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100 Things About Us

When I wrote this list in 2014-- we were into year 2 of our marriage. I'm excited to finally be compiling a 100 list of things about us for 2016... because, well, a lot has changed. I'd say 75% of this list is still accurate though! 

1.We are at Starbucks right now, which is rare, because we are local-only-coffee-shop-goers. 

2. I'm drinking a vanilla latte. But I LOVE Lavender Lattes. 

3.I have 24 stars to go till Gold Level. That's a lot of stars. And a lot of coffee. There will be no gold level. 

4. I'm sweating caffeine just thinking about trying to drink that much coffee.

5. Design Jamboree is so named because I love to Design and I think it's a lot of fun--- almost like a celebration, a Jamboree. 

6. The dream of having a website and a small business wouldn't be possible without Brett's encouragement. 

7. I read an article this morning written by a European lady who was baffled by college students in America who wear Chacos all the time--- she considered them ugly.

8. I own and love my pair of beautiful Chacos... 

9. My Pandora is usually set to Kacey Musgrave, Edith Piaf, or Justin Bieber. Ya know, the usual.

10. Why isn't eggnog a year round drink? Can we vote for it to be?

11. The hardest conversation I ever had with Brett, was when I confessed to him that I thought he needed to wash his hair more.

12. He laughed when I told him and took it like a champ.

13. He also washes his hair more often these days. PTL.

14. I've traveled to Brazil, Nepal, The Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, and California (it's its own country believe me).

15. Every time I meet a "Stacie" I ask her what her middle name is and 99.9% of the time, her middle name is "Lynne" too, just spelled differently.

16. My sister lives in Amsterdam.

17. My brother and sister-in-law live in London.

18. Brett lives with me, in Lubbock. Go figure.

19. Brett wears his wedding band on his right hand cause it's too big for his left.

20. Brett's extended family gathers for Thanksgiving every year. Which really means, Brett's extended family makes lots of authentic southern comfort food I get to eat too much of every year.

21. Brett's been to 11 countries. My boo he so culturrrred.

22. He also knows two ancient languages. That's two more than I know.

23. Brett is the ancient literature scholar equivalent to Einstein.

24. He listens to The Piano Film Score Pandora station too...which makes me think we should get a Steinway.

25. Brett was in a band called A September Renaissance when he was in high school. I tried to listen to their album once. I think he moved on to better things. 

26. Brett also wears Chacos. Like a boss.

27. Brett's Chaco's smell horrific though.

28. Brett enjoys playing ultimate frisbee.

29. I enjoy throwing the frisbee... for funnzies... with zero ultimate competitive components.

30. Brett has a goal to ride every major metro system in the world.

31. I have a goal to get coffee with Jimmy Fallon one day.

32. Brett lost a cap to his tooth once.

33. He never replaced that cap, but he's one of the most responsive people I know.

34. One of my professors once explained to my class the importance of remembering because all too often we forget the beautiful things about this life. One of the last things she ever wrote to me before I graduated communicated love so strongly to me, "I will remember you."

35. Brett's two favorite alcoholic beverages are Young's Double Chocolate Stout (it's like a chocolate milkshake for beer lovers) and Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout.

36. When I pray I experience an unexplainable hope and peace.

37. I asked for Caso in California one time and the server brought out a plate with a small pile of melted cheese on it. That's the day I realized what TexMex really is and what California Caso wasn't.

38. Next to Chacos, I believe Birkenstocks are the shoes of tomorrow.

39. Elizabethtown is my favorite movie.

40. I don't think Orlando Bloom was really all that great in Elizabethtown, but Kirsten Dunst was stellar.

41. I saw Kirsten Dunst once at Santa Monica Beach, but didn't realize it was her until my chance to say "Hi" had passed. DANGIT.

42. About Time is one of the best romantic movies I've seen in awhile. I secretly think Brett goes into small spaces to change time because he lives an awkward life. 

43. Did you know there's an old school movie called "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" with Danny Kay?

