Maternity Shoot

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I don’t remember how I met Ashli but she’s the kind of person that brightens your life. I was so honored when she asked me to photograph her maternity shoot. Alex and Ashli have created such a gorgeous home here in Columbus and they’ll be welcoming their baby girl very soon!

But seriously…she’s glowing.

Spring Uniform

Spring Wardrobe

The weather forecast is looking promising: temps in the 50s and 60s for the next 10 days so I’m hoping that I can bust out my spring wardrobe soon! Last year I shared exactly how I pared down my wardrobe and as the weather started turning warmer, I realized that I pretty much got rid of everything in the purge.

Using the same methodology, I finally nailed down my warmer-weather-wardrobe vibe. Here it is:

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Colors: navy, white, grey, black, tan, light pink, grey. Prints: polka dots, stripes.

We are on a legit budget right now so I sold about $200 worth of my old clothing via Instagram to jump start my warmer weather wardrobe. I ended up using Everlane credit, traded services for clothes with a local boutique + intense online shopping session with ASOS’ sale section (you have to sort through A LOT of crop tops and boxy t-shirts to get what you want) to get a great base. I’ll round it all out next month for my birthday at the outlet mall.

I always aim for timeless, not trendy. It took a lot of willpower to not pick up some crazy printed dress or a kimono. It has also taken me awhile to discern what I’m seeing online (usually a 5′ 10″ model who wears an XS) but now I’m able to look for cuts and fabric that I personally love.

Where do you shop? How to approach shopping? What styles are you loving this season?

 

Meetings. How I Schedule + Prepare

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The last month has been one of refining processes, contracts and efficiency. We’re a two person team and have many projects happening simultaneously. One things we started to observe was the fact that we were constantly in meetings. Days would fly by and we’d have ZERO work to show for it. Meetings, when executed properly, can be very productive. When meetings are flippantly scheduled without pausing to reflect on a few things, they can lead to a very unproductive week and leave you feeling frustrated.

Here are a few guidelines I’ve executed as an owner, designer + sales person within my own business:

  1. Carve out certain days of the week to meet. I try to schedule all meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays (highlighted in yellow above). This doesn’t always happen but those are usually the days I list when I’m asked about my availability. Why those days? Monday mornings are reserved for a longer meeting with Adam and in the afternoon I have weekly reoccurring calls + a photoshoot. Wednesdays are always the busiest and Fridays are always more pleasant when I’m in control of my agenda.
  2. Prioritize your client meetings. This seems obvious but we found that dedicating two weeks of the month to non-client meetings allowed us to be more available and focused for our current clients. Meetings with potential clients, peers in or around our network, and random coffee dates are scheduled on the 1st and 3rd weeks of each month. Again, we still aim for Tuesday or Thursday.
  3. Set an agenda/itinerary. This is something that I’m still working on. It’s a bit easier when it’s a client because most of our client meetings have a purpose. Even so, we try to establish one topic per meeting and we try to set reoccurring meetings with clients who are on retainer. When we go into any meeting, I have a prepared list going over all of the topics I’d like covered. When you do this you’ll avoid the dreaded, “So what else do we need to go over?” after 20 minutes of small talk.
  4. Let people know how long you can meet. This is something I just decided to do but haven’t really implemented it yet. Lately we’ve found ourselves getting lost in conversation or spending too much time discussing a non-important topic. If I schedule a meeting at 3pm with someone on a Tuesday, I will tell them that I have an hour to meet. Simple as that. I don’t expect anyone that I meet with to keep track of that detail but it sets the tone and allows you to communicate that you can’t spend three hours chatting.
  5. Keep the location in mind and be intentional about it. There are many reasons why I love meeting in our new studio space. It’s comfortable, I don’t have to worry about listening to any other conversations besides my own, we spend less on coffee… the list could go on. BUT there are times when meeting at a coffee shop can keep things more brief. It’s like when you have people over. You have to wait until they’re ready to leave (or you have to start giving social cues that you’re ready to go to sleep). When I meet someone at a separate location, I can let them know that I have to get going or go back to work.

We’re still figuring this stuff out but I hope these tips can help someone else out there! Are you in control of your own schedule? How do you handle meetings? If you want to read more about how we’re trying to batch tasks, check out Adam’s post over here.

