role models

Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman of A Beautiful Mess 
I started reading A Beautiful Mess years and years ago.  A family friend mentioned Elsie (pictured right) to my mom and me and showed us her blog. I didn't have to look much past her vintage dresses and craft-themed tattoos to know that I was looking at a kindred spirit. Throughout the years, I've seen Elsie's blog, style, and business grow and evolve so much. One of the most important changes over the years was having her older sister Emma become her business partner. Together, they're pretty much the dream team. I admire them both so incredibly much.  I always think about how if I ever met them, it'd be like a normal person meeting a huge celebrity--I'd freak out, probably faint, and then humbly ask them to be my BFFs... They're my #1 idols when it comes to small business.

Required reading: On Changing Dreams, Emma's 5 Secrets to Success, Adapt, Quit, or Evolve, Five Tips for Evaluating a Business Idea, The Story of Our Local Boutique, State of the Biz / Autumn 2015


Jen Gotch of Ban.do
I discovered Ban.do in middle school. It was a happy day when I did.  Since then, it has evolved into a much larger online business, selling much more than just cute hair accessories. Even more than their products, I love the business culture of hard work and FUN that Jen Gotch has created over the years. It truly seems (from an outsider, at least) that she gathered up all the talented ladies she had girl crushes on and hired them to join her #bandogirlgang.  I hope to one day do the same. ;)

Required reading: Everything on her hilarious Instagram

Bri Emery of DesignLoveFest
Let's face it. Bri is hands-down a cool girl.  When I first found her blog DesignLoveFest, I was struck by how stylish, modern, and original every aspect of it was. Because yeah, she's stylish, she's creative, she travels a lot--she's got it goin' on! But the great thing is that she also seems incredibly humble, down-to-earth, and sensitive (at least that's what Instagram tells me), which makes her not only relatable, but also someone who has obviously worked hard to create the opportunities splattered across her blog and Instagram feed.

Required reading: Her Instagram, which will give you a glipse into her current projects and travels!

5 ways to keep the dream alive

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Do you have a dream you've been chasing after a while? One that you can't help but think about daily? Hourly? All.The.Time? Well, I do, and while at times it can be super exciting and give me life and purpose, sometimes it's just downright intimidating. Here are just a few ways I keep focused and determined about achieving my goals.

1) Find out first hand if what you want is actually what you want before you go all-in.  For me, it was when I was studying abroad in London when I finally felt everything click. I took a chance and found a craft-related internship instead of the costume/theatre one expected of me to see if my little crafty fantasy might actually be something real I wanted to pursue. I worked with a woman who founded her own craft market in South London that catered to a younger, hipper crowd than your typical craft market. She curates the designer-maker vendors, has her friend DJ, and drinks and cake were available to purchase. Crafty heaven, in my opinion. Being around this woman, her friends, and the community she created made me realize that the craft community is where I feel the most happy/genuine/excited.

When I got back to Portland, I looked at everything within a new lens of my dream of owning my own creative business one day.  I sought out crafty things, and decided that I should probably get a retail job to find out if owning a store might actually be my calling (also I needed the money!). Lil' introvert me quickly realized that YES, I do love retail.  I started to daydream about my own store, and make mental notes.  My imaginary craft store that only existed in a mostly-joking Pinterest board became my #1 professional goal.

2) When people ask you what you want to do with your life, know what to say. I struggled with voicing my dream for years, and when I finally told it to the people I loved and respected the most in my personal life and finally my academic/professional life, all I got was an overwhelming wave of encouragement. It makes me want to tear up just thinking about it! Knowing you have a support system is crucial in chasing any way-bigger-than-you dream, and will make you feel more confident in your dream.

3) Do your research. It's hard to get out of the daydreaming phase.  I remembered the moment it hit me that MAN, THIS IS GOING TO BE A WHOLE LOT OF WORK. It was Christmastime, and I was catching up with an old high school friend who is an Econ major.  When I mentioned my dream craft shop/workshop space/cafe, she mentioned something about needing a sink.  To use a pun openly, that's when it really sunk in.  Starting a business isn't all ideas, pretty branding, and imaginary events. There are sinks, people! Spreadsheets, budgeting, paying bills...the whole scary enchilada.

