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It’s clear after sharing close to 100 (ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration) cheese boards over the years on instagram that people love them. They like looking at them, eating them, and having them at their gatherings. They are a beautiful, edible centerpiece that will keep people talking throughout the night about how gooood it is. So, obviously the next step was… drumroll… to show you how I make mine. It’s probably way less complicated than you think. And it’s always about filling your space, almost in a messy way, but an intentionally messy way;)

If it’s just me and my husband, or a few girlfriends, we definitely don’t go this big. But I always stick to the same principles when building one, and I almost always use the same 4 elements; cheese (duh), meats, nuts, and a garnish (herbs, edible flowers, or maybe some dried fruit).

   

I don’t think that there can be a bad cheese board. In just a few simple steps, people can easily transform their board though, from basic to attention grabbing, by using what they already have. We filmed a quick video so that I could take you through everything I buy and everything I do. From where I purchase my cheese to how I place it. You can watch below and maybe pick up a few tips for your next party!

 
How to Make the Perfect Cheese Board - YouTube

What do you think? Told you it was easy.

Do you have any tricks for building the perfect cheeseboard? What are your fave ingredients to include?

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A few weeks ago, I was sitting in our dining room on my laptop working (maybe… we all know how distracting the internet is) when all of the sudden, we lost power in the entire house. We don’t lose it that often, and when we do it’s usually because of the heat in SoCal (and everyone running their AC’s). But it was a perfect spring day, so I figured it was some maintenance thing and waited a tiny bit before I started to panic. 10 minutes later I realized it was time to panic. I mean, I couldn’t charge my phone , or my laptop, we didn’t have internet, and if I used my hotspot, my phone was going to die. I couldn't stream music and I couldn’t obsessively check my email. I sat there and was like, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ALL DAY?? I could’ve easily driven into the office or to a coffee shop, but that involved putting on real clothes, etc. so that was going to be a no from me that day. After a little research on my phone (and not on WiFi, which is torture because everything takes so long), it ended up that we missed the note saying our power would be off that day due to maintenance until 10pm.

The point of this overly dramatic recap of that day is that it got me thinking how much I, and I’m sure many of you, rely on the internet. And not just to do actual work, but to distract us for even 30 seconds of having nothing to do. For example, heating up your coffee in the microwave for 40 seconds? Check instagram. Mindlessly eating your lunch? Check emails. We’ve gotten used to the constant stream of information and entertainment and if we don’t have it for literally less than a minute, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. Go ahead and try to eat a meal by yourself with no tv, music, or internet. Can you even do it?

While I ended up getting a generator out that day so that I could continue working, it made me think about how I spend my time outside of work (if that is even a thing). There is always some sort of technology involved. So, in an effort to really disconnect every now and then, I wanted to come up with a few things we could do to stay off of our phones and create, try something new, and maybe even forget to look at our phones for a few hours.

No. 1 - Try a new recipe. I used to have a little series on my blog, many years ago, and I would try a new recipe every weekend, then share how it went. Trying new things in the kitchen can be really time consuming, so I sort of dropped that habit and opted for store bought items, I guess so that I could spend more time staring at the internet instead? I don’t know. I’d love to get back into this and even bring Ryan, my husband, in to try new dinners, cocktails, etc.

No. 2 - Pick up some fresh flowers and place them around your home. This is a no brainer for me. It’s the one thing that I absolutely love doing. Plus you get to enjoy them for the full week ahead!

No. 3 - Marie Kondo a spot you’ve been avoiding. Once I commit to organizing a space like my closet, or a set of drawers, I can lose myself for hours. This is truly the one thing that will make me forget to look at any device. A few weekends ago I did this to our dresser. I googled the KonMari folding method and started folding everything. It was great for a while but I think I need to spend a little time catching up since our laundry is currently covering the couch;)

No. 4 - Start a mini garden, or maintain one that you have. If you follow on instagram, then you’ve probably seen a bit of our home renovation and how we added an herb and vegetable garden. While this has not been the easiest (I’m still trying to figure out how to keep things alive!), it has actually been a great way for me to disconnect. I love going out there after work or anytime on the weekends to tidy or trim what needs to be taken care of. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend a weekend morning instead of my old favorite which was sitting on the couch with my phone. Plus it’s so satisfying to be able to eat something you grew at home!

