Friday, June 23, 2017

Our Tour of Cassadaga, Florida: The Peaceful Spiritualist Camp of the South


Cassadaga Florida is a 122 community of spiritualists and spiritual-minded people. The town is full of mediums, tarot readers, mediums-in-training, and other reiki and esoteric healing practitioners. We finally made it down a couple of weeks ago and it didn't disappoint!

On this visit we went down for the city tour and learned some history and insider information on the tiny city/community (it contains only 55 residences!) Their main book and gift store was beautiful and filled with too many healing decks, gemstones, and herbal goods I'd like to try.

Of course there were many areas for meditation and relaxation. All with retro 60s-70s hand painted signs, I loved those!

I just knew the city would have good vibrations, but wow, I wasn't expecting the peace and quiet of this place. Because of its age it was like going back in time to an old Florida city. Just look at this silent uncluttered street! My shop and apartment are in busy, loud areas so I appreciated that calm and silence.

I liked how this old house had curtains and big gold buddha statue.

And this gorgeous memorial.

Another memorial from a story of a girl who said she was visited by spirits. This was carved with a chainsaw by a talented resident.

And I had to throw in this old unoccupied house...with asbestos siding! Aaah!

The mediums and healers had their own unique signs. There are also TONS of classes and activities going on all the time! There's something practically every day.

The sign by their large park, lake, and relaxing gazebo. Lots of peaceful places to sit here. I wish I could have a week to chill under those trees to chill, read, and write in my notebook.

This is their spiritualist temple where they host a mass of sorts and do prayers and healing.

It's rather conventional inside with historical items behind class for visitors and framed pictures of famous people in the movement. There's a lot of famous spiritualists, who knew? Cassadaga is also where I learned the my lifetime favorite flower, the sunflower, is the universal symbol for spiritualists and spiritualism. It's used liberally throughout Cassadaga.

Curious and curiouser, let's see how deep this rabbit hole goes! We were taken to a tiny room on the right side of the church.

Open a door in the little room and that's where seances are performed! I'll skip that one, thank you, I didn't even walk inside. Even if it was allowed, there's some risks I won't take for now. No bad luck spirits following me around please, life is hard enough as it is! >:D

There are a couple more little physic shops, the nice ladies at this one invited my business back to sell natural goodies at their Fairy Faire!

When we do go back for it we'll stay at the "haunted" Cassadaga Hotel and do some other activities.

I'll take some classes and enjoy some peace while there, too!

My mom got a tarot reading at this spot and was very impressed with the reader's use of a plain deck of cards, which was the way her mom used to do tarot readings. She felt like it was very accurate. He even said something about my business looking up for August which according to our data reflects reality. Whether coincidence or not, these are always fun novelties. :)

You gotta love the street names! I'm actually taking my neice and mom back tonight for their butterfly release after I finish some work at the store. If you're ever in Florida and love new age healing, spiritualism, peaceful history or just novelty and kitsch definitely check out Cassadaga! 
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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Thrift Finds 2017: Mid Century and Groovy 60s-70s Furniture and New Age Accessories

Like a former alcoholic has to stay away from the bars, I still don't do a lot of thrifting these days. It's too easy to impulse buy or think "I can sell this!" - former reseller woes! Yet I do want to ease my way back in to 2nd hand shopping. I'm at the point where we actually do need a few things to wear and use at home and our store! Here are some awesome scores that stuck to my core needs/wish list from the first half of the year!

Mid Century Modern hutch? Credenza?

This one was a total impulse I picked up right when we were painting and settling into our store. I thought it would make a nice check out desk but once we got it upstairs into our apartment is stayed there! I use it to hold books and craft supplies and thought the top part would make a nice bar when we have gatherings.

Wicker Chair

I found this light wicker chair at a yard sale. I use it behind my desk at the shop and my counselor friend that rents our store's second room (pictured above) uses it for her appointments. Dream score, I've been wanting one for years. I grew up with a couple of these with maroon and sky blue pillows, haha.

Coffee Table

This little coffee table was at the same yard sale. I believe it's handmade? Again I enjoyed the small size, perfect to add homeyness to our shop's class / creation space. I paid under $10 for both! I liked how they were so small and light that the fit in my compact car easily. I move furniture a lot so small pieces appeal to me.

1960s-70s Zodiac Crystal Ball

I paid more for this one 2nd hand than I normally would but it was such a neat piece. Perfect for someone who keeps going down the esoteric rabbit hole. It makes a fun photo or market prop. I didn't realize until I turned the store lights out, but it glows in the dark, too!