But yes. Research. The one thing I kept reading about over and over again in my research about starting a small business was FIND A MENTOR. I took that to heart after reading it about 39472948 times. I started emailing local craft stores that might identify with my dream. I was lucky and only had to email two people before ending my search. One didn't reply, but the other did almost immediately. I knew I had made the right move. I set up weekly meetings with this small business owner all summer. It started out as doing odd jobs around the shop in exchange for 15-30 minutes interviewing her, to helping out with classes, feeling like part of the family, and eventually being offered a part-time job! Ya just gotta go for it! Surprise yourself.

4) Picture it. I'm a very visual person, so being able to see ideas in front of me is crucial. I have a Pinterest board of resources that I might need as a small business owner. Some are serious, like "Tips for Self-Promoting" and some are literally cake recipes.  It's all about the balance, y'all. You have to think about the fun little details too! It's not all sinks and bills. There are fun things too!

Another thing that I did recently was use a free Squarespace trial to create a mock-up for my dream business. It sounds frivolous and completely silly, but honestly, it was a great way to force myself to fill a page with content that I identified with. It also helped me notice new things, like colors that I think might be best for branding, or words I might want to avoid as to not turn certain demographics off. Pretty crazy, right?

5) Observe others (or businesses) that you admire. I admire so many businesswomen out there doing their thang (I'll share a few in a later post). It's inspiring, and sometimes intimidating.  But just remember that they were where you are once upon a time.  You'll get there (my current mantra).

Personally, I find a lot of inspiration and food for thought when I'm browsing storefronts--particularly ones that do more than one thing (for instance, a tea shop that has a vintage shop downstairs or a warehouse that's a restaurant/bar/soda fountain/recreational center/retail space--like WHAT! So inspiring!).

Well, that's it for now.  Let me know if you have any other pieces of advice! WE CAN DO IT!

thursday thrills

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Excited to get my hands on a copy of Mindy Kaling's new book.

Maybe I'll finally declutter my lifestyle.  Or not.  But it's a nice thought.

Anxious to start finding my own fall style and playing with my wardrobe.  Until then, here's some eye candy!

As a huge fan of Design Love Fest's Dress Your Tech series, this is wonderful news!

Chocolate pudding.  Need I say more?


Here's to a lovely weekend full of relaxation and rejuvenation!  I'll be cleaning the house, watching New Girl, and preparing for fall (and by that, I mean breaking out my assorted garland and having my first pumpkin ale of the year). Cheers!

late night pep talk

This Labor Day Weekend was not one of my finest, for a handful of reasons (things really do all come crashing down at once; how cruel is that?).  Everything felt like it was falling apart, and even the things that felt like they were about to build up started to crumble shortly after.  One would say that I learned a lot of "lessons" this past weekend.  Aren't lessons the worst?  But really they are the best, because they knock you down, they make you cry, they remind you how great baths are, and in the midst of learning and writing down notes onto your heart, they eventually help you become a stronger version of yourself.  They remind you that you have homework.  The hard kind.  The kind you have to assign to yourself, and make yourself do.

My first piece of advice: Take a bath. Soak in all your misery and/or confusion about life and its curve balls and how you don't even really know exactly what a curve ball is in baseball. I mean, you can guess.  But you don't really know.  Then shower it all off.

My second piece of advice: Talk to a best friend face-to-face, wherever she/he is. YAY INTERNET! Tell them everything, down to your bath history.  Laugh about crying, talk about important things like sunglasses. Remember how lucky you are to have even one kindred spirit in your lifetime. Know that there are probably more out there, and once they're all done binge-watching 30 Rock and New Girl too, they'll find you. You'll make crafts and rejoice (or whatever).

My third piece of advice: Feel overwhelmed by your goals.  That means they're good. Know that every move you make professionally will lead you to them.  Some might be detours.  Some might be short cuts, if you're lucky. Some might make you disappointed, confused, or both.  Trust that it will all work out.

Sending my love and endless amounts of virtual cups of comforting tea to my fellow humans out there just trying to live the dream.  We'll get there!

wander: dreaming of nyc

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In about a month, Ted and I are heading to the Big Apple! I'm so thrilled because my wanderlust has been making me a bit antsy this summer.  I absolutely love being a total homebody, but traveling is something I believe in wholeheartedly, and it nourishes a part of me that everyday life simply can't (although I do love the opportunity to explore new neighborhoods to try to fulfill it as much as possible!).

Food and travel are #1 and #2 on my list of "Things I Will Shell Money Out For."  But of course, I also like to be prepared so I know exactly what to expect and build a budget for that still leaves room for those magical spontaneous moments too.