44. Me neither.

45. I wonder what weddings would do without Pinterest these days?

46. Books I think everyone should read in their lifetime are: I Married Adventure by Luci Swindoll and  the entirety  of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

47. One of my biggest fears is getting walked in on by accident in a public restroom.

48. I crave vulnerability but it can be hard to go knock on my neighbors door and ask them to come over for coffee. 

49. When I look at you, I visually see your name in 3D written across your body... because I'm a visual learner.

50. Words can be life and death for me. Mainly life.

51. I used to go on ski trips with my church in high school every winter. I hated skiing so I just went for the Colorado coffee shops and snow ball fights. Have you caught on yet that coffee shops are the total shiz to me?

52. I met Tony Hawk on one of those ski trips.

53. I have a really great Ryan Gosling story. Ask me about it.

54. Modern Family is where it's at.

55. So is Downton Abbey.

56. And Sherlock.

57. I used to watch The Bachelor in my Hall Director's apartment every Monday night two years ago... he made a bracket for it, just like basketball. I don't think anybody's bracket got very far BECAUSE REALITY TV RUINS ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS.

58. Ironically, I think it would be fun to be on a reality show... probably Fear Factor. Oh wait, that's not on anymore? Phew....

59. Brett loves making stuffed french toast with cream cheese sauce and fruit.

60. I love eating his stuffed french toast with cream cheese sauce and fruit.

61. I keep UNO cards in my purse just in case I need to have emergency fun.

62. I played Captain Hook in Peter Pan once...

63. They made me chop off my hand to wear my Captain's hook.

64. I liked how the hook looked, so I just left it there.

65. Writing a blog has been such a beautiful challenge.... while wearing a hook.

66. I will probably die from eating too much movie theatre popcorn or too much cheese.

67. I don't really have a hook. I have two hands.

68. The first time I ever had a pedicure for prom I kicked the pedicure lady in the face on accident because whatever she was doing tickled A LOT.

69. I know how to operate theme park attractions (aka roller coasters).

70. That really just means I know how to press a green light and give a thumbs up.

71. Our friends Matt and Kelsey came over to watch The Sound of Music Live with Carrie Underwood and we decided her name should be changed to "Carrie NUNderwood."

72. I believe it is wise and good to reflect on life in order to make change, grow, and move forward.

73. JK Rowling's Harvard commencement speech changed my life AND made me cry AND inspired me to fail well in life. TED TALK IT NOW.

74. Yesterday I was hanging out with one of my bosses, Eugene, and he said something I really liked. It went something like, "When you lose, make sure you don't lose the lesson." As in, you WILL fail, but positive learning and growth is produced from failure.

75. I really enjoy interior decorating and fashion and sometimes wish I would have pursued those things.

76. I sometimes still think about pursuing interior decorating and fashion. Who needs one calling? I'll take a million different callings.

77. When I started dating Brett he really taught me how to love-not-judge people just by how he lived his life.

78. My sophomore year of college my brother flew out to California and took a two day road trip with me up the Pacific Coastal Highway. That's one of my favorite memories with him.

79. I am grateful my husband shows emotion in front of me. I love that his tears usually fall when he hurts for me or is talking about how much he loves me.

80. Shoooo

81. Whapppp

82. Bahhh

83. Doooooo

84. Beeeee

85. Doooooo

86. I am grateful for the sheer amount of adventures I've been given the opportunity to go on in my lifetime.

87. I usually start my mornings off journaling and reading because it gives me time to decide who I want to be that day.

88. Sometimes I wonder if I would have the same personality, character, and interests if I were born 300 years ago. Have you ever thought that?

89. My parents fell in love in Mexico at a point in in their lives when they least expected it.

90. Last year I took a Biblical Counseling course and it completely rocked my world and how I interact with others. 

91. I started my business two years ago and went full time this year. 

92. I secretly hated overnight church lock-ins or sleepovers because I really just love a good nights sleep.

93. I am sometimes still scared when I flush the toilet that toilet will somehow, in a Space Jam sort of way, suck me down into the pipes.

94. One of my favorite memories was watching my Grandma get married after my Grandpa died to a nice 80 year old guy named Al.