I'm totally willing to sell this one for the right price if anyone HAS to have it. If not if I take Tarot reading on the road with us and our natural body care goods, it would be the perfect thing to have on my table ;)

Orange Shag Rug

The shining fibers of this rug are so beautiful in-person, it's hard to capture on camera. There's a mix of colors giving it a neat multi-faceted affect, you move them and they shine like goldfish scales in the light. I bought this one from my friend Lia and we love sitting on it in the shop's 2nd room. I wanted it to live at home but my cat WILL destroy it, guaranteed. Anyway, it's nice to have something luxurious and textured in the room. It's the "high" to the rest of the room's "low" and just makes it so cozy.

I also found some miscellaneous bags and accessories I thought I was going to sell but I'm going  to donate them. I would go back and forth on turning my store's second room into a vintage clothing and accessories section but I MUST focus on selling one solid successful business so I can just have time to explore and live! No more vintage selling for now, dammit! Unless it's something extra unique and beautiful to keep and use. :) I also did some shopping for vintage clothing which I wanted to collect because fast-fashion falls apart instantly and I hate it, and ironically, the pretty 70s top I had unraveled completely upon first wear. Come on vintage, you're supposed to be worth investing in!

Have you been second-hand shopping lately? What's on your wish list? I'm always on the look out for high quality clothing, rugs, mod furniture (right now I particularly need lots of shelves/bookshelves) and unique display pieces & planters.
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Thursday, June 1, 2017

May Business Review: Abundance is Here. A Busy, Stressful, but Beautiful Month.

Looking back at May Business as a whole all I can think the hell can something go by so fast and "so little" get done? Though that's not true. At all! Ever since opening our store I've been battling internal doubts and anxieties. Hence my need for looking back with gratitude post.  But as Hena said in the comments, that is easier said than done! I keep falling out of it. That's why these month look-backs can be so good for my spirit, it may seem like I'm not doing enough to my perfectionist-brain but we're actually accomplishing a lot. To get back into gratitude-listing I'll look back on the month in that style:

My reading from this morning. Abundance in three realms! Exciting!

This May, I'm grateful that we:

1) Hosted a hugely successful charity event on behalf of Yoga for Change
2) Got accepted to a big-time local art market in our neighborhood
3)  Finally buckled down and finished new PR materials to get us into said market
4)  Did well at five local events (seemed like so few compared to previously jam-packed schedules)
5) Got more caught-up on merchandise production (still more to go!)
6) Are closer to being done with inventory & the other boring-but-necessary bureaucratic stuff
7) Have abundance, we're putting away more capital & clearly growing!
8) That I finally streamlined the type of layout I've been wanting for outdoor market tent
9) Even have a shop and a brand where we call all the shots, it's not easy, we're still growing, but it 1000% beats answering to anyone else. Having control is such a pleasure!

My view from my desk at the shop where I'm usually working.

Most importantly: I know I have ALL THE INTERESTS (too many, so many) but I can focus on just growing ONE successful business and stop trying to divide myself all over the place. Do I get ideas, distractions, and temptations from this business path? Yes! But it's vastly improved.

Looking back at this month's events and markets. Top row Vagabond Flea. Bottom left: Mother's Day sale at the store Bottom Right: Yoga for Change Event 

On the personal side I've fallen back into cooking for pleasure again as was my original resolution for this year and I've cut caffeine out of my diet again, my adrenals and skin thank me. Caffeine can also makes you anxious and I don't need any more help with that!

This June I will:

1) Continue to cut the unimportant stuff so I can...
2) Have lots of free leisure time without working, reading, exploring and learning, without guilt!
3) Knock out ALL the tasks on my white board
4) Finish putting procedures in place for accuracy that reduces anxiety & gives us free time.

And really it's awesome that we're having to put procedures in place, growth always requires some of that! And right now being a little more caught-up on business things it's nice to be able to sit and write here and not be in scramble-mode. I can't wait to have more time here to write and be creative the for the rest of the year! It's been sorely missed, but I had to cut one thing for my sanity!

This June I'm looking forward to lots of explorations and time outdoors AND enjoying the indoor times reading and crafting and enjoying tea while the summer storms roll through! That all sounds too amazing!

How has business and life been for you in May? Are you ready for June? In the U.S (and maybe worldwide) Summer can be the slow months for retail, it gets nuclear-reactor-surface-of-the-sun uncomfortably humid and hot here in Florida so that contributes to the slowdown int he southern states. This is the time to ramp up and be prepared for the busy retail months of fall, winter, and (ah!) Christmas!

For biz updates I post regularly on Instagram with a personal one here.
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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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