Friday, January 20, 2017

Changes: Personal Finance, Minimalism, and Menu Planning [+ a free printable!]

Personal finance, organization, minimalism, food prepping, menu planning, cleaning, being healthy.

These are my passions as a 28 year old woman. I downloaded the Mint app recently. I scheduled ALL of my bills to come out automatically on certain days based on how much and when I'm getting paid. I have successfully gone through my bedroom and I've donated/gotten rid of almost 10 bags of clothes and books and notebooks and... just things I don't want/need anymore. Stuff that simply takes up too. much. space. Even so, I've still got piles upon piles of clothing on my desk currently waiting on ThredUp bags to arrive so they can leave as well. I still have a few important items that I was gifted or in which I inherited from family members that I have to bring myself to get rid of. A record player and classic vinyls. Little trinkets and boxes filled with little antiques.

However difficult it's been so far, it's been so worth it.

I am still on a personal journey to a more minimalist lifestyle. DJ's on board so far. We both have a terrible hoarding problem, so it's been an adventure, but we're hopeful. We want less things, which means less shopping for them, too. Whenever it fits into the budget, I'd like to replace certain things we need, but as far as carelessly spending money on the things we want... it's just not happening anymore. We have a vacation coming up, along with an elopement. Any money leftover after bills must be put into savings if we're going to enjoy either of those things.

This weekend I plan on going through my pantry, fridge, and freezer, and doing a complete inventory of what we have. I plan on organizing what we've got and planning meals around those specific items before going to the grocery store, and we still have leftovers in the fridge we can eat until I begin more cooking. It sounds terrible, but to remain on the strict budget I've created this week, it's a must.

So I created this fun menu planning printable. And I want you to use it too. For free! Download here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

3 Vintage Matte Photoshop Actions | FREE DOWNLOAD

Hey y'all! I'm back today with another freebie for ya! All you need is some knowledge of Photoshop and you can use these to spruce up your photos!

Warm Vintage Rose

This action is probably my favorite. It's extremely subtle, but warm and romantic, and gives an image that little bit of oomph without overdoing it. I like how it smooths out skin tones and warms everything up a bit.

Evening Haze

This one is a second favorite of mine. It was created in the midst of a winter session I was editing and I just fell in love with it. If you have some gloomy looking fall or winter photos - or heck, even some from a summer storm - this would be perfect! It brings the gloomy down a notch and highlights the colors around the subject. But I also love it for any photo, really. Just look at how it brings more color to skin tones.

Golden Summer

This one is a bit tricky, but if you have enough Photoshop knowledge, you can really make this one work for you. I have been using it only on bright outdoorsy photos, but if you want to use it for indoor shots, just be sure to tweak some of the levels a bit before you publish. This one can work for you or against you, or you can work with it to make your images great! Regardless, if you love the vintage look, this one's for you.

For example, this one was created by using the Golden Summer action and hiding the 4th, 5th, and 7th layer from the top. Just the right amount of warmth. However, the above photo was so bright already, the full action worked just fine.

Download your FREE actions here and start creating! Enjoy!

Need help loading your actions? Check out this video:

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

New in the Shop for 2017 + a Free Printable!

When I first started on Etsy, I was still a kid. Probably 17 or 18. I tried to sell handmade greeting cards. And I mean handmade. They were stamped, with perfect little paper cutouts and bows and buttons. I would even stamp the back with my name so everyone knew where they came from. I'd package them up in Ziploc bags and staple a custom paper header at the top with my shop name. They were simple and cute and I received lots of compliments. But no one wanted to buy them.

Today's market is a completely different world from what it was when I was attempting to sell paper greeting cards. Today, I can create my own designs on the computer and sell them as instant downloads. Whatever I sell can also be sent to places like Shutterfly or Snapfish to print as well if you don't have the printer to do it yourself, or if you just want a more professional look. But the most important part of why my instant downloads are so awesome is that you pay once and receive your files instantly, and you can use them for a lifetime. They can never be used up.

New in my shop for 2017 are custom photo cards, instant downloadable greeting/note cards, wine tags, blog design elements, and much more. I am so excited! Here's a peek at what's in the store currently, and an idea of what's to come.

I hope you like what you see and support my small business by purchasing your prints and greeting cards through She Makes Designs! And 'like' my page on Facebook to stay updated on current specials and new works!

And for the New Year, here's a free print! Download here.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Announcements, 6 Goals, and a Free Printable

Hey y'all! So I'm officially back and ready to roll. I have some major news, as well as a free printable for you! I'm so excited.