95. My friend Julia taught me my sewing machine is my friend, not my enemy, no matter how angry it makes me sometimes.

96. Mindy, Amy, and Tina are all crazy. But they're all crazy winners in my book. 

97. Shit happens. 

98. No game makes me LOL better than Quelf.

99. Have I mentioned I absolutely hated one direction unil last year when I binge watched all their auditions and music videos and now I'm a Belieber. I mean, I like One Direction 

100. Thank you, for being a part of the 100 posts and beautiful moments in my life. Thank you for loving and encouraging me by reading what I write about our lives. We are the Stines, and these are our ways.

 

***Wedding and Engagement Photos taken by Michaela Ramler Photography

All other photos taken by Stacie at Design Jamboree or her sexy husband, Brett. 

 

Step up your Instagram: For Bloggers + Business Owners (Part 2)

In case you missed Part 1 of this series, check it out here.

 Look, I can instagram because I know how to stand in my living room and take a self-timed picture of myself. #prostatus

3. "That's so not #Authentic" is so not in my vocabulary.

Two months ago, I feel like I finally found a groove and visual flow for my 'Gram---AFTER TRYING TO FIGURE IT OUT FOR SO LONG. It began to grow and I began to connect with some really cool people. My pictures began to showcase the artistic side of me, the side I'm discovering and cultivating on a day to day basis. The part of me that's been there all along-- I just wasn't showcasing my art, design, projects, and self the way the instagram world was excited to see it. And honestly when looking at my instagram, I wasn't really excited over my top 6 pictures either. Why would my target audience want to follow me if I didn't even think my feed was super great? 

 This week whites and neutrals were my base colors for my 'gram. You can tell it flows really well!

But Colorful walls, cute outfits, watercolor handwriting, and fresh flowers. Those are all things I love to show the world. They are all things that are truthfully consistent in my life. They are all things I enjoy curating pictures of--- and guess what? My pictures are all things my followers and future clients enjoy seeing. "Win Win" as Michael Scott would say. And "WIn" as Pam would say. 

Even with a visual flow, I hear the complaint (SO OFTEN) that pretty Instagram feeds don't actually reflect their owners' real life. It's not #liveauthentic. I hear ya. I love presenting myself authentically. But sometimes I have to treat myself as a business and market my instagram as a business. Once I came to terms with this idea, it really helped me make my instagram great.

Here's what I've found: Visually, you put down what you want to put down---  I agree, we all like a good dose of real life every now and then--- and I think I've found a good balance of (1) pretty pictures and (2) authenticity by what I write under the picture. 

When I focus on relating to my friends, clients, and future clients by being honest about life's joys and shits, I feel purpose behind my picture collection. I think it's not just important, but essential, to share how much fun I had at coffee with a friend, or how sad I am this season, or what I'm learning about growing my small business. I'm more focused on connecting and relating than outdoing others with my pretty feed, because that's how Stacie in real-life is. She's for others. She wants to connect and encourage them. She wants to relate in the beauty and the grime. 

4. I Host Shameless Photo Sessions with my Girl-fraaaans

Who doesn't like having a few cute pictures of themselves on their phone for a rainy day? Maybe one of your gal pals needs new head shots for a resume or an updated profile picture for her dating profile.

A phone photoshoot is a win for you and your friend. Most of the sessions I've had with friends are fun, laugh-filled, and full of good conversations in between takes. It's a good excuse to get some cute pictures of someone else--- a way to visually celebrate them.

I really appreciate taking pictures of my friends for how it impacts my followers. I've always had a heart for young women and the journey they find themselves on--- I aspire to be a role model to teenagers or girls in college, and I think one of the best ways to do that is by showing them I have and need community. Showing them the importance of celebrating the lives of my friends.

Recently I started doing a #meetmyfriends series and I've really enjoyed showcasing what I love about their characters, style, or dreams. This has been SO lifegiving for me especially since Instagram feels like a platform for comparison. This is my favorite way to rise above the shadow side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. The VERY HUGE importance of Hashtagging, Instagram Challenges, and Direct Message Etiquette

  • Holy Hashtag, Batman?! 

Researching hashtags is really key. I've really had to reach outside typical hashtags to connect with my followers. Y'all, it's SO worth taking the time to find hashtags that connect you with your followers or people who can relate to or enjoy your feed. 

