My Weight Loss Journey Progress Photos

5 months in! Good Lord! How did I let it go this far?? I kept making all the excuses in the world about how I packed on so much weight. Yes, sitting behind a computer almost non stop will do it. I’m an entrepreneur and run several online sites solo. No employees or assistants.
It took everything in me to post this photo, which I know most wouldn’t. If I want to continue running a successful business, I need to get my health in order. Lucky for me, I have no health issues except for being fat. 10 inches total lost in 3 areas: bust, waist and hips. 14lbs of pure fat loss. I’m so glad I found a home at Stage 3 Fitness because I would still be at home behind the computer packing on more weight. I have a long way to go still but sometimes we need to see SOME progression. My ultimate goal is to get in that swimsuit on some foreign beach by next summer.

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Martha Stewart Living Magazine CONFIRMED!

I’m so excited to announce that I received confirmation on Friday that my business and some of my products will be in February’s issue of the Martha Stewart Living magazine! How awesome is that?!?! These are the samples that I sent to them back in June.

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Shortly after my husband and I returned from our Dominica Anniversary trip, I had received an email from one of the Assistant Editors inquiring about samples for a future printed story. Well of course I shipped them out overnight. I waited about 2 weeks before messaging them to find out if they had received them. I was told that they work very far in advance on these issues and it would probably be in the January or February issue. Although there was no guarantee that the story would still be the same or that they would consider my products, but I knew in my heart that it was going to happen. It just felt right. Well here I am 3 months later and finally received the news that they are photographing the pieces and I would get my copy mid January. This is a huge deal!

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It is slowing setting in that I will have to prepare for the sudden influx of sales that I will receive because my website will be printed with the products in the article. I have to make sure that I have tons of inventory and hired help in place for when the issue is released. So much will be going on next year that I can’t even think straight.

I never thought that in less than 2 years of opening my business that I would be featured in any type of magazine. I am so grateful for such a wonderful opportunity and I can’t wait to share it will all my readers and customers. Stayed tuned for all the updates to come!

A Simple DIY Earring Kit for $8

Sometimes it takes me hours to decide on a jewelry design and this would be one of them. It was simple to make, but it took me hours to figure out what pieces I would use to put together a simple kit. These are now my new favorite pair of earrings! This kit will include all of the earring components to make your perfect pair of earrings!

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2 Brass ear wires
6 medium brass jump rings
2 Vintage Czech glass beads, choose your color in the drop down box
2 Raw Brass chandelier components
2 Raw Brass eye pins

Instructions: Open 2 jump rings and slide one around each loop at the top of the chandelier component and close them both. Take another open jump ring and close it with the other 2 jump rings. Open the ear wire and slide the top jump ring onto the ear wire and close it. Take the long brass eye pin and slide 1 vintage bead on and do a traditional wire wrap or a simple loop around the bottom half of the chandelier earring. You are DONE!

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I hope you are able to try out one of my new kits. If you do, I would love for you to come back and post how it turned out!

White is Out, Wood Is In!

Product Photography….White is out and Wood is In!

Do you sell products online? Are you looking for a better way to ‘sell’ your items, but can’t seem to determine the right strategy? Perhaps you take pictures of your own handmade products, but haven’t quite found the perfect way to do so. Well, today I’d like to offer a suggestion that could change the tides for you.

If you are used to shooting a white background then I want to recommend a change for you. That change is shooting on a wooden background instead of a white background. Why? Because it offers a plethora of positive options to show off your item in the best possible light. I personally used to take pictures against a totally white background, however, I found that it was taking away from the quality of my items. It looked fake and even a bit mass-produced.

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Needless to say, I wasn’t happy. So, I changed things up. Instead of using a white background, I began shooting against a wooden background with natural lighting. I wanted to highlight the details of my products, and the wooden background lent itself to the quality of my items.

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I currently shoot using a Nikon D3300 with a 40mm micro lens. I also prefer to shoot outdoors, because I am in love with natural lighting. Since I sell on Etsy, I understand the importance of conveying the handcrafted look and appeal of my products and shooting with natural light against a wooden background.

If you’re an Etsy seller, then you should definitely consider shooting against a wooden background. Particularly if you are selling rustic items. However, I firmly believe that anyone can increase sales by using this one trick. A wooden background will make your item look more professional and even more attractive.

Set the stage for better product pictures by shooting against a wooden background.

Funny Little Things

We all have those moments when things we should remember suddenly disappear out of our head. We write notes to remember, but always forget where we put .

I can’t even count the times I couldn’t find my glasses only to realize they were on my head. Yes, hours of pointless searching that could have been avoided if I had put my hand on my head sooner.

My keys are another one I have trouble finding. I know they’re in my purse. I search and search all the pockets only for someone else to come over and pick them out right from the top. I had been staring at them the entire time and yet I wasn’t really seeing them.

Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself.

Canva

Many of you may or may not know of Canva. This site has transformed the way I design. If you are on Facebook, Tumbler, Pinterest or any other social media site, this website can take your creativity to the next level. Untitled design

Canva has free options which allow you to design and create a lot of possibilities, but if you see something you like that isn’t free, it is only a dollar! Maybe you are wondering why a site would let you design and create completely free images?