So, I've struggled lately to find anything to blog about. I've been struggling in general, actually. With life, pretty much. I haven't enjoyed my business, or myself, for that matter, in weeks. I haven't been doing much to keep me happy.

But I picked up knitting recently. I'm reading more and keeping our house a lot cleaner. And I've been throwing myself into my new business She Makes Designs. And miraculously, I'm happier. I am designing new photo templates, greeting cards, gift tags, wall art, logos, and even blogging elements. And it has been so much fun! I love how every day I can create something new. And I have really been enjoying creating new branding for businesses and blogs. That's probably my favorite part.

But it also means I'm stepping away from photography.

No, I'm not quitting. But I am putting a hold on large sessions. For the time being, I am only accepting 30-minute mini sessions ($125) and 15-minute mini mini sessions ($85) on my property in Providence Forge. And I am no longer accepting any weddings. 

One major reason for this change is our move to Mississippi next fall/winter. Because, yes... After all these years of talking about it, it's finally happening! And of course I'm nervous. Of course I'm going to be desperately homesick for a long time. But I can't count on photography right away. So I need to focus on something that I can build now in order to have a promised career wherever we move to.

With that said, I would like to introduce my new goals for 2017. Goals for this blog, my new business, and life in general. Because it's that time of year, after all.

1. I would like to blog more in general. (Don't I say that every year?)

I want to stop feeling like it's a chore to get on here and share the latest from my crazy life. I want to share more about my triumphs, and even my struggles. We're going to be going on quite the adventure this year, after all. I want to document all of it. From our wedding to our move and everything in between.

2. I want to be more financially responsible.

We did great this year. Yeah, there were ups and downs - who doesn't experience them? - but I know we could have done way way better. For example, when a friend of mine got me obsessed with LuLaRoe, I should have tamed that monster as soon as it appeared. Now I have dozens of leggings and shirts and dresses that I wish I never wasted the money on. I've gained more weight wearing them and I don't even like the way I look in them anymore. Instead, I wish I had that money to put aside for important things like design tools to further my business, good food to cook healthier meals, and even our savings for the big move.

3. I want to be healthier.

This year I gained the most weight in my entire life. I have always been a size 4. I thought I struggled with weight when I was a kid but I was only self conscious. As an adult - a wine-loving adult - I can't seem to keep the weight off. I find myself having to push harder when exercising, and eating and drinking a hell of a lot less than I used to. I am now borderline size 10. I haven't cried about it yet. But if I don't do something now, I know I'll regret it.

4. I want to stop caring what people think.

This last month of 2016 finally has me realizing I don't care if I have absolutely no friends. I mean, it's only taken me 28 years to figure out that if people don't like me for who I am, I shouldn't waste any of my time on them. And that also goes for people who are toxic in my life. I struggle with money, weight, and confidence. If I'm friends with people who are terrible with money, are generally unhealthy, or put me down for being myself, what in the heck is that going to do to me? Nothing good, that's for damn sure. If I don't like a person's morals or values in life, I'm not going to stick around. And I'm not going to be friends with someone who treats me poorly or lies to me or about me.

5. I want to be successful.

I am hoping to be somewhat successful with She Makes Designs before the move. I would love to have that to keep me busy while DJ's working all day. I also want to bring in at least some income from my talents instead of just sitting around all day.

6. I want a wedding day I'll remember forever.

DJ and I have decided to elope. It's better for us both financially and mentally. I have been to 12 weddings this year - half of them absolutely mentally exhausting. Do I really need that for myself? I was never the little girl who dreamed about her wedding day, but I always knew it mattered to me at least just a little bit. And I don't care if it's just the two of us and a witness. I want it to be beautiful. As of right now, we're indecisive about the beach or the mountains. Either way, it'll be a day to remember.

But anywho... On to the free stuff!

This is probably the easiest - maybe even most inexpensive? - gift you could give to those people on your list who already have it all. Print these tags, cut them out and attach to your favorite wine, and done! I mean, who doesn't love wine? Click here to download and print!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Free Halloween Print Download

Good morning lovelies!! Today's post is a short one, as I'm super busy on weddings and getting ready for our costume bonfire this weekend. But I have a special treat for you today!

I'm sure you're just as excited as I am for HALLOWEEN!!! Well, I created two prints for you to celebrate.

Print them large to display on a wall or table, or print them small to use as cards. Have a better idea for them? Share with me! I'd love to see how you used these rugged beauties.