No. 5 - Rearrange accessories in your home. Being productive on my weekends is something I love and something I hate at the same time. So doing this makes me feel like I did something around the house, but doesn’t leave me feeling like I didn’t relax or have any downtime. With renovations in our home we are constantly shuffling things from room to room. So rearranging and getting things organized has become a weekly occurrence. I don’t mind though. Switching up little accessories and making our home feel fresh and tidy for the week ahead really does bring me joy. I love giving myself a challenge to pull things from around the house to change up a specific space.

Now I’m realizing these are really just my favorite things to do on the weekend. Add a glass of wine to any of these activities and you won’t be able to pay me to get back on my phone;)

So, what are your favorite ways to spend time and make sure that you are disconnecting? Subscribe

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Place cards for your event or dinner party can be an easy way to add pretty detail to your tabletop. There is only so much you can do with a centerpiece or the napkin and flatware. Place cards are where you can get really fun and even turn it into a favor your guests can take at the end of the night!

Lately I’ve been into dried flowers. They’re so fun to work with and most of all… they don’t die. We were originally planning on creating a dried floral wreath for this post, but these place cards just seemed much more appropriate for spring + summer! We will dive into a full wreath once fall is closer and it feels more seasonally appropriate ;)

 

For this project I used some wired twine, hot glue, and various dried flowers that I picked up from a local florist and online (all linked below!). I thought the easiest way to show you how to do this would be through a quick video, so click below to watch.

video

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A Fabulous Fete by Lauren Saylor - 2w ago
 

Last month our team listened to ‘The Goal Digger Podcast: How to Create the Perfect Offer for Your Audience’. While there were many great points throughout the podcast, the one that stood out for us specifically was focusing on our clients. They are, after all, why and how our business runs. Without them, A Fabulous Fete, or any other business, does not exist.

As the person who must make big picture decisions and come up with ways for AFF to continue to grow, I am thinking more about products and services we can offer, how they work, what value they offer, and how to get them to market. It’s easy to focus on what YOU, as a business owner, want for your business. So, we came up with several ways that we are going to implement new strategies or new thought processes so that our customers are always the reason behind what we do in our business.

Ask our audience for their feedback more often

This can include reaching out to them via email, on social media, with a poll, or with a survey, for feedback on our services. This is probably some of the most valuable info that you can receive. It’s from someone who trusts you enough to either be a current client or a potential one. This person has invested his/her money or is thinking of investing in you. These people’s opinions are gold.

Figure out who our ideal clients are for each area of our business

At AFF we run several different “arms” of the company. We have our wedding clients, our Creative Library members, our shop customers, and our content creation clients. And they are all very different people with different needs. So when determining a new product, service, creating social/blog content, or even thinking how a page is designed on our website, we need to know who they are and make sure we are presenting them with what they need.

What is the end result and why is it unique

Anyone can design an invitation, sell stock photography, or put greeting cards in an online shop (well ok, not everyone). How is A Fabulous Fete different? What value are we giving our clients? What are they thinking or feeling when they hire us, receive a product, or see the end result of custom work we‘ve created for them? You want them to be excited and feel like YOU are the only one that could’ve possibly created that specific something for them. Have your POV and make sure that it’s unique and part of everything you do.

How are we solving problems and what problems are we seeing too often

Your customers are finding you because they need something. Are you solving a problem for them? How are you helping them? Let’s use our wedding stationery as an example. What we often see are couples who have a smaller budget than what our custom suites cost. How do we fix that for them? Offer budget friendly versions that still have our style. We can give these clients the AFF experience within their budget. I’m not saying you have to accommodate everyone, you can’t. But if there are tweaks you can make to offer something a little different that helps make someone your customer, why not?

Serve before you sell

The best way to build trust with new customers is to prove to them that you are trustworthy. Examples? You can offer free worksheets that relate to services you offer, share advice for your ideal client, or talk about and show how your product will change something for them. Build their trust by showing up with value before you try and sell to them. You will gain their trust through what you offer up at no cost and when they do need your product/service, you will likely be the first one they think of.

Always have a next step

Once your happy customer has completed his/her transaction, what is your plan for getting that customer to come back? For our wedding clients this means offering thank you cards, holiday cards, and baby shower invitations. All the stationery for the next stage in their life. Keep them on your mailing list and make sure that when there is something you can offer them in addition to the product they originally purchased from you, they know about it.