 

Partytime.

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The Wonder Jam turns 1 this May and we’re throwing a party in our new space! We’re working with an event planner here in Columbus and I created the moodboard/color scheme above! I’m not usually drawn toward super girly colors or styles. Even our townhouse isn’t too feminine (lots of wood, white, grey and large artwork).

I’m excited to see how it all comes together! Oh and happy April Fool’s Day! My favorite “minor” holiday. I love pranks!

Essentials: Daily

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I’m going to start a new “series” called Essentials here on Be Up & Doing. But it’s not going to be heavily influenced by affiliate marketing or sponsored in any way. You’ll be getting a list of things I honestly consider an essential (and get a little cranky when I don’t have access to them).  The first list will be a DAILY essentials list. Things I use every day (besides my computer and iPhone). Whether I’m in the office, traveling or working in bed…I must have them.

Daily Essentials

  1. After an extremely dry winter, I discovered that Aquaphor’s Lip Repair is the only thing that truly keeps my lips hydrated. It’s not glamorous and it’s like $4 a tube.
  2. Even if I only have 5 minutes to get ready, I utilize these three items: Cils Booster XL Mascara to add a ton of length to my short lashes (it’s a base so you apply mascara on top once it’s dry), Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind concealer for dark circles and Benefit’s BAD Gal mascara.
  3. Every night I take a Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil blend. I only trust Green Pastures. It’s a superfood for your skin.
  4. I always have some kind of Moleskine on me. I just filled a small AND a large one so I need to replenish. I also need to figure out a system to keep my Google calendar, notebooks, paper planner + digital note taking all synced up. More on that later.
  5. I’ve searched high and low for a really good grain-free snack for when I’m running around to different meetings and don’t want that nausea/hungry feeling. These Simple Square organic bars are amazing. Not too nutty, not too sweet. I ordered a huge box!

Honestly that’s about it. Essentials aren’t really supposed to be frivolous though…

Sin City. More like sleep city.

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I spent a few days in Vegas last week and while it might be a city that never sleeps…I pretty much squashed that concept with my shoe. We really didn’t do anything too adventurous. I went to bed early, slept 8 hours, woke up and went to the pool, ate well and spent time with my dad/sister.

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We stayed at the Trump and I was so blown away at their amazing staff and customer service. Not only was it a gorgeous space but it always smelled like flowers.

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Trips like this remind me of why I need more siestas in my life.

I Don’t Care What You Call Me

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Real talk today.

I read an article last week about how asking someone, “What are you?” is a rude way to ask about their ethnicity. Then I read an article called, “How to piss off an introvert.” THEN I read about how Lean In and Girl Scouts are teaming up to ban the word bossy. After reading these articles, I found myself a bit torn. I get where they’re coming from but the negativity that oozes from these articles feels unnecessarily passive aggressive.

This also stems from a little mantra that I tend to repeat to myself as an adult: “No one owes me anything.” While I would hope that someone would owe me a bit of respect, I can’t live my life assuming that people really care all that much.

Before I start coming off like a huge jerk, I’ll give you a few instances of how I’ve experienced these three situations:

I am many, many things.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “What are you?” Sure, it’s annoying. But every single person who has asked me that question earnestly wants to know. It’s actually a lot more offensive than when people start speaking Spanish (assuming I also speak Spanish) or cut right to the guessing game and ask, “Are you Hawiian?” “Are you Japanese?” “Are you Mexican?”

What am I? A human, a woman, the boss, a designer, a wife, a sister, a child, half-Filipino, half-German, short…

Also, this topic makes me think of this line from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (my favorite movie): “Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. But I’m just a fucked-up girl who’s lookin’ for my own peace of mind; don’t assign me yours.”

You don’t have to tiptoe around me. I’m not the Queen of England.

I am most definitely an introvert but I don’t expect people to accommodate travel plans or “try to not piss me off” while spending time to me. I mean, really? We’re human beings and we co-exist. If I need time for myself, I’ll make time.

The entire notion that the world needs to “get on my level as an introvert” is kind of hilarious. My friends and family know how I operate and how I feel by asking me intimately while getting to know me over time.