Get Halloween print #1 here.
Get Halloween print #2 here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Watercolor Logo: Pressed In Books

Well, I delivered a logo this morning to a client slash friend of mine and I thought I should share with you. I'm happy, she's ecstatic, and life is good all around. I can't wait to see her use this gorgeous design in her shop.

Now I know this little boy has nothing to do with logo design or handmade jewelry (he's actually just an adorable a client of mine), but I wanted to display the white version of this logo somehow, so here you go. Thanks Eli! You're the perfect model.

I'm so happy with it, and so is Kellie, and I can't wait to see her use it on her packaging!

Interested in a custom or premade logo design? Visit my store!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

On Organization + A Free Download

Hey y'all! I hope everyone is having a beautiful day so far. I'm sipping coffee and thinking about all the things I still need to get done at home in addition to finishing 5 weddings before the end of November. I'm trying not to stress about it but it's making me realize something kind of crazy:  this OCD lady is actually pretty disorganized.

I don't mean to be. I think my busy life has finally caught up with me and I'm feeling super overwhelmed about it. I fantasize about getting home after work and decluttering my entire bedroom - a project I've wanted to complete now for over 6 months. I want to get rid of clothes I know I will never wear or fit in again. I want to go through all of my art supplies and get rid of old paints and organize everything neatly so I knew where it all is the next time I start a project. 

I have a very long list of things I need to finish.

But when I finally get home every day the dishes need to be done, the litter boxes need to be emptied, the floors need to be swept, and dinner needs to be cooked. And once I finally get to sit down, I'm eating that dinner I cooked, cleaning up from the mess I made cooking it, and heading off to shower and sleep.

Luckily I finished my last wedding of fall last weekend, and I don't have another one now until New Year's Eve, so I should have more time for myself here soon. Granted, we went to Busch Gardens this past Sunday, but I haven't done that in what feels like an entire year, so I felt that was much deserved. But other than random weekend evenings spent out, I need to focus on the house.

So today, I want to talk about organization.

We live in a distracting world. Cell phones have us glued all day. Televisions at night. Laptops, tablets, etc. And it's really hard sometimes, especially for people like me. I run my businesses and blogs through the internet and social media. I'm posting everywhere, and I'm constantly checking stats and comments. Anything to keep the process going smoothly.

But how do we get the chores done? How do the meals get cooked? How do we stay organized enough to not go crazy?

I find prepping for just about anything extremely helpful. This could be as simple as choosing an outfit for the next day before you go to bed. But the following are also beneficial:

Pick up around the house:

Do a quick walk-around the living room and kitchen - and any other rooms that get used frequently - and put away anything that doesn't belong. This helps prevent things from piling up and overwhelming you later.

Make tomorrow's To Do list:

By creating a list for the next day, you're doing wonders for productivity. I tend to get more done myself when I have a list to go by.

Tip - Split your list into what you "NEED" and "WANT" to get done. This will help you place the appropriate items in priority mode.

Plan tomorrow's meals:

Oh, does this save time! There's nothing I hate more than sitting at work asking myself the same old question of "What's for dinner?" just moments before I'm supposed to head home. This helps me plan based on what I already have at home to use, or what I need to run to the store to buy. I mean, that's more appealing to me than walking aimlessly around the grocery store for an hour after work.

Go to bed at a reasonable time:

This is so important! I typically crawl into bed at least by 10 PM every night. If any later, I feel so groggy in the morning, and it makes the day drag on at a slower pace. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep is good for you and can help you get more done the next day.


Postpone the smartphone:

I try not to mess with my phone at all in the morning. I always have a full inbox of emails to answer, notifications on Facebook to respond to, and texts to return. But they can wait. My morning time is sacred. And I definitely don't let my phone dictate me before coffee!

Plan a morning routine:

I don't really have to write mine down, as it's already second nature to me. I am definitely a creature of habit. But it always helps to plan other little things to do in the morning if I want to get them done. This could be fitting in a workout, taking some personal time to read, or eat breakfast, etc. It's surprising just how much more you can get done if you follow a routine.

Take small breaks in between chores:

This one is important, but I don't always follow it. If I'm working on something strenuous, like deep cleaning my kitchen, or reorganizing my bedroom, I will stop for a snack, or to watch my favorite show. Anything to keep from going crazy. This helps me get back at it with a fresh perspective. But for the smaller things, like dishes and sweeping, I'll keep going until it's done. But take breaks when you feel they are necessary!

I hope to do more of these things for myself - and my sanity - over the next few months. And I definitely hope you take some of these tips into consideration, too!

In the meantime, enjoy this free download! Use it as a desktop background, or print it and display it on your desk. Who doesn't love coffee?

Download yours here.