Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Daily Gratitude Reflections for Perspective and Clear-Minded Productivity (Journaling)

Oscar Wilde is quoted as saying: There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.

I don't know about you, but I live those words! In my experience, the "high" or happiness for each new experience and accomplishment is short-lived. No one plugs away at the daily tasks without problems. You will have strife whether you get what you've always wanted in life or not. No one is constantly ecstatically happy. Contentment takes effort. Daily gratitude reflection is an excellent way to work toward it.

When you're feeling constantly overwhelmed and unhappy sometimes reflection is needed.

Writing what you're grateful for daily helps you reflect on what you've accomplished rather than the never-ending to-dos in your life. When you just look at what you've yet to do, you can feel defeated. It's nice to change that up and look at your progress instead.

Writing what you're grateful for daily improves your mood and helps you look at your home and work environment with new eyes and a clear mind.

It's too easy to get wrapped up in all the things you WANT to do, feeling like what you've accomplished and the things we have aren't good enough. With social media we can too easily compare ourselves to everyone else instead of accepting where and who we are now with gratitude.

I dumped a bunch of gratitude in my notebook and feel refreshed and ready to work with improved perspective. I'm committing to writing things I'm grateful for every single day and if you're in the same currently-overwhelmed-by-life boat with me I highly recommend you join me!

What techniques or tricks do you use when life gets overwhelming to get back to center? This post + the gratitude journal reminder popped in my on a head-clearing neighborhood walk and I had to share it ASAP; just felt right! I hope you try it if you're having a tough time, too.
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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Renegade Craft Fair Miami Recap: Inspiring Artisans and Crafters from Around the U.S.

Renegade Craft Fair started in 2003 as a midpoint between a traditional art market and a craft fair. They filled the niche perfectly and like their name implies they were true renegades for it!

I've followed Renegade Craft Fair faithfully since I first started blogging while working full-time in Cubicle Land as a writer back around '08 and I remember that craft life looking like an unattainable dream. Fast-forward to a couple a months ago, a few months into shop ownership and years into indie business ownership, I saw they were starting a fair in Miami. I paid the non-refundable application fee feeling like I was paying for a rejection letter. Seeing the acceptance e-mail was jubilant! The attendance was slow (it was the first Renegade in Miami, growth takes time) but I was excited to be there with amazing crafters and indie business owners! Although I was mostly tethered to my booth out of necessity, I took photos and tried to chat with every single vendor! Let's look and get inspired!

First of all the Renegade Branding was gorgeous! Loved the colors and patterns, the textures of the curtains and signage were unique and the staff kept us all watered, kombucha'd (yes, free kombucha! it was delicious! for those familiar with kombucha's probiotic goodness, it kept us all very regular too, ha-ha!) and fueled with lots of free kind bars, too.

Check-in was so chill and easy! So appreciated!

They also gave all vendors enamel pins we could wear letting visitors know we're vendors, temporary tattoos, stickers, and posters!

The first day a DJ booth was set up under one of the Renegade Craft Fair tents, the second day there was a portable DJ Van! So Miami Beach, to have a colorful start-up like this, what a smart idea in that party climate, right!?

I'll state now that not being able to buy just one little thing from each vendor SUCKED! That's the only thing I miss about office life, I could easily support small business with those earnings! But now I have to put all earnings into our growing business! Anyway, this one of a couple of high quality card and print vendors across from us.

Renegade allows vendors to split a booth for savings. I LOVED our booth mates and enjoyed starting at their BEAUTIFUL notebooks and getting to know them the whole time we were there. We're on the right. Why do we have no branding? Funny story, that! To summarize (although there are NO excuses in biz and this is all my fault, it's still a funny story, learn from my **** ups!): we left our sign and tables, I had a constant-cough cold, we got stranded in Miami when both car axils broke and car repairs cost more than we earned. All that said, look back on it all fondly, wouldn't trade it for the world. Will never leave my signs again ;)

Look at their clean beautiful set-up and illustrations! Love it! They're a collective that met at at school, I'm glad they're doing so well "young" in their business and I can see why the craft fair organizers set us up together, definitely some similarities in our label designs.

It sucks we left our sign but we made the best of it and tried to keep our tables varied and attractive.

There were a couple of food courts where the event was hosted in the famed Mana Wynwood Art District of Miami.