Are you trying to reach a certain city? Culture? Club? How about Small Businesses or Brides? Type in a hashtag to see how many people are using it. If it's too popular, your picture might get lost in the flow. If it's not popular enough, your picture might never be seen. 

Here's a great example of hashtag culture: My friend Danielle just got involved in the "Currently Reading" culture on Instagram. I'd never heard of it, but there are a ton of 'Grammers out there who love sharing and discussing what they're reading with each other. They are connecting. They are celebrating books and their love to read. They use specific hashtags to do that. Go get 'em you book readers!

For my own business I could try searching the popularity of a hashtag--- Maybe other Lubbock Entrepreneurs are hashtagging themselves and I hope to connect with a few who need logo designs-- I start by hashtagging one of my logo designs with #lubbockentrepreneur. First, I could try researching #lubbockentrepreneurs to find out if that's a viable hashtag. Or even #texasentrepreneurs if I want to find a larger audience. There are endless possibilites, you just have to take the time to find them. :) 

  • Participate in Insta Challenges

Find a few insta-heroes you love and participate in their weekly challenges or brand hashtags. The best example I can give, although their Insta is SO popular it's difficult to be noticed, is Elise and Emma's A Beautiful Mess Instagram--- and all their brilliantly crafted hashtags #Abmtravelbug #abmstyle #abmlifeissweet. Participating in those hashtags has not only given me a network of fun creatives to follow, but they've also led other creatives to my instagram. Participating in those kinds of challenges or creating your own also leads to reposts and features on other people's instagrams-- getting featured on someone else's instagram is one of the best ways to gain more followers. It's best, etiquette-wise, not to ask via Direct Messages for features. There are certain instagrams made for features, go ahead and message them, but the best way to annoy those in your industry is to ask them to feature you. Don't do it. 

  • Direct Messaging

>> Clients DM me to work with me. That's what DM is for! 

>> If I ever DM someone else or one of my Insta-heroes, it's to ask them questions, thank them for their impact on my creativity, or ask for advice. No ulterior motives. Sometimes they graciously take time to reply. Sometimes they're too busy, and I don't blame them for not answering.

I DEFINITELY never ask anyone to feature me. I think it's important to network without asking for handouts. To me, asking someone for a feature on their instagram is like Michael Scott always thinking he needs a microphone in his hand when he's in public. He's the LAST person who needs a microphone in his hand. He embarrasses himself when he reaches for the mic. And you don't want to embarrass yourself in front of people you might collaborate with or work alongside one day, do you? Work hard on your 'gram and other people will begin asking you if they can feature you on THEIR instagram. Woo! Woo!

6. Bonus Step!

Have an Instagram Husband? Or an Insta Bestie/Roomie? Or maybe an Insta Stranger at the Coffee Shop Who Seemed Nice and not too Judgmental? Use all of them when they are available to take pictures of you. It'll become normal. After awhile you'll forget they're quietly judging you--- I mean, supporting your dream. Lord bless my husband for taking so many pictures of me or helping me with my photoshoots, but he could tell you now it's worth it because that's how I'm getting clients. I think that makes him BEYOND okay with my picture-nagging. 

Those are my tips for now! I'm sure in a few months I'll have learned a bajillion other tid-bits I'll want to share! Or maybe I'll look back and think these were puny tips in comparison to the even bigger ones I'm learning two years from now! Who knows!? 

I'd still love to hear your thoughts and ideas. What's working for you? What's not working for you? What instagram goals have you made for this year? How do you want to grow?

Step up your Instagram: For Bloggers and Small Business Owners (Part 1)

Are you wanting to connect with more genuinely interested followers on Instagram?

Me too. Always. 

In the past month, my Instagram has gained 100 followers after a year long stand-still. And it's still growing by about 3 followers a day. For some, 3 followers a day is puny, ridiculous, and not impressive.

For a girl who's wanting to connect, create, and make a live'n--- those numbers are gold!!! Half my sales and client network come from Instagram, so it's important to me that I'm learning how to continue to grow my following.

As a business owner, it can be easy to allow Instagram's shadow side to keep me from reaching out to future clients and followers---

What's the shadow side of Instagram? 

