Embracing Change.

Hello blog friends, it’s been some time. Let’s catch up.

We’re about 1 month away from our [fingers crossed] last move for a little while. I’m tired of packing up, moving, unpacking over the last few years. But there is something kind of great about moving & redesigning to fit new parameters and getting creative with what you already have. So besides the budget planning, this is where the rest of my thoughts have been lately.

A new creative space.

new office sketchI just feel like if I can create a great space that inspires, great thoughts will come and creative juices will flow.

Being on a budget, many of the details/ideas are DIY.

First: A new coat of paint on my desk and on the file cabinets to set a matching set of tones are first on the list. Right now I’ve got more of a crazy un-matching color scheme that doesn’t really work together or inspire calmness.

Second: Washi tape. Washi tape will be present in the new space. I’ve got plans to create a washi tape calendar and washi tape border details arount whatever prints/images are inspiring at the moment. That way, they’re easily switched out and leave no marks on the wall afterwards.

Third: A chalkboard for ideas.

Fourth: A string of photos, cards and mementos that speak to me hung with twine above the desk.

Fifth: Succulents/cactus plants for company.

I’ve been corralling ideas/inspiration here.

I might find room for a collage pin board in there too, and I’m so hoping that the room we use for an office has lighting like this.

We’ll work with what we have, once we get there.. but it’s fun to dream & to plan. The details in the plan are what make it special.

May you notice the special details today. Have a happy one!

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My thoughts lately: planning to ignite a fire.

So many of us are working way over 40 hours a week, in jobs we don’t really see futures in.

I’ve done quite a bit of reading in the area of following your passion, starting your own business, or working in a more lucrative field where opportunities exist.. but aren’t guaranteed.

So, do you make the leap or do you stay in a boring, yet safe place?

All the literature out there tells you to do what you need to do in order to have a safety net, or nest egg to fall back on. If you don’t have set hours with a set pay check at the end of the week or pay period, you have to have something to fall back on.

safety net

That’s true and I agree with it. I want to talk more about how you make a plan to follow that fire and create some structure out of it.

Work backwards

You have to work your plan backwards. Begin with the end in mind.

What do you need at the end of the month to sit pretty? Start with that number. Then break it down by weeks.

Is $2,500 your goal end number for the month? Then, you need $625 every week, roughly.

Now you figure out your game plan and work out what you need to do to come up with your weekly number. How many hours you need to work or how many shifts you need to pick up and what your goal number is per shift.

If you’re looking to make a transition – you now have a goal number to hit every week, or you could break that down again by day. Say I’m looking for a 4 day work week (aren’t we all?) I need to have $156.25 in my pocket before I call it a day.

This breakdown could be FREEING.

happy day

It might take all day – doing whatever it is you choose to do- to pull in that $156.25. Or maybe you found something really lucrative that allows you to rake that in by 1:00, just in time for a little siesta.

Now that you know how you need to work and what kind of standards you need to hold yourself to, account for everything and plan ahead.

Plan ahead, differently.

Sure it’s nice to see your checking account grow and grow. But by looking at a higher number in your checking account, a sense of entitlement might come over you and a spending spree might be something that’s considered to be deserved. Go ahead and protect yourself against the urge and separate what you budgeted to bring home from any overage.

By that, I mean physically move any extra to the side.

I’m fortunate enough to deal in cash for a good amount of my income, because I wait tables in addition to my daily 10-6. I know which nights I work and I know what my goal is per shift that I work.

Every month I write out my estimated income, broken down by shift and by checks I get from my other place of employment. I have a number that I expect to have made at the end of the month. Every day I write down what I brought home in tips and any extra – goes physically into a separate envelope. (You can do the same by percentages through online banking to transfer overages to a separate account too). That being said, if I’m short a day – I can pull from that envelope that has extra cash for whatever month I’m in. We are always quick to spend anything extra beyond what we planned for, but slow to recover when we have to take a hit for an unexpected reason.

Plan to stay at the level you planned for. Then, any extra money you have physically set aside in an envelope at the end of the month is truly extra that you can fund your small business with, buy yourself a new pair of shoes with (guilt free!), or go out for drinks on a school night.

Hoping to do something you love doesn’t have to be unattainable. Every day is dull if you aren’t loving what you’re doing, or contributing to the world in some way. Of course everyone can’t up and quit their job simply because they don’t like it.

But for those of us with a passion and a vision.. get your ducks in a row. Establish your savings. Transfer your extras into savings. Go get a part time job. Suck it up for now & then once your gut tells you it’s time.. you have a plan to transition into something less stable, but potentially thrilling.

We have one life to live, right?

Boldly, go. 

boldly go

Here are some great tips from the ladies at Design Love Fest too.

Darling little things: My go-to photo apps.

Let’s talk photography for a minute. Phone and tablet photography, more specifically. I love my DSLR, but I just don’t carry it with me everywhere. My phone photos & iPad photos are just more convenient.

There are SO MANY photo apps out there both paid & unpaid available across both Android & iOS platforms. Some are limited exclusively to one platform or the other. I’ve come across several new apps to play with and found new favorites through some of my favorite blogs so I thought I would put together a little list of my favorites right now.

Editing/Creative details: ABeautifulMess App
Price: $0.99, iOS only (for now)

If you don’t know about A Beautiful Mess, go. Now. Elsie & Emma wow me every day with their DIY prowess, inventive food & cocktail recipes & are pretty much the reason why I have slowly gotten over the whole hating white walls thing. I now can appreciate a much more open, airy & less cluttered version of a living space & much of my personal inspiration came from the awesomeness of their blog.

