Handmade crafts have a special place in my heart. Even though I studied industrial design, which is all about designing products that can be manufactured in bulk, I really love the personalization and care that goes into crafting a single product. Omerica Organic is an environmentally conscious, Denver-based shop that crafts beautiful jewelry pieces out of wood. My friend Esther, posted about them a few months ago on her blog, and I knew I needed to add one of these little jewels to my collection. After browsing their site, I spotted this turtle necklace. Sea turtles hold a very special place in my heart. They are one of my favorite animals to spot when we go diving. So, I informed my husband that I wanted this turtle as my push gift. And this past Thursday I finally received this little guy. Isn't he a beauty? Oh, and our new little addition to the family isn't too shabby either.
After almost 7 years of freelance work, I started a full time job back in February. I think I shocked quite a few people when that happened, myself included. But after five months of this change, I can confidently say that it was the best decision I could've made. Here's why. I'm not fit to be a stay-at-home mom. Being a SAHM is truly a special job, believe me, I lived it for over two years. While I wouldn't trade the time I got to spend with my daughter for anything in the world, I found my patience wearing thin on most days and my brain felt like it was melting from lack of adult interaction. Now that I'm working full time outside of the house, I've found myself less stressed. And happier when I come home and get to spend those precious few hours with my daughter and husband. Quality over quantity is what works for us. My daughter is flourishing at daycare She is learning things that I wouldn't have taught her on my own, both because I don't know much of anything about educating kids and from pure exhaustion from chasing a toddler around all day. She got bored at home a lot, now she stays busy at daycare all day and she loves it. I don't feel that I am losing an important part of myself. I have been a passionate and driven person my whole life. I set goals and I make plans to reach those goals. It's such a big part of my personality and what keeps me going. Being a SAHM was causing me to feel as if I was losing that part of myself. Even though I was still doing freelance design & photography work, having to balance both work and taking care of a child wasn't working for me. I didn't want my career to stall while my kids were young, and then have to start my career again when the kids are ready to go to elementary school. A bit selfish on my end? Maybe. But it's what's best for my mental health, and I'm a strong believer that if Mommy isn't happy, the kids (and husband) won't be either.
Been hearing horror stories of people dealing with design agencies lately, and since it's Friday the 13th, this seemed like the perfect day for a post like this. I've been wanting to write on this topic for a long time, and now that I'm moving on from freelancing/running a small design agency on to a full-time job (as a designer, but not at an agency). It's time to share some of these thoughts that have been simmering deep in my belly with you. When searching for an agency, you are looking for a partner to guide you through this crazy design process. Especially if you are new at the design process, don't know much about developing and managing a website or just need to hand the project off to someone else to handle, you need to be thoughtful with who you choose to work with. The Bad: - Will they give you a straight answer when you ask them a question. Or do they try to avoid the question? - Do they make changes by the time they say they will? Or does it take them two weeks to make a copy change. - Are they helpful? Do they make suggestions toward the design of the project? When the client asks for suggestions? One of the big reasons clients hire design agencies is for our creative input The Ugly: - Restrict WordPress: The beauty of using WordPress is that we (the agency) can hand the reins over. The only reason an agency would put restrictions on WordPress is so that they can make more money from you (the client) when small changes are needed to be made. Let's end with The Good: Signs of a good design agency: - They give you straight answers - Provide guidance - They are willing to educate you on the design process. My biggest tip: Does the agency treat you with kindness, respect and (most important of all) transparency. Good luck out there! But be assured there are some fantastic agencies out there to work with. You just might have to dig through the bad and the ugly to find the good ones.
I came across this image on Pinterest last week and it really resonated with me. Since my word of the year is "passion," I thought this would be a great place to start. After some thought, here are my three hobbies: One to make you money: design + photography My love/hate relationship with design and photography continues.... but no worries, it's more love than hate. One to keep you in shape: tennis, running, swimming Okay, so I have three of them. But, tennis is tough to do on my own (the husband doesn't play). Running gets really boring on its own. And swimming? Well, without a gym membership, swimming is only possible during the summer months. One to be creative: sewing I finally learned to use a proper sewing machine last year, and now I can actually make useful things out of all the pretty fabrics from the fabric store. First up is a tree skirt for Christmas next year. So, what are your three hobbies?
