Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Photography Class Update

Hey Everyone! So, I'm loving the class by Candice Stringham on using my DSLR. It's been very informative and easy to understand! One of the biggest things I've recognized in taking the class is my need for a new lens. I've been using my mom's Canon Rebel (thank you, Mom!) and the lenses she has go no wider than f/3.5. Because I'm shooting small things up close 75% of the time, I think I'm going to invest in one of these open aperture lenses that Candice recommended:

Have any of you photographers used this? Reviews?


Monday, July 21, 2014

Loving What You Make

Right now, I'm in the midst of lots of developments for Banana Grove Designs in areas like blogging and marketing. It's all very exciting! Recently, though,  I have felt the need to take another look at the most important area of owning a jewelry shop...the jewelry.

For a while, I have been dissatisfied with many of the pieces in my shop. I'm realizing what a problem it is for me to sell something if I'm not absolutely in love with it! To be honest, I'm not a jewelry fanatic, and I usually have to really like something in order to buy it for myself. Some people might think I shouldn't be selling jewelry when I don't naturally own or like a ton of it, but I view it as a positive thing! If I'm making jewelry that I would love, it means I'm being highly selective. Customers can only benefit from that.

With these thoughts in mind, I've spent some time figuring out what I like to produce, what pieces I love the most, etc. and developed some goals:

  • I purpose to LOVE everything in my shop
  • I purpose to make pieces that are simple, but visually interesting 
  • I purpose to have a greater role in producing elements instead of merely assembling them (The pieces I've loved the most, I've had a greater hand in producing, by the way.)
  • I purpose to make things that fit my own style
  • I purpose to plan each and every thing I design so I can bring it to customers more efficiently
  • I purpose to learn new techniques that will allow me to make more of what I love

Do you have goals for your own business? Are you making sure that what you produce is something you love?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Closet Building

When I went on my birthday shopping spree last week, it was the first time I clothes shopped with so much intentionality! I went in with a vision and came out feeling great about the results. (I had a great time with my sister, too!) The vision came from thoughts I've had recently about what we put on our backs and the best way to invest in it.

Honestly, I've come to the conclusion that I spend more money on cheaper clothes than I would if I bought better quality things that last longer! I've decided to try building a working closet of well-made, versatile clothes to gain some control over the quality and quantity of stuff I buy. Really, all this means is that I am purposing to not buy something cheap just because it's faster. If I think I need something, I'll plan and look for a version that's well-made and that I love. When my family and a few of my friends heard about my closet building, they gifted me with a shopping trip where I picked up some basics. There were a lot of summer sales, so I really wound up paying as much for some things as I would have at a cheaper store. They just felt so much nicer. Here's what I got:

NY & Co. Black Pencil Skirt (sold out. similar.)

I'll probably share more about this little process with you in the future. It's nice to feel purposeful in an area of life that I deal with every single day: getting dressed. Do you have a purpose in mind for how you buy clothes?


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Word and a Song...

I wound up with very little time to write today, so I'm posting a quote and the daily song. That'll teach me for not scheduling ahead! But posting something short is better than nothing, right? I'll be working, laughing and feasting with friends for the rest of the day if anyone needs me. I'd love to lay a table as pretty as the one above for people to laugh and feast around. :)

-Good one...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Birthday Recap

Last week was very special to me. My family and friends pretty much made it a birthweek instead of a birthday! There was a shopping spree with my sister and parents along with a wonderful lunch at one of my favorite restaurants. There was Panda Express somewhere in the week, which IS my favorite restaurant. There was mint chocolate chip ice cream (favorite ice cream). There was a party with some wonderful friends...lots of blessings, big and small, and I am thankful.

This time last year, I wrote this post. It's interesting to look back and note the things that have changed since then. On the surface, everything is pretty much the same in my life. The only big, external change was quitting my part-time teaching job to focus more full-time on my business. Beyond that, most changes have been internal.

As I approached this birthday (my 24th) I was aware of finally feeling comfortable with and knowledgeable about who I am and what my goals are. For the most part, I now approve of who I am. This is a huge deal considering how disparaging I used to be. I praise the Lord for all growth in this area. He helped me to see that if I would only desire what He's planned, everything would fall in line. The things I didn't like about myself actually began to work for me when I accepted what God has made. Isn't that amazing? How many of us are unhappy only because we're trying to live outside of God's outline? It's so needlessly stressful and damaging to push against the only plan that fits you perfectly.

I wrote down 7 words that popped into my head when thinking about my year as a 23 year-old:
  • Awakening
  • Thankfulness
  • Clarity
  • Freedom
  • Regeneration
  • Self Discovery
  • Rededication

Here are 7 that I hope will apply to 24:
  • Focus
  • Kindness
  • Commitment
  • Gratefulness
  • Wisdom
  • Confidence
  • Joy

Hope your Monday is a happy one!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Skincare Routine

I am talking about Skincare today. For a long time, I have flitted from product to product, buying stuff, being disappointed in its mediocre quality, forgetting about it, using whatever else is in my bathroom cabinet, forgetting about that too, basically investing in things that I abandon later. I think lots of girls do this. After a time, your supply of unused cleansers, moisturizers, toners, masks, scrubs, etc. represents money, and while it's not necessarily "money down the drain", it doesn't do you any good just sitting in a bottle, either. All the while, you still haven't found something you like using.

Recently, I decided that instead of spending small amounts of money many many times over without results, the smarter thing would be to do a bit of research, spend a little bit more money and find products that work; things that I'll want to buy, completely use up, and buy again. With that in mind, I have come up with a very simple, ultimately affordable skincare routine that actually works for me.

I get up in the morning and wash my face with the Olay Regenerist cream cleanser/exfoliant, then immediately use the Olay Regenerist micro-sculpting moisturizer. Morning's done! At night, I use the Bioderma Crealine (or Sensibio) H2O solution that cleanses and removes ALL makeup. I use the Olay micro-sculpting moisturizer again and go to bed. That's it. Just 3 things. And my skin has never looked and felt healthier.

Doing the research, I win. What have you found that works for you?


Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Clearance!!!

So...today's my birthday. When entrepreneurs have birthdays, they throw sales! This one is a week long! In trying to create room for new pieces, I'm having a clearance sale on select items. Everything in my Etsy shop in the SALE category is 50% OFF! Check it out here. Happy Shopping. :)