Elsie hand writes on many of the photos featured on their website. The sisters recently developed an app that includes features handwritten phrases and doodles in Elsie’s handwriting, different filters, and options to add your own text in a variety of fonts.

I’ve used this app for adding just for fun details to my own photos as well as for promotion purposes & they keep updating it and adding to it.

Here’s a few from my Instagram.

perfume party invitephotostrips

I’ve also used it for photos that I post too: here & here.

The app is a great 99 cent spend and Elsie & Emma keep updating it with new fonts/doodles/add ons. For right now, it’s only available if you have an Apple device (I downloaded it on my iPad) but the Android version is coming later this summer.

Alternative Camera: Pudding Camera
Price: Free on Android platforms

This app features 9 different cameras and 8 different film choices when you’re snapping photos using your phone. You can also apply toy cameras effects and vary your shots using a blur feature and changing aspect ratios. With all of the different camera/film combinations to play with, you pretty much get a different aesthetic with each photo you take.

I apologize for all of the dog photos, but I particularly loved this camera app when taking photos of them.

pudding camera 1 pudding camera 2 pudding camera 3

I especially love the last one & how the film/camera choice and the blur made what could have been a fairly blown out photo, a very unique photo instead.

Adding something extra: Pixlr-o-Matic
Free on both Android & iOS

I rarely post photos without atleast running it through Pixlr-o-Matic. This app features a plethora of film filters, effects, and borders to mix together to create unique photos. I like the “before” photo posted below, but the “after” photo just POPS.
pixlr after pixlr o matic

Better than Standard Phone Camera: FxCamera 
Free on Android and Apple

I actually spent a good deal of time using Fx Camera as my actual camera when I snapped any photos. I think it offers a crisper image, but the downside is that there is a bit of lag in shutter speed.  I’ve since switched back to using the default phone camera and just open photos in Fx Camera to apply some of its effects, instead.

This camera offers a Toy camera, Symmetrical camera, and Fisheye (among others) and had a recent update that includes lots of new filters, like this circle to put focus on a certain area shown below. It’s Free – go check it out!

brooklyn lately

Of course I love Instagram as well, but I primarily use it for photos I want to share in a quick moment or to layer over another photo app I’ve already applied to get a more detailed effect.

I tend to use all of the other apps listed in more detail when I have intentions of printing and am looking for a more unique version.

These were just a few of my top favorites right now that I wanted to pass along, hopefully I introduced you to something new!

Happy Friday!

Magic Moments:Life Lately in Instagrams.

It’s halfway through the work week, you guys. Yippeeeee!!

I’m encouraged and inspired  lately to keep going, to push harder & burn the midnight oil to keep up with projects (such as this blog & some DIY) after hours, but I tell ya.. after 12 hour days, lately I have just not had the oomph for it.

So let’s catch up via Instagram lately.

4th of july doughnutsWe celebrated the 4th with fireworks & festive doughnuts. Yeah buddy.
ducks latelyWe have some duck friends who come visit us. Usually there are 2 that visit in a pair, but lately it’s just one at a time. We feed the ducks and about 8 turtles that live in the pond too pretty regularly.
brooklyn latelyHere’s my baby girl. When I say baby, I mean she acts like she’s a baby.. but technically she’s middle-aged in dog years. She’s so photogenic.
dresses latelyDRESSES!! Ross has expanded their dress section and I was able to scoop up 3 lovelies without breaking my budget this past weekend. Josh didn’t really understand why I had to buy 3, but then again his wardrobe consists of about 1/3 of mine so.. yeah.
partners latelyShadows at the beach. This is probably my most favorite photo in a long time. I tweaked it using a couple of programs & am probably going to print/upsize it to display in the house very soon.

Little details make the every day special. Follow me on Instagram to see more of our little details & moments.

Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

 

Project Life Updates: Weeks 5 &6

Project Life for weeks 5 & 6 looked like this:

Week 5

FxCam_1361308384222Unfortunately, I’ve been a little bit behind with printing out photos and trying to keep track of all of my items that I want to include so I only have one page for both weeks 5 & 6 vs. the 2 pages for all of the other weeks. It’s definitely easier to do it at the end of the week so you can stay caught up. I’ve been stretching myself a bit thin lately and it’s showing a little. During week 5, of course I have a photo of one of my fur babies lounging, being lazy and so cute. I can’t not take pictures of them. I worked out some Valentine’s Day and February selling incentives for my Mary Kay business and got a super cute little office package from an old friend of mine. They brighten up my desk and fridge.

Close Up

FxCam_1361308426349

Week 6

FxCam_1361308356954

Close UpFxCam_1361308474241

This week was filled with desk organization (post coming soon!) and of course more snuggle and cuddly photos of my puppies (they’re so sweet together). We’ve been focused on trying to eat healthier and have found some new things to try at the local Farmer’s Market (the star fruit in the top left photo) and homemade dog treats in the bottom left photo made of all natural ingredients and house favorites like wheat flour, peanut butter, milk, and honey. It’s a little more work but I feel better giving my pups natural treats and smaller treats so that I know what they’re eating and that they’ll be entertaining and snuggling with us for a long while.

It’s easy to forget the little moments and the “tasks” you checked off on your to-do list during the day and at the end of the week and it kinds of runs together. I’m so glad that I can hone in on the moments with this project.

Are you doing Project Life yet? It’s a growing phenomenon!

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