Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Why I Love...You've Got Mail

I am introducing two new series for Banana Grove Designs in the next two weeks. One of them is a guest posting series scheduled for every Wednesday called Inspired. I am extremely excited to introduce it to you and will do so in greater detail next week. Very very excited!!!

Today, I am beginning a series that's just for me and won't run at specific times. As you may have already concluded it's called "Why I Love..." The possibilities are endless. It could be a review or just me gabbing about something I enjoy, but because I love a lot of things, I'll never run out of material. Trust me. First up:

Why I love...

One of my favorite movies is You've Got Mail. I put it in when I want something warm and fuzzy playing in the background while I work. Here are reasons why it's something I love...

1. This movie proves that you don't need raunch to have a great romantic comedy (a concept that seems foreign today). Good acting, beautiful directing, intelligent writing and a simple plot make it timeless and one of the best of its kind.

2. This movie makes me fall in love with seasons. Autumn, winter and spring are showcased to perfection. It almost makes me want to spend a year in New York City. (But then I remember that it's a movie and the streets aren't really that pristine and creeper-free.)

3. The BOOKS! There are lots of fun references to classic children's literature and novels in general. Also, the bookstore sets are so incredibly detailed and it's fun to recognize things on the shelves.

4. All of the scenes in which Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan's characters interact... They have the easiest time communicating and being together even when they're arguing.

5. The music. I own the bouncy, happy soundtrack to this movie. Harry Nilsson pretty much rules the whole thing.

6.Every set in the movie is so detailed and perfect. I even like the gym. But, I would especially like to live in an apartment like Meg Ryan's and own a bookstore like The Shop Around the Corner. Basically, I want to live inside the movie.

7. The supporting characters add so much to the story. Even little Steve Zahn and his haircut add a lot. And the scene with Dave Chappelle outside the cafe is hilarious.

8.  I love that I saw something new after having watched it 30 somethin' times. It was only then that I recognized what she thought that made her cry at the end... She realized that he showed up at the coffee shop after all. (After watching it so many times, I consider myself an expert on what the characters are thinking.)

9. This movie reminds me of my mom. This has been one of her go-to happy movies since it was released in '98.

So, there you go. I've learned that I am super-invested in this movie to a possibly unhealthy level. And you've learned that you should go watch You've Got Mail. If you've seen it, what are some of your favorite things about it? (I'm assuming you liked it, but if you didn't I'd be willing to calmly read why.) :)


Monday, July 28, 2014

Get Used to This...

I told my family they needed to get used to seeing this! For the first time ever, I'm taking pictures and thoroughly enjoying it! I think it must be because I know a lot more about what I'm doing now? Makes sense, don't you think? I've decided that in order to promote consistent practice, most blog posts I write from now on should include a photo I've taken.

Here are a few I took in my yard this weekend! My friend Erin actually owned the lens I mentioned in this post last week. She's letting me use it before I decide whether or not to buy (thanks, E!). So far, I'm loving the results...

I had a wonderful time with my friends from South Carolina over the weekend! We had a lot of catching up to do, so a great deal of the visit was spent just talking. I am always refreshed by their encouragement and wisdom. We did find time to watch Pacific Rim and do some shopping, though. :)

Have a happy Monday...


Friday, July 25, 2014


I'm looking forward to this weekend! Long time friends from South Carolina are driving up to visit with me and my family for a day or two. They're a couple who have been like an aunt and uncle to me over the years, and I can't wait to see them! We'll be spending a lot of time talking, drinking sweet tea and enjoying summer out on the screened-in porch. I hope your weekend is just as relaxing. :)

Links and things from the week...

-I finally started reading this! I've only finished the intro and foreword, but I can already tell I'm in for a good read.

-Looks delicious! Sparkling Grapefruit Sangria by How Sweet It Is...

-This article blew my mind a little. According to this, we've been saying Dr. Seuss's name wrong all this time!

-Now, this is original...congrats to Tammy of Lemons, Avocados and the Bay on marrying her man and being ushered away via lightsaber!

-Take a look at these travel tips. They're brilliant.

-I'm quite close to ordering this t-shirt from J. Crew. I'm waiting for it to go on sale. I know it will eventually. It's just a question of who gives in first.

-Very interesting little guide to reading body language and how it can help you understand where a person's coming from.

-I wish I could come up with and execute projects like this! Kinsey can and Kinsey does. It's a lavender oil bottle necklace diy...

-This brought joy to my heart. I love Sherlock Holmes and who better to play elderly Sherlock than Sir Ian McKellan, the king of British wise guys. It's gonna be good...


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bridesmaid Necklaces

Back in May, I was so honored when my friend Lauren asked me to create necklaces for her bridesmaids to wear in her wedding ceremony! The amazing Ben and Ashley of Rosey Red Photography took a few shots of the necklaces on Lauren and Paul's special day, and I thought I would share...

The necklaces were custom made...sparkly navy blue sandstone wrapped in sterling silver with a coral jade accent bead and a personalized initial tag.

Of course, I have to take this opportunity to congratulate the beautiful bride and her handsome groom one more time!