Of course I've turned to a few of my favorite New York bloggers (as well as a few of my favorite Gossip Girls, let's get real here) for the task at hand. I thought I'd share what I've found so far.  Please feel free to leave any of your own advice or resources!

How to Not Look Like a Tourist

10 Favorite Restaurants

10 Amazing Ways to Spend an Afternoon

Favorite Spots in Brooklyn

Tips + Tricks For Your Time in the City

Central Park Video Guide

Chelsea Video Guide

FALL IS COMING

YAAAAAAAAAY.

It's getting cold.  It rained today.  I don't overheat while drinking hot tea anymore.  

This is the real deal, folks.  The sun isn't playing its cruel game anymore.  It's preparing for hibernation, and I'm okay with that.  

I already know what I'm wearing on Thanksgiving, as hostess (with my mom's help)!

Crafty Christmas presents are in progress.

It's time to break out the blankets, people, and I could not be more thrilled.

sunday coffee dates // august

I'm the kind of person who likes to force traditions upon my loved ones. Enter, Sunday Coffee Dates.  Every Sunday, I work later than usual, so I convinced Ted that it would be best that we don't sleep in as much as possible (I know, very unlike me, right?) and have a morning coffee date instead.  Cafes are my #1 weakness when it comes to spending, so I thought it would be a good way to have something to look forward to each week without going to cafes throughout the week. It's been absolutely lovely.  Here are my humble opinions of our cafe visits this month.

Jola Cafe // 5915 SW Corbett Ave
Jola is short for John's Landing, which is where this airy, bright, and lowkey cafe is nestled.  One of the boutiques I work at is a few blocks away, so this is my cafe of choice for lunch breaks. It's also a great place to study, which is what Ted does a LOT these days preparing for the LSAT. Plus the food is deeeeelicious.  Try the Country Breakfast Burrito. Trust us.

Ken's Artisan Bakery // 338 NW 21st Ave
I went here my freshman year of college. I remember it well, and yet I remember it much differently than reality. It seemed to be in a far away, foreign place then, when my world usually stretched as far as the pio stop would take me. Little did I know that I would meet Ted, who would introduce me to nearby NW 23rd on our first day out together. And now we LIVE here! Life is funny.  Back to coffee dates--We walked here on our second date and waited in line to order our coffee and pastries. We both got a spinach and cheese pastry. I got a latte. Both were delicious, but I would say pastries hold bigger part of my heart for obvious reasons. It was a sunny day, so that huge glass window/wall was open and perfect for people-watching. Not that we had to look further than our own communal table, where an adorable old man in a black beret sat with his croissant and tea. We will definitely be back, but probably not for a working date (aka Ted studies for LSAT while I study Pinterest). The bakery vibe was just a little too bustling for much more than a short and sweet breakfast.

Nossa Familia // 811 NW 13th Ave
This tiny cafe is home to the best mocha (shown above in photo) I've ever tasted. We both got one, and loved it. I mean, you can't argue with espresso whipped cream. You just can't. They also carry Bowery bagels, which is my second favorite bagel in town (and Dragonfly chai, which is my favorite, although I didn't try one there). The location is walking distance from Jamison Park, where you can spot kiddos and dogs playing in the water features on a warm day. It's a small cafe, so it's definitely a "grab and go" kind of place.

Spielman's Bagels + Coffee // 2200 NE Broadway St
BEST BAGELS IN PDX. I literally felt super annoyed for a solid hour after hearing two people talk about how they didn't like Spielman's because whaaaaat are they even talking about?!?! This place was recommended to Ted and I by a coworker of mine (who quit shortly after--thank you universe for sending her to us for a short time to relay her bagel message). They have since opened another location on Broadway which is conveniently  located a block from one of the shops I work at.  The owner is the sweetest old man, and his bagels are something to Instagram home about. The coffee is great too!

Costello's Travel Cafe // 2222 NE Broadway St
This one is another tried and true coffee/lunch spot for me, because it's close to one of the shops I work at. This past Sunday I took Ted here and we got drinks (coffee for him, chai for me--whatta surprise) and split one of their breakfast sandwiches, which was just as delicious as their lunch sandwiches (my fave is the Barcelona--YUM), and a peach/berry scone that was OUTTA THIS WORLD. The coolest thing about Costello's though, is that it's travel-themed.  This makes it hands-down my favorite cafe to escape to. There are two TVs which plays footage from cities around the world (filmed by the Costellos themselves!) and you get a little flag for your table after you order in line. Ted and I got the Union Jack this time, which was perfect.