Continue reading

Supporting Local Businesses

I firmly believe that it is very important to support locally owned shops that make and sell right here in the U.S.A. It is also very important to support family businesses either in your community or online.

By supporting locally or family owned businesses it helps in some ways provide better wages and benefits than large Corporations . Supporting locally gives the opportunity to provide more jobs for those in need of work. I read an article that says the employment rate for August 2015 was at 8 million. Many people jobs and by supporting shops like this, you are decreasing that number.

It’s also very cost efficient from a buyers point of view. The smaller the business, the more changes and lower prices develop over time. It can really transform and strengthen the economic base of any community. Sure, everyone loves the big name stores, but I like the odd, the not so perfect. I like to walk in a local establishment and get a personal greeting, by name is even more special. I may possibly get greeted by the owners furry friend. This is the type of interaction that makes doing business locally feel special.

There are some small business owners that may be physically challenged preventing them from traveling to a workplace. It is much easier to create a shop online and do everything from the convenience of your home. Etsy has really been helpful in letting me run my own business and follow my dreams. If you want to support family businesses, but want more variety a place like Etsy is perfect. You can shop all over the world or within your zip code specifically for handmade items. You even get to read why they started an Etsy shop.

I hope today’s post makes you reach out to some of the local businesses that you have yet to visit so that we can pour money back into our communities. They need our support.

Being Re-Directed

” As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I was rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.” ~Steve Maraboli.

This is so true in so many cases. So many times either me or someone I care about feels like they are being rejected from a great opportunity. It can be really discouraging in the moment. Then you realize you didn’t get it because something better was waiting for you.

It is hard when you set a dream before you and it doesn’t happen like you plan, but isn’t it a wonderful feeling to know you had someone watching out for you?

It is kind of like your dream job. You don’t get it and it really discourages you, but then a week later you get a better job with a lot more pay. Suddenly you feel like you are back on cloud nine.

Sometimes I admit if a great opportunity didn’t happen even though I did my best, It really makes you think that path is over. Until I stop feeling bad for myself is when I realized all along something much better was waiting for me.

This quote is one I tend to read to remind me it isn’t as bad because it will get better.

How to Make a $7 Bracelet with Vintage Pieces

I know some of you have been asking for some Jewelry making posts and I thought I’d share this fun and simple bracelet tutorial that combines old with new! This Kit is available for purchase at ONLY $7 and will include most of the materials needed to construct it. All you will need are your tools: Nipper tool, flat head pliers and round nose pliers.

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8 inches of Vintage Brass Chain which you will cut into 2 pieces to fit your wrist. Enough for up to an 8 inch wrist
8 Small Brass jump rings(4 extras in case you lose any or want to extend the length of the chain)
2 Large jump rings(only need 1, but an extra just in case)
1 Vintage Filigree piece
1 large 12mm Raw Brass Lobster Claw Clasp

Instructions: slightly curve with your 2 thumbs on the middle backside of the filigree piece so that it will sit on the wrist naturally.

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Open 2 small jump rings and attach to the end of the filigree piece and slide on a cut piece of chain.

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Close the jump ring and it should now be attached to the filigree piece and the chain. Open the other end and do the same. You should now have the filigree piece attached to 2 separate pieces of chain. Open another small jump ring and slide on the lobster clasp and slide through the end of a dangling piece of chain. Open a large jump ring, slide the end link of chain onto it and then close it. DSC_0618

Your Bracelet is complete. You may decorate the top if you wish like I did. I glued some flat back Rhinestones on top or you could take some paint or Patina and color the Brass filigree piece.

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I hope you enjoyed this simple bracelet project and please feel free to post your latest craft projects!

Words From the Wise

From time to time I like to read inspiring quotes. I believe the people behind the words have more wisdom then I and I really respect them. I like to read quotes from long ago and appreciate how their words still today have an impact on people’s lives.

Many times I would read a quote or poem if I was going through something. Either a quote that told me to be myself or a quote that told me to get up and do something about it.

Today as I sat down I found this quote,” Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” by Theodore Roosevelt. Those are words from a very wise  “Do what you can, with what you have, whereman. That is such a powerful saying. Depending where you are in life and how you are reading it you may get something different from this saying. That is okay. This quote has given me something that really helped me and wanted to share what it means to me.

To me this quote means no excuses. You don’t have to have a million talents or be famous you just have to ,”Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Do your best with what God gave you. Stop worrying about all the negative things you can’t change and start thinking about what you do have to work with. Stop worry about where you will be in 5 years from now. Tomorrow may never come. Concentrate on where you are now in life and make the best you can out of it.

I really think sometimes we think on things we have no power of changing and it is just a bunch of negative energy that we could be putting towards good. We all can do something you just have to figure out what your talent is.

Hope this helped someone like it has impacted me. Maybe share below what this quote means to you. If you have any quotes you would like to share I really encourage you to do so. It may just help someone for the better.

If you want more inspiring quotes like this one also, let me know!