Do you want to make sure your customers and clients are your priorities as well?

Write down these questions and prompts, answer them based on your own clientele, then put a plan of action behind each one to implement this into your business now.

  1. Do you have a product/service that you are on the fence about, or aren’t getting the kind of response you had hoped for? Pinpoint what that is and create a quick 1-2 slide story on instagram to get your audience’s feedback.

  2. Write a story about your ideal client. Who are they, where do they live, how old are they, what are their hobbies, etc. Use this to help guide your marketing and growth efforts.

  3. Decide what your product/service is doing for your customers and tell them every chance you get.

  4. Write down 2-3 problems your customers/clients experience. How can you solve those for them through the use of your product/service?

  5. What is one thing that you can send to your email list this month that helps them or gives them some sort of value?

  6. Describe 1-2 ways that you can reach out to your clients/customers AFTER they have already purchased from or hired you.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these ways to keep customers top of mind in your business! What do you do to make sure yours come first?

If you’d like to read more business related posts, click here.

PS - aren’t the images in this post cute? They’re from our Creative Library and available to our members through May 31st, 2019 OR in our Stock Shop starting July 2019. Stop by if you are in the market for some fun lifestyle imagery to mix up your insta feed, website imagery, blog posts, or any other digital space!

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Let’s just start off by confirming that everything that everyone tells you about renovating your home (or any space) is true. And I’m assuming we all go into it with the same thought; “But my project will be different”. Now, renovating your space isn’t all bad. In fact, the good 100% outweighs the delays, the fights, the toll on my bank account, etc. Getting to watch a space come to life that you dreamt up is actually pretty amazing and satisfying. So, I wanted to share where we are at (about 6 months into it) and what we’ve learned during this first part of our home renovations.

 

My husband and I broke our house down into a few parts or phases we wanted to work in. Phase one was tackling the front of our home which included:

Adding a loft. The dining area you see, that used to extend all the way up to the second story. We added in the loft because it just seemed silly not to have a whole extra room in the house. It will be my husbands space (with a little design help from me). Adding the loft didn’t make the dining room feel small or claustrophobic which I was worried about. I also think the white finishes really help that. In the loft we still need to add flooring, the banister, and any cabinets we decide on. We added a window up there as well which brings in SO much light. It does look at our neighbors house which is a bummer but it’s worth the natural light and we don’t plan to spend majority of our time in there.

Building cabinets in our dining room. For the size house we have, we have a huge lack of storage. We do not have any closet space downstairs at all. So, these cabinets were pretty necessary. Plus, I wanted an area that looked built in to display our glassware, vases, dinnerware, etc. With the amount of props I buy and own for my job, I felt that some of them needed to be put on display. We got a quote to have these custom make which was close to 10k (heart attack). So, we found a place that had pre-made cabinets and showed them what we wanted (I drew it out on my iPad). They worked with their pre-built pieces and drafted up a plan for how we could purchase and build something almost exactly the same. So we bought those (under 2k) and my husband installed them. The style of cabinets that we wanted did not come in white, so we did hire someone to sand and paint them. For the amount of use they will receive, I think this choice was okay… they honestly are not that durable and I’ve already seen a few chips. If it was our kitchen, I don’t know that painting them would’ve worked. They used a lacquer which should be pretty durable, but I think when you paint anything that wasn’t intended to be, you run the chances of chipping. I went to a slab warehouse with our contractor and picked out the granite for the counter. It was a pre-fab slab, so the front edge was already finished (this saves lots of $$$ FYI). All we had to do was hire someone to bring it to our house, cut it to fit, and install it. Lastly, I found hardware at Restoration Hardware. Not cheap, but with how much money we saved DIY’ing parts of this we were okay to splurge a little. Plus I wanted something a little higher end since the cabinets were fairly basic. In the end, we still came out under half of what the custom cabinets would’ve cost. The custom quote did not include countertops or hardware so I think we may have even done this all for a third of the price!

Some of my favorite items we’ve added so far!  

Re-texturing all of our walls. When we were building the loft, we had to do a ton of electrical work in the dining room (and this was one of those unexpected disasters that added a few thousand dollars to the project). So when our drywall guy came in, he basically had to put up new walls here. I caught him mid-way through the process as he was putting plaster up. I loved the look of it (even though it wasn’t intended to be the finished product) so I asked him to do that to the rest of the walls instead of the traditional texture that they spray on your walls. This is one of those things that happened because I was there and I am so happy it did. It was a little more work for them, but it gives our home a much more modern/custom feel.

Adding a garden. The side of our house was unused and neglected. I decided to make it usable (and accessible) by adding the garden as well as French doors in the place of a big window that was there prior. I will do a separate tour here though because it deserves its own post!

Updating our floors. This is still in progress. Right now we have the raw cement slab exposed. We tore up the old floor to see what it would look like to leave the cement floors rather than putting wood or some alternative back down. I do love it. We will be having someone come in to finish just the dining room (sand, polish and seal) to see what we think. If we like it in there, we will likely pull the floor up throughout the entire downstairs and finish the cement as well.

Overall - updating lighting, paint, baseboards, and windows. These were little things that need to happen throughout the house and we will do room by room as we get there. The lighting and windows have made the biggest difference. You don’t realize how dated things are that you look at every day until you replace them! The old dining room chandelier was from the ORIGINAL HOUSE. I hated it but it was always too hard to replace with the 2 story ceilings. So honestly if you do one thing I would recommend these! And a nice coat of fresh white paint can be a game changer

 A few of the before photos!  So, what have we learned so far?
  1. Expect to be present for a big part of it. You do not want your contractor or anyone else guessing what you want. On days that work was starting, I was always home for the first few hours. There were ALWAYS questions that they thought should go one way, and I didn’t agree. So obviously that’s a bit tricky if you have a job! If you can swing it, at least be there as they are kicking off big things… or be able to pop in and answer questions. In the end, it could potentially save you money on things that were done incorrectly. Luckily I can work from home when needed, and our office is only 2 miles from our home. That was a huge lifesaver for us as my husband doesn’t have a flexible schedule like mine. Also, our neighbor is a contractor, so he was also super helpful in checking in for us and keeping me updated. We are extremely lucky to have someone we know and trust to do this for us. When hiring a contractor, interview and trust your gut. You want someone trustworthy, punctual, and a great problem solver!

  2. It’s going to take longer than you think. Just finding people to do what you want at a reasonable rate can take a while. But, I can’t even tell you how many people never showed up or were late (so annoying). And they will tell you something will take 3 days… 2 weeks later they’re still working on it. I think it’s that every project is so different, and many of these guys were working on their own. It’s hard for them to REALLY know how long it will take. You never know what problems you might face once you start to rip things down and put things up. We found leaks, we found wiring going to places it shouldn’t, we found crooked walls, you name it. And all of that isn’t expected and puts a kink in your timeline. So be patient and don’t plan a housewarming party or anything like that, haha;)

  3. If compromising with your partner isn’t a strength in your relationship, you better learn how, and fast. My husband and I usually have very different visions of how things should look. Of course, I sit on instagram and save perfectly curated white houses with marble counters. He, on the other hand, wants to hang a motorcycle in our new loft (this was discussed and I really hope it wasn’t a serious thought). You HAVE to compromise. Most likely, there is an option out there that will make both of you happy. So take your time and find it. It’s not worth the stress of fighting while your house is being torn apart. One of the biggest things that has helped us is finding a good balance between masculine and feminine details. I wanted white cabinets and light stone in our new dining room. He hates marble so we found a light grey granite that we both loved. I also found a cement dining table and black hardware to add to the space. It’s actually a really nice mix that we are both super happy with and I think will last for years. It probably wasn’t the direction either of us would’ve went if we made the decisions alone. BUT. We are still married and that’s what matters;)

  4. Take your budget and add 50% to it. There were things that we absolutely couldn’t do ourselves that cost WAY more than we thought. So we invested there and DIYed to make up the difference. Like I said in #2, stuff comes up. And it usually adds to your budget. Not to mention things are so expensive these days (that makes me sound really old haha). But really, like a piece of wood is $20… and you know how many of those you need to build a loft? A lot. Don’t even get me started on windows and doors. I could have bought a new car with the amount spent on one tiny fraction of our home. I’m probably going to have to work until I’m 97 to get the back slider doors I want. So ya, make sure you budget over what your actual budget is unless it’s things that you can DIY.

  5. You get what you pay for. I think this is pretty self explanatory. But, if you get a quote from one guy for $1,000 and another guy for $5,000, I think you know what you can expect from each. When you are talking to different vendors, I’d say get quotes from 4-5 if you can. You will get a good feel for where the actual cost of the job should be.

  6. Get used to dust and dirt, literally everywhere. I broke down crying several times because I felt like we were living in a literal dump and I just could not keep up with the dirt. It’s gets in the vents and goes through the cracks and around the tape and plastic. No matter how many doors you shut or what barriers you put up IT WILL FIND YOU. I started to understand while people move out during a reno!

  7. Don’t forget the little details, they add up. Think hardware, new furniture if you are redecorating, paint, trim, etc. The big costs are obvious in our budget, but when you start to add little things here and there that you actually need to finish a room, they can add up quickly! Remember to keep these in mind when putting a plan and budget together.

  8. You won’t ever want to sit in any other room than the one you renovate (I figured I’d throw some good news in here). So as you can see we started on our dining, garden and loft area. The only time I sit in the other rooms in the house are if I want to watch TV or cook a meal. All of my time otherwise is spent in the front of the house where we’ve started the renovations. It feels huge to complete such a cool project and see everything that you’ve wanted come to life. Everything is exactly as you want it and all you want to do is sit there and soak it in. We aren’t even finished and I’m obsessed. I can’t imagine how it’s going to feel to have it 100% done!

   

We have a long road ahead of us to actually complete the entire house. I mean, we still have a lot of work to do in this little area! So you’ll be seeing quite a few updates here as we continue to work on it. Here’s what we have left on the dining/loft/front living room space:

  • Update all of the floors

  • Retexture all of the walls to match the dining room and loft

  • Replace all of the windows in the front of the house

  • Replace our front door

  • Update our banister (and add railing to the loft)

  • Put a floor in the loft

  • Put in baseboards

Yikes right? Right now, since we’ve taken a bit of a break, it’s daunting to even get started again… like where do I pick this back up? But the good news is, once we’re done here… it’s on to the kitchen which I am SO excited about!

 

I’d love to hear what you want to see more of as we renovate! Leave your suggestions in the comments.

To read about other DIY ideas (home renovations excluded),

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A while ago on instagram I asked people what questions they had in regards to running a business. And while it may take me a while (years) to get through the list, I’m excited to answer another one today!

It seems like almost everyone these days is either an entrepreneur, or working on their “side hustle”. And I think that is pretty cool. Back in 2012 when I quit my “real” job, entrepreneurship, at least in my age group and industry, was not as popular, accepted, or supported as it is now. To see how much it’s grown and the opportunity it gives to so many talented people out there is exciting to see.

The hard part about trying to go out on your own? Knowing when it’s time… and until then, staying inspired to keep going. That is the question I’m going to talk about today

 
“How do I stay inspired to keep working on my business when I can’t quit my day job and commit full time yet?”
 My biggest tip? Prioritizing what time you DO have away from your 9-5.

So let’s break that down into small ways you can utilize that time.

  1. Know when you are productive. Look at the time you have that you can dedicate to your business. What hours out of those do you feel the most productive or inspired? Make sure that you block those hours off in your calendar. For me, when I was working a full-time job and starting A Fabulous Fete, I knew I was the most inspired and clear headed in the morning. I would rather wake up at 5am to work for a bit, then come home and have to focus on blog posts or hand lettering jobs. So that is exactly what I did. Of course things always run over into hours that you may not be at your best, but if you can schedule in your most important tasks for those productive/inspiring hours, you will be guaranteed a good outcome.

  2. Make use of your lunch break. Whatever you have… even if it’s just a half hour. Draft your instagram posts for the day, write product descriptions for your website, write a few emails reaching out to potential partners, etc. There are actually a lot of things you can do in less than an hour if you plan your time accordingly. I would go sit at Starbucks and work on my business some days and it made me feel like all of my work wasn’t piling up at the end of the day.

  3. See if you can work a modified schedule. This wasn’t the case for me, but I know that it has been for some, so it’s worth a shot! Ask if you can work from home one day a week, take a half day once a week, or split your hours into a 4 day work week. Knowing that you have that time set aside on a schedule can really help you prioritize your tasks, and it will likely help you perform better in your full-time job. This obviously isn’t the case at all companies but might be helpful to some.

 

4. Schedule your time wisely. Chances are you are working weekends (well, aren’t we all… even when you have 8 hours a day, 5 days a week;). But that can go south REAL quick if you don’t have a plan. So make it clear (to your family, your partner, your friends, everyone) that you have set aside certain hours to complete a project. And when you’ve put in your time, shut down your computer and continue on enjoying your weekend. When we don’t schedule, and just say “I have to finish X”, the work can go on and on and leave you burnt out.

5. Find other creatives you can talk to about working part time on your biz. Having people to talk to that you can relate to is huge! Chatting with those in similar situations can help you problem solve or even open your eyes to new opportunities. Plus, if you just need to vent, they’ll get it. Knowing that you are in the same position as others trying to grow is encouraging. So keep your eyes open for others around you that you can connect with.

6. Know when to say no and when to take a break. I remember back when I had my 9-5 cubicle job I said yes to EVERYTHING. I thought that if I did, that big break would come along and I would be able to leave. The only thing I got was tired, cranky, and really sad. I would agree to make these insane projects for editorial shoots (for ZERO dollars) that literally took me an entire weekend, and then they never even got used (insert knife emoji here). I would also take on rush orders that I really couldn’t accommodate with my schedule. I wouldn’t stand up for myself with pushy clients and I’d take on extra work without the pay or extended timeline. It DID NOT have to be that way. So set boundaries and be strict about them. It will be hard at first but it will keep you sane.




 

It’s definitely not easy. But it is 100% worth it when you get there. So just remember to keep these guidelines in mind when you map out your week ahead. I hope these help you utilize your time efficiently and keep you on track to grow your own business!

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If you’ve been following along over on instagram, I am sure you’ve seen a story or two where I have shared all of the details behind the renovation of our home. One of the first projects we took on was building out our little garden on the side of our house. Before (and yes, we will do a before + after soon!) it was overgrown with trees and bushes. It had a weird little cement pad that would have been perfect for a table and chairs, but the fact that it was all the way on the side of the house, with no access other than the backyard, made it a place no one wanted to be. We added doors (instead of an old window), cleaned it up with pavers, garden boxes, and a few new pieces of outdoor furniture, and finally had a space that we spend A LOT of our time in now.

Now that it has been nice enough that we can sit outside and enjoy coffee or wine… i’ve been dreaming of hosting a few guests out here! So for Tabletop No. 3 in our series, we transformed the garden for a small dinner party. I wanted a neutral palette that blended with it’s surroundings, and the accessories I used accomplished that perfectly. It was one of the simpler tables i’ve set, but I really wanted to let the space it was in take the spotlight.

I shared a few tips for my set up in a quick video below that gives you a closer look at the set up.

A Quick Look at My First Spring Tabletop in the New Garden - YouTube
  A Few tips for setting this simple tabletop in your own garden or backyard:
  • Instead of large florals, gather natural lanterns. They don’t all have to be the same, or from the same store, just similar in material and color!

  • Add some bud vases with wildflowers or clippings from your yard

  • Add a pop of color in your place settings

  • Create a fun place setting by wrapping your silverware and napkins in a unique way. Here I used some beads I found at a local decor shop. Watch my video to see how I created this!

  • Use candlelights and string lights to set the mood! I love the soft light these give off.

  • Bring the garden to your table if possible. As you’ll see in our video, I used mint from the garden to create a cocktail for the setting!

SHOP THE POST

I can’t wait to host more nights out here as the weather warms up!

Any tips that you live by for outdoor entertaining?

Video by Moka Visuals

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How I keep my projects and space under control.

Category: Business

Read Time: 5 Minutes

 

You’d think because of how much I love rearranging and styling things, our office would be a representation of that. Think again. It’s most likely because of the WORK that has to be done there… and it doesn’t seem like a priority most of the time, especially when it comes to my desk. My desk is where papers are dropped, supplies are spread out, and the bulk of what I do gets done. And at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is organize it. The problem with this is it seriously takes a toll on my creativity and the state of where my head is at. The saying is true; “tidy desk, tidy mind”. At least for me!