If you need custom-made jewelry for your wedding, to give as a gift, or for yourself, don't hesitate to let me know! :)


*all photos c/o Rosey Red Photography

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. :)


Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th to You!

Hope you've had a great holiday! For me, today wound up being less about the 4th and more about having a free day to get stuff done. But last night, my family and I really went above and beyond what we usually do to celebrate Independence Day...

Every year our community always has a big concert/fireworks show at a local campus. In the past, we've just watched the display from a distance to avoid the crowds. This year, though, my mom figured out a way for us to participate and still stay as far away from the thickest part of the crowd as possible while having a quick route to the parking lot so we can avoid traffic. (We're really not agoraphobes, it just sounds like it.)

Anyway, I took some pictures! It was a gorgeous day, not too hot with plenty of breezes and cloud cover. There were lots of happy people and the band was good! They played everything from James Taylor to Garth Brooks to Simon and Garfunkle. We had cold chicken, potato salad and brownies while enjoying the music and each other.

This is just one small portion of the crowd.

People played...

Smaller people played...

Not sure what this man was doing, but heaven knows, he loves his country.

The campus has awesome outdoor areas and this amphitheater is perfect for the musicians.

After the band left, a small local orchestra began playing. They're all pros, and it was gorgeous!

The flag waving...

One member of my camp...the sister. :)

As soon as it got dark, these came out...

And then of course...

Hope your 4th was as festive as my 3rd! :) Happy 238th Birthday, America...


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Firefly Ramblings...

Last night, after drinking yet another bottle of water, I felt a little sloshy inside (Is sloshy a word? There's a little squiggly, red line underneath it in draft, so I'm gonna guess it's not). I thought I should probably sit down for a bit and decided to go out on the front porch. It was dusk and raining, and the fireflies were really thick! I just sat there watching them flying in the rain and was struck by how comforting the sight of those little glowing bugs is for me. Most kinds of bugs make my skin crawl, but if it has a light strapped to it's body, I'm enchanted by it. Why is this?

I actually had a philosophical/theological moment while watching the fireflies... All of us are drawn to natural light. But natural light sources like the sun and stars are big and distant. We can never reach them. Watching little, tiny natural light sources fly around your yard makes you feel not so small. Suddenly lights in the darkness are as easy to hold as a bug. Then, I was struck with "Why did God put a light on a bug?" "What practical purpose does that serve?" Following that line of thinking, I concluded that He did it because it was pretty and because it makes us happy. Those little blinking lights are a reminder that God is near and loves to give us good things. And while His light is just as unattainable and distant as the stars, He's given us the chance to hold it in our hands.

I got these thoughts from a bug. I'm either weird or brilliant.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer To-Do List

It's the most wonderful time of the year... summer time. I love everything about this warm, easygoing season! Fireflies, green everywhere, eating outside, t-shirts, lemonade, croquet, walks in the sunshine, wide open windows, flowers, going barefoot, and on and on.

I have a few goals for this beautiful summer that I'm sharing with you today. Some are personal and some are business-related. Here they be:

1. Read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
I got this book for Christmas. I've wanted to read it for a while now, but I have yet to sit down and immerse myself in it. I might be afraid of becoming a highly effective person.

2. Purchase ice skates
This seems odd in summertime, but there's no better time to buy! Cheap prices! If all goes according to plan, skating is going to become a regular source of exercise for me in the fall.

3. Launch blog series as a way to reach out to other bloggers
I would love love love to get to know some other bloggers cause I'm a social butterfly sitting in front of a computer. 

4. Have a big summer sale in the jewelry shop to clear out some older pieces
This is already in the works. I'm excited about offering great discounts to my customers. I just hope the word reaches them. You can help me out with that! I'll be letting you know the dates soon!

5. Stay in touch with faraway friends
I have some great friends who live far far away. My normal tendency is to get so caught up with what's going on around me that I forget to check-in with them and work at maintaining contact. I want to do a better job with that this summer. 

6. Master social media usage for a small business owner
I have Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. I hope to figure out the best ways to use each in order to create an active interaction with my customers and readers. 

7. Drink water, drink water, drink water! 8 glasses a day!
This is a huge deal. I've struggled with drinking enough water since I was old enough to be solely responsible for hydrating myself.

8. Complete P90X3!
Tony Horton is my personal trainer... If you've never taken a peek at P90X, you won't know how crazy that man is. I really enjoy his workout, though. I'm a 3rd of the way through the 90 days and it's been awesome! I love feeling stronger.

9. Take a self-defense course
I'm scheduled to take one in August with a group of friends. It's better with friends, cause if nothing else, it has the potential to be hilarious. I really do expect to glean a lot from it, though!

10. Enjoy and Be Kind
Those two things often go hand in hand for me. I find that when I am not trusting God enough to relax and enjoy everything coming my way, I can become surly with those closest to me. 

11. Wear Sunscreen
I just decided to add this one at the last minute cause in the half hour that I've been sitting here writing this post, my left arm has started burning. Floor to ceiling windows right next to your desk can make that happen. 

Do you have any goals for the summer? Want to share them?