For me, it's scrolling through all the brilliant creatives feeds I follow with an ungrateful attitude for where I'm at with my business and life--- which leads to jealous comparisons; it can be a direct reminder of how many West Elm pieces I want but can't afford; it can lead to discouragement in numbers or progress, frustration with lack of funds, and even self-loathing. At times, it's made me question my own business or blog endeavors in all of the worst ways:

"They do what I do but they're so much better at it and make way more money-- how the heck?!"

"My collection will never look like theirs."

"Did that person just make fun of me in the comment section of my own picture?"

"Did that random person comment on my photo because they genuinely thought it was awesome or because they just want me to check out and follow their feed?"

Here's my refreshing and life-giving motto after 5 years of being on both the fun/authentic side and the phony/likes-for-follows side: 

Instagram is a joy when I make it my jam.

Girlfriend, I think we all know this ^^ by now. Make it a personal shindig and do it for you.

But I think we all need kind reminders and ideas for how to own it and make it ours.

That's why you're reading this. 

The secrets I'm going to share with you in this two part series are not necessarily to help you gain followers, although I think you will see results in that area if you follow these steps.

The secrets I'm sharing with you are the secrets to letting go, planning ahead, brainstorming your ideas, and implementing your dream feed in real life. 

Here are a few ways I've stepped up my Insta-JAM:

1. My Tripod and I? #Besties

This one really counts for fashion bloggers and creative-preneurs like myself who dabble in photography and design. I don't pay someone to show up at my front door every morning and take a picture of my outfit, because I don't get gussied up every day and I don't have that kind of moolah.

 I've learned to take my own pictures, in my backyard, living room, and elsewhere. And y'all, my tripod selfies look really good and have challenged me to get outside of my creative comfort zone when it comes to location!

I've had to teach myself to stop judging myself for taking pictures alone in front of a colorful wall across from the Wendy's drive-thru and a busy carwash where random people are in their cars watching me take crazy photos of myself. It's statistically proven that pictures of faces get some of the most likes on Instagram (i've found that to be SO true about my own feed) and I love getting dressed up or showing off my newest thrifted outfit. It's a fun part of my job and I think it's essential for my Instagram's growth.  

Afraid to try it? Every picture you see in this post was a picture of me jamming out to Kelsea Ballerini blasting over my speakers in my living room, while my camera's ten second timer was going off. Put on some music you can move to and you'll forget you had fears. 

2. I'm Gonna Plan. Plan. Plan. Till I Cain't Plan No Mo'

Ever felt like you have lots of good ideas, they just never happen because time got away from you?

Yeah, me too.

I stopped doing that. I stopped thinking and started doing [and started planning those stellar amazing photos you see to the left]. 

In my most direct and brutally honest tone ever, I'm telling you non-planners that if you want to see your instagram grow

---you need to plan.

Just. try. it. 

I'm really not a fabulous planner. Sometimes I don't follow through with my plans, but every week I write down a list of ideas I have for my instagram.

  • What fun photo ideas do I have?
  • Is there a girl I can call up to take pics of or with?
  • Do I have new products I need to feature?
  • Is there an inspirational quote I can write out to encourage others with?
  • Do I need to share some of the work I've been doing for clients so I can get more clients? (The answer is ALWAYS YES for that one)

Planning helps me keep my Instafeed spicy and interesting without having to stress over finding a picture to post every day. In all actuality, it saves me time (I usually have enough pics for 1-2 weeks worth of insta-posts after one session) and brings more intentional photos and color to my feed. 

Stay tuned for Part 2 Next week, we'll cover authenticity, hashtags, direct messages, and instagram challenges. 

 

 

Customer Service: Work'n Hard to Make a Live'n, Where I come from

Where I come frommmm, there's corn bread and chicken--- where I come froommmm. 

Sweet Alan Jackson making cornbread and chicken sound even more amazing than it already is. 

Do you southern gals remember the greatness of that song?! I remember line dancing to it in middle school--- at the skating rink! Go watch his youtube video just for inspiration, flashbacks, and giggles. 

Every time I post a picture on Instagram or finish a Photography session with a client I always find myself humming that song. Especially the part about "Work'n hard to make a live'n". Love it. 