This one was at the back of the event. The backdrop of graffiti gave me some deja-vu comforting I've-been-here-before vibes. It looks a lot like my neighborhood :)

I loved this coffee truck's sleek black and white branding, even the workers kept to the color scheme.

And next to that, woah, the biggest food truck I've ever seen with beautiful reclaimed wood on the exterior.

There were many unique jewelry sellers at the event, looking back at my photos they outnumbered the rest of us.

And they had some of the most beautiful set-ups I've ever seen. I loved how they were laid our ready to be admired and purchase don all those tables.

There was a little bit of everything to take in and enjoy at Renegade! We're signed up for Renegade Craft Fair at Brooklyn Expo Center (aaah!) and I'm grateful the Miami event was slower, smaller, and intimate so I could take it all in before the craziness we're expecting for NYC! I hope the beautiful displays inspired you, I'm contemplating visiting the rest via video, they're all just to interesting not to look back on!
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

April Business Review 2017: Living and Working Intensely for a Few Weeks. Worth it.

I live striving to improve from the last project, feeling euphoric only when I know I put my all into it. Anxiety strikes when I didn't do the best I possibly could. Perfectionist woes! The past two weeks I finally did it, I worked like a well-focused herbalist-machine and now I'm so spent from it all I can barely move. Worth it. I think. Ha!

April was a big month for us because it was the anniversary of our Earth Day Market which was one of our earliest successes, we made over $500 in sales at the last one! That, combined with a showing with World-Class crafters at Renegade Craft Fair in Miami (I really expected a rejection letter!) made me want to revise my work and put my best out there.

The goals: (1) unify each of our lines (2) get caught up on product (3) give each line new labels to the best of my ability within the limited time frame.

I worked almost up to my deadline and made at least 40 label designs, some from scratch, in two weeks! Along with a variety of products! OH, and I have to stick all of those suckers on dozens of products by hand, of course! (My mom and boyfriend granted me mercy and helped me out on the last day.) It was crazy! The event was a whirlwind, and I made it through with the satisfaction of having gone the distance. I feel like Rocky after surviving all those rounds against Creed. I am Batman! That Saturday after my event I slept 14 hours to replenish that spent creative energy!

The theme for April was to learn to laser-focus. I was letting myself go in too many directions and was neglecting the most important tasks. Now I know I need to say "no" to a lot of people and projects and protect my energy. I'm going to focus on three income sources related to Body&Soul and this blog. This month I realized maintaining an online store, local store, and doing frequent traveling pop-up shops is ENOUGH. I can't teach or do freelance client work on top of that. I let everything else go to just focus on a main passion project and that was so much better.

Quick photo of the shop I took for the back of our new post cards. I've been slowly remodeling in here. Posts to come, of course!

Not that it was all sunshine and roses. It was stressful and riddled with anxiety. I wanted labels to hurry up and get designed faster but some processes you just can't rush. I thought those label designs were NEVER going to END! But at the end of it all the accomplishment was worth it. This comic by The Oatmeal describes my feelings on living UNHAPPILY, but with extremely purpose, perfectly. I'm tapped into my growth zone and it's hard but exhilarating. I particularly related to these words:

I work.
I work for twelve hours a day.

I work until I can't think straight 
and I forget to feed myself and the
light outside dims to a tired glow.

When I do these things,
I am not smiling or beaming with joy.

In truth, when I do these things,
I'm often suffering.

But I do them because I find them 

I find them compelling.

I do these things because I want to be 
tormented and challenged and interested.

I want to build things, and then break them.

I want to be busy and beautiful 
and brimming with
ten-thousand moving parts.

I want to hurt, so that I can heal.

I'm not unhappy.
I'm just busy.
I'm interested.

And that's ok.

In my happy AND unhappy place. Working.

Another similar video I connected with every word of was this one on realizing what your true purpose in life is. I have a HUGE variety of interests but creativity is what unites all of them, and with my new goals I get to exercise all of my interests: indie business, writing, PR, marketing, sales, herbalism, product formulation, design, photography, website creation, crafting, I use it all in this shop. I feel excited and proud that I "went the distance" this month...

...But fun free time was definitely sacrificed. I know I'm not caught-up yet and I still have more crazy catch-up work ahead to get where I want to be. But I know when I'm there I can start living a bit more like The Fisherman. I'm looking forward to structuring my life with intense work and equally intense breaks! (Breaks with study and exploration, of course!)

Now I'm looking forward to some uninterrupted bursts of writing! And non-label related work! How goes life with you lately?
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