August 29, 2014

The Summer List 2014: Complete

I have mixed emotions over announcing that The Summer List for 2014 is complete. While it is quite exciting that we completed everything that I had planned on doing this Summer, it's still sad to think about the fact that Summer is technically over -- maybe according to the calendar, but not so for the weather. 



I am also pleased to announce that we actually did a few of the things on the list several times, and we added even more to the list, too! Little Boy has fallen in love with going to the library, and we enjoyed going swimming a few times at some of the local outdoor pools -- we save those for the really hot days.



August 22, 2014

Listen, Look, Love: August

Listen

You would not believe how excited I was to find out that the Madden brothers are back at it. I was a fan of Good Charlotte back in my high school days, and I was wondering where they were at. I heard this song on the radio last weekend, and instantly loved it. It's got a 1960's and 70's vibe to it, and reminds me of something from The Mamas & The Papas or Aquarius (Let the Sunshine In).



Look

I have been looking for hairstyles to wear with a simple yet elegant dress that I chose for a wedding this weekend. The collar of the dress tells me that I should have my hair up, but I want something that is really understated. I'm liking the look of this hairstyle. It's exactly what I've been picturing in my head.



Love

I just recently purchased this map of the world for my son's bedroom. I really, really love this map because UP was one of the very first Disney movies that we showed him, and this is one of my favourite quotes from the movie. I hope he will grow up believing this.





August 20, 2014

DIY: Handmade Wedding Wrapping Paper

My husband and I have a very important wedding to go to this weekend, and to make the wedding gift just a little more special I wrote song lyrics all over it -- including from the couple's first dance song. I practiced how to write each of the lyrics in my sketchbook first to make sure they looked the way I wanted, and then I wrote them on a piece of kraft paper that I had already cut to the correct size.



Then I wrapped up the gift and tied a couple of different kinds of cord around it -- I love having a drawer full of random, varying lengths of cord for this reason -- and finished it off with a shipping tag that I stamped with a flower. Simplicity is the key.



August 18, 2014

Instagram: Life Lately

We have had a lot of fun going to the library this summer. I have been getting new books out, according to our theme, to read to the children at work, and Little Boy likes to pick out some to bring home as well.

I started taking the Creating You Business Core class from The Dream Job Shop a little under a month ago, and I just finished watching the last video this weekend. I absolutely loved the class, and I'll go a little more in depth about it in another blog post.



We have been doing some mini golfing with Little Boy this summer. He really enjoys it, and has become really good a guiding the ball into the cup :)

I have been slowly collecting items for a photo booth for my brother-in-law's wedding this coming weekend. I had a little bit of fun trying on some of the pieces last week.

Last week I announced that $1 from every purchase of the little art print of Ivan would be donated to the local SPCA that we adopted him from. This will be an ongoing thing, and I can't wait to send money their way.

Because of the support that Little Shop of ElleSee will be giving to the SPCA, we were invited out for a special tour to visit all of the animals. I was relieved to find out that it has been a very long time since any animals have been euthanised as that is always a concern of mine. Little Boy fell in love with all of the cats, especially the little kitten.



If you missed out on hearing about the announcement about the art print first, make sure you don't miss out on any more information by signing up for the shop newsletter - here.

August 16, 2014

For the Better Good: On Becoming Environmentally and EthicallyResponsible

I feel so disconnected with the world. It's easy not to think about where your clothing and other items that you use on a daily basis come from, or how they are made when you feel a disconnect with the world. It wasn't until I read an article called "Green Dreams" in the December 2012 issue of Vogue that I really started to seriously think about what I wear and what I use in my house. The article is about Livia Firth -- Colin Firth's wife -- and discusses how she's trying to create more "environmentally friendly and ethical working practices in the clothing industry" through the Green Carpet Challenge and "changing attitudes and practices within companies."

What really captured my attention in the article is where she talks about something called "fast fashion", and how "[w]omen are lead to believe that it's their right to buy a T-shirt for $5." She goes on to say "Do those women know who made that T-shirt?...[Y]ou don't want to wear that T-shirt after you've seen factories with no windows, no fire exits, people crammed in...They get one bathroom break a day. It's slave conditions."

And that's what got me. I don't want to be that woman wearing a $5 T-shirt made by someone that gets one bathroom break a day. My bladder would explode in those kind of conditions...and that's where the disconnect comes in. I had to decide if I was going to keep buying a $5 T-shirt simply because I could, or because I didn't want to think about who made it...or I didn't care. I went online to do some research on brands and which ones are environmentally friendly and made in an ethical way, but it was really difficult to find out until I discovered a website called Good Guide.