Do you ever find it hard to love your client's well? To serve them or care for them even when they have a million seemingly ridiculous Photography expectations or unrealistic design fixes they need you to make?

I know I have felt my fair share of frustrations in the past. But I really believe those frustrations have lessened over time because 1) I've improved setting expectations with clients and overly communicating with them every little detail of how our interactions will go down, and 2) I've placed more value on their experience than my own. 

I love my clients. And I love working hard for them. Going the extra mile to make their design all that they dreamed up is what I'm about. I tell my Jamboree Clients to give me all the critical and minute feedback they can muster so we can make their dream logo or photography session exactly how they imagined it. 

Over the past few years, I've been about cultivating a cliental that comes back for all their design or photography needs--- because that's the kind of successful customer service I've learned the past 7 years in other fantastic organizations and institutions. 

The first job I ever had, found sweet little 18 year old me, operating roller coasters and cleaning up puke as a janitor at a Theme Park. 

I know, DREAMMYYY. 

I wasn't perfect at customer service then. I was frustrated by vacationers' negative attitudes and didn't know how to handle their complaints without responding somewhat apathetically and passively. I didn't fully understand what it was to positively and joyfully represent the company I worked for. But that company (Herschend Family Entertainment) had a phrase that has stuck with my customer service values ever since I worked there: I should be "Making Memories Worth Repeating" for my customer. 

I didn't love being a janitor then. It was a humbling job that taught me a lot about hard work and inner-motivation (and how to clean a bathroom SPARKLING CLEAN). I really loved being an RA and a Hall Director/Supervisor, but I didn't always love every situation I found myself in. But at the end of the day, I learned it really wasn't about me--- it was about my customer having as positive and fair of an experience as I could give them. And by the way, that DOES mean saying no to them at times. Trying everything in your power to say yes, but being willing to say no isn't always a bad thing. 

What makes my customer service stand out now, as an Entrepreneur, isn't my skill set or creativity, it's my ability to relate to and cheer on my customers. 

I'm relatable because I'm learning this business cray-cray-ness too and it can be a really challenging journey at times. But I get to be a cheerleader for all these awesome Ladypreneurs/Girl Bosses I design for or take pictures of. I always tells them that I wish I could sit down with them and grab a latte and hear all about their business, what they're learning, and how that work/life balance is going. I do my best to tell them what they're doing matters. 

So, because I love my clients, I HAVE been working hard for them and I thought I'd share with you some of the custom designs I've been working on for clients behind the scenes. It's been logos and invites for the win this past month! The heart wreath was originally an invite I made for a friend (she's one of those customers that keeps coming back for all her design needs), but she told me I could sell it as a print because LOOK AT IT. It's such a perfect V-day Print! 

Are you still trying to figure out where you stand with your clients? Do you ever find yourself frustrated with them? I'd love to know ways you handle your cliental and how you relate and connect with them! 

Stacie

P.S. If you're interested in my custom logos, invitations, or pre-designed logos&invites, hit up my Etsy Shop for all the goodies. 


Chilling without Netflix: Three Weeks in and I'm not Dead yet

If you receive my weekly newsletter you heard my big news. 

I’m a resolution and goal maker because I think it’s important when a season changes or a month passes for us to look back on our lives and ask if we are a better version of ourselves. Are we living wholly, holy, and fully? Are we cheating moments and our best selves? Have we lost sight on Him who is Highest. 

So I made a big resolution.

I decided to read more books than my sweet Brett this year. He’s more than an avid reader— he inhales a book or two before his morning coffee. And I, a mere mortal with big dreams and Revlon Eye-liner have decided to go up against him. 

So Netflix and Hulu have been turned off until May so I can work this book-reading competition like a Girl Boss. 

Three weeks in: As a creative entrepreneur it’s harder than you’d think to turn off those outlets. I broke down and watched the first episode of The Bachelor because- TWINS?! But then I reprimanded myself and looked up all the good secrets online. :)

BUT, I’ve enjoyed it so much as hard as it’s been. As a creative, it’s really easy to “Netflix and create”. Edit those pictures and Netflix. Create designs and Hulu. It fills time that can often be quiet or mundane, but I’ve found binging really KEEPS me from being productive or being in touch with myself. I’ve already been doing this for three weeks, and I’ve been more productive this month than maybe 3–4 months of 2015. Not just productive, but life feels slower, deeper, and more intentional.