It's that time of the year again. It's resolution time. For me, that means making a vision board. This has an annual tradition for me since 2012, when I landed a speaking opportunity at BlogHer Food, just under 3 weeks after I made my first vision board. Plus, being a visual person, I love being able to look back at my vision board throughout the year to check on my progress and to find some inspiration. Here’s a look back at 2014‘s vision board: Left to Right, Top to Bottom: 1. Begin working on getting my rescue diver SCUBA certification - This one will have to be revisited in a couple years.
Today is a major milestone. I'm finally getting to experience what many moms feel at the beginning of each school year: freedom! Okay, maybe not exactly "freedom," but I am getting a little bit of time to myself. Mini-me is off to pre-preschool also known as "Mother's Morning Out" and I'm getting to do something that I haven't been able to do in almost two years: Yes, working at a coffee shop this morning with my friend, Robyn, something that I took for granted during my pre-baby days. Now, it's an absolute treat! Being a work-from-home mom has been quite the challenge these past two years. It's a delicate balance between building a business and raising a child. It's funny... some of the thoughts that have crossed my mind while attempting this almost impossible balance between two parts of my life: - "Deadlines become an entirely new beast when a toddler is involved." - "You magically work so much faster under the threat of the end of naptime closing in." - "Where can I find someone who will deliver espresso?" - "I'm bored." (Just kidding. Never this one). - "Why am I so tired? And why does everyone in the house get to take a nap except for me?" (Always this one.) Now, to wrap up this blog post so that I can get some work done while I still have some time to spare. Happy Kids-are-finally-going-back-to-school to all you fellow moms out there!
While in the Denver, Colorado area visiting my (not so) little brother, we made our way to the Wild Animal Sanctuary. The Wild Animal Sanctuary is the oldest and largest nonprofit sanctuary in the US dedicated exclusively to rescuing captive exotic and endangered large carnivores. So it really is: Lions, tigers and bears! Oh my! What a great organization, that does great work with rehabilitating animals who have come from circuses, small zoos and roadside attractions, and give them a life that is as close to living in the wild as possible. Visitors walk along a mile-long raised walkway so that we can view the animals at the sanctuary without infringing on the animals’ territory. Read more about the The Wild Animal Sanctuary here.
We have a new kitchen! We finally bit the bullet and remodeled. It was a long (5 years) time coming and I can not tell you how good it feels to have a beautiful kitchen that I can call my own. Here is the original kitchen before we moved into the house: Unfortunately, I cannot locate any photos that I took of the kitchen after we painted the walls (a pale yellow) and moved our furniture in. We also removed that ceiling fan... who puts a ceiling fan in the kitchen? I mean, really? The after: It was a long process, updating a kitchen is no joke. My sweet husband did most of the legwork, while I approved the design decisions. During the construction process, Mini-me and I headed up to my parents' house in Virginia to stay for a couple weeks (construction, a toddler and two big dogs don't mix well). But in the end, it was all worth it. We, who am I kidding... I have the kitchen of my dreams. White cabinets, caesarstone countertops, lots of storage space and beautiful stainless steel appliances. And that backsplash... I am completely in love with that turquoise subway tile... we had to wait an extra 8 weeks for it to be custom made/shipped to Georgia, but I am so glad that we did. I could just sit and gaze at that color all day. After three years of food blogging, during which I would've killed for a new kitchen (or even one that was just a bit more updated than the standard low-grade contractor one that was built with our house two decades ago), it's time to officially say goodbye to my food blog. Writing my food blog has been great to me. I've met some wonderful people, I've worked on some pretty great projects and I've learned so much about myself. I've been writing on and off on it for the past year or so, but I haven't been feeling the same dedication to it that I felt before Mini-me was born. The site will stay up for at least another year, I enjoy referencing it for recipes and I know others do too. Now, as I bid adieu to my food blog, I welcome a beautiful new kitchen to our lives. This is going to be a beautiful new chapter, I can't wait to see what's next.