard it said that as soon as you begin shopping for your box, God has a child picked out. He knows exactly what each person needs. As Christians, we are commanded to care for orphans (James 1:27), and I think this is a great way to do it.


This box is for a 5-9 year old girl. You would be surprised at how much you can fit into a shoe box when you begin packing. Samaritans Purse has specific instructions on how to pack a box here, but one thing I want to tell you is how valuable a toothbrush is to people in third world countries. Many families share one, so if you can throw in a couple of them, it's a great idea.


National collection week is next week, November 12-19, so it's time to get your shop on! This is a great project for kids to help with, and if you register your box online, you can even track it as it makes the journey to its new home (so cool!
Find out where to drop your box off with this list of locations and learn everything else you need to know here.


"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Week of Thanksgiving #1


It's hard to believe that a week went by so quickly and it's Thursday again. It's been good for me to specifically think about what I am thankful for each day. Are you following along with the #30daysofthanksgiving hashtag on twitter? 

Here's my recap:

Day 2: Thankful for kleenex (my poor nose saw about 73 of them on this day, but what would I do without them?)

Day 3: Thankful for an extra hour of sleep.

Day 4: Thankful for my little fur ball. Buster is seriously the sweetest dog I've ever known. I love him to pieces.

Day 5: Thankful for my cousin who took some outfit photos for me (even though it was quite chilly out). Thanks, Meg!

Day 6: Thankful for the freedom to vote (my first time!) and for the bright sunshine that I hadn't seen in over a week.

Day 7: Thankful that the election ads and phone calls have ceased. Hallelujah, it was getting old. Ohio is never more important than around election time. Now we go back to being the lame, forgotten state, but I'd rather have it that way!

What are you thankful for today? Share below or link up your post on Amanda's blog!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Outfit: Coral + Brown


(cardigan, tee- Old Navy // skinny jeans- AE // scarf- fashionABLE // ring- NS Pottery // flats- DSW)

I love cardigans and this particular cardigan is one of my favorites! I'm in love with my new fashionABLE infinity scarf, too. I was able to see many of the fashionABLE scarves at the Influence Conference last month, and I had a hard time picking out just one for myself. They are all GORGEOUS. And the best part? The scarves are handmade by women in Africa- women who would otherwise be living on the streets working as prostitutes because they have no other way to feed themselves or their children.

It's so easy to live our comfortable lives and turn our faces away from the poverty and injustice around the world, but we can make a difference. By purchasing a fashionABLE scarf, you will help give hope to a woman who otherwise would have no hope, and you will look great doing it. If you would like to get me something for Christmas, I'll take this one in marigold and this one in charcoal black ;)  

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photos taken by Megan
linking up with the Pleated Poppy
Disclosure: compensated affiliate links used

Monday, November 5, 2012

Teaching


I haven't talked about this on the blog yet, but I've been teaching wheel-throwing classes since last spring. It was hard at first to witness the struggling that comes with learning to center clay (and be reminded of how much I had to work to learn this art form), but now, I see results.



Some things take time, but if you want to learn something bad enough, you can learn it with enough practice. Don't give up.



Friday, November 2, 2012

Warby Parker Glasses: Vote!


I finally got around to ordering my second set of Warby Parker frames last week. (If you want to hear more about my first set, you can view that post here- they looked better on my dog.) I am the most indecisive person alive, so I thought it would be fun to have you vote on which ones you like best! Out of the 5 frames, I knew I didn't like the Winston on my face, so the others are pictured below- Wiloughby, Huxley, Beckett, and Preston. I want you to be honest, and if you think they all look terrible, (kindly) tell me. My mom actually started cracking up the first time I put the one pair on. Thanks, Mom. 

Ok, ready? Vote!



I'm open to other frame options, too if you know your Warby Parkers! Thanks friends!