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?

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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.

Let’s Go To Dominican Republic

I thought today we would take a trip to the Dominican Republic! Okay, not really, but I went and want to tell you about it!

Vacations are really a great time to spend quality time with your spouse. Sometimes a vacation is much needed and when living a busy life you just need that break.

Me and my husband for our 5th anniversary stayed at the LaRomana Grand Bahia Resort. We stayed 7 days and 6 nights. Now that is sometimes how long you have to get away to recuperate from constantly being busy. Running an Etsy shop you are always busy, but definitely worth it!Anniversary Trip

We went swimming under the sea with the sharks, snorkeling, and above water we went canoeing and paddle boarding. We also took a reef tour on a manmade island.

We took this Catamaran boat ride to the beautiful Starfish Island. I know many of you are probably thinking we visited the fictional island that was featured in the Batman TV series episode Vertigo. We promise we went to a legit Island names Starfish Island.   Starfish Island

It was just really nice. The beautiful baby blue skies and the white sand. No worries just fun, sunshine and relaxation time. Vacation is always needed at some point. If it is a day or several weeks we all have times where our bodies and minds need to relax.

 

I would love to hear about your story on what you did on your favorite trip. Comment below and share a great place to take a trip and why.

Growing Your Business Through Instagram! Get To it!

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With over 300 million users and counting, Instagram is one of the world’s most popular platforms in social media. Using Instagram will not only increase your business’s online visibility, but you can use it to grow your business with ideas such as:

Cross Promotion

If you have already established a following on other social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, then you can most certainly carry it over to Instagram.  Tell your existing followers all about it and be sure to include links to your Instagram page.

Go Hashtag Crazy

As with Twitter, you can create unique and catchy hashtags to draw the crowd in.  Hashtags have the ability to drum up a buzz which leads to more followers and engaging conversations with potential and existing customers.

A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Tell your brand’s story with pictures…this is what Instagram is all about and people want to know.  Better yet, post a video or two and get your voice heard!

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