But you’ll never hear me dis on Netflix or Hulu. I just don’t think the binging is for me. This Golden Era of TV has been incredible to watch. There are TV series' being made that are impactful, real, exposing of humanity, hilarious, and just, crazy beautiful. I am grateful for the characters I’ve fallen for or admired (there’s a post coming on how much I love Leslie Knope, soon)

I don’t think this post would be complete without me listing out every show I watched this past year, my eyes were HUGE when I finished making my list… I’m partly proud and partly ashamed— you can judge me however you desire. Please don't tell me you watched more shows than me, because then I'll judge you. Yup, I will. 

Shows I watched in 2015:

  • Downton Abbey- Season 5
  • Video Game High School- Season 1-3 (watched through twice)
  • Once Upon a Time (Seasons 1-5)
  • The Mindy Project (Seasons 1, 3, 4)
  • New Girl- (Season 4)
  • Modern Family- Season 6
  • Arrow- Seasons 2-4
  • The Flash- Seasons 1, 2
  • Kimmy Schmidt- Season 1
  • Chuck- Season 1(we usually watch all the Chuck Seasons every year because we are crazy fan girls)
  • Fixer Upper- Season 1
  • American Ninja Warrior- Season 6
  • Master of none- Season 1
  • Drop Dead Diva (Seasons 1-5 BUT I SHOULD HAVE STOPPED ON SEASON 2 WHAT WERE THE WRITERS OF THAT SHOW THINKING?! I deserve an award for sticking around that long)
  • Gilmore Girls -Seasons 1-7
  • Quantico- Season 1
  • iZombie- Season 1, 2
  • Parks and Rec- Seasons 1-7
  • Portlandia- Season 5
  • Arrested Development- Seasons 1-3 (Anyone else not able to make it through season 4? Like, mentally I just couldn’t do it)
  • Sherlock- Seasons 1-3
An Education: It's not about the $$

I never wanted to go to college. You've probably heard me say that before.

My parents pretty much told me I had to, filled out those college applications for me, and traveled me to 6 different universities so I could choose one. It was a toss up between a Florida college and a California college- and even though there was an Anthropologie a block away from the Florida Campus, I fell for that intoxicating California Dreaminess (that semi-disappears once you actually move there...BTW) and ended up graduating from an incredible university.

And I'm forever grateful my parents made me go.

But, I get it.

I had really caring parents and I come from a family who could afford to let me apply to lots of different places (with visits to each, except the one in Canada) and keep my options open (whether I wanted options or not). I realize there are some people in this world who desperately want to go to college but can't because of cultural restrictions, no financial backing, or other circumstances that prohibit them from going. I also realize there are tons of kids in the world who were like me--- they really couldn't see the point of college, moving away from home, or how college can positively impact their responsibility and leadership in this world. 

Nowadays, I consider it an HONOR to create graduation announcements for college kids (I make them for high schoolers too!), because getting a college degree can really be one of the hardest things people sign up to do. It's a social, mental, physical, and spiritual fight. It can be an uphill climb for those who don't feel like they EVER fit well in a classroom (I get that--- I NEVER felt like I was smart or had ANY business trying to take in information- I took the SAT then went to tutoring to re-take it because my scores were #hellasad, and I actually did worse the second time I took it). It can feel defeating to know the amount of loans you've accumulated. You can feel the tears when you have so much homework and work you don't know how to balance it all. It can even be the most trying, when you feel the weight of your previous identity in high school shifting into something new and you're not as familiar with yourself as you once thought you were.

All of those things- difficult, but sharpening. 

That's SO MUCH SO the reason I love creating these announcements. I am celebrating with my clients their newness. Their big sigh of relief. They've worked hard. They've fought both inward and outward battles and they are coming out the other side probably equally as frightened as when they stepped into their dorm room for the first time as freshmen... but they are forever changed and ready to embark on their next hero's journey. 

THAT'S a phenomenal reason to design graduation invites, don't you think?

Here are some of my favorite designs: