The Summer Shoes That Go With Everything

Last week I was out shopping with my girlfriend for some shoes for an upcoming family wedding. We were heading into Nordstrom Rack when she said, “let’s just pop in Famous Footwear really quick.” We walked in and I immediately saw these really cute summer booties by Sam Edelman. The Tag said $79, so I thought I would pass because I was out shopping for shoes for a wedding, not for summer boots. LOL. On the way out I thought “Ah, I might as well ask about them.” The clerk rescanned the tag to check the price and they were only $30! WAHHH??? Umm…Sold! I have been wearing them everyday since. They literally go with EVERYTHING!!! Here's the link if you’d like to check them out.

Backyard Update & Affordable Modern Outdoor Furniture Ideas

small modern backyard ideas

We’re currently in the middle of doing some updates to our backyard and patio. (I’d love to say that I’m personally stirring the concrete, but that’s just not the reality. We hired professionals).

We live in a *really* windy area. Actually that’s an understatement. It’s so windy that a couple of years ago a gust blew in and literally knocked over our BBQ grill and broke it. I came out one morning to grill laying on it’s face (yes, the grill has a face now. lol) making a scary ticking noise. Anyway, we tried to revive it but it was a no go. Years later without a grill, we finally got a kick in the butt to make some updates. We’re having the BBQ grill built-in this time, we’re adding some professional lighting and getting bistro lights installed. We’re also swapping out our real grass for turf. Both Brian and I are excited to have our grill back to enjoy the last days of summer.

Through this process, I’ve thought about updating the patio furniture. I’m still on the fence with wether or not I want to pull the trigger on that in this season. But, I’ve done so much research on this topic that I decided that my efforts MUST benefit more than just myself. 

Being a professional graphic designer, I naturally appreciate clean modern design aesthetic (in everything) but, I’m cheap. A lot cheaper than most “designers” you’ll see around the internet. So hopefully this cheap skill of mine will come in handy for you, as I rounded up a few of my favorite modern and *MOST* affordable outdoor lounging furniture pieces (links below). Leave a comment if you know of another piece worth including.

One tip that I have learned over the years is to measure EVERYTHING before purchasing!!! Measure your space and look at the dimensions of your piece within your space before you buy it. Or else…that’ll getcha every time. Enjoy!

modern budget outdoor lounge furniture

Why It Sucks To Be A Copy Cat

In the art arena, copying is such a gray area, or thin ice to tip toe on! We have to stay inspired in our field, right? But when does inspiration turn to copying?

I have definitely had my moments as an artist where I was a little too inspired by a particular idea, photo, or design. I have also had those moments where I got this great idea…and realized it DID seem a little too familiar once I rendered it out. Then there have been many circumstances where I have seen my own ideas copied and I thought to myself  “wow, that just doesn’t look very good”

As a professional, copying cheapens your brand AND the product. The book, “Rework,” by Jason Fried, knows what’s up. There’s a chapter in the book that says that if we copy, we’re missing the understanding. We’re missing the underlying process that makes it truly great. 

“So much of the work an original creator puts into something is invisible. It’s buried beneath the surface. The copycat doesn’t really know why something looks the way it looks or feels the way it feels or reads the way it reads. The copy cat is a faux finish. It delivers no substance, no understanding, and nothing to base future decisions on. Plus, if you are a copycat you can never keep up. You never lead; you always follow. You give birth to something that’s already behind the times- just a knock off, an inferior version of the original. That’s no way to live. 

How do you know if you are copying someone? If someone else is doing a bulk of the work, you’re copying. Be influenced but don’t steal.” 

When the book talks about missing the “understanding”, that is the magic behind a photograph,  piece of art, or design project. The magic is that invisible element that is uncopyable. Therefore, the original really captures and holds onto the magic that makes the project GLOW.  And here’s something I know for sure: As creatives, we were MADE to make stuff that freaking GLOWS. That has all the sparkle and bling of originality. Don’t settle for any less! 

How do YOU triple/ quadruple check that your work is all your own, while staying current by checking out other designs?! I want to know!

How To Start Outsourcing To Grow Your Small Business.

Starting your own business requires wearing many different hats: business strategy, marketing, design, administration, customer service, bookkeeping, etc. But as your business takes off, you’ll be drowning in a sea of daunting to-dos. You’re stressed, overwhelmed, overworked, and under paid. You just can’t do it all. Your business needs to grow and your stress levels need to shrink.

Enter Outsourcing: To obtain goods or services from an outside source. To contract out. To farm out. To get you started, here are 5 simple steps to start outsourcing to grow your business.

1. Track and Record
Write out your entire workflow from brainstorming to marketing, to emails, to sale, to support, to finances, etc.

2. Eliminate
Cross off the items that you LOVE doing, That ONLY you can do, and that you’re really good at doing.

3. Identify
Now, circle the one that takes the MOST amount of time. That’s the big guy….the time sucker, that little warthog.

4. Systematize
Create a process and a system for exactly how you’d like that task to be completed.

5. Share The Love
Off load that bad boy by hiring some help. Hire an online Virtual Assistant, find a friend that possesses this amazing skill (pssst…I always like trading skills to start off, if you know what i mean), Or hit up that company that specializes in your task.

It may feel like a big investment at first, but here’s the thing, by eliminating this task from your workflow, you’ll free up your time to focus on what you do best to get more sales for your business. And you’ll feel alive again!

Subscribe for more videos.

How To Make A Killer First Impression

Have you ever felt ON THE SPOT when asked about yourself? The truth is, you never know who you’ll meet and where, whether it’s hob-nobbing at a professional event, attending a conference, or workin’ those biceps at the gym. That conversation could potentially lead to: more business, new clients, a great connection, a new job, or YOUR BIG BREAK. So, you need to up your game!

Here are 5 ways to introduce yourself & make an impactful first impression:

1 - Be Respectful
Make your introduction brief 30-60 seconds. Max.

2 - Don't Make It All About you
Focus on how what you do HELPS other people.

3 - Be Confident
Write out your introduction phrase ahead of time and practice it so you’re confident delivering your message.

4 - Don't Make Them Feel Dumb.
Avoid technical jargon. Break your product or service down into relatable wording for people to easily understand.

5 - Be Passionate
Let your passion for what you do shine through… and you never know where the conversation could lead.

In order to be impactful, engaging, and memorable you have to be prepared, so when that moment comes along…All you have left to do…. is be yourself!