So I thought it would be a great opportunity to write a post about what steps I am taking to get and stay organized in my workspace. For me, it isn’t purely about knowing where everything is, it also has to look great and inspire me. Here are 10 ways i’m keeping my space organized and efficient.

   
  1. Have separate notebooks for different topics. I actually have been doing this and when I keep it up it is a lifesaver. I know where I can find specific information without flipping through a hundred pages that look the same. I’ve been trying to keep up with a bullet journal that is mostly for my to-do lists and important dates. I also love keeping lists I want to reference in here (like how to take care of all the plants in my new garden!)

  2. Gather small items in bowls. You need paperclips and you need push pins, so why not display them in cute mini bowls? I do this to add color and interest to my desk while keeping necessities I use often available at all times.

  3. Use hanging file folders for recent docs, otherwise file digitally if possible. I don’t print many things, I like to keep emails and docs filed. But sometimes when I am planning a shoot or want to brainstorm for a project away from my desk I like actual paper in my hands. To keep these under control I have 5 to 7 hanging file folders for current projects like brand partnerships, content creation for clients, a “to file” file for tax or bank docs, pending projects to follow up on and one for things like our print size guide that I use all the time but don’t want to keep out.

  4. Use sectioned trays for things like staplers, sticky notes or lip balm. You use these things multiple times throughout the day so why not pick up a cute version of it and leave them in an open tray?

  5. Invest in nice pencils/pens that add to your desk instead of distracting from it and looking messy. One of my office pet peeves is when a pencil cup is a mess. I hate colored pens and highlighters (I keep those in a drawer!). Instead, I like to stick to one or two colors for my pens and pencils, usually white or black and maybe a touch of gold. I feel like it makes your pencil cup look less cluttered.

  Shop my office favorites  

6. Use trays to gather things you are currently working on. I like to keep papers or supplies out that are for in progress projects. What I don’t want though, is clutter everywhere. So I use trays that hold everything so I am not having to constantly pull things out as I want to work on something.

7. Have at least one notepad where you work the most for ideas. I keep one right next to my computer for ideas I want to save but think about later. It can be distracting to have to stop and write something down in a specific place for a specific project, client, etc. So be sure you can write them as they come, and you can go back later to organize those thoughts.

8. Letter organizers for envelope addressing or pages you need often. When I am lettering a set of envelopes I always use letter organizers to keep them off of my desk. I worry that I will spill my water or paint and ruin a stack of perfectly good envelopes. So I love that they are elevated and easy for me to grab.

9. Have a good way to organize your cords. My desks are from Ikea and have a space in the back that holds all of your cords. I love that I have access to charge everything without having loose cords running all over the place. I am never looking for a charging cord and my computer never gets shut off (anymore) because of dogs running by a cord and ripping it out of the wall!

10. Use your wall space. I am definitely NOT a minimalist, so I love using all of my space. Going vertically with your storage and organization can be a big space saver though if you are working with a small space. I keep notes and inspo on my walls, but we also have a clipboard wall with all of our wedding suite details. Rather than having to dig through files and papers to find what we need, it’s all nicely organized on a wall to see at a glance.

   

And remember to keep a few things around that you enjoy... candles, flowers, pictures, inspiration, books, etc. I think that without these, your workspace can become boring, redundant and be a drain on your creativity. I’m guilty of constantly stealing things from my house for the office to spruce it up a bit. You want your work space to feel like an extension of the spaces you love at home.

Hope this keeps you all organized and inspired in your workspaces!

What are your favorite hacks for organizing your own?

Images by Kimi Domino

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Tips for transforming the entry in your home

Category: Home

Read Time: 7 Minutes

 

There are a million things we want to fix and renovate in our home. Some things were obvious… update kitchen cabinets, replace windows, replace floors, etc. But the subject of this post, a hallway, wasn’t ever on our list of priorities. It was however, an annoying little hall with a dropped ceiling and all around pretty dysfunctional. One day when we were like, OK… WE HAVE TO START RENOVATIONS, my husband took a hammer and started tearing into this space and it ended up being such a great decision. It’s one of the first places you see when you come into our home, and it also spurred dining room and loft updates as all of the spaces are connected. At the office, we debated for a bit on whether this space is truly a “foyer”. In the end, maybe it’s not, but it is where we welcome guests. Plus foyer sounds better than hall, so let’s stick with that;)

   

In the past, we had random things in here including a giant wine cabinet. Because the space was already so claustrophobic with the low ceiling, adding a large piece of furniture was not the answer and made it feel even darker and smaller. I hoped people didn’t pay attention as they walked through this area of our home. And most of the time there were boxes and junk scattered about because part of the area was a strange empty place under our stairs. Since you see this right when you enter our home, I wanted it to be an inspiring little vignette that we could transform for entertaining if needed.