 My findings at a local shop that sells items that are environmentally and socially responsible.

Good Guide was founded by Dara O'Rourke in 2007. She is a professor of environmental and labor policy at the University of California at Berkeley. According to their website, the purpose of Good Guide is "to provide authoritative information about the health, environmental and social performance of products and companies." It has shown me companies outside the fashion houses mentioned in the pages of Vogue that are environmentally and ethically responsible that fit within my budget. Of course, I'm continually doing research to find other businesses as well, but Good Guide was a good starting point. It made me realise that companies I thought were environmentally friendly really aren't as friendly as I thought, and I've taken that into account during recent purchases.

I'm not here to preach, but to let you know that I'm starting small and that I really want to be more aware of where the items that I purchase for myself and my family are actually coming from -- and who is making them. I no longer want to be a slave to companies that make their employees work in slave conditions. I want to become more connected with the world. 



August 13, 2014

Shop Announcement: Help Support Local Animal Shelter

This little art print is an important one to me. Not only is it one of the first art prints of the little art prints that I listed in the shop and my shop logo, but it is of my little dog that my husband and I rescued from our local SPCA almost nine years ago. What made this print even more special was that during Flock & Gather this year a lot of people purchased this print because it reminded them of their own dog, and that really touched my heart.



When I sent out my very first shop newsletter on Monday -- you can sign up for it here -- I announced that from today forward I will be donating $1 from every purchase of this art print to the same shelter that my husband and I adopted our little pup, Ivan, from so many years ago.

If you aren't looking for a new piece of art in your life, it would mean so much to me -- and Ivan -- if you would take the time to donate some time, money, or items such as food and cat litter to your own local animal shelter. Every little bit helps!





August 11, 2014

Of the Shop: Pro-Active vs. Reactive


source

When I first opened my shop, I did not have sound policies in place. It didn't take long before I realised that it was important to have shop policies to inform customers of how the shop is run, and some expectations that I had for them as customers. But even after the policies were made available to my customers, I still had inquiries about shipping times, etc.

That's when I asked another business owner that I admire if she had any advice so that I wouldn't get as many questions from customers about how long it would take for their items to reach them. She told me that I had two options: I could be pro-active, or I could be reactive. 

To be pro-active she told me to write the estimated shipping times in the product listings and the shop announcement. That way I would be informing all potential customers of how long to expect to wait for their purchase to arrive, and then she told me the way to be reactive would be to include the shipping times in the message that is sent out to my customers in the form of an email after they buy something from the shop. That way they get the information upon being informed about the transaction that they just took part in. She said that the only tricky part about being reactive is that if customers don't read this email then they will probably contact me to ask about shipping times anyway.

I voted to be pro-active, and I think that is a good way to go about doing business. Providing all of the necessary information for my customers -- the frequently asked questions, if you will -- so that they are fully informed before they make a purchase is one of the best ways for me to run my shop, and it is also how I go about being a customer myself. I pay a lot of attention to the information that the shops that I purchase from provide enough information for me to make an informed purchase. 

Being pro-active is just better all around in every aspect of your life, isn't it?


August 08, 2014

Hawaii: My Collection of Seashells



If you remember, I shared some of my experiences in Hawaii to celebrate my 30th birthday here and here, and I also talked about what I learned from the ocean. One of the things that I learned is what the ocean gives, it quickly takes away. I experienced this as I was trying to capture seashells before they were taken back into the ocean by the returning wave. 

Above are the seashells that I managed to take from the ocean, and I am so excited to share them with you. I have always been fascinated by sea shells and the different forms that they come in. The top three rows were collected on the South Shore of Oahu at Waikiki Beach, and the bottom row was gathered at the North Shore of Oahu at Waimea Bay. 

What I love most about these shells is how different the two collections are: from the South Shore most of the shells are round and large, and from the North Shore the shells are small and flat. I also like how worn some of the shells are -- like they have been waiting in the ocean for me to scoop them up.



August 06, 2014

What I Wore: The Romper

I was looking all over the place for a romper that was fun and suited me well when I found this little number from the lable Rosey Burg. I tried it on because it felt like nothing I would ever wear and I was trying to be adventurous, and it turned out that I fell in love with it! It is such a beautiful pattern, and I feel sophisticated and edgy while wearing it -- which is exactly what I'm trying to feel like as I build my 30-year-old wardrobe.





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