Don’t tell me I can’t say “bossy!” Fine, I’ll ban the word “ban!” Oh wait…

As far as “bossy” goes…I get it. I really do. And then the next minute I’m rolling my eyes. First of all, telling me that I can’t use the word “bossy” feels a little bossy. I have been bossy my whole life. I used to boss my little brother around like it was my full-time job. When I’m at my worst, I can be a know-it-all. While dating Adam, I would never let him choose the music.

And so while the word “bossy” might have been thrown around from time to time, other words felt even more influential. Words like:

  • Leader
  • Strong
  • Smart
  • Talented
  • Creative
  • Genuine

 

Women, men, dogs…and cats: we need to be confident in who we are apart from trivial names, words and stereotypes. Sure, be proud of who you are but realize that you’re not just one thing. You can be a sweet, bossy, introverted, half-Filipino, goofy designer like me. And you can be okay with it.

Goings-On

Lately

  1. We’ve been trying to get into a process when it comes to our business. We’re asking a lot of questions. How do we track projects? How do we track invoicing? How do we handle our retainer clients? Do we need to hire soon? Do we need to charge more? What’s my time worth? We build websites, we design logos, we do consulting, we do photography, video, social marketing. It’s a lot!
  2. Yesterday on our day off (we take Sundays off now) we did a little work. But it felt like fun! We mopped the floors, hung things on the walls and finished staining the table at the new studio.
  3. You can see a sneak peek of my desk up above! I’m twiddling my thumbs until I can upgrade to a 27″ iMac!
  4. Sweet treats and a beautiful photoshoot happened last Thursday at Cherbourg Bakery. I’m extremely excited about sharing their site re-design!

This week I’m off to Las Vegas and then hopping over to San Diego! I can’t even WAIT for the warm weather. I’m tired of tensing up every time I go outside in order to brace myself for a cold gust of wind…

Things I’ve Learned Since Simplifying My Wardrobe

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Since I posted about simplifying my wardrobe, I’ve learned a lot more about my style. When I first started paring down my clothes, I had an idea of who I wanted to be in my mind. On my mood board I had lots of sweaters, blazers, blouses, animal print pants (?), and heels.

Maybe it’s this brutal weather but this winter I learned that I do not like:

  • Oxfords (My feet are child-sized and look clunky)
  • Blazers (I like feeling restricted)
  • Anything lighter than a dark, dark denim.
  • HEELS.

But for real on the heels. I have practically lived in my knee-high boots since November. I keep them anyway thinking that I’ll someday wear them.

As spring nears (gosh I hope spring is near) I’m starting to think through my warmer-weather-style. I’m taking a trip to Las Vegas and San Diego this month and I realized I don’t really have anything to wear for that climate. When I purged my closet, a lot of those clothes didn’t make the cut. I want a little more personality than my winter wardrobe…while still making it easy to get dressed in the morning.

While I figure this out, follow along on my Warmer Weather Uniform Pinterest board! Next week I’ll share how I prep for my west coast trip while keeping a budget!

A studio! An office! It’s real.

The Wonder Jam HQ

It happened rather quickly but The Wonder Jam has offices. And a photo studio! And our neighbors make the best ice cream EVER. I tried to document our weekend progress from the same spot but you can’t see our little reception area to the left (empty), another office that’s closed off, a kitchen, a bathroom and a warehouse!

Right now we’re focusing on this large area (I’m standing right where my new desk will be) and the office. As you can see from the photo on Thursday, there was dark greenish blue carpet installed, green walls and beige trim. Adam and my brother ripped everything out on Friday night and Adam’s dad came to our rescue on Saturday.

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Danielle of Food Typography (and her awesome husband) helped us dominate with paint rollers on Sunday afternoon. By that night, David joined the guys and they installed our wood laminate floors. These guys are seriously my heroes.

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Oh and did I mention that while all of that was going on, Tim from The Micro Harvest was building us a 3.5 x 7 ft wood table with the scraps that Kevin donated? Or that I discovered that our new neighbors are hairpinlegs.com? I mean, really. I’m spoiled.

I linked to everyone in this post because by Sunday night…I sat in bed thinking about how really blessed we are. We’re surrounded by such talented people (who we get to call friends/family) and this past weekend couldn’t have happened without them all.

We tried to cram so much into a weekend because as a small business, we really can’t afford to take a week off to make this all happen. In between meetings and a photoshoot today, I’ll probably be staining our new table or researching trim…