The first thing we did was raise the ceiling (will get more into renovation details in a different post next week though!) followed by retexturing the walls. I added a credenza that turned out to be much shorter than I expected (i’m actually horrible at reading descriptions when shopping online). But I loved the pattern and material so much that I decided to make it work (coupled with the fact that I also hate returning things). I knew the best option was to make the space more art and decor focused than trying to make it super functional. So we added 2 sconces to border a large piece of art as the central focus of the space. Art was my main focus here, so I headed over to Minted to pick out a few pieces. I love their variety and the fact that it comes framed if you choose the option. I chose an oversized piece to be the centerpiece and added a few smaller pieces that would accent it by leaning on the top of the credenza. I am a serial re-decorator so I didn’t want to hang too many of them. I like to change things up often and keeping the art leaning against the wall allows me to do that. I also think that it makes the space more relaxed which we want all throughout our home.

  Art Pieces Featured  

The credenza ended up being the perfect spot for our record player as well. This “foyer” is sort of like the center of all of our spaces. From here the living room, kitchen, dining and formal living room all stem off. Having the record player in this central spot has been really nice when we are hanging out at home or have friends over because you can hear it from anywhere. Our record collection also fit perfectly in the cabinet beneath it.

 

To the left of the credenza was the strange little nook that sits under our open stairs. I added a folding screen for color and texture, a chair and a side table. I think it could be a nice spot to sit down and take your shoes off after work or for guests to sit at when entertaining. Better a rarely used space that looks beautiful than a pile of boxes I need to return, right?

   

I didn’t want to add too many accessories, so I stuck with a few of my favorites; books, candles and flowers. Remember, this is pretty low, so I had to be strategic about what our dogs might want to grab off of here as well! I stacked a few books in the darker color palette, added my favorite candles and some candlesticks for drama, and finally tucked in a few bud vases for color.

  Other Accessories I Used To Style this space   So, to sum up what I would recommend if you have a similar hall that you are interested in utilizing:
  1. Keep your furniture skinny, you want to feel comfortable walking through these areas and not like you are moving around furniture.

  2. Go vertical. Hang art to bring the eye up and balance out the furniture below.

  3. Think of items you don’t use often, but want on display. These in between spaces are great for showing off your favorite things like we did with the record player.

How have you transformed awkward spaces in your home?

All art provided by Minted

Images by Kimi Domino

 
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After a lot of procrastination, sweaty palms, and nights laying awake in bed going over all of the things that could go wrong, I finally sucked it up and got in front of the camera to re-launch my YouTube channel! I actually wouldn’t have considered it an active channel of mine in the past. There were a few crappy iPhone videos of me lettering quotes. So really I just cleaned it up so we could bring you new monthly videos in all of your favorite categories!

Sharing what I do on instagram has opened my eyes to what people REALLY want to see. With almost every post, I get at least a few comments or DMs asking me how something is done. So that is exactly what I will be dedicating our YouTube content to; solving problems for you guys, giving you a behind the scenes look, and sharing my knowledge in quick tutorials.

One of the first videos to help us debut our little refresh is obviously hand lettering based! I wanted to create a resource for those of you just starting out on your hand lettering journey. In the video I go over materials I use and why, I share a peek at our practice strokes + guide, and finally I make a few projects that you can also try your hand at once you’ve had a bit of practice. This one is specifically for beginners, but I would love to hear everyones thoughts and what you guys want to see in the coming months! Also, don’t forget I do give lettering workshops each month at our office in Orange County. So if you feel like learning in person and having a more in depth class, check out the schedule. Feel free to leave your feedback here or comment directly on the video. Also make sure to subscribe so you never miss the release of a new tutorial!

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How to Start Watercolor Brush Lettering - YouTube
tools I recommend to get started

PRINTABLE PRACTICE SHEETS AVAILABLE!

Download the sheets mentioned in the video here.

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